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comments on the General Plan update

From: domainremoved <Bob>
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2015 13:25:43 -0700

After following the General Plan update process closely and reading the
staff report for the Notice of Preparation and the draft Circulation
Element, I'd like to commend the engaged citizens of the General Plan
Advisory Committee on a well thought-out and thorough job.

The current General Plan allows for an additional 1.75m sq ft of office to
be developed in the M-2, without any requirement for the landowners to
provide public benefit, develop housing in conjunction with the increased
jobs, or enforce limits on additional traffic. The General Plan update
offers additional development potential, but in return places new
requirements on developers to address the deficiencies of the current plan.
In addition, perhaps most excitingly, it offers us the opportunity to
create a second downtown district in Menlo Park to replace boring office
parks with a vibrant mixed-use area that can be an asset for the entire
community.

First, I am excited to see that the update authorizes an additional 4500
housing units - potentially enough for 9000 people - in comparison to a
projection of roughly 5500 new jobs. This approach will help address the
regional jobs/housing imbalance that has resulted in sky-high and
increasing rents that threaten to displace current renters and lock current
homeowners into their houses.

Second, transit and local retail are well-chosen as public benefits for
this project. Transit on the Dumbarton line, in particular, will provide an
option for both residents and commuters of that neighborhood to access jobs
and amenities across the entire Caltrain corridor. Providing transit for
commuting and local retail for shopping will both reduce traffic on Willow
and increase the quality of life for those who live in Belle Haven.

Finally, the update takes strong steps to minimize traffic impacts by
requiring that a majority of commuters in new developments in M-2 arrive
via transportation alternatives such as transit, biking, walking, or
carpooling. Notably, this applies both to the existing development
potential under the current plan as well as to the new potential provided
by the update. Combining the positive impact of Dumbarton transit on
existing commute patterns with these strict limits on new driving, the
update may actually reduce traffic generated within the M-2! I encourage
the GPAC and Council to require strong enforcement and serious penalties
for violations, such as Mountain View has done in the North Bayshore
neighborhood.

Overall, the update requires developers not just to mitigate the impacts of
the new development potential, but actually to improve significantly upon
the situation that would have existed without the new development. I
appreciate the hard work and careful thinking that the GPAC and Council
have put into this effort, and I commend you on a job well-done.

Bob McGrew
Willows resident
Received on Sun Aug 23 2015 - 13:23:54 PDT

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