News

Facebook expansion probably won't displace East Palo Alto residents, study shows

Consultant expects 'minimal impact' on housing

A consultant's study of whether Facebook's hiring expansion will push East Palo Alto residents from their homes came to the common sense conclusion that it simply depends on how many employees decide to live in East Palo Alto.

The city of East Palo Alto sent a letter to Menlo Park in May expressing concern that Facebook's hires, attracted by the relatively lower housing prices, would want to live in East Palo Alto, leaving low-income residents -- an estimated 79 percent of the city's population -- struggling to afford new homes elsewhere.

The environmental impact report for Facebook's campus development did not examine this scenario since it's a matter of socioeconomics, not physical environmental change.

So an additional analysis, conducted by Keyser Marston Associates, came out Dec. 21. The report stated: "Impacts will be minimal if a very limited number of workers seek housing in East Palo Alto; conversely, if East Palo Alto is viewed as an attractive option by a large share of Facebook's workforce, impacts would be greater."

Right now, despite East Palo Alto's relative affordability and proximity, the largest number of Facebook employees -- 26 percent -- live in San Francisco, compared with 0.2 percent in East Palo Alto, according to the report. Free bus and shuttle service helps ease the pain of the commute.

Nevertheless, Keyser Marston Associates assumed that 3 to 5 percent of future Facebook workers may choose to live in East Palo Alto. The expected net gain of 5,800 new hires by 2018 then leaves 100 to 160 homes needed in East Palo Alto, or 16 to 26 additional units a year -- a maximum of about 2 percent of the city's total housing.

"These percentages suggest a minimal to very minor impact," the report concluded.

With such a low percentage of employees expected to live there, Facebook hires aren't projected to influence rental costs or the overcrowding that the report stated already exists in East Palo Alto. Also factoring into the analysis is the construction of new housing, such as the planned 835-unit Ravenswood/Four Corners development in East Palo Alto, that could absorb some of the demand if the timing is right.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by IPO-Money-Builds-Homes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

> Nevertheless, Keyser Marston Associates assumed that 3 to 5 percent
> of future Facebook workers may choose to live in East Palo Alto.
> The expected net gain of 5,800 new hires by 2018 then leaves
> 100 to 160 homes needed in East Palo Alto, or 16 to 26 additional
> units a year -- a maximum of about 2 percent of the city's total housing.

That is one possibility. Another is that property developers, will, over time, buy up properties that become “distressed”, or are in need of redevelopment, and replace the homes/buildings on those properties with million dollar homes. This “gentrification” will ultimately have an effect on the current population.

Facebook IPO money might well be the source of funds that rebuilds East Palo Alto, helping it to enjoy the prosperity of the Silicon Valley, rather than being an place to avoid, or fear.


Like this comment
Posted by Orwell
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 4, 2012 at 9:09 am

Facebook is so 2008. It'll go the way of Myspace. Those expansion numbers are delusional. I'll never Fbook. Big Brother. Glad they are out of Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 4, 2012 at 9:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The law requires that such studies evaluate the PROBABLE impact of a proposed project. Instead Facebook has paid good money for a consultant to simply speculate on the the range of impacts that this project might have. Hopefully, but unlikely, the City of Menlo Park, as the so-called Lead Agency, and the City of East Palo Alto will reject this worthless speculation.

Note that the City of East Palo Alto is now considering a lawsuit on this matter.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:11 am

East Palo Alto should be more tolerant and embrace the many opportunities this could provide their community. In the big scheme I do not see a down side. What is the problem with a community wishing to progress and become more attractive as a real estate market. For the few that might fall short in terms of affordability, a multitude of East Palo Alto home owners undoubtedly would benefit in seeing their property values increase. This is exactly the type of change that East Palo Alto needs to continue to progress and remake their reputation. I hope our bayside neighbors encourage and welcome this new found interest in their community.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The problem is that the City of Menlo Park, as the so-called Lead Agency, is ignoring the impacts of this project on any other community, the school districts and the fire district and is only requiring mitigation for impacts on Menlo Park. This is both unfair and illegal.


Like this comment
Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

Martial is a landlord in East Palo Alto so of course they are seeing dollar signs since Facebook moved from their city and is now so close to where they have an only economic interest.


