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Comment on housing for the General Plan Update

From: domainremoved <Bob>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2016 20:54:47 -0700

Dear Members of the Planning Commission:

As you consider the General Plan Update on Monday night, I'd like to remind you of the importance of providing housing for the future workers in the Bayfront area - especially given the housing crisis that has gripped the Bay Area over the last five years.

Facebook deserves commendation for proposing to build housing for their workers, and the city of Menlo Park deserves commendation for encouraging Facebook to do so.

However, as we've seen with the Specific Plan in downtown, there's a wide gap in practice between entitling a specific number of units for housing and actually having those units built. As an example, although the Specific Plan envisioned apartments above retail for Santa Cruz Ave, the small lots and low allowable densities outside of the El Camino corridor have made it infeasible to build the units that the plan entitles.

Similarly, the Bayfront is a large area, but the Prologis campus where housing is allowed as part of a mixed-use development is only a part of it. I encourage you to ensure that the the housing that Menlo Park needs will actually be feasible to build in the space available. Given that this plan allows space for 5500 new workers in the Bayfront, we need to make sure that this housing is actually built so that we are fixing our housing crisis rather than worsening it.

Finally, while building an additional 4500 housing units would make a dramatic impact on the housing crisis in Menlo Park, the city most critically has a shortage of housing that is accessible to low and middle-income workers. I would also encourage the Commission to recommend that a full 15% of the units entitled by the Plan be set aside as affordable housing. There are no other feasible paths for Menlo Park to add nearly 700 units of affordable housing - and we as a city already need them.

Bob McGrew
Menlo Park resident

Received on Sun Jun 19 2016 - 21:00:43 PDT

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