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THE INITIATIVE SUPPORTS THE PLAN VISION AND THE SPECIFIC PLAN GUIDING PRINCIPLES; THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENTS DO NOT.

From: domainremoved <George>
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2014 16:38:51 -0700

​DEAR COUNCIL, PLEASE CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR DECISION WHETHER TO
ADAPT THE INITIATIVE​



*I. THE PROPOSED NEW OFFICE SPACE CONTRAVENES THE PLAN VISION , THE
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE SPECIFIC PLAN*
*​,​*
* AND ​​ THE PLAN STUDIED BY THE EIR AND ANALYZED BY THE FIA. THE
INITIATIVE FULFILLS THEM. *



         The Specific Plan’s sloppily combining office space, retail and
hotel, to a maximum non retail development of 474,000 sf and sloppily
allowing a 50% FAR for office space has led to unintended and unexpected
results. The Stanford and Greenheart proposals demonstrate how allowing
office space to displace retail and hotel dramatically affects vibrancy and
village character, as well as changing the jobs office housing space
housing ratio. Allowing such proposals is not necessary to remove
blight, harms the community and is contrary to the Plan Vision and Guiding
Principles of the Specific Plan.

         This amount of proposed new office space exceeds the office space
analyzed in The EIR and FIA which was limited to the development “most
reasonably foreseeable . . .based on studies of market demand, the location
of opportunity sites, and assessment of development potential of each
property given the *Guiding Principles. Urban Design Framework, land uses,
development regulations and design guidelines*” (EIR; 3-11; emphasis
added). The development so found and analyzed was limited to 240,820 sf of
new Office Space over a 30-year period. There are five Guiding Principles
of the Specific Plan: Enhance Public Space, Generate Vibrancy, Sustain
Menlo Park’s Village Character; Enhance Connectivity and Promote Healthy
Living and Sustainability. (Specific Plan C-2-5). None of these mention
office space and not only is none of them facilitated by either 50% FAR or
combining office space with Retail and hotel leading to a 1:1 housing
office space ratio, but each of them are controverted by allowing 50% FAR
for office space, and a 1:1 housing office space ratio claimed by first two
major projects due to the sloppy combination of non residential space.

The balanced growth according the EIR authorities cited for the foreseeable
plan over 30 years, including Guiding Principles has a ratio of offices
space to housing space of 1:4 (20% office). You should maintain the Plan
Vision and Guiding Principles as interpreted and studied in the EIR and FIA
and limit office space. The initiative basically accomplishes the goals of
the plan and the Specific Plan Guiding principles. You should adapt the
Initiative.



*II. STAFF’S CALCULATIONS OF NEW OFFICE SPACE IS CONTRARY TO THE WORDS OF
THE SPECIFIC PLAN AND COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS. *



         Staff is falsely attempting to add more new office space and
diminish both the Specific Plan and the Initiative by claiming new office
space under the Specific Plan is only a fraction of the actual new 400,000
sf of office space included in the Stanford and Greenheart plans. In
Stanford’s case, Stanford received a huge credit against its new traffic
generation because a Tesla auto dealership was operating at the time of the
application. Auto dealerships generate more traffic than Office Space.
Staff is now inconsistently claiming that the auto dealership space should
also be a credit against maximum new office space. Similarly in Greenhearts
proposal of 200,000 sf of office, staff is claiming an off set based upon a
prior approved grocery store and office space which was never built or
occupied and was approved under different zoning. You should reject those
claimed offsets. They are contrary to the Specific plan language and
community expectations.



*III. COUNCIL HAS INTENTIONALLY SPURNED ATTEMPTS TO LIMIT OFFICE SPACE. *



         Council rejected opportunities to limit office space, first by its
callous disparagement of neighborhood representatives in defiance of the
mandate in the subcommittee charge to facilitate “conversations” between
appointed neighborhood representatives and Stanford “to ensure the final
project balances the needs of Stanford and the greater Menlo Park
community” and to provide “a framework for discussing the issues . . .”
  The Subcommittee shunned the neighborhood representatives written
proposals for a balanced project including a jobs housing neutral
development, as well as , continued requests to even meet ( only 2 of 16
Subcommittee meetings included the neighborhood representatives). Council
subsequently ratified the Subcommittee report directly contravening its own
directions to the Subcommittee and further disparaging neighborhood
residents.

         Council also rejected opportunities to limit office space in its
one-year revision of the Specific Plan. Gita Dev, wrote to you on
November 18, 2013 (attached) on behalf of the sustainable Land Use
Committee of the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta chapter requesting limitation of
office space to 20% of allowable FAR to allow a 1:4 ratio of office Space
to Housing Space. The lower ratio of 1:1 housing space to office space
creates big future problems to city and schools, as well as contrary to
Guiding Principles. To the best of my knowledge Council never even
considered this request, or identified any basis for the apparent arbitrary
rejection.

         Given Council’s callous disparagement of neighborhood
representatives, its rejection of the Sierra club’s suggestions, its lack
of consideration for the Guiding Principles, the Specific Plan Vision and
the intent of the illustrative plan studied by the EIR and FAR, there is no
reasonable alternative to the Initiative limiting office space and
Council’s power to exceed the limitation. Any purported economic loss
from differences in property taxes from only doubling office space rather
than more than quadrupling office space does not outweigh the harm of loss
of vibrancy and balance. Unwarranted attacks on private unvetted terms of
the initiative should also be rejected. The council had no trouble
adapting the subcommittee’s private unvetted deal with Stanford. The major
opposition does not claim we need more office space, but that is indeed its
goal.



*III. ADAPTION OF THE INITIATIVE CONFORMS TO THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND
PLAN VISION, WILL STOP BLIGHT, AND AVOIDS UNNECESSARY INTERNECINE STRIFE*.



As stated in the attached letter, Menlo Park can’t have it both ways- a
jobs-housing- office space balance as articulated and supported by the
public process and also 50% FAR for office as proposed by the first two
projects, and combining all non housing in a maximum limitation, rather
than limiting office space to 240,820 sf. Why choose arbitrary high limits
and combinations in violation of the balance, vibrancy, and housing office
space ratios developed and supported by the public process. The 50% FAR
and 474,000 maximum limitation for office space is the wrong choice and not
supported by Guiding Principles or the EIR. The initiative does support
the Guiding Principles and the EIR development studied. Please adapt the
Initiative limiting office space and help provide a vibrant balance of uses
in accordance with Specific Plan Vision. Refusal will lead to unnecessary
internecine strife. Thank You.



George C. Fisher


Received on Wed Jul 09 2014 - 16:36:17 PDT

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