May 30, 2012 5:47 AM by AP
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) - A Silicon Valley city where Facebook has opened its new headquarters voted Tuesday to support an environmental impact report and development agreement for a project that will allow the social media giant to employ thousands more people at the campus.
Under the deal, Facebook could base about 6,600 workers at the sprawling headquarters in Menlo Park, up from the current limit of 3,600 employees that was placed on the campus' previous occupant, Sun Microsystems. Facebook moved its headquarters to the campus from Palo Alto last year and now has about 2,200 employees at the site.
In exchange, Facebook will pay the city an average of $850,000 a year over 10 years to cover the impact of the additional workers on city infrastructure. Facebook also will make a one-time payment of more than $1 million for capital improvements, establish a $500,000 community improvement fund and set up high school internship and job training programs.
Facebook eventually wants to expand to another campus across the street that would allow it to employ a total of 9,400 people. The company plans to construct five new buildings totaling approximately 440,000 square feet as part of that project, which was included in the environmental impact report approved Tuesday.
All five members of the Menlo Park City Council voted yes at the lengthy meeting Tuesday night.
"Welcome to Menlo Park and we're happy to have you here," Mayor Kirsten Keith told company representatives.
Facebook's plans have raised concerns about traffic among some residents who live in the company's shadow. The neighboring city of Atherton has threatened a lawsuit, saying the environmental impact report doesn't adequately address an expected increase in traffic at one particular intersection.
Menlo Park City Manager Alex McIntyre said the two cities are continuing to discuss the issue. Facebook has said it will encourage employees to carpool, take public transit or walk or bike to work.
Tuesday's vote will have to be seconded by the city council next week before it could go into effect, McIntyre said.
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