If the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters confirms the petition signatures collected by Palo Alto citizens, voters will have a chance this fall to overturn a June 17 decision by the City Council to revise the city's Comprehensive Plan to accommodate a housing development on Maybell and Clemo avenues.
The controversial development, proposed by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, includes a 60-unit housing complex for seniors and 12 single-family homes (see story, at left).
To reverse the council's approval, residents have been working to qualify two referendums for the November ballot: one that would specifically overturn the council's approval of the project and another one that would reverse the change to the Comprehensive Plan.
Citizens had to get 2,298 signatures for each petition to qualify it for the ballot. The one for the Comprehensive Plan was due Wednesday, and petitioners submitted the signatures to the Office of the City Clerk at about 5 p.m., according to Assistant City Clerk Beth Minor.
Though the signatures are yet to be verified by the county registrar, the number well exceeds the required amount. City Clerk Donna Grider accepted the sheets of signatures and returned a receipt showing 3,431 signatures had been collected. Bob Moss, a Barron Park resident who is part of the campaign, said the effort has received support from all parts of Palo Alto, with people "concerned about the scale of developments going in and the traffic impacts on city services."
"We were delighted and impressed with how many people are angry about overdevelopment in Palo Alto," Moss said.
The registrar's office has 15 days to verify the signatures.
Because the council formally approved the specific Maybell project plan on June 28 (after what's known as a "second reading") and residents have 30 days to gather signatures for a referendum, the petition for that decision isn't due until later this month.
The city's last referendum took place in 2003, when voters unsuccessfully challenged a development at 800 High St.