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Vote Yes on M for Menlo Park!

Vote YES For Balanced Growth

Menlo Park voters face a critical decision about our City’s future. Nothing less than our community’s small town ambiance and village character is at stake. A YES vote on Measure M leads to a balanced mix of shops, services, restaurants, residences, offices, and open space. A NO vote leads to mega-office buildings in the heart of downtown, heavier rush-hour traffic, and more commuters cutting through our neighborhoods.

Thousands of Menlo Park citizens signed the petition to place Measure M on the ballot. It is supported by nine former Mayors, local business owners, and the Sierra Club.

Two massive projects recently submitted to the City revealed unanticipated flaws in the 2012 Specific Plan. They call for:

  • Building huge office complexes that will bring in thousands of out-of-town commuters.
  • Counting private balconies and rooftops as required "Open Space".
These projects serve the interests of developers while leaving us to deal with rush-hour traffic jams and cut-through traffic.

Unfortunately, City Council has been unwilling to fix these flaws.
Measure M closes both loopholes. It limits the amount of office space per project while encouraging other uses. And it makes “Open Space” true open space.
Vote YES on M if you want our downtown to have:
• Revenue-generating restaurants, shops, and hotels.
• More open space for parks, plazas, walkways.
• Safer streets for you and your children.
• Vibrant growth that is environmentally and financially sustainable.

Developers opposing Measure M will spend huge sums to confuse, manipulate and distort the facts. Don’t be fooled. Remember, it’s OUR town, OUR future, and OUR decision.

Measure M supports our community’s vision of a revitalized Downtown and El Camino Real by encouraging balanced growth consistent with the special quality of life that drew us all to Menlo Park.

Vote YES on M

SaveMenlo.org

Stephen M. Schmidt, Former Menlo Park Mayor
Heyward G. Robinson, Ph.D, Former Menlo Park Mayor
Patti Fry, Former Menlo Park Planning Commission Chair
Vincent Bressler, Menlo Park Planning Commissioner
Clark Kepler, President, Hometown Peninsula Independent Business Alliance 

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Menlo Park residents, volunteers and donors - you got this measure on the ballot!   We so appreciate your contribution. 

Donate to help pay for printing, signs and outreach

Volunteer to help get the word out to your neighbors.

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Keep our streets safe and unclogged.  Return back to normal the definition of ground level open space. Keep our small town character and real mixed use.

We are FOR

  • Walkable, livable, community with small offices, local retail and restaurants
  • Real mixed use, like most cities in Europe that have street level retail, 2nd story office and 3rd story housing
  • Development that bring in taxes and revenues to the city – local serving retail, hotel and restaurants.

We are AGAINST unreasonable and excessive development of mega-offices

  • Increased non-resident traffic that means more congestion, more cars through your neighborhoods greater danger to our kids and seniors.
  • Large offices with walls of concrete office buildings and little sense of community turns Menlo Park into Sunnyvale •
  • Squeezes out space for local retail, restaurants and housing
  • Brings in little revenues to the city

Developers get rich while residents pay the price.

  • Politicians and planners are selling off our city block by block.  
  • Developers reap the rewards: large offices = higher profits.
  • Residents take the hit: traffic backups, cut through traffic, danger to pedestrians and bicyclists, air pollution, increased fire/sewage/water services for office buildings
  • Increased traffic endangers hundreds of children that bike/walk. Middle Ave—where an estimated 4,000 cars will exit onto - is a city-designated "safe route to school."

What The Measure Does

  • Enforces the cap on office development - as approved by the public - for the 30 year plan
  • Fairly allocates the office development to no more than 100K per development
  • Changes the definition of open space back to what people expect – ground level PUBLIC open space, not rooftops

What the Measure Does Not Do

  • The Measure does not change the housing allowed under current law.
  • The Measure does not require voter approvals for individual projects

Menlo Park - The Next Sunnyvale?  

The tree-lined suburb of Menlo Park risks becoming the home of mega offices with high commuter office traffic unless the EIR balanced mix of uses is enforced.  El Camino is already gridlocked most of the day.  Imagine thousands of additional cars a day as a result of massive, new office complexes.  Imagine miles of cars backing up to Atherton or from Palo Alto.

Stanford's proposed development and the Greenheart's proposed development combined are about the size of 16 SurveyMonkey buildings (the new office project in Palo Alto at the corner of Alma and Lytton).  

