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1704 El Camino - Overhauling The Red Cottage Inn - Resident Feedback

From: domainremoved <Scott>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2019 16:41:26 +0000

Members Of The Planning Commission:

I am a resident of the Park Forest neighborhood where the conversion of the Red Cottage to a Hampton Inn at 1704 El Camino is being proposed. This project is coming up for a hearing on June 24th. I am also a member of the Park Forest Plus group of residents from the area representing three Homeowner Associations along Stone Pine Lane, Forest Lane and Buckthorn as well as the independent residents of the neighborhood. Park Forest Plus has coalesced to deal with this commercial development project in our backyard. As you know, we have invited Planning Commission members to view our neighborhood (there are invites out to the two new members) and see first-hand how the hotel is situated within Park Forest and why nearly 80 people have signed a petition noting concern about the plans, the Public Benefit Bonus for hotel projects like this one and about commercial development generally within a low-density residential neighborhood.

In my view, commercial development in a residential neighborhood, like ours, should be mitigated. Additionally, the City should think long and hard when and how it uses the Public Benefit Bonus and about eliminating the PPB altogether where there is no real benefit to the public. As you can understand, it’s about resident homeowners defending our property values, quality of life, privacy and mitigating noise, light, traffic et.al, to the maximum extent possible. If someone desires lots of noise, light, traffic and less privacy in a residence, they can move into a City or high-rise living in a downtown core. Proximity to downtown without most of the “stuff” that comes with a downtown is what I, and most of my neighbors, bought into in Park Forest. It is a unique neighborhood that is worth defending.

Personally, I doubt officials in charge of developing the City’s ECR Downtown Specific Plan at the time understood where 1704 El Camino was actually situated, i.e., a couple of hundred yards back off of El Camino and embedded deeply within a neighborhood that has been historically zoned low-density residential. The property had an ECR address so it was included in the plan, likely without much thought. Please note. I don’t think that all commercial development is evil. Nor is the developer of 1704 El Camino, Mr. Sagar. He’s looking to improve his property and it’s ROI. He has also been reasonable in dealing with our group/neighborhood. Indeed, he and his family used to live in our neighborhood and president of one of its HOA’s. That said, the granting of the PBB is likely the lynchpin in making the project economically viable for the developer. You, the Council and the City attorney need to ask is collecting the extra hotel occupancy taxes that the additional hotel rooms provide, but which is already mandated by law, a true public benefit and worthy of granting a PBB as defined in the meaning and intent of the PPB statute? I and many others don’t think so.

As this project specifically is reviewed and commercial development in general for the City is reevaluated, please give some real deliberation to the appropriateness and validity of the PPB grant in projects like the Hampton Inn, especially for projects situated in low-density neighborhoods like Park Forest throughout Menlo Park.

Scott Barnum
137 Stone Pine Lane
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650-224-5671 (m)

Received on Mon Jun 17 2019 - 09:35:34 PDT

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