Like this comment
Posted by EPA born&raised
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

It has nothing to do with being more tolerant and embracing change. While most residents seek a more positive atmosphere in East Palo Alto, we also don't want to see the continuous push of "good" people forced out because the housing market value has pushed them beyond their financial means. You want to see the community and it's people thrive as a whole? Then put in business that support community growth and invest in the youth. Give the youth after school programs and safe places to play, develop and learn. Then talk to us about embracing change and becoming more tolerant.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"support community growth and invest in the youth. Give the youth after school programs and safe places to play, develop and learn."

These are precisely the kinds of project mitigations that the City of Menlo park should require of Facebook to mitigate its impact on the City of East Palo Alto - if Menlo Park wasn't being so selfish and shortsighted.


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Posted by Marc
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

I think that this needs to be taken in context with the recent acquisition of 1,800 housing units by Equity/Sam Zell (see Web Link). Does anyone not think that the plan there is to market those units to Facebook employees and similar affluent buyers, leaving an incredible shortage of housing that people currently in the community can afford? From the outside it looks like an upgrade but the impact on those in the community is chillingly devastating: They have nowhere to live.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

I realize that at times progress can hurt a bit and be difficult to cope with. However, in the long term, it is precisely what a community like East Palo Alto needs. For every good person who is displaced, there will be many other good people who will benefit from this opportunity. If you're fortunate, a few of the undesirable people will also be moved out. This economic development and viability could go a long way in impacting the disproportionate number of gang members and drug dealers that exist in East Palo Alto today. It has been shown time and time again that gentrification is the key to revitalize otherwise neglected, struggling communities. Everyone must consider the greater good.

As for the notion that simply providing after-school programs and safe play areas are somehow the keys to success, I would say that with gentrification those things would become a byproduct of progress and development. The primary responsibility of developing and nurturing young people should be done by parents and families. There should not be this default expectation that society or businesses should be the ones having to make this investment.

I see this opportunity as another step in the right direction for East Palo Alto and our region as a whole. With East Palo Alto's prime location on the peninsula, bayside fronts, and close proximity to East Palo Alto and Stanford, it was only a matter of time before people want to develop this community to its fullest potential. Very exciting to envision the possibilities.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"with gentrification those things would become a byproduct of progress and development. "

Of course, but with gentrification the people who benefit from these things will be the gentry and not the current residents of East Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Thank you, Marc and Peter
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

Your kind, insightful, wise and thoughtful words are appreciated.

Many people are speculating on the potential Facebook-Zell relationship or even if there is one.

Zell is in for a fight if they try to displace. Perhaps they'll wait things out and flip. It's not like they're honest or forthcoming to the City, or by going by their other investments.

Marrol - this story isn't about the people of East Palo Alto and your opinion on their assumed failings. This story is about the very real failings by Menlo Park with their EIR and poor follow up. Please stay on topic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From: Peter Carpenter
Date: December 14, 2011 2:04:44 PM PST
To: A variety of local leaders and newspapers
Subject: Draft EIR for Facebook project - Sole Agency vs Lead Agency



The way that the City of Menlo Park has treated its responsibility as the Lead Agency for this project is that the City of Menlo Park has instead become the Sole Agency for this product and therefore the only beneficiary will be Menlo Park.

This project should move ahead and do so promptly. Unfortunately, because the city is blatantly ignoring the impacts of this project on other entities, this process will be delayed rather than accelerated. The EIR is supposed to be an independent analysis of the impacts of this project by an outside expert yet the city has provided detailed and on-going guidance to the contractor as to what to include and what not to include - leading to such crazy statements as "The City of East Palo Alto also raised an issue relating to the potential displacement of East Palo Alto residents. For reasons discussed below, this issue is not evaluated further in the Draft EIR because possible displacement of residents would not result in a significant physical impact on the environment." The initial "independent" analysis looked at the per capita impacts of the additional employees and, since that would have logically lead to having to consider the impacts on other agencies, the city direct the 'independent' contractor to remove that analysis for the draft EIR. EIR's seldom fail on substantive grounds but almost always fail on process grounds - the 'independent' analysis which fails, at the city's direction, to acknowledge the impacts on other agencies will doom this EIR to failure.

