Day care site eyed by developer, school district

SummerHill plans to build 26 homes on 3-acre San Antonio Road parcel

A housing developer and the Palo Alto school district have competing designs on a rare 3-acre parcel that will be available for development next summer.

The property, at 525 San Antonio Road, has for decades been occupied by the Peninsula Day Care Center. But the center's owner, Herman Shaw of Palo Alto, plans to close his 35-year-old establishment in June and retire.

The parcel is under contract to be sold to a developer, who wants to build 26 single-family 3- and 4-bedroom homes.

Completion of the sale depends on the developer, the privately held SummerHill Homes, obtaining a rezoning allowing greater density from the city.

Meanwhile, Palo Alto School Superintendent Kevin Skelly confirmed the school district also is interested in acquiring the property.

"We're discussing it internally and have had preliminary discussions with SummerHill," Skelly said.

SummerHill Senior Vice-President Katia Kamangar said the firm knows of the district's interest.

"We've heard they have a potential interest in this land, and they took it to a closed session of their board," Kamanger said.

"In terms of what their intent is, it's not clear, but it's out there."

A member of the Shaw family said they have not been contacted by the district.

"We are pleased to consummate a contract with SummerHill Homes," family member Victor Martindale said.

"They are a Palo Alto-based home builder with a great reputation for infill development and working constructively with neighbors."

The San Antonio parcel backs up to the district's Greendell School site, which is now accessible through the Middlefield Road entrance to the Cubberley Community Center.

The Greendell campus currently houses the district's PreSchool Family and Young Fives programs.

With booming enrollment, particularly at the elementary level, the district has been scouting broadly for more classroom space.

"A piece of infill property in this community is of interest," Skelly said.

"One of our biggest challenges is providing enough capacity for all of our students. This could be part of that solution.

"I don't know exactly what we envision. It would have to be discussed with the perspective of all kinds of competing needs here," he said.

"We're looking at enrolling another 200-plus kids this year."

Palo Alto K-12 enrollment stands at 12,024, according to 2010-2011 figures released Thursday.

An additional 344 students showed up this fall, with the majority of those -- 236 -- at the elementary level.

Ever since a post-Baby Boom nadir in 1989-1990 when student headcount was 7,452, Palo Alto school enrollment has been on a steady upward trajectory.

Historically, enrollment peaked in 1967-1968 at 15,575.

The district is building for anticipated growth in a $378 million bond-financed construction program -- now underway -- that will touch every campus.

New, two-story classroom buildings are planned for many sites, including Gunn and Palo Alto high schools, JLS Middle School and Ohlone and Fairmeadow elementary schools.

"Our commitment in our bond program is to have the capacity for the kids that are coming here, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down," Skelly said.

In a talk before neighbors assembled at the Greenmeadow Community Center Wednesday night, SummerHill's Kamangar described plans for 26 single-family homes to be built under the new "village residential" zoning category.

The new homes, each with a two-car garage, would be built on a loop road with two access points to the frontage road along San Antonio. The private road -- 32 feet from curb to curb with parking on one side -- would comply with Palo Alto's new private-street ordinance.

The parcel's current zoning -- R1 -- allows six or seven homes per acre. A "village residential" designation would permit eight to 12 homes per acre, and SummerHill's current plans are for 8.75 homes per acre, Kamangar said.

Traffic impacts from the new homes would be less than one-tenth of the traffic currently generated by the child care center, with its large buses, 400 children and 30 employees, Kamangar said.

In addition to Greendell School to its rear, the site is bounded by Eichler-style homes on Ferne Avenue and apartments on Byron Street.

SummerHill, the residential subsidiary of real estate broker and investment advisor Marcus & Millichap, has a long history of award-winning building in the Palo Alto area.

Recent projects have included the former downtown site of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation roughly bounded by Waverley Street, Homer Avenue, Bryant Street and Channing Avenue; Redwood Gate on the Palo Alto Elks Club site; and Lane Woods, across from the Sunset magazine campus in Menlo Park.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

No more housing.

Let PAUSD buy it (but where do they get the money from?).

A new elementary school in south Palo Alto is just what we need to school the kids from all the other new developments in south Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by hmmm
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 10:38 am

The Measure A bond gives the board discretion to do this. It gives the board discretion to buy back the part of Cubberley owned by the city, too (which the city has already offered to sell to the district, at bargain basement cost).

I think it's a great idea for PAUSD to buy the property, if it comes with some strategic plan for the use of that property. If we're thinking strategically, I think it brings both that property and the 8 acres at Cubberley into the picture, especially now while the economy is so low.

