Responding to requests from Palo Alto and Menlo Park, Santa Clara County planners have agreed to give the public 60 more days to comment on the environmental analysis of Stanford University’s 2018 General Use Permit application.
The new permit would allow the university to build up to 2.275 million square feet of academic space, 3,150 housing units and 40,000 square feet of child care space and other supporting facilities between 2018 and 2035.
The comment period for the EIR was set to conclude on Monday. But given the scale of the project and the voluminous Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Palo Alto and Menlo Park officials both asked for an additional 60 days to review the document. The Palo Alto Unified School District and the Service Employees International Union, Local 2007, had also requested the extension.
Stanford has objected to the extension request, calling it "unwarranted" and inconsistent with the California Environmental Quality Act.
On Thursday night, Planning Director Kirk Girard said he has decided to grant the request for the extension. He made the announcement at the beginning of the county Planning Commission's special meeting at the Palo Alto Art Center – the final scheduled meeting on the EIR.
The meeting brought more than 100 people to the Art Center to offer comments to the Planning Commission, which is scheduled to review the GUP application next year, before it goes to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.
"We want to err on the side of public interest and public input in the project at this stage of the game," Girard told the crowd, in explaining his decision.
Comments on the draft environmental impact report may be sent to David Rader, Santa Clara County senior planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They can also be mailed to: County of Santa Clara Department of Planning and Development, Attention: David Rader, County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding Street, San Jose, CA 95110.