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RE: EIR Contracts Premature

From: William L. McClure <"William>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2019 19:01:45 +0000

Steve –

I have been asked to respond to your email below requesting that the City Council table the two EIR contracts that are coming before the City Council next week for the Willow Village project and for the Greystar multi-family residential project. As was stated in the staff report for the City Council meeting on June 11th when the Council considered whether to provide direction on preparing a moratorium ordinance, a moratorium cannot restrict or prohibit the acceptance or processing of applications, nor can a city refuse to accept or process applications for development in the absence of a moratorium. If an EIR is required for a development application, the City is required to proceed with the preparation of an EIR if requested/required. If the cost of the EIR exceeds the City Manager’s authority, the City Council must approve the contract for the preparation of the EIR. By recommending approval of the EIR contracts, staff is NOT “assure(ing) developers that Menlo Park remains eager for more office development” -- it is only meeting its legal obligation to allow the application to be processed. Approval of the contract in no way indicates support or approval of the project to be considered in the EIR, nor does processing the application prevent the City from modifying or amending the general plan or the zoning ordinances that would be applicable to the property involved. I hope this clarifies why these contracts are coming forward to the City Council for action. Best regards, Bill

William L. McClure, City Attorney
City of Menlo Park
1100 Alma Street, Suite 210
Menlo Park, CA 94025
650-324-9300 Ofc
650-324-0227 Fax
P Please consider the environment before printing this email þ

From: Steve Schmidt <menloparksteve_at_(domainremoved)>
Sent: Sunday, July 7, 2019 7:14 PM
To: Menlo Park City Council <city.council_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: EIR Contracts Premature

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 ConnnectMenlo.



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 Fri Jul 12 2019 - 11:55:26 PDT

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