If approved, the Maybell Avenue project in the Barron Park neighborhood would add to the city's supply of very-low and low-income housing at a time when the need is growing. About 20 percent of Palo Alto's seniors live near or below the poverty line, according to the Council on Aging Silicon Valley.
Residents from the neighborhood Wednesday voiced mixed reactions to the project, which would also include 15 three-story, for-sale single-family homes with two-car garages and parking pads for two other vehicles.
Most people agreed the project is needed and a noble one. But residents expressed concerns over increased traffic on already bustling Maybell, which is a major school route.
Housing corporation officials plan to release a traffic study at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
The 2.46-acre Maybell project would be located at the corner of Maybell and Clemo avenues, where there are currently four homes and an orchard. Other multifamily residences surround the site, including Arastradero Park Apartments and the Tan Plaza Continental. Single-family homes lie to the west, and Juana Briones Park is to the south, across Clemo.
The project would offer one-bedroom apartments for approximately $551 to $918 per month, said Georgina Mascarenhas, the housing corporation's director of property management.
Penny Ellson, a longtime proponent of Palo Alto Unified School District's bicycle-safety programs, said she will be interested in the traffic-study results. But she said that, anecdotally, seniors don't appear to generate much traffic.
"I live across the street from Stevenson House, and they don't generate a lot of trips," she said.
Barron Park resident Doug Moran called the proposed three-story homes "not very useful."
"People in Palo Alto are looking for three-generation housing, so grandma can take care of the kids," he said. The homes proposed are tall and narrow — difficult for older people to negotiate stairs, he added.
The housing nonprofit anticipates closing the land purchase by Nov. 30. Officials are in the process of securing financing for the project, including a request of the City of Palo Alto for $6.5 million.