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Town Square

Senior-housing project in Palo Alto riles neighbors

Original post made on Apr 25, 2013

An overflowing crowd of Barron Park and Green Acres ll residents vented their frustration with dense housing and traffic problems and told Palo Alto Housing Corporation officials Wednesday night, April 24, to build a proposed senior housing project elsewhere.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 25, 2013, 9:58 AM

Comments

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

Seniors make great neighbors. They don't drive as much as younger people, don't add to rush-hour traffic, and like to support local businesses. They are often home during the day and deter burglars.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

Market rate builders pay into an account used to fund below-market senior housing? What's fair about that?

The builders pass along those extra costs to market-rate buyers who then pay increased PA transfer taxes & higher property taxes, both of which are calculated on sales prices. Initial & subsequent purchasers then get to support the seniors ad infinitum, also increasing housing density which increases congestion on roads & in schools. How does any of this help the community? And PA still hasn't got a decent full-sized supermarket.


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Posted by John
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

NIMBYism is alive and well in Palo Alto! Honestly, we see through the ruse - you're worried about home values in the affluent Silicon Valley! God forbid those 'awful' seniors invade our neighborhood. SMH...


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thank you for covering this situation, Sue Dremann, as usual an excellent article. I want to make one clarification, and that is many of the neighbors present were from Greenacres I and II, as well as Barron Park, because the Greenacres neighbors, especially Greenacres II, are seriously impacted by the proposed high density rezoning.

It's a difficult situation, because most of the neighbors otherwise support Palo Alto Housing Corporation, its goals, and even the plan to develop more low income senior housing. The sentiment of putting the project elsewhere wasn't one of NIMBYism, it was genuine. There are other high density projects going in in the neighborhood as we speak that aren't getting this kind of pushback, even though they are impacting traffic for the residents and quality of life -- because they are at least on El Camino where cars have more outlets and aren't in conflict with literally thousands of school children and already packed traffic daily. Residents would love to find a way to site that project somewhere safer.

I think the problem for the Palo Alto Housing Corporation is that they boxed themselves in financially on this project. They are proposing to put a wall of tall high-density homes on tiny lots, with almost no setback, on a street that is R-1 to either side of it, and on a street that is already so narrow the kids regularly swerve in and out of traffic.

Apparently, they had to agree to get that part rezoned for the developer in order to make things work financially. In other words, they have to rezone the residential street to high density (like what's behind Miki's Market, but right on a narrow neighborhood steet) in order for the rest of the project to be viable, nevermind for the moment the problems with that being high density.

Although, PAHC's financial calculation that they stated publicly was somewhat murky -- they told the audience they had purchased the property for $16 million in a competitive bidding situation. But it had been on the market a long time with no buyers, and Curtis Williams in the Planning Department told me just when it sold that it sold for $11 million. They intend to sell off the housing part, essentially leaving $6.5 million for the 2 acre field. But they counted on being able to rezone the housing part to high density in an R-1 neighborhood, right at the juncture between two safe routes to school -- one of them exceedingly narrow with serious safety concerns already -- and no other outlet.

There are 4 schools using those safe routes; Gunn HS alone has nearly half of the students biking, that's almost 1,000 kids daily, and it will go up by hundreds over the next few years because of the campus expansion. Terman will need expansion, too. And there's Bowman and Juana Briones. It's a serious thing when the traffic study didn't take the biking into account. Additionally, I didn't see any analysis related to how emergency egress and ingress would be affected.

The plot is currently zoned to transition from the PC zoning of the Arastradero and Tan apartments, which were built before the area was part of Palo Alto and grandfathered in, to the R-1 residential neighborhood and region that surrounds them. The Tan apartments loom so greatly over the quiet neighborhood, it seems to neighbors that those from outside (and everyone making the decisions here is coming from outside) don't even see the neighborhood -- another reason the "low-density" transition zone next to the PC zone should remain the same or perhaps be rezoned for even less density.

The meeting highlighted that under the existing circumstances, with that parcel right at the juncture between those already tremendously congested safe routes to school, and traffic already so negatively impacting residents in the last few years that there are concerns of serious safety problems daily to thousands of school children and in emergency -- perhaps it's not such a good idea to build anything there at all, much less a high-density project.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

its not senior housing that is the issue.. The issue is the city going against current zoning so developer can sell " town homes" . The problem is the density of the senior housing and building height they want so they can profit from selling " large town homes'.

Its the 3 story homes without "20 feet" set backs, that becomes a problem. These do not fit into this area with set backs, private homes. The current apartments on the street are set back a tremendous amount, they are barely noticeable. That is what needs to be done with this developement... not on the "street" Miki and Hyatt Mistakes.

4 or 5 homes are being replaced with "15 homes".

The traffic on a very small street (maybell) that mainly connects to schools and parks.


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Posted by Barron Park resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:09 am

I think this issue is being blown out of proportion about added traffic. Most Barron Park senior residents stay off the streets at high volume commuters hours. We need lower-income housing for seniors who live in Palo Alto that can no longer have the ability to maintain their current homes and provide a convenient location to stay in the neighborhoods where they have a support system.

I live in an area where there are 16 homes on one street, 1/2 the residents are seniors the street is empty of car traffic 90% of the time. We connect with another street that had about 20 homes and when I walk during the day I seldom see autos on the street.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

@neighbor,
We agree that seniors make great neighbors. A great percentage of the people from the neighborhood (at the meeting and against the rezoning) are seniors, and they make it a wonderful, close community.

If the Palo Alto Housing Corporation were going to build senior housing within the existing zoning, particularly if it resulted in - for safety - Maybell being widened, made a no-parking zone on the PAHC side, and otherwise made safer rather than further restricted, the neighborhood wouldn't now be having an issue with the proposal. The trouble is that PAHC purchased the property with the sole intention of rezoning it to high-density, with no Plan B within existing zoning acceptable to them.


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Posted by Raymond
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

Where do the seniors of these so-called 'neighbors' park their aged backsides? In somebody elses neighborhood no doubt.

It's amazing how human beings behave towards one another.


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Posted by Annette Puskarich
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:31 am

There is an online petition circulating for those interested.
"City of Palo Alto and Planning Commission of Palo Alto: Stop Rezoning in Barron Park"

Here's the link:

Web Link


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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

In terms of traffic management the City is plastering signs, yellow
paint,striping, barriers, etc, throughout the City destroying our neighborhoods and doing nothing to increase safety. In fact in many
cases these measures are reducing safety. If you visit other cities
you will see nothing comparable to what is being inflicted on the
neighborhoods and residents in Palo Alto. Meanwhile the City continues with its pro-development, over-development polices creating more traffic while doing nothing to step-up enforcement.



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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

@ Barron Park,
This may be out of proportion for you, as you admit you live in a quiet, unaffected part of Barron Park. The article perhaps missed the fact that Greenacres residents (and those in Barron Park right by the project) are the most affected, and probably represented the majority of the audience.

Unlike Barron Park, Greenacres as a neighborhood has no outlet at all to the south and west. The only egress and ingress are along narrow Maybell, and Arastradero between El Camino and Gunn High School -- in other words, the already highly congested areas that are the only routes of egress and ingress for the proposed high-density rezoning. Greenacres I has only ONE route of egress and ingress, along that same stretch of Arastradero. Terman Middle School and Bowman International also have similarly restricted egress and ingress as well.

A few weeks ago, following another tragic suicide on the railroad tracks around 6 am, the local streets were a parking lot for hours afterwards. The sheriff had to drive a stretch of the sidewalk to even reach the tracks. That option doesn't even exist on Maybell because it's so narrow. If there is an emergency at Juana Briones Elementary School at the wrong time of day, at least right now, an emergency vehicle could plow over the front lawns of the existing homes. Even that fail safe won't exist if someone builds high density along that street. The other routes to Juana Briones suffer from the same impacts from the density -- parents are understandably concerned about delays to emergency vehicles, much less the daily traffic.

It again highlights the fact that high density advocates were so eager to railroad things through, they didn't think about the circumstances there or the concerns of the neighborhood, just as with Miki's Market. People in the neighborhood are sympathetic to the need to build low-income senior housing. The Mayfield project is going to have 70 units of low and ultra-low income housing -- if this is genuinely about seniors, perhaps advocates should be trying to designate that for seniors, as the location near Stanford is near medical, hospital, Trader Joe's and other grocery, Avenidas, Palo Alto adult school, and free enrichment at Stanford, and "trade" for spots at the trailer park development, which is a high density project currently being built in the same neighborhood, just at a more appropriate location for density. (Currently zoned for high density and being rezoned for higher.)

The Greenacres location they are trying to rezone isn't near any services seniors need. (How much of the traffic study data came from comparables where people were shortsighted enough to build senior housing so far away from ANY services seniors need even grocery stores anyway?)

The PAHC employees themselves pointed out that even under the existing "low-density" zoning, the impacts on the neighborhood could be serious. The city needs to study the safety issue at that location much more seriously. Given the impacts on the neighborhood and the realistic ingress/egress issues for the neighborhood and thousands of schoolchildren, perhaps it's a bad idea to build anything there at all. The parcel is mostly currently an orchard across from an existing park.


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Posted by So sllly
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:44 am

What harm or threat does a nice, quiet, senior housing development cause? NONE!

There are other senior developments in the city, particularly north of downtown, and they have not harmed property values at all.

This is a really silly thing to complain about! Someday the tables will turn, for certain, and the complainers will be looking for senior housing. Karma always catches up to you.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

>Market rate builders pay into an account used to fund below-market senior housing? What's fair about that?

Nothing is fair about it. It is un-American.

The PAHC is an ideological outfit that degrades our neighborhoods, impacts our schools and social services and could care less about our private property rights. It is time to put it out of business.


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Posted by VM
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

Because Barron Park does not have side walks, I already find it somewhat dangerous/risky when kids walk/bike to schools and cars are driving past. I'd like to see studies that take the risk of accidents as the objective function rather than the (admirable, but unrelated) measure of making low income house available in a city that doesn't have very much of it.


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Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I should probably clarify what I said:


It again highlights the fact that high density advocates were so eager to railroad things through, they didn't think about the circumstances there or the concerns of the neighborhood, just as with Miki's Market. People in the neighborhood are sympathetic to the need to build low-income senior housing. The MayFIELD project by Stanford is going to have 70 units of low and ultra-low income housing -- if high-density advocates' concerns are genuinely about seniors, perhaps advocates should be trying to designate that for seniors, as the location near Stanford is near medical, hospital, Trader Joe's and other grocery, Avenidas, Palo Alto adult school, and free enrichment at Stanford, and then "trade" for spots at the trailer park development, which is a high density project currently being built in the same neighborhood as PAHC is trying to rezone now in Greenacres, just at a more appropriate location for density. (The trailer park is currently zoned for high density and being rezoned for higher.)


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I heartedly agree with "So Silly" If you're lucky, you'll be able to become a senior citizen.

BTW...I am the person to regularly posts as "neighbor, from another community" -- someone else used the moniker in an earlier nasty post. DEFINITELY not me.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

@ So Silly,
You don't live here, and the safety concerns of that particular location are serious and legitimate, and involve the safety of thousands of school kids and neighbors. The neighborhood isn't against PAHC or low income housing. This is not an ideological argument -- there already is a PAHC development just steps away from the proposed one. The same neighborhood is already taking an even LARGER high density development at the same time that these neighbors are not protesting.

