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Corner of Glenwood and El Camino

From: domainremoved <Stephanie>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 21:53:10 -0800

Dear members of the City Council of Menlo Park.

I read with interest an article describing a plan to put a hotel on the
corner of Glenwood and El Camino, since our family lived on Glenwood
near Laurel for many years, next door to the old Gale house. It is
unusual for an enterprise to ask the city to contribute money, since the
city is already contributing by its designation of a high end land use,
a pure gift for which the city gets no remuneration. When expensive
offices are permitted, it raises the value of all the land around them,
not just the specific owners who get the permission on that day; it
raises the density especially the density of cars: good for profits, bad
for residents'' air quality and congestion.. Of course, good for
profits means good for the tax rolls, so the city has an interest in
designating high value land use, although restaurants and shops and
hotels give back, not only in taxes but in making life pleasant, so a
hotel on El Camino sounds like a good idea.

But I was thinking. Since the city contributes by permitting the
desirable land use--the people we sold our house to weren't even allowed
to build a loft for the nanny over the garage, although next door is an
apartment building!--wouldn't it be a good idea for the city to buy the
land from the developer, and put up the hotel, and make the lion's share
of the profits, giving the small share of profit to the present owner
instead of the other way around? You could give yourself the state's
density bonus, and put up an extra dozen moderate income units for
single elderly, in fact you could made half the hotel single room
occupancy for elderly seniors, which will pay its own way if you have
small (200--300 square foot) units. Since elderly, almost without
exception, get around $800 a month in Social Security, regular as
clockwork, they also get Medicare, and if SocialSecurity is their only
income, they get MediCal. They could pay $500 a month each without too
much diffculty, especially if you combined with a federally subsidized
senior nutrition program, such as the one at Avenidas or the Mountain
View Senior Center, which charges seniors $3. for "lunch"--actually a
mid-day dinner,--but doesn't charge anything if the senior is unable to
pay. The first floor could, in addition, have a senior day care and
child care, a good combination.

It may never have occurred to you, but the requirements for a single
retired person are strikingly similar to the requirements for a
traveler, even a rich traveler. It needs to be very pleasant, and
nicely appointed, and not confining, but not terrribly large, nor
accommodating the same level of possessions as were in the home, large
or small. A nice sized bedroom and bath,,with a spacious balcony,
filled with flowers and ferns, but no tennis court, trampoline or teeter
totter. For many or most seniors, no car, but good access to public
transportation, restarants and shops.

After a few years, when you find another nice location for the seniors,
where the land value is not so high, perhaps near the bay, convert the
whole shebang into luxury hotel, gourmet restaurant and dining
experience. Incredible as it sounds, hotel rooms in a desirable town
rent for upwards of $200/night. With the profits, you could build extra
low income housing for working people with families to support, such as
hospital workers and building maintenance workers, or you could make
land available for mobile home parks and RVs.

I notice you are planning many offices. It may have escaped your
notice, but the State of California is taking an interest in these
offices, because if there are more jobs than there are homes for the
workers, the workers have to commute a long distance, making much air
pollution and congestion. The homes to which they repair at the end of
the day are in towns with too few industries to support the level of
social services the workers require, especially the schools. and the
State does not want to be left holding the bag, because the famous
Serrano decision demands that the state educate all children equally.
So they are paying attention to city land use and demanding that cities
see to low income housing. You might also consider whether you have
near-in land you could trade for outlying land.

Respectfully yours,
Stephanie Munoz 101 Alma, Palo Alto, 34301 650 941-3589
Received on Tue Feb 24 2015 - 20:48:20 PST

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