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EIR Contracts Premature

From: domainremoved <Steve>
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 2019 19:14:19 -0700

Council Member Nash & Mayor Pro Tem Taylor recently proposed a building
moratorium in Menlo Park. The idea and its motivation had been building
among Menlo Park residents for several years. On August 6, 2018, an
informational staff report revealed that the ConnectMenlo General Plan
Update, a document intended to guide growth until 2040, had a queue of
proposed projects that exceeded a cap on office development established by



In only two years the ConnectMenlo/General Plan office cap had been met,
and the Council was given four options for what to do next. Something
needed to be done. To my knowledge in the past eleven months, the Council
has yet to address the four options about what to do next.

The moratorium justification idea failed to move ahead as the legal
requirements for such an action proved to be too high a bar per the City
Attorney. At the City Council meeting of June 18, two subcommittees made up
of 4 of our 5 council members were formed to analyze and make
recommendations on a path forward to deal with office overdevelopment and
housing. Raised that night was that zoning for residential densities in the
Belle Haven/Bayfront neighborhood far exceeds what is allowed in the rest
of the city.

Before the two subcommittees have made their findings available, the
Council is being asked on July 9 to approve two EIR contracts, one for the
Facebook Village and the the other the Greystar 480 unit residential
project. Facebook Village with 1.7million square feet of office in nine new
buildings is referenced in the August 6, 2018 Staff Report as a project
that cannot be completed within the cap. Furthermore, the Greystar
residential development at the Bonus Level was described by the Mayor Pro
Tem as more dense than her community can handle.

In light of the unfinished subcommittee work on the broader issue,
consideration of these proposed contracts seems premature and dismissive of
the subcommittees’ mission. It is my hope that the creation of the two
subcommittees is more than a distraction while Staff continues to assure
developers that Menlo Park remains eager for more office development. The
discussions at the meeting of June 18 were refreshingly candid. Residents
felt hopeful that finally there would be Council action where residents’
interests would be served. To return to business as usual in light of the
glaring problems in the ConnectMenlo Plan has shades of the reckless
decisions made by the former Council.

The EIR contract proposals on Tuesday’s agenda should be tabled until
direction is given by the four subcommittee participants.

Steve Schmidt
Received on Sun Jul 07 2019 - 19:04:15 PDT

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