Proposed downtown 'gateway' building debated | July 1, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 1, 2011

Proposed downtown 'gateway' building debated

Palo Alto planning commissioners call for more apartments, greater height for 'Lytton Gateway'

by Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto officials would like to see larger developments near the city's transit stations, but they are still trying to hash out exactly who should occupy these buildings.

This story contains 470 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at


Posted by Not in the public interest, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

"Vice Chair Lee Lippert was the most enthusiastic". No surprises there. Architect Lippert is a long standing advocate of more development.
Tuma's "Golden opportunity" to break the 50 foot height limit is a golden opportunity to make money for developers, not a golden opportunity for the people who live here and for whom quality of life is important.
The commission is dominated by people who make money off of land development.

Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm

What's wrong with people making money off land development as long as it follows guidelines?

Posted by Not in the public interest, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm

There is a lot wrong when a government official advocates policies that will benefit himself. There are lots of ways to describe it, like self-dealing, conflict of interest, etc.
For example, when such a person advocates changing the 50 foot height limit that will benefit his friends and indirectly therefore himself, that is wrong and immoral. The majority of the Planning Commissioners work for developers and advocate for their interests. That is wrong. Or they are involved in trading which benefits from greater density. Ethical government officials should not do that.

Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm

As I said, "as long as it follows guidelines."
Your point seems to be that the officials responsible for this development are entirely corrupt. An entirely different issue and so I amend my comments to be that I see no reason for developers not to benefit from their developments. I see every reason for our officials to benefit from them

Posted by Not in the public interest, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm

"As long as it follows guidelines," I agree. Of course making money while obeying the law is fine. Did you really think I oppose that?
I cannot recall a recent project that didn't break the rules (not guidelines, zoning laws) and ask for a zoning change like this one or an exception for height, for reduced setbacks from the street or from the neighbors, a zoning variance, increased density, you name it, they study the code and look for ways to push, push as much as possible.
Jim Baer is an expert at this game, that's why they all hire him. He knows how to manipulate the system better than anyone.
They whitewash by offering a couple of below market rate apartments and green wash it with an electric charging station. Street trees and fixed sidewalks around the project are not public benefits, they are benefits to the project.The city pretends it doesn't know that.
There is unquestionably corruption involved, its just hard to pinpoint. But if the Planning Department said no, these abuses wouldn't happen. And the city council of course, never says no.

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