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Planners split on SummerHill's Elks project

Original post made on Mar 13, 2008

With some members harshly criticizing the 45-condominium development planned for the Elks Lodge property, the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission split 3-3 over its layout Wednesday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 13, 2008, 9:39 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2008 at 11:38 am

This is just another situation where the planning process is deliberately being slowed down for political reasons.

If you choose to live in a condo enclave, you have to expect a different neighborhood feel than in a more established older neighborhood.

And, for those in the Wilkie Way neighborhood, all neighborhoods have more on street parking than they did 10 or 20 years ago for many reasons. Here in my South PA neighborhood, we have a lot of on street parking. Families now have more than 2 cars per family due to older children being given their own car, college grads returning to live at home, seniors moving into their kids homes to help with babysitting, people wanting weekend show off cars, and those who just use their driveways for basketball hoops, storing gardening stuff, storing camping equipment, the list goes on.


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2008 at 11:50 am

No surprises here--one of Palo Alto's famed commissions opposing another developments. I do not think that the chair person of the above commission has ever seen a project that she has liked.
People in the Wilkie Way area need to realize that the streets are public thoroughfares, that means they are for everyone--not just residents of that particular street.
Of course look at the people from that area leading the charge--one vehemently opposed the "grannie unit" proposition a number of years ago (and naturally the council, as usual, knuckled under to the demands of the vocal minority), the other managed to drive the Hyatt, and it's tax revenues from town, and also to hold up the Alma Plaza deveopment, with the result being that Albertsons pulled
out of town also. ironically now they are complaining about all the traffic that will be caused by the new development in place of the Hyatt.
i thought walkable neighborhoods where a priority for some of our council members and neighborhood associations--or is that only if it does not "bother" your neighborhood?


Posted by Not so slow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Not so fast said:
"People in the Wilkie Way area need to realize that the streets are public thoroughfares"
Thats exactly the point. The streets INSIDE the development will NOT allow parking, they are designed to be too narrow. So the people outside the development get their cars. It's unfair and I don't blame the people outside the enclave.


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2008 at 1:02 pm

The streets INSIDE the development are private streets (This is not a new concept--private streets inside developments.). The streets outside the development are public streets, which by definition should be available to ALL of the public.
I am not sure what is "unfair" about all of this, especially since this development has not been built yet, so we do not even know if a problem exists. I assume these units will have garages and/or driveways.
Some neighborhoods in Palo Alto need to learn how to share--the neighborhood above is one of the ones that really needs to learn this lesson.


Posted by midtown, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2008 at 1:09 pm

All these new people moving in some with young children, can our schools sustain this? scary.


Posted by Not so slow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm

You don't know whether 45 housing units will have a lot of street parking?
Really?
The reason for the private streets is to maximize building size and the people who pay the price for this greed are the people who have to accommodate street parking for 45 families.


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Not so slow--You state: "You don't know whether 45 housing units will have a lot of street parking?"
Not sure where you got that from.
I wrote above "I assume these units will have garages and/or driveways."

I seriously doubt anyone would buy a home where there was no driveway and/or garage as part of there home.
If that is the case, that there is no on site parking whatsoever (i.e. no driveways and garages for each unit) then that is a different matter.

Do you know that there will be no onsite parking WHATSOEVER or are you just trying to fan the flames?


Posted by Palo Alto Neighbor, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Included with the plans for the Elks Club site is a small public park presumably to be maintained by the City of Palo Alto. Since it is a public park the public must have access to it.

If I want to take my grandchild to play in that park and the visitor's parking area is full according to the Wilkie Way residents, I must park on another nearby street other than Wilkie Way. That would mean either El Camino Real or Charleston.

All streets in Palo Alto maintained by the City are for the general public. It seems as though those living in Charleston Meadows want to created a private enclave - no persons with cars allowed - how public spirited of them!!!




