News

El Camino facelift begins with housing project

Menlo Park council votes 5-0 to let development proceed

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.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm

It seems very odd to continue building homes within vibration distance of the train tracks. Do people think this is a good idea. I know they will sell of course, so to some I suppose that means it is a great idea, but we know houses sell in all kinds of poor places for housing. Why not have some sense and put some non-housing thing there?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lara
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:29 am

Get rid of the BMR program in higher-end developments.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by laura
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

Just what we need....more ugly modern townhomes lining el camino. Who makes these decisions?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Maggie
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

Can you post a picture?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Imani
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:18 am

There is nothing wrong with BMR units in higher end developments. There are people who are working hard at top Silicon Valley companies and would like to live close to their jobs, but simply can't afford the outrageous housing market here. Not to mention, there are regulations which REQUIRE BMR units based on demographics of the city, not just the fact that it's a "higher end development".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Davey-o
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:20 am

WOW! "17 townhomes and nine single-family homes on the 1.23-acre site"

Wish I were still in the shoehorn sales biz!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Why?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

Why can't the lot be used for the commercial serving the neighbourhoods?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by coooper
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

S.O.P. for developers: propose a ludicrous number of homes, then rejoice when council approves 1/2 of them, which was your original target anyway.

Even given the smallish 5K sqft lots in the area, 1.23 acres would only partition out to 11 homes - or 9 sfh's + 8 townhomes (fourplexes) -- and that would be without space for streets or boundary trees. And I suspect these sfh's will be overbuilt compared to neighboring bungalows.

Maybe this is better than a vacant lot, but I hate to have the El Camino main view of Menlo Park be a canyon of overbuilt-ness.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bebeto Smithian
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Yes Bmr only brings poor people and criminals to our community. Bmr lowers our prime property value. We need to protest this non sensical decision


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

> Yes Bmr only brings poor people and criminals to our community.

LOL ... HAHAHHAHAHAHA ... yeah, all those poor people who can afford milllion$+ townhomes and single-family homes in Menlo Park ....

Oh God I can't stop laughing ... thanks for the chuckle ! ;-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

anon. --

Brilliant comment!

It spoke volumes about the true financial demographic of any potential owner/resident.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

What it is is a total disrespect for design and ergonomics to put million dollar housing right on the train tracks, what a bunch of jerk developers we have here ... as if they are not all over.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Bebeto and everyone complaining about this project - it's being built because it's the law. It doesn't attract criminals (well, except maybe for the developers and politicians). Menlo is facing a lawsuit if it keeps ignoring state law. If you don't like the law, get it changed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TARP
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Not to forget that the biggest financial thefts in history were carried out by people in suits with high paying jobs living in multimillion dollar homes. Not near the train tracks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm

so, there's a law that says new housing must go adjacent to the train tracks ??? First I've heard of it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by good times
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I've lived next door to a white trash BMR neighbor who has had a parolee living there (in a multi-million $ neighborhood), so pardon me if I don't buy into any warm fuzzy talk about BMR. And they can afford a multi-million $ home because they're paying 10% of what everyone else paid for the same home with a 0% interest mortgage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

> I've lived next door to a white trash BMR neighbor who has had a parolee living there (in a multi-million $ neighborhood),

Well, it's not really fair of you to make judgements of people like that and think you have mentioned something factual. You do not know how many other white trash neighbors you really have, nor do you know how many other parolees you have living around you, or how many people that live around you that will go on to commit some horrible crime in the future.


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