The problem is very real safety issues at that exact location. Under the circumstances, it might not even be safe to build there at all. It's very easy for you to make these sweeping ideological arguments without knowing anything about this situation and neighborhood, and you'd probably tsk tsk like anyone else when someone else's child is killed.

Please educate yourself a bit about circumstances before spouting off hurtful things. If you know anything about organizing, you know how hard it is to get that many people to show up to a meeting on a school night. They aren't doing it because they are "silly", they take the safety of thousands of school kids AND the elderly people who already live in the neighborhood quite seriously.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I find it really interesting how these threads that involve developer interests always seem to attract people from other places who attack the legitimate concerns of residents. (Can you say Miki's Market all over again?)


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

PAHC would never consider putting a project like this in North Palo Alto or Professorville. Unless the traffic exits somewhere other than Maybell, this project makes no sense.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Anonymous,
PAHC says they want the traffic to exit on Arastradero, but that stretch of Arastradero poses pretty much the same problems. Unless there is a way for the traffic to exit at El Camino, it makes no sense! Plus the high density houses on Maybell parked right on the street like that just make no sense. They propose a narrow sidewalk, just like at Miki's (maybe even narrower), which people are just going to park on anyway because the street is so narrow. But then there won't be must place for anyone to walk, because there's hardly any setback, and this is school corridor that hundreds of kids travel every day.


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Posted by Simply Put
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm

If the city wants and needs more housing, start looking at the commercial properties along El Camino Real for potential development. Currently, El Camino Real is very unsightly with deserted buildings like Compadres - and the simple fact that there are very few viable and necessary businesses along El Camino. Yes, the occasional gas station, Starbucks and a few Chinese and Mexican restaurants are viable, and contribute to the needs of the community. Otherwise, most of the businesses/commercial structures along El Camino Real are simply unsightly, not necessary, and some vacated and difficult for property owners to lease. While people complain about the new center in Mountain View at San Antonio, it has character, and it does remind one of the expansion occurring in San Jose. At least Mountain View took a stand, and developed an area with housing and retail. Stop putting the big housing developments in the closed off neighborhoods, and look to El Camino Real to make changes that will solve both housing and retail challenges in South Palo Alto.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Since this is a local struggle, with strong local consequences, I would suggest that all sides use their real names and neighborhoods.

PAHC is an un-American entity. It takes from the private interests, then causes the city to pay for services. Their cover story was that they would provide housing for essential services, like police, fire, teachers. Anybody care to guess how many of those people live in PA BMRs?. Very few of the PAHC leaders live in an affected area (last time I looked). PAHC is an elitist, ideological organization, fully hypocritical.

PAHC needs to be shut down. It is dangerous to our traditional, reasonable way of life in Palo Alto.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Seems that Palo Alto Housing owns several lots on El Camino, in this south palo alto area. They are waiting to develop these areas????
Why don't they just keep within zoning laws and build where they are supposed to build?

If they do not have the funds to build within zoning laws on Maybell they should not have purchased this more expensive property on Maybell..

lesson #1 : you don't buy things you can not afford!


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

I attended the meeting to prepare to moderate subsequent discussion on the neighborhood discussion groups -- I live on the opposite side of the BP neighborhood and don't have the personal experience needed for me to take a personal position.

It was an angry meeting -- with the anger coming from the frustration of residents having their experience and concerns repeatedly ignored, dismissed and trivialized by the City (para 4 in the article). Comments in email before the meeting showed many residents expecting the process to be rigged against them and for them to get stream-rolled (as happened in the Arastradero Restriping).

Although PAHC is not officially part of the City, it is a "quasi" and that distinction is often blurred by people commenting on the project.

PAHC made the situation coming into the meeting worse by what many in the audience took as disingenuous information.

For example, additional traffic on Maybell is a big issue (safety) and PAHC was aware of this from the very first meeting (September?) and did a redesign to not have the single family houses have driveways onto Maybell. However at this meeting, PAHC presented the plan as having minimal traffic going onto Maybell, when City staff was pushing to have the traffic circulation reoriented from Arastradero to Maybell.

PAHC presented the senior housing's traffic impact during peak hours as negligible based solely upon whether those seniors had jobs. PAHC continues to resolutely ignore traffic from caretakers and similar, and the experience of multiple seniors in the audience that the scheduled time for their exercise and physical therapy classes require them to travel during the morning commute.

The traffic study commissioned by PAHC raised much skepticism. It used the bureaucratic notion of traffic impacts as linearly proportional to volume, but many in the audience were well aware that it goes exponential once a certain level of congestion is reached (hence metering lights on highway entrances) and Maybell (and Arastradero) have already exceeded those thresholds.

The traffic consultant also insisted upon basing calculations on "national averages" when there are so many examples of those not applying locally. For example, the City approved the Arbor Real (formerly Rickey's) on the basis that there would be very few children living there based on national averages, ignoring much local experience to the contrary (and which proved correct).

Multiple speakers at the meeting commented, to wide applause, on the City's callous disregard for existing residents' quality of life.

Reading the emotions in the room, there seems to be a mounting fury against people/groups who are contemptuous of cumulative impacts and don't see how their small projects could cause any problems. There is no appreciation for "the straw that broke the camel's back".


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

>I attended the meeting to prepare to moderate subsequent discussion on the neighborhood discussion groups

This thing is beginning to remind me of the historic home disaster that the city council bought into. The council was reflexive in supporting the notion that private property can be controlled by activists that want to extract value, in order to command their own view of architectural norms and views of history. It was a big fight, and it was, eventually, put to a vote. The historical dictators were defeated, because they assumed that they could take from private property owners.

The PAHC is very much in the zone of the historical dictates. Arrogant, self-assured, taking from others, un-American...and about to be defeated, it seems. Good to see BP stand up!


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Posted by Joe Rolfe
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Hi folks, some of the above is correct in one detail. With just a little bit of luck we all become old (seniors). Actually, I am one of them (a senior). We need senior housing in Palo Alto. It is important if we are at all serious about being a diverse community.

When the Gamble Gardens site was developed some years ago, there was a proposal considered to build senior housing on part of the site at Embarcadero Road and Waverley Street. Unfortunately, NIMBY won.
I sure hope NIMBY doesn't win again.

P.S. If restriping Arastradero Road increased traffic on side streets, how about un-restriping Arastradero Road.


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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Let the seniors (as others have rightly pointed out, make great neighbors) have their housing. Do the right thing, Palo Alto.


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Posted by Jayne
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

This is a warning to the residents living in Baron Park and Greenacres I & II. You may not like what is being proposed but if you complain too much it could very well be defeated, then, in 3 or 4 years you'll get something much, much worse, denser and uglier being proposed - remember Alma Plaza and the former Rickie's site.

The residents close to both these developments complained about traffic when the first proposed developments were submitted. Several years later they ended up getting something quite different, much worse and denser.

History tells me that complaining about traffic volume doesn't do what you intend, defeat the proposed project, it simply angers the developer who will say: "You defeated my first proposal, here is a new one." You will object to that one too but by then you're credibility has gone, and the City will approve it just like Alma Plaza and Rickies.



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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

>Let the seniors (as others have rightly pointed out, make great neighbors) have their housing. Do the right thing, Palo Alto.

Nora Charles, since you claim to be from Stanford, why not walk your talk, and demand that Stanford build senior housing in the foothills that it owns? Diversity among the hills, with great views. Do the right thing, Stanford...and Nora. No need to put this burden on Barron Park, Nora...step up to the plate. Condos at the Dish?


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm

The traffic study is clearly a marketing document commissioned by the developer. In addition to the decisions cited in the comments above to focus on linear changes in traffic (vs the current state of overcrowding), the traffic study used a small number of daily reads (12 in all, at six intersections) to define what typical traffic in the area is. Two of the data points are two years old. A third was measured when PAUSD was on spring break: hardly a "typical" day. That's 25% of the data used that is stale or corrupted.

If the traffic consultants are sloppy or incompetent, that's a problem. More likely, they were cherry picking data to produce a report that would please their end customer, the developer. For the city to trample the rights of the neighborhood by carving out an exemption to zoning laws based on such a biased, error ridden study would be a huge breach of the public trust.

The document also chose to ignore all traffic impacts during construction, which will be much worse.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Green Foothills won't allow those hills to developed, Save the Bay won't allow housing to be built by the bay. Where do we put the following homes. Market rate, middle income, low income, very income, student, senior, SRO, high density, medium density, low density, large family style homes, waterfront, hillside homes and rental.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Question - how many low income BMR units are in Old Palo Alto, Leland Manor or Community Center, or Southgate, where 4 of Council Members live?

Answer - ZERO

A principle for BMR housing is to distribute the housing, so it's not concentrated in one neighborhood. PAHC & council are intentionally not following this principle because they don't want their neighborhoods affected.

If you want this madness to stop, you have a chance to take action next year: don't vote for Scharf, Price, or Shepard. Vote for any other candidate; if 2 of these are defeated for re-election, the rest of the council will get the message.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I think it's really cynical for PAHC to bring up homeless seniors who wouldn't even qualify for their low-income housing.

There's an empty lot on El Camino not more than two blocks away from this proposed site, next to the Zen Hotel -- why not try to get that? No one in the neighborhood would have an issue with it and the project would still be in the neighborhood, just at a more appropriate location for density, for which it is already zoned.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@ Jayne,
You are right that neighbors need to be thinking about what should be there. If PAHC representatives are right that the existing zoning would be even worse than added traffic from 60 high-density units and 15 townhomes, then neighbors will be doing more than just opposing the project, they will need to be proactively ensuring that location is zoned properly.

The difference here is that the Miki's project was a commercial area on a busy street. The Maybell project is in the middle of a quiet R-1 residential neighborhood, with narrow streets and thousands of school kids on those streets daily on the same routes the traffic for a high-density project would use. Neighbors here aren't just going to fight the unsafe and inappropriate rezoning, they're giving thought to what should really go there in the future and how to make that happen.

Remember, this neighborhood is already taking far more than its share of high density housing, more I'll wager than Midtown. This isn't an ideological battle over senior housing, it's a fight against overzealous density advocates making the neighborhood unsafe because of a poorly conceived plan. PAHC could build quiet a few units within the existing zoning, but they've set up this all-or-nothing situation.

That site is right across from the existing Juana Briones Park. If a developer were to buy the property, put 6 very nice homes on the North side of the property parallel to El Camino, with a lane and garages on that side and yards facing the park, they could sell the homes in the $2 million range and recoupe most of the cost of the property, donate the rest to the City parks and recs and write-off a $10million donation. The park could then be used to put the Hostess House and remain an orchard as it is now. Solves another problem for the city and said developer, and enhances the community without compromising safety.

Take a drive down here and look at all the high-density projects we're NOT quibbling over, that are already affecting the traffic on El Camino and side streets on this side of town negatively, and most aren't finished. At least they are sited more appropriately so traffic is mainly on major streets.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Jayne,
It's PAHC that probably should have taken the warning. They blithely charged forward, not believing there was any concern or opposition in the neighborhood to that location being rezoned (perhaps because so much other high density housing is being put here).

