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.
- Until this order is terminated by the City Manager, all construction activity in the City of Menlo Park shall be temporarily suspended.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 preserve 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.