Just as it did with the Gateway Project the city is intentionally ignoring the impacts of this project on East Palo Alto, Atherton, the school districts and the Fire District. In the Gateway process the city actually said to the other entities that there is only so much money we can get out of the developer and we are taking all of it - including a last minute demand by Fergusson for $50k of landscape additions.


The result of this unprincipled behavior by the city would be to place an involuntary tax on the citizens of all the other effected entities in the form of a reduction in service levels as the resources of those agencies, unmitigated by Facebook, are diverted to serve the impacts of this project.


Hopefully someone from Facebook is reading this Forum and realizes that it is Facebook that will suffer from the legal delays that will occur if the city continues in its Sole Agency mode rather than being a responsible Lead Agency.


Benjamin Franklin said "You may delay, but time will be lost and lost time is never found again."


Like this comment
Posted by Educate me
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

Someone please educate me on why some gentrification of EPA would be a bad thing.

It is not currently a thriving place for artists, etc... and continues to have crime problems. An influx of productive citizens, businesses, and additional tax dollars would be a good thing for the city overall, right? The additional revenue could be used to reinvest and help reinvigorate EPA.

Yes, there would be some that would be affected (nothing is for free), but the overall benefits seem to outweigh the costs.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I tend to agree with Marrol that this can only lead to the improvement of EPA as a community.

Facebook itself requires janitors, cleaners, gardeners and other positions which EPA residents can fill as well as any facebook residents who move into housing in the locale will also perhaps require.

Coffee shops, dry cleaners, hair and nails, sandwich shops etc. can also serve facebook.

Rather than looking on the negative aspects, perhaps this can really be used by EPA as an advantage in providing services to meet the needs of the employees who might wish to frequent the neighborhood. If EPA can do its part in working on crime, drugs and gangs, then at long last it might become the community the majority of its residents want and can be proud of.


Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Curious that the Palo Alto Online article only talks about housing. The Mercury-News says that East Palo Alto is studying impacts on both traffic and housing. The majority of their article talks about traffic issues. Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by OK Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

East Palo Alto should be so lucky, but high tech workers are far more interested in living where the schools are good!!! Yes, the young singles love the excitement of San Francisco and are willing to commute.

East PA is surrounded by high tech companies, I don't see many GOOGLERS Linkedin, McAfee or Orecle employees clamoring to live in East Palo Alto, do you? Facebook employees are far too hip to live in East Palo Alto!!!

If Menlo Park and East PA complain too much about having Facebook as a neighbor like Palo Alto did, Facebook will move again to a more welcoming community. Mark Zuckerberg has already been quoted as saying he wished he'd started his company back east in Boston.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Having been a lifelong resident of this area, I (too) am struggling with the push-back here. For decades the financial issues for EPA have been tied to: no sales and/or property tax base, no business development, no real estate development, no retail, no banks, no commons services, no Safeway, etc.

While I understand the concerns about the long-term effects on housing costs in EPA, I find it very surprising that anyone would expect that housing (or business rent/mortgage) costs would stay static if they are hoping/expecting economic improvement via businesses coming to EMP or EPA. This is a natural evolution of the process.

To expect any new tenant (FB) to pay for all of the mitigation costs - to artificially suppress real estate market rates - is absurd. This sounds more like a San Francisco City Council edict more than anything else.

If the EPA planning department sees the possibility of increased costs or the need for an expansion of personnel or services to serve it's residents, there are plenty of ways to solve that problem (a good problem to have!!!). For example, the City of Palo Alto charges homeowners and commercial real estate owners all sorts of "impact" fees, depending upon the size of the project (remodel or new). There's no reason why EPA can't do the same.

Further, EPA can take another page out of the CPA play book and charge additional fees to developers of large projects. Look at how CPA has blackmailed, err...negotiated, Stanford in exchange for approval of Stanford's various expansion projects over the years.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

typo: "it's" should be "its"...


