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Re: HISTORY OF BCK ESTATE

From: domainremoved <Kirsten>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:26:23 -0700

Hi Janet,

It was great to see you today. Thank you for this information. I will
forward it to city staff also.

Best regards,

Kirsten Keith,
Mayor of Menlo Park



On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 2:01 PM, Janet Davis <jadjadjad_at_(domainremoved)
wrote:

> In response to your request for background on 2131 Sand Hill during the
> Woodside Bakery get together with Marc Berman, I have compiled a history of
> the Buck Estate as I remember it. I went to all the hearings and
> meetings. The County Planner that worked on this project was David
> Holbrook and my memory can be checked against his if needed.
> *BUCK ESTATE HISTORY*
> When the last surviving daughter, Alice Mayer Buck died, she willed the
> estate to Stanford. I checked the County Probate files and she willed
> that the main house be maintained and preserved for the beneficial use of
> Stanford University with a life estate of the cottage for her gardener and
> his wife. She had a magnificent garden at the time of her death which I
> think was 1978. She also willed the *undeveloped* portion of the estate
> for the general use of Stanford University which could be mingled with
> Stanford assets. (That would be the "meadow" that is sought as a site for
> the new office structure) She only wished that should the property be
> sold, the proceeds be used to endow the undergraduate library. Therefore,
> there was no restriction in her will as to future use of the land.
>
> *The whole property was part of the County of San Mateo and it was zoned
> R-2, “Residential Estates”. except* for the undeveloped meadow (now
> proposed under the Mitigated Negative Declaration to be the site of a
> venture capital office building) which was R1S (Single family residence).
>
> After Alice Mayer Buck’s death the main house was used by the university
> as a convention center with an entrance on Alpine Road that created traffic
> problems. In 1989 the Loma Prieta earthquake did considerable damage to
> the house and it was left vacant for a long time, and the garden was
> totally neglected.
>
> In 1999 Stanford sought permission of the county to build a large office
> structure on the part of the R-2 (residential estates) zoned land that had
> been Alice’s garden. There was vehement residential opposition to this
> on environmental and traffic grounds and various hearings and meetings
> which I attended. The county finally allowed a Use Permit (PLN
> 1999-00331) *on condition *that development not intensify and that all
> the facilities be occupied by a Philanthropic enterprise. (To my knowledge,
> no check was ever made that all offices were in fact occupied by charitable
> entities) The basis for this was that a use permit can be granted to a
> charitable organization *when such use is* *necessary for public health,
> safety or welfare*. No such explicit finding was made. It was just stated
> that they carried out local charitable work. Employees were also limited
> to 100. However, Mr. Donohoe at the Planning Commission hearing stated
> that he believed the number of current employees was around 200: double the
> number approved.
> One huge problem during construction of the Hewlett building was the
> constant truck traffic up and down Alpine road, sometimes blocking the bike
> access and the actual road.
> During the discussions, Stanford emphasized that most of the office
> occupants would be working from home or traveling, that they would have a
> strict TDM system in place, plus bike parking, showers, carpools and that
> vehicular traffic would be very minimal. That has not been the case. There
> is also a problem with the traffic light at the entrance/exit since cars
> coming from Safeway that get the green light to turn left, have to yield
> for cars coming out of the Hewlett parking lot and this is not readily
> noticeable. There are a lot of cars parked at the office structure.
> Below is the condition as stated in the County Building and Planning Acela
> website: Below that are notes subsequently added to the file as
> “Conditions” after inquiries had been made concerning the possibility of building
> an additional office structure on the vacant land. Stanford was scoping
> out all the possibilities as early as two years ago.
>
> STANFORD UNIVERSITY
> STANFORD UNIVERSITY
> 2770 SAND HILL ROAD
> MENLO PARK, CA, 94025
> *Project Description:*
>
> OFFICE HEADQUARTERS
> Use Permit
> *SELF-RENEWING - No RENEWAL required unless development intensifies
> (non-minor UP Amendment is proposed) or Violation occurs*. Use permit to
> allow development of a professional office headquarters for Hewlett
> Foundation, as allowed under Section 6500(c)6 for Institutions of a
> philanthropic or charitable nature.
>
>
> Planning - 2 Applied
> Parcel Tag
> *HISTORIC BUILDING*
> *The house is the historic Meyer-Buck Estate (presently the provost house
> for Stanford University); it was placed onto the County Historic Inventory
> on 2/20/2002. Any/all exterior/interior modifications shall be reviewed by
> the CDD, & possibly by the HRAB prior to approval of any BLD or PLN
> permits.*
> Applied | Notice | 05/23/2016
> *Proposed use*
> *RJB: 1/26/15 Spoke with applicant at counter regarding use of property.
> The applicant is proposing the expensing the existing use of admin/offices
> for the HP Foundation located at APN 074-450-040. In speaking with DH,
> applicant would amending their existing use permit at APN 074-450-040 to
> incorporate the uses at the adjacent parcel. **Told applicant that CEQA,
> especially traffic, would be a major factor in the approval of this
> project. Gave applicant parking and zoning information. Applicant also
> asked about rezoning the property. Would need rezoning and general plan
> amendment. The applicant also had a question about annexation into the City
> of Menlo Park.*
> Applied | Notice | 01/26/2015
>
>
>
>
>
> *Since the addition of an entire new office building would obviously be an
> expansion of the current use, Stanford opted to proceed with annexation to
> the City and explore a Use Permit *
>
> Below are a couple of newspaper articles about the history of the Buck
> Estate:
>
> http://news.theregistrysf.com/stanford-seeks-develop-vacant-
> land-unincorporated-san-mateo-county/
>
> http://news.stanford.edu/news/2003/april16/buck-416.html
>
> One of the topics discussed at length during the initial Hewlett proposal
> was the need for bicycle/pedestrian access through the Buck property given
> the dangers of the traffic between Sand Hill and Alpine. Stanford
> refused to consider this. Terry Burnes (then the Planning Director at the
> county) said that this would be addressed when the Buck Estate main house
> was restored as a convention center. Stanford avoided this issue by
> seeking permits to restore the mansion as a single family home for the
> provost, Etchemendy. This eliminated any opportunity for conditions or
> restrictions. They have since designed the internal roadways so that
> there is no direct thoroughfare.
> At the recent Planning Commission hearing Mr. Donohoe, of Stanford’s Real
> Estate Dept. stated that the Alpine entrance/exit to the Buck
> Estate/Hewlett Foundation was not used. That is not true. It is a
> source of traffic problems since cars (some with Stanford logo) exiting
> from there often make U-turns across traffic to get to Junipero Serra.
> Another factor is that the notorious 109 gas pipeline goes right behind
> the property between that and the subdivision at Stanford Hills (which is
> also owned by Stanford) This PGE easement used to be (so I have been
> told) a Fire Lane. Beside Alpine Road just to the south of the Alpine
> gate is an ATT/PGE [?] utility box and trucks are frequently located at
> the side of the road, blocking traffic. This is at a very dangerous,
> short merge lane where vehicles compete for space with cyclists.
>
> At the time of the city’s *Housing Element,* the meadow which is now the
> proposed site for a commercial office building for venture capitalists,
> was put on the list of sites that the city would like to rezone for
> affordable housing since the were pressured to spread such housing
> throughout the city. Stanford (Mr. Donohoe) objected to this and as I
> remember, either declined to state what the use would be or claimed that it
> was slated for faculty housing. At recent Stanford GUP public meetings
> grad students, SLAC employees and Stanford Staff decried the absence of
> housing to accommodate them near campus, which meant that they had to
> commute long distances. This supports data in the County’s “Closing the
> Gap” Task Force, which states that since 2010 the county has created 54,000
> new jobs but only 2,148 housing units.
>
> Based on comparable office leases on Sand Hill it is likely that Stanford
> would reap about $5 Million/year for this building.
>
>



-- 
Best regards,
Kirsten Keith,
Mayor of Menlo Park
Attorney at Law
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Received on Tue Aug 15 2017 - 17:28:45 PDT

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