Save Menlo Park Green Spaces
Save Menlo Park Green Spaces
A real life case of déjà vu. Sharon Park is back on the chopping block for development after we fought and won in 2012. While we all are in agreement that our beloved town is in a housing crisis and the need for affordable housing is crucial, who speaks for the trees? At what point do we gobble up all of our natural resources until there is nowhere for our children to experience nature without paying admission? Please sign the petition and add your personal comment of why our parks should be permanently preserved from development. Every signature counts. Please share this petition widely on your social media.
The City of Menlo Park has a mandate to zone for almost 3,000 additional housing units. This represents an increase of almost 24% on the current housing stock of 12,347 units (according to the 2010 U. S. Census). In order to help accomplish this goal, the Chair of the Housing Commission (Karen Grove: firstname.lastname@example.org ) has proposed converting the two acres of wooded open space on the west end of Sharon Park to high‐density housing units. She has also proposed considering Burgess Park for housing development.
Please sign the 2021 petition. Please have every person in your household sign the petition. If you have children or grandparents, etc. that do not have their own email addresses please sign the petition on their behalf and note that you did so. Please note that this is not the first time that we have had to petition the city about this green space. A similar proposal to develop this parcel was proposed in 2012. That proposal was defeated as we hope this one will be as well.
Please join us in opposing the use of this green space for housing:
-Most of the 3,000 additional units that will be added into Menlo Park will not have recreational or green spaces immediately around them. These new residents need access to green spaces such as the west end of Sharon Park. Using this green space for development will adversely impact public health and degrade the quality of life for current and future residents.
-Using this park for housing is anti-green. Developing this space will remove this park as a carbon dioxide reducing asset in the city of Menlo Park.
-Using this park for housing is anti mental health. Many people use this open space to decompress from the stress of daily life or to meditate or reconnect with nature.
-This location is far from services and transportation which is a strong requirement for this development.
-This location is a vital resource for those who live in the many multi-family housing units and apartments located in the Sharon Heights neighborhood.
-Sharon Park is not solely a Sharon Heights nor a Menlo Park resource. It is used by hundreds of people from nearby towns. It is routinely used for picnics, birthday parties, dog walks, playful exploration, wedding photos, senior photos, and quinceañera photos by non-Menlo Park residents.
-Sharon Heights is a very thoughtfully planned development. The density profile runs from highest density to lowest density proceeding along Sharon Park Drive starting at Sand Hill Road and proceeding westward. Putting medium or high density development at the west end of Sharon Park dishonors this extremely thoughtful plan which we have all benefitted from.
-In 2012, The City Attorney ruled that Sharon Park was “dedicated” as a park. The following is an extract from that ruling: “Although the land in question was not explicitly dedicated to the City for solely park use, the City Attorney has determined that by designating the land as parkland in a City’s General Plan and on various city maps and by operating the land as a park for an extended number of years, the land would be considered “dedicated” by the City as parkland.” Reversing this ruling contradicts the prior ruling and dishonors the thoughtful analysis and discussion of the previous process.
-Sharon Park's open space is home to Cooper's hawks, Red-tailed hawks and many other species that nest among the heritage trees. It is also a transit area for white and blue herons and Canada geese. Removing this wildlife space is an irreversible step that we should not take.
Menlo Park needs well planned growth that accommodates for the needs of current and future residents.
Menlo Park needs to add more affordable housing units across the city.
-Consider up-zoning the Sharon Heights Shopping Plaza to allow for substantial renovation and expansion. This plaza is tired and underutilized. In addition, it is close to transportation and services. Development here is consistent with the current density profile of Sharon Heights.
-Consider up-zoning one of the many existing multi-family developments already in Sharon Heights such as Sharon Green Apartments, Sand Hill Place, Seven Oaks, Sharon Grove or Country Sharon (to name a few). Most of these developments are also tired and underutilized. They are also close to transportation and services. Development here is consistent with the current density profile of Sharon Heights.
-Consider using one of the many parking lots in downtown Menlo Park for multi-use development. The wide open asphalt spaces are functional but unattractive. Development here is consistent with the density profile of Menlo Park.
-To protect Sharon Park, Burgess Park and other parks located throughout the City, the City Council should adopt Councilmember Mueller’s proposed Park Preservation Ordinance, and place a Measure on the ballot that would require a vote of Menlo Park residents to rezone park land.
Read more about the proposal here: https://www.almanacnews.com/news/2021/08/31/menlo-park-voter-ban-on-building-housing-at-city-parks-proposed
-Watch this video: https://youtu.be/Cz-mpHU2jNc at around the 2:07 mark: August 2021 Housing Commission Meeting The commission appears to be highly focused on developing raw land in the city of Menlo Park. This single-minded development agenda is far from thoughtful, in our opinion.
At 2:07:59 in the video, The Chair of the Housing Commission (Karen Grove) makes the following statement: ‘And we have public land in Sharon Heights. Also, it's a beautiful park at 10 acres but there's a corner of it that is either barren or has eucalyptus trees on it. Eucalyptus trees are weeds so there's no problem in my mind getting rid of them.’
This statement mischaracterizes the park as ‘barren’. In fact, it has been systematically neglected and de-treed by the city over the past several years.
This parcel has many oak trees on it as well and to characterize it as only having eucalyptus trees is simply untrue. A brief census of the trees on the property shows 4 eucalyptus trees and over 50 oak trees.
At 2:08:18 in the video, The Chair of the Housing Commission (Karen Grove) continues to describe the land: ‘The two adjoining streets to that corner, one of them is a golf course and the other has two homes, so I know that neighbors probably wouldn't be happy about that.’
This is a second substantial misrepresentation of the adjacent properties to this parcel. Google maps indicates that there are up to 11 more homes located on Siskiyou that back up onto this parcel.
It could be construed that the Chair of the Housing Commission is attempting to bias the rest of the commission by diminishing this parcel as ‘barren’ and populated by ‘weeds’. She is also substantially underrepresenting the number of existing residents (2 versus 13) that are adjacent to this parcel. She has also grossly misrepresented the oak flora on the parcel.
In addition to the 13 homes immediately adjacent there are scores of multifamily units and apartments located within one mile of the park. The residents of these units need access to this park as well as access to all parks across the city.