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General Plan Update N.O.P. Comments

From: domainremoved <Brielle>
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2015 16:41:32 -0700

City Council:

After wading through the General Plan update documents and grappling with the tricky concepts of “full build-out”, maximum allowable development, and vehicle miles traveled vs. level of service, it is clear that the City Council is about to embark on decisions that neither it nor the residents may fully understand. We are relying on our city staff’s expertise but we have no information as to the kind or amount of influence it receives from developers and their attorneys.

The 1994 General Plan was created after several years of council discussion and community input. The main focus at that time was understandable: the preservation of a residential community, the City’s ability to promote retail sales taxes and the overall livability for residents.

This General Plan update that is to last 20 years seems to have an entirely different goal: jobs, innovation and the appeal to Fortune 500 companies have replaced the importance of a retail base, housing and neighborhood schools with healthy classroom sizes. I fear that the quality of life for residents who now call Menlo Park their home will suffer under these draconian goals.

In addition to the discussion of the updated General Plan, the Specific Plan, Zoning regulations, and potential EIR studies, the City must not ignore the impacts of development and job creation on commuter cut through traffic, the housing crunch and at the end of the day, school classroom size.

The Economic Development Plan states in one section that Belle Haven (M-2) already has 8.7 million sq ft of non-residential space already built, under construction or approved. In another section it projects 3.9 million sq. ft. more. What are the numbers for the remainder of the city regarding non-residential space already built, under construction and approved? How much more is projected? The information seems to be intentionally confusing.

Palo Alto residents and the city’s current council majority are up in arms over 200,000 sq ft of potential office development while Menlo Park residents are not being fully informed as to the reality of the addition of nearly 4 million sq ft of non-residential development within our city.

All of you ran for office with campaign promises to represent the residents and their families. Our neighborhoods are now threatened by commute traffic twice a day as employees drive to and from 101 and 280 to reach their offices in Palo Alto and Stanford. When the Arrillaga, Greenheart, Tarlton, Sobrato, Bohannon, Facebook developments are completed, the impacts on traffic will be dire. Office development gets the attention of ABAG and the City will, once again, be forced to meet ABAG housing requirements. Classroom sizes in both school districts will be jeopardy. The more office you allow, the more housing we will need to satisfy ABAG. Why would Menlo Park want to run on this tread mill?

Please, get ahead of this time bomb and set policy now that will set real limits on the amount of office development in all of Menlo Park, east and west of 101. Remember that you are first and foremost residents. Your seats on the council were won on campaign promises made to voters who trust you.

Brielle Johnck
Menlo Park
Received on Sun Jul 19 2015 - 16:38:48 PDT

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