The neighborhood is likely to pursue legal recourse. If PAHC persists with this, they'll have a few hundred residents and their lawyer putting massive negative comments in the public record of that property at the very least, and maybe even a referendum getting it rezoned as open space as more safety issues with building there (even within existing zoning, which they have already stated they think is worse than what they are proposing) are documented.

I don't know what possessed them to get into this ill-advised situation, except that they, like all the other developers, seemed to think the existing residents, and the thousands of school children going to the 4 schools right there, were beside the point.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 9:35 pm

And people wonder why the Bay Area is so unaffordable...


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Posted by Joe Rolfe
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm

There seems to be two words missing from almost this entire discussion. They are "community" and "compassion". There is a lot of NIMBY and FYIGM (Forget you, I've got mine). I'll remind everyone that, with modern medicine, it doesn't take very much luck to become a senior. I really hate to see people searching for ways to selfishly blow-off senior housing.

I've lived in Palo Alto most of my life, and I want a socially and economically diverse community. The housing market responds to supply and demand. If there is less housing, what there is costs more and works against social and economic diversity. While I enjoy knowing that the house I'm living in is worth a lot of money, I don't feel good about what that does for economic diversity in my home town.

Also, I'm not writing for myself. The rest of my assets are doing very well. I just want my home town to be a place that I am proud to live in.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm

It's beyond hypocritical of Joe Rolfe, of Old Palo Alto (no high density housing) to lecture South Palo Altans, who already host the bulk of high density housing, about NIMBYism. Maybell is zoned residential and the traffic already exceeds acceptable safe levels. Since residents such as Joe are so interested in "community" and "compassion", it would be better to site the high density housing in Old Palo Alto, which isn't currently doing its part. Then Joe can feel good and fulfilled.

Its always easy volunteering someone elses' kid to get run over.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

The irony of Joe Rolfe and predecessors calling for compassion is that they show none for the residents and their quality of life.
Congestion so bad that it takes 20 minutes to drive the first mile from your house is not only an significant inconvenience, it is a safety issue -- it affects emergency vehicles being able to get to you.
This project has the potential to narrow one choke point, further inhibiting passage by emergency vehicles.

And nothing better illustrates the arrogance of people like Joe Rolfe as his labeling of parents concerned about the safety of their children coming and going to school as "Forget you, I got mine".

But then it is Mr Rolfe who is a classic FYIGM and NIMBY.


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Posted by Jayne
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Would you rather have "senior housing" or a similar number of BMR units? I know I'd rather have the "senior housing."

As for re-zoning - won't happen - you can't change the rules on a developer after he has submitted his proposed plans in accordance with the existing zoning codes - you have to change the zoning BEFORE any plans are drawn up.


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Posted by kb
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:08 am

I think PAHC really underestimated the community on this one. They clearly got themselves into a financial hole, and figured they could pack a ton of units in and steamroller this through.

The meeting was *very* contentious. PAHC and their consultants came off looking arrogant, shrill, and unprepared. They often cut off debate to "move on to the next question". I wouldn't have wanted to be in their shoes.

I think city council members should ignore this issue at their own peril come election time. From talking to neighbors and people from other PA neighborhoods, residents are pretty fed up with developers building all these high density projects in inappropriate locations.

Perhaps PAHC should consider developing the land as 10-12 single family homes and using the profits to buy a more suitable piece of ground downtown or along El Camino and putting senior housing there?

No one in the audience seemed to believe the contention that 60 senior units would generate less traffic than 20 family units. PAHC didn't seem to have considered the volume of relatives, visitors, caretakers, etc., as well the many trips active PA seniors take.

I'm not sure about their contention that the senior housing wouldn't generate load on the schools either. In my experience in a previous town with a good school system, many out-of-town children registered with their in-town grandparents just to take advantage of the schools, and a lot were even sent to live with their grandparents so they could attend the local schools. Not sure if PAHC knows how to manage this, or if PAUSD can control this.

One attendee asked where the seniors would come from, and PAHC replied that they expected that 90% of them would already be PA residents. This highlighted a problem with senior housing -- if these seniors are already living in Palo Alto, then they already own here or are paying rent, so why do they need to move and get a better deal? I live here and no one's offering me a better deal! And if the seniors are moving here from outside PA, why are we subsidizing them?

This gets to the heart of what really bugs me about the whole thing -- which is not so much the traffic and so on (although that is a big concern) -- it's what's the benefit to us as a community to even allow this rezoning? It's a big gift to PAHC, and we should be getting something big in return. And I don't see subsidized senior housing as a big enough benefit to us.

At the risk of seeming like an a**hole, I'm not sure why we are subsidizing senior housing in the first place. Subsidizing local workers, especially city public-safety employees, I can understand. But perhaps someone can explain why my tax dollars should help someone else live here if they can't afford it? No one offered me a sweet deal when I was younger and couldn't afford to live here.

My senior parents can't afford to live in PA (and I can't afford to subsidize them), but they're certainly not expecting the residents to subsidize them. I'm sure they'd love to move here and be closer to the grandkids. All you compassionate folks wouldn't mind chipping in and helping out some poor seniors, right?

Perhaps these are newly retired seniors, who can no longer afford the local rent after retiring? I feel bad for them then, and it's not very PC to say so, and lots of locals will reflexively respond that we need to be compassionate and so on, but that's life -- perhaps they should have worked harder, spent less, or planned better? Maybe they should move to a nearby but less expensive location, many of which are fairly close and still very nice. Your make your choices and then you live with the consequences.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:57 am

@ Jayne,
You don't seem to understand the situation. The neighborhood is okay with the PAHC building under the existing "low density" zoning. The developer won't buy/build unless PAHC gets the zoning changed to high density.

But if this situation continues, the neighbors can hold a referendum (initiative?) and get the zoning changed, even get it changed to parkland. I think that's why there is Johnson Park today. They would only do this as safety conditions warranted, and it may come to that.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 26, 2013 at 1:02 am

Anyone who builds at this point is going to have to fix Maybell. That situation is just an accident waiting to happen, and probably one with school kids.


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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 1:29 am

Is there a link to a petition to change the name to "Narrow Maybell Avenue"?


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Posted by Ernesto USMC
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 26, 2013 at 1:48 am

Reading up on this, all I can say is: PAHC got caught playing dirty pool. We residents need to be particularly vigilant of their future development activities.

I work in a field where I deal with shady consultants all the time, but Hexagon Traffic Consultants wins the prize. Using data from spring break to establish a baseline for a 4-school neighborhood traffic load is a great idea unless you get caught.

Same goes for ignoring pedestrian and bike traffic.

BP and GA residents, I think I can guess how much water their primary argument carries with you guys: "Since Maybell is already jammed beyond capacity, nobody will notice if you pile more cars in."

Hexagon was clearly hired to present the project in as positive a light as possible, not to assess the actual impact of the additional traffic. After all, the developer is paying their fee. All of Hexagon's work product, as well as the work product and representations made by the developer (directly or though their other so called third party experts), is tainted as biased and essentially worthless.




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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 4:11 am

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

I would strongly disagree that PAHC is "playing dirty pool". The traffic study was what I would have expected from such a consultant. While the City has staff in the Planning Dept that have expertise in traffic and who _should_ be expected to provide sanity checks on the consultants, PAHC cannot be expected to have such expertise in-house.

PAHC walked into a situation fraught with lots of history and strong distrust of the _City_ -- residents were told that what they personally observed dismissed as false and their serious concerns were disparaged. PAHC made a serious mistake in being tone-deaf to the early warnings of these problems. Part of the problem is that PAHC wants to maximize the income from the portion of the property that will be sold as market-rate single-family houses to help finance the low-income senior housing. Part of the insufficient due diligence was the result of their having to move quickly to secure the parcel -- there were potential competitors and such parcels are rare in an built-out city such as Palo Alto -- and part was their understandable institutional bias and priorities. What they don't see is a tax on quality of life that falls heavily and unevenly on nearby residents, especially in the context of past and pending projects.


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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 7:54 am

SteveU is a registered user.

IMHO this is a bad place for more high density housing.
I agree with the suggestion of placing housing on El Camino Real where there is frequent-convenient (Main lines: 22,522) public transit.

Why not build Senior housing over Retail/Office? instead of adding any more to the already heavy use of Arastedero/Maybell/Los Robles <- Yes, the morning traffic has increased a lot over the years, with many turning onto/off of Amaranta . Does not take a Rocket Scientist to figure: 'Cut Thru'


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Posted by kb
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:01 am

Good analysis, Doug. I think you're right. And PAHC probably thought things would go smoothly as there are several high density projects right next door, including one they own themselves. They probably felt that they have good relations with the community or something, because they didn't bother to survey how the neighbors feel about the existing high density projects, or about the current traffic on Maybell.

Plus PAHC is receiving a lot of the neighborhood's frustration over the Arastradero re-striping. A lot of neighbors are ticked off over the city's high-handed steamrolling of that project, the bogus traffic analysis that was done for it, and resulting increase in traffic on Maybell. I'll be that if this PAHC project had been proposed a few years ago before the restriping, it wouldn't have received nearly as much criticism.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:41 am

> IMHO this is a bad place for more high density housing.

Unfortunately, the City has been looking at various ways to increase housing density for some time now. There was an attempt to revamp the zoning codes around the concept of a city-wide "Transit-Oriented-District" concept. The idea at the time was to declare all of the property/homes within one thousand feet from an "arterial" (Middlefield, El Camino, Embarcadero, Alma, San Antonio, East/West Charleston) as "Transit Oriented". This "TO" zoning would allow developers to build multi-family units in Eichler neighborhoods, effectively ending the future of "residential" Palo Alto.

This idea sort of dropped off the radar at some point. However, there is no reason not to believe that it won't reappear in the future. Having commercial multi-family units in all of the Palo Alto residential living spaces is the goal of the City's Planners and Developers.

This project is just one of many that will end Palo Alto as we have come to know it.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

Neighborhood: "This project is just one of many that will end Palo Alto as we have come to know it." Surprise....I live in a diverse community 5 minutes from PA, and our diversity has made the community better and stronger -- and MORE valuable.

Suce sad and unbelievable comments on these Palo Alto Online pages. I've seen prejudice against Asians, Blacks -- and now old people -- spewed out under the guise of local "community" or "traffic" doubletalk. But then, Palo Alto is a community that elects its leaders one day and only weeks later wants to recall them.

You residents have a great future....don't get old (die young,) because no one will want you to live in Palo Alto.

Or, just move out now. Actually I like that one the best because there will be less shrill selfish voices on this website.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

> Or, just move out now. Actually I like that one the best
> because there will be less shrill selfish voices on this website.

Democracy (or its ill-conceived cousin--diversity) allows for all voices--be they "shrill", or otherwise.

If you don't live in Palo Alto--why are you commenting on something that doesn't affect you?

Maybe you should actually read that upon which you are attempting to comment. There are many issues here--and no one is attacking "old people". We are trying to maintain the quality of life that has been achieved here. We don't want to see five and six story multi-family homes in our residential neighborhoods--no matter how "strong" you think that will make those neighborhoods.

Maybe it's you who should "move on" ..


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

Why not just eliminate the single family homes (which are ugly) and build the senior housing at the back of the lot near the Tan apartments. Eliminate all car access from Maybell.


