Eichler community divided over two-story houses Around Town, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:00 am
When a group of Fairmeadow residents launched an effort two years ago to ban new two-story buildings in their Eichler neighborhood, they had no idea they'd be setting off a bitter debate surrounding property rights and privacy.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 1, 2010, 9:54 AM
Posted by steven san jule, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:09 am
my father, james san jule. was co-founder of eichler homes. along with joe eichler and bob anshen, these gentlemen had a vision. to build a contemporary and affordable home....suitable for young families...based upon an open concept. i grew up in an eichler....3730 redwood circle. the beauty of that home...wood, lots of glass, cork floors, radiant heat...all on a corner lot. was the simplistic approach to making living comfortable. they were never designed...and certainly never intended to be added on to. please save the integrity and sanctity of the eichler. no, ms. thayer...the new home owner in your neighborhood does not have the right to do what they want ....they bought an eichler home!!!!!
Posted by Ada, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:11 am
Why don't we also ban poorly kept lawns and old cars parked in front fo homes (I am not talking about rusty junk cars for which there is nuisance ordinance) for ruining the consistency and looks of the neighborhood? And how about we require owners to paint the fronts of those Eichlers with fresh paint every 2-3 years because poorly kept Eichlers is an eye sore?
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:13 am
"I do not oppose furthering a single-story overlay for this particular area; I'm happy to entertain that," Garber said. "But I'm unwilling to do that if it creates division and questions and confrontation between neighbors."
After listening to neighborhood residents' comments last night at the Planning meeting, it was clear to me that the city of Palo Alto created the "division and questions and confrontation between neighbors". There is no law preventing 127 residents creating a single-story overlay for their neighborhood when they have a majority favoring it (they had the majority they needed).
The only way for the City to prevent the overlay was to muddy the waters, sending out a confusing survey to residents in Fairmeadow not involved with the original 127-member group - an action not mandated by law but effective in stopping, at least temporarily, the overlay that the majority of the 127-member group wanted. You may have noticed that city staff unfortunately gave bad information to the residents who took resposibility for moving the process through the required steps. This bad advice worked against the residents.
It is possible to set clear policy for this process and then put a copy of the process in a binder for the reference of city staff (and post a link on the city web page for residents). It is also possible for our elected officials to put the facts before the public: 2-story overlays in Palo Alto do not cause property values to drop and residents who own their property do not have the right to do anything they want with it. Perhaps our newspapers could also print these facts and cite the proof.
Just try to put any home-based business in your house. You won't be able to do this because there are restrictions on home-based businesses because of noise, appearance, traffic and parking issues. There are many more restrictions in addition to this. Fortunately, someone last night did mention that a two-story house next to a one-story house often lowers the value of the one story house because of loss of privacy and sunlight.
Posted by Carl, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:17 am
"The beauty of that home" - excuse me! 99% of Palo Alto Eichlers are inconspicuous boxes made of cheap materials with depressingly low ceilings, which visitors from Europe compare to shacks for storing farm tools.
Posted by Dislike 'em, a member of the Duveneck School community, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:29 am
I agree, these Eichlers are terrible and cheaply built. I grew up in one and swore I'd never live in one again but it was all we could afford in the real estate boom. And we had to overbid by $200,000. Talk about twisting the knife. Thank goodness our radiant heating was replaced by forced air so we have air-conditioning during the heat, whereby the uninsulated Eichler is like a greenhouse to be inside.
Posted by Mome Rath, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:37 am
Lots of people don't really "get" Eichler's houses. They bought them because they were cheap and they've always been a little ashamed of living in them. This has changed somewhat as twentieth century modern architecture and furnishings have come out of the dead zone and are increasingly recognized for their beauty and functionality. But this appreciation is still limited to a subset of the population. And Europeans? Well, don't even ask. It's not in their interest to admire Eichlers (unless they are architects).
It's hard to see how the single story overlay would lower property values. Single story residences in Palo Alto are exempt from lot coverage maximums. As long as the building footprint stays within required setbacks the entire FAR square footage can be built out as one story. I wonder if the materials that the city sent out included that particular, very important nugget of information. I agree with Resident, above. It seems like this whole kerfuffle is due to clumsiness on the part of the City.
Posted by David, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:38 am
Two story residences can easily blend in with single story residences. Check out Torreya Court in Midtown (all single and two story residences constructed at the same time), where structures are five feet from property lines. Any new two-story residence would simply have to be architecturally consistent with its neighbors. In 25 years I have never heard anyone complain about someone looking down on them from a second floor window.
Posted by Eichler mom, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:45 am
I live in an Eichler. I love my home with its glass walls. It connects the interior and exterior spaces of our property and brings natural California sunight deep into all of our rooms. That IS the beauty of Eichler living.
If my next door neighbor built a second story, I would have to cover the glass walls in my master bedroom, living room, and family room to protect my family from prying eyes next door. My comfortable sunlit home would be darkened by the shadows cast by my neighbor's building. The VALUE of my home and my quality of life would be directly impacted by my neighbor's decision to build. I also note that Greenmeadow, a Palo Alto historic district, and nicely preserved Eichler community has protected the architectural integrity of its neighborhood with a single story overlay that was put in place by a super majority vote of that neighborhood.
To Mr. Garber's point about conflict, the existing overlay in Greenmeadow minimizes conflicts between neighbors because everyone who buys in know that a second story is NOT an option. Neighbors don't have conflict around second stories because it's NOT an option.
We have MANY very precise rules about what you can and cannot do with homes. Ms. Thayer is misguided in thinking that restrictions on development are a bad thing. When neighbors can do "whatever they want" they do, and conflict can result when the effect of a second story is to degrade neighbors' quality of life.
Eichler neighborhoods are different, and I hope the PTC and CC will carefully consider architectural differences and long-term community harmony in their deliberations.
That said, I think that the Fairmeadow neighborhood leaders who are pushing for this change have a responsibility to take an active role in building consensus within their own community. Don't leave it to the city to do your work for you, they don't have the bandwidth, and it is NOT THEIR JOB. YOU need to provide leadership and build strong consensus BEFORE a survey is done, and the survey needs to have an agreed upon methodology. Doing the hard work of building consensus is what makes democracy work.
Posted by two stories with respect for privacy, a resident of another community, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:53 am
I was just in a lovely Eichler the other day... all that light! and the atrium... just beautiful. What a shame if a new two story took away any of that light. I've seen beautifully remodeled Eichlers too... walls insulated, heating problems solved, with the beauty of the Eichler in tact.
I really sympathize with the people who have one story and an inconsiderate new neighbor. You can put on a second story, with your neighbors' privacy in mind, keeping in style with your existing home.
What I have a problem with is jerks who move in and only think of themselves when adding on a second story. I have a neighbor who did just that in my backyard. He gave himself a great, large balcony overlooking my backyard where he invites kids and adults to hang over the edge while he gives them a tour of my backyard (I'm an avid gardener). I still hate this guy. What a selfish, inconsiderate X#$@. It's people like this we need legislation for.
Even then, you try, as I did, to be a good neighbor and not question what a new neighbor's doing. What a mistake. I should've been all over him and protested this. He even wanted to remove trees from MY backyard which blocked his view of my yard and was he said shading his new trees. Some people are just selfish jerks. What he did is insure my dislike for him for the long haul. Think about others people! Not just yourself.
Posted by Henry, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:54 am
I think Eichler homes were a great ideal for their time, but time has changed and the conditions that made them great decades ago have changed, also. In my opinion the Eichloer homes need to change with time. To those who don't want any change, let's look down the road 40 years from now. Do you want all your Eichler homes to be historical buildings? That would preclude any exterior change in the houses. Are they so great that they should be preserved forever? I proposed that those who want them preversed can do so but don't stop the whole neighborhood from change. I agree with the previous poster that secondary story homes can be build to fit the neighborhood.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm
A two story home replacing a single story significantly impacts the neighbors (and can ruin the consistent look of an established, pleasant neighorhood. That said, adding this restriction WILL decrease the lot value in the minds of some people - just as the no-basements in flood zones has decreased the value of lots in Crescent Park.
Posted by No-Overlays, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm
> my father, james san jule. was co-founder of eichler homes.
> along with joe eichler and bob anshen, these gentlemen had a
> vision. to build a contemporary and affordable home
Most of these early homes cost in the $11-$15K range. Certainly affordable for the 1950s. But today, 60 years later, these homes are selling for 1-2M dollars. Not the vision of 1950 it would seem.
If Eichler wanted to insure his "vision", he should not have sold the properties, but rented/leased them. Since he sold them, he (or his heirs) have no right to expect people to use the properties as they "intended" when they built them.
> they were never designed...and certainly never intended to be
> added on to.
