News

Palo Alto seeks input on housing strategy

City invites residents to Housing Element workshop Tuesday

Palo Alto planners are inviting residents to a Tuesday workshop to discuss the city's housing needs and to help shape the city's goals and policies on housing.

The workshop will focus on the city's ongoing update of its Housing Element, which is one of the most crucial chapters in the city's land-use bible, the Comprehensive Plan. Each California municipality is required to submit a Housing Element, which lays out the city's vision for housing.

Palo Alto's Housing Element, which has been in the works for several years, intends to set forth the city's housing strategy for the period between 2007 to 2014. The workshop will cover the city's housing needs and possible ways to provide affordable housing.

The city hosted a similar workshop on Aug. 31.

The housing workshop will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 7) in the Art Center Theater, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto.

Gennady Sheyner

Comments

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Posted by John Roberts
a resident of Nixon School
on Sep 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

Only Palo Alto, that most special of cities with the most special of governments reporting to the most special of citizens, could still be working on its 2007 plan in 2010 and show no embarrassment.


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Posted by John Roberts
a resident of Nixon School
on Sep 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

Only Palo Alto, that most special of cities with the most special of governments reporting to the most special of citizens, could still be working on its 2007 plan in 2010 and show no embarrassment.


Like this comment
Posted by Veteran of the PA process
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

Anyone who has ever attended one of these "outreach" meetings in the past knows that these meetings are usually a dog and pony show where City staff starts off with a presentation where they "spin" the issue in favor of their desired outscome, then they break you up into groups and try to suppress individual voices and views by having a "presenter" summarize the small group discussion. Ultimately, the comments of the individuals and groups are largely ignored or misreprented in staff reports and presentations to Council.

These meetings are basically staff going through the motions so that they can claim that they followed a process that included public outreach. Many who attend are duped into thinking that their input counts, when it doesn't really.

Still, I encourage residents to attend, but please be prepared to follow-up and take your comments and views directly to City Council, especially if your views do not correspond with staff's views.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2010 at 11:55 am

Unless the City takes into account school enrollment issues (which they can't and won't) then any discussion from the public is pointless.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Speaking of school enrollment issues, when residents pointed out that Palo Alto doesn’t have the space in our schools for the children who will live in the proposed dense developments - the City responded with a plan for a second story on some South Palo Alto schools. The residents said no to this. More dense developments were approved. The City just announced a two-story wing will be built on the campus of one of these schools. If we want to stop this, we have to put an initiative on the ballot saying no two-story schools and thus no development that requires two-story schools.

If we don’t want to be taxed for the new infrastructure that will have to be built because of too much development (hospital growth as well as housing), we need to put an initiative on the ballot very soon because our sewage and water and waste and electrical facilities are in need of maintenance now and may be over capacity. We know our ground water is contaminated and we know our local farms are threatened because our water isn’t being allocated fairly and reasonably. Saying an over-sized house (or over-sized development) pays its water bill doesn’t help with the problem of scarcity.

Instead of residents showing up at meetings, we need to require a vote of 70% of Palo Alto residents approving a specific housing or development plan. We now require a 70% approval of a second story overlay in a neighborhood (an overlay says no second story houses can be built). Our laws restrict home-based businesses.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Resident No. 1 to Resident No. 2.

Don't get the City and PAUSD muddled up. The city can't consider school enrollment when approving housing - some legal reason. The city will let PAUSD build a school wherever it wants, but of course PAUSD doesn't have the cash. The city can't suggest putting a second storey on an elementary or any type of school property, only PAUSD can.

They are completely different entities.


Like this comment
Posted by pecuniac
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Building and planning employees love projects, it keeps them in their well compensated jobs. It gives them power over any poor soul or contractor who wants plans approved or inspection approval by terrorizing them with any of a zillion rules created by a reactionary and cowardly City Council. Dont forget building Codes, their interpretation and their overly strict application, and embellishment by local officials. Safety first means job security.

And thanks, "Veteran of the PA process", you've described the flaw in 'citizen engagement' beautifully.


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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 8, 2010 at 7:07 am

To those who complain about overcrowded schools, it is State law that the City does not have to consider impacts on local schools when deciding on future housing plans.

It is the School District who must comply by providing sufficient school space for incoming students, and if that requires two story classroom pods so be it. The more students there are in a school the cheaper it is to educate them.

The City is a different entity than the School District you are mixing them up.


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

What's wrong with 2-story schools?


Like this comment
Posted by Veteran is right
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Veteran. above, describes these meetings exactly right.
Last year I was in a group and a woman described herself as a resident and didn't mention that she works for a local developer and there are developers in her family.

The city does not enforce its rules, it's a scandal how many developers do not fulfill the agreements or the contracts they sign. And no one makes them do it.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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