http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2013/07/26/buena-vista-conversion-prompts-debate-about-local-schools


Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 26, 2013

Buena Vista conversion prompts debate about local schools

Residents concerned about being displaced from Palo Alto school system

by Gennady Sheyner

When residents of Buena Vista Mobile Park paid a surprise visit to Palo Alto City Hall last fall to urge city officials to preserve their homes, education was among their leading concerns. Several students and parents from Buena Vista told the City Council they worried about being displaced from Palo Alto's school system.

"Palo Alto has great schools. They can't really be compared to other schools around the area," Misael Morales Sanchez, an 18-year-old student at West Valley College told the City Council at an Oct. 2 meeting.

But it's far from clear how prominently the topic of school displacement will feature in the debate over the park's conversion into an upscale apartment complex. The city's ordinance states that displaced residents must be compensated for moving to a "comparable" mobile home park in "a community similar to that in which the park that is being closed is located and has similar access to community amenities such as shopping, medical services, recreational facilities and transportation."

For the Jisser family, who own the property, the exclusion of schools from the legal definition of amenities is significant. But even if it were listed, they argue, other schools in the region can be considered comparable.

"The applicant submits that while the quality of education at the Palo Alto schools is high, the quality of education at the surrounding communities such as Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Redwood City is also high and thus housing in these communities which is otherwise 'comparable' under the ordinance's definition meets the criteria of the ordinance," a new report from the Jissers states. "Thus the suggestion that the only comparable housing for residents with children attending public school is in Palo Alto, is neither supported by the requirements of the ordinance, nor by empirical data nor API scores."

Amado Padilla, a professor of education at Stanford University, rejects this assessment. Padilla, a former member of the Palo Alto school board who currently works with fellow Stanford Professor Don Barr and a group of students on research in Buena Vista, told the Weekly that the other communities cited in the report are significantly different from Palo Alto. Though many boast fine school systems, they have two significant disadvantages when compared to Palo Alto: less resources and less stability.

The Palo Alto district benefits from both the city's high property values and from generous donations. The fundraising group Partners in Education presented the district with a $4.9 million check in March.

"There's just a lot of resources going into the schools in Palo Alto that most of the surrounding school districts cannot match," Padilla told the Weekly.

The stability factor is also critical, Padilla said. In Palo Alto, a student stays within the same district from kindergarten through 12th grade. In each of the other cities the Relocation Impact Report cites, students go through different school districts before graduation: Mountain View has three districts; Sunnyvale and Cupertino elementary school students attend their own districts up until high school, when they are funneled to the joint Fremont Union High School District.

The transitions, Padilla said, make it harder for other school systems to track students and their particular needs as they progress from one grade to another. It also makes it harder for students to feel like they're part of a stable community as they get older.

"That stability is very, very important in a student's life and is probably more important for kids who come from the kinds of disadvantaged circumstances we see at Buena Vista," Padilla said. "For many of the kids who live in Buena Vista, this is the only community they've ever known. A number were born in Stanford Hospital. They identify with Barron Park Elementary School or Terman Middle School or Gunn High. This is their community."

Erica Escalante, a Gunn graduate who has been living at the park for 15 years, said residents are concerned about the adjustments they'd have to make if they move from Palo Alto.

"We know our schools are safe. We know we have good relationships with staff. Shifting all that — it's going to have an impact."

Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by Winter Dellenbach, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2013 at 7:24 am

Few if any Palo Alto parents believe Redwood City schools are comparable, just as few home owners would trade Palo Alto's famous school-dependent property values for those of Redwood City's. Comparing API scores to determine quality among schools is like comparing calorie counts to determine quality between restaurants - argue that to a good restaurant critic! Palo Alto schools provide the gold standard of education and experience and we all know it.

The children at Buena Vista are Palo Alto's children. Their parents have sacrificed as others have to live here. The PAUSD School Board unanimously adopted a Statement of Support for Buena Vista families and students living there. The PTA Council Representatives from all 17 schools voted their support, forming an advocacy committee to work with Buena Vista parents.

The only person arguing otherwise is the lawyer for Buena Vista's owner, trying to legally justify getting rid of 103 Palo Alto students whose families live at Buena Vista.

