111 Independence Drive

111 Independence Drive SP Menlo LLC rendering
SP Menlo, LLC has submitted a request for a use permit, architectural control, Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing Agreement, environmental review and density bonus to redevelop the site with approximately 105 multi-family dwelling units and an approximately 746 square foot café space in one building with an above grade multi-story parking garage integrated into the proposed eight-story building, located in the R-MU-B (Residential Mixed Use, Bonus) zoning district in the Bayfront area.

The proposed project would include a BMR housing agreement that requires a minimum of 15 percent (or 14 units) be affordable. The applicant is proposing to incorporate 13 additional market-rate units (which are included in the total 105 units), per the density bonus provisions in the BMR Housing Program (Chapter 16.96.040).

The proposed project includes a request for a use permit to modify R-MU design standards for building modulations and steps. The proposal includes a request for an increase in height, density, and floor area ratio (FAR) in exchange for the provision of community amenities. The project site currently contains an approximately 15,000 square foot single-story office building that would be demolished.

The overall proposal would be comprised of:
  • Total building: 96,055 square feet
  • Residential: 95,309 square feet (105 dwelling units)
  • Retail: 746 square feet
  • Average Height: 63.2 feet
  • Total parking: 109 spaces
  • Open space:
    • Public: 4,542 square feet
    • Private: 14,143 square feet

Current status

On December 4, 2020, the City published the notice of availability (NOA) and released the draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the project. The City accepted comments on the draft EIR through an extended 60-day comment period that ended on February 2, 2021.

The Planning Commission held a Draft EIR public hearing and a general study session on the proposed project via GoToWebinar or Zoom, at its meeting on Monday, January 11, 2021. A meeting agenda and staff report were made available for review the Thursday prior to the meeting date on the Planning Commission webpage. The NOA and draft EIR are available on the City’s development project environmental documents webpage.

During the development of the draft EIR, the applicant resubmitted project plans that include the following project refinements:
  • Reduction in the number of parking spaces from 113 to 109 spaces;
  • Modifications to the building glazing to incorporate bird friendly design treatments;
  • Minor changes to design of the balconies for the residences; and
  • Refinements to stormwater management design and calculations.
Previously on June 24, 2019, the proposal was reviewed at a Planning Commission for the EIR scoping session and study session. At the meeting the Planning Commission and community provided feedback on the proposed project and what will be studied in the focused EIR. On June 18, 2018, the proposal was reviewed at a Planning Commission study session.

The Commission's feedback on the proposal included a request to explore a lower parking ratio, use the public open space as an opportunity to stimulate pedestrian traffic in the area, and encouraged the applicant to continue working with staff on determining an appropriate community amenity. As mentioned in the Environmental Review section, an Initial Study was prepared and circulated for public review and comments in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and a Draft EIR is currently now in circulation for public review.

The project requires a fiscal impact analysis, a community amenity appraisal, and a community amenity proposal from the applicant. A community amenities appraisal, compliant with the City’s approved appraisal instructions, has been prepared and approved by the City’s Assistant Community Development Director.

A fiscal impact analysis and community amenity proposal (applicant submittal) were released on December 23, 2020, and the City’s evaluation of the applicant’s proposed community amenity was released in January 2021. Please check back on this page for updates for these documents and other project updates.

Environmental review

An Initial Study for the project was prepared and evaluated the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project and determine what level of additional environmental review would be appropriate, and was released on June 14, 2019, with a public review period from June 14, 2019, through July 15, 2019. In accordance with the requirements outlined in Section 15168 of the CEQA Guidelines, the project‐level Initial Study was prepared to disclose the relevant impacts and mitigation measures addressed in the certified program‐level ConnectMenlo EIR and discuss whether the project is within the parameters of the ConnectMenlo EIR or additional analysis would be necessary.

In addition, as a result of the settlement agreement between the City of Menlo Park and the City of East Palo Alto, housing and transportation are required to be analyzed. Based on the findings of the Initial Study, a Draft EIR has been prepared and was included with the Notice of Availability (NOA) for the proposed project. The focused Draft EIR, technical appendices, and NOA were released on December 4, 2020 and are available on the development project environmental documents webpage. The City received two comment letters on the Draft EIR, which are available in the Related Documents sidebar on the right side of this page.