Town Square

BMR's for police,teachers.etc? Better check out current living in BMR's here in town...

Original post made by Thinking of you 2, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 22, 2007

The race for building more BMR units under the guise of helping those who work, live in Palo Alto should be eyed up a little closer....

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Posted by Matt
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Aug 22, 2007 at 12:59 pm

It is interesting to note that BMR properties are also almost entirely exempt from property tax. The San Antonio Court apartments should pay about $130,000 per year in property tax. This apartment complex is valued at $14 Million but it only pays $5,416.40 per year in property tax.

Because the subject property is owned by a non-profit organization providing apartment units at below market rents to low income individuals or families, it qualifies for a property tax exemption (almost 100% in this case). I just wonder if the low-income tenants really benefit from this exemption. The property tax goes towards services that EVERYONE uses.

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Wow - your lack of gratitude is amazing. If you don't like your BMR place, why don't you leave it? No one is forcing you to pay less than market rent for an apartment - in fact there is a waiting list of people willing to take your place.

If you want a better place to live, why don't you do what the rest of us do and pay more for one. Why should I be subsidizing your housing and also hearing about how its not nice enough for you.

The notice that says the building "may cause cancer" is the standard Prop 65 notice - half the buildings in California have it and its meaningless. I work in a brand new Class A office building that has the same sign - the buildings aren't causing cancer. You are being paranoid.

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Posted by Gordon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 22, 2007 at 1:37 pm

If BMRs were truly meant for local working people (firemen, teachers, police, etc.), then they would be limited to them. The pro low-cost housing crowd in Palo Alto is craven enough to come up with almost any story to support its cause. The last time I listened to a real debate by Council on this issue, there had not even been a survey taken of police/fire/teachers to determine if they WOULD live in a BMR in PA.

Here is the real test: Only build more BMRs when the list of police/fire/teachers, committed to buying them, is large enough to build them. Then require down payments, before the project is given approval.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Every builder uses the cheapest acceptable material and labor. The cheapest acceptable material is more than adequate for its use.
I decided years ago I lacked what it took to ba a landlord. This letter is one example why.

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Posted by Emergency Prep
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2007 at 2:15 pm

If you talk to a firefighter or police office they will tell you the last place they want to live is the city where they work. In an emergency, if they are on duty, they will help the City, if not they want to be able to help their families. They live in places like Tracy and Gilroy because they want decent homes for their families. PA had a police officer who owned a horse ranch on Skyline - that's a little above BMR units.

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Posted by C me around
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 22, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Citizen in Midtown: "Grateful?" Yes, she/he should get down and kiss your feet? I don't think so. Your attitude needs adjusting. They were just exposing the housing market for what it is...and I can see that others adding to this thread do know a little about the perks that are given out to builders...etc.

The waiting list for HUD apartments is 10 years, last I heard. I personally think that the apts. should go to people first that have resided in this county for X amount of years before they are given out to others.. (many others of those which do not hardly speak English.) People need familiarity and those who have been in the area for sometime should have priority.

I also am confused at the fact that now there no longer any "handicapped" units at Terman. When the complex was built, I know that there were handicapped units in all the family sections. As people died or moved out, they no longer were replaced with handicapped persons. The units had low stoves, special carpeting, bath facilities for the handicapped person.
Those units are now no longer considered "handicapped units", quoted their manager. There are regular tenant adults living in them now, which eliminates a space for a truly handicapped person. Discretion of upper management, I assume, although I was told it was a mandatory handicapped living arrangement through HUD when being built. Guess plans changed down the road.
Don't get the few tenant HUD housing people wrong, some would be out sleeping in their cars if it weren't for HUD stepping in and giving a handful of people a place to carry on with their lives in a clean and decent housing situation. I have heard many stories on what life was like before some people had moved in...and also of how they now have the chance to better their lives. At least they have goals.

How cruel of some people in this community to actually cat call others who are trying to uplift their lives... to put stigma onto those who have children. Yes, the holy-er-than-thou, you know who you are...

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2007 at 6:36 pm

I was under the impression that BMR apartments were for those on minimum wage type incomes. I know that teachers, police and firefighters are not necessarily well paid by PA high tech standards, but I believe they are better paid than those who would normally be considered for some of the BMR units around here.

I certainly wouldn't expect many of the teachers I have met at our schools to be happy living in some of these units and they are quite happy commuting here from not so far away, particularly as it means they can get their children into PA schools while doing so.

Many police officers have often said that they do not like working and living in the same area. How do they feel if they meet someone they have just had to ticket, or worse arrest, at the grocery store or their child's soccer game. No I think most police like to live away from their patch.

Yes, we need BMR, but please don't assume that they are for professionals that are not as well paid as techies. Leave the BMRs for those who truly need and want them.

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 22, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Can someone explain why we "need" BMR units? Does everyplace have them? Is it a law? It does seem like a loaded proposition - build BMR units, but not much incentive to build well or maintain them or treat the tenants well - after all, if they don't like it, there's a waiting list of new takers. What are we trying to accomplish via BMR requirements?

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2007 at 3:38 am

There may be a need for dorms, or pied-a-terre [?] for remotely housed city workers. Let them work 4 day blocks, crashing in dorms, then just one round trip a week.

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Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 23, 2007 at 11:21 pm

Your suggestion is not new. The firemen in Palo Alto did exactly that in the 1950's...may still be doing something similar today, I am not sure...

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2007 at 6:55 am

There is a benefit to having public safety officers live out of area - Locals may be busy saving their own families.

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Posted by Emergency Prep
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2007 at 7:44 am

Ann, we don't need BMR housing units but the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) mandates that we must build them. In fact they have now said we must build 3,500 over the next few years.

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Posted by No mandate
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2007 at 9:55 am

ABAG recommends, it is not the law. This story today explains what they do.
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