Palo Alto must insist that any redevelopment plans at Buena Vista Mobile Home Park include replacement affordable housing for the residents that will mitigate the loss of affordable housing to the City while ensuring students there will remain in our schools.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2013 at 7:32 am

One other aspect I haven't seen mentioned is that these low income children are mixing with families who generally have good values and morals. If these low income families are forced to move to other areas where there is a great deal of low income housing, I feel sure that they are very concerned about the peers their children will mix with, particularly at school.

I feel for these families who are probably very concerned about whether or not a new school may put them at greater risk of drugs, crime and lack of valuing education.

This is probably a huge concern to these families.


Posted by uh, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

if you don't live in Palo Alto, you shouldn't go to their schools. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2013 at 10:24 am

So .. how many children are living in this trailer park? How many are projected to live their in the next ten years?

Shouldn't we at least have that information?


Posted by Who is right? , a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

Critics of the district claim that low-income and minority students do better in other school districts. That PAUSD is failing these students.
Assuming Buena Vista residents are low-income, these critics would recommend that the move to other districts would be beneficial at least from the schooling viewpoint.
We seem to have a direct conflict between what these critics say and what the people impacted and Professor Padilla know.
Could it be that these critics are wrong?


Posted by owners rights, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2013 at 11:21 am

Winters tone is also harmful to the tenants. The owners are dealing with a park closure law, not a park preservation law. Thus is will close. telling the tenants otherwise is giving them false hopes

Also, the owners gains, profits and wealth should never be discussed is such a case. Really, should the government dictate the amount of profit you can make. Imagine you cannot sell an investment simply because it will make you wealthy?

Sounds like the owner is complying with the laws and the tenants are not liking the news. So they are resorting to games. Palo Alto or any other city should not reward such behavior. Imagine a world where a defendant can win a case simply by pleading the 5th.

Further, all our homes value is based on location, not construction cost. this is why a $2M home in Palo Alto would sell for $1M or less in a near by city. Thus the value is in the land. That wealth belongs to the land owner and not the tenant. This city law would easily be ruled non constitutional in a State court. that being true the city should caution on how it moves forward.


Posted by south PA parent, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

How will the schools accommodate all the additional students the proposed apartments will house?


Posted by Scoring, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Check out the differences in scores between PAUSD and RWC schools....there is a 200 point gap!


Posted by sam, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by changes, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm

"Amado Padilla, a professor of education at Stanford University... told the Weekly that the other communities cited in the report are significantly different from Palo Alto...'There's just a lot of resources going into the schools in Palo Alto that most of the surrounding school districts cannot match,' Padilla told the Weekly."

That funding disparity will be going away, starting this coming year, thanks to Prop 30 and Governor Brown's revamped school funding formula. In a few years, schools in communities like East Palo Alto will be funded at levels comparable to, and in some cases better than, school districts like Palo Alto even taking local taxes and donations into account.

Web Link


Posted by Joe, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm

After the Maybell disaster, PAHC is likely unable to build even a dog house in Barron Park in the foreseeable future. So, a good number of the Buena Vista families aren't going to be able to remain in the immediate area.

Even with widespread community support for keeping the Buena Vista children in PAUSD, is the proposal that these kids make their way from RWC and EPA to the lowest ranked elementary school in the District every morning? That doesn't seem like a terrific plan.


Posted by Josef Stalin, a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Winter Dellenbach has carefully omitted any mention of whether she supports any mention of whether she steadfastly supports retaining the current RM-15 zone district, or whether she supports the developers proposal to intensify the development potentential by rezoning the property to RM-15. Her statement about mitigation of "any redevelopment plans" is meaningless unless she first tells us what her position is on the question of rezoning. ("Palo Alto must insist that any redevelopment plans at Buena Vista Mobile Home Park include replacement affordable housing for the residents that will mitigate the loss of affordable housing to the City while ensuring students there will remain in our schools.")

[Portion removed.]


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm

As much as I sympathize with the plight of the Buena Vista residents, the rationale by Professor Padilla does not make any sense.

As a previous poster highlighted, the economically disadvantaged in the Palo Alto school system fair much worst than in some of the other surrounding school districts.

If money per pupil is the arguement, then Newark, New Jersey, which spends twice as much per pupil as Palo Alto, would be graduating high number of high achieving scholars.

And if stability factor, of going to a different school without some of your school mates, then the students who graduate from JLS middle school must have some problems, as they split up between Paly & Gunn.

And what of the student from a middle class family who lives in the a rental, who is forced to move because of the rent increases? Why aren't they being given the same entitlements as the Buena Vista residents?

