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Original post made
on Jan 23, 2008
I absolutely hate the idea of this green belt, small though it is, being turned into high density housing. And I know it will change this neighborhood I know and love, and not for the better. But I realize, too, that this is private land owned by Stanford, and I have no more right to tell them not to build the housing they need then I have to tell the neighbors across the street that the purple paint they used for their house also wrecks my view. What to do?
This is a great way to go forward. Reasonable residents, and an institution that is willing to negotiate with them. This is the kind of measured approach we should be taking with Stanford in all negotiations.
I suggest we close all roads into College Terrace until they decide to join the real world where a right of way is what it was dedicated for.
Frustrated, the road in front of your house is a public right of way; anyone can drive on it, anyone can park on it. Why buy a house on Stanford Avenue if you don't want traffic?
Kindly note that the posting by "Frustrated" focused on the loss of the narrow green strip between Stanford Avenue and Olmsted Rd, i.e. the land that the houses will be built on. There's not a word in that message about cars and the behavior of their owners.
In fact, many people will be missing that last bit of undeveloped space. The drainage ditch will be entubated, so the egrets who stop by seasonally won't be seen anymore. The annual cycle of green growth when rains begin, grass that isn't a lawn species, the mowers just before Stanford graduation will be history. Not exactly like paving over Yosemite, but a loss to neighbors none the less.
To his/her credit, "Frustrated" clearly grasps some basics of private property rights that so many Palo Altans seem to forget, and isn't expecting to be able to stop this development.
The facts are that this is privately owned land, never zoned as open space and outside of Palo Alto. In fact, its fate was sealed in December 2000 when this parcel was designated for medium density housing in 2000 when the County Supervisors approved Stanford's GUP.
That said, it's still perfectly legitimate for neighbors to be concerned about compatibility of what is built with the existing look and feel of the neighborhood. And given how underparked the last housing project Stanford built in this area turned out to be, there is every reason to examine the parking and circulation plans carefully.
It remains to be seen whether Stanford will be proposing the equivalent of the purple house for both the Stanford Avenue and the El Camino projects discussed in the article, or whether there will be a real effort to build a long-lasting neighborly relationship.
I also lament the loss of the greenbelt and large trees that will come with the development at Stanford. As a homeowner on Stanford Avenue, I am not bothered much by traffic, but rather enjoy access to the running path and greenery across the way. This little bit of open space does much to enrich the lives of students, runners, and neighbors as well as the occasional Great Blue Heron seen on the creek. I'm sad to see it developed but realize that Stanford has the right to do so.
I think Stanford's planned 75 houses on that green strip along Stanford avenue might be prevented by bringing attention to the fact that the green strip is a riparian way. It has a creek all along it and does attract species of water birds including egrets and blue herons. As a wet land this precious green strip in Palo Alto should not be destroyed, and I wonder if the laws of the state and country aren't available to ensure its proper valuation as the resource it represents to our progressively "green appreciating" life style. Shame on Stanford in trying to grab this last green strip and with a creek running through it.
Nature defenders please help!
Why is it necessary for Stanford to stuff more university housing into this last little strip of up open green space, when there are so many open spaces scattered throughout Pine Hill? There is plenty of space up there for additional housing without creating further congestion within a very dense area.
It's closer to transit. All neighborhoods that are closer to transit, all over America, are going to experience densification. Thier value is "proximity".
The challenge will be to find ways to maintain of neighborhood integrity as we bring more levels of dynamism and diversity to community. We've done it before; we'll do it again.
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