Town Square

Legal demand shuts down Edgewood Eats

Original post made on Apr 2, 2013

An attorney's letter citing several City of Palo Alto ordinances has shut down the popular food-truck event Edgewood Eats.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 9:55 AM


Posted by The-Law-Is-An-Ass, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:40 am

> The letter from Miles Dolinger, an attorney for residents who
> live adjacent to the church, argued that Edgewood Eats cannot
> take place in a residential R-1-zoned neighborhood.
> The ongoing events would likely have significant land-use
> and environmental impacts, including increased traffic and
> related public-safety issues, noise from trucks and generators,
> garbage, air pollution from exhaust, generators and cooking
> and other potential health risks.

Lawyers should be forced to provide hard evidence of any claims that they cite as reasons for denying people access to public/private land for benign social events. The idea that there might be some "noise" from a truck used for cooking is probably a lot less than the noise of a City vehicle digging up a street, or from a home rebuild. Yet, some "attorney" can wave around the word "noise" on a piece of paper without even so much as one actual reading to demonstrate that some noise baseline had been exceeded.

This sort of event might lead to a little littering, but as long as the event coordinators policed the area when the event was over—then that matter would be taken care of. Let's hope that its coordinators will find some way to continue on—in spite of these particular "neighbors" (who will doubtless find ways to object in the future).

Given the problems alleged in this letter, sounds like the Church might be the target of some future legal action itself, based on the fact that people drive to Church on Sundays, and other special events)--bringing "polution", and "noise" to the neighborhood.

Posted by sueppr, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

Edgewood Eats is a marvelous idea and I hope that a new location can be found if this group of neighbors is so opposed.

Posted by please come to midtown, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

Please bring this event to midtown. There are plenty of people living nearby who can walk to the event so there will be no effect on traffic.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 2, 2013 at 11:09 am

Like Kim I also live in the neighborhood and I am very much saddened that a vocal litigious few are doing their best to reduce the value of my neighborhood and Palo Alto. I highly value "eats" wherever it may be and was thrilled to have it a short walk from my home, Yes I don't plan to sell anytime soon and so was more interested in the benefit it would bring to my community both in good eats, good interactions, and energy rather than the perceived risk of property value loss of those leaving my community. If I do sell in 10 years I would look forward to proudly including in the listing that we are within walking distance of a great community event.

I am unable to start any effort to bring this back from the 16 who oppose it. I am confident in the support the rest of us have. However, I would encourage and support others to help bring back the fun in our city from the few who use lawyers to shut it down.

Posted by Annette Puskarich, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

Can't we all get along, Palo Alto? Citing CEQA??? No wonder the residents want to remain anonymous.

It's not rocket's a food truck fiesta. Let's make it happen.

I hope that a corporation/business steps up with a parking lot to host.

Bol Park has space for parking the trucks off the road and people could enjoy the park. It would be helpful if people rode bikes to the event since there would not be much space for parking cars. There are occasional large events in the park now (festivals, concerts).

Gunn and Paly have big parking lots, as do companies in the Stanford Research Park. Frys and Palo Alto Square, as mentioned by others, sounds good too.

Posted by sparty, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

If you ever went to the old events at the old Lucky shopping center. ...those were NOT people from Crescent Park. There were plenty of people circling for parking... Nice try at making seem like the neighborhood was into it though.

Posted by James, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Vocal minority and their lawyers,,,squash a good thing, lame excuses, their just freaking scared!?!? Of what?

Posted by Todd, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm

This is why we can't have nice things.

Posted by j99, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Bol Park has very limited parking along one edge of the park which is used for parents to bring children to the park. Find somewhere in downtown Palo Alto for this because there is so little parking downtown that people need to buy their food and take in to a park to eat. We need fewer businesses and more parking in downtown Palo Alto.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Pathetic. How come the FTN at Willows Market in Menlo hasn't had nasty detractors? It abuts a neighborhood. Oh, wait, it's not in Palo Alto, where a few loooove to ruin it for the many. I'm sorry for the majority losing out. I hope it finds a better location that's amenable to cycling & walking.

Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm

My wife is an incredible cook. If more Palo Altans were as good cooks as my wife, no one would need roach coaches and the sanctity of the family meal would more regularly raise our spirits.

See my wife, be my wife.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Tongue in cheek comment

Mikis has a vacant parking lot and is zoned commercial

Posted by Great in theory but, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I'm glad lots of people like this event. I didn't but for those who do, it's fine. In theory it's a good idea. In practice, not great.
It was cold, and dark, and NOISY. People are shouting to speak to each other. And no place to sit.
The food is almost all Asian, the menus are handwritten and unclear, sometimes non-existent.
Maybe you get used to the chaos, but I don't think I'll try again.

Posted by watcher, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Some people want to buy meals from food trucks. Some people want to enjoy peace & quiet in their homes, not 6, but 7 days a week. Can't the posters consider someone else's point of view without slinging accusations & epithets?