And where is the Palo Alto Housing Corp? They have several developments, like 801 Alma with space for 50 families - that would take about half of the Buena Vista population.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm

@Josef Stalin - I assume you are stunned now that a portion of your posting was removed. Welcome to Palo Alto!


Posted by Allison, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I can't help but think that there is a an odd sense of "entitlement" going on here with the residents of Buena Vista. If ANYONE living in Palo Alto, other than Buena Vista residents, suddenly or gradually can't afford their mortgage or rent, they move to a cheaper, more affordable city. That is just reality. People are displaced from Palo Alto all the time because the law of supply and demand are such that the cost of living here is pretty high. Why do the BV residents get some type of free pass? I don't get it. This is not a divorce and these residents are not entitled to a lifestyle they have "gotten used to" living in Palo Alto. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by allison , a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2013 at 11:45 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 27, 2013 at 2:13 am

School attendance is governed by residency within PAUSD borders or the Tinsley Program. That's the way it is and that's the way it should be.

People move all the time...and their kids move into new school districts. This is nothing new. If you think this is tough, try being a USA military family where most families have to move every 3 years!


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2013 at 10:50 am

@allison - maybe it is about time to start a humor thread? I am reminded of the following (Web Link). Please note the first comment - I am hoping that pointing to this one will not have it removed.
Maybe you can organize a stand up show? Cardinal comes to mind, among many others (who may be only one or two). Plenty of raw material for stand up, unfortunately.


Posted by Josef Stalin, a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Village Fool -- The proper name of the city is the Democratic People's Republic of Palo Alto, where everyone is a volunteer, and they follow the Juche Idea of self reliance.


Posted by D. Parker, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

A teacher, a lawyer, and five school board members walk into a room and shut the door behind them.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm

@Josef Stalin - Thank you, I humbly stand corrected. Thankfully it is easier to deal with a removed post than with getting reeducated.


Posted by cynic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

It may be that the BV residents and their lawyers/advocates know full well that it's a long-shot that all the BV kids can remain in PAUSD once they've moved outside the district. The repeated mentioning of this entitlement is simply a ploy to increase the payout the residents can extract from the owners of the mobile home park.


Posted by bingofoothill, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

@owners rights, your assumption about the value in land is misguided particularly if you live in College Terrace, which was still Stanford campus in 1971. Location, location, location! Property values are related to that special entity that's located across Stanford Ave from you. Both Palo Alto high schools are built on Stanford lands that were dedicated to Palo Alto by the University. That university makes Palo Alto, not vice versa. That's where the value, the prestige, the esoterica, of a Palo Alto address derives.


Posted by Mark Thompson, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 1, 2013 at 12:36 pm

In general, "the most concern of people who are living at Buena Vista is school district education for their children". And of course there are tons of people also had the same thought that they wanted their kids to be success in good school as Palo Alto too, therefore they sacrifice and willing to pay 1M-2M in condos and houses just for this reason. I look at this point of view, it is not fair in term of resident who pay million bucks for their kid to go to school in Palo Alto versus people live at Buena Vista which claim for low income can also go to Palo Alto's shools too?


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm

@Josef Stalin - I hope you did not miss the thread your comrade Kim jong-on started today, titled: "Thanks from the DPRK". Your comrade shared, how shall I put it? his opinion about the editing(?) considerations. Reading the new thread had me recall our dialog, above.
Unfortunately, I can not find now the new thread. Maybe you'll have better luck? In any case, I have posted it along few other examples of editing(?) here - Web Link

I've read the TERMS OF USE and I believe that I have complied. Let's see.


Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2013 at 10:27 am

The residents of Buena Vista are long-time Palo Altans who have sacrificed just like the rest of us to live there. I have known teachers in our schools who lived there because it was close and it was the only thing locally they could afford. The children who live there make up nearly 10% of the local elementary school population. The mobile home park is the last truly affordable patch of Palo Alto, where the residents do not have to enroll in some program.

Let's look at this logically:

1. The residents have a lease agreement that entitles them to stay there or to compensation if they are evicted. They are being evicted so the owners can sell to a developer who is counting on being granted significant violation of the zoning — a significant giveaway to a single developer (who probably isn't even a Palo Alto resident). Any large development in that area would instantly add major enrollment to the local schools. The proximity to Gunn HS and Terman MS especially is the single biggest factor in housing demand and prices in that area. Such a large development would add major traffic and strain an area already being severely impacted by rampant overdevelopment.