The two-story buildings at the high schools (most of them at least) are necessary to pack more students onto those campuses because the district hasn't brought reopening Cubberley into the picture. Given enrollment increases, I think this is a huge mistake we are paying for now in increased school construction costs and will pay for down the line in negative consequences to our school quality.

I am very against this enlarging of the two high school populations and the negative consequences to connectedness and academic outcomes. (Two story buildings are much higher cost per square foot than single story school construction, would not be necessary if we put Cubberley back into commission.) To be specific, the new two-story building going in at Gunn will cost $20million. The architect has said publicly at least 15% extra per square foot just to build two-story -- that's $3 million just for that building.

I hope this move to consider this property is a hopeful sign of strategic thinking which has been too lacking thus far.

Like this comment
Posted by former PAUSD parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 8, 2010 at 11:00 am

Poor demographic projections led the district to the mess it is in with inadequate facilities for the influx of children precisely because of all the "infill" housing. With the planned Toll Bros development at the former HP Mayfield site, using this site for expansion of school property that is sorely needed makes more sense than bringing in yet more families with children to add to already compromised schools. I vote for PAUSD to acquire. It's a win for everyone, even Summerhill should see that what attracts buyers to PA is the reputation of the schools. There will be other development opportunities for Summerhill. The traffic issues can be solved and this will be a "walkable" school campus for south Palo Alto.
The property is currently R-1--why is it a given that it could be rezoned?

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

PAUSD vs. SummerHill Homes?!! Buy up the ringside seats quick, folks. This is going to be a clash of titans who are both used to having their way with PA City Hall.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm

The School District doesn't need this site. Greendell can be rebuilt with two story classroom pods if another elementary school site is needed.

Also, if the School District has spare money they should buy back the 8 acres of Cubberley presently owned by the City. They should also buy back the Terman playing fields which are also owned by the City.

Let Summerhill build on this site, what they are proposing is not gargantuan; in fact it is quite reasonable - 26 single family homes. Sounds nice to me.

Like this comment
Posted by Former PDCC parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Sad to hear Peninsula Day Care Center will close. My kids loved it there from preschool to middle school.

No more housing please and let PAUSD buy it.

Like this comment
Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Here's the thing: when more housing is built, there's a need for more classrooms. In this same Online issue, there's an article about record school enrollment. It's a shame that schools were actually torn down in the 70's and 80's to make room for even more houses, and Cubberly was closed (but can always be re-opened). If this parcel is developed, it will be gone forever, but more children will be added to the schools. When will the building stop? Twenty-six houses here, thirty adds up.

Like this comment
Posted by James Dabny
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I agree with the person from Charleston Gardens. The School District does not need to buy this small piece of property. If I’m not mistaken the Palo Alto Unified School District has 31 acres directly behind the property in question and has an additional 8 acres directly beyond the 31 acres.

The School District property is very underutilized with very low intensity improvements, primarily older single story. Most of the 31 acres appears to be open space.

With all this underutilized land, why would the School District and/or others think they should spend taxpayer money to acquire more land in this location? Why wouldn’t the School District simply develop the land they have owned for many years – right next door?

Like this comment
Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm

And where will Peninsula Day Care Center go, if PAUSD buys this site for more classrooms or Summerhills buy it for housing? A day care center is hugely needed in this area!!

Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 7:07 pm

No More Housings in Palo Alto, let's build a gym or activity center to promote health & family values.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 8, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Jardins - the daycare center is closing, the owner is retiring.

Like this comment
Posted by David Chase
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm

My children went to Penninsula Day Care Center over 25 years ago. I come from a more middle ground regarding these issues. Pastor Shaw and Mrs. Shaw has given 60 years to this community and has positivley affected thousands of lives. Unless the district has an offer on the table, the Shaw's have earned the right to retire. You might not know this but Mrs. Shaw passed away a few months back. I vote sell, retire. Again you earned it.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident of Greendell
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

In response to Charleston Garden Neighbor ...

The homes that would share their fence with the proposed development are built in 8000 sq. ft. lots. That would amount to about 5.5 houses per acre.

This project plans to build 26 houses in a 3 acre lot. My guess is that about 1/4 acre will be taken by the 32 feet internal road. So that makes it 10 houses per acre, which is twice the density of the neighbors.

These neighbors, who are all in Eichlers with a glass wall in the back, will be staring at a 30 foot high houses sitting roughly 50 feet away from their glass wall.

I'm not sure that it would sound nice to you if you were one of the neighbors sharing a fence with the proposed development.

Like this comment
Posted by Greendell Resident #2
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Cramming 26 homes into a parcel this size is ridiculous, and when you consider the additional stress on our streets and schools, it makes a strong argument for scaling back this development. The HP site is going to be developed for hundreds on units soon at Alma and San Antonio, That alone will result in increased traffic and congestion. The south end of Palo Alto is getting a huge burden placed on it by our pro-development city council.

