No one has failed to notice there’s a building boom in Palo Alto. And there are several projects with two levels of underground construction already started or in the pipeline. So what is unique or different about the Marriott hotels proposed for San Antonio Road and why should we be concerned?
Marriott proposes to open two hotels with a two level garage on a 1.9-acre site at 744-750 San Antonio Road (between Leghorn and Middlefield). The Courtyard by Marriott and AC by Marriott Hotels would total 294 rooms and each would be five stories high. The neighborhood is primarily residential and one-story businesses such as Summerwinds Nursery. The proposed underground parking garages fill the property and allow little room for trees, shrubs or landscaping.
Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater is specifically concerned about the plan to build two levels of underground garage – a total of 82,660 ft² – in an area where the groundwater level is 7 – 11 feet below ground surface, according to their geotechnical report. Last year a single-level residential basement of 3, 500 ft² with a similar groundwater level pumped out more than 30 million gallons during construction. This area is more than twenty times larger, and part of the underground construction is twice as deep. Maybe they’ll be extra careful when pumping and not discharge 600+ million gallons of groundwater but it’s still going to be a lot of water. At the same time over a million cubic feet of soil will be removed to accommodate the two-level garage. The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) does not quantitatively analyze the impacts on groundwater at all, but rather summarily dismisses such concerns as “no significant impact.”
We believe that this project requires much more careful vetting of its underground construction plans than it has received thus far. The amount of soil and groundwater to be removed under the proposed construction is significantly large enough to impact our aquifer, infrastructure, neighboring properties and the amount of soil available for future storm water mitigation.
City Council will discuss and decide whether to approve the Final Environmental Impact Report for 744-748 San Antonio Road on Monday, June 12, 6 pm at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. We plan to be there and voice our concerns. Please join us and the neighbors from Greenhouse One and Greenhouse Two and let City Council know your opinion about this project. If you can’t attend, you can contact the City Council at email@example.com.