Perhaps .. but Eichler did an awful job building "livable" houses. No closets, no storage, virtually no way to "grow" into them. With the heating in the slabs that rusted out within a few years, no insulation in the walls or ceilings .. not much to commend in terms of long-term reliability in these homes. And certainly putting them on lots that were too small is certainly something that does not put Eichler's vision in a positive light.
> the new home owner in your neighborhood does not have the right
> to do what they want ....they bought an eichler home!!!!!
Then people need to understand that what you see is what you get, and that the price of these homes should be downsized appropriately.
Posted by Marjorie, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:36 pm
We took our Mackey home (similar to an Eichler with floor to ceiling windows) down to the studs and put great effort into redoing it to fit into the community. One year later our neighbor built a 2 story home that looks right down on our house, onto our spa and into our bedroom and living room. We and several neighbors did not try to prevent their building, but requested the city require adjustments to the house to protect our privacy. They did nothing and later told us that the city is not even required to respond to our neighborhood letters of request to them. The neighbors later promised to plant trees to block their view of our living space. It has now been almost 3 years and in spite of repeated requests no trees have been planted. We have a reduced value on our redone house plus a loss of privacy and the cost of trees that will take 10 years to gain our privacy back. No, it is not right for a property owner to do whatever they want to their property when it is at the expense of the neighbors. We had no choice about the many city codes we had to follow in rebuilding our home. A single story overlay requested by the majority of the neighbors should certainly be allowed.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm
When we bought our Eichler 5 years ago, we were told by our agent that in this neighborhood one can build a two story house. Although we didn't have the intention to do so, it was a nice option. While our agent showed us around the neighborhood, there was already a 2-story houses, a new one, not an add-on, at the intersection of Bryant and Redwood Cir. I wonder where were the people who want the one-story overlay at that time. Was there any discussion about it before that house was built? I hope they did not start this only because their immediate neighbors wanted to build a 2-story house.
Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm
The NIMBYists, led by steven san jule, are out in full force on this issue. If they cannot have something, they will make sure no one else does. People should realize that when they buy a home in PA there is no such thing as "private property rights". Your neighbors determine what you can do with your property--what is yours is theirs.
Eichlers are ugly structures,, not up to 21st century standards--but PA has to have something "unique", so it is these slightly fancier shacks.
Posted by Moira, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm
As they say, you can't legislate taste (or rather Palo Alto is unwilling to do so). Eichlers have a unique modern design, you like them or you don't. You would expect if you purchased one you would at least try and remodel the home to fit the general modern style (which would mean adding a boxy 2d story would ruin the design) but there are numerous examples of this not happening. I shudder when I drive down Middlefield and see a particular home in the middle of 2 Eichlers with a completely altered and horribly designed front with absolutely no connection or cohesion to the other homes. We see this all over Palo Alto Eichlers or not, it has really accelerated the past several years-homes that pass the Review Board that look ghastly in relation to the neighboring houses. I remodeled my home a few years ago and spent time and money to make it fit the look of my block. The easiest and cheapest thing would've been to level my house and build one of those stuccor monster houses. My neighbors thanked me, but there is no incentive or requirement that this be done. Unfortunately.
Posted by AfluenzaVaccine, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm
To the resident who likes the two story house at Bryant and Redwood Cir., that is great example of what not to do - plop an oversized monster home on a small tract that butts up against single story Eichlers. If I wanted to live in that neighborhood, I'd move to Agrestic.
Eichlers, especially in the 'Circles' neighborhood are on smaller lots (6000-7000 ft), so while it might make sense to build up, you interfere with your neighbor's views and clash with the rest of the homes. Therefore, if you prefer to look at horrible two story design choices rather than the blue sky - you should be happy that the pro-development city council sees things your way.
Scraping an Eichler or adding a second story alienates your neighbors and does nothing to the value of the house, since you end up with something that looks horribly mismatched with the the surrounding houses. If you want to live in a taco bell, you should look to move to another PA neighborhood where they are all too common. This boils down to an argument between people who understand and like the living experience an Eichler offers, and those who value the expedience of stuffing 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound bag.
Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm
I love how Palo Alto residents, who always love to put up a front on how good, perfect and tolerant they are, immediately start denigrating houses that they do not like as being "oversized monster home" and "a taco bell".
Amazing how jealously turns "civil" Palo Alto residents into raving defenders of what is "proper".
Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm
Well, Anon, is that 2 story home considered a "oversized monster home" and "a taco bell" because it is 10 ft from your window?
Did the homeowner follow all the rules? Was his project vetted by the proper committees? What does tolerance really have to do with the issue? You make it sound like your desires are the overriding concern here.
How much say should you have regarding something that does not belong to you? Does the fact that you have "privacy" one day mean that you are entitled to "privacy" forever, even if that involves exercising final say over someone else's property?
Do you also think that the parking spots in front of your house are for your personal use only? Do you think that traffic should not be allowed down YOUR street?(those other other symptoms of PA NIMBY syndrome)
Posted by Anon, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm
OK Too Much Traffic, so by the same measure, if I erect my permanent 3 story statue to Hades in my backyard that happens to face your house, you wouldn't mind since the planning department does not forbid it? Actually, under your system, I don't have to ask that question.
Don't you think there might be a larger issue here than the letter of the law. Would you like my Winnebago parked in front of your house for a month or two - hey, the city doesn't care, so why should you?
Your rants aside, no one is trying to neglect your rights here. We all have to live here together in tight spaces, so doing something like a two story overlay does make a difference.
Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm
"OK Too Much Traffic, so by the same measure, if I erect my permanent 3 story statue to Hades in my backyard that happens to face your house, you wouldn't mind since the planning department does not forbid it? Actually, under your system, I don't have to ask that question."
Well, I seriously doubt the Planning Commission would okay that structure, so your whole point is bogus.
"Don't you think there might be a larger issue here than the letter of the law. Would you like my Winnebago parked in front of your house for a month or two - hey, the city doesn't care, so why should you?"
Another bogus argument since street parking is limited to 48 hours before a vehicle has to be moved. Anyway, the streets are public, so they are open to anyone parking on them.
"Your rants aside, no one is trying to neglect your rights here. We all have to live here together in tight spaces, so doing something like a two story overlay does make a difference."
You see you are slipping into PA attack mode--don't like a house, it becomes a monster home--don't like a comment, it becomes a rant. Once you say that a person should be forbidden to build a second story (since you seem to have decided that all second stories are bad, despite the comments of some posters) because YOU do not like it, then you are neglecting someone's rights to further your goals.
Feel free to reply when you have some solid points to make
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm
---If you like two story monster home dwellings, move to Pleasanton, er, SimCity CA. We'd like to retain a modicum of design culture here.
One can say the same thing to you--if you don't like two story monster home dwelling in between Eichlers, you can move to .......
Who are you to say that "We'd like to retain a modicum of design culture here". Do you own all the houses here??
The point is, neighborhood like GreenMeadow has the 1-story overlay restriction put in place before anyone had the thought or tried to build a 2-story house. So for someone who has the intention to build a big 2-story house, he/she would NOT buy in that neighborhood.
It's a different story for FairMeadow. When a lot of people purchased their houses, including me, there was no such thing as one-story overlay. So to those people, it's not fair that you enforce it now, especially when the uniformity of the architetual style has already been damaged.
This issue should have been brought up way back to the time when someone intended to build or add the first 2-story house.
Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm
"The problem is that it looks like you do for now, Too Much Traffic. So tell me, how do you define tasteful?"
Another bogus claim, Anon., I am not deciding anything. I am offering my opinion. The city has committees and commissions that decide on what can and cannot be built, with the help of input from concerned people.
Posted by Circle Innards, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm
I can see the motivation for the circle dwellers.
Those on the inner circles have their back windows looking at their neighbors SIDE walls, which are only 6 feet from the property line, vs. the normal 20 feet REAR setback. No room to fit a tree for privacy.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm
--It isn't fair to the 75% super-majority that the 25% minority get to call the shots... that would only happen in the dysfunctional US Senate. :-)
My problem with this is that people are only concerned when their personal convience is violated. Where were they a long time ago? Do these people tend to be those who lived in the neighborhood for a long time?
Posted by SFMomma, a resident of another community, on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm
The original Eichler house at the intersection of Redwood Cir and Bryant St burned down in the mid 1990s (I think due to electrical). Not sure if it had renters or owners in it at the time It probably was an empty lot for about 2-3 yrs, maybe more. Then that stucco house was built in the early 2000s.
I'd rather look at the 2-story stucco than the eyesore Eichler in desperate need of a paint job and a trim for all the over grown pine trees. I agree about blight being more of a neighborhood problem than a well-kept 2-story.
Posted by MightyMouse, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm
Most of the Eichlers in the Fairmeadow neighborhood aren't the kind with the pretty entry-atriums. The Eich's in the F'mead area are the kind with the carport and no garage - thus leaving homeowners very LITTLE storage.
