Original post made
on Nov 1, 2013
Love the quotes from people voting "No":
- They live in Los Altos and "have a home" in Palo Alto
- They wonder why people outside of Barron Park are allowed to vote on this
Compare and contrast to the reasoned arguments in the rest of the letters.
Weekly editor I wish you would take this last opportunity to withdraw your mistaken editorial. It is very odd to see you on the opposite side of the issue from people like me and the letter writers last week and today who usually agree with you. I think you are wrong and I think if D loses you will regret your role. Doesn't the fact that Dave Price is against it and all these good and dedicated community servants are for it give you pause? Please reconsider. Look again at the Comprehensive Plan at the housing element. Your editorial stated as fact that the Maybell affordable housing violates the comprehensive plan without saying how. But the comprehensive plan is big. The housing element is strongly supportive of affordable housing.
Weekly you got this wrong and it matters. This matters and it is going to be close. We need every vote. Please think it over.
School population will increase hugely and traffic, too, if you vote No on D. Vote for affordable housing for seniors and 12 modest new homes. Vote yes on Tuesday.
Quotes that are very telling about the Palo Alto process:
When the Planning Commission voted to initiate a "planned community" zone change, allowing developers to break zoning rules in exchange for "public benefits." Commissioner Tanaka marveled at the lack of people attending the meeting and surmised that neighbors were unaware. "I think if the people really knew what was being built across the street, there would be more of an outcry there." (Feb '13)
What is allowed at Maybell was critical in the council's decision on whether to approve the zone change. The R-2 zone allows a second unit but requires a 6,000' ft lot. The R-2 site is 14,000' ft with four homes, meaning the lot sizes are nowhere near 6,000' ft minimum. That calls into question the city's calculation for two residences on each lot. When asked about staff reports, City Manager Keene emphasized the limitations, "The findings in the staff reports tend to support the particular staff recommendation rather than represent all views"(Jul '13)
Mayor Scharff (against PCs when running for council) now says "PC zones are not springing up in your local neighborhood." (Oct '13) The council has approved three PC projects ( Lytton Gateway, Edgewood Plaza and Maybell ) since Scharff joined the council in January 2010.
This has become divisive for a neighborhood that has embraced low income housing. The process is flawed and the outcome is a flawed development with no winners. Maybell should not be rezoned. It makes perfect sense to start over with unbiased information and work within current zoning.
Sorry it should be:
Maybell Middle Ground
Everyone agrees that the Maybell site is an excellent site for senior housing, which could be the start of working toward consensus. No one wants to see the land sold to a for-profit developer, but an alternative to the rezoning overdevelopment will not emerge unless Measure D fails to pass.
The corporation backing Measure D, the proponent of rezoning, claims that they cannot obtain all of the grants & loans with just a 41-unit apartment building at Maybell. But they can build the 60-unit building they want to build, without any modifications to to the existing design, through a density transfer from the rest of the land. They also claim that their budget will not balance without the twelve luxury homes planned for two-thirds of the land. I have been attempting to obtain evidence which prove or refute this claim since July, 2013; when and if I receive any I'll get back to you.
If Measure D fails, the financial issues can be put on hold while the neighbors & the corporation negotiate a solution everyone can live with. Preferably directly, without the City Council playing emperor. If a compromise is reached, the pending lawsuits will disappear before the next City Council election. Otherwise the discord will continue to be expensive for all in both time, money, & additional damage to the social fabric of the community. This much-needed reconciliation will not happen unless Measure D fails, so please vote NO on Measure D.
I sit here on election night watching the election results coming in, seeming to predict the downfall of Measure D. I am so saddened to see this result. Palo Alto is a beautiful city to live in, and I am lucky enough to have a place to afford to rent.
But for many,this is not the case. Palo Altans seem to want to have their fancy eateries and shops to enjoy, but forget that those who serve you cannot afford to live here and enjoy the city they labor in.
The same is true for seniors. Many who are now seniors are being forced out of the neighborhoods they love and support and contributed to for decades, because rents and housing prices are out of control. How disrespectful this is. Shame on you.
I am tired of the continuing pattern of behavior I see in my town those who purport to be politically progressive, support of the less fortunate, but not in their backyard. Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, have fancy fundraisers for those people, but don't have them live near me. No wonder people see Palo Altans as increasingly elitist.
One of the arguments about the senior housing development was too many cars parked in the streets. On my street, families have 4 or five cars and constantly block the streets with their overflow. Where is the difference? Senior with limited income can barely afford cars, and the location near a shopping district was to make it easier to walk to amenities.
I work near California avenue, and off Sherman and Ash is a lovely area of low rise apartments, many housing economically, physically and mentally challenged individuals. It is a great neighborhood, where folks can walk to shops and parks easily. Look beyond your selfishness and status quo, and see that this modest development will not encroach on your lifestyle. Embrace seniors and the poor, because this could be you someday.
I am sorry you are saddened by the result. I am pleased you are able to live and enjoy your home in Palo Alto. As you say, you are near California Avenue, but the Maybell senior housing would not have been near any amenities.
I don't think this is a sign that Palo Alto is against senior housing. I for one want some of my older neighbors to be able to stay in their homes for as long as they want or need and be able to find suitable accommodations when they need it where they want it.
I hope that the next project that comes along for senior housing will be more suitable for seniors and for the neighbors in the proximity of the development. I hope that the result of Measure D sends the message that we in Palo Alto are concerned about new developments, about traffic and about the best possible solutions for everyone. This just was not it.