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Original post made
on Nov 1, 2013
Doubling down on your position on D is just misguided and very sad to me. You are fantasizing some outcome that is not going to happen. If D loses neither this project nor any other will be built for a long time. I'm so sorry to see you doing this. It unfortunately matters.
This is just the preamble to 27 University. The line in the sand has to be drawn somewhere!
How can you imagine that the Housing Corporation was/is expecting to have PROFITS from development of the Maybell project ? That is crazy!! The Housing Corporation is nonprofit developer of affordable housing. They will be paying off loans from multiple sources for fifty or more years. The so called profit from the sale of the single-family homes simply goes into to the overall financing structure so that the Housing Corporation can successfully get approval of lower cost loans explicitly intended for affordable housing.
They say this is for Palo Alto seniors but anybody can rent them in the county. So basically it could be full of people from Sunnyvale right!!
The Weekly needs to do a lot of soul searching on this one. Most of this campaign has not been done in person or in print but online.
How can the Weekly protect our political process against the strategic abuse of anonymous posting that has characterized the six month campaign against this project and PAHC personnel conducted in the Town Square by a single poster using multiple identities?
We need more transparency and accountability in order for the public to weigh perspectives and form intelligent opinions on matters of civic governance. If this abuse of the Town Square succeeds this time, you can be sure that it will be tried again.
One Question I am confused on. How many parking spots are given to each apartment?
This one was an easy choice. The council abused its power and subverted the democratic process by committing itself financially to a developer before vetting a project. As such, the project was hugely flawed -- just from the top of my head:
-- I believe there are either 36 or 46 parking spots to cover 60 units, each of which can be responsible for multiple cars + support staff
-- Adding traffic to a congested, unsafe school transit corridor is a bad idea. Doing a traffic study that ignores the bicycle traffic is reckless and irresponsible.
-- Ignoring 4,000 signatures and continuing to commit more tax dollars to their developer friends, while continuing to insist that the city council knows what is better for the neighborhood than those who are living there is symptomatic of the way this council has completely sold out to development interests. 27 University, Jay Paul, and countless others will be next.
-- No residency requirement -- we will be subsidizing out of town seniors to move here.
Hope this one fails by a large margin so our tone-deaf city council gets the message that we're tired of paying the bills for the favors they love granting to their developer friends.
There are only 35 parking spaces for the 60 residents, with 7 for staff and guests or caregivers - 42 total. There is a 5 space parking reserve - if needed by the senior housing or the single family houses. PAHC has said they would run a van service because the housing development is so far from shopping and medical services - don't know where that would be parked. Don't figure many 70 year olds can carry grocery bags 1/3 of a mile from the bus stop on El Camino
Quotes that are very telling about the Palo Alto process:
When the Planning Commission voted to initiate a "planned community" zone change, allowing developers to break zoning rules in exchange for "public benefits." Commissioner Tanaka marveled at the lack of people attending the meeting and surmised that neighbors were unaware. "I think if the people really knew what was being built across the street, there would be more of an outcry there." (Feb '13)
What is allowed at Maybell was critical in the council's decision on whether to approve the zone change. The R-2 zone allows a second unit but requires a 6,000' ft lot. The R-2 site is 14,000' ft with four homes, meaning the lot sizes are nowhere near 6,000' ft minimum. That calls into question the city's calculation for two residences on each lot. When asked about staff reports, City Manager Keene emphasized the limitations, "The findings in the staff reports tend to support the particular staff recommendation rather than represent all views"(Jul '13)
Mayor Scharff (against PCs when running for council) now says "PC zones are not springing up in your local neighborhood." (Oct '13) The council has approved three PC projects ( Lytton Gateway, Edgewood Plaza and Maybell ) since Scharff joined the council in January 2010.
This has become divisive for a neighborhood that has embraced low income housing. The process is flawed and the outcome is a flawed development with no winners. Maybell should not be rezoned. It makes perfect sense to start over with unbiased information and work within current zoning.
"They say this is for Palo Alto seniors but anybody can rent them in the county. So basically it could be full of people from Sunnyvale right!!"
And preference is given to seniors that live or work in Palo Alto. Given the number of seniors in Palo Alto already on the waiting lists, even 60 units isn't sufficient. So, no, it won't be "full of people from Sunnyvale".
But keep going with your misinformation, it's your only chance. Anyone that knows the facts will be voting YES.
1).to commenter above--Comparing Palo Alto Housing Corp.(a local NON-PROFIT that develops and maintains affordable housing)to Jay Paul (one of the worst examples of greedy for-profit developers) is deliberately misleading and designed to stir up anger.
2). for the Weekly to say that the city has not been able to "clearly document and indisputably prove their key point: that defeating Measure D will actually result in a worse and more intensive development than the project being proposed." indicates to me that the Weekly staff has not done their homework as I did.
The city explained existing zoning and outlined what would be allowed. They also pointed to new state requirements for density bonuses which the Measure D opponents steadfastly ignored. I did my homework. City staff is correct. The alternative project is worse and will create greater traffic and school enrollment impacts.
I will be voting YES on Measure D, and I still like my neighbors who may disagree with me, though I'd appreciate a little less shrill and more factual rhetoric and research.
Sorry it should read:
To "Simple Question" - There will be 40 parking spaces for the 60 senior housing units. For the 12 single family homes sitting on 3200 or 3600 sq-ft lots, I am guessing each will have a one-car garage. BTW, the proposed plan will also take away a row of parking spaces out of the existing low-income building (adjacent to the land being argued)in order to create an exit road for the new development. So, PAHC and the City officials saying that there will be no impact to the neighborhood is being naïve or deceiving.
To "Marlene Prendergast" - you are most correct that PAHC is a non-profit and they are not the ones who will profit from this. PAHC borrowed money from City of Palo Alto to buy the land. They are borrowing money from the developer and the banks for the construction. The developer and the bank agree to loan PAHC money providing that PAHC goes for a bigger tax credit which can only happen if PAHC builds more senior units. PAHC can only build more units if the land is rezoned. The tax credit will go to PAHC which means nothing since it is a non-profit, and to the developer and the bank (means a lot because they are for-profits). Furthermore, rezoning is not just for more senior housing units. That is just the carrot. Rezoning will allow the private developer to build 12 instead of 4 houses that was originally planned. That is where the profits come into play...to the developer.
The weekly says:
" primarily because we believe the City Council failed to strike the appropriate balance between mitigating the impacts on the neighborhood and the Housing Corporation's desire to maximize profits in selling half the site to a private home developer"
This is a very misleading statement. The Housing Corp is non-profit and proposed this structure as the only way the senior housing could be financed. Without the sale of the lots to a private developer, the senior housing can not be built. The city will not "make up the difference". This is akin to the idea that it should be purchased by the city for $15 million to revert the site to an orchard.
A third party developer is going to make a huge profit to "help" PAHC get the project financed. PAHC has tainted it's once noble mission by serving as am enabler for the city council to give favors away to their developer friends.
Add to that the poor manner in which PAHC has behaved during the vetting process (shameful traffic study, terrible outreach, playing the NIMBY card at every turn), and this is an easy NO vote.
We just sold our home in Greenacres and moved to downtown after 55 years,
From prior battles including the PAHC It's most likely that Palo Alto residents will NOT receive any special consideration for the units. Selection done on a county wide basis.
There are 20 less parking spaces planned than apartments? so where will the outside aids,helpers and medical support personnel park?
I can't recall all the folks that have told me that they're sorry that they voted for the High Speed Rail!
> The Housing Corp is non-profit and proposed this structure as the
> only way the senior housing could be financed.
This statement is one that should have had more scrutiny during this campaign. With California being the home of "creative financing", it's difficult that in this city the PAHC could not find more than one, and only, one, funding mechanism.