I think the Greenmeadow neighborhood is the place to buy if you want a single-story Eichler with a pretty atrium and a 2-car garage. I think that neighborhood already has an ordinance in tact banning 2-stories. And aren't there already a few or more 2-story homes in the F'meadow area? Some have been 2-stories since the late 70's early 80's. And there are at least 2 homes under construction right now, yep, building upwards.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm
"I think the Greenmeadow neighborhood is the place to buy if you want a single-story Eichler with a pretty atrium and a 2-car garage. I think that neighborhood already has an ordinance in tact banning 2-stories."
Posted by Rachel, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm
Absolutely agree with SF Momma - I would too rather look at the 2-story stucco than the eyesore Eichler in desperate need of a paint job. I can see how a well kept and updated Eichler coudl look nice on a cover of architectural digest or design magazine, but in reality these are "tired" shacks in the least appealing part of Palo Alto. No wonder they cost significantly less than 2 story houses. There is nothing wrong with mix and match - look at Berkeley hills, they have many unique style houses and it only makes the neighborhod more interesting. I am equally against tracks and tracts of aging Eichlers or ranch houses or modern Meditarranean stuccos for that matter, if there are devoid of personality and are poorly kept. In Palo Alto the so called "monster houses" usually have custom details - railing, mailboxes, garage doors, choice of materials and that makes them much more appealing. I am for tasteful diversity of architecture - like in North Berkeley hills.
Posted by resident, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm
"Hey, how about that house on Roosevelt Cir with 50+ bicycles in the front yard? What's going on there?"
Some of the houses on Roosevelt Cir and the rest of that neighborhood are rentals and lots of Stanford students (perhaps even Foothill/DeAnza or Menlo College kids) rent them and they cram about 5 in there to split the rent which probably run high and then they don't care about the house or raking or taking care of it or anything. However, you can get college renters and the problems that follow along with it in any nieghborhood, especially being this close to big colleges and stuff. Believe me, College Terrace has its fair share of that. But that's another issue for another comment thread.
Posted by Neighbors United, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm
Existence of 2-story home is fact and reality in the Redwood Circle/ Star King Circle. Let's not fool ourselves otherwise. It is unfair to take away the option from your neighbors to build alternatives.
Let's be adaptive and open-minded to the reality. I am calling all of us to channel our energy to improve our surroundings, including taking care of front yards and putting on fresh paints once every 30 years.
Posted by Old Fogies wake up, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm
You put restrictions on building two story homes in Fairmeadow, and your property values will go down. In this day and age young families like two story homes. Single story overlay must be driven by a bunch of old fogies.
Posted by Moira, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 7:26 pm
If somehow I believed there would be a coherent design review policy for two stories, Eichler or not, I wouldn't really care. But there is none. My friend and I have a contest to find the most egregiously designed house in Palo Alto. There are so many contenders it's difficult to pronounce the winner. I especially love the ones with quasi-Mediterranean stucco exteriors, giant front columns (Greek? Southern Plantation? Roman?) Spanish tile roofs, Colonial American windows with metal fake pane dividers, Giant wood (European?) front doors with marbled glass windows, Home Depot Colonial brass light fixtures and of course, the Home Depot garage door with the glass cut-outs designed for a Midwest or East Coast traditional home. There was NO thought whatsoever put into how these homes look from the street, just get the most square footage and sell while the bubble lasted. We will be looking at these for decades. If you think I'm saying you have to pay alot of money to finish your exterior, actually not. Just maybe ask someone who knows something about design so you don't pick out hideously mismatched doors, window, lights.
Posted by Maria, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 9:45 pm
We have been working on a single story overlay in our neighborhood for the past two years and have discovered that more than 60% of people want this to insure the integrity of their Macky Homes (like eichlers). We have one two story home in the neighborhood and the building of this is what caused divisiveness. This home looks directly into quite a few people's homes in the neighborhood and was approved by the building commission despite many letters written by surrounding neighbors. Several people have added onto their homes or extensively remodeled them as one stories in order to preserve the indoor outdoor private living that was initially intended. These people believe their housing values have now decreased because they no longer have the privacy they planned for and invested in. The city has laws to help people maintain their neighborhoods as they desire. We have not submitted our petition yet as we are still trying to raise the fees required by the city to submit the proposal. It is disappointing that another group's valid petition would be voted down despite laws supporting this process.
Posted by Undecided SSO, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm
Extrapolating time to 20 years later when Granny Ann is way 6-ft under, her kids on Roosevelt Cir. want a 2-story to enjoy modern living. The City approved their proposal because the ban on 2-story is only applied to other Circles.
Neighbors are stunned. They demand for answers. What happened in 2010? Were people too "stoned" to care about Roosevelt Cir.?
In another word, is it fair to ban alternative home, given "uniformity of block" was already re-defined in '90 and '00? (Where were you then, ¡°stoned¡±?) It is a virtue to accept fact and be adaptive.
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:01 pm
To anyone with an Eichler, or any one story home, who is complaining that their next door neighbor is building a new two story house..
You should be glad you live in an area on the upswing. Many people are faced with the opposite....vacant houses, declining tax base, property values plummeting. If only that house were instead a half-way house for recently released felons, the local Hell's Angel's chapter headquarters, you would not have to worry about a two story house impinging on your privacy. But your property values would plummet.
If your neighbor's house is bigger than yours (you have a two story and they build a three story) then it's a "Monster Home" or an "over-build". But if you could live in it yourself, quite a different story.
When the rising tide lifts all, albeit some on larger waves than others, petty jealousy trumps both a realistic viewpoint and gratitude than it's not 180 degrees the other way.
On most matters I'd favor regulation which would cause many to depict me the most Draconian of socialists. But this is NIMBYism in your back yard.
Posted by gidget, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:27 am
We bought our 2-story Eichler in Fairmeadow in 1992. It was frankly, very ugly. Before we made our offer on the home, I would sit in my car out front, and wonder if I could live here. Everything else was perfect. Big walls of glass looking out on the backyard with fruit trees and tasteful landscaping. Lots of kids running around the circle.
Wonderful inner circle with no traffic, kids cross one residential street to get to middle or elementary school.
Yes, this house is a great home to raise our family.
We bought this Eichler.
In 2003, we remodeled. Greenmeadow Architects worked wonders.We have smoked glass on upper level, to shield us from neighbors. But, when our neighbor's trees died, and they removed them, the privacy vanished. From our second story deck, we can now look into the neighbor's kitchen, living-room, and bedroom. Our back-yard neighbors are planning to grow bamboo to shield our view. I'm grateful.
The homes in Fairmeadow were not meant to be two levels. We know. We are living it.
Posted by Eichler owner, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 8:05 am
Neighborhoods change, evolve, get updated. As hard as it sounds, very few of the homes that were built 50 years ago are going to be around in 50 years' time, 100 years' times. The design of eichlers in particular were built to fit a niche and that niche is smaller than it was and doesn't fit the Palo Alto family.
We have done some upgrading to our eicher, but many of the typical eicher designs don't even come up to modern safety standards or modern replacement standards. Our own home was built without regard to 6' perimeter setback compliance as the angle of our home and our corner plot are less than 6' from our neighbors and I am sure we are not the only one. Changing our single pane windows to double glazed safety glass is not on and if any of our windows should break we probably would not be able to replace them as they are. The walls are thin enough that we can hear outside conversations from our neighbors backyards while in our bedroom and within the house noise travels from room to room as if the walls don't exist. The heating, although it works, takes much too long to heat the house and when the heating is on and it turns warm outside, it is impossible to cool quickly. The wiring and the plumbing have drawbacks also and replacement parts are difficult to obtain. The original building materials were mass produced but no longer obtainable and where some of the siding is so rotten and needs replacement, the new won't match the old so replacing the siding of the whole house to make it look the same is the only option. The original materials in many cases were cheap and poorly built.
All in all, to really upgrade an eicher to modern standards is expensive and nigh on impossible. It really would be cheaper to raze the house and start again.
To put it bluntly, the eichlers are on their way out. Some will rebuild following the original style, but expecting everyone to do this is not realistic.
Neighborhoods always evolve and change, that is what happens. This is not the 1950s anymore. I actually like the fact that the conformity of rows of carbon copy housing is being changed to show individuality and character. I expect that none of us will recognise Palo Alto if we return in 50 years and that is the way it should be.
Posted by Anon, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 8:07 am
Too Much Traffic says:
I am offering my opinion. The city has committees and commissions
that decide on what can and cannot be built, with the help of
input from concerned people.
"Help from concerned people". A 70% majority of people in the neighborhood do not see it your way; however, the city council ruled for the minority. Therefore you are now free to build a two story dwelling that towers over your neighbors.
