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Re: 975 Florence Lane /agenda July 16

From: domainremoved <Noel>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2019 08:57:57 -0700

July 12, 2019

City Council Members
City of Menlo Park
Menlo Park, CA 94025

RE: Planning Department recommendations to add two units, allow reductions in required number of parking places, and allow increased density in condo-conversion project at 975 Florence Lane.

Dear City Council Members:
After talking to many of the owners in the neighborhood, the response is overwhelmingly against any project that allows a reduction in the number of required parking places. We want to see the project at 975 Florence Lane stay within the existing zoning regulations, without exemptions. The structures are already nonconforming in many regards, so to make recommendations allowing the project to be even more nonconforming goes against why we have a planning department, and zoning ordinances in the first place.
A petition was circulated and presented to the planning department in opposition to any reduction in the required parking spaces, building into the setbacks, and increasing the density. In response to this, the planning department reversed their decision to allow building into the setbacks, however the planning department continues to recommend an exemption in the number of required parking places, and an increase in density so that a 500 sq ft BMR condo can be added. Originally the owner simply requested that the six existing nonconforming apartments be converted to condominiums; it is the planning department that keeps insisting that additional units be added to obtain one small BMR unit at a great expense to the neighborhood.
The majority of the structures on Florence Lane are already substandard in regard to density, number of parking places, and lot coverage. An effort should be made to preserve and better the condition of Florence Lane...not make it worse, especially from a parking perspective.
I doubt that members of the planning department and planning commission have actually walked the entire length of Florence Lane on both sides, and adequately surveyed the existing nonconformance, density, and lack of parking that exists.
Now that parking is not allowed on University Avenue, due to the addition of the bicycle lanes, people who used to park on University, are now parking on Florence Lane. In addition, there is a fire hydrant directly in front of 975 Florence, which creates only space for one car to be parked on the street directly in front of 975 Florence.
The planning department, planning commission, and city council should make sure their decisions improve neighborhoods, not adversely affect neighborhoods. It appears there are enough units going in on the El Camino corridor, without insisting that two units be added on Florence Lane, so that only one 500 square foot BMR unit can be obtained, adding to the parking crisis. The costs to the residents of Florence Lane are too great. The planning department also suggests that a condition be placed in the CCRs of the complex prohibiting the owners of 975 from obtaining an on-street parking permit from the police department. This condition at first glance appears to address the reduction in required parking places issue, but in reality it is not enforceable, and could easily be reversed by the home owners association at a later date.

Respectfully submitted,

Noel Smith
1015/1017 Florence Lane, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Received on Fri Jul 12 2019 - 08:51:53 PDT

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