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economic development

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:03:53 -0700

Dear Andrew - It is gratifying that we agree that it is important to have a
strong mix of uses to provide for economic vitality and environmentally
sound live/work/play/shop areas.

There are times that the city must zone FOR uses, not just let market
forces go where they wish. That is why there are not retail areas in Belle
Haven area already! Recently, there has been residential construction
largely because of a lawsuit against the city for not providing more
housing in its plans. There is an enormous housing crunch right now, but
developers still prefer to build office space instead.

In contrast, Menlo Park's downtown does zone for 1st level retail. Downtown
businesses should thrive much better once more of the Specific Plan's
anticipated new development - especially housing - is built.

Once land is developed with offices or other non-retail uses, it is
extremely difficult to convert the buildings to retail or housing.
Structures are not designed the same way, parking isn't the same, etc.

The city has to ensure there are appropriate places for retail and housing
to be located and find ways to encourage balanced growth, possibly even to
discourage unbalanced growth.. Some communities link the growth of
development, and the types of allowed development, to metrics such as
capacity of schools, infrastructure. Menlo Park could explore ways to help
pace growth so a particular use type does not shove out the opportunities
for other types. With all the approved development in Belle Haven (housing
and offices), there should be plenty of demand for quite a bit more retail.
But it won't happen if other kinds of projects get built first in the best
retail locations.

Market forces are based on profit-motives; regulation is based on
achievement of social goals. A good plan balances these well.

Patti Fry
Received on Fri Jul 31 2015 - 16:01:58 PDT

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