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Transparency Request -- Number and Location of all Menlo Park BMR units

From: domainremoved <Michael>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2017 01:33:11 +0000

Dear Council Members,

I am forwarding this August 5, 2017 email chain and my BMR unit transparency request for public record. One concern is a potential illegal disparate impact for the Menlo Park neighborhood of Belle Haven.

Will the council please consider an immediate moratorium on all Menlo Park projects for any new residential and any new building development until this Menlo Park BMR unit issue is resolved?

As mentioned during the Public Comment Section of the August 22nd council meeting, my estimate is that approximately 84% or 697 BMR units (existing / planned / proposed) are in the Belle Haven neighborhood versus approximately 16% or 130 BMR units in the rest of Menlo Park.

Michael Hoff

—— INSERT ——

Here are my requests:

1). Will Menlo Park City please help provide the requested BMR unit information in a one page document before the City Council meeting on 12SEPT2017 or before the 26SEPT2017 council meeting?

2). Secondly, which if any of the BMR unit projects received (or will receive) California distributed federal tax credits? How much money?

The information provided below is helpful; however, it does not satisfy the community need nor does it satisfy my request for Menlo Park BMR unit transparency by neighborhood.

My example inserted directly below with data provided by Hello Housing may be helpful for the Menlo city staff to compile a one page document with additional data columns added to the matrix (“Planned” units = e.g. planned and approved; “Proposed” units = e.g. proposed and/or planned but not yet approved and “Total”).



Begin forwarded message:

From: Michael Hoff <mhoff22_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: JIM, ACTION REQUEST -- Re: Transparency Request -- Number and Location of all Menlo Park BMR units
Date: August 21, 2017 at 6:48:58 PM PDT
To: "Cogan, Jim C" <JCCogan_at_(domainremoved)opark.org<mailto:JCCogan_at_(domainremoved)
Cc: Michele Tate <Lmichele.tate_at_(domainremoved)

Dear Mr. Jim Cogan,

Thank you for your service to the Menlo Park Community.

I understand that the city does not yet have a one page document reporting the Menlo Park BMR unit location by neighborhood. I think that you will agree that this one page document is helpful to the community and to the city staff for quick reference. I am happy to help the city with completing this information. I created a matrix example below with data from Hello Housing.

As you may know, the Menlo Park City website lists a total of 65 BMR units. The Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo lists 99 BMR units in Menlo Park. Additional public information (i.e. internet and news reporting) totals approximately 700 BMR units in Menlo Park (approved / planned / proposed). As a resident of Menlo Park Belle Haven neighborhood, I am deeply concerned about the dispersion of BMR units throughout all of Menlo Park.

Thank you for the links in your email below. Yes, these are helpful too. I will review again in greater detail.

Thank you also for your invite to talk and / or to meet. I accept your invitation. I also plan to be at the city council meeting tomorrow, TUE 8/22. I do think it best to keep discussions about BMR unit location by neighborhood transparency as an open community discussion. I think that you agree that this is an important topic for several people and that we all learn from one another. I am including members of the city council to help us. Although a national issue, perhaps locally we can help set a BMR housing transparency example for other local communities.

  As mentioned, I am happy to help with this matrix too.

Again, thanks for your help.

Michael Hoff


On Aug 21, 2017, at 2:20 PM, Cogan, Jim C <JCCogan_at_(domainremoved)


Thank you for your email. I am sorry about the link not working on the website. We will get that fixed.

After reviewing your questions, we don’t have a one page document that answers all of your questions, but I have some links that I thought would help provide you with more information. After you take a look at them, I thought it would be helpful to schedule a call or a meeting to discuss any additional questions you have. Please forgive me if any of it is review. I am not sure what information Hello Housing shared with you.

Regarding the definition of affordable housing, the link below is the 2017 Income limits for San Mateo County. The BMR units within the City fit into a range of income restrictions. In addition, some of the answer to your question depends on whether you are interested in rental BMR units or ownership BMR units.

This second link is to the report from Hello Housing, which went to the Housing Commission on March 1st. It illustrates the work that they do on our ownership units and the loan programs, which the City is servicing, but no longer issuing new loans, because of the loss of redevelopment funding.

We do not have the number of current units broken down by neighborhood, but can discuss that and the other information you have requested. I appreciate your interest and inquiries. It is very helpful as we seek to better present affordable housing information to the community.

Thank you again, for your interest and I look forward to connect with you soon.


From: Michele Tate [mailto:lmichele.tate_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:58 AM
To: Cogan, Jim C <JCCogan_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Fwd: Transparency Request -- Number and Location of all Menlo Park BMR units


Have you been able to work on Michael Hoff's request below?


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Hoff <mhoff22_at_(domainremoved)
Date: Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 8:08 AM
Subject: Fwd: Transparency Request -- Number and Location of all Menlo Park BMR units
To: Michele Tate <Lmichele.tate_at_(domainremoved)michele.tate_at_(domainremoved)

Dear Ms. Michele Tate,

This is Michael Hoff in Menlo Park, Belle Haven neighborhood.

