Town Square

Housing in PA - should we ask Stanford to supply even more?

Original post made by Diana Diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger, on Sep 27, 2007

As the plans for expanding Stanford University Hospital slowly wind their way through an approval process at Palo Alto City Hall, one of the things the university may be asked to do is provide housing for some of the 2,000 new workers expected once the expansion is completed a decade or so from now.

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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 28, 2007 at 1:14 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Well said Diana! A very good point that the city is not asking any large businesses to provide housing--just Stanford. And where do they propose Stanford build the housing?

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Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2007 at 8:08 am

One problem of asking Stanford to build more housing is that they too are built out. Where would they put the additional housing? Tear down the historic stable and put housing there, put housing in the Arboretum. Or, most controversial of all build housing in the hills which would be totally unacceptable to the neighboring cities.

Has GOOGLE been asked to provide their employees with housing?

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 28, 2007 at 9:55 am

A very revealing column, Diana. I’m embarrassed for our city.

Instead of blackmailing Stanford Hospital, the city ought to manage its finances better so that we could afford to pay for transit and performing arts centers. I suggest our city council and senior staff spend some time in Mountain View learning how it was able to do so much and still end up with a budget surplus.

As to the commissioner who suggested turning Hoover Tower into a hotel, I’m hoping that was a joke. Otherwise, that person has no place on any commission.

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Posted by steve levy
a resident of University South
on Sep 28, 2007 at 10:12 am

I think it is legitimate for the city to discuss public benefits related to large proposed developments with all applicants, public or private. I don't pretend to know what the "right" amount or type of public benefits are but I think words like "extract" or "blackmail" forget that PA regularly discusses public benefits with much smaller proposals--think 800 High or Alma Plaza.

If public benefits (and mitigation) are appropriate topics when housing is being discussed, then why not with large employment proposals.

I support the Stanford proposed medical center expansion and am willing to absorb the extra traffic and inconvenience but i still want PA to engage with Stanford in discussing mitigation efforts.

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 28, 2007 at 10:32 am

Maybe we could get Stanford to front some of the cost for schools for the new kids -- it will eventually require entirely new facilities, not just the percentage cost of teachers etc.

When we wanted to expand our house by 600 square feet, we were required to pay a significant school fee to the City ($800 I think) just for reviewing our plans, and we never have been able to get it back even after we abandoned our expansion plans. If that can happen to homeowners of a 950 square foot house, why should the businesses and developers who are bringing in all these new residents not have to pay an equivalent impact fee as well? The fee would be separate from teh property taxes that would come in from sale/purchase of the property.

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Posted by Former Parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 28, 2007 at 11:25 am

Natasha, remember Stanford gave the school district millions of dollars (I think it was $10 Million) to buy back Terman Middle School from the City and refurbish it. At that time an agreement was reached between the PAUSD and Stanford that the School District would not ask Stanford for anymore money for at least 10 years.

Reminder, Stanford has given a lot to the PAUSD over the years for example the land on which both Gunn and Paly were built for a token of $1.00 per year. Not to mention the land on which both Escondido and Lucille M. Nixon were built. How much more do you want Stanford to give to our School District - they have been more than generous?

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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 29, 2007 at 10:34 pm

I'm with Steve; development mitigation must be discussed, but the tone that these things take (right from the top) is counterproductive. Palo Alto has a long way to go in finding ways to negotiate fiercely, without looking petty. It's an art that we have to learn.

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Posted by David Bubenik
a resident of University South
on Oct 2, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Stanford gets what it wants, so this project will happen pretty much as planned. On a positive note, it could supplement the community “benefit” from Stanford’s recent developments in College Terrace – the soccer field at El Camino Real and Page Mill. The kids now running hard in the auto fumes at our busiest intersection may need treatment for respiratory problems after they grow up.

The real issue is traffic. The city might demand that Stanford downsize its industrial park to balance the traffic upsurge due to the med center. But I’m not holding my breath.

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 2, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Downsize it's industrial park? You aren't even mentioning the additional traffic (and it will be substantial) that is destined for College Terrace thanks to the development that was approved in exchange for the soccer fields.

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 2, 2007 at 1:35 pm

correction: downsize its industrial park.

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Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 10, 2007 at 7:23 am

Emergency preparedness: Stanford should be strongly motivated to provide housing for all Medical Center employees who need to be living close by their hospitals when the next big one hits.