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A specific plan is a comprehensive, action-oriented set of rules for a specific geographic area. For Menlo Park, the El Camino Real / Downtown Specific Plan sets the direction for the heart of the city over the coming decades. It builds on the successful 2007-2008 Vision Plan process, which established twelve key goals. The Specific Plan defines what our community desires for its future by regulating land use and defining other aspects of possible future public and private development.
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By having a specific plan, we as a community can control our future based on positive changes the community would like to see. Many of the previous zoning rules were several decades old, and didn't necessarily reflect community values or modern opportunities and challenges. The plan addresses long-standing concerns people have with the El Camino corridor - parking, blight, pedestrian access, traffic, and vacancies. It also addresses concerns people have with downtown - parking, pedestrian access, inviting community spaces, and increased vibrancy. At the same time, the plan maintains and enhances what we value most about these areas.
We want our future choices to include information about impacts (both positive and negative) so we can make informed decisions about the area as a whole, not as individual projects are proposed and we want to ensure public investment successfully leverages private investment and results in improved prosperity for the community overall. A specific plan helps achieve these important goals.