I'm sure you'll retort with some rant about how this is a typical Palo Alto attitude - apparently those are any attitudes that contradict your own. Please put down the Ayn Rand and take a look at what you defend.
Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 8:25 am
Anon--if you are going to quote me then get the quote right. I said
"with the help of input from concerned people." and not ""Help from concerned people"."
You also state: "A 70% majority of people in the neighborhood do not see it your way"
This is not the case as the story clearly states:
"In September, the city mailed out a survey to all 300 houses in the entire Fairmeadow neighborhood, which also includes Roosevelt Circle and a portions of Bryant Street and South Court. Only 137 people responded to the city survey, with 73 property owners (24 percent) supporting a single-story overlay and 64 (21 percent) opposing it."
"Therefore you are now free to build a two story dwelling that towers over your neighbors. "
You have got that wrong also. The issue has still not been decided. They will do another survey.
"I'm sure you'll retort with some rant about how this is a typical Palo Alto attitude"
There you go again--typical PA attitude--if I do not agree with you, it is a rant.
"Please put down the Ayn Rand and take a look at what you defend."
Very amusing. I am defending the rights of property owners. Too bad you feel that you have rights over property you do not own.
Posted by Anon, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 8:41 am
First, thanks for clearing up the misquote - it made a big difference.
Seems you are having a problem with your facts. From the article:
"the original survey showed 72 percent in favor of the overlay"
Then you go on to say "You have got that wrong also. The issue has still not been decided. They will do another survey.". So does that mean there is a moratorium on building two story structures?
Then there is the typical "There you go again--typical PA attitude" - which means if you do disagree with me, then you've got a typical PA attitude. Tell me, if mine is a 'typical' attitude, then yours must be in the minority - correct? Thanks for making my point.
"Too bad you feel that you have rights over property you do not own."
Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:12 am
"Seems you are having a problem with your facts. From the article:
"the original survey showed 72 percent in favor of the overlay""
No, Anon, you have a problem with your facts. That 72% comes from a petition submitted by residents of a subset of the neighborhood and not a survey sent out by the city
From the article:
"The petition for the overlay was proposed by residents in a 127-home section of Fairmeadow — Starr King Circle, Lindero Drive and Redwood Circle. Last year, the residents presented the planning commission with a petition showing 72 percent of the property owners in the subset of the neighborhood supported an overlay district."
The Planning commission is talking about an overlay for the whole neighborhood.
"So does that mean there is a moratorium on building two story structures?"
I would assume since they have not yet decided the issue, then it would be wrong for them to allow any two story homes to be built. I also assume that they will address this issue in a speedy manner and let it fester for a year or two
"Tell me, if mine is a 'typical' attitude, then yours must be in the minority - correct? Thanks for making my point."
Just because you are in the majority (or you think you are) does not make it right. The "typical" attitude I was referring to was the "typical" attitude that people have in PA when they claim to be able to control their property and yours as well.
FYI--a dictionary definition of typical:
"1 : constituting or having the nature of a type"
"Ayn would be proud."
You seem to have a problem with Ayn Rand and individual property rights--must be nice to want to control what belongs to you and what does not as well.
Posted by Downtown resident, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:18 am
I second that view "I like the fact that the conformity of rows of carbon copy housing is being changed to show individuality and character". We absolutely do need more of character and personality in teh housing designs in PA. However, I don't expect much new construction going forward as the era of stock option based compensation when many people suddenly got a waterfall of money is over. Eichler owners - if you like your Eichlers so much - make it look nice, refresh the paint, upgrade the mailboxes and front yard landscaping, make them look nice, because poorly kept Eichlers look so depressing.
Posted by Downtown resident, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:18 am
I second that view "I like the fact that the conformity of rows of carbon copy housing is being changed to show individuality and character". We absolutely do need more of character and personality in teh housing designs in PA. However, I don't expect much new construction going forward as the era of stock option based compensation when many people suddenly got a waterfall of money is over. Eichler owners - if you like your Eichlers so much - make it look nice, refresh the paint, upgrade the mailboxes and front yard landscaping, make them look nice, because poorly kept Eichlers look so depressing.
Posted by We have property rights, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:30 am
If you want to destroy your own property values by forbidding people from actually building sensibly sized modern family homes with a little lot left over, that's fine with me. It will just make my lot without a single story overlay more desirable.
Typical arrogant Palo Alto attitude is fully on display here. I have a small Eichler-style home, which, if I had the money, I would love to knock down and build something more solidly built and spacious for my family (which will soon include 5 people in about 1400 sq. feet of space.) When I bought my current house, the fact that I might knock it down was always figured into my calculus for how much I would spend.
I have a great solution for all the single-story Elichler lovers. If you don't like two story houses-- then don't build one! But stop trying to boss around your neighbors.
If I was forbidden from building a bigger house, I would potentially have hundreds of thousands of dollars of property value taken away from me. I realize that some in Palo Alto are so rich that this might not matter, but to my family and most of what passes for a middle class here, it most certainly does.
Posted by Neighbor, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 10:18 am
To the people that insist a two story is the only way to get value - why not try to expand your house through remodeling instead of scraping something that blends in with the rest of the neighborhood. If you didn't like your house to begin with, then why did you buy it?
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 10:29 am
To Neighbor from Greenmeadwo neighborhood,
"why not try to expand your house through remodeling instead of scraping something that blends in with the rest of the neighborhood"--
--because building a new house could be cheaper than remodelling and expanding a 60 yr old Eichler.
"If you didn't like your house to begin with, then why did you buy it?"
I found your point laughable. A lot of home buyers bought old crappy house for the land, not the house itself. And in this neighborhood, you can knock it down and build a house you like. And that's exactly why I chose this neighborhood over Greenmeadow.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 10:58 am
> A lot of home buyers bought old crappy house for the land, not the house itself.
You might find it laughable - I find your attitude sad. Please read this on the vision behind the design: Web Link. Here's an excerpt:
"On the scale of the individual family, Wright imagined the Usonian: a warm, open-planned, small home designed for convenience, economy, and comfort. Wright's model of residential design for the "everyman" would provide abundant lessons for the designers of Eichler Homes."
So what you see as a 'crappy house' is to others a jewel, so when you destroy that design, you lose something. Sure you can tear it down and build a two story home-depot - there is nothing I can do. I just ask you to consider that decision given what gets lost in the process.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:06 am
There is a lot of confusion about Eichlers. One thing is design, another is the way the design is implementing, that is the way it's built.
Eichlers have a very distinct modern design: they are ecologically forward, conceptually mid-century unembelished and play the mid-century volumes/lines exceedingly well.
That's why they are historical, that is, the set of them is historic because they represent
a period and an enlightment about a new concept.
They are not so much badly built as they are pioneerly built. There was an experiment in materials that was the precursor of what we consider nowadays to be an innovation, namely floor heating, natural materials and lots of light. Sure the experiment didn't work well for Eichlers, but after refinements, more than half a century later is now standard in high price construction. So, if the floor heating is replaced by a modern one, the walls are insulated and the there is a seismic upgrade an Eichler is as good a house as any of its price range and it's better designed.
You might not like an Eichler, but ugly they are not in the estimation of many ordinary citiziens and professionals.
I myself think that the way some want to "redo" Palo alto is appalling: fake mediterraneans, faux victorians, lots of bling spec construction, etc, but I know that the fact that I don't like something doesn't mean that's not worthy or desirable . It would be good if the Eichler criticisms would be that informed as well. But they are not-they are confused, ignorant and downright mean.
I am temporarily in the East Coast in a an area that has been long considered one of the best neighborhoods in America. Many houses are only 800 sq feet and some trinities- three rooms one on the top of the other and countless other small buildings all on the national register despite not being large or extraordinary. They are inhabited by educated, and many by extremely well off people. It is preserved as a set and therefore no building can suffer any outside changes . Tourists come to see it in hordes and planners walk its streets to get ideas (and many movies have been made here not all historic).
That's how I see the Eichlers. It should be preserved as a set because they were designed as a set.
The Eichler lots are small by practical design . That's a virtue, not a defect. Putting a second storey house in an Eichler neighborhood is akin to destroy the set and stain a great concept. Surely there were other places without major significance were the owners could have bought and petitioned to build a bigger and taller house. That would improve Palo Alto, not destroy whatever little there is where we can look back and say: It started here.
( by what is started here I mean a design movement).
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:16 am
Resident from Greenmeadow,
"So what you see as a 'crappy house' is to others a jewel,"
-- Yes, but please remember the reverse is ALSO true. Who is to say which one design is better than the other one? It's purely personal. You obviously is an Eichler lover. And congratualations that you live in Greenmeadow and it will remain the way it is for a very long time.
Posted by Undecided on SSO, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:28 am
Poorly insulated thin walls, flat leaking roof, ill-considered heating pipes. That sums up what Eichler is about.