A "community event" creates traffic & noise. Food preparation makes for noise & food odors, & yes, litter. Patrolling the venue for trash doesn't clean up nearby sidewalks & streets & not everyone disposes of all trash before leaving the site. The regular patrons who use this as a social opportunity stand around talking, often loudly, & residents nearby hear this, especially on warm evenings when windows are open. Cooking odors are pervasive & unpleasant for some people, especially those who don't eat meats. Cooking oils & grease have a distinct odor. Generators are noisy. If they are fueled-not-powered, they also create exhaust & air pollution. If PA doesn't allow leaf blowers, why would they allow idling trucks & generators in residential neighborhoods?

Some people like attending food-related events, socializing with friends while eating & not having to "host" a private, in-home event, buying from food trucks, eating outside & no kitchen mess afterward. It's a mini-street fair with all the accompanying set-up & clean-up noise & added traffic.

How about combining the food truck party with the farmers' markets, on PA public property? Having the eaters & the shoppers all together at a single food-related event sounds like a good compromise for everyone. A gathering spot is already designated, with appropriate traffic closure & trash receptacles. The greengrocers woud be happy with the extra traffic, particularly since it is food oriented. Some produce buyers might be attracted to the food trucks to buy that evening's meal, already prepared.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I also live in short walking distance and loved having Edgewood Eats. There was zero problem with parking during its night at First Congo--the church has a ton of off-street parking and being that it's at the corner of Louis and Embarcadero I don't buy that it added noise and traffic. I mean, c'mon. As for danger for kids--who lets young kids out on their own on Embarcadero and Louis.

Sorry, anonymous neighbor--I do judge you and deem this a case of sour-grapes NIMBYism hiding behind a lawyer.

That church has two street neighbors--one is on Embarcadero--so it's kind of ridiculous to complain about traffic when anyone on Embarcadero got a discount in exchange for dealing with traffic when they bought.

The other is a completely run-down little house that's probably in violation of a few ordinances all on its own.

The trucks, by the way, were nowhere near either house--they were in the part of the parking lot near the church closest to Embarcadero and Louis.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Classic case of poor planning and marketing with the neighbors. Just like when you plan a remodel of your home, it is much easier to get your neighbors to be "friendly" about any distractions or inconveniences if you do some groundwork up front.

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm

The 1st Congregational Church was always a terrible idea as a location for the food-truck event and it would have been grossly unfair to the surrounding neighborhoods which already suffer from massive cut through traffic and excessive traffic noise.
There must be some space in this town for such an event which wouldn't bother the adjacent neighborhoods too much, but this location isn't one of them. I don't live next to this church BTW.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm

How can one resident with a petition containing 16 names stop an event like this? Will this prompt others to try and stop the farmers' markets on Saturdays or Sundays?

Personally, I love Edgewood Eats! It was a great time to "get together" as a community. Imagine: Palo Alto residents get together in the evening in a 21st Century picnic! We would sit together on the ground at the old Edgewood location and actually get to know our "neighbors."

Yes, the event produces traffic -- but so does Stanford football games.
Yes, the trucks actually make money (gasp) -- but so do ALL of the businesses in town.

Is the perceived inconvenience for an afternoon to one nearby homeowner enough to stop any event on private property? My husband and I went to the event at the church and I thought it was well-done. People were polite, clean and it didn't produce nearly as much traffic as, say, a weekly meeting at most of the churches or synagogues in town.

I do hope that the organizers can find a new location soon!

Posted by Abe Mitchell, a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Sad that a few do-gooder environmentalists can say "Not in my back-yard, but someone elses".Here is to a quick find to an alternative location.

Posted by IJustWorkHere, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I submit this article as the (Exibit A) definition of N.I.M.B.Y.

Chain enough NIMBY's together and you get the constant thorn that is the "Palo Alto Process".

I used to want to live here. Now... Not so much.

#BringItToFremont - We'll give it the love and support it deserves.

Posted by Scott Jenson, a resident of Triple El
on Apr 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

There clearly has to be a middle ground. I live directly behind First Congro and the noise from their activities CAN be loud. Our houses are hard to see because we're behind some large hedges behind the church parking lot.

I very much am in support of the food trucks IF they work hard to make their impact as minimal on the neighborhood as possible. Creative use of truck positioning and crowd control as well as limiting hours could make this a win/win situation. It's sad that people who complained have to have it all or nothing.

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I noticed that Nayali didn't suggest the event take place in Midtown, say at Hoover Park. Those who whine about NIMBY seem mysteriously reluctant to offer their own neighborhoods for such activities.
There are areas in PA that are far enough from residential housing and one of them could serve as a location for this activity. I have no idea why they wanted to have the food-truck events in the midst of a residential neighborhood that is already quite noisy and a victim of heavy cut through traffic and noise from Embarcadero. Since when is the wish of residents to limit the noise and traffic congestion(and the danger additional traffic poses to them) considered NIMBY?