The PAHC owns a lot of property--somewhere between $200M and $300M (or more). Why couldn't the PAHC use some of this property as collateral when seeking loans for this project? Given that many of the PAHC projects have been acquired with City of Palo Alto loans, some of which have been promised 50% loan forgiveness--then it's clear that the business model for the PAHC is to acquire hundreds of millions of Palo Alto property with tax-payer transfers through loan forgiveness, and tax credits.
Recently, a local social network business owner contributed $500M to a Silicon Valley charity:
Would it have been impossible for a small $26M loan to have been funded by this charity? Or what about some of the many local billionaires be considered for loans to provide this kind of housing?
And then there is the question: why at this location? Why not pick a place in Mountain View, or East Palo Alto? Are there any laws that restrict the PAHC to only operating in Palo Alto?
There are too many claims, like the one above, that should reviewed by people which housing finance backgrounds.
Sadly, that didn't happen.
And then one can only wonder, if Measure D succeeds, will this be the last Palo Alto project for the PAHC? And, if Measure D fails, will this be the last project for the PAHC?
I have received at least six mailers from the PAHC. Got to wonder why these folks are so "dug in" on this project? Could it be that this is a model that is being considered to put an end to our residential neighborhoods? The PAHC has really shown its teeth on this project. It's hard to believe that they won't be back again looking to use this model again and again, supported by a City Council that seems committed to selling zoning for the "right price".
NO on Measure D.
"To "Simple Question" - There will be 40 parking spaces for the 60 senior housing units. For the 12 single family homes sitting on 3200 or 3600 sq-ft lots, I am guessing each will have a one-car garage. BTW, the proposed plan will also take away a row of parking spaces out of the existing low-income building (adjacent to the land being argued)in order to create an exit road for the new development. So, PAHC and the City officials saying that there will be no impact to the neighborhood is being naïve or deceiving."
These houses will be four bedrooms and should have room for more than one car. I have a three bedroom house and we have four cars (three kids share two vehicles).
The 40 parking spaces will be for renters, guest parking and workers combined. 60 units could have 60 to 120 residents.
"the proposed plan will also take away a row of parking spaces out of the existing low-income building (adjacent to the land being argued)" These renters are already parking all through the neighborhood because they are already low on parking. I met the person who monitors parking and it is a constant issue for the PAHC residents already.
I agree that is is naive to say that there will be no or limited impact on the neighborhood.
AgainstMeasureD.com to review the site for yourself.
To clarify all the many misunderstandings above about the profits:
PAHC purchased the entire property and is selling off 55% of the land to a for profit developer. Before selling the land, they are making it more valuable by upzoning it to a much higher density than any normal developer could build homes in the neighborhood. Among other things, the added density lets them ask for a larger in lieu fee from the private developer. These amounts of money were written into the ordinance, and PAHC has applied them in their funding application as if they have already received them. It's one reason they were so inflexible.
But the profits from the SALE of the densified homes will NOT be benefiting the affordable housing side, the millions of dollars in profits from the sale of those homes ala Miki's Market will only benefit the private developer. The City asked PAHC why it wasn't developing the homes itself since they are building the main building themselves -- in this way, they could build just regular homes and make even more money for the affordable side -- and they said because it's not their mission. Even though the extra millions would make it possible for them to mitigate many of the negative effects on the neighborhood. It's their mission to make money for affordable housing when it aligns with their plans, but not when they have what they want they could minimize the impact on the neighborhood.
It's egregious for them to say this is about seniors, while allowing a wall of tall skinny homes the disabled could never live in to be built across from a long-time school for disabled children, a strong message that Palo Alto's inclusionary housing policies don't include the disabled. It's been egregious to watch how they have only belittled the serious safety problems at Maybell, pushing this to a special election that costs far more than the traffic safety study the neighbors have a right to expect from City policy and didn't get for the safety of thousands of school children.
Please vote Against D.
@ Against Measure D,
PAHC's ad was misleading on the parking issue. There will be 36 parking spots for the RESIDENTS of a 60-unit complex, with larger units than other comparable properties, and no on-site amenities (it's not a senior center), it could be up to 120 people, though probably something in between.
There will be 47 parking spots total, but they failed to mention that 5 of them will be dedicated to employees, and the rest are set aside for visitors/disabled spots.
More worrisome for the neighborhood is that there just is no place for even a dozen overflow cars, much less more than that. PAHC compared the parking rate to other senior centers to justify the 36 spaces as enough, but for example, Stevenson House with the same rate of spots has a grocery store across the street, a library and community center a few steps further, and Betty Wright Swim center, Mitchell Park, and other amenities steps away. They have 2 onsite meals per day. Yet they have a significant amount of overflow parking that they have an arrangement with the church next door to take. There is no such place for overflow parking at Maybell, except to take away the already limited parking at Juana Briones park, and the limited spots in front of the OH which impacts the families of the disabled students who attend the programs there, as well as the families of the regular elementary students. And those spots will likely be taken by overflow parking from the existing APAC property, since the ordinance would prohibit parking on Maybell between the park and El Camino during the day, and redline a lot of the parking on Clemo.
Bottom line: this really is about safety and neighborhood character for the neighbors, who care about affordable housing, but put the safety of children first (as should have the City) -- and they will fight on if Measure D passes. For D means for lawsuits, there is already a CEQA lawsuit.
Neighbors are also sincere about working out a way for affordable housing, as many of the same people leading the charge Against D were also a part of the Terman Working Group, which was formed when a developer wanted to build a complex on the Terman School Site. Neighbors were able to ensure the 92-unit low-income apartments were built AND the school land was saved for future need, as proved to be true. If not for these same neighbors, we would not have Terman Middle School now.
AGAINST D is the only healing path forward.
>The PAHC owns a lot of property--somewhere between $200M and $300M (or more).
If true, this is a sobering thought. This means that all that value will be taken off the books of our property taxes. This means that the market rate homes and businesses will need to make up the difference. Welfare housing has many costs, and it is rarely discussed. I am willing to discuss it.
I'm voting YES. This is a good project.
Did my homework. I read all of the staff reports, listened to all of the public meetings. Opponents keep saying the traffic study was bad. WRONG. The city required the developer to study comparative auto impacts of the project. I read that study. It is correct but misleading to say that the city did not ask the non-profit developer to look at bike and pedestrian safety. The city was already studying bike and pedestrian safety and improvements in preparation for the planned Maybell Bike Boulevard project. Why would they ask a non-profit organization to DUPLICATE work that was already being done?
My knowledge on this project all started back in April when my wife heard about the "rumor" from a neighbor who heard it as a "rumor" from somebody else. My first reaction to my concerned wife was "Actually, it's not a bad thing at all. Those oppose it are probably either NIMBY's or not understanding the project." Now, I know how wrong I was. Unfortunately, supporters of Measure D still fantasize that they knew all the facts and truth. I honestly wish they had. My wife and I alteady voted NO.
> If true, this is a sobering thought. This means that all that
> value will be taken off the books of our property taxes
It's true, up to the point that the exact market value of their properties is not realify known. I did a short review of their property (that I could easily find), and wrote a short paper about the private cost of this project:
I came up with a number in the range of $80M (and quite possibly more than $100M) over the next fifty-five years. (This seems like an odd time interval, but it turns out that the Feds use that length of time to qualify for some of the tax credits.)
After I finished working on the spreadsheet for this cost determination, I kept realizing that there were other costs that I took a couple of days to materialize in my thinking. I also forgot the $800K for this special election.
PAHC is not the only provider of housing that is tax exempt. As we move into the coming decades, the cost to the public, in terms of tax avoidance, and services required, will only continue to grow.
"This means that the market rate homes and businesses will need to make up the difference."
Yeah, because the city gets so much tax money from the Orchard today!
@ Y South of Midtown,
The traffic engineers who did the study for the City admitted they didn't look at the safety impact to bicyclists. Neighbors hired one of the most well-respected traffic engineers in the state, Tom Brohard, who found the City's traffic analysis to be "inadequate". Among other things, the City's traffic study applied old data before the Arastradero restriping. After the Maybell situation, the City adopted some of Brohard's projects, including an updated traffic model, but refused to apply it at Maybell.
