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Re: Willow Village EIR - 5/14/19 Item E4

From: Mueller, Ray <"Mueller,>
Date: Sun, 12 May 2019 02:34:38 +0000

Thank you for your email Adina. As you know any Councilmember can remove any item from the consent calendar with a simple request at the start of the meeting. We start the consent calendar asking if any council-member wants to remove a consent calendar item. This happens frequently and is not unusual.

Vice Mayor Taylor and I met with professional staff late in the day Thursday to go over this agenda. This year as Vice Mayor Taylor is new to the City Council, we are making a concerted effort to make sure we attend calendar setting meetings together. Sometimes that can present potential conflicts with the Brown Act, as we cannot have substantive discussions about every item on the agenda.
As that relates to the consent calendar, if an item is on the consent calendar when the agenda is constructed for whatever reason, the fail safe is someone can simply remove it in the meeting, and Vice Mayor Taylor and I avoid having a substantive discussion prior to the meeting, respecting the Brown Act.

There was no predetermination nor substantive discussion on the outcome of the Willow Village agenda item, nor any other agenda item. That would be improper. Candidly we were focused on how much time the appeal may require that relates to the trees on El Camino Real.

Thank you for your concerns.

With kind regards,









With best regards,
Ray Mueller



With kind regards,
Ray Mueller

(please excuse odd punctuation. my laptop does not always work well with the City's email system.)


With kind regards,
Ray Mueller

(please excuse odd punctuation. my laptop does not always work well with the City's email system.)
________________________________
From: Adina Levin <aldeivnian_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2019 5:00:41 PM
Cc: _CCIN
Subject: Willow Village EIR - 5/14/19 Item E4

Honorable Council Members,

Given the City Council comments at the recent study session, the inclusion of item E4 on the consent calendar seems unwarranted.

Item E4 would fund the initiation of the process of conducting an Environmental Impact Report for the Willow Village project, using the currently proposed projects as the base for study.

At the recent study session for Willow Village, multiple Council Members identified the increasing jobs/housing imbalance as a significant concern with the current proposal. As currently proposed, the project would add up to 9000 jobs (up to 6,000 net new jobs on the site), and up to 1700 homes

Many thanks to the Council for raising the growing imbalance as a concern. The new jobs would be over and above the ~10,000-15,000 jobs that Facebook has already brought to Menlo Park, corresponding to less than 2,000 new homes added in the Bayfront/Belle Haven area. The large and increasing imbalance is driving substantial displacement, since higher-paid new workers who wish to live near their jobs have the ability to outbid previous residents. Responses to Council questions indicated that it would be logically possible to reallocate the nearly 60 acre site to accommodate more homes and fewer jobs.

The consent calendar is used for items that are expected to be uncontroversial where no new discussion is needed. However, based on the City Council comments at the study session, the project as it is currently proposed diverges significantly from Council's concern about the jobs/housing imbalance.

The Council, as the decision-making body for the EIR, would have the power to approve a development that was *smaller* than the projects studied in the EIR. But the Council couldn't come back and ask for space to be reallocated between office and housing. The creation of significantly different options would need to happen before the EIR process.

Therefore, I would urge the city council to remove this item from the consent calendar, discuss whether the project's overall balance is in line with the Council's goals, and if not, to come back with an agendized item to recommend changes that would better reflect the Councils' goals expressed in Council member comments.

Lastly, the staff report notes that the transportation analysis of the EIR would be done using Level of Service as a metric (auto delay), rather than Vehicle Miles Traveled, since VMT will not be mandated by the state until July, 2020.

Though the mandate does not start until July 2020, a variety of other cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose are already using VMT as the metric for EIRs. Cities are allowed to start earlier. Also, cities can continue to use LOS as part of local policy, and Menlo Park plans to continue to do so be able to assess the functioning of the roadway system.

Unfortunately, the use of LOS as the metric for EIR transportation mitigation is likely to encourage the use of changes such as roadway expansion to reduce auto delay, rather than the use of changes such as improved transit, transportation demand management, and walking/bicycling, strategies that relieve traffic by reducing the number of cars on the roads.

Therefore, please use VMT as the metric for required EIR mitigations, so that the city can invest in congestion relief using methods that improve safety and sustainability, while continuing to use LOS as part of the city's assessment.

Thank you.

- Adina
Adina Levin
650-646-4344
Received on Sat May 11 2019 - 19:29:21 PDT

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