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A View From Ground Zero of the Proposed Stanford ECR Development

From: domainremoved <Elizabeth>
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2013 16:09:08 -0800

Dear City Council,

I knew this day would come.

I attended three 'community workshops' on the Specific Plan where
resident's voices were drowned out by Developers, Stanford, Downtown
Business Owners, and over-zealous Consultants. I spoke before the Planning
Commission and the City Council prior to the Specific Plan being passed,
begging you to keep it to three stories at the old car dealerships. The
bottom line is that I would not be writing this letter if this were a
reasonable project or if this were a hotel and senior housing as promised
by Stanford, or decent retail and housing to drive tax revenue, or 3
stories. This project is too big, too ugly, too out of line with the
current retail, restaurants, and neighborhood buildings adjacent to it, not
to mention the in complete opposition of the General Plan.

Plain and simple, it's a square footage grab of Menlo Park by Stanford, who
had the power to build on these properties for years and chose not to until
masterfully dictating the terms of the Specific Plan to their benefit. Like
they are doing with their 1.5M sq/ft development in Redwood City next to
their offices on Broadway.

As designed, it sends the majority of exit traffic onto Middle Avenue. My
neighbors from College, Partridge, Cambridge, Harvard to Creek are also
concerned with increased and cut-through traffic. Calming efforts on those
streets will make life worse for me. We've already seen the difficult
Safeway exits onto Middle, what will happen when you add this project to
that mess? We've seen on ECR in both Palo Alto and Redwood City that three
lanes get gridlocked as easily as two.

There has been a marked increase in traffic in the last 6 months. There are
impacts of more traffic, worse air quality in my house and yard, the noise
from blasting horns and radios. I shutter what to think what it will be
like when this and the other Stanford projects are fully populated. At
least a year of construction noise, dust, and increased gridlock on
residential streets. I have lived in my home for 18 years - I grew up in
unincorporated Menlo Park decades before that. I seen bubbles and bursts, I
have seen Stanford grow for better or worse and if this project goes
forward as is I would simply have to move. The financial impacts would be
severe to me, but not as severe as this project would be to my quiet
enjoyment of my home.

The Specific Plan EIR is woefully inadequate to address these current
impacts and needs to be redone. Not the least of these impacts are
combining 6 parcels into 1 massive development, allowing more square
footage and removing side set backs than individual parcels. The 'whole is
greater than the sum.' A 30 year plan eaten up with one project in one
area. In addition, a majority of Allied Arts mitigation efforts would
result in a worsening of the situation for me and my neighbors on Middle,
which has not been studied. I urge you to scale-back this bloated, car-trip
generating, 5 story - 5 building office complex that does not exist
anywhere else on El Camino on the peninsula.

Please use your authority to stop Specific Plan development until a new EIR
and traffic studies can be done. This is not the low-traffic generating
Senior Housing we were promised. Disallow medical offices in favor of
revenue generating, smart growth housing and mixed use more in keeping with
the general plan, our idea of community, sustainability and long term

Thank you,

Elizabeth Houck
Middle Avenue
Menlo Park
Received on Sun Jan 27 2013 - 16:09:51 PST

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