I love green spaces. I began advocating for more affordable homes in Menlo Park in part because I know that affordable homes near schools and jobs are vital to a healthy planet. While I love all green spaces, Sharon Park is my neighborhood park, and I walk my dog there almost every day. It is my love for green spaces, healthy communities, and a healthy planet that motivated me to propose that we consider Sharon Park and other land owned by the city of Menlo Park as sites for affordable housing.
A mandate to plan for affordable housing
We have a legal, moral and existential mandate to plan for more housing throughout our city, and especially near transit corridors. As part of our housing element update, the state requires us to plan for over 3,000 new homes, of which about 890 must be affordable to Menlo Park families and residents of all abilities who have very low or extremely low incomes.
A key strategy for producing supportive and extremely low/very low-income affordable housing is to plan for it on land we own and control. We can do this by considering land we already own and control — Sharon Park, the Civic Center, the downtown parking lots — and we can consider buying land at $7 million or more per acre (based on the starting price for the USGS site), assuming we find land that is for sale and are able to compete with fast-moving private buyers.
Identify nine acres for affordable housing
Even assuming an ambitious 100 homes per acre, to meet our mandate, we need to identify 9 acres where we can plan for housing that is affordable to very low- and extremely low-income households (over and above what we must plan for low- and moderate-income households). Read more