The City has been so gungho to push through this rezoning, if they thought a look at the impact to bikes and pedestrians would have backed their claims, they would have done it long ago.
If yes wins, the controversy will only continue with lawsuits, because this really is about safety and the character of the neighborhood, and these same neighbors weren't counting on winning the referendum, it was just the next step to do whatever is necessary to keep the kids safe and ensure the character of the neighborhood is respected. Because the housing CAN be done in a way that respects the neighborhood -- if PAHC truly believes it can't, they never should have gone after that site in a residential neighborhood. It's not like they did any kind of market analysis for senior needs and only then proceeded in a careful search with the City -- the property came up, they wanted it, the city and county gave them $15million without taking any public input, and that's why we are here.
Please vote Against D, if only so that you do not have to feel this powerless when someone else wants to put a high-density development in the heart of your residential neighborhood. As this is the first referendum in over 10 years, if neighbors win (AGAINST wins), despite the City Attorney writing such a biased and leading ballot and ballot question, it sends a powerful message to City Hall that they have to remember we residents are here.
@AgainstMeasureD. For someone who claims to make factual arguments, you have grossly miss represented one of your key assertions.
You stated that the existing four R2 lots on Maybell are only 14000 square feet combined. That false claim has been made repeatedly by Measure D opponents. In reality just the center two of the four R2 Maybell lots are a combined 13900 square feet. The seven proposed homes on Maybell would include the current corner lot along with the northern lot (closest to El Camino). In addition, the R2 lots are currently only 80 feet deep. The June city staff report shows that the new lots would be 95 feet deep. Consequently, the proposed single family lots on Maybell would be more than twice the size than you have claimed.
As Patrick Moynihan said, we are entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. If you adhere to the standards of truth and ethics that you espouse, please acknowledge this flagrant error and correct it.
@Y in Midtown,
"The city was already studying bike and pedestrian safety and improvements in preparation for the planned Maybell Bike Boulevard project. Why would they ask a non-profit organization to DUPLICATE work that was already being done?"
I'm having trouble seeing the screen for the steam coming out of my ears.
Maybell JUST went through a large $200,000 safety improvement in the last 4 or 5 years!!! Neighbors spent 6 months working with the City and Caltrans to make Maybell as safe as it's going to get. It's a substandard street, with no room for a full bike lane or sidewalk on either side. With the Governor's new law about staying 3 feet away from bicyclists - which is a great idea in general - it will effectively turn Maybell into a one-lane road or a giant liability nightmare.
The City has all these competing desires, including getting the kids to walk and bike to school, which is important. But if you designate a Safe Route to School, it means you have a responsibility to honor your own policy of heightened scrutiny of developments and of putting safety first as in the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan. The City has also approved a lot of dense projects, the cumulative traffic impacts of which weren't even considered in the traffic analysis -- The VMWare campus will almost double business traffic on the Arastradero corridor, increasing cut through traffic on Maybell, and it's not even open yet.
Maybell and Arastradero are how thousands of school kids get to Juana Briones, Terman, Bowman, and Gunn, almost half on foot an by bike. The City's own policy calls for heightened scrutiny for developments on school commute corridors, which they did not do -- they did not do ANY safety scrutiny to the bikes and pedestrians.
As for duplicating work? Maybell was already designated a bike boulevard in the Bike + Pedestrian city plan before this. But because of the City interests in steamrolling the Maybell rezoning, City staff showed up for meetings about it with the community and told everyone who had just spent 6 months working on the recent safety improvement of Maybell that they wanted them to start over. They didn't bring any notes, conclusions, reports, drawings, staff with institution memory, nothing from the work that had just recently been done. Oh, and they told one neighbor they weren't allowed to discuss the high-density development on the Maybell property or do anything about reviewing or mitigating potential impacts from it. DUPLICATING work? How about just doing the safety study in the first place JUST ONCE?! And treat the safety issues at Maybell honestly and NOT ask us to duplicate the safety work we just did! Safety should not be treated as such a meaningless SHOW, much less the safety of thousands of schoolchildren.
Well stated, Jerry. And that poster is naturally filling up this thread with multiple postings-- none of which contain any relevant facts.
I sent in my ballot this morning-- I voted Yes. [Portion removed.]
"I am guessing each will have a one-car garage"
No need to guess. Each of the houses will have a two-stall garage and a parking pad with space for two vehicles. So, space within the complex for 4 vehicles per house.
Unfortunately, the Weekly has not done its best work in editorializing against Measure D. As Barron Parker wrote, the Editor is indulging in some ill-informed fantasy that after he induces the electorate to "send a message" to City Hall, we can still have affordable housing on the site. In fact, the financing package that is making this possible is a mix of tax credits, loans and grants that won't survive a delay, and that it may not be possible to reassemble, particularly with a different number of market-rate lots.
In minimizing the risk of losing this deal altogether, the Editor is displaying a naivete that would be touching if it weren't so consequential. Once again, we may be about to learn that hope is not a strategy.
"The bitterness and anger of the campaign, fueled mostly by the neighbors who gathered the 4,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot and felt ignored and disrespected by the city and the Housing Corporation from the start, resulted in an ongoing whirlwind of assertions that too often were distortions and exaggerations."
This is wrong. There has also been a viciousness of the supporters of D that started well before that of the opponents, and the presentations and mailers from yes-on-D are filled with "distortions and exaggerations". I am not condoning or excusing the actions of the Against-D'ers, but criticizing the one-sidedness of the article's statement.
When those who became opponents were still asking questions and raising concerns about traffic safety and other issues, the supporters attacked them as being bigoted against seniors and those needing affordable housing, and that their purported concern about safety of school children was not real but a smoke-screen for their bigotry.
The abusive behavior of the D-supporters led to me resigning from the Board of the Barron Park Association (BPA) after 19 years, including 6 as President, or rather the refusal of a majority of the Board to stand up against such behavior. The watershed moment came in the announcement of the second informational meeting by PAHC (on January 16), although my resignation didn't occur until month later when it became clear that this was a persistent problem.
PAHC's announcement of the information meeting had been sent to the primary BPA email list. However, it only mentioned the 15 market-rate houses, without any details. The transition of a high-density development to a residential area is routinely a major consideration of such projects. I believed that it was better to have people who would be affected by this to ask questions and give feedback earlier in the process when there was a better chance to fix problems. I sent the follow-up message:
"Important additional detail: The 4 current one-story single-family homes along Maybell are to be replaced by 9 (of 15) single-family homes that are expected to be 2 and 3 stories tall. PA Housing Corp is looking for greater density of this housing to generate income to help finance the other portion of this project. However, nearby residents may find this housing visually incompatible with existing conditions on the street. This concern was raised at an earlier meeting on this project."
The project supporters on the BPA Board declared this to be advocacy against the project and misconduct on my part. I had earlier announced to the Board that I intended to take no position on the project (I didn't plan to delve deeply enough into the details to warrant having a public position), a position that was supported by the Board majority, with significant dissents.
In addition, the BPA email lists had a long reputation for civility, which was achieved by gentle private reminders when people were going too far, and the very infrequent public reminder and admonish when people went way too far. However, all this disappeared because the supporters of this project too often decided that the rules of etiquette did not apply to them, and that an attempt to rein them in was an act of belligerent partisanship. In contrast, the opponents of the project were quite accepting of guidance. There was a stream of specious personal attacks on me, including claims of significant acts of misconduct that were outright fabrications.
From where I stood, it was the supporters of the project that very early on destroyed the possibility of a civil discussion by using vitriol against questions and any facts that weren't 100% supportive of the project.
Again, I am not trying to excuse Against-D's excesses but rather correct what I see as an improper portrayal of who-did-what.
Disclosure: I am *now* supporting Against-D because I believe that the City failed to give adequate consideration to various significant issues before voting on the project, and consequently that improper approval needs to be overturned.
"..are to be replaced by 9 (of 15) single-family homes that are expected to be 2 and 3 stories tall.... However, nearby residents may find this housing visually incompatible with existing conditions on the street."
How on earth is putting 2 and 3 story buildings right next to existing 2 and 3 story buildings on this street "visually incompatible with existing conditions".
More misinformation. You can see why the Weekly stated "The bitterness and anger of the campaign, fueled mostly by the neighbors". They'll say anything.
All 3 Palo Alto papers came out Against D, with the Palo Alto Daily News announcing its recommendation today.
With all the misleading facts and emotional arguments by the "for" side, it's nice to see the journalists cutting through to underlying issues.
You have just provided yet another example of the rampant dishonesty of the supporters of D by seriously misrepresenting my quote by omitting "may find" and attributing the assessment to me rather than to other attendees of that earlier meeting.
Hey, Doug, glad you agree that putting 2 & 3 story buildings next to existing 2 & 3 story buildings is completely compatible with existing conditions. Yet one more convert.
Vote YES on D!
Anyone read the long list of rules and regulations that Doug has posted for his "blog"? One should. Then they will also find it ironic, as I do, that Doug engages in the type of behavior n this thread that he will not put up with on his propaganda site.
Seems that the editors are very eager to please the anti-D leaders
Anyone interested in joining the Palo Altans to Preserve Neighborhood Zoning should sign up on the volunteer page of Web Link
Just provide your contact info so we can get in touch with you on zoning issues.
This is a fine project. Growth is something that is inevitable, and this project puts forth something relatively modest that isn't overly dense.
Those of you who are against this project, be careful what you wish for. If this project fails, a developer who doesn't need a loan from the city will push through something even more dense. Under the current zoning plan a developer could put up something even more dense and with less city buy-in. Again...
Those of you who vote "no", be careful what you wish for.
Please vote AGAINST D. If City Council finally hears this message, that they have to care about input from residents, too, maybe we can get some restrictions on PC zoning in residential neighborhoods without having to take it to an initiative and expensive election! Believe me, you do not want to have to deal with the City rolling over your neighborhood like this! They talk civic engagement, then walk "talk to the hand".
It's Unanimous is right - please join now so we all remain connected over other zoning issues!
The property is not currently zoned for PC, the referendum set that aside. So if AGAINST D wins, the property remains in its current "low-density" zoning.
A developer would not get to push through something more dense. Do you think anyone would be dumb enough to try after all the disclosure on that property and the recent referendum? The only reason anyone even remotely entertained the idea of violating the neighborhood zoning like this is because of the affordable housing, on less than half the land no less. No one will go for that for a market-rate development. If you look in the same neighborhood at RM-15 land developed on the Glenbrook extension, it's on 6,000 sq ft lots and above, because neighbors can enforce a minimum lot size when its subdivided, and builders make more money on larger nicer properties (and spend less building fewer kitchens and bathrooms).
A private developer would have to subdivide -- and actually, so would the ordinance properties have to be -- and subdivisions even in charter cities have to comply with the subdivision map act which requires them to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which a dense development would not be. A market-rate development also does not get the density bonus of affordable housing.
In this case, because the property was purchased with public money, if PAHC decides not to build there, the City actually has the right to take the property. It has first right of refusal. It could use some of the Stanford funds to buy and temporarily hold onto it long enough to decide what to do. It's not going to lose money when it resells it, even if it just flips it with deed restrictions making all of such future arguments moot. it would make money if a reasonable and approved plan were made acceptable to all. If City Councilmembers don't do that after what we all just went through, they will be writing their own political obituaries.
Aside from the traffic and safety concerns that are driving many people to vote NO on this measure, any informed resident should vote NO based on the following:
1. Lack of transparency from our elected officials in expediting/pushing this project
2. Arrogance from city officials who don't even live in the affected neighborhood to quickly dismiss the concerns raised by residents
3. Need to give power back to residents to decide what gets built near their homes/schools, and not allow some out-of-touch politicians/bureaucrats to decide
Vote NO on D. It's a bad project opening the door to downgrade Palo Alto. It does not help Palo Alto in any way, including seniors, necessarily and does much damage and potential damage in future.
Let me tell you something I did not care for: I returned home today and listened to my messages and there was a garbled one from a strange unknown man with an unknown accent, I do not know him nor recognize the name, the main point I could discern was a strong pitch to vote For Measure D. I have an unlisted home phone number and I do not appreciate receiving a pitch from the Yes on D people from an unknown man, and I do not know how they obtained my unlisted number, and I do NOT appreciate it.
Vote NO on D - a terrible measure.
I am voting No. The stack and pack single family houses crowded against narrow little Maybell street is incompatible with the existing neighborhood. The setbacks will be substantially less than the two story apartment buildings next to them and the single family, residential homes across the street. The pro-rezoning advocates argue that senior housing can only be build by buying residentially-zoned property at the residential property value and, with the cooperation of their friends at city hall, selling off the majority of residentially-zoned property for high density market rate redevelopment.
My understanding is that they have never done this before, so the rezoning proponent's statement that this is a necessity for any future affordable housing development has to be wrong. On the other hand, if they get away with it this time, it is undoubtedly true that this will be the model for all future developments, much to the detriment of the surrounding neighborhoods. Vote No on high density rezoning and stop this dangerous development model!
@ math "You stated that the existing four R2 lots on Maybell are only 14000 square feet combined. That false claim has been made repeatedly by Measure D opponents. If you adhere to the standards of truth and ethics that you espouse, please acknowledge this flagrant error and correct it."
You probably have me confused with another poster regarding "my standards of truth and ethics that I espouse" since I have not posted enough to preach to anyone. However, I will tell you where I found the R2 lot information:
This was taken from an article from the Weekly (Oct 11th) trying to make some sense out of the misinformation regarding Maybell. I suppose if our city staff really presented unbiased reports then we would not have to have reporters "doing the math". But as you can tell from our city manager when asked about staff reports, City Manager Keene emphasized the limitations, "The findings in the staff reports tend to support the particular staff recommendation rather than represent all views"(Jul '13).
So, I can tell you that it would be wonderful if all those involved would be truthful and ethical in their facts about developments in all parts of Palo Alto. Imagine how much easier our decisions would be.
@ Jerry: You wrote, “How can the Weekly protect our political process against the strategic abuse of anonymous posting that has characterized the six month campaign against this project and PAHC personnel conducted in the Town Square by a single poster using multiple identities?”
PA Online does not allow a single poster to use multiple identities on any given thread. Is it impossible for you to believe that multiple people – from all over town – are against measure D?
@ VoteYesonD: “Anyone that knows the facts will be voting YES.”
Would those be the “facts” that PAHC claims in its advertising?
“Opponents keep saying the traffic study was bad.”
Traffic on Maybell is already dangerous. When the city narrowed Arastradero, 24% more traffic overflowed onto Maybell. That’s according to the city’s own numbers.
Why would anyone believe the traffic studies commissioned by the city that always conclude, “There will be no negative impact.”
@ I’m voting yes on D: “the Weekly staff has not done their homework as I did.”
Did you miss the in-depth article written by Gennady Sheyner on October 11?What's Measure D really about?
The Weekly checks the facts in the divisive election measure
"PA Online does not allow a single poster to use multiple identities on any given thread. Is it impossible for you to believe that multiple people – from all over town – are against measure D?"
If they are using the same device. Different devices will have different IP addresses. In this day and age, when people have cell phones, iPads, talents and computers, not too hard to imagine one person posting under multiple identities, especially when it is either a for or against choice.
And yes, we know, pat, only the no on D people have the facts!!!!!
And obviously if you are no n D, then everything that gennady wrote is to be taken as the compete truth. After all, as my old professor used to say, it has to be true, it was in the newspaper!!!!!!
And thank goodness we do not have out of town people from Los altos, for example trying to sway the outcome of the election.
Are "No on D" cash contributions tax deductible?
WE ARE VOTING NO ON MEASURE D.
Re: PAHC's supposed plans for Van service from the Maybell Orchard. PAHC has said it will provide vans to take seniors to where they need to go. ... shopping, doctors, hair appointments, etc. Just how many vans do they propose to have on hand for these needs, and where will the vans be parked? Why have they not already provided van service for the many elderly seniors who currently live in the Arastradero Apartments which is still a distance from El Camino Real. Barron Park neighbors recently visited with people in those apartments to ask if there was any van service. The answer is NO. I personally have seen elderly seniors walking with the aid of their 'push walkers' going down the middle of Maybell where there is a long stretch of road that has no sidewalks. Where is the van service for them? How do those elderly folks manage when it's raining? And by the way, even during none school commute times, there are a fair number of bicyclist riding up and down on that narrow roadway. Get the picture?
VOTE NO ON MEASURE D.
>And thank goodness we do not have out of town people from Los altos, for example trying to sway the outcome of the election.
I haven't noticed that. You sound pretty defensive...and desperate. Are you worried about the choice of the people? Perhaps a new paradigm is about to take over in Palo Alto, one that you fear?
The majority of tax paying residents of PA are totally conversant in balance sheets, income statements, and consolidated reports of financial dealings of organizations - that includes city government. The residents expect to see well thought out management of the city with status of the work in process efforts - community center(s) as well as future projects which fit into the existing budget for the city. Currently we are looking at piece-meal efforts with no overall context as to how they fit into the overall plans for the city. Maybell is being portrayed as the last coach out of town - but there is really a lot of building going on throughout the city.
The Measure D effort is taking on bizarre expenditures with mailings every day, now calls on the phone. That is sending up red flags. PAHC has a lot of money to spend here. The fact that it is a "non-profit" is irrelevant - what is relevant is the salary of the principals and the amount of capital they are working with.
"I haven't noticed that. You sound pretty defensive...and desperate. Are you worried about the choice of the people? Perhaps a new paradigm is about to take over in Palo Alto, one that you fear?"
Well, if you were familiar with one of the posters, above, you wold know what I was referring to . Defensive and desperate???? You are just upset that I will nt tell you my real name. I am not worried about the choice of,people-- I will accept the will of,the people, unlike some of,the anti-d people who,say they will sue if the vote does not go,their way .
Fear a new paradigm???? Not sure what you are talking about.
@Not an issue,
Around 70 people, volunteers, collected signatures for the referendum. The response has been called "historic". Many people who wanted to help were out of town for the summer. Many, many people were responsible for Against Measure D, and the efforts to appeal to do the safety study and minimize the overdevelopment before.
It has been an almost spontaneous, leaderless group across Greenacres I and II and Barron Park. As some neighbors burn out, others have stepped up. If anything, the biggest source of internal discord came from the painful need to form a more traditional leadership in order to have a political group to comply with elections laws and run a campaign. People love this neighborhood, are here for the schools, tend to move in and stay, and the City and PAHC in their eagerness to develop that property didn't understand what they were doing.
But because of this, new relationships (especially online and through social media) have been formed, new alliances, and a much stronger sense of connectedness. Regardless of the outcome, the intent seems to be to keep a closer eye on the City and keep each other aware so this doesn't happen again. If it does, we'll be able to mobilize that much easier.
Vote against D--- so what makes this referendum special.? Hw many people collected signatures for the byxbee ark referendum? Hw many people collected signatures for the sand hill widening referendum? How many people collected signatures for 800 high street?
The group was not leaderless. We know who the leaders are . Enough with the fairy tales.
Interesting that you say regardless of the outcome now, since previously you stated that if the vote does not go your way, you will ignore the will f the people and sue.
I thank the three local papers for their support of "Against MeasureD". The analysis of the Weekly seems a fair assessment.
The analysis for a project of this size (actually any size) needs to be unbiased and support what is best for all of Palo Alto. There are many passionate views on both sides of this Measure. This has become divisive for a neighborhood that has embraced low income housing. The process is flawed and produced a flawed development. Maybell should not be rezoned. It makes perfect sense to start over with unbiased information and work within current zoning.
@Not an issue,
If neighbors lose (if Against doesn't win - how's that for an awkward statement) they will take it as a sign of how important it is to take away the power to write the ballot from the City Attorney before Bob Moss brings forward an initiative to restrict PC zoning in residential neighborhoods.
It's good that you bring up the High Street referendum, though. Through the Maybell situation, neighbors finally understood the impact of the City Attorney's conflict of interest in having the ability to write the ballot in an election to set aside a City decision, and how the leading statement she wrote works. She structured the ballot question identically at Maybell: Shall we have zoning A (no detail, not even described correctly from the city code as "low density") or B, for this really GREAT thing you get with B, yes?!! None of the downsides or costs are described for B. It's a miracle the High Street election was so close. I remember reading about it then trying to connect what I had read to the ballot question, without any certainty.
Neighbors' goals have been clear all along: stop the overdevelopment of the neighborhood, protect children's safety. They have reached out many times, only to hear, even very early, that no substantive compromise could happen because of the financing setup.
They participated in the political process in historic numbers because those are the steps they needed to take, even though privately, they would have been pleasantly shocked if City Council did the right thing by them through the political process. The next step was referend, so that's what they did in order to avoid suits. No one wants to sue. But most of us are far too familiar with how unsafe Maybell is. This summer and fall there have been especially large number of bike and pedestrian accident deaths and injuries in the immediate Bay Area, many of them school children, many in places with past unresolved safety complaints.
We're very heavily impacted by the traffic changes in the immediate area, especially Arastradero. I think outsiders who don't understand the way people live here didn't really understand that the park is the heart of our neighborhood, the location is at traffic bottleneck, the orchard isn't just off in some corner that no one would notice if someone erected a 4-story building, the densest in a residential neighborhood in decades. Marc Berman came out for awhile and acknowledged that it isn't safe as it is. His I-think-putting-a-high-density-development-in-the-middle-of-what-I-just-admitted-isn't-safe-for-the-kids-is-going-to-make-it-safer may work in the insularity of his own head and Council Chambers, but it's a feast for a liability attorney if something happens.
The referendum was just part of an attitude of Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst that has characterized the neighborhood effort. When it became clear how little they could do in the political process, they were already planning the referendum and subsequent legal action as necessary even while they were showing up at City meetings. Maybe Failure is Not an Option is also apt, safety comes first, especially with kids.
I really don't understand how you are interpreting what I said. If yes on Measure D prevails, neighbors will move onto the next step to protect children's safety and the neighborhood character. Unfortunately, that means lawsuits (among other things). I think someone said it's what we've had on steroids. If Against prevails, neighbors will push for something like the Terman Working Group in order to try to find win-wins. That's all they ever wanted to do in the first place.
My position "no on D" was not my original position. I was so happy to know there would be more senior housing, i even wrote an Email to Dewitt to be sure there were elevators in the plans, something I considered essential for true seniors.
As time went on I became very disappointed in the proposed project. The "market rate" housing plans did not meet the square foot regulations home were required to meet. These "stack" homes without backyards were basically "town homes"... and would change the street's appearance and safety.
Then i realized parking was not sufficient for today's seniors. My 85/87 year old parents rent (not home owners) in palo alto, and have 2 cars. They would be the seniors eligible for "low income" rent, but even they are opposed to the plans.
In Barron Park/ Green Acres driving is essential.This area is not walkable unless you need a restaruant. I would imagine low income seniors would not be eating out often.
Driving is probably safer for most seniors than walking. I work with seniors and know the fear of "falling" is much greater than their fear of driving. Whether or not this is a reasonable fear I don't know, but for many seniors I would agree walking is a danger.
I was so disappointed in small compromises the city and PAHc could have done to make this project work.
Parking for all residents would have meant so much. And making sure "market rate HOMES' met the same square footage/ lot size ratios required in Palo Alto ( not Planned Community).
So disappointed the city did not try to help my "Maybell neighbors"
I have lived in Palo Alto for over 20 years. I work fulltime and did not have much time to write letters etc. (though I did donate to No on D). I was relying on my elected officials to protect my neighbors. So disappointed in city council
Palo Alto's seniors deserve a high quality, safe and affordable place to live. That is why, following nine months of public hearings, discussions and negotiations, the Palo Alto City Council voted unanimously to approve the 60 units of affordable senior housing and 12 single family homes at Maybell and Clemo.
There are hundreds of seniors in Palo Alto on waiting lists for existing low-income senior housing properties and hundreds more who are looking for affordable, independent living. Measure D will ensure 60 affordable senior apartments are created for local seniors who earn roughly between $21,000 and $43,000 per year, or 30-60% of the area median income.
This is a carefully designed plan, which has minimal impact on the surrounding neighborhood, traffic, and schools. The senior housing is well set back from the street, adjacent to an existing 8-story apartment building and 66-unit family apartment complex.
The current site was zoned for up to 46 residences â€“ all of which could be multi-bedroom. If this affordable housing project is stopped, the property would likely be sold to a private developer, who could build the maximum number of units â€“ resulting in a much greater impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
That is why it's tIme to vote YES on Measure D.
Hasn't the city attorney always written the ballot measure? Who should write them, anti- development bob moss? [Portion removed.]
I dont' think anyone is arguing with the desire, but you don't put in a $30million building under such controversy without even having done a market study to assess the need, with a strategy for how to best meet it. PAHC has long waiting lists in the same income category as the Moldaw units that are still, today, half vacant, senior BMR units with full services. Maybe that should have been a hint that the situation for seniors in Palo Alto is atypical.
No one disputes this rental will fill, but most of PAHC's other low-income units are majority from other cities, not Palo Alto. Perhaps after study, the best way to serve Palo Alto seniors is a subsidy program that we decide on as a City, rather than making such major land and inflexible land use decisions.
And please just STOP with the threats about what could be built there that don't stack up. Neighbors COULD put forward an initiative and make the City turn it into parkland since there's been so much development on this side of town without any open space added as is required. It's more realistic than the scare tactic. Someone would have to TRY, really hard, out of spite and stupidity, to do what you are suggesting. And they'd have to count on the many neighbors involved here to suddenly not care, which also won't happen. Existing zoning has restrictions on height, setback, a minimum amount of space for parking, min number of spots, minimum lane widths, maximum density, etc. It's a constrained box.
It's like telling me I'd better let you park your tour bus in my compact car space, or else someone will for sure park a clown car with 46 clowns in it, and won't I be sorry then. COULD happen, maybe. But not really.
I don't think anyone is arguing with the desire, but when you've done the analysis and, done a market study, assessed the need, and come up with a strategy for how to best meet it. AS PAHC HAS DONE IN THIS INSTANCE. Then you know this Maybell re-zoning is part of the solution.
Everyone knows this rental will fill, and be a success. And be filled with seniors working and living in Palo Alto preferential access.
The alternative to senior units with 60 bedrooms is large family houses with 250 bedrooms with the corresponding traffic, school and neighborhood impact you're trying to avoid. You're cutting off your nose to spite your face with this one.
It's time to vote YES on D.
For anyone who hasn't read the letter evaluating the bias in the City Attorney's statement and ballot question, this is worth a read:
Since referenda and initiatives are generally to set aside some decision made by the City, especially in a City like ours where the City staff act as unabashed advocates for pet development projects, there is an inherent conflict of interest in allowing the City Attorney to write the ballot. Our City Attorney has certainly demonstrated why it's a problem, even omitting the words "low density" from the RM-15 zoning as it is described in the CITY CODE. I mean, if I want you to go somewhere with me, if I say, do you want to go to Y street, or do you want to go to X street and I'll give you a HOUSE for GRANDMA, yes?! what are you going to choose?
San Francisco has what's called a "Ballot Simplification Committee" where they decide what's on the ballot through a public process involving both sides. The members come from the communications community, mainly, so they tend to be able to help translate each side's intent. San Francisco has been doing this for about 30 or 40 years.
Since SF is a charter city, it would be fairly easy to adopt and adapt what they've done here. See Article VI:
The SF City Attorney says
"Whose job is it to prepare summaries of ballot measures in San Francisco?
* It is the Ballot Simplification Committee's job, in accordance with the San Francisco Municipal Elections Code. It is not the job of the City Attorney's Office."
The City Attorney there does get to choose the question, too, but it's usually from the simplification committee:
"Why does the City Attorney usually adopt Ballot Simplification Committee usage?
* Because the Ballot Simplification Committee has had the benefit of extensive public input and citizen participation, and because the committee's legal mandate requires the use of simple language understandable to all voters."
We should have that in Palo Alto!
As the San Jose Mercury News stated when they urged voters to vote Yes on D: "...does Palo Alto -- one of the priciest places on the planet -- really want to yank away the welcome mat for seniors, some of whom have raised families in town? Even if the project will result in less traffic than following the original zoning?"
The Weekly could take a feature out of their hat and produce an independent editorial.
Just FYI, a waiting list isn't a market study, especially since the waiting lists aren't vetted for qualified applicants, the consultant report on the BMR program pointed that out as a problem. And that PAHC advertises to pad its lists.
It would help if PAHC's description of who would qualify, those at 30%-60% of area median income, bore any relationship to the need they described in the reports, which is because of seniors below the poverty limit. Even the lowest income residents to qualify are way above the poverty limit, so the property isn't going to serve any of the stated need.
It's a little late in the game, but if you know of a market study that none the rest of us know about, or that PAHC someone did but didn't even produce for the state in its funding application where they ask for one, please provide a link.
Sorry, but the "low density" zoning is better than the "high density zoning" the equivalent of RM-60, a designation so dense it doesn't even exist in Palo Alto code (only the proposed development has less parking), no matter what you try to say to scare people.
You've linked to an OPINION editorial page. I read that when it came out. Probably written by Candace Gonzales or the expensive elections firm they hired. All of the papers have run opinion editorials on both sides.
The Daily News (which is part of the San Jose Mercury News) just ENDORSED voting AGAINST Measure D.
ALL THREE LOCAL PAPERS HAVE ENDORSED VOTING AGAINST D.
Nice try, though.
Vote against D-- lets see, we have a letter from a law firm hired by the anti-D people to complain about the ballot language. Yeah, that carries a lt of weight.
"The Weekly could take a feature out of their hat and produce an independent editorial."
Actually, sigh, they cannot.
@Pat and Not an Issue
Thank you for noticing what I believe to be an extremely important concern about strategic anonymity in the Town Square.
Pat, you are correct that there are rules against using multiple names in the same thread. And “Not an Issue” is correct in pointing out the ways people find to dodge that prohibition. It hasn’t been a common practice, to my knowledge, in the many months of online debate on this project, though there has been some of it.
The problem comes when a poster uses strategic anonymity to dominate discussion of a topic across many threads and disguises the fact that whole sets of arguments are coming from the same anonymous source.
The trick is to use different identities but only one on any particular thread, to avoid falling afoul of the prohibition on multiple identities. There’s no rule against a poster’s using different identities from one thread to another. Many posters alter their monikers to match the issue. “Yes on T” in one thread may be “No Loose Nukes” in another. Not a problem. It’s not a strategic use of anonymity.
But if, over a period of months, you flood Town Square with posts related to a controversial topic, using several identities—only one per thread—while you argue your case, you are using strategic anonymity. Not only don’t we know your real name, we don’t even know what online names you’ve been using outside the current thread to persuade us to your point of view.
It has the effect of shielding the poster from accountability while allowing him/her to frame the debate on his/her terms. Other people get tired, bored, frustrated, or angry and drop out of the online discussion while the strategically anonymous poster dominates the discussion.
P.S. Pat, I acknowledge that there are many people who share the No on D position and have posted their ideas, often quite persuasively. I’ve enjoyed reading them. Different ideas don’t bother me. Gaming the system for political advantage does.
Just FYI, a waiting list does define need, especially since any opening is immediately filled from the waiting list. And that PAHC advertises to let people in need know low-income housing is an option available to low-income seniors in need.
It does help that PAHC's description of who would qualify, those at 30%-60% of area median income, are the one's who will be filling these apartments. This was stated to serve low-income seniors, and serves the stated need.
Sorry, but the "low density" zoning is only better than "high density zoning" when the result is less people, cars and impact on the community. In this case, the opposite is true. Single family homes will have a far higher impact of safety, schools, traffic than the measure D.
Time to vote Yes on D.
That's exactly the kind of tenuous reasoning that should not take the place of proper market study. The whole point of the property is for Palo Alto seniors. A very large percentage, I've heard on the order of 90%, of PAHC residents come from outside of Palo Alto. That makes sense when we are talking about workers, but PAHC says these seniors won't be working, and the purpose is to keep Palo Alto seniors near their friends. If they won't be working, that means their social security or retirement incomes will be relatively large to be able to pay those prices for the rentals, which means they are people who made a large wage when they were working -- are they really going to qualify (low assets) and want to live in those apartments? Or will we be filling the most expensive apartments ever with people from outside of Palo Alto, too? If that's the case, then why aren't we building a little farther out so we can afford nicer, better, and more units, and near enough for people to visit their friends by bus, since PAHC assures us that's how these seniors will be getting around.
The empty BMR Moldaw units are a case in point. Twenty out of 24 units in a full-service senior center went empty for three years. Many excuses were made about why, but when they actually bothered to try to change the terms, they found one of the reasons was that the asset limit was too LOW. Not too high as they were claiming, but too low. We all know that many seniors living on limited incomes in this town live in their own homes that they don't pay anything for hardly at all. Do they really want to move into little apartments they'll have to move out of when they are frail? Or are they going to want to move into a full-service senior center when they can no longer live in their homes?
It's a different income range, which was another excuse given, but it's an income range PAHC serves, and the same income range as High Street which a consultant report a few years ago said PAHC had a waiting list of 400 that they bumped to 600 through heavy advertising. Why do they need to advertise if they already have 400 on the waiting list? PAHC clearly is capable of getting long waiting lists, why not at Moldaw? And NONE of those people were seniors who wanted to live in a senior center? The same consultant report found a history of other BMR units that went empty, despite long waiting lists. The consultant report found the lists are not screened for qualifications.
Seniors are an unusual demographic in a town with an atypical housing market. Anyone living here long enough to be a senior has found a way to be here. Or like many of us, we realize we're going to have to move away when we are seniors. This place is too expensive, and it's not just housing. People in that income range can have a better quality of life and choices elsewhere. Are they going to choose to stay in Palo Alto? A market study gives you information about what the seniors in Palo Alto are and will be, what their needs are, their income, their health, their wants.
You can guess, and I'm sure you will, but PAHC has repeatedly portrayed the need as so extreme, it justifies ignoring zoning laws and proper safety review for school children. Before they spend $30million erecting a permanent structure that dramatically alters the character of a neighborhood and puts a high density development on an already overcrowded, unsafe school commute corridor, and enable a wall of completely inaccessible new for-profit homes across from a school for disabled children, they should have data that tells them what the need is and they should have strategized about the best way to meet it. They did not.
Sorry, but your claim is just like claiming my compact car will be more impactful than your tour bus, because for sure, there will be the maximum number of people in the car, so therefore it will be a clown car with 45 people in it and be so much worse.
The problem with your logic is that when you have to live by constraints of size, density , parking spaces, lane width, etc., there's only so much you can pack in the space. And at some point, developers don't make more money, it's a u-shaped curve.
Go drive up the Glenbrook extension across the street, the last time someone subdivided RM-15 in this neighborhood. Nope, not a clown car. Note that the giant buildings on the end are not apartments, they're single-familyhomes.
[Portion removed.] The idea that 60 senior apartments is going to create a traffic nightmare, or even an noticeable change, on Maybell is laughable, especially compared to the alternative.
Despite the Editor's wishful thinking, here is what is going to actually happen if D loses:
PAHC is going to take a look at reality on Wednesday, both the neighborhood opposition that the Weekly has contributed to whipping up, and the harder reality of financing and deadlines. It will decide to throw in the towel, resell the land for a profit to a for-profit developer, and there will be some dozens of market-rate units on the site, at the maximum density allowed under the zoning.
Vote Against D, Bob Moss, Tim Gray, and the other opponents will move on to other controversies, Palo Alto will continue to get new development, and 100 or so seniors won't have a place to live in Palo Alto. But since we will never be able to put faces to those folks, we can take undiluted satisfaction in having sent a message to City Hall.
Why the stonewalling on just getting current data and looking at the safety impact to hundreds of children on bicycles on a seriously substandard street? If it really was going to show no impact, what's the big deal about just getting the data? The City has even adopted a new traffic model that would have gathered that data, but they refuse to apply it to Maybell.
The vast majority of the neighbors involved in the Maybell referendum have never even written a letter to City Hall. This has been a huge grassroots endeavor. For us, it is about the character of our neighborhood, the safety of our children, and stopping a terrible land use precedent. If you don't understand that, you lose the opportunity for healing and solutions when this is done, you kill that opportunity altogether.
If PAHC decides the throw in the towel, that's their decision. The same energized neighbors are focused on ensuring whatever comes next doesn't put us all through this again. [Portion removed.]
I'm sorry, but a long stream of words does not add up to evidence and an argument. 60 senior apartments is not going to have an appreciable effect on traffic, much less on kids' safety.
I'm sorry, but I would rather have senior housing. You would rather not. Is that NIMBYism? Maybe so, but worse it's a lack of respect for the needs of people who aren't you.
Maybell is a substandard street with no room for even a full-width sidewalk or bike lane on either side, or the fact that even without any development going there, every neighbor has near miss stories with children bicyclists on a weekly basis, or that the City has a responsibility to do more than just belittle the need for safety for the hundreds of kids who bike that City-designated Safe Route to School. With the Governor's new law requiring 3 feet distance from bikes, Maybell is going to be untenable. There are limits to the infrastructure.
Neighbors have been asking for a safety analysis for the better part of a year now. City Hall has been doing what you keep doing: dodge, duck, and try to brow beat us. But guess what? We will keep prioritizing safety. People like YOU are the ones preventing seniors from getting housing, by being unable and unwilling to work with people, and assuaging your ego rather than acting in good faith.
This is a bad plan and a raw deal for the neighborhood [portion removed.] If AGAINST D wins, neighbors have signaled a willingness to work out a better plan, just as they did with the Terman Working Group -- many of the same people AGAINST D were a part of that. If for D wins, there will only be more stonewalling on your side, and lawsuits.
There was a traffic analysis. The opponents are fear mongering. Saying the same thing 100 times doesn't make it so.
This is exactly the result of numerous studies and 9 months of community consultation that takes place as part of the completed market study. The whole point of the property is for Palo Alto seniors. A very small percentage, around 20%, of PAHC residents come from outside of Palo Alto. That makes sense when we are talking about seniors who live and work in Palo Alto get preference. The purpose is to keep Palo Alto seniors near their friends and family. If they won't be working, that means their social security or retirement incomes will be relatively large to be able to pay those prices for the rentals, which means they are people who worked hard all their lives and now qualify and want to live in those apartments. PAHC will we be filling these low-income apartments ever with seniors from Palo Alto, Since this is the case, PAHC is building low-income housing in the community where they can visit family and friends.
The empty BMR Moldaw units are a case in point has nothing to do with PAHC. While twenty out of 24 units in a full-service senior center may have been empty PAHC has long wiating lists and no empty apartments. Hence the need for the Maybell development. . We all know that many seniors living on limited incomes in this town live who would love to move into PAHC apartments.
In PAHC low-income range, a consultant report a few years ago showed PAHC had a waiting list of 600. The need in Palo Alto is there, which is why PAHC has such long waiting lists. These low-income seniors wanted to live in these purpose built low-income senior apartments. PAHC has strict requirements and all the consultant found all those renting PAHC apartments met the the required qualifications.
Seniors are an unusual demographic in a town with an atypical housing market. Anyone living here long enough to be a senior has found a way to be here but a lot can no longer afford to live in private rented accommodation.. They have lived their lives surrounded by family and friends and now will be forced to move away if they can't find low-income housing. This place is too expensive, people in that income range still want to live close to their family and friends, who can help provide them with far more than money can buy. Are they going to choose to push these seniors out of Palo Alto? A market study showed what that seniors #1 need in Palo Alto was to remain close to family and friends.
No guessing is required, PAHC has repeatedly engaged with the community and conducted numerous studies and reports. Maybell justifies ignoring zoning. Proper safety review for school children have been completed. Erecting a permanent structure that is completely compatible with the character of a neighborhood and is the safest development option for this school commute corridor. It adds accessible new for-profit homes across from apartments, a 10 story building and a park. PAHC has shown they have strategized about the best way to meet all community concerns.
It's time to vote Yes on D.
>> Maybell justifies ignoring zoning.
Better stick with the argument that Maybell justifies << changing >> zoning. The voter pamphlet says nothing about ignoring zoning. I don't think ignoring zoning is legal, much as people would like to.
Time to vote yes on D writes
"A very small percentage, around 20%, of PAHC residents come from outside of Palo Alto. That makes sense when we are talking about seniors who live and work in Palo Alto get preference. The purpose is to keep Palo Alto seniors near their friends and family."
PAHC has always been secretive on any statistics on their renters (where they lived before, income, age, etc). so please cite the reference for your statistic of "20% of PAHC residents come from outside of Palo Alto".
When you state "talking about seniors who live and WORK in Palo Alto", the work part implies automobile. And from what I can tell, there are only 38 parking spots for anywhere from 60 - 120 residents. Not a good ratio. It sounds like a parking congestion problem similar to Professorville, University South, & Downtown North neighborhoods are having since the council has been approving PC zoning changes allowing under parked, high density projects in that area.
By the way, why only low income seniors? Many parents would like for their children to live in the area to have them nearby, but the children can't afford to live in Palo Alto. Why isn't something being done for the "children" of Palo Alto residents?
"There was a traffic analysis. The opponents are fear mongering. Saying the same thing 100 times doesn't make it so."
A sham of a traffic analysis paid for by the developer, and accepted and rubber stamped by a city that had already financially committed to the project before any vetting.
Easy NO vote here.
Voting Against Measure D-
In addition to the proposed 60 senior units, let's remember the TWELVE proposed housing units on the site that now has 4 houses. In addition to 60 apartments being under parked, the proposed 12 single family homes, on sub-standard lots, on more than half the total property, by a private developer[s], who will make the very large profit.... those 12 homes will also, likely, create spill over parking into the surrounding streets. Think about it.
Vote AGAINST MEASURE D
Everyone agrees that the Maybell site is an excellent site for senior housing, which could be the start of working toward consensus. No one wants to see the land sold to a for-profit developer, but an alternative to the rezoning overdevelopment will not emerge unless Measure D fails to pass.
The corporation backing Measure D, the proponent of rezoning, claims that they cannot obtain all of the grants & loans with just a 41-unit apartment building at Maybell. But they can build the 60-unit building they want to build, without any modifications to to the existing design, through a density transfer from the rest of the land. They also claim that their budget will not balance without the twelve luxury homes planned for two-thirds of the land. I have been attempting to obtain evidence which prove or refute this claim since July, 2013; when and if I receive any I'll get back to you.
If Measure D fails, the financial issues can be put on hold while the neighbors & the corporation negotiate a solution everyone can live with. Preferably directly, without the City Council playing emperor. If a compromise is reached, the pending lawsuits will disappear before the next City Council election. Otherwise the discord will continue to be expensive for all in both time, money, & additional damage to the social fabric of the community. This much-needed reconciliation will not happen unless Measure D fails, so please vote NO on Measure D.
"Everyone agrees that the Maybell site is an excellent site for senior housing"
If so, where is the rhetoric about [portion removed] lack of amenities, poor transportation, danger of having senior drivers in close proximity to school coming from. "No on D" does not advocate for senior housing to be built there. It just argues that in principle 41 units could be legally built under existing zoning.
If I'm not mistaken, Joe Hirsch, a leader of the No on D campaign believes that something like 16 market rate homes should fill that space. He clearly doesn't think it should be used for senior housing.
If you want affordable housing for seniors, Vote "Yes on D" because PAHC truly believes it is an excellent site for senior housing. Financing works at 60 units, not at 41.
What is wrong with this rezone (which btw is what we are voting on -- not whether senior housing can be built)?
A 50' building instead of 30' building, three story houses instead of two story houses, too few parking spaces for the residents of the senior housing. On top of that, PAHC is taking away parking from their site next door that already has too few parking spaces for those residents. There will be impact from the senior apartments and even more from their existing apartments. Parking is a huge issue already and this plan will make the problem worse for the neighborhood and the student commute.
It is pretty simple, NO REZONE and work on a plan that actually fits within the existing neighborhood-friendly zoning.
PAHC originally put forward a more modest plan, and it was the City that upped things.
That said, if they simply built the houses and used the profits from the sale of the houses to support the affordable side, instead of just the sale of the land and the upzoning with the millions in profits from the sale of the houses going into the pockets of the market-rate developer, they could afford to not only put in just 6 houses (rather than 12), they could also afford to mitigate many of the other problems.
“sigh” writes: The Weekly could take a feature out of their hat and produce an independent editorial.”
Not sure what the hat means, but all newspapers write independent editorials.
The Weekly interviewed both sides of Measure D and did an in-depth analysis, Web Link
Then it made a decision to endorse the AGAINST side. Ditto the Daily Post. Ditto the Daily News -- even though it’s part of the SJ Mercury group.
The Mercury endorsed the Yes side without ever speaking to representatives from the AGAINST side. What kind of journalism is that?
“Crescent Parker” says: “I'm sorry, but a long stream of words does not add up to evidence and an argument."
Nor does a short stream of words add up to evidence, as in your claim that 60 senior apartments won’t affect kids’ safety.
“Maybell justifies ignoring zoning.”
And what else will the city think justifies ignoring zoning? Look at all the PC rezoning the city has done – and plans to do: Web Link
The Merc endorsed voting YES ON D nearly a month ago. Here is the link to the Mercury News editorial:
It says, in relevant part:
"What's at stake here is the ability of older residents on reduced, fixed incomes to remain in their community. Even Councilwoman Karen Holman, a critic of the "planned community zoning" used for the project, voted for it.
The City Council recently barred homeless people from sleeping in their cars. The Buena Vista mobile home park is about to be sold to make way for luxury apartments. But does Palo Alto -- one of the priciest places on the planet -- really want to yank away the welcome mat for seniors, some of whom have raised families in town? Even if the project will result in less traffic than following the original zoning?
Surely not. Vote yes on Measure D."
[Post removed due to incorrectly describing editorial position of the San Jose Mercury News, which editorialized in favor of Measure D. The editorial of the Daily News, which is owned by the Mercury, took the opposite position. The management of the two papers apparently arrived at different points of view on the issue.]
At least this much is not in dispute:
All 3 PALO ALTO newspapers have endorsed voting AGAINST D.
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