Eichler is a money tree for contractors. There is some much commercial interest to keep our failing shacks last for one more day. So, do yourself a favor to accept truth and to be adaptive to modern life.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:39 am
Narnia from Menlo Park,
Like many residents in this neighborhood, we do not hate our Eichlers. What we don't like is some residents trying to force sth onto neighbors. There were already two story add-ons or new buildings in the neighborhood way before a lot of us moved in. What uniformity did it have at that time comparing to now?
If a neighbor wanted to build a 2-story house that will violate some residents' privacy, then the neighbors need to work together to find a solution among themselves. Please do not drag this entire community into the matter. It's not fair and it's selfish.
Posted by eichler, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:50 am
> do yourself a favor to accept truth and to be adaptive to modern life.
That's called 'learned helplessness' in psychology - a sad attitude that is emblematic of our disposable society.
Look, if you don't like the insulation - fix it. Same for the roof - there are plenty of options that do not involve destroying a great design. I'll wager that if those options cost *more* than a teardown and rebuild, then your new home is total crap.
And for those people who think that a two-story will bring in a higher resale and attract young families - those are two opposing notions. If you are to be believed - I have not seen any facts to back up the assertions made - then you've just priced those young families out of ownership.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:59 am
"That's called 'learned helplessness' in psychology - a sad attitude that is emblematic of our disposable society. "
I guess your psychology does not teach you fairness. When you go purchase sth knowing that you have the freedom to decide what to do with it and then couple years later you were told that you can not do that anymore, what will you say?
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm
"Eichler is a money tree for contractors. There is some much commercial interest to keep our failing shacks last for one more day"
So true!!!! We put on foam roof 2 years ago and thought that we'd finally fixed the leak problem. You know what, it leaked again this winter. The reason we were given is that the earth moves so there was a crack around the seal.
Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm
I have seen many pro-SSO comments about preserving architetual design and protect privacy. Can anyone address the issue of fairness to the people who moved to the neighborhood with the impression that they have the option to build a one or two-story house. Anyone??
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:27 pm
"Like many residents in this neighborhood, we do not hate our Eichlers. What we don't like is some residents trying to force sth onto neighbors. There were already two story add-ons or new buildings in the neighborhood way before a lot of us moved in. What uniformity did it have at that time comparing to now?"
Curious to me is the fact that if I move near to you and plant a Frank Gehry house on my lot you would be complaining, or wouldn't you? His neighbors did.
The fact that some people did stupid things and altered their Eichlers is that a reason for continuing?
Of course, we don't live alone, so what our neighbors need or want should be considered
as long as it doesn't go against a well informed principle of keeping a neighborhood as consistent as possible. The lots are small so 2nd storey houses are maybe aren't a good thing. And the design? Maybe it's compatible, but still 2nd storey, keeping light out of neighboring houses. Isn't that important? not for the person wanting to build higher, but for the community yes.
Eichlers set in Palo Alto are a unique historical neighborhood. Why would someone want to place a design that would destroy that?
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm
Let's see. It is as fair for the person wanting to build the house to go for it as for the ones who don't want it done to be vocal and try to influence the outcome of the permit. Why is it not fair for people to complain and try to stop it? The code says you are permitted, it doesn't say you must and it doesn't protect anyone from protest.. First amendment rights gives you the freedom to vocalize your displeasure. If the project goes ahead I doubt that neighbors will stop it physically. That wouldn't be fair. But it's fair to say "we don't want it. It takes light and value out of the neighboring houses and besides it's non conforming with an historically consistent neighborhood"
I don't know who will win. Probably the 2nd storey proponent. But that is still wrong and misguided to do it, except for him/herself. But unfair if he loses? No. What does he/she lose? Unfair if he wins? Yes, because "It takes light exposure out of neighboring properties and reduces their value and that will be very unfair to many homeowners than the sole one/s who want to build upwards.
Posted by Eicheler Owner, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm
Question is whether it is fair to take away the right of alternative homes.
As a owner of Eichler, I think it is fair to let each owner decides with inputs from friendly neighbors, as most of us are tolerant, reasonable, and hardworking tax payers. Thriving community can be measured by its level of diversity, pluralism, and personalities of homes.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:14 pm
good response regarding fairness. This reminded me that for those who are against SSO like me, we should do more to promote our ideas and to protect our rights. There'll be a surge in counter SSO activities in the neighborhood. I guarantee it.
Posted by Logic, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm
> I see many people saying they'd rather see a newly built stucco than an eye sore poorly maintained Eichler.
Huh? What about a poorly maintained stucco? You are comparing two different categories to belabor your lack of a point. Plus "many people" is a meaningless phrase without facts - like the fact that 72% of the people in the original neighborhood did not see it your way - that is "many people".
I do not like the circles/fairmeadow neighborhood because for me is too quiet and dead. It has nothing to do with the Eichlers. Just my personal reaction. I do not think of Eichlers as beautiful or marvelous. They are fine examples of mid-century architecture and values and as a set rare. But I think it ought to be preserved and I still think the set has inherent historical value and I still think it's wrong to steal light from the neighbors. If it isn't I'll call Frank and let him design a house next to yours completely according to code. Fair enough? Didn't someone say that we should be able to do whatever we want with our property? If that's your opinion let's run with it to see what it brings. Or you don't like the concept of doing what code allows you anymore since it can bring frank Gehry surprises?
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm
Sorry, just one more thing:
when people bought their Eichlers they had an expectation of light (let's leave privacy out of this for a while). How fair is it to tell decades later that after all they can't have the light they bought the house with to begin ? There maybe a way for people to stop this second floor, if their Eichler was designed for solar gain (there is even a law). Check it out.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm
"Huh? What about a poorly maintained stucco? "
Huh? Do you see a poorly maintained stucco in this neighborhood?
And 72% of what neighborhood? excluding Roosevelt, part of Bryant and South court? And did all of your 72% of people vote for the SSO in the city's survey? Please remember a lot of the non-responses are people who are newer to the neighborhood and are less informed of the issue. I guess they will likely to vote against SSO.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm
Architects are like arts, can be diverse. We are not asking you to knock down your beloved Eichlers. We are saying, yes, we can build our own house with the style I want, of course in the meantime, taking into consideration of your neighbors privacy.
Right now the lone stucco looks odd in the neighborhood because 95% of the houses are still of Eichler style. Wait till you have more different styled houses in the neighborhood, the view can change. Just be open to changes.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm
"I agree that Narnia - the fact that one home owner can diminish a neighbor's home value by blotting out his light/view with a 2 story house makes this a fairness issue for SSO proponents."
What kind of stats do you have to prove that if you have a 2-story newly built house next to you, your house value decreases? It might be true that if you have an odd 2-story Eichlor add-on next to you, your property value decreases.
Here is what I heard: new houses bring up the values of the entire neighborhood.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm
No. I have a one story, nice one and have no intention to knock it down any time soon. But I won't be bothered if my neighbor decides to build a new house (2 story or 1) . Why? They are all very nice people and they will take my concern into their design.
Posted by live and let live, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm
I find streets of well-kept Eichlers to be quite beautiful. It is sad when these are ruined by either neglect, bad taste modifications, or a new house (1 or 2 story) that clashes with the neighborhood.
But at the end of the day, we all paid very dearly to move to PA. We are entitled to change our property in the way that fits our family's needs so long as we comply with the zoning laws. Obviously it is best if this is done with consideration to neighbors and design aesthetics. And modern tasteful narrow 2-storys are definitely possible.
The glaring error is "when people bought their Eichlers they had an expectation of light." Sorry, No. When you bought your house you knew very well (or should have known) that second stories were permitted next door. Light-robbing trees grow, too.
Posted by Eicher Owner (south PA), a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm
"Extrapolating time to 20 years later when Granny Ann is way 6-ft under, her kids on Roosevelt Cir. want a 2-story to enjoy modern living. The City approved their proposal because the ban on 2-story is only applied to other Circles.
Neighbors are stunned. They demand for answers. What happened in 2010? Were people too "stoned" to care about Roosevelt Cir.?"
Can anyone explain why Roosevelt Cir. is out? If true, SSO would create a "Fairemeadows Dump" zone in a realtor language.
Posted by Fairness, a resident of another community, on Apr 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Narnia said: "Let's see. It is as fair for the person wanting to build the house to go for it as for the ones who don't want it done to be vocal and try to influence the outcome of the permit. Why is it not fair for people to complain and try to stop it? The code says you are permitted, it doesn't say you must and it doesn't protect anyone from protest.. First amendment rights gives you the freedom to vocalize your displeasure. If the project goes ahead I doubt that neighbors will stop it physically. That wouldn't be fair. But it's fair to say "we don't want it. It takes light and value out of the neighboring houses and besides it's non conforming with an historically consistent neighborhood"
--please help me with this. why do I feel that giving people the right to choose what they want to do is more fair than taking away the right that's been there for almost 60 years?
