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What's the deal with the city council and housing?

Original post made by Giraffe on Jun 8, 2006

Maybe I'm wrong - I haven't made a study of this but it seems that they keep allowing more and more housing to be built. And at the same time I hear that kids can't go to the nearest schools because they are too full, and we have to convert some of the golf course into playing fields. Are new streets being built to deal with the increase in traffic resulting from all the new housing? Haven't really seen any. We don't even seem to be able to keep the streets we have in good repair.

Is it possible that the city council is allowing lots of new housing without thinking of the consequences?

Comments (7)

Posted by KC Sarr, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 9, 2006 at 1:25 pm

I agree. I've had the same feeling. What are they thinking? Huge amounts of new housing are being added near my neighborhood -- the Ricky's site and now Alma Plaza. And this at a time when the city needs more grocery stores and hotels (see the Guest Opinion by Karen White this week). Hotels and grocery stores add revenue to the city coffers, while housing costs the city with its burden to utilities, streets, parks, libraries, and schools. I now have to go to Mountain View to get my groceries because there aren't any non-boutique stores left near me. So the city is losing revenue and I am increasingly inconvenienced when I need a quart of milk. More intangible is the feeling that we lose in neighborhoods when buildings become densely packed and rise above the single-story of most tracts. How are we going to build a more walkable city when we keep adding more housing units with more cars? The City needs to examine its apparent carte blanche to all this new high-density housing.


Posted by Bill D'Agostino, Palo Alto Weekly reporter
on Jun 9, 2006 at 3:04 pm

Bill D'Agostino is a registered user.

This converstion is quite timely.

Check out today's story on the topic at:
Web Link


Posted by Joanie, a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Jun 9, 2006 at 4:09 pm

Councilman Barton is quoted in the story as saying "I don't see a crisis."

Which reminds me of what I heard Al Gore say last night on TV,
he was quoting Upton Sinclair:
"it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary
depends on his not understanding it."


Posted by iostrem, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2006 at 7:40 pm

I know it goes against what a lot of residents in Palo Alto think but I favor both increased residential and commercial development. I live close to University Ave and I moved there because it was a semi-urban environment. What keeps it healthy and vibrant is both people and commercial activity.


Posted by tom, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 10, 2006 at 11:37 pm

Those 181 homeowners at the old Hyatt site will turn left onto ECR and do all their spending in Mt View, EPA or Sunnyvale because Palo Alto has no Costco, OSH, Home Depot, Best Buy, Pet Smart, Trader Joes, Staples, Big supermarkets, ect. How sad!


Posted by Maria, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2006 at 8:36 pm

Mayor Kleinberg, along with someone at Stanford, is heading up an effort to reduce 'greenhouse gases'. However, every new housing development - every condo, townhouse, apartment, single family home, means more autos, more auto trips, more gasoline emissions. Every new building at Stanford University and every new store at the Shopping Center means more employees and more auto trips - and much of it through Palo Alto. Palo Alto officials can't have it both ways. Worry about greenhouse gases is useless unless there are less auto trips - and less housing. Palo Alto cannot house the world and does not have a moral obligation to do so. Our quality of life is being destroyed - but it's all about money, big builders, investors, and profit. That is what runs
Palo Alto,


Posted by enoch choi, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2006 at 12:24 am

Many share your concerns. 43 so far, precisely as of today. Sign this petition if you also are concerned:

Web Link
Petition requesting that City Council take action against the application by Classic Communities to build 96 residential units and enact a two-year, citywide moratorium on commercial properties being converted to housing. This will allow City to discuss where new developments should be built, how many units should be built, and to conduct required environmental analysis to ensure that new developments are well designed, structurally safe, environmentally sound, and a good place to live.


We the undersigned, request that the Palo Alto City Council take action against the application submitted by Classic Communities to build 96 residential units at W. Bayshore and Loma Verde. Per the City Manager, "Staff believes the concerns presented in the appeals… reflect project and broader policy concerns which warrant discussion by the City Council." A public hearing of these issues is scheduled for June 19th. The four Appeals include the following reasons why the project should not be approved by Council and can be found at:

Web Link
1) Comprehensive Plan did not foresee the building of any residential units in this area.
2) No EIR was done on this project, nor any additional analysis triggered at 75% of EIR growth caps.
3) Residential units (approved and projected) exceed the growth caps in Comprehensive Plan's EIR.
4) Cumulative impacts of the 931 approved and projected units in South Palo Alto need review.
5) Seismic, geologic, soil, and flood hazards on-site should require an EIR before approval.
6) Design Enhancement Exceptions are not supported by uniqueness of the site and should be denied.
7) Negative impacts of this project as stated in the Comprehensive Plan's EIR are not acceptable (i.e. school overcrowding, increase demands on public services, land use incompatibility, greater demands for parking along roadways, increased development exposed to seismic and geologic risks, greater impacts to vegetation and wildlife, greater visual impact resulting from new developments).
8) The ARB process has yielded an exterior design which leaves pause for many and requires discussion.


We the undersigned, request that the Palo Alto City Council enact a two-year, citywide moratorium on commercial properties being converted to housing until the City:

1. Updates the Comprehensive Plan and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
2. Conducts environmental analysis on all current projects as required by the Comprehensive Plan and CEQA, including cumulative impacts.
3. Prepares "Area Plan" for neighborhoods where multiple projects create significant cumulative impacts.
4. Implements a program in the Planning Department to track the number of ALL new residential units.
5. Revises public notice requirements for multi-family projects to include an area relative to the size of the project.


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