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

We already have senior housing, thanks to Prop 13. There are a lot of residents who have lived here for 20+ years not paying their "fair share" of property taxes, making the rest of us subsidize their living expenses here in Palo Alto.

So, tell me again why we need extra senior housing?


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Posted by nohighdensity
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

@Palo Alto mom -- how do you propose the city/developers have a right to do that? Eminent domain?

The NIMBY accusations are to make us feel guilty. Good grief. There are serious issues here about safety for children and traffic congestion.

Unfortunately, I think Joe is right about his assessment that "the City has been looking at various ways to increase housing density for some time now. There was an attempt to revamp the zoning codes around the concept of a city-wide "Transit-Oriented-District" concept."

Looks to me like the powers that be want high density housing no matter what.

Since we still are a democracy, residents and tax payers do have a say.


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Posted by Lupe
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:33 am

The folks on here throwing out the NIMBY card are happy to volunteer someone else's neighborhood for high density housing, even if that neighborhood already carries more than its share. Those are the true NIMBYs. They're fine with having other people's kids riding to school through major congestion. Lecturing the residents and parents object to piling more traffic onto an already congested school transit artery is hypocritical and classless.


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Posted by Please no rezoning
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 26, 2013 at 11:26 am

Previous poster said, "Anyone who builds at this point is going to have to fix Maybell. That situation is just an accident waiting to happen, and probably one with school kids."

As a person who has lived on Maybell Ave. for over 20 years and who sat on the traffic calming/safe school committee for Maybell Ave. I would have to tell the previous poster and others who are interested in listening that Maybell has "been fixed". As Terman Middle School was being reopened the committee reviewed every possibility to make Maybell a safer street for students to walk/bike to school.

The street is not even wide enough to put a single bike lane. The street is not wide enough to put the small circles used near downtown to slow the intersections. The resolution was to put in speed table and stop signs in the middle of the street. This is a 25 mph school zone for elementary children. The result of this has been continual plowing over (in broad daylight and not by students) of the street signs from cars that race through the intersection at Coloumbe and Maybell to save time from the congestion on Arastradero.

Anyone who says that the traffic is not at issue here is not taking this project seriously. Please look at the number of stop signs plowed over, the City was actually thinking of moving them back because of the costs of replacing these signs when careless drivers race through the neighborhood. My kids say that riding from Terman to home on Maybell is like taking a risk with your life. As one of them said, when asked about their day, "It was great, only one car almost hit me on my way home from school today". Ask the kids, they will be most honest.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Anyone who doesn't want to live near high-density housing should to move to Old Palo Alto or Crescent Park, where these kinds of projects are absolutely not allowed.


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Posted by Karen White
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Resident of Green Acres has proposed an excellent idea that I think should be discussed and considered, i.e., a land swap. It's been done before and can be done again. Here, from Resident:

"if high-density advocates' concerns are genuinely about seniors, perhaps advocates should be trying to designate that for seniors, as the location near Stanford is near medical, hospital, Trader Joe's and other grocery, Avenidas, Palo Alto adult school, and free enrichment at Stanford, and then "trade" for spots at the trailer park development, which is a high density project currently being built in the same neighborhood as PAHC is trying to rezone now in Greenacres, just at a more appropriate location for density. (The trailer park is currently zoned for high density and being rezoned for higher.)"

Transit-oriented development, i.e., high-density housing, does NOT belong in the middle of an R1 neighborhood -- and it's shocking to see that this is seriously being considered for Maybell/Clemo.


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Posted by Juno
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I am confused about the funding described in the article. "Candice Gonzalez, housing corporation executive director, said the 15 market-rate homes are necessary to fund building the senior housing. The [Palo Alto Housing] corporation paid $15.5 million for the 2.46 acres. The property was paid for through the city's Affordable Housing Fund, which market-rate builders pay into."

So the City provided the money to buy the property, yet the PAHC owns it. So far, PAHC seems to have invested very little, yet wants a lot more from the City in terms of high-density rezoning in order to build it's desired high-density project.

PAHC needs to work towards a project that neighbors can buy into, instead of shoving it down the their throats, with the backing of the Palo Alto City Council. The existing zoning should guide the project, instead of demanding re-zoning to push in higher density.


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Posted by Joe Rolfe
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm

After reading through the posts above:

Why do we need affordable housing in Palo Alto? It's nice if teachers, cops, and other city workers can afford to live in Palo Alto. They do a much better job if they don't have a long commute, and have both emotional and financial incentives to connect to Palo Alto - That is, they live here. Then it's more than just a job to commute to.

If there were affordable housing, if might attract a diverse and interesting group of people. That's the kind of city I want to live in.

Will all of us seniors please move to a less expensive location - if we can find one - so our kids won't be burdened by us. I hope I did a better job than that of raising my kids, and they are not too eager to throw me under the bus.

Very few seniors are benefiting from pre-Proposition 13 property tax rates. Residential properties trade every seven years on average. That means in the 35 years since Proposition 13 passed, only about three percent of people are living in the same house. This is almost in the noise statistically.

The real rip-off for property taxes is corporate owned real estate. It never trades. Everyone who has bought a house recently is subsidizing commercially and industrially owned property. Curiously, Howard Jarvis, the author of Proposition 13 was working for the L.A. County Apartment Owners Association at the time. He did a good job of exploiting fear about rapidly rising real estate prices and taxes and selling a chimera. I hope he got a large bonus from his funders.

I don't like being accused of advocating NIMBY because the project being discussed is not in my neighborhood, or of using my genuine compassion and concern for community as cover for FYIGM. Finally Joe Rolfe is my real name - not a convenient alias for online posting.


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Posted by Karen White
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I understand Joe's concerns, yet I believe he would agree that transit-oriented development, i.e., high-density housing, should only be sited near CalTrain stations at California Avenue or University Avenue. Smack dab in the middle of an R1 neighborhood is NO PLACE for a high-density development, regardless of target market or selling price. This is why Resident of Green Acres' idea of a land swap is, I believe, an excellent one that should be explored.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

To Joe Rolfe,
While you may not appreciate being labeled a NIMBY, you are precisely the type of person for whom the term was created: You support putting facilities elsewhere without regard to the costs imposed on those other people.

The issue of traffic safety is not one fabricated as an excuse to oppose senior housing (as others here have claimed) -- it is a major issue going back over a decade. Not only has the City failed to address it in any meaningful way, they have chosen to make the situation worse. The City has dismissed residents' experience, stopping just short of labeling it a mass delusion. The City has cavalierly broken its promises about projects. It has made claims to residents that are contradicted by its own data. These are not just minor issues: The City chose to compromise the safety of the many children on the Maybell corridor (a "Safe Routes to School") in favor of the far fewer students on the Arastradero corridor.

If you actually had compassion, as you claim, where is it for the parents who daily worry about the safety of their children from speeding cut-through traffic on already over-taxed streets? Where is your compassion for the seniors already living in the neighborhood who have had to give up their exercise and PT classes because they can't cope with the existing congestion? Nowhere evident. For you, "compassion" is nothing more than you wanting others to bear the costs of something you support.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm

This particular neighborhood is one of the most stable neighborhoods in Palo Alto. At the height of the boom before 2009, when tons of homes were on the market in all neighborhoods, the total number of homes that went on the market here was miniscule. A local real estate specialist has said it's been a perpetual problem to get appraisals in the decades she's been here because so few homes go on the market.

Surveys of seniors here, of which there are many, show they pretty much want to live out their days in their homes in the neighborhood. If they sold their homes, they wouldn't quality for PAHC housing even if they could get a spot. All of them ARE benefitting from pre-Poposition 13 rates, because nearly to a one, they bought here when they were younger and stayed. People at the meeting asked where these seniors for the complex were going to come from, but the answer that they were homeless around Palo Alto was disingenuous, as they would not quality for PAHC housing.

@Joe, you may not like it, but your failure to understand the specifics of this situation is coming across as NIMBY just because the project is not in your backyard. And you don't have any of these projects in your backyard, while these neighbors do. You just don't know that, because they have been quietly accepting their share of high-density and low income housing while your neighborhood, Old Palo Alto, has not.

There are numerous high density projects going up within a half mile of this proposed site, including a larger one in the same neighborhood, AND including low-income senior housing just blocks away (I believe also a PAHC project). You don't have even half that, ANY of that, in old Palo Alto. Neighbors haven't protested any of that development even though those projects impact them, too. Maybe they should be, because the city thinks it can use the neighborhood as a dumping ground for density apparently. But THIS project they are protesting because it is a BAD IDEA.

There are serious logistical SAFETY problems with building anything at that site. SAFETY problems for thousands of school children. That's why the neighbors are up in arms about that particular project, but not the large low-income senior housing project just now being built less than 2000 feet away on El Camino and El Camino Way.

Someone at PAHC said the city had told them to focus on that neighborhood for their high density projects. I wonder why? How many are you taking in your residential neighborhood?

PAHC could have been virtual heroes to the neighbors if, as part of their proposal, they had decided to widen Maybell (as they would have control all the way from their apartments to Clemo) and put a nice sidewalk and bike path on their side, forbidden parking all along it while providing parking behind, renovated the existing homes to be a bit larger and built two like those on Clemo (so they would sell in the $2million range each), and building the senior development within existing zoning so there really would be less traffic from seniors.

But they can't do that because they set up this crazy scheme where they have to rezone a "low-density" zone in a residential area as high density in order to satisfy the developer. They should be ashamed of themselves, trying to make families feel guilty for not wanting their children to get run over by cars, when there is a big PAHC high-density senior development within short walking distance going in right now as we speak.

Weekly, how about not writing about the neighbors as if they are against low-income seniors, when that's just not the case?


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm

> The real rip-off for property taxes is corporate owned
> real estate. It never trades.

This simply isn't true. The Santa Clara County Assessor and Tax Collector has put the property tax data on-line. Anyone who wants to take the time can look through the assessment data, and see when a property was last assessed. Here in Palo Alto you can see that commercial property is frequently traded. Just look at the old Ricky's site. Prior to the Hyatt pulling out of their redevelopment bid for that site, the property was assessed at maybe $2M-$4M (can't remember exactly, but the assessment was pretty low). Now, each of the homes built on that site is assigned its own parcel number, and the initial assessed value is the market value of the home when it was first sold. The aggregate assessed value for this site is now well over $200M.

The Alma Plaza traded hands four or five years ago. Whatever the site's assessed value might have been at that time, it will be easily in the $75M range when all of the homes are finished, and sold.

The total commercial propery in Santa Clara County is probably about 15% of the total assessed value of all property. Sure, the assessed value could be raised by killing off Prop.13--but that would have very negative impacts on people who rent--since all of those property tax increases would soon end up in steep rent increases.

Commericial property doesn't turn over as quickly as residential property--but it does trade hands, more often than people might believe.



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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm

>Why do we need affordable housing in Palo Alto? It's nice if teachers, cops, and other city workers can afford to live in Palo Alto. They do a much better job if they don't have a long commute, and have both emotional and financial incentives to connect to Palo Alto - That is, they live here. Then it's more than just a job to commute to.

If there were affordable housing, if might attract a diverse and interesting group of people. That's the kind of city I want to live in.