Posted by HaHa, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm
"you need to clean up the front yards at least. Eichlers will always be perceived as cheap, run-down houses if it lacks the appeal. "
This is rich. So no where else in PA is there one or two homes with bikes or whatever on their lawns. Next time please add "And get off my lawn too."
And For Fairness, when the right to choose has a major impact on your neighbor's enjoyment of his view or decreases his resale because the windows all face your stucco monument, there should be some form of control in place.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm
"So no where else in PA is there one or two homes with bikes or whatever on their lawns. Next time please add "And get off my lawn too."
Why are you so defensive about a FACT? Neighborhood appeal is one of the factors when people purchase a house. Ask any people in the Real Estate business. And of course there are other neighborhoods have houses with messy front yards. But is it true that Eichler neighborhoods tend to have more of those?
"And For Fairness, when the right to choose has a major impact on your neighbor's enjoyment of his view or decreases his resale because the windows all face your stucco monument, there should be some form of control in place."
I'd enjoy newly built house more than a run-down, poor maintained Eichler no matter from what angel. What's wrong with stucco again? Do you think your Eichler is better than a new stucoo?
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm
OK. So this has been discussed before. Interesting. Do people who support SSO understand that with the houses getting older, it will become harder to ask people to give away their right to build a new 2-story house? What a waste of time!
Posted by HaHa, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm
resident - it's been fun, but I've got to sign off.
I have to say that in reading your posts, I think you've actually failed the Turing Test. I don't really know if the views you've expressed can prove you to be a being capable of feeling. Further, I am sure that prolonged exposure to a non-Eichler house will only decrease your score.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 6:17 pm
"Nope, sorry - you still aren't making any sense. Try saying the same thing using different words."
So you know I was trying to say the same thing in different ways. Seems to me that you got my message.
We would love our neighborhood to look good. But just as the fact that we can't force any neighbors to clean up their yards, you can't force a neighbor to not do things they want to do with their property, when it's allowed by the rules and codes. Please respect our rights also.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm
Fairness, a resident of another community,
The answer to your question is: PEOPLE never choose. More people choose something than other people but unless you have 100%00 of agreement it's never the people but the majority. People are free to say yes. They are also free to say no. We are not choosing anything in this forum. Just debating the pros and cons. My hope is that the debate be honest. I think it's not right to build a second storey in heavily Eichler territory. But as I
said it might go the other way. Just because more people may choose something that displeases somebody doesn't mean that the people were not free to choose. It meant that not enough people of a different thinking were in agreement.
However, I would caution those who want a second storey. There is a law of unintended consequences. Once second storeys begin other non forbidden items will be added. And so on.
That's why Co-ops in new york City are so strict. They know from a very long experience
that once a slippery slope of allowed items starts, putting an end to it is very hard.
I lived in Midtown (until recently actually) when the MacMansion crowd arrived and that was a consequence of the city allowing the first second floor high ratio of ground covering.
After that first all hell broke loose. Years later the city wanted to curb those houses, but how much more difficult it was to go back. And the little monsters are still there occupying very small lots. That is what I call ugly.
Posted by residen, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm
Found you are very good at making claims but with no support.
I am a pround one story Eichler owner who is sympathetic with neighbors who bought run-down houses and want to rebuild new ones. You showed more feeling by bluntly saying no to those home owners and insist the view of a junky front yard is better than a new house? Give me a break.
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 6:30 pm
If a one story house is adjacent to a proposed two story addition/remodel/rebuild shouldn't general rules apply for all one story houses? It shouldn't matter if it's an Eichler or a house made entirely of glass.
But it could be worse. What if, instead of the stucco wall...someone found the old heads removed from the "Howdy Doodie" statues which used to sit near Gamble Gardens? And then they rebuilt the statue such that out of the Eichler glass you were forced to gaze upon them? Remember a math prof actually went and doused them with gasoline and lit them afire!
To calibrate this a bit....imagine that you bought a one story rural house and had a view looking out onto the most pristine of surroundings. But suddenly on 3 sides giant skyscrapers were erected. "My view!" "My light!". Ahh but your property values have just skyrocketed. If only you could be that house down the block--able to reap the rewards yet still see the light.
Posted by Former Eichler Owner, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 7:28 pm
Unless I'm mistaken, the old covenants governing Eichlers stipulate no second stories can be built. Getting a second story overlay for a neighborhood amounts to asking the city to enforce something that owners have already agreed to.
I don't see the problem with an overlay, if the majority wants it. (The idea that property prices will decline runs up against the evidence. It may even increase the value.)
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 2, 2010 at 7:35 pm
I hope that personal attacks stay out of this. As I said I have no vested interest in Eichlers and never owned one or lived around the area in question. But ad hominem insults just shows that despite what you want us to believe " this community ...is mostly filled with reasonable, friendly, and hard-working tax payers" you show the contrary. Disagree with people? good riddance! Do not want to hear the large experience of others with unintended consequences? Call them old dog/old tricks... They disagree with you? they are unreasonable, unfriendly and lazy people...
What's more, no great deal of money to fix your house? leave, leave and let us build higher
in the small plot... preferably "blinged" stucco...
Posted by Eichler Owner, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm
"never owned one or lived around the area in question"
-- Here we go. So what qualifies you to make comment on this local topic. Just because of your Eichler Supremacy?
"What's more, no great deal of money to fix your house? "
-- Do you know anything about this community? Many who bought into this area prepared to either fix or rebuild it. Now you come down from MP and think you are entitled to take away home owners' rights to choice?
"in the small plot... preferably "blinged" stucco..."
--You are particularly offended by stucco houses. Like Eichler, Stucco is one of the styles either liked or hated. Are you incapable of embracing diversity and tolerate difference?
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:18 am
I moved to the Mid-town area in 1982. Left last year for Menlo Park. So I know Eichlers very well. Now that this post has degenerated enough to become nasty personal maybe it's time to appreciate that most of us who have an opinion on this subject have a rather more knowledgeable approach to the Eichlers design than even some of its owners. I also do know the community very well having had my off spring attend Palo Verde and Ohlone. I have seen the destruction of that the second floor build-all-you can inflicted on neighbors and the slippery slope it engenders, to the point that the city tried to scale back and then it was too late.
If Eichlers have covenants and if the covenant is not illegal then it's biding. I hope that's the case. The wreck that the attitude " it's all mine to do what I want to" promotes, has unintended consequences . But never mind. Please focus on the subject at hand instead of turning on me, because in doing so it makes it look as if you don't have an argument. And stop putting words in my mouth because that's lying. I never said I didn't like stucco. In fact what I don't like is blingled stucco, spec McMansions, too big a house for the lot, overlooking your neighbor, robbing them of light and looking into their house and an unhelpful attitude that blames people who are elderly or/and whose incomes are not high enough for a paint job.
Posted by Toady, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:54 am
Who knew that Eichlers would become the Victorians of the peninsula? As some worry about the "slippery slope" of letting 2 story houses in, there's also the slippery slope of preservation. What we need to understand is that Palo Alto is not Disneyland, though some people would like it to be that way.
From my perspective, uniformity in itself is not really that interesting. What makes older neighborhoods interesting is the variety of housing that indicates the evolution of the area. To try to freeze neighborhood development to meet the viewpoint of what housing entails from a bygone era is to ossify it.
I like the Eichler concept, though from my perspective, the execution leaves much to be desired (build quality was appropriate for cheap housing, because it was basically tract housing).
I'm not an expert, but I'd like to understand a bit more what about a second story makes it not work? Is it because the lots are too small?
Posted by eichler owner too, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 9:59 am
Eichler Owner - what are you talking about? Your libertarian rants are a bit off-topic.
The neighborhood in question has been adapting and most of the residents are sick of the result. All too many schlocky, two story monsters exist that tower over the single story Eichlers, all without even a hint of a design philosophy.
Yes, you are free to do the same, Eichler Owner, and be happy living in your new, soulless domain while you neighbors have no choice but to look out their windows at your testament to excess. But you won't care, because of the misconception that you've increased your property value by, as someone said 'putting 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag' (I'm not sure I use potatoes in this analogy). So what if the value of the surrounding Eichlers goes down because your structure has turned off their view of the sky - you got yours, right?
"Change is inevitable" - sounds like a beat-down dog. Good luck with that.
Posted by TyrL162, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 11:46 am
We purchased an Eichler home in Faimeadow four-years ago, and I am not happy. I feel that I am living in a 50s time warp. The radiant heat is leaking, the electrical circuity is defective, the house is like a hot green house in the summer and an ice cream freezer in the winter. Rude speeding drivers use the circle streets as shortcuts between Alma and Charleston (another issue). Also, I'm not sure what building materials the Eichlers are constructed from. These materials seem very thin and flimsy to me and possibily not as fire-safe as newer materials.
