Ruling paves the way for Buena Vista's closure
Original post made
on Aug 28, 2014
The closure of Palo Alto's sole mobile-home park became more imminent Wednesday, when an administrative judge upheld the property owner's plan for compensating the roughly 400 residents who would be displaced when Buena Vista Mobile Home shutters.
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posted Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 11:57 PM
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Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm
I have an idea, I am sharing it in hopes that someone will take it up, since as I noted, I can't.
Making this point specifically "Don't count on someone else to answer the call, then no one does" is an important point to make something like this real to people who might be inclined to consider it. There's something called the Bystander Effect, and it works in online broadcasts and community organizing as well. People who would otherwise help think someone else will do it, and as a result, no one does. Reminding them of this phenomenon overtly seems to counter the effect. Glad you got a nice laugh, though, humor helps people remember and perhaps you'll pass the idea on to someone who will act.
@palo alto resident in Crescent Park,
The calculation will need to be Jisser's. But, developers lose their shirts if they only make the most rosy calculations, and I'm sure the lender for the construction loan isn't going to either. It's not a 5 acre property, it's 4.5 acres. In RM-15, the max is 15 units per acre, but it's a transition zone that is supposed to be on the lower end next to R-1, which this property is. So, in the Maybell neighborhood, no, I wouldn't think anyone could "easily" expect to build the max there, especially since the neighbors will be incensed if anyone tries to use an excuse of "affordable housing" to build more density there after evicting all those low-income residents. In fact, that's a really good point, because there is a City Council election, and even if the City tries to boobytrap the Housing Element for developers, residents can sue and one way or other, the Housing Element will probably be given final approval only after we get new Councilmembers who could and probably will make more resident-friendly building policies.
There is risk in delay, and a bird in the hand as they say. I'm not saying this would happen, but anything's possible. What if residents of the mobile home park and immediate neighborhood started an initiative to adopt a 2-story overlay zone? That would essentially mean even fewer units would be built there in order to make them a salable size. Jisser could well find himself caught in all kinds of trouble when he tries to subdivide, too.
If you are a developer, you do have to be conservative, and if Jisser only gets to build, say, 45 units, at $1.5 million each, and using your estimate of costs, if you also consider the cost of the eviction process, the cost of construction loans... it can start to make $30 million cash in hand where he can go look for another opportunity immediately, while the market is hot and without the headaches, look pretty good.
I do not know Winter, but as she noted, this isn't over yet, and there are many legal protections that will be invoked between here and evicting the residents that will be expensive for Jisser. In the meantime, Jisser has to pay his lawyers. This is a much more risky endeavor than many I can think of, especially if the timing puts him outside of the peak of the market.
I'm not saying I'm correct in any of the above. I'm just saying, people lose their shirts all the time by being too unrealistic about what they're going to make. Minimizing risk and having his capital to optimize timing of the market is another part of the calculation. I'm sure there are others, probably on both sides. The point is, its definitely in the realm of being worth exploring, especially if someone has a way of crowdsourcing the capital, quickly.