Menlo Park Vote on the Bohannon Project, Measure T (November 2010)
The Bohannon Project is a 230-room hotel, health club, three eight-story office buildings, three parking structures, retail facilities and a restaurant proposed for the city's east side. David Bohannon is trying to develop the 16-acre project at Menlo Gateway, between U.S. Highway 101, Marsh Road, the Bayfront Expressway and Chrysler Drive.
The city's planning staff says that the project, which altogether is proposed to have about 950,000 square feet, would be roughly equivalent in size to the Sun Microsystems campus at the east end of Willow Road.
The official voter pamphlet arguments in favor of Measure T were signed by:
- Rich Cline, Mayor, Menlo Park
- Fran Dehn, President/CEO Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce
- Matt Henry, resident of Menlo Park
- Kristen Kuntz-Duriseti, Chair, Environmental Quality Commission
- Chris Thomsen, Trustee, Sequoia Union High School District
According to supporters, "Menlo Gateway has been through three years of public scrutiny including six community meetings, seven Planning Commission meetings, and more than 15 City Council meetings. Each of these groups comprised of residents and neighbors determined the project offered acceptable benefits and mitigations that outweighed the impacts."
As specifics, they say that Menlo Gateway will:
- "Hire local residents first."
- "Direct almost $2 million for improvements in the neighboring Belle Haven community, along with Bedwell Bayfront Park and the waterfront area at Bayfront Expressway and Marsh Road."
- "Provide a new four-star hotel and regional sports and fitness club projected to net the city more than $1.4 million annually."
- "Locate far from residential neighborhoods, East of Interstate 101."
- "Reduce its traffic by more than 17% and achieve environmental leadership with Gold and Silver LEED status."
- "Provide more than $600,000 annually for our local high school district."
The official voter pamphlet arguments against Measure T were signed by:
- Andrew Cohen, council member
- Jack Morris, Former Mayor
- Paul Collacchi, Former Mayor
- Charlie Bourne, Transportation Commissioner
- Patti Fry, Former Planning Commissioner
A group called "Measured Growth for Menlo Park" has formed to oppose Measure T.
Patti Fry, who is part of the opposition group, said, "We oppose changes that are driven by unsolicited projects that don't conform to city rules because these lead to developers writing most of our emerging laws and standards...The Bohannon project is a case in point -– it may not even start for eight years, or be completed for more than 20 years, but the M-2 planning was put on hold in favor of processing that project, and it changes both the city's General Plan and Zoning rules for its exclusive benefit."
According to opponents, "Menlo Park gives too much for too little. Menlo Gateway is too big. The 1.7 million square feet of office, hotel, and parking structures is a six-fold increase over the current allowed maximum. The density bonus adds $40-60 million yearly to Bohannon’s cash flow, in exchange for a small fraction trickling down to the city."
As specifics they say the project:
- "creates significant unmitigated environmental impacts for traffic, carbon emissions, water, and air quality that outweigh all financial benefits. Traffic will choke 101, Marsh, Middlefield, and Willow."
- "builds no new housing but creates new demand for 1799 new homes, adding pressure for unsustainably dense housing projects, locally (downtown, Allied Arts, Belle Haven) and regionally (Cargill)."
- "provides no revenue for Menlo Park K- 8 schools."
- "sets bad planning precedents. It codifies generous zoning densities and creates lax new development standards written by the developer. This encourages others in East Menlo Park to play “let’s make a deal” to get the Bohannon zoning and drive out even more sales tax generators."
- "will not solve any near-term economic problems. Menlo Gateway cannot be built soon. Bohannon can wait up to 20 years, and then conform to obsolete 2009 city laws."
- "inhibits other future projects, including sales tax generators (and competitors) that could bring economic recovery."
The question on the ballot:
|Measure T: Shall the voters affirm the decision of the Menlo Park City Council to approve the Menlo Gateway project and amend the City’s General Plan to permit construction of offices, research and development space, a hotel, health club and restaurant on property located east of Highway 101 near Marsh Road?|
- Analysis of Measure T
- Argument in favor of Measure T
- Argument against Measure T
- Rebuttals to arguments in favor of Measure T
- Rebuttals to arguments against Measure T
- Website of the "Yes on T" campaign
- Website of the "No on T" campaign
- Daily News, "Menlo Park residents to vote on Bohannon project", June 16, 2010
- The Menlo Park Almanac, "Measure T would allow Bohannon to build office-hotel complex", October 15, 2010
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.