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Information item 8/6/18: General Plan maximum development potential

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2018 15:21:03 -0700

City Council:
It appears that the zoning rules meant to implement the General Plan are not working as expected since the Office cap is about to be exceeded only 18 months into the 24-year Plan (See reference below regarding the purpose of zoning). I suggest you request additional information and evaluate some additional potential Options beyond what is outlined in the staff report:

Additional Information - before making decisions about the General Plan at a future meeting, you should ask staff to provide a calculation of the “maximum development potential” for Office using the current zoning rules, particularly in both the Bayfront and ECR/Downtown Specific Plan areas because the Office projected as part of both of those comprehensive planning efforts has already been reached (far exceeded in the Specific Plan area) in reality, with many years remaining in both plans.

As stated on page 1 of the staff report “the amount of potential development studied in the EIR ... was less than the maximum development potential allowed by the zoning districts...” In the current market, the Office demand seems very high, and is resulting in a very different mix of development uses than studied. To my knowledge, the calculation of potential Office allowed by zoning has never been made public. You and our community need this information to make wise decisions.

Since Office uses have already far exceeded the projections in the ECR/Downtown Specific Plan and soon may do the same in the Bayfront area, crowding out existing and anticipated retail and other community-serving uses and potential housing, you need to adjust the zoning rules to promote other uses to ensure a varied portfolio of revenue sources, jobs, and places to live. The extent of the needed adjustments would be more clear with the above information in hand.

Options for Consideration: you should consider the following options:
A. Modify the description of Option 1 in the staff report (Maintain current development cap) to include the possibility that later projects could feature a different use other than Office, such as hotel, retail, or housing (in some districts), if Office is constrained by adjustments in zoning rules.

B. Reject Option 4 in the staff report (shift development potential from LS to Office). Our community expects and needs for financial viability and stability a mix of non-residential uses. Increased dependence on Office, nearly all of which does not generate sales tax revenue, is unwise. Business cycles are inevitable, and putting all eggs in one market segment is a recipe for financial and employment disaster.

C. Instead of shifting development potential from LS to Office (Option 4),modify the mix and maximums of uses in selected zoning districts to ensure that the zoning rules really are implementing both the General Plan and Specific Plan as understood by our community. In the Bayfront area, evaluate shifting Office development potential to LS or R-MU.

D. In all Options, adjust downward the Bonus level zoning for Office allowed, possibly also the Base level. This should help make other uses more attractive, including much-needed housing. This Option should be evaluated for both the Bayfront and Specific Plan areas.

It is clear that the projections of uses in both the General Plan and ECR/Downtown Specific Plan areas are not at all similar to what is occurring in the current market. It is imperative to evaluate why the zoning rules are not yielding what was expected -and adopted - and make adjustments now to the zoning. Otherwise, the city has wasted $millions in Consultant fees, wrecked the integrity of-and community trust in- both of these longterm planning processes.

Sincerely, Patti Fry
Menlo Park resident and former Planning Commissioner

page A37 of the General Plan states “Zoning is a means to implement the General Plan by refining the specific uses and development standards...”

Sent from my iPad
Received on Mon Aug 06 2018 - 15:20:39 PDT

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