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

The number of wrong-headed comments here tells me that the slant of this article is wrong, which is common w/this publication. curious is correct about the lack of traffic talk here, which is one of the real bugaboos. FB's red herring consultants are misleading readers w/the focus on displacement/not displacement. If it does occur, it won't be immediately. The impact on traffic, emergency services & quality of life are of real concern right now. That isn't to say that FB being in Menlo is a bad thing - it means that the downsides that go w/the upsides need to be honestly & thoroughly discussed & addressed. We're not seeing that from Menlo, which is a shameful. That is why EPA officials are having to babysit Menlo about this.

It's funny - Menlo held our feet to the fire re University Circle, but when we question an EIR & a silly consultants report, all of a sudden, the focus is on gentrification & what EPA does that nonresidents don't like. Please focus, folks & don't be misled. No matter who much you may not like EPA residents or their choices, lifestyles, problems or values (of course, much of your opinions are based on generalities & assumptions), the issue is Menlo's lame-o EIR & how it needs to be responsibly addressed.


Like this comment
Posted by Obvious
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm

EPA is cheap because it has high crime and poor schools. Those two problems won't be fixed until the City has more money from a higher tax base, which won't happen until real estate values go up, which will only happen if, by some miracle, a large employer of highly paid workers decides to locate in EPA. The miracle has happened: Facebook. Most towns would do almost anything to have a company like Facebook move in and have their middle class employees live there. What does EPA do? Consider suing Facebook because their highly paid employees might decide to live there.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" For example, the City of Palo Alto charges homeowners and commercial real estate owners all sorts of "impact" fees, depending upon the size of the project (remodel or new). There's no reason why EPA can't do the same."

Only Menlo Park can impose such fees on this project; that is why it is vital that the project's impact on EPA and others be properly mitigated.

Menlo Park needs to truly be the Lead Agency and not the Sole Agency in approving this project.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Since FB is now in MENLO, not EPA, EPA has to take precautions against the negative impacts and of course leverage to the best of its ability the positive impacts- & those positive impacts aren't going to be as great as those for Menlo, obviously. EPA has also learned the hard way how to take these precautions.

The negative effects of FB being in east Menlo will be felt every day by many, many people, residents of this part of the peninsula & others. It's silly to assume that Menlo has anyone else's interests at heart & can be trusted to do right. They have to be babysat because they've already shown that they don't care.

This isn't a large employer moving in w/promises to hire a high number of EPA or east MP residents. And if they did, it doesn't mean that their existence here is all good. It simply means all issues have to be adequately addressed & dealt with. Sheesh, it's not rocket surgery - this is basic stuff.


Like this comment
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

The problems and issues that East Palo Alto has faced for decades, as well as the Bellhaven area of Menlo Park, did not occur overnight, nor will it be solved overnight. Despite the naysayers, this does however represent another step toward these communities becoming more viable, stable, a destination point for workers, shoppers, and yes, new residents.

Change is inevitable. The good citizens of East Palo Alto and Bellhaven should embrace these changes and consider the long term positives. Again, it was only a matter of time before these prime real estate locations would be developed to their full potential. Over time, the positive development and upgrade of these communities will undoubtedly lead to a lower crime rate, reduction in the disproportionate level of gangs, drug dealing, and street violence, as well as improved schools and services. It only makes sense.


Like this comment
Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm

As others here have said - East Palo Alto problems aren't the subject here. The subject is Facebook and the impending issues its impact has on the area. Addressing those issues is crucial right now. Carpenter's posts are appreciated because he keeps repeating the truth over and over. Please pay attention to that.


Like this comment
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm

This is very much an article about the potential problems that East Palo Alto might face with a Facebook expansion and its impact on the surrounding community. The collective problems in East Palo Alto cannot be ignored. No need to keep the discussion so narrow here. That way of thinking is limited, intolerant, and lacks vision. I, along with several other people on this forum are simply pointing out that this development could be a very positive step in impacting many other problems that East Palo Altans face, and have faced for decades. To discourage a game changing development would be a huge mistake. I sincerely hope that the city leaders in East Palo Alto embrace these changes and consider the greater, long term good.