2. The developer wants to put 180 units on approximately 4 acres of RM-15 property adjacent to a residential area. RM-15 adjacent to residential is supposed to be 8 units per acre. If we assume (because residents are so fed up they will make the City follow the Comprehensive Plan) the half adjacent to residential would be 8 units per acre, and the half closer to El Camino the maximum 15 units per acre, that's about 46 units total on the whole property. With a 40% density bonus, assuming some BMR units (and that residents are in a mood not to contest that much increase), that's still only 64 units, a third of what Prometheus plans. And the density bonus is supposed to be an incentive for affordable housing, it makes little sense for it to be used to provide an incentive to RAZE far more affordable housing in order to mostly benefit a developer (at the expense of the community and affordable housing). In Los Angeles, just such an abuse allowed residents to contest and overturn the local density bonus law. (Something Palo Altans might at some point emulate here.)
Web Link

3. The property is in the same neighborhood as the Maybell property, and with the resounding defeat of Measure D (and the fact that those who voted For Measure D are also mostly in favor of saving the mobile home park, too), and the way residents' quality of life has already been impacted by the thoughtless overdevelopment (and more in the pipeline to create even greater impacts soon), you can believe me when I tell you that there is NO WAY residents are going to allow the City to upzone that property. Period.

***In the wake of Measure D, residents are more connected than ever, and City Council may as well accept that as fact right now or they will put us through yet another expensive debacle. And no, Mayor Scharff, an 18-month delay will not change that.***

4. PAHC has publicly announced their intentions to sell the property at Maybell, which means the nearly $6 million the City loaned for that property could be applied at Buena Vista. About half of that comes from the now totally drained affordable housing fund, and the rest from the Stanford funds which are supposed to mitigate the impact of development: all of it is perfectly appropriate to apply to save the affordable housing at Buena Vista (as opposed to adding far fewer and far more expensive "affordable" units the majority of which will likely be inhabited from people coming from outside Palo Alto anyway, given the historic pattern, not by long-time Palo Altans).

Back of the envelope calculation:
The residents have rustled up $14.5million to offer for the property. Add $5.8million gives $20.3 million total. I believe the idea is that Prometheus would pay $30million after the mobile home park is razed? If the landlord takes the $20.3million now instead, they could write off almost $10million as a donation to the nonprofit, essentially making the offer worth almost $24million. If they take what is essentially $24million, it's a bird in the hand TODAY, and they don't have to go through the trouble, expense, and risk of evicting the residents, which easily could cost $3million or more when all is said and done. So now it's essentially a weighing of essentially $27million+ now versus $30million in the future for a developer who won't get to build what they offered $30milion for. And the landlord would be able to go to sleep at night knowing they both got rich AND didn't evict their longtime tenants.

The City's input wouldn't be a gift to the residents, it would be a long-term low-interest loan, just like the City made to PAHC at Maybell. Instead of paying rent to the Jissers, residents could service the loan. And the City could impose a regulatory agreement as part of that loan to keep the property affordable, just as they did at Maybell. Residents would retain their independence and autonomy, running the park like a Co-op.

This is the only scenario for the money that would be guaranteed to directly benefit existing long-time Palo Altans in affordable housing, as the pattern is that other affordable properties benefit people coming from outside to live in Palo Alto. If the City is concerned about this arrangement not satisfying its ABAG numbers, I strongly assert (in the wake of Measure D, as someone involved) we citizens would rustle up SIGNIFICANT citizen energy to change that — this situation is the poster child for what is wrong with the rules and how they lead to thoughtless densification, congestion, boondoggles for bigtime developers, and the LOSS of real affordable housing (and neighborhood cohesion), not the creation of it.

5. Just to clarify for posters above, PAHC does not have to be involved — their professional ambitions ostensibly conflict with what would best save BV anyway. PAHC is not some kind of affordable housing God. The property at 801 Alma is not a PAHC property, it was built and will be run by Eden Housing. Terman Apartments, another large affordable development in the Maybell vicinity, isn't a PAHC property either. There is no reason other than bolstering PAHC's professional ambitions to turn BV into a PAHC property. Residents living there are independent and at least own their residences, and are not beholden to anyone as they are as part of some program.

The residents have legal help and have formed a nonprofit with whom the City could directly enter into a regulatory agreement to keep the property affordable.

