Jun 21

You’re invited! Housing Element Update introduction webinar

Posted on June 21, 2021 at 8:29 pm by Clay Curtin

Menlo Park has begun the nearly two-year process to update its Housing and Safety Elements, and writing the city’s first Environmental Justice Element.

The Housing Element Update process includes not only identifying potential sites for housing development, but also ensuring community-wide access to resources and compliance with State of California regulations that govern these Elements.

All community members are invited to an introductory Housing Element webinar at 6 p.m., Thursday, July 1, 2021, that will explain the process, project components and how to be involved in the process. The webinar will cover the following major themes:
  • Existing conditions
  • Housing Element requirements
  • Housing Element schedule
  • Concurrent update of Safety Element and creation of an Environmental Justice Element
  • Community involvement opportunities
Throughout the Housing Element Update process, the City will be seeking input to learn from the community about what matters to you. Please visit the Housing Element Update webpage to view the latest available information and to sign up for project updates.

Jun 21

Learn about the flood protection project underway near the Bedwell Bayfront Park entrance

Posted on June 21, 2021 at 5:29 pm by Clay Curtin

Join us Wednesday, June 23, from 7-8 p.m. to hear more about the project to protect our community from flooding. The project team will provides updates and answer questions about the project now under construction and that aims to be completed by early 2022.

The Atherton Channel and the Bayfront Canal meet near the border between Redwood City and Menlo Park, east of Highway 101 and north of Marsh Road near the entrance of Bedwell Bayfront Park. The combined flows empty into San Francisco Bay, but for the past several decades, high tides have kept stormwater from draining properly, and even minor rainfall events have resulted in nearby flooding of streets and businesses.

Menlo Park joined with Redwood City, Atherton, and San Mateo County to establish shared funding responsibilities for the design, environmental documentation, land rights, construction, and maintenance of a project to reduce the frequency and impacts of flooding. The San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency District was formed in January 2020 and assumed the lead role to complete the project.
  • The project consists of underground concrete culverts that divert excess flow from Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel into managed ponds within the Ravenswood Complex of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project.
  • The project features will be within and along Bayfront Canal, Flood Slough, the entrance to Bedwell Bayfront Park, and the managed ponds owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • The successful implementation of this project will protect developed areas of Menlo Park, Redwood City and unincorporated San Mateo County against frequent flood events, provide water quality and ecosystem benefits to the managed ponds, and complement flood protection efforts upstream along Atherton Channel.
The project is expected to have significant impacts on the entrance of Bedwell Bayfront Park. Park visitors should anticipate potential delays due to construction and be prepared to follow established traffic control. More details will be announced as they become available.

For more information, visit the San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency District's Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel Flood Management project webpage. 

Jun 14

Final environmental impact report released for Menlo Uptown Project

Posted on June 14, 2021 at 7:29 pm by Clay Curtin

The proposed Menlo Uptown project in the Bayfront Area reached a project milestone Friday, June 11, 2021, with the release of its final environmental impact report (Final EIR). The Final EIR includes a response to all substantive comments received on the draft EIR and any edits to the text of the draft EIR. The Final EIR is available on the city’s development projects environmental documents page. A hard copy is also now available for a curbside pickup at the Menlo Park Main Library.

The Final EIR for the proposed project does not identify any significant and unavoidable environmental impacts that would result from the implementation of the proposed project. The Final EIR identifies potentially significant environmental impacts that can be mitigated to a less than significant level (LTS/M) in the following categories: Air Quality and Noise. The Final EIR identifies less than significant (LTS) environmental impacts in the following categories: Population and Housing, Transportation and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. An initial study was previously prepared to disclose the relevant impacts and mitigation measures addressed in the certified program-level ConnectMenlo Final EIR.

At its June 21, 2021, meeting, the Planning Commission is scheduled to review and determine whether to certify the project-level Final EIR. It will also review and act on the requested land use entitlements for the proposed project. The Planning Commission meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be held via Zoom.

The Planning Commission is the final decision-making body on the entitlements with the exception of the major subdivision to adjust the existing parcels and create 42 for-sale condominium townhomes, for which the Planning Commission is a recommending body to the City Council. The Planning Commission’s recommendation on the major subdivision will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration at a future public meeting and all other entitlements would be final unless appealed to the City Council. 

Members of the public are encouraged to review the Final EIR and participate in the upcoming June 21, 2021, Planning Commission meeting, to provide comments on the Final EIR and the proposed project for consideration by the Planning Commission. If you would like to submit written comments on the Final EIR, you are encouraged to do so before 5:30 p.m., Monday, June 21, 2021. Written comments must be submitted by email to Senior Planner Tom Smith or by letter to Tom Smith, Community Development, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, CA 94025. Email correspondence is preferred. 

The proposed project, located at 141 Jefferson Drive and 180-186 Constitution Drive, would redevelop the site with 483 multifamily dwelling units, consisting of 441 multifamily rental units and 42 for-sale townhome units and an approximately 2,940 square foot commercial space located in the R-MU-B (Residential Mixed Use, Bonus) zoning district. The proposed project would include a Below Market Rate (BMR) housing agreement that requires a minimum of 15% (or 73 units) be affordable. The applicant is proposing to provide 67 rental BMR units and 6 for-sale townhome BMR units. The applicant has provided two BMR scenarios. In each scenario the 6 for-sale BMR units would be affordable to moderate-income households. For the rental units, one option would designate all of the rental BMR units affordable to low-income households and the other option would include a mix of rental BMR units affordable to very low, low-, and moderate-income households. 

The proposal includes a request for an increase in height, density, and FAR under the bonus level development allowance in exchange for community amenities. The applicant is proposing two options for its community amenity, with an alternative to provide the commercial space to a nonprofit to use for administrative offices and an alternative to provide the commercial space to a health care nonprofit to use as an urgent care or express care health center. Both community amenity alternatives include additional contributions to either a community land trust or the health care network.

For more information and updates, please visit the Menlo Uptown project page.