Like this comment
Posted by Good-Idea
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

While i don't do Facebook or any of that stuff, the idea of reviving and developing East Palo Alto appeals to me very much.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Tammie
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Facebook wont last....so it wont have any impact on epa. Besides those yuppy wannabe facetwitters wont want to live in epa.....shots fired everyday, its a war zone.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Short-sighted Tammie, and with that mentality the community of East Palo Alto will never overcome the problems it faces. I also disagree. It is not entirely a "war zone" by any stretch, and does possess limitless potential. To be so intolerant and judgmental of a certain demographic of people is counter productive. The citizens of East Palo Alto should embrace these changes and eventually, over time, I see it becoming a stable and viable community. Developments like these create these positive changes.

Based on its location alone underscores my argument. East Palo Alto and the Bellhaven district of Menlo Park could be transformed into a prime real estate market. Makes perfect sense with its bayside front and close proximity to desirable communities such as Palo Alto and Stanford. Again, it's only a matter of time. Everyone should look forward to the change.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The issue is not wether the Facebook expansion project should occur but rather how Facebook should be required to mitigate the impacts of that project - both within Menlo Park and with regard to all of the other impacted entities including East Palo Alto, Atherton, the Fire District and the school districts.


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Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm

This wont force crime out of the city it will actually attract more crime. Seems to me like the drug dealers and gangsters have more money than regular honest working epa residents (so the criminals wont leave their turf) and guess who buys most of the drugs (hint:not the poor/middle class epa residents).

Also a lot of older (on fixed income) lifelong epa residents will be forced out due to rent increases. Once you force the elders out, the community will get more cut throat. Sure it is great for the few epa home owners (who might see a increase in property value)drug dealers and FB employees but it sucks for average middle class (slowly becoming lower class) residents who can barely afford to live there now.

Will FB be forced to hire at least 20% staff from epa like they made Ikea?


Like this comment
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Gentrification and development of a crime ridden city or neighborhood is one of the single most effective tools in dealing with these difficult situations. Change won't occur overnight, but over time, East Palo Alto could most definitely be transformed into a more stable and desirable community. As it currently stands, East Palo Alto and the Bellhaven district is already home to a disproportionate number of gangs, drug dealing, and street violence. Law enforcement efforts can only go so far, and maintaining the status quo is entirely unacceptable, especially for the law-abiding, good people of East Palo Alto. A shift in direction and philosophy must be made.

One of the sad truths about these vital changes is that a certain number of people could very well be priced out of the area due to increases in the real estate market. There is always a price to pay when making progress, but a price in the end that will be well worth paying. It's all about the greater good and taking advantage of an opportunity that will help revitalize a community. I join most people in looking forward to an East Palo Alto with a more vital economy, safer streets, better schools, and a full compliment of local services.


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2012 at 6:26 am

@ Marrol

Price to pay? Your comments further solidify the hate between different economic classes in the usa. Its easy to tell people to sacrifice but imagine yourself in their middle class/lower class shoes. The economy is bad. Unemployment is the highest its been in years. The rich keep getting richer. The middle class is becoming the lower class and the lower class is falling off the map or living in rvs and vans. Now another big business is coming in to push the little people around. EPA is one of the few cities left on the peninsula where rent is somewhat affordable. Above in the article they said "an estimated 79 percent of the city's population" are low-income residents.

So basically you are willing to sacrifice 79% of the cities population to maybe boost the 21%?
Do you know a majority of the 21% dont need any help?
Do you know a majority of the 79% are hard working honest people like myself?
Do you know that the drug dealers are the richest people in the city?

Will FB provide jobs for EPA/East Menlo Park residents?

its like the late 90's early 2000 all over again.

And you downplay how important after school programs are to kids but you want parents to work full time. This is not the old days where only one parent can work and the other can stay home and watch the kids. Both parents have to work just to survive and if you work 9-5 kids usually get out at 2:30 or 3. Those extra 2-3 hours can mean the difference between a kid surviving or slipping through the cracks.

I wish you could walk a day in my single parent (i have full custody), honest, full time working, college educated but barely living above the poverty line shoes instead of trying to force me out of the city I grew up in so FB employees can have it easier.


Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2012 at 7:47 am

Traffic improvements need to be done, as for the others this will happen in time. EPA needs more retail which I can see Facebook workers adding to this problem. Schools, will Facebook be like Google and the others that donate time and money. As for impacts over other cities, look at Palo Alto and EPA, Mtn View and Los Alto, and Cupertino and Santa Clara. I hope Menlo Park and EPC come to some sort of understanding


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:11 am

So if we distill this down to the highest concern - traffic. Getting past lead agency vs. no leadership ... it sounds like what people want is that Menlo Park makes sure that the traffic impact is correctly managed for not just MP but for the surrounding areas as well. As another poster pointed out - turn about is fair play as MP played hardball with EPA when the Whiskey Gulch project came up.

MP can do this by placing impact fees on new development or major redevelopment. This should apply to any business on the east side not just FB.

However - MP can't penalize FB for moving into an existing facility if they use the facility at its originally planned capacity. That's changing the rules or moving the goal line in the middle of the game.

Asking MP to fund social programs in other communities does not compute. I'm sorry, but that is a money grab. Fix the roads, push transit options, etc - that makes sense. Demanding that MP funds an EPA after school program has no relationship to the new business and real estate activity.

Now, if I'm sitting in the EPA planners office --- I'm trying to come up with a plan to develop a property next to the Bayfront Expressway (and very close to FB) --- with a super Safeway as the major client...


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

The big problems is that crime, drug and gang infested neighborhoods tend to be low income neighborhoods. It is a chicken and an egg situation. Where you have one, you tend to have the other. Improving the neighborhood will lessen the attraction for the gangs to remain which will improve the neighborhood even more. If this happens and rents increase then it is likely that the neighborhood will improve overall. For those who can't afford the increase in rent, they will have to adjust their lifestyle by spending less on alcohol and cigarettes to compensate.

There are many ways to look at this. Low income people manage to find enough money to drink, smoke and buy lottery tickets. It all comes down to priorities.


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

"Low income people manage to find enough money to drink, smoke and buy lottery tickets. It all comes down to priorities."

What?

I (and a lot of other residents like me) can barely afford to keep gas in my car to allow me to go to work and take my kid to school everyday. You guys and your stereotypes of low income people kill me.

"For those who can't afford the increase in rent, they will have to adjust their lifestyle by spending less on alcohol and cigarettes to compensate."

I (and other people like me) cant afford a increase in rent due to the fact that our WAGES HAVEN'T INCREASED IN YEARS. Your thought process is insane. I had to move from mountain view back to EPA due to google running up the rent. My 1bdr Apt in MV went from 950/month to 1150/month in a year. Rent goes up, price of gas increases, price of food increases, health care is steadily increasing etc but the wages stay the same.

You say stop buying luxury items and adjust?

Luxury is me taking my kid to see a movie, luxury is being able to give my son something for his birthday, luxury is being able to turn the heater on to keep the house warm instead of wearing sweats and jackets to bed. Some of you people need to turn off the tv and get a reality check.


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Posted by Lucy
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

I agree with Resident, but sadly EPA's culture is not going to change...


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"MP can't penalize FB for moving into an existing facility if they use the facility at its originally planned capacity.

Facebook has already moved into the former Sun facility at Sun's original capacity. The expansion project in question would add another 6-7000 workers which is a 25% increase in the total number of employees of all employers in Menlo Park - not trivial.


Like this comment
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

Again Ironic, the current and long standing overall condition of East Palo Alto should not be allowed to continue status quo. And for your information, I do not have to imagine being in lower class shoes as you put it. Where I'm from, I was fortunate to have shoes at all. I also believe that I know a few things about achieving stability from more than humble beginnings.

The introduction of new business and commerce that you so vilify is precisely what a community like East Palo Alto needs to break itself from the grip of a disproportionate level of gangs, drug dealing, and street violence. You yourself claim that drug dealers are the wealthiest people in East Palo Alto. If that's the case, there is even more urgency to change the environment so these criminals can be pushed out. Again, the status quo cannot be allowed to continue. As one person commented in an earlier post, these criminal conditions tend to thrive in low income areas. The best way to achieve long term solutions is to change or significantly improve that condition.