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Business as usual in plao alto-- a minority trying to have things their way. It happens all the time-- alma plaza, grannies units etc. nothing new.
If Chris Zaharias has evidence that these food trucks are unsanitary, he should share it with all of us. Otherwise his comments about them being " roach coaches" is uncalled for. Next thing you know people will be demanding that homeowners eat a certain number of meals at home, further extending the demand that homeowners live a certain number of days n their home.
Hopefully Edgewood eats will find another location, though it will be hard.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I will suggest again, move to Mikis empty lot.

Posted by Ordinances are Ordinances, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I enjoyed Edgewood Eats a number of times. That doesn't mean that city ordinances can be ignored. Neighbors have a right to complain, and a right to ask--or demand--that the rules be followed. Too bad if those who are putting the neighbors down don't like it when people stand up for their rights, property or otherwise.

It would be nice if an area off the frontage road across the freeway could be found--and Edgewood Eats could remain in the neighborhood. It's a great idea. Let's stop complaining and hurling insults, get creative, and find a place in this area that will work!

Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm

NotAnIssue - no crepes for you, then!

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm


First Congo *is* in my neighborhood. Do I want food trucks there 24/7? No. But once a week on a Monday evening was great. I loved having Edgewood Eats because going out for dinner was in walking distance.

First Congo. was a good location for it--near a main thoroughfare with plenty of parking. It really was NIMBYism in this case--note that there was no attempt to work anything out.

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I never have been to Edgwood Eats, and it sounds like i has been a great way for neighbors and other to enjoy the food and the camraderie, and recall fondly my siblings, my parents and I doing things with our neighbors. How often does that happen in this day and age?

Moving Edgewood Eats takes away the neighborhood, community aspect of it.?

I am not into legalese, there are ordinances on the books, but maybe its time to adapt them to the times were are in.

In IMHO, the neighbors who are unhappy with Edgewood Eats jumped too far when hiring an attorney. This can be worked out without high billable hours.

To quote Sheakespere, and I have many lawyer friends.......

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I'll say it again. Those who like his event so much, yet whine about the neighbors protecting their rights and their quality of life, should prove that they are indeed against NIMBY. Let them prove it by example, by volunteer their own street. Try to convince all your neighbors that it is a wonderful idea to hold the event on their street once a week. Once that is out of the way, petition the city to block the street off to traffic for the duration of the event.
what, no takers?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Leave it to boscoli to paint a portrait of victimization of weall off people who moved to main thoroughfares, knowing that's what they are & what they're designed to be.

Posted by Here, here, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Come to Old Palo Alto. There are lots and lots of new houses being built, and lots of old houses being remodeled. The workers would love a lunch truck. the people without kitchens temporarily would love a dinner truck.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm

It seems to me cowardly that the people who are quoted in the article as opposing the food trucks would not give their names to Palo Alto Online. Are they ashamed of talking publicly about their opposition to Edgewood Eats?

I somehow missed out on Edgewood Eats, but it sounds like a cool idea.

Posted by Allison, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:07 pm

So typical of Palo Alto now a day. We just can't have anything cool last. Especially without lawyers involved.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Why doesn't Edgewood Eats hold their weekly gathering at the Rinconada Park/Hays Elementary/Lucie Stern complex? More parking, plenty of room, central location.

Or how about Mitchell Park? Same nice attributes as the Lucie Stern area.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I wasn't asked if I thought having an new commercial activity next door was a great idea. I didn't get a chance to complain ... but I am now. What's so special about trucks. Why not allow the church to open a restaurant in their parking lot? with lots of outdoor seating? If you don't live next door to it, you would love it.

Why not let people drive 45 mph down Louis. Who would let their kids anywhere near Louis. If you don't live there it's a great idea.

The little run down white house on Louis was there before the Church. The family owning it didn't get any discount for moving to what you want to be a restaurant on a highway.

Maybe the penalty assessed on the developer of Edgewood Plaza for tearing down the important Eichler building should be that he provides a great spot for weekly or even daily fun things.

Posted by Lexie's Mom, a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2013 at 8:14 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Ordinances are Ordinances, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 8:49 am

Paul Losch--I enjoy your blog. But involving a lawyer was jumping too far? Given the vituperative comments on this thread, and the casual attitude of city officials toward enforcing ordinances, maybe not. Shakespeare did say "Let's kill all the lawyers," but he lived in a much more litigious society than we do, and more violent as well. I don't see that the enjoyment of Edgewood Eats for many people overrides the rights of the neighbors to have peace and quiet, or the ordinance that limits these special events in residential neighborhoods. Peace and quiet, Lexie's Mom, are not snob values, nor are they NIMBY values. They're basic, solid, common-sense values.

We do have areas across the freeway that would not disturb residential neighborhoods, and would keep Edgewood Eats in this neighborhood, which the Alma location would not. Why not try to locate such an area and move forward?

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

The problem with NIMBY is when someone wants something but they want someone else to bear the costs. The people living near the church aren't saying having 6 to 12 catering trucks in a neighborhood is a good idea but they want it in someone else's neighborhood. They are saying it isn't a good idea.

If you want to be able to walk to a restaurant, then move to where you can. Don't try to turn someone else's residential neighborhood into a commercial zone.

