123 Independence Drive

The Sobrato Organization is proposing to construct a new mixed-use development with 67 townhomes, 316 apartments, and an 88,750 square foot office building at 123 Independence Drive. The project site contains five existing single-story industrial/office buildings to be demolished. The total proposed residential and office development on the parcel would be approximately 500,700 square feet. The proposed project would utilize bonus level gross floor area (GFA), density, and height in exchange for community amenities, as defined through the ConnectMenlo process.

City staff is evaluating the project proposal to refine the review process, tentative project schedule, required land use entitlements, and the appropriate environmental review. It is anticipated that the following land use entitlements would be applicable to the proposed project:

  • Environmental review
  • Use permit
  • Architectural control
  • Major subdivision
  • Below Market Rate (BMR) housing agreement

Current status

On January 29, 2020, the applicant submitted a preliminary application under the provisions of Senate Bill 330 (SB 330), the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which became effective January 1, 2020. SB 330 is intended to streamline housing projects that are subject to discretionary review under local zoning laws. The bill establishes a two-step process by which an applicant can “lock in” applicable fees and development regulations by submitting a Preliminary Application. The Preliminary Application does not require as much detail as a typical project application package and ensures a project is only subject to the applicable development regulations and fees in effect at the time the Preliminary Application is accepted as complete by the local jurisdiction. Submittal of a Preliminary Application begins a timeline in which the project must be reviewed and acted upon by the decision-making body and must be followed by a complete development permit application.

Staff has reviewed the project components and determined that the project is eligible for review under the provisions of SB 330. On September 30, 2020, the applicant submitted the SB 330 application. Staff is currently in the process of reviewing the application for compliance with the City’s codes, ordinances, and policies. A determination of compliance will be issued upon completion of staff review in accordance with the requirements of SB 330. The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing for the environmental impact report scoping session and study session for the proposed project on January 25, 2021.

Environmental review

An environmental impact report (EIR) are required for the project. A contract to start the environmental review process was approved by the City Council on October 16, 2020. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the project was released on January 8, 2021 and a public comment period is open from January 8, 2021 to February 8, 2021. Public comments on the proposed scope of the EIR can be submitted to Kaitie Meador, Community Development, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, CA 94025 or via email. The NOP is available on the City's development project environmental documents webpage.