This business opportunity is a game changer that could mark a beginning to a new East Palo Alto. This type of development is exactly what leads to renewal and gentrification of a promising area. True, some may have to relocate, but not everyone can afford to live on the peninsula. We all have our limitations and must make adjustments. For as many people that are adversely affected, and let's hope that a large percentage of those are the criminals already infesting the city, please consider the many other East Palo Alto residents who own homes that will undoubtedly benefit from the increased property values. Think about the transformation of a once crime ridden community that now becomes an attractive real estate market for young professionals and families. An easy bet considering their bayside front and proximity to established, desirable communities such as Palo Alto, Stanford, and Menlo Park. As gentrification occurs, significant improvements will follow. There will be better schools, parks, and a full compliment of local services.

No reason that East Palo Alto should not develop, progress, and thrive. It can join the ranks of its neighboring cities as a stable, desirable community. The only way this will fail to occur is if people continue to be short-sighted and maintain the status quo.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

Face it Mr Carpenter, reality is encroaching on Atherton. It's time to move to Carmel.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This business opportunity is a game changer that could mark a beginning to a new East Palo Alto. "

This project SHOULD proceed as proposed but ALL of the impacts of this project should be required to be mitigated.


The law requires the City of Menlo Park, which is the Lead Agency for the approval of this proposed expansion, to identify ALL of the probable impacts of this project and to require Facebook to mitigate those impacts whenever possible. The City of Menlo Park is ignoring its Lead Agency responsibilities by turning a blind eye to the impacts of this expansion project on adjacent cities, school districts and the Fire District - just as it did with its approval of the Gateway Project.


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Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:50 am

"For as many people that are adversely affected, and let's hope that a large percentage of those are the criminals"

Hope?

really?

Your statement shows that you think people like me should be lumped into the small crowd of bad guys just because of where I live. Out of the 79% lower class residents ,that you are ok with moving, only about 10% (and thats being generous) are bad guys. Sure people like me can move and try to commute from sac to menlo park just to keep my job in this recession further stretching my budget.

FB will help stop crime?
Are they superhero's?
Did Ikea, Home Depot and that whole project help stop crime?

Thats the sad thing about America its seems like a large amount of good honest people have to pay for a small amount of other people's mistakes. Im doing everything right. I work, have a clean record, pay my taxes. Even though you dont care, there are a lot of people in EPA that do everything right also.

But its too late anyway. I just hope they hire at least 10% residents from EPA and East Menlo Park.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

OK - traffic and fire district. I get that.

Schools? FB is building out office space, yes? How does that affect schools? It doesn't.

If FB employees move to MP, Atherton or wherever - the increase price on the home will change the property tax for said property. There is your school funding increase.


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Posted by Tammie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

Marrol, get real. Have you read the police blotter lately for EPA?! It has been a warzone for the last 50 years in EPA....how so you see the crime changing in EPA? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Like this comment
Posted by Tammie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

No Ironic, Facebook alone will not stop crime. Sadly there is crime everywhere, including here in Palo Alto. What I can tell you is that this type of overall development and gentrification of a community will significantly reduce crime and its effects. I can tell you with certainty that the area where IKEA and Home Depot is located was overrun with dilapidated, low rent apartment buildings and an abandoned school property. Where once a location where few would venture, many people, including Palo Alto residents now visit those retail establishments.

A better example might be the transformation of the Whiskey Gulch area on East Palo Alto's west side. It was long known as a haven for drug dealing, prostitution, and street crime. Now it is home to upscale office buildings and a luxury hotel. So I respectfully disagree with you. Further development, gentrification, and progress is what East Palo Alto needs. I do agree with you wholeheartedly that the vast majority of East Palo Alto residents are indeed law-abiding and hard working. Many of those same people will benefit from these changes. We all need to consider the greater good, because it's very apparent that maintaining the status quo in East Palo Alto is a losing proposition.

As for Tammie, you can't give up on East Palo Alto. Again, change won't occur overnight, but it will change if people make the right choices. The formula is simple and has been proven to work. East Palo Alto is in a great location, and we all know that in terms of the real estate market and making an investment location is everything. When an area begins to upgrade with legitimate businesses, so will the demand for housing. Soon, stable families and young professionals seeking to take advantage of this prime location start buying and upgrading homes and properties. Property values increase thereby making the area more attractive to qualifying buyers. Gentrification continues its course and what follows are better schools, businesses, infrastructure, and other services. With this shift in the environment and culture, so changes the previous long standing culture of gangs, drugs, and street violence. It's all about socio-economics. That's why those problems are not near as pervasive in more affluent communities, and that's exactly how the negative elements in a struggling community are pushed out. Again, I know it's not a sudden transformation. It takes time, but developments like this are most definitely a step in the right direction.