What a crock! The various BMRs and other subsidized housing has nothing to do with critical local workers, because they do no choose to live in them. It is a complete cover story, and all of the players involved in the process know this basic fact. For example, ask Karen Holman to name those critical workers who are living in BMRs. I did ask her, and she said that they don't ask, thus they don't know (don't ask, don't tell). The actual answer is almost zero.

The BMR/subsidized housing model is un-American, because it causes one person or persons to pay for another person or persons, and it develops a burden to the entire community to pick up the added social costs.


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Posted by homeless
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Shame on you kb! Glad I didn't raise you up!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Here's an idea:

Move Hostess House to the orchard and make it a community orchard.

Wait, hear me out.

We have the problem of where to put historic Hostess House. It's a problem for the Arrillaga development and must be relocated.

The lot in question is a beautiful open orchard with some 100 year old oaks across from Juana Briones Park. What if someone were to perhaps convince Arrillaga to buy the property from PAHC -- perhaps purchase price plus a few hundred thousand more for their trouble -- then put up housing in keeping with the neighborhood and zoning on the north (El Camino) end of the lot, parallel with El Camino, with a lane and driveways facing El Camino and the houses facing the park? Six new homes for $2 million each. The houses on Maybell come down, and Maybell (which is too narrow there) widened with a sidewalk.

With the 1.5 acres left, the Hostess house gets located there, and it becomes a community center again, garden, and orchard, across from Juana Briones Park. Note that the Veterans Hospital is behind this neighborhood and not that far a drive or walk on the bike path. Arrillago donates the 1.5 acres to Parks and Rec and writes off $9million.

It would be accessible to the neighborhood, 4 schools within a few blocks -- as well as the low-income senior housing PAHC is building right now just across El Camino. It could be a place for neighbors to gather once again.

OR,

Maybe instead of buying the property from PAHC, he could swap for land nearer Stanford where seniors would be near to services they actually don't have to drive to.

There are always logistical hurdles for anything, but it solves a lot of problems for everyone, for Arrillaga, the City, and most of all, the issue of that orchard not adding to the safety/traffic issues for THAT LOCATION in Greenacres (which only has safe routes to school in and out of the neighborhood), and preserving open space in an increasingly congested end of town.

And, the neighbors are organizing for a fight over the high-density rezoning, they could organize in support of something like this!


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Posted by homeless
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm

what is the appraised value of Hostess House? Not meaning of appraised value of the Santa Clare county, but value determined by BPO or by a qualified licensed appraiser bu CA board of real estate licensing board ? The price of the Hostess House neeed to be appraised before hauling.


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Posted by homeless
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 9:04 pm

BPO= Broker Price Opinion-Backed by a CA Lic Appraiser.


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Posted by Homeless
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm

BPO= Broker Price Opinion


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 27, 2013 at 10:32 am

@Laughton, "...The BMR/subsidized housing model is un-American, because it causes one person or persons to pay for another person or persons, and it develops a burden to the entire community to pick up the added social costs."

This model of Libertarianism/Social Darwinism, thought through, requires that people ideally die in net worth order and that US life expectancy be cut 5-10 years. US life expectancy now is the lowest among the Western developed countries [1], though the expense of medical care is spectacularly higher than any of them. Your view also requires the extinction of a high proportion of the casualties of the 2008/9 Crash though most were hard working people. The 2008/9 Crash was an induced financial, not even a business cycle crash. For the US, the costs of medical care plus the financial sector come to about 1/4 US GDP which is unsustainable. Those costs are not a result of any market process, but were bought in the Washington Pay-To-Play political process.

Current Libertarian thought does seem to require somehow getting rid of 5-10% or more of the present population and some number every year as a whip to the rest. The economic environment since 2000 heavily favors debtors whose incomes more or less keep up with inflation. That includes both individuals, businesses, and government. Savers are screwed. Actually that has been true from the times of Greenspan's negative real interest rate policies. They were only made possible by the inertia of the US dollar as a reserve currency. Those times are close to ending.

As we know, SS is effectively no longer indexed though the inflationary environment persists. In perhaps five years we will be reading that the real value of SS payments continues downwards yet the price of dry dog food keeps increasing. You are being naive to think that this can't possibly ever affect you.

You should also be well aware that the current drive to eliminate "entitlements" is a smoke screen with no real ideological component at all. The idea is for all retirement funds to be sent to Wall Street which has been lobbying for that for many years. That subjects them to huge risk and makes maintaining, not regulating The Street a basic function of Washington.

For medical care, Paul Ryan (a Libertarian) is attempting to save the wasteful Washington hemorrhage of existing arrangements of subsidy, wealth, and power built over years, and he has decided that the way to do that is pull the plug on Granny who doesn't have lobbyists. Again, you are being naive to think that this can't possibly ever affect you.

Whether the project is built or not, I've no opinion, Libertarianism is no basis for complaint.

[1] ref - CIA World Factbook online or OECD data


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 27, 2013 at 11:18 am

@maguro,

Your screed is intelligent, at least. It lacks a full understanding of the consequences of collectivist ideology (mass murder), but hey, can't make omelets without breaking eggs, right?

You cannot pigeonhole me with a label. I call them as I see them, left or right. For example, I am to the left of the current gun control crowd...I see no reason to have semi-auto weapons, and clips with more than three rounds.

BMRs are un-American, IMO, because they force a neighbor to pay for his/her neighbor. If the neighbor cannot afford to live there, then they should move to an area that they can afford. BMRs were sold under the cover of false flag, namely essential critical safety workers and teachers...a complete lie. The PAHC should be shut down, immediately.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2013 at 11:23 am

Baby Boomers most likely will rent units, just like in the 50's were opened right and left. We are going to need Senior housing.

I was born in 1964, the tail end of the boom. I remember having 30 student per class room, yet only 60 units are being built.


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Posted by Juggler
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

The immensity of the proposed project is offensive based on its location. PAHC wants a 12 feet setback when current zoning requires at least a 20 feet setback on Maybell; 50 feet height (inclusive of stairway) when current zoning prohibits no more than 30 feet; 60 apartment units when current zoning limits to less than 15 units/acre; 4 stories when current zoning would allow at most 2.5 stories; where 4 one-story single family homes currently sit, PAHC will cram 9 three-story homes. The proposed project violates all existing multi-family zoning restrictions particularly daylight plane. (Staff Report 4/4/13 p6). Nobody wants a monstrosity like that in their backyard. It is ridiculous on a residential road surrounded by 1-2 story single family zoned homes with at least 20 feet setbacks (excluding pre-Palo Alto units built on county land). Totally incompatible with the look and feel of the neighborhood. PAHC refuses to scale back, claiming they need to build all 15 tall, skinny 3-story homes practically on the street to sell at market to subsidize the 60-unit high density housing (4/24/13 PAHC meeting). PAHC set-up a zero-sum game betting on the City Council rubber stamping the rezone to PC because the City financed $3.2 million dollars of the project by loaning the money to PAHC to help purchase the property, which now incentivizes the City to rezone and get its return on investment. I'm a bleeding liberal, have friends in PAHC housing, and support its goals, but the sheer audacity of the size, scope, and immensity of the proposed project is so offensive and unreasonable on Maybell. This project is doomed because PAHC insists they must have 75 housing units on property that currently hosts 4 single story homes and orchard (4/24/13 PAHC meeting). Cut the project in half and build under current zoning, and PAHC might have a chance to reasonably achieve its goal of more affordable housing. Sorry PAHC, the ends don't justify the means in this case based on the "all or nothing" proposed housing plan.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm

PAHC was also probably counting on being able to label neighbors with all the usual slurs like NIMBYs, etc., when in fact there's a low-income senior development just going in/in just on El Camino/El Camino Way, less than 2,000 feet away, that they did not protest because the location didn't have the safety issues to schoolchildren daily and the schools/neighborhood in emergency that this one poses.


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Posted by PA Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Apr 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

PAHC's has lost a large amount of credibility with their callous disregard for the safety of PA schoolchildren and quality of life of PA residents. The funding that the city provides them would be better used elsewhere. PAHC has acted in a manner somewhere near the intersection of arrogance and dishonesty.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Safety and traffic concerns from elderly housing? Be serious.

I live nearby and can tell you that the folks in senior housing are no threat to you, your kids, traffic safety or any other kind of safety. In fact, they are the best neighbors.

Bringing up these issues is pure NIMBYism. And it is mean and un-Christian and un-American and every "un" I can think of.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

>I live nearby and can tell you ....

Exactly what other nearby community do you live in? If Palo Alto residents are getting lectured by outsiders, at least we deserve an honest location of our detractors.

Care to include your actual name, along with your nearby community?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm

All the cities around Palo Alto have either ran out or will run out out of sites for housing. Senior or otherwise, it has to get built for those who wish to stay inside the Palo Alto community

Stanford wants to expand, Mountain View firms are expanding and the population is aging. Yet the valley survives and most important thrives on young people.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

All Peninsula communities must, and will, change as a result of the Silicon Valley growth and wealth. Basic Economics.

And you just can't continue to prosper without investing in infrastructure and people.

You can't keep people out or kick people out because you want to keep things the same.

Craig...nice to meet you, but I'm not obligated to tell you my name/age/gender/address or anything else.







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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm

>Craig...nice to meet you, but I'm not obligated to tell you my name/age/gender/address or anything else.

Of course not, but it would add gravitas to your argument, since you seem to like to lecture Palo Alto residents. If you decide to hide behind the tree of another nearby community, then you can stay stuck there, far as I am concerned. You have little to say to Palo Alto.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Craig -- if your response isn't a lecture, I don't know what is (and I'm a former prof, so I know what is). But I find your response kind of childish, and just not productive at all. What's needed is some rationality and possible solutions.

I sign "neighbor" because I thought that was a good word. "Neighboring Community" is bad for you as well?. I thought we were to practice Love Thy Neighbor -- sorry but that was too tempting.

Let's both stick to substantive discussions and ideas for how to plan fairly with change on the Peninsula. I haven't seen much of that on this thread....just some spurious arguments and a lot of emotion and attacks.

That doesn't fly in this very challenging planning environment.

We all are benefitting from the dot.com and real estate boom, but we must find a way of dealing equitably with growth.




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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm

> "P.S. If restriping Arastradero Road increased traffic on side streets, how about un-restriping Arastradero Road."

Too late for that. The city already declared it a "success," in spite of increasing traffic on Maybell.

Jaime Rodriguez likes "road diets" and he seems to get pretty much whatever he wants.

From the Daily Post (/27/12: 'Road Diet' may be final): "One concern when the trial started was that traffic might get pushed to Maybell Avenue, but Rodriguez said there wasn't a 'significant diversion of traffic onto adjacent streets.'"

From the PA Weekly 7/27/12 Commission approves Arastradero traffic plan: "… traffic volume rose in three areas within the Barron Park neighborhood: Maybell Avenue and Maybell Court; Maybell Avenue and Pena Court; and Matadero Avenue at Josina Court. The traffic count at Maybell and Pena rose significantly from 2,700 vehicles to 3,348 daily since the trial changes, according to the study. … Chief Transportation Official Jaime Rodriguez admitted a speed survey had not been done along the cut-through routes. But he attributed increases to a 5 percent overall jump in traffic throughout the city." Web Link


My calculator says a jump of 648 vehicles/day is a 24% increase, not 5%.

