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Menlo Park El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan Proposed Meetings

From: Gary Eggers <garygrin_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2010 07:14:53 -0800

Dear Planning Commission Members,  

I wanted to respond to a few of your comments from the past meeting. All had very good thoughts for consideration on how to best make use of these meetings to include public input. There is only one point I disagreed with, and that I state at the end of my email.  

I am pleased that Kirsten and Katie voiced that they felt it was considered in the commission and the public's best interest to have the review process after the draft EIR and Fiscal Analysis are released and reviewed, most likely at the beginning of 2011 due given these are lengthy documents and there are usually many individual and family commitments in December.  

I think that the categories used in the past meetings (e.g., connectivity) may be a good springboard for obtaining input from the public, and to include as I heard Katie suggest, the effects of the plan not only on public but private use properties/areas.  

What considerations should there be when planning and making recommendations when the economy is a major factor that has affected public and private sectors as it has? As John and others have suggested, we should ID key issues that face MP (and many other towns). Is it vibrancy, connectivity issues that are the major issues to focus on . or should we first focus on vacant buildings, loss of businesses, mitigate negative effects of Stanford's building plans?  

The 3 downtown meetings that were the basis for the Specific Plan development never did identify pros and cons of proposals. For example, there was a suggestion for passes under El Camino. This was brushed off as too expensive to consider. How could anyone assume that at that early point? No data was given to the public to show what was too expensive. We know that traffic and connectivity issues are going to increasingly challenge MP planners and Stanford has a large role to play in creating these issues. Why can't we have at least basic concrete data presented and a review of the pros and cons in the future before a proposal is deleted from the slate for consideration? As a business operator, you lay out proposals you believe will help you reach a goal. You evaluate concrete information of all proposals to same standards before a decision is reached.  

One decision late in the discussions can affect previously made decisions. As pointed out by in the meeting document presented to the public and reinforced by Vince, there can be unintended consequences to elements of the plan when one decision is made and not reviewed in light of its consequences with other parts of the plan that have already been approved. For that reason, when a plan change is made, there should be time, perhaps one more meeting if needed, or a time out, to ensure all consequences of decision making have been reviewed and all are acceptable.  

I think Perkins and Will consultants gave MP their best shot in the past. I don't want them to drive the discussion processes anymore. I think the people of MP in conjunction with the elected officials should take ownership.  

I don't like to say things in a vacuum and my comments may seem "one sided" now until there is a chance for interactive conversation with others. Thank you for championing further input in a group setting in a constructive way.  

Again, thank you for your time and effort.  

Jo Eggers

695 Oak Grove Ave #300

Menlo Park, CA 94025

650.279.1605 (cell)   Received on Tue Nov 09 2010 - 07:18:45 PST

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