If you've lived near downtown you would be aware commercial use creates problems. Example part time restaurant workers daily park their cars in residential neighborhoods, and some of them daily get out of their car and urinate in the park. Taking a picture of them doesn't completely stop them, but does get them to move to someone else's front yard.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Jeff - what you write made no sense because it wasn't relevant. Are people urinating at the church? Do food truck workers also drive vehicles that take up precious church parking spaces?

Bring it to my street!

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

What no one knows is whether anyone tried any other remedies to solve the concerns of the neighbors who were upset by the event.

The article doesn't indicate either way --- so let's not assume that the lawyer option was the only one considered.

I understand the neighbor's concerns --- they already live on a busy street, near an even more busier street (Embarcadero) and have (in their opinion) more than enough noise, traffic and inconsiderate drivers. Further, I'm sure they have additional traffic on Sunday mornings that most of us do not have to deal with.

So yes, I totally understand why they don't want an additional segment of increased traffic, noise, etc. It was never "part of the neighborhood" or a normally scheduled (or expected) event when they bought their homes.

Yes, they bought next to a church. Yes, they knowingly moved onto an already busy street that has access to Embarcadero (and has cut-through to Oregon Expressway, Jordan MS, etc.

So perhaps a little empathy here for their situation.

The lawyer option seems to be what upsets most on this thread. Again, who knows why it had to go there.

But I tend to agree with their concerns and their desire to keep/maintain whatever "peace and quiet" they had before the food trucks moved in. Call it NIMBY if you want - but *it is* their backyard and I'm sure no one ever expected a weekly food truck bonanza on a Monday night.

Hopefully another site will be found soon.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

People have plans that don't work. People have lapses in judgment. If you have a regular large commercial event, you will have problems. Zoning ordinances were set up to minimize problems. Don't turn your residential neighborhood into a commercial zone. A residential neighborhood can't handle the number of visitors. Some of the visitors will do things which you don't want them doing.

I regularly have people attending church events block my driveway. I can't use my car. I've even had people park in my driveway. I've had liquor bottles thrown in my back yard too frequently. I've had a fire set in my back yard. Public urination is a real problem. Walk in some of the underpasses downtown and the stench is very real. People most often try to be discreet but it happens so often you can and I have taken pictures of it in an attempt to stop it. I don't have a view of the church parking lot. The pictures I took weren't of the church parking lot. They were at a park I lived near. (Public urination can result in a felony charge of unlawful disposal of hazardous waste. A well educated thoughtful engineer I worked with found out first hand.) What I said is very relevant. Also theft rates are highest near public traffic: more people, more theft.

I love being able to walk to restaurants and shops. I don't want them next door to me. I live where the trade offs are those I want to make.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm


Edgewood Eats was on my street.


Public urination? Stretching here, aren't we? First Congo had its bathrooms open and no one was selling liquor. We're talking about a couple of hours in the evening. We've already *had* a neighbor whose backyard abuts the church parking lot saying that he was okay with it.

There is ample parking at First Congo--one of its two lots was nearly empty when I went and there were just a few cars in the other one.

I think it's interesting that the "neighbors" in this case are hiding behind a lawyer and anonymity. That's pretty unusual. I suspect it's because most of us around here DO want Edgewood Eats and the NIMBYs in question know it and don't want to face the wrath of their neighbors.

And if you're really in the house next door, why don't you do some yard maintenance? People tend to respect placed that show upkeep.

But then, you're not next door to First Congo--there's no park in our neighborhood--just Jordan's fields. Closest one is Rinconada.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Do you think that it would be possible for the food trucks to move to the Fry's parking lot?

That parking lot is scarcely populated on weeknights. I imagine that it would actually increase business (and visibility) for Fry's and neighboring stores in that shopping complex. There are no competing restaurants to go into a frenzy and it is walking distance from AOL, GroupOn, law offices and the California Ave area businesses. It is also close to several neighborhoods but far enough away to not create another "angry neighbor" who would rain on this culinary parade.

If this has to be on private property, this could be a great place!

Other considerations:
1.) El Camino Real (on the Stanford side from Serra to Churchill).
2.) Cubberly Community Center - They could even combine their free book giveaway events with food trucks!
3.) Greer Park - Not many people visit the park and it would be a great way to "rediscover" it.
4.) California Ave CalTrain parking lot - Empty on the south section...and the noise wouldn't be nearly as loud as the train.
5.) Palo Alto Jr Museum & Zoo - Bring much needed exposure (and visitors) to an attraction with a nice, large parking lot and neighboring park.

My biggest recommendation: Change the name from Edgewood Eats to PALO ALTO EATS to reflect the greater mission if it is moved outside of the Edgewood area.

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

The fact that some residents living near wanted this event doesn't mean that they were the majority, no one has conducted any polls, and it wouldn't matter anyway, nor does it mean that the residents who don't want the event on their street are NIMBY types. It's fine to combat a bad idea, even by hiring a lawyer.

