123 Independence Drive

The Sobrato Organization 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 five parcels with approximately 116 townhomes and 316 apartments (for a total of 432 dwelling units) on a 8.15 acre site located at 119-127 Independence Drive, 1205 Chrysler Drive, and 130 Constitution Drive. The project site is located in the R-MU-B (Residential Mixed Use-Bonus) zoning district. The project site contains five existing single-story industrial/office buildings to be demolished. The total proposed residential development on the parcel would be approximately 476,961 square feet. The proposed project would utilize bonus level gross floor area (GFA), density, and height in exchange for community amenities, as defined through the ConnectMenlo process.

The proposed project would include a BMR housing agreement which requires a minimum of 15 percent of the units be designed for below market rate. This equates to 65 units of the 432 units. The applicant is proposing to incorporate 66 inclusionary housing units within the project at a mix-income levels. The overall proposal would be comprised of:

  • 476,961 square feet of total gross floor area (GFA)
  • An average height of 47 feet and a maximum height of 60 feet
  • 586 parking spaces
  • 73,500 square feet must be publicly accessible open space
  • 29,225 square feet of private and common open space
City staff is evaluating the project proposal to refine the review process, tentative project schedule, required land use entitlements, and the appropriate environmental review. It is anticipated that the following land use entitlements would be applicable to the proposed project:

  • Environmental review
  • Use permit
  • Architectural control
  • Major subdivision
  • Below Market Rate (BMR) housing agreement

Current status

The applicant submitted a preliminary application on January 29, 2020, under the provisions of Senate Bill 330 (SB 330), the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which became effective January 1, 2020. SB 330 streamlines 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 project components and determined that the project is eligible for review under the provisions of SB 330. The applicant submitted a revised project on June 30, 2021 that removed a previously proposed office building and incorporates additional housing units. Staff is currently in the process of reviewing the application for compliance with the City’s codes, ordinances, and policies. A determination of compliance will be issued upon completion of staff review in accordance with the requirements of SB 330. On September 10, 2021, the City released the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the proposed updated project. The NOP is part of the environmental review process and identifies that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be required for the proposed project and establishes the 30-day comment period which would end on October 11, 2021. The NOP is available for review on the City’s development projects environmental documents page. On September 27, 2021, the Planning Commission is scheduled to hold the EIR scoping session to solicit feedback on the current scope of the EIR.

Environmental review

An environmental impact report (EIR) is required for the project. A contract to start the environmental review process was approved by the City Council on October 16, 2020. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the project was released September 10, 2021, and the public comment period would close October 11, 2021. The NOP is available on the City's development project environmental documents webpage.