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Time for an Office Cap?

From: domainremoved <Brielle>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2018 20:32:39 -0700


While the Specific Plan is limited to a specific area of El Camino Real and Downtown, it does not exist in a vacuum. The Plan projections for office have reached 92% and Belle Haven has also seen massive growth. The big picture for the entire city shows predictable impacts. Increased traffic, a grave housing deficit and a growing level of resident dissatisfaction cannot be ignored.

Rather than simply moving to increase the 2012 Specific Plan’s allowable maximum on nonresidential (office) square footage, the Council should take this opportunity to slow down and weigh where we are. One of the steps in planning for the city’s future would be to decide what the desirable jobs/housing ratio should be. Once that is established, the City could cap office growth until that ratio goal is met.

This is a reasonable approach and one that is currently used in neighboring Palo Alto where the population is 67,024. Palo Alto has set an annual cap on office at 50,000 sf, which I believe has given the City time to assess its growth and housing needs. Developers are in a queue, giving the Palo Alto Planning Department and Council a more reasonable basis on which to plan. Menlo Park’s population of 33,888 is half of Palo Alto’s and could cap its annual office growth at 25,000 sf until the agreed upon jobs/housing ratio is met. We are becoming an office park, jobs-center city model.

The office growth has increased both city-wide and neighborhood traffic, which is affecting the quality of life for residents. The City has been drinking out of a fire hose as we absorb these impacts. The infrastructure to deal with this growth is neither in place or even planned. It is possible that there may be no infrastructure that can mitigate the office that is being constructed and is in the pipeline.

Unquestioned growth should not be a goal by itself.

Brielle Johnck and Steve Schmidt
Received on Sun Apr 15 2018 - 20:34:30 PDT

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