For those of you saying Barron Park residents are NIMBYs because they don't want this project, please read the responses. It's got nothing to do with seniors or compassion and everything to do with traffic and safety and the quality of life for people already living in Barron Park and Greenacres.

Resident says it best: "This isn't an ideological battle over senior housing…"

> "The traffic study is clearly a marketing document commissioned by the developer."

And not challenged by the city!

Think back to the CA Ave. traffic study of 2010, when Jaime Rodriguez told the traffic consultants that "there are no pending projects or planned projects in the foreseeable future."

Thus, the consultants were able to conclude that traffic volumes on California Avenue between El Camino Real and Park Boulevard will remain unchanged with the current land uses."

The city already was planning to make the CA Ave. corridor a PDA (Priority Development Area) and was aware of the Hohbach project, the Birch St. project and others.

Consultants want to please the people who pay them.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

>Craig -- if your response isn't a lecture....

No lecture, just be honest. You are in no position to lecture Palo Alto citizens and taxpayers. You need to get real, and stand up, by using your real name and address.

I cannot be intimidated, and that is why I am very comfortable using my real name and neighborhood.

Care to join me? If so, it might make you feel free. Very American, BTW.


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Posted by Take exception
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Douglas Moran's comment that "the City has staff in the Planning
Dept that has expertise in traffic" is based on what evidence?


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Craig -- You can't intimidate me or bully me. My name is not your business. I live 4 miles away from your neighborhood. Our neighborhood is similar and has very similar problems. The pressure of growth is a PENINSULA issue that doesn't stop at the invisible line separating our towns.

How about discussing possible solutions to growth pressures? The issue comes up over and over again.

There are now 87 letters on this thread -- how about some ideas instead of emotion?

I would love to discuss possibilities and potential solutions -- but don't worry Craig, I won't keep engaging in your non-productive responses.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Interesting to look at who's on the board of PAHC: Web Link.

They're all developers, builders and other real estate people.

I'm shocked -- shocked! -- I tell you.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm

> I live 4 miles away from your neighborhood.

Which means that you do not live in Palo Alto. So you are in no position to lecture us. Get over it! Go ahead and mess up your own neighborhood, if your neighbors agree. Have you asked them if they agree?



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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: "Take Exception"
I said that the City Planning staff had expertise in traffic in the context of whom to hold accountable. How they use, or rather abuse, that expertise is a different matter.

The City is much more culpable for a long series of decisions where ideology triumphed over facts (eg Pat's enumeration above) if you don't give them the "out" of being ignorant and incompetent.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Thank you Juggler for this important info! Wish it was published for all to read and understand... Senior housing is great, just keep within the zoning laws and make the buildings fit in with the neighborhood.

Posted by Juggler, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, 7 hours ago

The immensity of the proposed project is offensive based on its location. PAHC wants a 12 feet setback when current zoning requires at least a 20 feet setback on Maybell; 50 feet height (inclusive of stairway) when current zoning prohibits no more than 30 feet; 60 apartment units when current zoning limits to less than 15 units/acre; 4 stories when current zoning would allow at most 2.5 stories; where 4 one-story single family homes currently sit, PAHC will cram 9 three-story homes. The proposed project violates all existing multi-family zoning restrictions particularly daylight plane. (Staff Report 4/4/13 p6). Nobody wants a monstrosity like that in their backyard. It is ridiculous on a residential road surrounded by 1-2 story single family zoned homes with at least 20 feet setbacks (excluding pre-Palo Alto units built on county land). Totally incompatible with the look and feel of the neighborhood. PAHC refuses to scale back, claiming they need to build all 15 tall, skinny 3-story homes practically on the street to sell at market to subsidize the 60-unit high density housing (4/24/13 PAHC meeting). PAHC set-up a zero-sum game betting on the City Council rubber stamping the rezone to PC because the City financed $3.2 million dollars of the project by loaning the money to PAHC to help purchase the property, which now incentivizes the City to rezone and get its return on investment. I'm a bleeding liberal, have friends in PAHC housing, and support its goals, but the sheer audacity of the size, scope, and immensity of the proposed project is so offensive and unreasonable on Maybell. This project is doomed because PAHC insists they must have 75 housing units on property that currently hosts 4 single story homes and orchard (4/24/13 PAHC meeting). Cut the project in half and build under current zoning, and PAHC might have a chance to reasonably achieve its goal of more affordable housing. Sorry PAHC, the ends don't justify the means in this case based on the "all or nothing" proposed housing plan.


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Posted by Take Exception
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm

re: Douglas Moran
It is the presumption of traffic expertise which allows the City
staff to take actions and continue to take actions which are
detrimental on balance to traffic management,safety, and neighborhood
character.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Craig, for a guy who likes to dictate to other people what they can do with their own property, I don't think you're in a position to judge who should be voicing their opinion.


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Posted by Ernesto USMC
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Pat from Midtown: Excellent post. I believe you've captured the situation perfectly and included the data to prove it.

In my current line of work, if I make a "whoops" as egregious as Mr. Rodriguez(not anticipating a traffic increase of 24% on Maybell despite narrowing Arastradero, and then attributing it to a 5% increase in overall traffic), I'd be fired on the spot. In my old job, it'd be much worse. Accountability in Government aside, though, the main point is that Mr. Rodriguez's assurances about the impact of any project are discredited by his past results, and should not be used as the justification for any decision.


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Posted by Take Exception
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

To sum it up, the City's pro-development polices continue to feed the
traffic monster, and it has become a two-headed monster with the City's response to the traffic in the way it is being done throughout
the City.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 27, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Dear Juggler,
Please send your very astute assessment of the situation to the City and the Planning Commission, as well as to Mr. Tim Wong in the Planning Department. Until this meeting, everyone was operating under the delusion that the neighbors didn't mind. They need the feedback on record. Thanks.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Thank you, "Ernesto USMC." My husband was a Navy corpsman, so I think I understand what you mean about your "old job."

HERE'S THE REAL PROBLEM, FOLKS: The city council is not representing us. Council kowtows to the staff. No matter what the staff does, council members tell them they've done a great job. I was told that one councilman, after attending his first few council meetings, was told that he wasn't giving the staff enough positive feedback for all their great presentations!

Here's an example of how the city council lets staff run the city:

At the 2-11-13 council meeting, Jaime Rodriguez presented a list of 10 projects that he wanted to get grants for from One Bay Area Government. Web Link That's the wonderful organization that has given us ABAG housing mandates.

The presentation is at Web Link

Rodriguez, with backing from Curtis Williams and James Keen, recommend 10 projects for $49M worth of grant requests. Only problem is that the total estimated costs of these 10 projects would be $74,250,000 and there's no money in the city's budget for the rest.

(And let's not forget the city's track record with grants. The VTA gave us $1.1 M for the CA Ave. "streetscaping" project, the cost of which is now estimated at $4.8 M.)

Some council members questioned the list of projects, whether the public had had input on them, where the money would come from. One project in particular, the "Birch Street Gateway," which would narrow Birch to 2 lanes, raised eyebrows.

Councilwoman Shepherd: "I just have questions. I haven't seen some of these projects before. Thank you for bringing this grant list to us, because I don't think they don't always come to council first . Sometimes you hustle to get grant off and then Bingo you get one and then we have to decide if want to accept it and with the unintended maybe consequences of the grant…and we went and we agreed to take it. It looks as though staff is setting policy. This is a complaint I hear from the community that because of this process right here staff is setting policy. Can you help me with Birch St. gateway. Have we seen parts of this or have any of our commissions seen parts of this?"

LONG PAUSE

"Rodriguez: No. No one's actually seen Birch St. before. This is a project we actually developed internally. To be completely honest, I actually developed the concept for this project because I thought it would fit a funding criteria for the obag program and more importantly it would build on momentum already established within community specifically with ca ave streetscape project – this project would tie that link. One of the big elements of obag program is to create place setting and identity for a community. Birch St. gateway project does that. So we did all that internally in response to the funding program itself."

LATER IN THE MEETING

Rodriguez: "We actually started working on all the proposals already. We hired a consultant firm to help us develop the proposals and we are developing some internally in house as well.. We would have all completed by March 5."

STILL LATER IN THE MEETING

Klein: I'm still not following you totally. Let's try another one. Let's assume VTA agrees to fund, in part, 8 or 9 [Palo Alto Transit Mall] ...They don't have the money. We don't have the money. What's the point of the grant? … We are supposed to match $10 M, which we don't have. …

Klein. "How much does it cost us per item to make this application. You said you've hired a consultant. And we have your time."

Rodriguez: We're paying consultant $5 – 7 K per proposal and we're spending about same amount of staff time.

(GOT THAT? Rodriguez has been working on these proposals BEFORE council approved them.)

There's lots more, which you can watch at Web Link

But, here's the bottom line. At the end of the meeting, instead of asking what the heck staff was doing dreaming up projects that the council – and residents! – had never heard of, here's what Mayor Scharff had to say:

"Jaime, I did want to say that I still like the creativity on bringing Birch St. forward. Jaime, don't take it personally that we voted no. You did a great job."


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Posted by Jed
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Let those on the city council and PAHC put dense housing as close to their home as possible first, then spread the dense housing around. South PA keep getting dumped on with respect to dense housing. Enough is enough.


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Posted by Agree
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

Thank you Pat for documenting what is happening in Palo Alto. The
staff is completely out of control enabled by the City Council.
The result is the destruction of the character of the City and the
qualities which once defined Palo Alto.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2013 at 9:30 am

> Where do the seniors of these so-called 'neighbors' park
> their aged backsides? In somebody elses neighborhood no doubt.

This is a very interesting question. For the most part, senior housing in Palo Alto does not seem to be very attractive to seniors who own their own homes, and have no interest in moving out of them—unless they have to.

From various bits of information that sometimes is made public—many of the seniors who live in these projects are the parents of recent immigrants, who want their parents to live in the US, but not in their own homes. These immigrants have sponsored their parents into the US, signing affidavits that there is adequate financial resources in the families to care for their parents, and that these elderly immigrants will not be put on any kind of welfare. It has become clear that many of these people have actually ended up on various kinds of social welfare—even though the sponsoring families have pledged that this would not happen.

So—some of this situation is a result of a failure of our government (Federal and State) to monitor, and enforce, the laws which have been passed to establish an orderly immigration program. It would be most interesting for the City to be required to publish some demographic information about the residents of the projects that it subsidizes, through the various means that it does.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2013 at 11:01 am

Well -- This thread manages to illustrate the ageism, racism, and ignorance that seems to exist in PA all at the same time. Now we see that all of the discussion about "traffic" is a total sham.

Appalling. So much for "Love thy Neighbor"

Editors: is the purpose of these threads to rile up ugly sentiments to increase readership?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

Yes I can understand the concern of traffic, anything that will get built will cause traffic. El Camino or off El Camino in some neighborhood or business area. Would make sense to build it around senior services and hospitals but what about access to the rest of the community.

Why not small cottages though out the community, let's say 20 one bedroom units with 12 studio flats against the park, rest of site can be turned over to park. You can build 2 to 4 small unit style here and there in neighborhoods. I sure some seniors sill jump at the chance of being school crossing guards, volunteers for schools and parks. Instead of being in a senior ghetto.


