Menlo Flats

Menlo Flats rendering
Greystar has submitted a request for a use permit, architectural control, Below Market Rate (BMR) housing agreement, community amenities agreement, environmental review, and density bonus to redevelop three parcels with approximately 158 multi-family dwelling units and approximately 15,000 square feet of commercial space comprised of approximately 13,400 square feet of office space and approximately 1,600 square feet of community amenities space on a 1.38-acre site. The project site is located at 165 Jefferson Drive in the R-MU-B (Residential Mixed Use - Bonus) zoning district. The proposed project would utilize bonus level gross floor area (GFA), density, and height in exchange for community amenities, as defined through the Connect Menlo process. Additional density and GFA above the maximum bonus level residential density would be achieved through the density bonus provision of the City's Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing Ordinance.

The proposed project would include a BMR housing agreement which requires a minimum of 15 percent of the units be designated for below market rate. This equates to 21 units of the 135 units prior to accounting for any density bonus from the BMR Housing Ordinance. The applicant is proposing to incorporate 20 additional market-rate units (included in the 158 total units), per the density bonus provisions in the BMR Housing Ordinance (Chapter 16.96.040). The project site currently contains an approximately 24,311-square-foot commercial office building that would be demolished.

The overall proposal would be comprised of:
  • 253,702 square feet of total gross floor area (GFA)
  • 156,729 square feet of residential GFA (158 units)
  • 15,000 square feet of non-residential GFA
  • An average height of 66.6 feet and a maximum height of 84 feet, 11 inches
  • 176 parking spaces
  • 5,022 square feet of public open space
  • 20,929 square feet of private open space

Current status

On November 16, 2020, the City released the Notice of Preparation (NOP) and Initial Study (IS) for the proposed Menlo Flats project. the NOP is part of the environmental review process and identifies that a focused environmental impact report (EIR) will be prepared for the proposed project. On December 7, 2020, the Planning Commission held an EIR scoping session to solicit feedback on the scope and content of the EIR. the NOP comment period closed on December 21, 2020 and comments received on the NOP are available for review on the City's development projects environmental documents page. The City is currently preparing the draft EIR for the proposed project which is indented to be released in the summer of 2021 for  minimum 45-day comment period.

Previously, on January 28, 2020, the applicant submitted a preliminary application under the provisions of Senate Bill 330 (SB 330), the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which became effective January 1, 2020. SB 330 is intended to streamline housing projects that are subject to discretionary review under local zoning laws. The bill establishes a two-step process by which an applicant can “lock in” applicable fees and development regulations by submitting a Preliminary Application. The Preliminary Application does not require as much detail as a typical project application package and ensures a project is only subject to the applicable development regulations and fees in effect at the time the Preliminary Application is accepted as complete by the local jurisdiction. Submittal of a Preliminary Application begins a timeline in which the project must be reviewed and acted upon by the decision-making body and must be followed by a complete development permit application.

Staff has reviewed the Menlo Flats project components and determined that the project is eligible for review under the provisions of SB 330. On July 27, 2020, the applicant submitted the full SB 330 application. Staff deemed the application complete on September 14, 2020, for purposes of SB 330 compliance.

Environmental review

An initial study and focused environmental impact report (EIR) are required for the project. A contract to start the environmental review process was approved by the City Council on July 23, 2020. A Notice of Preparation and Initial Study for the project were released on November 16, 2020 and a public comment period was open from November 16, 2020, to December 21, 2020. Staff is currently in the process of preparing the focused environmental impact report (EIR) and the supporting studies for the proposed project.