Commercial Zoning Ordinance Update

Project Description
The Menlo Park City Council has established as a high priority project a comprehensive update of the commercial use categories and regulations in the Zoning Ordinance. The objective is to develop a clear set of commercial use classifications, and to classify each use as being permitted, administratively permitted, or conditionally permitted in every district where the use is allowed. Ultimately, this would translate into a user-friendly document that aligns the city's fiscal, community, service, and land use goals, and reduces uncertainty for business owners and other users of the Zoning Ordinance.

The current work represents Phase III of a multi-stage project. Information about the work previously completed is available in the City Council Staff Report dated August 16, 2005.

Current Status
The City Council has deemed the Commercial Zoning Ordinance Update (CZOU) a high priority project, and work on it commenced in late April, 2006. The project is currently on hold pending the resolution of the El Camino Real / Downtown Visioning and Planning Process.

Required Review
The proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments will require review and recommendation by the Planning Commission and review and approval by the City Council. The Zoning Ordinance Amendments also require review for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Working Group
The Working Group is an advisory committee which reviews the project's progress and provides guidance. The Working Group composition is as follows:
  • Rick Ciardella - Chamber of Commerce
  • Lou Deziel - Planning Commission
  • Kelly Fergusson - City Council
  • Al Filice - Business Community - Downtown
  • Patti Fry - Resident
  • Honor Huntington - Resident
  • David Johnson - Business Development Manager
  • Hank Lawrence - Resident
  • Spence Leslie - Business Community - M-2 Area
  • Justin Murphy - Development Services Manager
  • Lorie Sinnott - Planning Commission
  • Mickie Winkler - City Council
The Working Group met on June 29, July 13, August 17, and September 14. These meetings were open to the public, and included opportunities for public input.

Working Group Meeting 4
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Working Group Meeting 3
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Working Group Meeting 2
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Working Group Meeting 1
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Community Workshop
On May 24, 2006, the consultant and staff held a workshop to introduce the project to the public and solicit general guidance on what types of uses should be permitted, and in which locations.

Approximately 30 members of the community attended the workshop, and viewed a short presentation on the project's background and current status. The community members then participated in breakout sessions facilitated by staff, in which specific uses were considered in relation to specific zoning districts, with categories (permitted, limited, and prohibited) assigned to each use. Each group subsequently presented their findings to the workshop participants as a whole. A summary of this workshop is available at the following link:
Stakeholder Interviews
On May 15, 2006, the consultant conducted a series of interviews to gather detailed feedback from a wide range of regular users of the Zoning Ordinance. These code-users, or "stakeholders," included business owners, property owners, developers, architects, and residents. These small group sessions were intended to generate an open and frank discussion, with comments not attributed to specific attendees. A summary of these interviews is available at the following link: