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Mansion, left in limbo, may be completed

Original post made on Jan 31, 2008

A mega-mansion with a troubled history is slated for a makeover under new owner John Chambers, the chairman and chief executive officer of Cisco Systems.

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Comments (22)

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Posted by Natalie
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Welcome, John, to our community!

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Posted by huh?
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:25 pm

So if it was already designed, approved and built, why did it have to go for review for landscaping?? What's with Dave Dockter's commment? ... That even with 359 more trees (that weren't even there before when it was open space) it's not enough. The bureaucrats in this town just kill me.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 1, 2008 at 3:36 am

This place seriously impacts the view of the Valley from the Foothill Park overlook; It is a monument to excess energy consumption, flaunting of riches, and all that is wrong with "Silicon Valley". Bigger is not better. That place is a blight on a beautiful landscape.

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Posted by Bill et al
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 1, 2008 at 8:28 am

We are all blights on the landscape; some have just been doing it longer than others. Best if we all just vacate. Or do you think nature is pleased by the Eichlers in the Circles? The ratty motels along El Camino? My guess is Bill lives in an area that was also beautiful before his and many other homes were squeezed in. Care to compare your FAR to John's house? Who has left a greater percentage of their real property untouched?

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Posted by GBD
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 8:39 am

Bill of Embarcadero Oaks, that is my thought exactly. I don't see how anyone can live in that house in good conscience - you get a nice view of the open space at the expense of everyone who visits the open space. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Chambers should tear it down and restore it to it's undeveloped state - he'd be remebered as a generous man instead of just another self-centered, rich dude.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 8:42 am

What has probably been a blight to the overall view is an unfinished construction site. Finish the mansion, do the landscaping and it will probably blend in well. What is ugly is the harsh newness and that will pass.

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Posted by William
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:26 am

I hope the reviews will include lighting impact - the site is visible from Vista Hill, the location of the very popular Foothills Park Star Parties. It would be a real shame to lose this beautiful location for enjoying the night skies.

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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 10:02 am

Bill of Barron Park - touche! Couldn't agree more. For some reason, what we each have ourselves is "about right" (or maybe a bit more would be fine), but if someone has a bunch more (which they earned, paid for, and built within the rules), that's "too much" and "how dare they!" It's just human nature.

Lucky our ancestors didn't feel that way, or we'd all still be in caves (camp grounds probably too intrusive) and PA would be wispy prairie land.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 1, 2008 at 11:58 am

That house is a monstrosity. I was astonished it was permitted. Seeing as it's here, if Mr. Chambers can ameliorate the situation, that would be helpful and that's better than leaving it empty.

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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 1, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I took a look at it with Google Satellite. That is one BIG HOUSE!!! It should produce a huge amount of property taxes but ol' John can afford it with all the stock options he gets.

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Posted by Open space predators
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 1:19 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 1, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Is this it on Google Maps?

Web Link

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Posted by Voter
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm

John Chambers is one of 21 national finance committee co-chairs for the John McCain for President campaign.

Maybe Chambers can use the property for a McCain fundraising event while waiting for the house construction to be finished.

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Posted by Becky Trout
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Feb 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Becky Trout is a registered user.

Hi Joanna,

Yes, that's it.

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Posted by C me around
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 1, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Are you saying you would not LOVE to be THE mega rich person who can make his dream home a true reality?!!
Some people can only get to a certain point, then to figure out in this life that they can no longer get much higher than a certain point...So they quit stressing and try to keep up with the life that they have so far obtained and settle in for the rest of the ride.
If you were not lucky enough to be one of the MEGA specials on the top of your field, all the stressing will eventually kill you off into an early death.
Are not we all raised with the mentality to try to be "on top of the heap", bettering ourselves so that we may live comfortably in our lives later on? The hard push starts in grade get GRADED on competition. Then the quest for the pat on the back goes on from there......!
Who is fooling themselves that they would not want to be living a carefree life in the hills above Palo Alto? At least they have plans for a home there that will introduce more GREEN to the area by trying to conceal it's presence and adding to it's beauty for it's owner.
Ah, it's a great life. Even if we dream a little here and there.
Let's not be so jealous, there is only so much room, let's not fill it with resentment.

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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2008 at 5:09 am

"Is this it on Google Maps?

Posted by Joanna"

That be it.

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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2008 at 7:31 am

EVERYBODY's house is on the Google map - even my little 3 bedroom 2 bath. I can even see the skylights on mine - and the lawn furniture. It's just that some houses take up more room than others. It's fascinating website.

Like this comment
Posted by Myland Mymoney
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 2, 2008 at 11:05 am

Commissioner Lee Lippert voted against the project because of the fence.
"I wouldn't want the property to impose itself upon the open space," Lippert said. "I would want this fence to work with the landscape, not the property line."
OK, then how much of the open space are you willing to give up so as to arrange the property lines to "your" liking?

And while you are thinking about that one, if you want the owner to give up some of their 5.5 acres, then how are you going to compensate him for your vision of property you do not own? Or perhaps you are planing to correct the property line with taxpayer money and more Palo Alto foolishness?

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Posted by jennifer rose
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 14, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Ah, the smell of envy in the air! You all should be thanking your lucky stars that such a nice man bought that place and is going to fix it up and plant 360 trees. And then you should remember it's none of your business what anyone spends their money on - it's his money and he can do what he wants.

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Posted by Flatland Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2008 at 4:59 pm

As I recall, he wanted to the fence for security for his wife, since he said he travels 50% of the time.

If he were concerned with security, he should have moved down to flatlands, where neighbors look out for one another.

The house is clearly in view from Foothill Park. I am not sure that any number of trees could ever hide it.

Like this comment
Posted by Zach
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:19 pm

I hiked in the foothills earlier today and wondered who owned it. Call me crazy, but I thought it was owned by L'il JJ.

Like this comment
Posted by
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm

i like all your comments. i really like the people that think he should be allowed to do anything he wants with his property and his money.private property is so important to our culture.we base everything on glad this captain of industry lives in your area and not in mine. if i had my way i would require him to plant an additional 7683 trees of his choice on your property.

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