This is not a bad event, but it shouldn't be held on a residential street. It's a good thing that residents are trying to protect their quality of life and minimize traffic and noise on a street that is already suffering from heavy, and often unruly traffic.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I've owned the house next to the church for over 30 years. You know my name and where my house is. Who is being anonymous OhlonePar? You also love to post judgments about people you don't know and evidently don't even care to understand. You've decided that I don't exist and that people shouldn't respect me. Wow!!! Would you be happy if I turned my house into a McDonalds or a Starbucks. It would make a lot of money for me. You obviously don't live next to the church but have decided you know who does and you want to decide what they have to accept.

For the most part the church is very well run. They are a very quiet neighbor most of the time. A fleet of trucks selling fast food is a change that is and will be fought. Imagine your neighbor is only home 2 days a week and suddenly a fleet of trucks with generators and hundreds of people buying fast food are your new neighbor.

New events can be fun and exciting. A weekly fast food concession won't remain fun and exciting. Why should one "neighbor" be able to decide they can become a restaurant and another can't? They can't because there are zoning ordinances so people have a chance of knowing their future.

As far as parks ... I've lived in Palo Alto for a long time. If you had met the Burkes, the Fox's, etc who lived on Louis Rd you would have a very different view of what expectations on Louis Rd have been.

Why do those who hired an attorney want to remain anonymous. You are an example of the reason why. You've threatened revenge, denied my existence, and said you don't like my yard. I'll bet you're long gone from Louis Rd before I am.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm


If the majority of residents had been against us there would have been A) way more than 16 signatures and B) people willing to go on the record about it.

You've shown no evidence that Edgewood Eats created traffic problems or that it was a bad idea. Indeed, its initial success four blocks up Embarcadero at the Edgewood site shows that it was a good idea for that neighborhood. It *improved* our quality of life--we saw neighborhoods, tried fun foods, had something to anticipate on the first work day of the week. Its very popularity is proof that many of us saw it as an asset.

This is really NIMBYism, plain and simple. I just hope another place is found soon. Nayeli's suggestions about Fry's and Greer Park aren't bad. (The Junior Museum/Lucy Stern parking lot isn't big enough.) Greer's parking lot isn't huge, but there's also nothing going on there on a Monday evening. Cubberly has other activities that can suddenly fill the parking lot. CalTrain station is a no-go--it's rush hour when the station's at its busiest.

Posted by Ura Knutz, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Too funny! Oh well....Congrats to a paid for litagation attorney and a city manager and city council for finding a way to shutdown another popular venue. What a great accomplishment!

Posted by Not a Party Pooper, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Apr 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Is there any way this could be held on a weekday evening in a large park, such as Peers, Rinconada, Freer, or Mitchell, with city sanctioning? It sounds like a fun event, a great way to break bread with one's neighbors, and something to look forward too every week. There are tables and seating at these parks, it would make for a great picnic supper in warm weather.

Does this city have to ruin everything sociable?

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Maybe the catering trucks could aim for a roving "party". Find 52 host sites. No neighborhood gets any commercial venue visit more often than once a year. If there aren't 52 locations that are willing to accept it once a year how wide spread is the support? If the positive benefit is socializing with new groups, go to new groups. Let everyone experience it and see if they like it.

If you want a coffee shop permanently next door, move next to one. There are a lot of homes within walking distance of downtown, California Ave, Midtown Shopping Center, Charleston Center, Alma Plaza, Town and Country and El Camino Real. When Edgewood reopens there will be something there. There is no reason to turn the Church into a commercial site.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2013 at 9:11 am

"don't want to face the wrath of their neighbors"
WOW. So much for civility around here. So much for freedom of opinion and choice.
I have not weighed in on this before, since I was neutral, since I had not attended the event - the time for "dinner" is too early for us.
I am amazed at the threatening tone of those disappointed that the event will not continue at the church. Find another more suitable place - that's all you need to do.
Sheesh no wonder some of us decide to be "anonymous" on this forum.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 4, 2013 at 11:02 am


Find a more suitable location that isn't right next to people's homes. A commercial parking lot or park would make sense.

I totally understand why someone would not any more noise or traffic than they already receive in that location.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Crescent Park Dad,

Again, the food trucks weren't next to anyone's house. They were next to the church. Of the two neighboring houses, one is a parking lot and a church building complex away from the trucks and the other was on the other side of a large parking lot.


I haven't squelched anyone's "choice or freedom of expression." I certainly haven't threatened anyone. I'm expressing my view of the matter. I'd say the shoe was on the other foot--I'm not the neighbor who pulled in a lawyer and hid behind him.

I'd think a lot better of my anonymous neighbor if he or she acknowledged that Edgewood Eats was popular and desirable and found a way to make it work. It's clear that the Edgewood Eats organizers did try to do that--by the placement of the trucks and the opening of the bathrooms and the limits placed on the trucks. The lawyer doesn't claim that anything bad happened. It's really textbook NIMBYism.

