Facebook expansion plan clears first hurdle

The Menlo Park planning commission sent Facebook's expansion plans on to the city council

Facebook's plans to expand its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, got an initial OK from the city planning commission this week and offered a sneak peak at the company's plans to expand after its much anticipated IPO.

The commission approved a plan to increase Facebook's current staff occupancy cap of 3,600 to 6,600. Facebook currently has roughly 3,500 employees company-wide. The company will be required to limit the number of vehicles entering or exiting the campus to 2,600 during rush hours. Like other major Silicon Valley companies, Facebook offers a shuttle service for employees.

To secure the expansion, Facebook had to make additional agreements that it told planners were a "stretch." It will have to pay the city to supplant the sales tax that could have been earned from a retail occupant and continue to offer Facebucks credits to its employees to support local businesses. The company will also have to make some pedestrian and bike improvements around the campus and offer a high-school internship program.

The city council has scheduled a vote on the proposal for June 5. The company first presented its proposal in December 2011.

The plans relate to Facebook's East Campus, a 57-acre spread that once housed Sun Microsystems.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.

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