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Greenheart project - missed opportunity

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 11:43:27 -0800

Dear Mayor and City Council
The proposed Greenheart project is a missed opportunity You could improve it substantially in order to provide a better jobs/housing balance, lessen its traffic impacts, and add much more financial benefits to city coffers for infrastructure improvements.

HOUSING Menlo Park and the peninsula have a severe housing shortage. Menlo Park has been subject to legal action for not doing what it could to relieve it. Here is a project on a 6.43 acre site near transit that is in THE zoning district in the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan that is zoned Residential. At the proposed Public Benefit Bonus level the project could add 322 housing units. All within the limits of the Specific Plan But the project only proposes 183 units, a difference of 139 much-needed homes, and instead maximizes the amount of office space allowed, bringing hundreds of new commuters to the middle of our town.

Make no mistake. This is a mixed use OFFICE project, not a mixed used HOUSING project. If you approve it as proposed, you will have supported fully this missed opportunity to ease the housing shortage. You will have missed the opportunity for Menlo Park to step up to its part in causing the local housing shortage instead you would be promoting significant numbers of new jobs but not commensurate new housing.

TRAFFIC The project site is located on the most congested part of El Camino. The developer's plan to promote tech incubators at this site could increase to 4X the amount of traffic that was projected in the project EIR, without any additional mitigation or infrastructure improvements. A better balance of workers and housing would help, not worsen, the project traffic congestion impacts.
PROJECT BENEFITS The project's proposed benefits are woefully insufficient when the negative impacts could be far worse than described in the EIR. With all the negative impacts, the public benefits should be unusually high, too, for granting a bonus size development.

The developer profit for this site, according to the city's consultant, BAE, is much higher than usual, exceeding $78 million and 30% profit. Their Financial Impact Analysis greatly UNDER-estimated that profit by over-estimating the parking construction costs by at least $4 million and totally omitting all parking revenue from 990 parking spaces. . Thus the real profit is well more than $82 million
The $2.1 million payment is too low. You can do better.

I heartily encourage appropriate development on this site. That should be a residential-intensive project that improves, not worsens, Menlo Park's abysmal jobs/housing ratio. That should also be a project that is truly transit-oriented, rather than one that significantly worsens traffic in the most congested part of our downtown area. It should provide substantial public benefit to help outweigh the substantial negative impacts. The developer should share more of its outsized profits.

Do not miss this opportunity to do more.

Patti Fry
Menlo Park resident and former Planning Commissioner

Sent from my iPad
Received on Mon Jan 23 2017 - 12:18:19 PST

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