I've always been puzzled by people who think freedom of expression means freedom from reaction. People have the right to call their lawyers and have them write nasty letters I have the right to call them on their shenanigans.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

OhlonePar - unfortunately you live in town & in a time where live & let live don't exist. People there will DEMAND to be taken seriously by calling in an attorney instead of figuring out how everyone can win. Then of course, they scream that their safety & privacy are crucial and they have RIGHTS so they won't come forward.

Have other communities faced the same issues w/FTN, & if so, how were the problems resolved?

One of the joys of living in EPA is driving around to church BBQs on Sundays, just following your nose & buying delicious food cooked outdoors. Do they have permits? Has anyone ever gotten sick? What does the law say? The answer to all of those questions: No one cares because the money goes to a good cause, it's the way the community works & it's delicious, so it's a win-win.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm

There are 25 houses on Louis Rd on the same block as the Church. To claim that 16 signatures is a small number is quite misleading. I was not one of the signers but I would obviously sign it. So there should be at least 17.

OhlonePar keeps claiming people should admit who they are but doesn't say where she lives other than on Louis Rd. If I lived a block away I wouldn't care either. It's not even clear that OhlonePar is her name. She seems to think that anyone who doesn't agree with her is not entitled to privacy.

As anyone who has driven down Embarcadero knows Rinconanda Park, the Cultural Center, the main library provide a huge amount of publicly owned land. Why can't public land support a public activity? Edgewood will reopen. There is absolutely no need to turn the Church into a commercial site.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm

@ boscoli:

I have no problem with Edgewood Eats moving close to where I live. However, the only park near our place is Bowden Park. There just isn't enough parking or space there for a dozen food trucks. Otherwise, I would love for them to be located there!

The same can be said of Hoover Park. There just isn't any parking at Hoover Park except along the street. I would have no problem with the trucks moving there if the parking spots could be reserved each week.

Both of these locations are within walking distance to our location. If there was a park across the street from our place, I would be happy to have Edgewood Eats show up once a week!

BTW, I didn't accuse anyone of NIMBYism. In fact, I have been accused of being a NIMBY due to my opposition to the HSR -- even though I am young, lower-Middle Class (according to NATIONAL standards) and I don't own property in Palo Alto. I have no problem with Edgewood Eats because the trains produce more noise in our house than the food trucks would.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by YSK, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Palo Alto is a laughing stock when it comes to anything fun, unique or nice....change the name of the city to Debbie Downersville. Bunch a pretentious snobs. I sure miss the Palo Alto of the 70's.

Posted by First Congo neighbor, a resident of Triple El
on Apr 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

I loved the idea of having Edgewood Eats so close to my neighborhood.

The people who are complaining chose to live right next to a large church and nursery school, not to mention right near Embarcadero and Louis -- both busy streets almost all the time. They should expect regular events and traffic. A few hours of noise on Monday nights through the summer is not that terrible and worth it for the community bonding.

It's really too bad a few people are ruining it for the rest of us.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2013 at 10:14 pm


Church BBQs? That sounds very good. Clearly, I need to get out of Ikea when I'm in EPA.

Yes, the tone of Jeff's posts reads to me, ironically, as an attempt to intimidate me and, I'd guess, people inclined to agree with me. It also indicates to me someone who's failing to make his argument on its own merits. His viewpoint pretty much exemplifies NIMBYism--Edgewood Eats is fine somewhere *else*.

First Congo Neighbor, I'm with you. Edgewood Eats was something nice for this neighborhood. And it's a lot quieter than the sirens one hears at least once a day from the fire station on Embarcadero and Newell.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2013 at 11:04 am

OhlonePar - it's been awhile since I've had BBQ in my town. If you're interested & have time, w/warmer weather here, you can call churches & ask. There's also a church whose members make delicious cakes that they sell during holidays.
Also, the FTN at The Williws Market in Menlo often has a truck selling BBQ.

I understand his pov, but the presumption of tracking you down was a little odd. I see that more & more - people who believe they have the right to violate one's privacy because they live on the peninsula & think that they know their rights. I wish we had a little bit more of that here - our neighbors might be more considerate if they even realized that they impacted others. We live w/opposite ends of the spectrum :-(

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

There is a difference between saying I don't care if it doesn't cause problems and saying we should have it.

The first comments posted here by OhlonePar were attacks on her neighbors, whom she knows nothing about.

When I moved to Louis Road there wasn't a nursery school next door. There weren't catering trucks coming into the parking lot. The church didn't have microwave antennas in its steeple. The church is becoming more and more of a commercial enterprise. If the church wants to be a commercial enterprise it should seek a zoning change and be straightforward about its direction.

Your attitude that its not as quiet as your home so I should accept more noise is very selfish and to use your magic incantation NIMBY.

I'm not saying my neighbors on Embarcadero should accept a change for the worse because they are living on street that has more traffic than I have.

I'm not anonymously criticizing people for wanting to be anonymous.

I'm not saying that I want to have a neighborhood gathering so I can meet my neighbors then in the same breath saying those who oppose it should face the wrath of their neighbors.

If you say you don't want it seven days a week you are saying that there can be too much interference with your home. You are very aware it causes problems but you are far enough away that once a week works for you so everyone should feel the same.

