Can anyone explain the Zoning definitions?
Original post made
by pares, Barron Park,
on Apr 17, 2013
What are the definitions of RM-15 and R-2 Zones?
This is from an announcement about a development near Barron Park:
"Palo Alto Housing Corporation (PAHC), a nonprofit affordable housing developer, proposes to build a rental apartment building with approximately 60 apartments affordable to extremely-low to low income senior households and 15 for sale, market rate single family homes. The project site is comprised of two parcels at the corner of Maybell and Clemo Avenues totaling 2.46 acres. The larger parcel (93,654 sq. ft.) is zoned RM-15 and the smaller parcel (13,768 sq. ft.) is zoned R2."
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Posted by look up the codes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm
You are really digging in on your opinion, considering that it's clear you don't live in the neighborhood or anywhere near it, you don't seem to know anything about the project, the neighborhood, or what the developer has proposed, and you seem to be answering as persuasively as you can without having read anything I said.
So, on the off chance that you are just someone who likes to express strong opinions about issues that have a big impact on OTHER people's quality of life, without your knowing very much or listening to the other side, I will reiterate some of what I wrote, and explain why you are being insensitive at best.
First of all, the Tan/Arastradero apartments we have been speaking about above ARE the "planned communities". They were built when that area was part of the county and there were no zoning restrictions as there are today, and grandfathered in. The RM-15 and R-2 are clearly "low-density" transition zones to the R-1 residential neighborhood. The apartments/planned community block and the RM-15/R-2 low density existing zoning next to it, are SURROUNDED BY A REGION OF R-1 RESIDENTIAL SINGLE-FAMILY ZONING.
REZONING that spot now to high density from the low-density it is currently zoned is what's called "spot zoning" which is illegal.
Secondly, your "easy" traffic solution is only easy for someone who doesn't live here and has no idea what the traffic is like here.
Both Maybell between Juana Briones School and El Camino, as well as Arastradero between Foothill and El Camino, especially between Terman and El Camino, have become seriously more congested at intervals during the day in the last few years, in a way that has had a significant negative impact on residents in the area already.
That development sits at the focus between both of those bottlenecks, which also happen to be the only routes of ingress/egress to the Greenacres I and Greenacres II neighborhoods. There is no egrees/ingress to Greenacres II to the south or west AT ALL. Greenacres I only outlets onto Arastradero, not to their east, south, or north. Some parts of the R-1 neighborhoods nearer to El Camino are already difficult to even turn right onto Arastradero from, even when Arastradero isn't packed.
This is a safety issue for existing residents and to the schools, when there is poor egress/ingress for residents to get out and emergency vehicles to get in. You don't add density right at the only points of egress/ingress to an already bottlenecked situation.
I've seen emergency vehicles drive on sidewalks on nearby East Meadow to reach the railroad tracks during morning traffic, because the street was gridlock. No such opportunity exists on Maybell, there isn't a clear shot. Maybell isn't even fully two-lanes wide. It's a safe route to school, yet on one side, there's mostly no sidewalk and no bike lane, and on the other, the sidewalk is oft interrupted and narrow. Parked cars force kids to weave in and out of traffic, where they compete with gridlock of people going to work and the several schools in the area at intervals during the day. On the other side, Arastradero between Clemo and El Camino is just as packed during the same times of day.
Adding density -- including 15 tall skinny homes along Maybell and Clemo with tiny lots, hardly any setback, which they couldn't build under the existing zoning -- where currently there are 4 (can you say "Miki's Market"?) will also add to the traffic on Maybell. Maybell is R-1 to either side. Would you want that done across the street from you and to your neighborhood/property values?
I think your dad's retirement apartment sounds lovely, but false promises and people's unrealistic acceptance of them is why we ended up with the Miki's situation (and high speed rail). The PAHC isn't building a retirement apartment, a senior community, and there will be no vans provided. Why isolate seniors anyway?
The obvious solution is for the PAHC to designate the MayFIELD project, which is near Stanford and has 10 more units than they are proposing at MayBELL, as low-income senior housing. The seniors will be near medical at PAMF and Stanford, near Avenidas, near Trader Joe's and other grocery, near restaurants, classes at the Palo Alto Adult School, etc. Where they WILL have to either drive or be driven from MayBELL, they can EASILY walk in many cases (which is better for their health) or easily drive to the services and amenities they need at MayFIELD.
PAHC should instead just live within the existing zoning. If they renovate the 4 houses on Maybell and add a little square footage so that easy home is 2,000 sq ft, market rates will make those over $2 million homes. Their outlay will be less to get them ready for market than the 15 town homes they were planning if they rezoned, and they could get almost as much for them.
I think they should then add 16-20 duplex homes that the existing zoning would allow (low density in that context is supposed to be on the low end of allowable, not the high end), and let low income families live there so they can send their kids to the local schools and live in dignity and not segregated from the rest of the community. Under existing rules, those multi-room homes would have to go to families anyway, and there isn't enough of the large housing stock in PAHC anyway.
Far more preferable would be for that to be an extension of the park, and playing fields for the kids. The city is talking about spending $8 million to renovate the baylands so the kids can drive way out there for after school sports. Why not just build some homes, consistent with the neighborhood, on the north side of the property, the sale of which will finance the park, and then make the rest into a real playing field, which we desperately need on this side of town? The site is certainly large enough to do that.
The neighborhood appears to be rallying to fight the illegal spot zoning anyway. PAHC will make a lot of enemies, and inadvertently turn the neighborhood against the existing apartment residents, if they try to turn that whole neighborhood into a high density region against existing zoning.
By the way, California Ave is sort of Greenacres backyard, not Duveneck. Which street a few houses up from you would you be willing to take a giant high density development as massive as the Tan apartments at? You haven't said.