Now visit the other side of East Meadow across from Fairmeadow. The neighborhood is beautiful compared with Fairmeadow Eichler kitsch. The houses on the North side of Fairmeadow are a nice mixture of one and two story. There is beauty in the diversity of house styles on the North side. I wish I could afford to buy a house there. Unfortunately we wanted to move to Palo Alto in 2005 during the real estate sellers boom so our kids could attend the "excellent" Palo Alto schools, and all we could barely afford is an Eichler home.
For those Eichler owners that are bothered by two-story additions here is an idea. Adding curtains or blinds. I understand some people are nostalgic, but as an Eichler owner, I don't want to feel that I am living in a time warp and want to have the freedom to upgrade my property with a reasonable and practical design, this is our American dream..
Here is a compromise. If there are strong objections to two-story homes, then why can't we be allowed to rennovate our Eichler homes to other one story designs? If some owners have aleady been allowed two-story additions, then it is not fair to exclude other owners from implementing this option.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm
What you said is so true. A lot of the home owners I know who don't like SSO would agree with you.
And as somebody said earlier, the "majority" that pro-SSOs are claiming sounded very suspicious. And, just because you lived here longer than your neighbors does not entitle you to force restrictions on them. Be fair and be considerate.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm
"What makes older neighborhoods interesting is the variety of housing that indicates the evolution of the area. "
Well said and I completely agree. I am sure a lot of the Eichler owners in my neighborhood would love to buy a house in some nicerPA neighborhood if they have the financial resourcea. They are living here not because they like Eichler houses, but that's all they can afford. And according to my observation, this area is one of the neighborhoods that have the lowest selling prices in the entire PA.
New and different styled houses would be good to this neighborhood.
Posted by Wasting Tax Dollars, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm
What makes me mad about this whole issue of Single Story Overlay for Fairmeadow is that those who want it are asking our City's Planning Department to do a survey of residents. Why should my tax dollars be wasted on some far out restriction on a building code in a small section of South Palo Alto.
Those requesting Single Story Overlay should create their own petition and use their own feet to go door to door to collect the signatures. Don't involve the Planning Department and my tax dollars.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm
This is not an argument of Eichler vs not, its a privacy vs property rights. Eichlers (and many other California Ranch homes) were built with and indoor/outdoor connection which is eliminated if you suddenly must cover your windows because a neighbor can look into your home. Nothing is preventing an Eichler owner from knocking down the house and building a new one story home (add a basement for space).
Posted by Tyr L162, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm
Hi Palo Alto Mom,
If the Eichler thing is not an issue Here is another idea. If a one story owner wants to add on a two story addition, I think the windows on the 2nd story be positioned so that it is not possible to look into a neighbor's patio? Thus, if such a solution can be implemented then privacy should not be an issue?
Thank You "Eichler Owner" for bringing up the traffic issue. I'm not sure the details on resolving this issue.. Here are a few ideas:
1). Speed bumps on the circular streets...
2). Stop signs at the corner of Redwood Circle and Starr King.
3). 4-way stop at East Meadow and Bryant so crossing on bicycles is safer.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm
Tyr L162 - there are lots of planned communities that position windows for privacy (for example, everyone's windows are on the right, back and front, none on the left). The allows the maximum privacy for everyone. Even 1st floor windows in single story houses benefit from this. Transom windows (set high in a wall) and skylights can also maximize light while preserving privacy.
Eichler Owner - while it is not unreasonable to add window treatments, I suspect many people love their Eichlers precisely because they don't need them. I have always thought that was the major charm of an Eichler, wide expanses of uncovered windows looking out on the yard.
Posted by Eichler owner, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm
Side windows should be frosted glass which allows light into the rooms and ensures privacy. In fact, we have put frosted glass in all our bathrooms - just in case. This prevents people looking out as well as people looking in. Not just neighbors, but anyone who maybe outside at the time, gardeners, children, barbequers, etc.
Posted by eichler owner too, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm
Eichler Owner - "why is it unreasonable to use solutions, such as blinds/ curtains/ shrebs/ trees?"
And you talk about arrogance - this is pure hypocrisy. Why should I have to plant trees or use blinds because you've blocked what use to be a clear view with your huge house? I guess I'm supposed to be grateful that you've dropped the appeal of my house to satisfy your sense of 'appeal'. Truly sad.
And as for labeling me 'Naria 2', whatever floats your boat. I think I'll label you 'MonsterHomeNutJob 1'.
Posted by Go to Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm
The City amended a zoning code some 5 - 7 years ago which does not allow 2nd story windows on the side of the house which may overlook the neighbors. Higher windows, which are usually put in bathrooms, are allowed at the side of a house because they are too high for people to look out.
Please remember that all the streets in the Fairmeadow neighborhood are public streets and open to anyone. I suggest you go into the City's webpage on "Traffic" to read about the qualifying streets for "speed tables."
Speed bumps are no longer used by the City because they reduce speeds below 25 mph which is the minimum speed allowed by the State. If speeds are reduced below 25 mph, that is considered entrapment.
Posted by eichler owner too, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm
"your arrogance is on display again"
resident - what is the color of the sky in your world? BTW, mine used to be blue, but now is gray stucco.
Your campaign of deriding people and declaring all opposing viewpoints arrogant would make Karl Rove blush (possibly a complement for you). I just wish you could formulate a coherent argument, mostly you and 'Eichler Owner' dredge up some obscure reference to bikes in a front yard - I don't see how that matters.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Go to Traffic - there are multiple new houses within blocks of here with normal height side window that can look into neighbors yards (and houses), including a balcony. So if there is a code which doesn't allow it, it is not enforced.
Posted by Tyr L162, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm
Dear Go Traffic,
Doesn't the law state that the speed limit is considered WHAT IS SAFE! NOT 25mph, 35mph, or 55mph. It is NOT SAFE even to go 25mph as children are crossing in the middle of the street...Unfortunately I have seen drivers go much faster than 25mph when children are not finished crossing the street or try to swerve to the other side of the street to out-speed children or bicyclists.
You are correct The streets are public! They are used by our children to walk to and from school. Don't my children (members of the public) have the right to cross the street near their house safely?
Yes every driver has the right to use our Fairmeadow streets but please do so safely.
Posted by TyrL162, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm
With regard to the speed limit in Fairmeadow. I also want to add that the vast majority of drivers using the Faimeadow streets are safe and careful drivers. However, the circular nature of the roads in our area make it difficult, if one is driving too fast, to anticipate other cars or pedestrians immediately ahead, and it seems to me that I should always try to exercise more caution when driving in our neighborhood.
If speed bumps are not allowed as "GoToTraffic" pointed out. Why not more STOP signs. Also, I noticed that one section of Waverely Rd near East Meadow has speed bumps.
Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 9:16 am
I believe the reference should be to Dick Cheney not Karl Rove!
Has anyone considered a self-elected SSO? Those of you who want SSO, write it into your personal property covenants. Let the market of future homeowners determine the value of your personal tastes and decisions.
Also - CPA does have some rules for two story additions or new houses. Including daylight plane and privacy conditions. There are processes that must be followed by the homeowner in order to gain approval of such projects - which includes neighborhood input. I am curious of those who are upset about their two story neighbors as to whether the processes was followed or did they take the time to provide input/criticism to the city. Just curious.
It's interesting that with some of the gigantic "modern" houses going into Old PA that you don't read about any anger or disgust as has been on displY in this thread.
Posted by Go to Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 10:48 am
Stop signs are great, that's what you should go for, they're cheaper to install than speed tables anyway.
The City divides our streets into three categories: Arterials, Collector Streets, and Residential Streets. Speed tables are placed at the entrance and exit of collector streets.
There are locations around the City where speed bumps have been installed. That was before the policy of only installing "speed tables" on collector streets was initiated. Speed tables are used now because you can drive over them at 25 MPH and that complies with State law, and doesn't cause entrapment.
It is not the City that makes our driving laws, it is the State.
Posted by PelosiHater, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 10:52 am
It is the same every place. I have mine. I cannot afford to build a 2 story house. My neighbor cannot build one either. Simple as that. PA is nuts. Chases tax paying business' out of town. Chases grocery stores out of town. Allows certain parts of the city to become their own private areas for traffic flow when there has never been one instance of a child being hit. Eichlers are nothing special. I mean look at them. No insulation, cheap windows, horrible use of floor space.....and let's see...if the neighbor rebuilds and pays more property taxes then perhaps the unamerican parcel taxes could go away.
Until I can shut down my street to traffic....build baby build!!!!
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 4, 2010 at 10:54 am
Crescent Park Dad,
"It's interesting that with some of the gigantic "modern" houses going into Old PA that you don't read about any anger or disgust as has been on displY in this thread."