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Posted by PAHousing Corp Board
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

The Board of the PAHousing Corp is made up mostly of developers and real estate attorneys. About 10 or more are people who make money off of development: lawyers, brokers, architects etc.
But some of their affiliations are disguised. Stanford's chief developer is on this board, with a misleading title and no indication that she represents Stanford's interests. Of course they want more housing in Palo Alto.
Clear conflict of interest. Web Link


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.


I don't know if this particular project will be realized or not. There is still room for adjustments that address community concerns while achieving PAHC's goal of providing more low-income housing for seniors.

Regardless of the outcome of this proposal, the problem of hazardous traffic on Maybell must be addressed. It's bad now, and whatever is done with the property, if there are more than 4 households on it, it will be worse.

Neighbor, in his/her Apr. 26, 6:33 pm post, listed some ideas that should be part of this discussion:

"PAHC could have been virtual heroes to the neighbors if, as part of their proposal, they had decided to widen Maybell (as they would have control all the way from their apartments to Clemo) and put a nice sidewalk and bike path on their side, forbidden parking all along it while providing parking behind …"


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

>Well -- This thread manages to illustrate the ageism, racism, and ignorance....

Blah, blah....

You continue to avoid telling us who you are, and where you live. Just a lot of adhominem bigotry. We, In Palo Alto, will figure it out. We don't need your help. Try working on your own neighborhood, wherever it is, outside of Palo Alto.


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Posted by PAHousing Corp Board
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Mr Laughton,What is your reaction to the conflicts of interest on the PAHC board?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

>Mr Laughton,What is your reaction to the conflicts of interest on the PAHC board?

If PAHC was serious, it would make itself known, by identifying the crucial PA jobs that it claims to have provided for our city. How many police or fire or teachers? Name names. Won't happen, because it was always, from the beginning, a cover story. False flag.

PAHC was a niche that found a place, namely developers, housing ideologues, and pressured council members/staff. I think they have run their course, and the people of PA are waking up.

PAHC should be shut down, IMO. It is an un-American outfit.

Palo Alto city council should, at least, demand transparency from the PAHC: How many of their tenants/owners actually are employed in critical jobs in PA?


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Mythbuster: PAHC does not serve police or fire. Both groups make far too much (base salary plus normal overtime) to qualify for even the upper end of BMR units (Below Market Rate). Since the upper end of BMR tends to be built as part of normal housing development, PAHC has (correctly) concentrated on the lower end of BMR.

As to teachers, they tend to be part of households that earn too much for BMR units. The PAHC has been asked multiple times if there are any teachers on their waiting list, and the response has always been "Not to our knowledge", but with the caveat that "profession" is not part of their database (and continues to be excluded despite this being a question that is repeatedly asked).

And additional problem with targeting BMRs for specific professions is that although it can be done when the unit first becomes available, after that one's position on the waiting list is the determining factor, and those waiting lists almost immediately become so long that it would be many, many years before there is any reasonable hope for getting a unit. I don't know whether it was said in jest, but a person knowledgeable about the waiting list said that one was more likely to drop off the list (die, move out of the area,...) than get a unit.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm

>Mythbuster: PAHC does not serve police or fire....

Wrong. Back in the day, I actually used to attend city council meetings. I remember the promises made by PAHC, as discussed by council...always arguing that police and fire and teachers need subsidized housing in PA. Never happened, because it was a cover story.

I remember one council meeting, where one woman council member was questioning where the vital workers were being housed by PAHC...and she was not provided any answers. Her male councilmembers just sat there with 'duh' looks on their faces. She got no support from them.

It is time to get over "duh".


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2013 at 9:20 am

So .. maybe it's time to post a listing of all of the BMRs, and the affordable housing units on the City's web-site, that are administered, in any way, by the City.

At one time, the City claimed that there were about 2,000 such units here in Palo Alto. This seems like a lot for a town with only about 28,000 dwelling units. This number must be somewhat higher now.

The City should also stop funding the PAHC—directly, or indirectly. We need to keep in mind that all of these so-called "affordable housing" units generally end up being property tax exempt. So, the costs of providing municipal services is shifted from the "affordable housing" occupants to the folks actually paying property tax.


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Posted by bystander
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 11:05 am

Whew!


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Posted by PAHC Credibility Gone
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

PAHC is funded by the people of Palo Alto (our government shakes down developers to fund it, ostensibly to deliver value to the community).

What is troubling here is PAHC's dismissive, dishonest and underhanded approach to the project. This completely undermines its place as a community funded entity. PAHC commissioned a traffic study that does the following:

1. Cherry picks data for its own agenda. Uses 2 year old data and data from Spring Break to underreport the current traffic levels.
2 Ignores the already overcrowded state of Maybell by focusing on a hypothesis that nobody will notice more traffic since there is so much already.
3. Completely ignores the effect of hundreds and hundreds of bikes and pedestrians using the street during rush hour. To do this in a "safe passage zone" surrounded by 4 schools is asinine.

A good developer is honest about impacts and tries to get out in front of the issues by addressing them. PAHC, on the other hand, tries to hide the impacts by paying for biased "studies" in order to get what it wants. To do this at the expense of the safety of our commuting kids is unconscionable.

PAHC, build an R1 project on the R1 land you bought. Quit trying to lobby for special treatment that imposes serious safety and quality of life issues on current and future residents.


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Posted by Please no rezoning
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

It really is not about who the residents are intended to be, this is an issue of rezoning that will impact a "safe route to schools" road. The plans are to develop a 2.4-acre parcel at Maybell and Clemo avenues with up to 60 one-bedroom units and 15 single-family homes. Are you serious, 75 families in 2.5 acres. Please do not rezone, the original "zoners" got it right.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

@PAHC credibility,
A small correction. PAHC is trying to rezone what's called "low-density residential" to high density. The PC zones of the Tan&Arastradero apartments are surrounded by R-1 residential; they were built before that area was part of Palo Alto. The orchard and strip of Maybell in question are a supposed "transition zone" from those grandfathered in properties. PAHC I think thought they could advantage of just how overwhelming those two PC zones are in the landscape compared to the R-1 residential zoning they are surrounded by to get more high density. All they see when they come here (because none of the people trying to push this through live in that neighborhood) is that giant building.

But the "low-density residential" zoning of that orchard and 4 houses on Maybell is supposed to be a "transition zone" to the region of R-1 residential that surrounds the Tan/Arastradero apt/orchard/Maybell-Clemo island. Maybell is R-1 to either side of the 4 houses, but R-2 right at those 4 houses (low-density residential).

That is to say, PAHC cannot build what it is proposing under the existing low-density residential zoning, so is trying to "spot zone".

The ideologues writing hateful things in do not realize how dangerous the traffic situation is, and how there are no alternative routes in and out of the neighborhood, those two streets are it. That's why the density is such a bad idea, especially since it's already such a dangerous situation when there's just an orchard and 4 houses at the juncture.

I have yet to see any analysis of what happens in an emergency situation, given the bottlenecks. The neighborhood to the east has only one route in and out, right on the most affected stretch of Arastradero.

The benefit to the residents and the city would be in turning that location into an orchard/community garden, and perhaps siting Hostess House there, where it would be welcome and could be a place for the neighborhood to welcome Veterans from the nearby Veterans Hospital again. It's already across from Juana Briones Park.

At the meeting, one neighbor expressed the concern that if any cars at all go in at that location (much less the 100-150 that could), Clemo (which is now just basically parking for the park) will become a busy, backed up street, where cars waiting will block one of the entrances to the fire station.

I question how seriously they looked at how emergency response in and out of the neighborhood would be affected, especially to the elementary school.

By the way, the stop sign in front of the elementary school was hit and knocked off AGAIN just this weekend! And I was just admiring the nice taller, reflector covered new one they put up from the last person who knocked it over! Maybell is basically a one-lane street. Rezoning that patch to high density - or even allowing anyone to build there at all at this point, is really not a good idea.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Joe,
Why not ask the city how many city staffers are in BMR housing?

Here is a list of 20 PAHC properties with a total of 652 units:
Web Link


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

This thread is a lot of irrational searches for villains, and frantic directionless hysteria.

1. Densities in Palo Alto WILL increase. That's the price of being at the center Silicon Valley and at the heart of the economic/real estate bubble.

2. You can't keep all of the new folks out.

3. SENIOR ARE THE BEST NEW NEIGHBORS THAT YOU COULD POSSIBLY HAVE: They don't drive much, they don't have loud parties, and they don't increase your school population.

Let the screaming begin.


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Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Currently, there are approximately 20 unfilled BMR units for seniors at Moldaw Family Residences, which became available about three years ago.

Moldaw Family Residences, (24 BMR Units/Studio - 1BD)
For individuals and couples 62 years of age and over
899 E. Charleston Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Main (650) 433-3631

Those units need to be filled.


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Posted by nohighdensity
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

@neighbor -- you are missing the point. It's not zoned for that high density! It is not a foregone conclusion that the developer can do what ever he/she likes. Seniors do make good residents. That is not the issue. There are serious safety concerns. Also, the zoning laws are there for a reason.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

PAHC is a false flag group. If they want to be in the sunlight, transparent, then they should publish the entire database that they have, including the employers of their clients. However, they would first need to collect that data...which they refuse to do, because it would prove that they are false flag.

PAHC should be shut down, immediately. It is a group that cannot be trusted by PA citizens.


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Posted by Car camper
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by concerned
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Barron Park and Green Acres are one of the more diverse communities in Palo Alto. We have been a welcoming home to lower income families in the form of apartments and our trailer home park.

We have many neighbors who are seniors and have lived in our neighborhood for decades. We are proud of our communities economic diversity.

If Arastadero were remade into a el camino type road, I would have no issue with welcoming seniors. But the reality of making Arastadero into 2 ways both directions plus a bike lane (for student safety) makes that possibility close to nil.

I wish adding senior housing and low income housing came at no cost, but it is just not the reality.

-- if traffic were currently not an issue there would not have been the need to stagger the school start for Juana Briones, Terman, Gunn and Bowman International School. Even with this staggered start, we still have student and car interactions that are less than ideal.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm

When I first learned about the project, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea because I would get old, too. But then, there are two things that keep bugging me:

Shouldn't all residents in Palo Alto (north or south) share the same responsbility? Why do they have to build a high-density housing project in an already crowded area?

Why would they have to fund the senior housing by adding yet another 15 homes to the site. Shouldn't the funding come from the City's budget so that all residents would share the responsbility? Wouldn't they be imposing even more injustice to the residents in the affected neighborhoods?


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Apr 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm

"Why would they have to fund the senior housing by adding yet another 15 homes to the site. Shouldn't the funding come from the City's budget so that all residents would share the responsbility? Wouldn't they be imposing even more injustice to the residents in the affected neighborhoods?"

I agree with Eric. This point is what is most troubling to me. Rather than use the money the city has provided it to build within the current laws, the PAHC has "leveraged" the project by trading the quality of life of the neighborhood and the safety of the nearby schoolchildren to provide a gift to a developer (15 more 2-3 story homes and a waiver of setback requirements on an overcrowded street) in exchange for a larger project.