These two developments are in addition to the other developments near El Camino including Stanford shopping center expansion, Stanford medical center expansion, Stanford's proposed 5 story office and theater complex on El Camino in Palo Alto @University;  the multi-story housing complex under construction on the West side of El Camino between Partridge Ave and College Ave; and the Stanford 1.5 million square foot medical complex in Redwood city.  

Top 5 Reasons For The Walkable and Liveable Menlo Park Voter Initiative

1. Traffic will be 15x greater than City originally estimated.

Commuters trying to reach the proposed big offices will further cause congestion on El Camino and roads leading to/from El Camino. 

To get to El Camino from 280, drivers will use Sand Hill Road. With increased traffic, more commuters may cut through residential neighborhoods in Sharon Heights, West Menlo and Allied Arts. 

To get to El Camino from 101, there will be increased traffic to/from 101 via Willow, Ravenswood, and Middlefield.

A recently released traffic study shows that traffic on Middle from the proposed Stanford project, for instance, will be up to 15x greater than originally estimated on Middle from development in that part of the Specific Plan area over its 30 year life.  See Table 1 on Page 2 of the 3/14/14 Memorandum at  http://www.menlopark.org/departments/pln/300-550ecr/transportation/el-camino-real_0500_transportation_consistency-analysis.pdf

2.  Big Offices Crowd Out Real Mixed Use 

During the Specific Plan visioning process, Menlo Park residents asked for reasonable and balanced mix of neighborhood retail, restaurants, tax-generating hotel, housing and office. A balanced mix of uses was studied in the Specific Plan's environmental impact report and financial impact analysis.

The developments proposed on the two largest sites along El Camino included 40-50% more office than was presented to the public, less retail and restaurants.

3.  Providing Public Services To Offices Will Cost Menlo Park Money

Unlike retail and restaurants that add sales tax revenue, offices do not generate sales tax revenues.  The original city plan called for a transient-occupancy-tax generating hotel.  However there is no hotel now proposed by developers. 

One developer, Stanford, has a $19.7 billion endowment, and yet refuses to assure Menlo Park that it will pay property taxes or fees in lieu of property taxes as a nonprofit.  Public services required for the city to support offices  - police, sewage, water - could be subsidized by Menlo Park taxpayers. 

4. Loss of Open Space

Upper level balconies, roof-tops and air space above "parking podiums" should not count as open space.  Menlo Park stands to lose 22,000 square feet + of open space, roughly 1/2 acre, in the Stanford project alone unless the voter initiative is passed.  

5.  Worsens the Housing Deficit

Menlo Park is required by California Law to plan for a balance of housing and jobs. Menlo Park's current unbalanced ratio is 1.9 jobs per unit of housing.   A jobs-housing balance would be 1.5 jobs per unit of housing.  Office buildings, assuming 100 sq feet per employee, results in an unbalanced ratio of 15 jobs per unit of housing.  Together, the two largest sites (Stanford and Greenheart) could help improve the jobs-housing balance. Instead, together they worsen it with a jobs-housing ratio of more than 2.8 jobs per unit of housing. Unless balanced development is enforced, this will increase the necessity of putting more housing than already planned in Menlo Park, straining our already crowded school systems.

6.  Increase in Noise and Air Pollution

The size of each of the proposed Stanford and Greenheart projects is massive - the equivalent of 6 Redwood City Costcos each.  The train noise, which currently dissipates everywhere, will likely bounce back from the massive wall of buildings into the Linfield neighborhood.  

The air pollution from the increase in traffic will result in poorer health and quality of life for residents.   

What is SaveMenlo?

We're a group of people who live here in Menlo Park.  Many of us have children who ride or walk to school.  Others are long-timers with kids grown up.  

We want reasonable, balanced development that will protect the high quality of life and safety for children and families in Menlo Park.

Contact:

SaveMenlo Spokesman Mike Lanza

Resident on Yale Road, Menlo Park

mike@lanza.net

415-641-1985

or Initiative Proponent Patti Fry

Resident on Wallea Drive, Menlo Park

menlopatti@gmail.com

 

Latest Updates

Aug 26, 2014

SaveMenlo Rebuttal: The Facts

Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure M  Vote YES to preserve Menlo Park’s small town charm and character. Measure M gives voters a choice about future development.  Opponents support massive office developments in downtown. We don’t. We support balanced growth. Measure...

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