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Facebook piggybacking General Plan?

From: domainremoved <gabrielle>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2016 22:21:08 -0700

Arlinda,

Thank you for your prompt response to my concerns regarding what I consider an impossible agenda for the June 20 Planning Commission meeting. Where we differ is the approach the City has taken with both these important land-use cases. Your sentence regarding the “overlapping review periods” speaks to what is fundamentally wrong with the process the City has chosen.

“Given the overlapping review periods, proximity of the two projects, and potential similarity in questions/comments by the public, it was appropriate to conduct a meeting with the two draft environmental impact reports (DEIR) on the same agenda.”

Why is the General Plan overlapping with a 1 million sf development application? The General Plan is a crucial document that should undergo its own process, unfettered with an application from the largest company in the City - one whose plan, as far as we now know, is to have a complex of 2.9 million sf and an employee projection of 20,000.

For years residents have waited for the City to begin the update process of our City’s General Plan. That it is 23 years out of date is an egregious act of negligence by every City Council since 2003. I understand that Facebook is eager to continue its growth but the City’s responsibility is first and foremost the orderly business of establishing policies that will guide your department, the Planning Commission and the Council on land use issues for the life of this General Plan.

We have lived through the Specific Plan process which took 5 years and within 18 months of its adoption, proposals for office reached the 30 year projection for commercial growth. Many of us understood the influence Stanford University had on the outcome of the Specific Plan and it is no wonder why we are now concerned that the City has allowed Facebook to overlap with our General Plan update. Already there are references in the Facebook DEIR to the yet-to-be-adopted General Plan. How much is Facebook driving the GP process?

There should be no overlapping of the updating of the General Plan and the environmental review of the current Facebook application. Facebook is subordinate to the General Plan, so it would be appropriate that the General Plan first needs to undergo the proper steps, review and adoption. Only then will the City be confident that Facebook will be evaluated with the most current understanding of what the accumulated impacts are from the last 23 years of growth in the entire City.

Yes, there have been multiple meetings but until the Draft EIR on Facebook was released, there was no way to read and understand the full breadth of the expansion as well as its impacts on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Traffic. 24 days for analysis between the release of the FB DEIR and the June 20 Planning Commission has been a challenging assignment for the residents and probably the Commissioners as well.
Added to that task is the reading of the General Plan DEIR in 19 days. The DEIR for the General Plan reveals that there are significant and unavoidable impacts related to air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, population and housing, transportation and circulation.

Where you casually use the word “overlapping“ to describe Facebook’s project of 1,300,000 sf and the General Plan zoning changes, I would say that there seems to be a direct connection. For example: the staff report states that no specific project is part of the General Plan and M-2 Area Zoning update; yet the General Plan and M-2 Area Zoning Update seems to have been tailored to fulfill Facebook’s design plans. There needs to be an arms-length distance between what Facebook wants for its current expansion plans and the policies the City needs to put in place in the M-2 Area.

I doubt that the Planning Commission believes it can do an adequate job in one meeting. I urge the City to remove item F-1, the Facebook DEIR from the June 20 Planning Commission agenda. It is no wonder that the Chair of the Planning Commission who has also served as a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee is skipping town before the June 20th meeting.

Brielle Johnck
Received on Fri Jun 17 2016 - 22:28:12 PDT

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