PAHC shouldn't be making these sort of moves, especially with some of the sneaky, somewhat shady developer-like tactics noted above. They've overstepped their mandate in this regard, and should be reigned in. Hopefully the government listens to the citizens on this one and not the special interest.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm

@concerned,
"Currently, there are approximately 20 unfilled BMR units for seniors at Moldaw Family Residences, which became available about three years ago.

Moldaw Family Residences, (24 BMR Units/Studio - 1BD)

For individuals and couples 62 years of age and over

Those units need to be filled.
"

That's a really interesting point, if true. Do you have a link? If so, it starts to make sense why PAHC would be so specious when answering who would live there. They mentioned homeless seniors, nevermind that the homeless wouldn't qualify for their program.

If they have unfilled spaced, why would they want to rezone our neighborhood from low density to high density for a senior project? Because they can try to argue there will be less traffic, and once they have it built they say they don't have enough seniors and move in younger residents?

It's not just that we are taking more than our share on this side of town, it's that they're trying to rezone right in the middle of a region of R-1, not on El Camino. And there are serious safety issues because the residences and schools don't have other routes in and out of the neighborhood. It's a lot better on the North side of town where everything is on a grid. How about it, Crescent Park? $16 million dollars would buy enough property to put up a 4-story high rise next to YOUR R-1 zoned home, and you don't have the traffic problems we do...


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm

@neighbor,
Not only are there a lot of seniors in the neighborhood already, there is a new high-density senior community just a few block up the street across El Camino. Even though there are no walkable services at all in this neighborhood, and the senior housing is NOT a senior community, we're supposed to believe there will be little traffic. Maybe there will be LESS traffic than a high density regular development, but how about not rezoning it to high density?. There are serious traffic issues here because some of the neighborhoods have only one outlet, outlets for the project are limited, and they are safe routes to school with thousands of bikes every day. One of only two streets the project would have as exit is effectively just a one-lane street. Kids weave in and out of traffic already.

Such a development would make far more sense in professorville. And we already have a high density senior development less than 2,000 feet from the proposed rezoning site. Which leads me to ask, if seniors create so little traffic, why is that neighborhood now so packed with parked cars? Even the vacant business on the corner now looks like a car lot.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2013 at 8:29 am

There seem to be more than enough meaningful issues raised by folks posting on this matter that the residents of Barron Park should be actively passing petitions around opposing any rezoning in Barron Park--for this, or any other projects that are attempting to put multi-family dwellings in R1 neighborhoods.

This, by the way, is a city-wide issue--so everyone in town should be prepared to sign such petitions, if they want the residential nature of the town to persist into the future.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 30, 2013 at 11:10 am

>if they want the residential nature of the town to persist into the future.

You nailed it, Joe. That is the main issue. PAHC is taking this away from us, one high density, subsidized development, at a time. Another big issue is that PAHC and our city council refuses to tell us what essential jobs are being supported by these developments, as was originally promised.


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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

@joe,

There do indeed seem to be issues raised.

Some should never have happened. The fashion of developing areas with a non-grid street plan is nonsense. Those little curlicue streets and cul de sacs will be slums without emergency services or adequate utilities someday. That's not so noticeable today, but they probably have substandard fire services. Those areas were thrown up and made a lot of money for developers years ago. Long term planning was not involved. There's a residential area, more or less a grid, in Mountain View that's fairly large but accessible with only two streets if you happen to know where they are. Its the suburban equivalent of the 13th floor in a short story. That's dangerous nonsense, especially in an earthquake area. Grids were developed for human settlement thousands of years ago for reasons still very good.

"This, by the way, is a city-wide issue--so everyone in town should be prepared to sign such petitions, if they want the residential nature of the town to persist into the future."

So your opposition is actually a real-estate play. Millions of dollars for modest houses means that the market is telling you that single family houses aren't the use of the property any more. Actually, it's unlikely that most Palo Alto home owners could afford the houses they are living in now. So it makes sense to stave off development as long as possible to make the most money out of it. Possibly a whole stage of urbanization can be skipped. Inevitable US dollar drop may well increase prices in PA in dollar terms also tending to clear out much of the present population anyway.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I can understand the idea of building 15 single family homes to pay for the 60 units, in fact I remember telling someone 20 years ago in San Francisco about the idea of being low income housing. Build high income homes and use some of the money to provide work force housing.

Some high end projects were never built, people with money purchased or renting units that at one time were affordable.


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Posted by Please no rezoning
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Garret, can you understand 15 homes in the space of the four existing homes now? That is the proposal on the table. Behind those homes would be 60 more living spaces all in 2.5 acres.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Yes, I think the project should reduced, over 30 units per acre. Think 20 units per acre, less height, density and more open space will make senior living. Also the project needs to blend in with surroundings.


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Posted by It's The ABAG, Stupid!
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 1, 2013 at 1:33 am

I think that the central reason that PAHC is pushing for this level of density — and being supported by the City Council, it seems — is not developer greed, or bad advice from the planning staff, or any of that. It's all about trying to satisfy ABAG requirements for zoning areas for the thousands more housing units being required of Palo Alto, a goal that will be impossible to meet without many, many more high-density units being built wherever they can possibly be sited.

The city is going to try to shoehorn in as many high-density projects in as many areas as they can get away with. Every neighborhood (except, perhaps, the wealthy, privileged, and politically powerful neighborhoods in the north of town) had better prepare for this. So gird your loins for battle, neighborhood activists in all areas of town — it will be a long and bloody war unless and until the city tells ABAG to shove their housing requirements.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

That's the crux of things, Garrett. PAHC won't build within the existing zoning because they boxed themselves in financially in the developer and loan deal. So they get through on vague promises, while residents see real hits to safety and quality of life.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 1, 2013 at 9:31 am

In this mornings Daily Post, there appears an article on this matter. One detail appears that hasn't in this thread--that detail being that one (or more) stop signs are flattened at Maybell and Coulumbe Drive.

Can anyone add any additional information--such as how frequently this happens, how are the sign posts flattened, and how long does it take the City to get them repaired?

Thanks.


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Posted by Be Aware of PAHC Bait and Switch Tactics
a resident of Green Acres
on May 1, 2013 at 9:38 am

If anyone is interested in the BMR's at Moldaw, be advised that you need to pay at least $250,000 up-front, and at least $2,200 monthly for the rental. The 250k up-front fee is for use of the premises, and at move-out, or death, you get 50 percent of these upfront fees back. A real BMR bargain huh?

Does anyone remember the reason PAHC gave the PA community for building Tree House on Charleston? - the reason was to provide housing for adult foster children because apparently foster children upon reaching adulthood have a high homeless, and poverty rate.

Well, Tree House is not housing for foster children. Another, bait and switch from the PAHC. However, no doubt, the proposed housing on Clemo will be Senior housing, however, what seniors will live in this property? The rents that are proposed are not low enough for most seniors who who live on fixed-incomes like Social Security, and SSI. Most low-income seniors prefer Section 8 subsidized housing because rents are 30 percent of one's income - much more affordable than other types of affordable housing. So, what Palo Alto seniors will want to rent these apartments is the real question. Most Palo Alto seniors who own their own homes, prefer to stay in their homes, as they age. Secondly, as previously stated, those seniors who really need affordable housing, and who are truly low-income, will find these apartments too expensive for their incomes. However, if the senior has a section 8 voucher, they can use the voucher to live in the Clemo apartments and reap the 30 percent of income rent.

PAHC is wasting our time with this proposal. They should just build the market rate housing, sell it, and take the money and use it to build elsewhere, and stop creating a both a traffic, and population nightmare.


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Posted by Maybell Dangerous Already
a resident of Juana Briones School
on May 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Right now, there is a city worker installing yet another Stop sign at Maybell and Briones because the previous one got run down AGAIN.

If the road is too dangerous for static, stop signs with giant reflectors on them, it's already too dangerous for our kids. Maybell is overcrowded. The safe streets guidelines say as much already.

And PAHC insults the intelligence of the community by trying to tell us that we won't notice because there's already a lot of traffic.

If the city caves to the developer interests on this one, I could see a slam dunk 8 figure lawsuit settlement if God forbid there's an incident on Maybell in the future. PAHC won't care, of course, since they'll have gotten what they wanted and left.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on May 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

>And PAHC insults the intelligence of the community by trying to tell us ...

Been going on for years. Good to see that some Palo Alto stake holders are waking up.


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Posted by Please no rezoning
a resident of Green Acres
on May 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm

"Can anyone add any additional information--such as how frequently this happens, how are the sign posts flattened, and how long does it take the City to get them repaired?"

According to the City the stop signs are run over on the average of one per month. There were more than one this last month. The fix is a few days, the cost?? These stop signs are in the middle of the road and were put there as part of the effort to slow drivers to make Maybell safer for students to get to four different schools. Students are traveling this "Safe Route to School/Traffic Calming" route at all times of days; early morning, and from 1:30 until after 6pm you can find students walking and biking to school. The stop signs are run over at all times of day as well.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on May 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

"If the city caves to the developer interests on this one, I could see a slam dunk 8 figure lawsuit settlement if God forbid there's an incident on Maybell in the future."

That's an interesting question you raise about liability. In what ways can a municipality lose its immunity for something like this, for example, negligent administration of zoning? I'm worried more about what could happen if disaster vehicles are delayed to and from the elementary school should anything adding to traffic be built there, right at the juncture between the only two outlets/inlets to the neighborhood.

It's not like they haven't been warned of the problems, and I don't see any analysis of what happens after, say, a quake, when fire is the most serious danger, or how the neighborhood is impacted by other high density projects nearby.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Green Acres
on May 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Every morning, I drive north along Maybell towards El Camino. Although the traffic is lighter on my side, I keep reminding myself to drive extremely carefully because there are many children biking to school. See, you wouldn't need to run into anybody to cause a fatal accident. Remember the tragic accident back in last November in Redwood City in which a 14-year-old girl riding her bike to school slid and got caught in the rear tires of a pickup truck and was killed although the truck driver was not even speeding? I don't care what the Maybell-Clemo Traffic Study says. I am a computer engineer and I know how this kind of analysis on imaginary scenarios can be manipulated in any way people want to. And I am sure this high density housing project would cause more traffic and more vechicles to be parked on Maybell which would force the children riding even closer to the vechicles. NO REZONING, PERIOD.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 11:24 am

Thank you, Eric. Please send your very powerful note to the Planning Commission and the City Council, BEFORE the Planning Commission meeting on May 22nd! And PLEASE come to the meeting. There's nothing like filling the chamber with 400 upset citizens to send a message. (But please send your emails for the record.)

In fact, everyone who has a personal observation, story, concern, or experience about the high-density rezoning, should write a message as well! Do not just forward something written by someone else, they are being dismissive of those. Take time to write even just a short message expressing your experience and opinion. They also need to know what's really happening, since no one on the commission or the council lives in the most seriously affected areas. Please say that you would like your input to go into the public record for the Maybell/Clemo property.

Send emails to:
Planning.Commission@cityofpaloalto.org
City.Council@cityofpaloalto.org


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Posted by Briones Parent
a resident of Juana Briones School
on May 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

If we're forced to go the referendum route to protect our kids, it would be an opportune time to future-solve this issue for the next neighborhood that PAHC tries to steamroll, either by cutting off their funding or requiring them to build withing existing zoning. This is an issue for all of Palo Alto. The citizens of PA are not fools, and sleazy developer tactics are not popular at all.