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By Steve Levy

Should Zoning Ever Change

Uploaded: Jan 3, 2014

My answer is yes just as it is for laws regarding civil rights when I was growing up in the 1950s or for laws regarding gay marriage or a women's right to choose. Conditions change and people should be able to adapt to new realities or new views about matters as long as no constitutional rights are voided.

So I would love to see zoning changes that permitted and facilitated so-called granny units or permitted small apartments if people change their views on how much living space is needed, Our valley was built on changes that allowed orchards to become homes and offices. Still, today there is excess land zoned for industrial uses in some areas and it is being converted to uses that are in demand.

Locally I can see zoning changes that facilitate better (and denser) use of properties along El Camino and I suspect growth pressures will slowly change zoning along parts of Alma and in additional streets as downtown expands.

I understand that many residents wish growth would go elsewhere, And how growth pressures are handled IS one of the primary functions of local government, But I do not agree that zoning is a promise written in stone and comparable to the Bill of Rights.

If you wish to respond to this blog, please start by answering two questions--

1) Do you think zoning should ever be changed in Palo Alto--why or why not. I am trying to uncover whether resident opposition to zoning changes depends on whether they like the proposed change or not or whether there is a principle involved and

2) If you think zoning is a promise that should never be changed, do you feel the same about public employee retirement benefits or the nation's long term possible Medicare or Social Security funding challenges--both of which to me involve more longstanding and significant "promises" on which people made important life decisions.

I think all of these are subject to change if the situation demands and will go better with feelings of trying to work together on complicated changes that need to be made.