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Posted by Lo Brow
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

OK Peter,

What's your strawman for a mitigation plan ? Would like to see a simple, reasonable view of what a Lead Agency might propose for EPA and Menlo Park mitigation, preferably something that avoids looking like extortion from FaceBook. Your chance to show leadership to the Menlo Park City Council...


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The first step is to determine what are the probable impacts of this very significant increase in employee population on the Facebook site. Those impacts could include traffic, water, power and sewer, and increased need for public services such as emergency response and schools.

Once those probable impacts have been properly quantified then it is the Lead Agency's responsibility to ensure that those impacts, regardless of which jurisdiction in which they occur, are fully mitigated. Traffic mitigations could include new traffic lights, additional lanes including the cost of land acquisition for those lanes, dedicated bike lanes and new freeway interchanges. Public service mitigation could include cost of additional school capacity and costs of increased fire service capability. Housing impacts could be mitigated by contributions to below market housing programs.

Facebook is paying the EIR consultants lots of money to address such issues - unfortunately the City of Menlo Park has told those consultants to ignore the impact of the proposed project on every other entity except CalTrans (which is too powerful to ignore). EPA is using the only tool it has available under these sad circumstances to protect the interests of its citizens which is the courts.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Maybe I am naive - but most of the people I know who work in high tech would never live in EPA, many of them will not even drive down University to get to the Dumbarton, preferring the "safer" route down Willow thru Menlo Park.

Based on Facebook's philosophies - traffic should be spread out throughout the day much more than a "traditional" company with employees arriving at 8 and leaving a 5 or so.

I don't think there will be any impact on schools caused by Facebook, although I could see a need for on-site day care as the employees get a little older - for their kids, not the employees :) An increased need for water, power and public safety makes sense.

If there is something the City of EPA wants Facebook to do, why don't they ask rather than threaten lawsuits. Seems like that would be a lot cheaper.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If there is something the City of EPA wants Facebook to do, why don't they ask rather than threaten lawsuits"

EPA and other impacted agencies have asked and the City of Menlo Park has directed that their requests be ignored. As the Lead Agency Menlo Park is obligated to represent the interests of these other agencies but has simply chosen not to do so.


Like this comment
Posted by Tammie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Tammie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

P.S. Marrol...I have lived in Palo Alto for 52 years...EPA is still getting worse....it will never change, Get Real, wake up n smell the java Marrol.


Like this comment
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

You are misinformed Tammie. Statistically East Palo Alto is safer than it was even five years ago, and much safer than its heyday in the early 90's. I also listed two specific areas where there has been proven, dramatic change in that community. As I've stated before, even though it still has more than its share of problems, to say "never" is just short-sighted. You're argument consists of simply repeating that "it's getting worse." Not exactly the kind of optimism and vision that a community needs to develop and thrive, but hey, we're all entitled to our own opinion.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm

PA Mom- you aren't naive, you just probably din't know that many EPA residents. There are a surprising number in tech, the majority that I know single males who enjoy cultural diversity & being world straddlers. That way they can order Thai in PA or swing by a very authentic EPA taqueria :-))

There's more economic diversity here, too, than many realize but we need better schools to attract more new families.

Both Marrol & Mr. ironic offer a lot of food for thought. Tammie needs an etiquette lesson, however. Marrol has a stake in the matter here & I respect their passion even when I don't always agree w/their pov - & they don't need my agreement anyway.



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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Wow, Resident, where do your facts come from? Personally, I know fewer low income residents in EPA who smoke & drink (more than socially) than those that do. I do know a high number of low income residents w/some type of disability well beyond their control. What also makes many here lower income is that the cost of living here is high & they have big families. It's not my right to dictate family planning, but that's a more real issue now than the vices you've mentioned, on the balance.

Btw- what're your vices? Mine are library overdue fines, vet bills, high quality groceries, , dining out & Roger Reynolds Nursery but sometimes also body care & perfume making supplies.


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