You've said the anonymous who oppose it should come forward and work things out but you are unwilling to consider having it elsewhere.

My next door neighbor who sadly had polio at a fairly young age and walked with a cane had no trouble hanging his cane from the handlebars of his bike and riding over to midtown even when he was in his seventies. There is no reason another commercial activity has to start at the church.

I find you thinking very hypocritical.

Posted by Jef, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hmmm .... Yes wanting to know who and where is a little odd isn't it. That was a very big desire with some of the pro Edgewood Eats comments wasn't it?

Triple El neighborhood gets no traffic from the church. Seldom are people on the other side of N California affected by the church. I think it is pretty safe to say OhlonePar lives on the other side of N. California.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm


In other words, you're a NIMBY--complaints about preschools, church antennae, complaints about the fact, really, that Palo Alto has changed since you moved to Louis.

In fact, you're so busily kvetching about these rather minor matters that you misread what I wrote. There's no threat. You distort my comments elsewhere as well, but people can read that for themselves.

Let's see, you live next door to the church, but you claim you had nothing to do with the lawyer's letter--weren't even asked to sign the petition--though you would have if asked.

Right. Forgive me for my skepticism on this matter.

By the way, *I'm* not in charge of Edgewood Eats and I'm not affiliated with First Congo--so I'm not part of any negotiation. I've not hired a lawyer to send a letter to shut anything down--so your notion that you have some moral right to know who I am rings hollow.

Now, take a deep breath, go outside and calm down.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Look at the logic: the church created a nuisance by getting a conditional permit to have a preschool therefore anyone near the church doesn't deserve to avoid an additional nuisance.

Embarcadero is a busy street: therefore the people living on or near Embarcadero don't deserve to avoid an additional nuisance.

The people who signed the petition wanted to be anonymous. They should have faced the wrath of their neighbors... but people should be able to anonymously criticize them and not be intimidated by being identified. (I really don't care who they are - I'm pointing out the hypocrisy).

Face it, arguments that some homes have more nuisances than others therefore they should incur more nuisances are terrible arguments. If you don't believe that, let's get some more supporters saying that the preschool is a nuisance therefore the church should create more nuisance.

There isn't adequate support to keep a commercial enterprise running. The Edgewood Center had very little support. Many consider it a blight that they are glad to see torn down. It isn't being replaced by a bigger better run shopping center. Housing is being added and a new smaller commercial development. Neighbors didn't find an already existing commercial enterprise worth supporting.

There is already a commercial center that a crippled seventy year old neighbor regularly chose to visit using his bike rather than his car. How hard is it for a healthy middle aged adult to get to? There is a very large amount of public land: parks, cultural center, library, even schools that could provide a weekly neighborhood party. There is no need to turn the church into a permanent home for catering trucks. It would create a blight and apparently according to the supporters of Edgewood Eats, yet more justification for bringing even more commercial activity into a residential neighborhood.

If you want to have a weekly neighborhood party, go over to Mike's Café. Its customers are neighbors and it operates in a commercial zone. Oh maybe you don't want to, I eat there from time to time. Should I hide my identity?

Yes, Louis Rd has changed and is changing. None of the houses on my side of Louis Rd were large houses. They were all relatively small and owned by people who liked the large peaceful lots. Most of those who left only did so because their health failed. Many of my present neighbors moved to Louis Rd when it was much quieter. Just because you weren't one of them doesn't mean it's okay to trash our neighborhood.

As far as OhlonePar's comments that she doubts I didn't sign the petition or hire the lawyer, well so what? Many of the pro Edgewood Eats arguments make it clear I shouldn't hesitate to sign the petition or hire an attorney. It's been a very educational discussion.

Posted by area man, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Such vituperation. OhlonePar, you're not only nasty, you're a hypocrite for snidely criticizing people for their anonymity while posting anonymously yourself.

Jeff and others have very real concerns; I know I wouldn't want a party like this every single Monday night throughout the summer -- that amounts to a taking.

It's easy for you to criticize because there is no degradation to your peace and quiet.

I think you are the one who needs to take a deep breath and then look closely in the mirror and take an honest inventory of your positions and statements.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

area man,

Again, I happen to live near First Congo--so your point doesn't hold.

Second, I've pointed out that the trucks were quite a ways away from the two houses that are adjacent to the church. Bathrooms were open and, when I attended, it was actually quiet and low key. There were engines running, so that would be the most noticeable noise, but the trucks were a couple hundred feet away from the houses on Louis and Embarcadero.

Third, other neighbors have said they liked it. One specifically said it can get a little noisy at the church, but it's worth it.

Fourth, looks like nearly everyone here--including you--is anonymous. There's rather a difference between an online discussion forum and calling in a lawyer to quash a popular event without negotiation.

Hypocritical would be demanding that you reveal your online identity while I withhold mine--or, say, trying to hunt down someone's identity while proclaiming the lawyered-up neighbors right to anonymity.

I'm curious why you entered into the exchange with a personal attack on me. What were you trying to accomplish?


