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A developer has purchased a property at 1825 Santa Cruz Ave in Menlo Park that backs up to the city-owned land that has long formed a dense foliage screen between Louise Street and the back fences of two houses on Santa Cruz Ave., as seen in the photo above. He intends to raze the existing house, reverse the lot’s frontage and develop a new house with the address changed to Louise St., which it has never been part of. The new 55 x 16 foot driveway would enter directly onto the closed end of the Louise St. cul-de-sac. It would breach a wooded buffer zone that has for 77 years separated our neighborhood from the houses on Santa Cruz Ave. The red and white flowering plants that currently greet anyone turning onto Louise Street would be replaced by a 16' wide asphalt driveway leading to a 5,500 square foot house.
On March 5, City Council voted to deny the developer's request to build this driveway, which means he cannot make his Santa Cruz Avenue house a Louise Street property. Instead, it granted the neighbors' request to proceed with a process called "abandonment," which would grant the green space to the two adjacent Louise Street houses. The owners of those properties share the broader neighborhood's desire to protect the green space in perpetuity and will be submitting a proposal to do exactly that. The Planning Commission will soon consider their proposal.
Please tell the Council they made the right call and urge them not to back down in the face of the devoloper's efforts to change their minds. And please urge the Planning Commission to support us. The petition will be delivered to both. We are determined to protect one of the prettiest streets in Menlo Park for the use and benefit of the entire community and would very much appreciate your support.
If you are a resident of Menlo Park, please sign this petition and let Menlo Park city officials know how you feel!
Menlo Park Planning Commission
Menlo Park City Council
We applaud the City Council's March 5th decision to protect the green space that for 77 years has been a barrier between Louise Street and Santa Cruz Avenue. We urge you not to bow to the continuing pressure from the developer to build an unprecedented driveway that would convert his house from one on Santa Cruz Avenue to Louise Street, and to support the Louise Street's neighbors' request to...
We applaud the City Council's March 5th decision to protect the green space that for 77 years has been a barrier between Louise Street and Santa Cruz Avenue. We urge you not to bow to the continuing pressure from the developer to build an unprecedented driveway that would convert his house from one on Santa Cruz Avenue to Louise Street, and to support the Louise Street's neighbors' request to abandon the property so that it can be protected in perpetuity for the use and benefit of the entire community.
On March 14th the developer formally requested a reconsideration of the Council's March 5 vote: http://ccin.menlopark.org/4257.html. In his remarks he repeated several erroneous claims, alleged that speakers at the meeting grossly exaggerated its impact on green space, said he didn't have enough time to respond to our "unfair and fraudulent publicity campaign" and called the Council hearing a "circus" because of the large number of people who turned up to support us. Here is our reply: http://ccin.menlopark.org/4259.html.
The developer today told the Menlo Park Almanac he is researching a legal challenge to the City Council's decision and requesting a rehearing. He said, "I believe the large numbers of people swayed the council" and characterized our opposition as "Simple numbers complaining about conditions that weren't accurate." It's another example of the disdain he has repeatedly shown towards our neighbors' unanimous opposition to his attempt to irrevocably alter the character of our street. We believe what's really inaccurate is the developer's claim that he is somehow "returning" his property to Louise Street, when it has always been part of a completely separate development on Santa Cruz Avenue and has in fact never been part of Louise Street. As for the number of people who turned up at the City Council meeting and are supporting us through this petition, we call that democracy.
Reached 100 signatures
Decision-maker Menlo Park City Council responds:
Thank you for protecting the property values of the Louise Street neighbors. This property was purchased as a Santa Cruz Avenue address and the alteration to make it a Louise Street address not a precedent that should be set.
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