A lot left vacant at 389 El Camino Real when a car dealer abandoned Menlo Park will now come to life again as a housing development.
The Menlo Park City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night, July 31, to let Matteson Companies build 17 townhomes and nine single-family homes on the 1.23-acre site.
More importantly, given the city's current struggle to meet the state's affordable housing requirements, three units will be set aside as below-market-rate housing, at no small cost to the developer, who estimated the units will cost $1.45 million out of pocket to build. Matteson will also pay $1.1 million in fees to the city and other agencies.
Years of negotiation led to the project's current design, meant to blend in with the Allied Arts neighborhood bordering the property. Originally, in 2008, Matteson proposed packing 48 homes onto the small lot, a plan that inspired protest from the neighbors.
And now: "I don't know how you could possibly vote against this," Menlo Park resident Preston Butcher said of the scaled-down project. "It's absolutely magnificent."
Indeed, the council could not, voting 5-0 to approve the project after some discussion on the tree canopy and sidewalk widths. Councilman Peter Ohtaki noted that he used to live near the empty lot, and sounded pleased to know the landscape would be changing in the near future.