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Menlo Park City News

Posted on: March 23, 2020

Construction remains suspended; emergency exception process put in place

On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order No.N-33-20 ordering all  individuals  in  the  State  of  California  to  stay  home  or  at  their  place  of  residence  except  as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors. The Governor also empowered local cities to take actions to preserve and protect the health and safety of their communities in light of their own circumstances.

The City’s position remains the same regarding construction in the City of Menlo Park. During the existence of this local emergency, pursuant to Municipal Code Chapter 2.44, the City Manager, Starla Jerome-Robinson as Director of Emergency Services, is empowered to make and issue rules and regulations on matters reasonably related to the protection of life and property as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following construction activity regulations remain in effect in Menlo Park:

  1. Until  this  order  is  terminated  by  the  City  Manager, all construction activity in the City of Menlo Park shall be temporarily suspended. 
  2. The City Manager will regularly review the need for this order to be in place and may elect to modify it should local circumstances or applicable law change. 
  3. Upon approval of the City Manager, construction activity in the government facilities and water  and  wastewater  systems  sector  may  be  performed  provided  adequate  social distancing mitigation measures can be achieved during both construction and inspection work. 
  4. The City Manager or designee may authorize limited exceptions to Section 1 of this order to protect life, health or safety provided they are consistent with Executive Order No. N-33-20 and/or subsequent applicable State or County orders.

Building construction requires regular inspection services to ensure that completed work complies with both issued permits and applicable building standards, and waiving such inspections increases the risk of defective and unsafe construction. The City has extremely limited construction inspection services and protective gear to protect inspectors from contaminated job sites and the Federal and State governments have requested that such protective gear be preserved for essential health workers;

City officials continue work to help slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce the load on local hospitals and emergency rooms, prevent unnecessary deaths and preserve construction inspection services and the related administrative resources for the most critical projects. Housing is indeed a priority for our community and the region, but the immediacy of curbing the current health emergency must take precedence to prevent further spread of the virus. 

The City continues with this decision in the best interest of public health and safety. We understand that there are emergency health and safety exceptions that exist where construction activities need to continue to shore up projects. Emergency construction requests can be submitted for review and consideration. 

Please visit the city website at menlopark.org/coronavirus for updates.

Contact: Public Information Officer Nicole Acker
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