Dear Members of the Menlo Park Planning Commission,
Menlo Together is made up of Peninsula residents from all walks of life who envision a city that is integrated and diverse, multi-generational, and environmentally sustainable.
We, and the attached list of residents, believe that our city can achieve these goals by building more homes across all levels of affordability, especially near transit and downtown services. The 400 proposed mixed-income homes in the Parkline proposal are a great start, but we believe we can do more. To ensure that we meet the needs of all our residents, including those with extremely low income and/or special needs, Menlo Together would like to see an acre of land within the development donated to a non-profit housing developer and developed to meet our most pressing needs – deeply affordable housing for families and people of all abilities.
We also support increasing our inclusionary BMR requirement from 15% to 20%.
These additional affordable units can be feasible if the project is allowed to increase the number of market rate units (by allowing greater height and density) and by reducing or eliminating minimum parking requirements. As stated before, the site is very close to a public transit hub, and could be designed to attract residents who prefer not to own or drive their own car. This would help reduce local traffic, and our city’s climate impact. In particular, the deeply affordable housing should have flexibility with regard to number of parking spots in the development, because according to a study by Housing Leadership Council and Transform, CA, the lower the income of a household, the more likely they are to take public transit instead of driving, so the need for parking spots is less than for many market rate developments.
No matter where you begin, success in life starts at home for all ages and all people. When we have safe, secure places to live, parents earn more, kids learn better, health and well-being improve, and our community is strengthened because it now has the building blocks needed to thrive.
Let’s take full advantage of the Parkline project to build a strong community of people and families of all incomes and abilities who thrive.
The Menlo Together Team