MENLO PARK, CA—The  mixed-use development that Stanford University and developer John Arrillaga have planned for an 8.4-acre site along El Camino Real in Menlo Park has spurred controversy and widely opposed opinion.  Contrasting opinions were heard Monday night at a planning commission meeting, were not action was taken, reports the Palo Alto Dairy News.

The project is the first proposal to emerge since the city council approved the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan in May. On a stretch of Stanford-owned land along El Camino Real where old and vacant car dealership buildings now stand, Arrillaga wants to construct a couple of five-story buildings with up to 152 housing units and ground-floor retail space, a couple of four-story office buildings and a three-story office building. About 40 percent of the commercial buildings would be used for medical and dental offices.

Steve Elliott, Stanford’s managing director of development, told commissioners the project would revitalize what is now an “underutilized” area.

About 50 people spoke in opposition to the “500 El Camino Real” project, saying, among other things, that it would snarl traffic.

“The bottom line is this development is too big and too ugly with too many impacts, too much traffic, too little public benefit, too little tax revenue and too little protection from impacts to go forward as it is,” said Elizabeth Hauck. “El Camino is gridlocked already.”

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