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Facebook Hopes To Build Employee Dorms, But Neighbors Have Other Ideas

MENLO PARK (KPIX 5) -- Facebook's compound may one day expand to include a dorm, so employees can live close to work. But not everyone's on board.

The approval of Menlo Park's updated master plan clears the way for Facebook to expand.

On the drawing boards -- a sort of company town on the bay front with hundreds of apartments and dorm style rooms for Facebook employees. All a quick walk or bike ride from the main campus.

But Facebook's neighbors have other ideas for Menlo Park.

Teacher Bronwyn Alexander said, "We need housing. I was just hoping it was going to be more affordable housing."

Alexander is a teacher at Belle Haven School and she lives in the neighborhood. She says Facebook has been supportive of the school, donated laptops. But her feelings are mixed.

"I just wish the city of Menlo Park had a little more foresight into their plans when they considered letting Facebook build here," Alexander said.

Neither the city of Menlo Park, nor Facebook returned our calls or emails asking for comment on this story. But neighbors have been quick to let us know how Facebook's expansion and growth plans are affecting them.

"Yes they are putting money into Menlo Park, but it's not for us," said Leslie Ramos, who grew up in Belle Haven and is now raising her family there.

Ramos says if you don't have a Facebook salary, your days here could be numbered.

"There are hardworking people who have lived here for a long time, who are getting kicked out, pushed away. They're going to Modesto or places two hours away because they can't afford to live here," Ramos said.

"The utter irony is that the Facebook corporation needs those workers as much as the rest of us," said Neilson Buchanan, a Palo Alto neighborhood activist. He said the housing crisis is a regional problem.

"To not have a spectrum of housing means you have a low quality community," Buchanan said.

Facebook's plan also includes two more large office buildings and a hotel.

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