City may rescind approval of Stanford project on Sand Hill Road

Above is a rendering of a 40,000-square-foot office building that Stanford wants to build at 2131 Sand Hill Road. The approval of that project is now in jeopardy. Illustration submitted by Stanford to the city.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Menlo Park City Council is thinking about taking back its approval of a Stanford development on Sand Hill Road after city officials learned that the university is planning to build a medical office building on Quarry Road.

City officials are concerned that the two projects would worsen traffic on Sand Hill Road.

Councilwoman Catherine Carlton on Tuesday (Oct. 31) asked the council revisit its approval of 2131 Sand Hill Road, a 40,000-square-foot office building.

On Oct. 17, council approved the Sand Hill Road project by a 3-2 vote, with Ray Mueller and Kirsten Keith opposed and Carlton, Peter Ohtaki and Rich Cline in favor. Since Carlton was on the winning side, she has the right to ask for a reconsideration of the vote.

Residents have said they were concerned the project would increase traffic on Sand Hill Road. They asserted that traffic has been increasing since Sand Hill Road was extended to El Camino Real in 2000 and Stanford expanded the shopping center and medical center.

Three days after the vote, Mueller discovered that Stanford was asking Santa Clara County’s Planning Commission for permission to shift square footage in its 2000 growth permit from the east side of campus to Quarry road so that the university could build a 170,000-square-foot, four-story Center for Academic Medicine, across the street from the Container Store and Stanford Barn.

Stanford didn’t notify Menlo Park about the proposal, which concerned Mueller because of its potential to add traffic to Sand Hill Road.

Stanford does not provide separate notification to the city when dealing with Santa Clara County projects, according to Government and Community Relations Associate Vice President Jean McCown.

In an email to Mayor Kirsten Keith requesting the council reconsider the 2131 Sand Hill Road project, Carlton
said she is also concerned the two projects will increase traffic on the road, which connects the campus with Interstate 280.

“Our decision may have been different had all relevant information been available to us when we considered
Stanford’s application,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clara County Planning Commission has postpone its consideration of Stanford’s request to shift square footage in order to build the Center for Academic Medicine. The commission now plans to take up the request on Nov. 16.