6. Even very right-wing residents I know who live in the vicinity are in favor of saving the mobile home park over a high-density development there. If the park is saved, the residents' nonprofit/coop could apply for funds for improvements. If the property face on El Camino were made attractive, and improvements made to the park infrastructure, that alone would satisfy most of the current neighborhood detractors. If residents of the park have more control and ownership, as they would under such a scenario, that will also help foster greater care of the property.

There is a REASONABLE path to helping these long-time neighbors maintain the mobile home park as an affordable enclave in Palo Alto.

If you agree with me, please join me in telling the City Council: city.council@cityofpaloalto.org


Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

Buena Vista does NOT have to up zoned for the property to be be worth $30 million. From the City of Palo Alto website, the property value of Buena Vista "As Vacant" (that is, with out the trailers) is as follows:

Current RM‐15 Zoning 4.47 AC, $29,225,000
Proposed RM‐40 Zoning, 4.47 AC, $29,225,000

ttp://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/34431

The $14 million dollar value is with the trailer park in place. So basically, the trailer park itself devalues the property by half.


Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2013 at 11:16 am

Palo Alto resident,
Please read what I wrote. It describes a way forward where the alternative is competitive against a $30million offer, and carries less risk than waiting for an eviction process before sealing the deal.


Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

I meant to add:

Please read what I wrote. It describes a way forward where the alternative is competitive against a $30million offer, and carries less risk than waiting for an eviction process before sealing the deal.

The reason the fact that the neighbors will not allow the upzoning is relevant is that is makes the bird-in-hand of essentially $27million value today a much more attractive alternative to a $30million deal that may never happen because the developer won't get their upzoning, and that will require significant upfront costs by the owner in advance of the deal.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

While I appreciate your concern and creativity, I oppose any idea that the city would loan money for this project or any other housing project for that matter.

I believe "Maria" has discussed (in other threads?) that there are state funds/loans available for something like this - get the money there.


Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm

@Crescent Park Dad,
Half of that money comes from the affordable housing fund, which is earmarked for just this sort of thing. So if you are ideologically against spending money on affordable housing, you might support this use as it would require no more obligation than there, whereas another use will likely not be limited to just what's in the fund.

The rest would also be a loan, not a gift or grant, which the City could secure quite safely with the property.

An alternative use is for the City to outright own some of the property with the half until the residents can secure grants to pay them back.

Regardless of how it is done, saving the real affordable housing of over 400 longtime Palo Altans is a better use of the money -- which is earmarked for affordable housing -- and is relatively risk free for the City.

Remember, this is money they had already committed to affordable housing at Maybell through 30-year loans to PAHC.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm

There hasn't yet been a survey from BPA about Buena Vista, so it's premature to guess the level of support for keeping the park in the neighborhood, let alone what type of financial contribution should be made by the City. I suspect there is a good neighborhood support for keeping the park, but there isn't the passion that drove the Maybell Measure D effort.

At any rate, I don't see how using the change from RM-15 to RM-40 will save Buena Vista. You're correct that one side of the property does border RM-1 in Barron Park. But, the site is also adjacent to the RM-30 (PAHC's Oak Manor and Montage Apartments) and PC-2930 (the Villa * complex). Buena Vista is essentially on El Camino (a state highway) and Los Robles (a major neighborhood travel route).

There are several problems with the "no up-zoning" argument and leveraging Maybell's Measure D. The Buena Vista lawyers have already been making the point that the site is centrally and conveniently located as a way to seek more compensation for the park's closure. The location and arguments from the Buena Vista lawyers themselves invalidate the argument that the site shouldn't at least support RM-30.

The other problem is that the zoning argument completely ignores the current density of the Buena Vista park. The number of residents in the park has doubled from 200 when the City's mobile home ordinance was enacted to 400 today. The currently layout is obviously entirely single story. And, Buena Vista is a "one star" trailer park with no amenities. By contrast, Prometheus is proposing 3 and 4 story apartments that are not family units. So, effectively, approving the zoning change and the development would greatly improve the area and be compatible with the existing surrounding zoning, while potentially reducing the burden on our local schools. I'm not being inflammatory, I'm just trying to point out the argument the other side could reasonably make.

The biggest problem is that opposing re-zoning is a legal dead end. If the intention of opposing any zoning change is to keep Buena Vista open, you lose. There's plenty of legal precedent, and the City would likely be obligated to pay significant damages when they fail. My guess is that the City is floating this idea so that they can appear to helping the Buena Vista residents only to "discover" at the last minute that this avenue won't work because of the legal ramifications.


Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

The property at BV is zoned RM-15. Even if you allow for all of it being built to the max allowed, that's only 60 units. Add the density bonus and you get 84, still far short on the 180 Prometheus wants.

Upzoning will take an ordinance that residents will overturn. We are up to here with overdevelopment, particularly in our neighborhood. No more. Residents on both sides of the Measure D debate are heavily in favor of saving BV.

Given that, the City may as well put the money it is already willing to commit to affordable housing to save BV. All it does is give the residents the ability to offer a competitive bid, same as they did for PAHC at Maybell. I don't see why they would preference PAHC when they didn't produce a market study or articulate clearly which Palo Altans would live there, when at BV, they would be clearly saving real affordable housing for longtime Palo Altans. And it would be a loan with no skin off their nose in the grand scheme of things.

Why in the world would the City be liable for not giving away zoning? The zoning s RM-15, the City has no legal obligation to give away higher zoning.


Posted by Maria, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Greenacres, could you please email me privately at darcy30 at fastmail.fm

Thanks!


Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm

@Greenacres - my point is that the City does not need to upzone Buena Vista for it to be worth $30 million. 67 units could be built on the 4.47 acres at the current zoning. If they were townhouses built there that sold for $1 million each (really low for PA) that's $67 million dollars…

I do like your creativity for the owner to "donate" part of the value, but I don't think the City has any recourse against him except to work on making sure the current residents get as much $$ from him as possible. The way the ordinance is written, there is no clause for "comparable schools" being part of the process. Another alternative would be to get a donation from a philanthropic individual to make up the difference.

I've always felt that the most realistic way to help the residents is to find them the best housing alternatives possible, if things had been settled sooner, perhaps the City could have asked Eden housing to give preference to the Buena Vista residents for the 50 apartments they recently built on Alma.


Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm

@palo alto resident,
I'm not sure why you are making the point to me about the value, since my calculation assumed the property is $30million. I'm also not suggestion the City do anything except extend the same loans to BV that they did for PAHC at Maybell, now that those loans will not be needed at Maybell anymore. I'm making the point that added to the offer the BV residents have on the table, it makes an attractive and competitive alternative, particularly since the neighbors are in no mood to allow another large parcel in the neighborhood to be upzoned, no matter what goes there, and the City may as well save BV.

I think what all of us want -- my suggestion included -- is less important than what the BV residents want, and I'll be honest, I have no direct line there, all I know is what I've read in the papers and through the grapevine.

Maria, have I missed the mark? I'm perfectly willing to correspond -- butI do not recognize the format of your address. Please send an email to info at paloaltoville.com, and the webmaster will put us in touch.


Posted by Josef Stalin, a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Village Fool,

I tried to access the Town Square thread from your blog and obtained the following message: Sorry. The topic you are looking for is no longer in the system.

Nobody posted comments on your blog. Maybe your blog will have responses if the Weekly is willing to sponsor your anonymous blog.

People used to say there is no truth in Izvestia and no news in Pravda.

Now we have five publications we can read: the Comical, the Murky News, the Delay News, the Weakly, and the Daily Compost.

And we invented all of them.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Josef Stalin - Thank you for taking the time to try to find the thread. I could not find it,but I posted it for your viewing pleasure (Web Link).

I doubt the Weekly will sponsor my blog. May I humbly suggest that you show a personal example when it comes to commenting? My blog would be honored to host a comment from you! Do you need any sponsorship from anyone to share your insights?

I've read the TERMS OF USE and I believe that I have complied. Let's see.


Posted by Greenacres, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm

@Joe,
"So, effectively, approving the zoning change and the development would greatly improve the area and be compatible with the existing surrounding zoning, while potentially reducing the burden on our local schools. I'm not being inflammatory, I'm just trying to point out the argument the other side could reasonably make."

People on this side of town like the rural feel. Most of us do NOT see removing the trailer park for a high density development as an improvement. Saving the park and then applying for grants to improve the park itself would be an improvement. Saving the residents who are long-time Palo Altans is better for our community.

How exactly do you figure more bedrooms would reduce the burden on our local schools? Do you not understand who is cramming into the apartments nearby? Gunn HS is the primary driver for occupancy over here. Those apartments will be occupied by families with kids, grandparents with kids, kids with rich parents overseas, just like the Arbor Real development is, though if you remember CC promised it would be inhabited by seniors (huh?) not families.