That's because this thread is about 2nd storey houses in Eichler territory, not about contemporary architecture or Old Palo Alto. It has nothing to do with being modern.
I have seen awful examples of what the Dad describes and modern or not, even if (I said "if") it can be considered superb architecture in some cases, if it doesn't fit harmonically in the neighborhood or the property , it's too big for the lot and looks overwhelming I am against those too. The Wong house comes to mind. On the other hand the house at the Southhampton corner doesn't look overwhelming because of the corner, and it backs on N california Av , doesn't back any other properties. Good job on that one. I like it.
Posted by Eichler Owner, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm
Welcome back. Do you know anything about this local topic?
This SSO proposal is NOT about preserving the community. It's a gimmick used by the pro-SSO.
The Fairmeadow SSO is dividing the community. Per the original '50 sketch, the Fairemeadow neighborhood consist of Roosevelt Circle, the Bryant St, the South Court, Redwood Cir, Starr King, Linderol. Total is 300 homes.
Do you know what the SSO did? The SSO took a dab of homes from Roosevelt Cir, none from the Bryant, none from the South Court so that they can get the petition through.
Deceivingly they excluded the majority of the homes, 173 (58%) of this community from their plan. The map is so complex that only Mr. Dick Chenney could come up . Ironically the obscure zig-zag they created included the 2-story they hate the most. Go figure.
So to say the purpose of SSO is to preserve the community is completely bogus.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm
"it can be considered superb architecture in some cases, if it doesn't fit harmonically in the neighborhood or the property , it's too big for the lot and looks overwhelming I am against those too. "
That's where architecture design comes in place. With good architect work, you can make a 2-story fit into the neighborhood, make it look less overwhelming to its neighbors. That's what Fairmeadow community should work on. Banning 2-story completely is NOT the way to go!
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm
The city can't give any binding input on architectural design for residential buildings. As long as codes, daylight plane, setback rules are followed, they have to approve the project. They can voice an opinion, and with a good architect, houses should fit in the neighborhood, but many don't. If we started requiring an architectural review of residential property, there would be a lot less plastic-looking pink boxes.
And the Wong's house fits in well now that it is done and landscaped.
Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm
Somewhere around Duveneck school there is a SSO. De Soto? Every homeowner had a vote, there was no skipping of houses or random polls. If there's going to be a vote, every homeowner affected should have a voice, not a selected few as indicated by "Eichler Owner". Talk about stuffing the ballot box.
Posted by eicher owner too, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 11:10 pm
"That's where architecture design comes in place. With good architect work, you can make a 2-story fit into the neighborhood, make it look less overwhelming to its neighbors. "
Once again, resident is transmitting from Prozacia. Have you seen any examples of good architectural design for teardown 2 story houses in the Fairmeadow neighborhood? Are there any rules to enforce this Utopian view?
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:12 am
Eichler owner too,
Good to see you back. And good, now our discussions can move on to architectual designs rather than your community philosophy.
I don't see any good designs for the 2-story add-ons. They look ugly. But the completely rebuilt houses, particularly the one that's built on Redwood Cir now, they sure look better than the original run-down Eichler. I also see from the one that's being built, the property owners are very considerate for their left hand one-story neighbor. There was only one small window on the left side of the second floor overlooking the neighbors carport.
Eichler owner too, you need to be reasonable. Don't demand your neighbors to think the way you think and do the things you want. No one is asking you to get rid of your Eichler. You don't have the right to take away your neighbors or futre homeowners'property rights.
And please, who wants to peek into your bathroom and who has the time? Stop fantasizing.
Posted by eichler owner too, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:45 am
I'll leave the fantasizing to you, resident. What's with your obsession with peeking into my bathroom? Me thinks he doth protest too much.
You act like you're the self-elected voice for some faction - you aren't. When you make pronouncements like "don't demand your neighbors to think the way you think and do the things you want", do you realize the level of hypocrisy in a statement like that? Do you know what hypocrisy means?
You speak of property rights, but you neglect those of the Eichler owners who prefer to keep their home rather than raze it to build a 2 two story expression of excess. You surely cannot argue that the new buildings block views from neighboring single story homes, and your suggestion that Eichler owners should just buy curtains or window treatments to deal with the undesired view of their neighbor's wall is pure unequivocal arrogance.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 10:35 am
Eichler Owner too,
"I'll leave the fantasizing to you, resident. What's with your obsession with peeking into my bathroom? Me thinks he doth protest too much."
--Haha. Sorry to dissappoint you again. I am a one-story Eichler owner and you are apparently forcing somebody else's identity (if there is such a person) on me.
"Do you know what hypocrisy means?"
-- Yes, I know better what it means after meeting you on this thread. And sorry to say that you are the perfect illustration.
The difference between you and me is:
I have no problem with you keeping your Eichler but you certainly have a problem with neighbors who want sth other than an Eichler and declaring them ugle, soulless creatures comparing to yours.
Just because you are used to sth does not mean you are entitled to it. Your argument regarding the view is the same as a statement made by Narnia: "when people bought their Eichlers they had an expectation of light."
Live and let live's response "Sorry, No. When you bought your house you knew very well (or should have known) that second stories were permitted next door. Light-robbing trees grow, too." pretty much sums my view on this.
Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm
Resident, eople who bought the original Eichlers HAD an expectation of light. That's how they were advertised, designed (to maximize light hence the windows) and built.
I have never seen the covenant for that particular area houses and I do not know if it applies to Fairmeadow , but if the covenant mention prohibition of second storeys, than you are out of luck. If it doesn't I think that it should be debated, but part of the problem is that there is a cohesive historical neighborhood and there is no guaranty that any new housing (including first storey ones) is of a design that's compatible.
There is much more to this discussion than "second storey" and a review committee to address the problem and possible solutions, I think it's in order.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm
"Resident, eople who bought the original Eichlers HAD an expectation of light"
--I do not doubt that. But, when I moved to this neighborhood, I had an expectation of reasonable neighbors working together building a community. And that's not what I get with the whole SSO thing.
"I have never seen the covenant for that particular area houses and I do not know if it applies to Fairmeadow"
--glad you admit that.
"but if the covenant mention prohibition of second storeys, than you are out of luck. "
--If there is or has been one, then there's no need for this discussion. Look what happens in GreenMeadow neighborhood, no one is going to build a second story because they knew that when they bought their properties.
"but part of the problem is that there is a cohesive historical neighborhood and there is no guaranty that any new housing (including first storey ones) is of a design that's compatible."
--You convinced me that you are a true Eichler trooper and I respect your view. But after seeing all the facts about what some pro-SSO did by dividing the community using a zig-zagged line thru the neighborhood, I hope you at least can agree on that the whole issue is NOT about presersing Eichler design philosophy.
Posted by eichler owner too, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm
'Just because you are used to sth [light?] does not mean you are entitled to it.'
I think this statement stands by itself as the perfect example of resident's I-got-mine-screw-you attitude. All your grandiose talk of community and cooperation is just a cheap veneer that is shattered by that statement. It's just galling that you can rationalize light (or whatever 'sth' was meant to be) in this way.
As for declaring things ugly, I believe when you say things like "run-down" and "junky" about Eichlers, is that possibly a double standard? In your world, are two story houses immune to termites? Can they be run down? In short, you've got this grass-is-greener approach to the whole argument that ignores the realities of the SSO issue.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm
Eichler owner too,
You are the one who holds what you called the "I-got-mine-screw-you" attitude --I got the Eichler I love so screw you-- you can't have a house you love.
In addition, you may also have the "I-don't-have-it-so-you-can't-have-it" attitude.
You are so good at putting hats on people's head. You are trying to create a perception that anyone who disagrees with you is trying to build a 2-story house so they can peek into your bathroom. Yuck!! Please let the facts talk.
I am a one-story Eichler owner who welcomes my neighbors to build a home you will enjoy. Unlike you, I don't think my neighbor's intention to build a 2-story is to peek into my bathroom.
I believe I have the ability to talk to my neighbors about my concerns of lights, view, privacy and my neighbors will be taking my considration into their design plan for their new house.
You apparently were NOT capable of communicating with your neighbors to find a solution. Is that why you are so upset? And for people like you, the only solution is to ban all 2-stories in the entire community.
You divisive action have said it all for who you are!
Posted by Eichler Owner, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm
Projecting elitist attitude down on working-class, r u inferring working-class not to defend their rights in kind? You mentioned about First Amendment Rights for you on Apr 2. First Amendment Rights still apply to working-class too, tonight. Boxed in, your working-class is forced to talk back in kind for a long time, before their rights are taken away.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:07 am
If you listen to the Planning Commission, the Single Story Overlay is the first step toward designating the Fairmeadow Neighborhood as historic. Then there will be an additional review board which will evaluate any remodel to determine if it preserves the historic character of the Eichlers.