Architecture Commission and would-be watchdogs cost PA taxpayers money and safety
Original post made by J. Habermas on May 23, 2007
With the exception of Heather Trossman, the example above shows a perfect example of a Council-appointed political commission completely out of control, exhibiting hubris shows how power can be used in petty ways.
Architectural Review Board member Judith Wasserman's statements to developer Harold Holbach were way off base, especially in a public ommission hearing. Her statements were more than statements of odisagreement; they bordered on mocking behavior. Perhaps Ms. Wasserman's "purview" isn't held in such high esteem by all who come before her on this commission that has been set up to politicize design and aesthetics. More Palo Alto Process, anyone?
Perhaps Ms. Wasserman is still steamed about our City Council approving Mr. Holbach's project. Perhaps she shuold walk in a developer's shoes for a time, and wear those shoes to development meetings to learn what happens to the bottom line when unconsciounable delays are forced on developers, and how those losses in the bottom line result in _higher_ prices to home buyers and apartment dwellers - or, materials of lesser quality used to build to make up for delay costs. This is a dose of reality that many who want to put every developer through the wringer shuold experience first hand, with _their own_ money.
If Palo Altans somehow think that "word doesn't get out" to the developer community about the kind and style of abuse that has been visited on Harold Holbach, they should think again.
Also, I wonder if Palo Altans realize that the spiteful use of the law to delay development creates a phalanx of overly clever developers, who quickly adapt to the shenanigans of petty commission decisions. We, the citizens of Palo Alto, are _paying_ for the delays caused by those few in this community who appear to delight in meddling in every little detail and drawing that a developer puts forward.
If Palo Altans don't think that the law used to intimidate, or cause,and/or threaten development delay for projects that don't quite satisfy the falsely elevated sense of architectual aesthetics of a few, whose obsessive gauntlet of snob-appeal aethetics has been used over and over again in years past to _cost our citizens money_, without ANY positive outcome for those citizens, in general.
If there is a way to issue a cross-compalint against Mssrs. Moss and Jordan, with requests made for damages, including attorney's fees, I hope Mr. Holback carries such a complaint through. If he doesn't, maybe someone will, and force Mssr/s Moss and Jordan to think twice before meddling in the affairs of those who don't need their amateur opinion about what is "right" for Palo Alto development.
IN the meantime, the 195 Page Mill area remains a trash heap of currugated metal buildings, with transients making the back yars of those buildings their temporary homes. It's a dangerous place to walk in the evening.
Thanks again, Ms. Wasserman - and you, too, Mssrs. Moss and Jordan, for protecting our right to get mugged this summer, if Mr Holbach's construction is delayed, and that trash heap doesn't get demolished.
When will our everyday citizens learn that those who like to bake "meddle pie" are doing our city more harm than good, and unwittingly continue to make our fair city the laughing stock of the region because of the nonsensical delays that their meddling causes.
on May 23, 2007 at 2:51 pm
I wonder whether you actually read the Weekly story.
The plans he submitted were 1) inaccurate and 2) incomplete and 3) unresponsive.
The developer appears to be arrogant and perhaps more likely incompetent.
Calling Commissioner Wasserman anti-developer is an indication that you don't pay attention to the ARB, but perhaps have some connection to this particular project.
God Bless the Architectural Commission for doing the job we depend on them to do!
on May 23, 2007 at 4:07 pm
Forum Reader, In fact, I did read the article.
btw, have you walked in this particular developer's shoes? Do you support the kind of mocking innuendo that was delivered up byy Ms. Wasserman in a public forum, by ann officially appointed political body? Have you had to walk the particular area of Park Bled. and Page Mill Rd that defines the area of this development? Have you done so in the evening?
Have you compared the general tenor of this developer's design suggestions with the trash heap that sits there at present? Do you care whether or not the developer will be compelled to increase rents if durther delays occur, penalizing those who hlive and work in the project, for what will effectively be a finished project that is pleasing to most eyes, and residents of said project?
I have seen this particular developer, who is no saint - and far from perfect transparancy of process - taken to task _in teh same way_ that other developers have been taken to task in Palo Alto. Most of this "taking to task" is performed by a small coterie of neighborhood activists who show up for every single important development, spout their self-important words of wisdom, and somehow (until recently) been listened to by past City Councils.
I have non financial interest in the project, but I do have an interest in being able to watch my kids ride a bike through the area w/o being accosted by transients, or driving by a trash heap eyesore, day in and day out.
Perhaps Ms. Wassermann Mssrs. Moss and Jordan should be compelled to walk the walk and live in that area for a while. Then we might see their attitude and aethetic sense gain a new view on the world.
on May 24, 2007 at 10:11 am
Gee, I'd love to walk in this developer's shoes. He doesn't live in Palo Alto so maybe he should walk in our shoes. He is a Billionaire. He owns huge amounts of property in the California Avenue area. I used to work in one of his office buildings.
Why don't you ask him to demolish the stuff you call trash structures? That would be very cheap and very fast. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]