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By Steve Levy

Relaxing the Height Limit for Housing with Conditions

Uploaded: Feb 6, 2016

Palo Alto has a 50 foot height limit for new buildings although there are provisions for exemptions in certain circumstances.

The origin as I remember was around proposals to build a number of large office towers downtown like the one at 525 University.

So let’s put office buildings aside for the moment and discuss whether allowing taller housing structures in locations near services, shopping and transit is a good approach for the new housing that will be built in Palo Alto.

There are a number of taller housing structures downtown where I live including two apartment buildings on Forest and Gilman that most people consider very attractive. There is the President Hotel building also considered attractive.

In the future it is likely that there would be demand for another facility like Channing House. And what if the 27 University site had taller housing and was connected to the shopping center, which also had housing? And could it be a good idea to have this kind of housing near California Avenue and the Stanford Research Park?

I understand that some residents do not want more development of any kind. This blog is not for them. It is for people interested in the best way to build new housing and all of the Comp Plan alternatives before the council have a considerable amount of new housing over the next 15 years.

Would relaxing the height limit for housing with conditions on location and type be a good way to expand housing choices in Palo Alto?