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Please Vote No on Measure T -- a reply to letter posted by KellyFergusson.

From: Morris Brown <mbrown5_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 06:49:57 -0700

To: City council and residents of Menlo Park:

I am responding to the letter from Kelly Fergusson titled Mayor’s urge Yes on T, and posted to this e-mail log.

I have supported Kelly on many issues in the past, but certainly not on the Menlo Gateway / Bohannon Towers project, Measure T on the ballot next Tuesday.

It should be first noted, that signer Former Mayor Chuck Kinney, is an acknowledged PAID employee for the development, having organized and attended to the Sustainable Menlo Park forums, which were sponsored by the Bohannon organization.

Kelly’s position on this project has flipped completely from what she indicated in the meetings leading up to the approval of the project.

Kelly raves about the one time impact fees the project will generate. Impact fees are just that – they are monies the developer must pay to offset impacts this project will cause. They are not monies that will result in the City and citizens having a better condition or quality of life, but rather these funds will supposedly neutralize the damages that will be inflicted on agencies such as our schools, fire district etc. The net result is supposed to be neutral, zero.

Please note, Peter Carpenter, a former member of the Fire District Board is against Measure T.

Please note, all the talk about 1.65 million in revenue to the City, can only occur after the project has been built and occupied, and that granting a 20 year development agreement, completely ties the City’s hands for that period on other development of those parcels. The project by Bohannon’s own admission will not be built for many years, because of financial conditions which are affecting the economy.

But even more to the point, there is no guarantee of the 1.65 million. Indeed the only guarantee is for $225,000. The 1.65 million is simply numbers on a page, a projection of possible revenue.

I appreciate that Kelly says only $600,000 net will go to the local schools, not the 1.8 millions that all the Bohannon myriad of mailers and ads keep broadcasting. Kelly recognized that 1 million of revenue will not end up here, but rather be taken away by the State.

In point of fact, the Development Agreement (DA) has a clause, which states other developments in the area may not occur if impacts from those might impact Bohannon’s project. So indeed her statement that “nothing in the (DA) prevents other owners in the area from developing their properties” is false.

Kelly’s statement that traffic impacts have been grossly exaggerated is false. The traffic impacts could not be mitigated to an acceptable level. Therefore Council had to pass a finding of “overriding considerations” to get the project past CEQA requirements. Mayor Cline, who supports the project, states the issue clearly

“101 / Marsh road will be a Gwad awful
mess”. Come on Kelly, don’t be writing nonsense.

Thank you Mayor Cline for stating the problem truthfully.

In fact approval on a 4:3 vote by the planning commission was accompanied with many issues they wanted resolved. One major issue was the traffic impacts and they wanted a 50% reduction. Final agreement is a 17% reduction, which in reality is only a 7% reduction, as our planning staff did further analysis and used different math to estimate the total traffic.

Kelly, where in the world is the needed housing, estimated at 1800 units regionally, going to go? Bohannon refused to even identify where housing might be located. This refusal has led Planning Commissioner Henry Riggs to not endorse the project.

Kelly writes that this project is “appropriately sized for its area”. If 140 foot high towers and 1.6 million square feet of buildings on 16 acres is an appropriately sized project for Menlo Park, then Kelly seeks to transform Menlo Park into another Sunnyvale or Redwood City. For comparison, the Sun Micro Campus (now Oracle), is about 1 million square feet of buildings on 57 acres of land.

Quite simply the project is TOO BIG. It is WAY TOO BIG.

Kelly ends her letter with a grand
endorsement. Kelly during the meetings on the project expressed deep reservations. She has completely flipped on the project.

She so many times from the dais,
stated, “Upzoning is the currency of the City”. “If the City is going to up zone we need public benefits in return.” Well it is hard to imagine a bigger upzoning than what this project has obtained, yet what was the public benefit?

Belle Haven / Bayfront Park get a one time payment of 1 million.

Kelly changed her position on the project, when she, behind closed doors, without fellow councilperson Cohen, who was on the sub-committee with her and should have been included in all negotiations, Kelly got a one time payment of $500,000 to do further landscaping. This landscaping which will make the Bohannon project supposedly more attractive, is on City
property. What a deal! What an extraction, Kelly!

An example of how poorly the City fared in negotiations. The financial advisor when asked about obtaining public benefit mentioned the developer could be asked to re-appraise the properties from their low present evaluation, as they are now protected by Proposition 13. I was told by a member of the negotiating team, that indeed Bohannon was requested to agree to this condition, but he said no.

Saying no to almost all the City’s requests was the name of the day in the negotiations, and the City just caved in and submitted to almost all of the developer’s conditions. Again, a very bad deal for the City. The council could have and should have rejected the project as presented. They chose instead to approve.

I could go on and on, but enough now said to hopefully counter Kelly’s last minute appeal.

Fellow residents, this project represents a tipping point in the history of Menlo Park. If we approve this project, we are stepping completely away from wanting to preserve Menlo Park as a City with a small town atmosphere and moving into a developer driven era, where more and more high density projects will prevail, bringing traffic impacts, school impacts, housing impacts, the whole works!

As a forty year resident, this is not my vision of where I want Menlo Park’s future to lie.

Join in Voting No on Measure T next
Tuesday. It’s a bad deal, a very bad deal for Menlo Park.



Morris Brown
Stone Pine Lane
A member of “Measured Growth for Menlo Park.”


Received on Sun Oct 31 2010 - 06:51:51 PDT

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