Did Anyone Doubt Menlo Park Would Approve Facebook Expansion Project?

Facebook's Menlo Park Campus

On Tuesday night (17 April 2012), the Menlo Park City Council unanimously approved the plans for Facebook’s multimillion dollar campus expansion.

Did anyone doubt this project would not get approved?

This reminds me of the similar situation that the City of Cupertino was in when Steve Jobs blessed the City Council with his 7 June 2011 presentation of Apple’s plans for a new campus (see rendering below).

Apple'sProposed Cupertino Campus

Did anyone seriously doubt this project was going to not be approved?

Although I must say that despite the many potential benefits, residents should be somewhat antsy when their elected officials gush over such projects before any substantial planning or environmental review is done.

If I was a betting man, I would’ve loved Apple’s odds after Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong stated that “there [was] ‘no chance’ the city would deny the [Apple] project when it comes up for city review” (see Google’s cached search results of the Mercury News article).

[images via Social Searcher | City of Cupertino]

SPUR San Jose Coming In January 2012

SPUR San Jose

San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association or SPUR has long led the charge in promoting good planning and sound policy-making through research, education and advocacy.

SPUR is deeply rooted in San Francisco, but the member-supported nonprofit organization will pilot a new local branch in San Jose in January 2012. SPUR San Jose seems to want to be a part of the planning process in the next wave of Silicon Valley growth, and hopefully will partner with San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, and Stanford as part of its efforts.

This is a no-brainer decision for SPUR. After spending the past few years trying to shed its sprawl image by implementing more sustainable and smart growth planning tools, San Jose has tried to extend that efforts into its 2040 General Plan Update. Also, Silicon Valley companies are vying for better real estate for their large workforces, and their land use decisions will have great implications on not just the cities they are located in, but for the entire South Bay region (including transportation, education, etc.).

Don’t believe me? Here are a few headlines from the past few days:

1. Google offers to help Mountain View hire more staff
2. Apple submits updated renderings, plans for Cupertino ‘spaceship’ campus
3. Facebook must pay Menlo Park millions of dollars if it can’t improve Bayfront Expressway

It will be interesting to see how SPUR San Jose will operate: as an extension of SPUR or as its own separate independent entity? Time will tell, but it will be exciting.

[image via PJ]