I am writing to forward my emails below with Hello Housing. Possibly you and Mr. Jim Cogan can please help me.

Please note that I tried to also include Mr. Jim Cogan on this email; however, the city website email link for Mr. Cogan is not showing an email address. Will you please forward this to Jim?

I have a few questions concerning definitions for Below Market Rate (BMR) housing, affordable housing and which neighborhoods these housing units are located. Ultimately, my request is to have a succinct, one page document easily accessible on the city website showing total units and which neighborhood location.

Finally, which BMR / Affordable Housing units (past projects, present projects, proposed projects) have received any money from local (city/county), state or federal resources such as tax incentives, rebates or other zoning privileges?

Thank you (and Jim) very much for your help and consideration.

Jim Cogan
Housing and Economic Development Manager




Michael Hoff
C: 805.570.7746<tel:805.570.7746>

Begin forwarded message:
From: Sarah Shimmin <sarah_at_(domainremoved)ailto:sarah_at_(domainremoved)
Date: August 10, 2017 at 10:39:00 AM PDT
To: Michael Hoff <mhoff22_at_(domainremoved)ilto:mhoff22_at_(domainremoved)
Cc: Jennifer Duffy <jennifer_at_(domainremoved)hellohousing.org<mailto:jennifer_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Re: Transparency Request -- Number and Location of all Menlo Park BMR units
Hi Michael,

I have forwarded your questions on to the City of Menlo Park as they will be in a better position to address your request.


Sarah Shimmin
Senior Program Manager
Hello Housing
(415) 738-7833<tel:(415)%20738-7833>

From: Michael Hoff <mhoff22_at_(domainremoved)
Date: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 12:25 PM
To: Sarah Shimmin <sarah_at_(domainremoved)
Cc: Jennifer Duffy <jennifer_at_(domainremoved)<mailto:jennifer_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Re: Transparency Request -- Number and Location of all Menlo Park BMR units

Hi Sarah,

Thank you very much for your email and for your help with the number of BMR homes in Menlo Park and where located.

A couple of questions:

  1. Will you please add a column for number of planned BMR homes by neighborhood? I think that both Mid-Peninsula housing and FaceBook are planning to add BMR units.
  2. How many additional BMR units are proposed but not yet planned and by which neighborhood?
  3. Which if any of the BMR projects have previously received, or, are receiving, or, are planned to receive California distributed federal tax credits?


Michael Hoff

On Aug 8, 2017, at 9:12 AM, Sarah Shimmin <sarah_at_(domainremoved)

Hello Michael,

Thanks for contacting us. There are currently 65 BMR homeownership units in Menlo Park. Thanks for bringing to our attention the discrepancy on the City’s website in the number of BMR units. The correct number is 65. I’ve informed the City, who will be updating this soon.

Here is a list of the neighborhoods where the BMR homes are located:


# of BMR Homes

Allied Arts


Belle Haven


Linfield Oaks


Menlo Oaks




Sharon Heights


The Willows


Vintage Oaks


With regard to the waiting list – there are currently 141 households on the BMR homeownership waiting list. Please note that the wait time is quite variable. Preference is given to households based on their waiting list position and eligibility at the time of applying for a specific home that is for sale. Some waiting list members have been on the list for as high as 20 years, but that might be due to several factors such as not being interested in specific units or not being mortgage-ready at the time a unit is available. To give you an example, two BMR homes were sold in 2016, one of which was sold to someone who had been on the waiting list for 10 years, and the other to a family who had been on the list for less than a year.

Hello Housing also maintains an interest list for BMR rental opportunities in Menlo Park. This is not a waiting list since households are not ranked by position, but rather being on the interest list allows you to receive notifications about affordable rental opportunities as they arise either through the City or local affordable housing developers.

I hope this information is helpful.

Best regards,

Sarah Shimmin
Senior Program Manager
Hello Housing
(415) 738-7833<tel:(415)%20738-7833>

From: Michael Hoff <mhoff22_at_(domainremoved)mhoff22_at_(domainremoved)
Date: August 5, 2017 at 1:39:24 PM PDT
To: "jennifer_at_(domainremoved)ohousing.org>" <jennifer_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Transparency Request -- Number and Location of all Menlo Park BMR units
Dear Ms. Jennifer Duffy,

This is Michael Hoff in Menlo Park. Thank you for your service to the community.

What is the total number and the location of all Menlo Park BMR units? Where is this available on the city website? How long is the current waiting list for people waiting for Menlo Park BMR unit availability?

Please note that the city website mentions 65 units in one paragraph and then 66 units in another paragraph (inserted below).

Worse case, will you please provide the overall number of units by the individual neighborhoods?

Again, thanks for your service to the community.


Michael Hoff


Received on Sat Sep 02 2017 - 16:03:11 PDT

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