I take it the church has been there longer than you have. Are you aware that churches do, as a matter of course, community outreach? That they are social gathering places? What did you think was going to happen if you moved next to a large parking lot? That things would only happen on Sunday?

There's no automatic entitlement to everlasting peace and quiet if you move next to a busy street or a church with a large parking lot.

Do I get there are concerns? Yes. Do I think the concerns were handled in a way that benefits the neighborhood? No. One of the problems with anonymity here is that it cuts off any negotiation--any way of making the issue work better for everyone--i.e. once a month instead of once a week, blocking off part of the parking lot, a do-not park zone in front of residences on the block.

What comes across from you is that the church bugs you, ergo you're inclined to be antagonistic to doings by the church. I mean, the preschool play area is entirely surrounded by church buildings. How much of a nuisance is that reallY?

As for the issues with Edgewood shopping center--it's not an issue of the neighborhood not being able to support retail there. The grocery store is undersized for a modern supermarket and, even when it was running, was run-down. The initial housing proposal was downsized, in part, so that there would continue to be some retail there.

Developers find building residential more profitable that redeveloping old retail and the city has ABAG breathing down its neck about developing more housing.

In other words, nothing to do with what the neighborhood can support. Indeed, one of the original points of Edgewood Eats was to show people would come to the shopping center is something was there.

I'll just tip my hat to the Edgewood residents for 1) not interfering with Edgewood Eats and 2) having their say on the Edgewood development without derailing the whole thing. Kudos, too, to the developer for adjusting his development in return.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

OhlonePar your logic is that people living next to the church don't deserve to avoid an additional nuisance. There are 25 houses on the same block as the church, 16 people signed a petition. I would gladly be a 17th. There are probably more.

You don't live near the church. Most of my neighbors know me. Everyone reading this knows my first name and where I live. Anyone can get hold of me. I am not anonymous. Do you want me to post my social security number?

Your lack of knowledge of me and my neighbors is unbelievable especially how you continually attack us for living with more nuisance than you have. We have accepted a nuisance called a preschool another called microwave antennas. Suppose there were horses in a pasture where the church is now when my family moved to Louis Rd. Would that completely invalidate your claim that I should accept yet more noise? No you'll change your arguments to justify having a commercial activity in a residential zone because it was a pleasant five minute walk from your house. A fifteen minute walk to midtown is too far for you even though you are closer to it than a crippled 70 year old neighbor who did go to midtown without a car.

Do you think my early statement that I will be on Louis Rd long after you've left was a threat or just a prediction based on history? You continually accuse your neighbors of not being honest in part because they aren't your neighbors are they?

You and others were obviously hypocrites when you anonymously criticized those against Edgewood Eats for wanting to be anonymous. Even now you claim I'm anonymous just to justify your poorly thought out claims.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Edgewood Eats never had a permanent home at the church. Regardless of the neighbors complaints city code would not allow this event to have a permanet home there.

"City code does not allow the conditional-use permit for an ongoing commercial activity in a residential neighborhood"

I was a neighbor who signed the petition. The petition was not annoymous it contained our name and address. I was not annonymous when I made my concerns to the church, to the city and to the folks at Edgewood Eats or to my neighbors. No one else needs to know who I am.

I understand living next to a church that they will have events but Edgewood Eats is not a chuch event, its a commercial entity and does not belong in a chuch parking lot in a residential neigborhood.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Jeff, neighbor,

I couldn't really write a better example of NIMBYism if I tried--Preschools! Antennae! Churches donating the use of their parking lot!

Where will these horrors end?

And because I don't share your viewpoint I couldn't possibly be affected by any of this.

And from that error, others have flowed and, wow, there certainly have been a number of them.


Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2013 at 7:58 am

I didn't buy a house next to a donated parking lot, I bought a house next to a church.
Re NIMBY yes you are right I dont want a donated parking lot in front of my house for food trucks or any other commercial use not associated with what the lot was built for - parking for the church members. Next thing we know there could be a flea market there every weekend. By the way my view is not only NIMBY i dont think anyone who buys a house next to a church, school, business etc should expect the lot to be used for anything other than a lot for parking.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2013 at 8:21 am

Not a specific comment about this particular event at this particular church.

However, I do think that we have a space problem in Palo Alto and any space which is used for occasional use should be looking to see if that space could be used for other things at other times.

Parking lots are open space for a large chunk of time and should be/could be used for other things.

Church facilities are no longer used just once a week - that is a waste of space and facilities. It does make sense that a church with plenty of space to house sunday school classes could be using that space for childcare/preschool/senior daycare, etc. Their parking lots could be used for basketball/street hockey/leasing to businesses for weekday parking, etc.

I realise that we all have to be good neighbors, considerate to those who live nearby. But space is a premium and with all the vacant lots being used for new housing and new businesses, then we have more people looking to use any space that is available.

Multi uses for parking lots does make sense. Life is changing, this is no longer the 60s. Yes we do need to make our town a nice place to live. Yes rethinking how to do this is a worthwhile discussion.