Posted by Not so slow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2008 at 5:20 pm

SummerHill homes should answer these questions, we shouldn't be arguing among outselves. They are creating this problem.
About parking, in my neighborhood people have garages and driveways, but they park on the street as well. And their guests and service people certainly do. The private streets in this project do not allow parking.
It's pretty simple. make the internal streets a little wider, let their people park there. Problem solved.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Since I live a long way from Wilkie Way, and what is happening there is very unlikely to happen in my neighborhood, I feel well qualified to lecture its residents about their moral obligations.

Not so fast is right. Those people on Wilkie Way had better get their minds right. They must not get in the way of progress and capital.

Summerhill Homes wants to build a lot of pricey homes next door to them. To make the best profit, Summerhill Homes will pack a lot of them in, which leaves much less parking space on Summerhill property. People who buy Summerhill's homes will probably have to park their cars on adjacent public streets. That further enhances the value of Summerhill's homes, because their owners won't have to look at the clutter of parked cars on their little private lanes. I think it is very rude for the residents of Wilkie Way to begrudge their new neighbors the serene lifestyle they paid so much for.

Besides, resistance is futile. Summerhill Homes is a wealthy and very influential developer. It will get its way.


Posted by Tired of it all, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2008 at 8:08 pm

First Hyatt Rickey's, now this. If Palo Alto really wants to become a tourist attraction as "Destination Palo Alto" implies on the city's website, we need to stop replacing commercial properties with residential ones. What about a new hotel? A new cluster of businesses? Schools are already bursting at the seams; more condos won't help the problem.

Here's to our future: a large lump of ugly houses!


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2008 at 9:25 am

Look at The Crossings development in Mountain View: a successful development with condos and semi-attached homes BUT the parking is very difficult for residents as well as visitors.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2008 at 10:33 am


Instead of SummerhillHomes, we should be dealing with the building of a medium-sized branch library with parking lot and tot lot with grass. This library project would not add to school population, would not use as much water (an increasing limited resource)nor as much power. Community members could have raised money for an endowment, to be sure the branch is properly maintained. Now, we can only undo the damage by limiting the density/number of units, widening the streets, increasing the size of the park.


Posted by Not Much Traffic On That Little Street, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2008 at 4:19 pm

The traffic on Wilkie Way (the segment behind Rickies and terminated by the Creek) has almost no traffic on it. During "drive time" there 0, 1 or 2 cars queued to enter the intersection at Wilkie and West Charleston. During the rest of the day, there is not much traffic on this short street segment.

Yet .. the Neighborhood Association is always trying to create a spectre of traffic jams and unsafe conditions at the various public hearings that have involved any development on this site.

It's really sad that the City has not provided traffic profiles of this intersection on five-minute intervals, so people can see what's really going on.


Posted by The Future Is Digital, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2008 at 4:21 pm

> building of a medium-sized branch library

All of the car trips to libraries increase the human impact on global warming. City governments need to begin to push e-books and digital libraries instead of brick-and-mortar buildings of the past.


Posted by Not so slow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 14, 2008 at 7:18 pm

There's Not Much Traffic because the houses haven't been constructed yet. And the ones along El Camino aren't finished yet. Duh!


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Wellm we will see what happnes after everthing is built and occupied. To me it is more of the doom and gloom scenarios we have heard about traffic by those opposed to the Sand Hill Road widening and the Ikea in EPAm to name a couple of projects that have been whined about in Palo Alto. And what was the end result?? No problems.

Charleston MEadow is good at getting what it wants from the city--it is only second behind College Terrace in knowing how to milk the city council.


Posted by Not Much Traffic On That Little Street,, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2008 at 4:48 am

> There's Not Much Traffic because the houses
> haven't been constructed yet.

There are not enough homes in this area to generate very much traffic to begin with--particularly on this one block segment of Wilkie Way. There is an access on El Camino as a primary access.

This talk about traffic is simply a scare tactic.


Posted by Not so slow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 16, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Another Jim Baer project stuffing a piece of land with too much housing. Baer is working on this project with Summerhill, as usual.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 18, 2008 at 10:19 am

"A piece of land with too much housing."
That says it all. Time after time, project after project. Unvaryingly. Intelligent opponents routinely castigated. Same old developer slogans. Time after time. On and on.


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