If we have a say or a chance to alter the plans of this invasive and intrusive development now it the time folks!

Like this comment
Posted by No More Housing
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 9, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Now's the time to right the wrongs done in the 70's by school closures and subsequent demolition for HOUSES, HOUSES, HOUSES. This is a perfect site for the pre-school classes currently held at Greendell and for the reopening of Greendell to accommodate all the children spilling over from Fairmeadow and coming in to the newly built houses. To have destroyed all the schools was criminal. Let's make it up for our children, grandchildren. Property doesn't come up every day. Let's take advantage of this opportunity.

Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm

> "...let's build a gym or activity center to promote health & family values."

With what money? Every school has a gym. Churches have gyms. The new Mitchell Park Community Center will have a basketball court.

Whose "family values"?

Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2010 at 7:03 am

I think this site needs to get the Alma Plaza/PA Process treatment--i.e. studied, talked to death, studied some more, objected too and have a moratorium against development put in effect. Can we get the people that drove out the Hyatt and guaranteed that Alma Plaza would not longer be a shopping center that generated traffic and disturbed the neighbors involved in this?

Like this comment
Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm

The neighbors in the adjacent Greenmeadow/Greendell neighborhood are going to shriek over this. Good luck to them in this pro housing town no matter how ugly it is. Just one look at the Hyatt Rickeys sight is a good indication of things to come. Welcome to the new urban Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I think the day center center that is closing should be replaced by another day care center. The City should put out bids to day care operators and then South Palo Alto residents can meet to review the different options. We need day care in this area. Perhaps part of the new day care could admit children at "below-market" rates. Perhaps part of the new day care could be a parent participation day care with a link to Stanford's School of Education and Stanford's Haas Center for Community Service. We could have some green fields and playground areas for the children and perhaps a dedicated room for a full-time nurse.

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

The daycare center is a mess. Hideous, and with cars and buses careening out of the parking lot without checking for passing traffic. A tasteful housing development like the one that replaced Palo Alto Medical would be great for the neighborhood. And I agree - the district has no business buying land when the properties they own are being underused, rented out for a dollar, and occupied by shabby, outdated buildings. I know the NIMBYs will be all over this. As long as you have your place in Palo Alto, who cares about anyone else? Let them buy in the east bay and drive to work in a traffic jam.

Like this comment
Posted by Private Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Hey Resident,

I'd like a pony too.

It's a great a idea, but the funding has to come from somewhere. This parcel of land is very expensive and it is unlikely that a private day care offering below market rates could afford to buy it. The current owners deserve to get market rate for it so they can retire.

I suppose the city could buy it and then lease it inexpensively back to a day care operator, but where is that money going to come from.

I would love for PAUSD to pick it up, but only if they pay market rate.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:16 am

Of course the current owner of the site can sell his property for a fair price. I haven't heard anyone disputing this. I'm hearing that some people think selling the property to a developer of a dense development will get the seller a higher price for this property. I agree. Because the seller bought the property long ago, the difference between the property basis and the selling price would be enormous. However, is this the only standard to be met? Getting the highest price possible?

I think there are a lot of stakeholders in this area who will not want to see a day care vanish, especially because of the massive development going on in South Palo Alto. A day care in this area will be profitable. Also, why shouldn't large employers in this area partly subsidize this day care?

Like this comment
Posted by Jim On Ferne Ave
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm

All Eichler neighborhoods in Palo Alto should get involved in this development and stand against it proceeding as drawn up. It will not be good for any of us to have a precedent (or any added precedent) in which multi-story homes go in across a fence from Eichler homes.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Resident - since the property is owned by a private citizen, yes, the main criteria for selling the property would be price. If someone wants to open a daycare, build housing, add to the schools on the property, they should pay the fair market value. Period.

Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:53 pm

But, palo alto mom, this is Palo Alto, so that means that other people can tell you what to do with your property. If someone wants for you to sell for less money so that they can maintain their "quality of life" then you need to go along--otherwise you are not a good neighbor.
remember the PA saying--what's yours is mine to control.

Like this comment
Posted by AfterSchool Summer
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2010 at 12:57 am

How can anyone not be talking about what will happen to 30 staff and 300 kids who depend on a fair price for child care and after school transportation and summer camp. What will they do? No one is talking about how child care cost on PAUSD campus' is unfairly boring and expensive, so much so there are tons of opening. We need another Peninsula NOW! 300 parents are in trouble. Let's talk about that!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Watching
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2010 at 9:38 am

The property is currently zoned R-1 (and the tentative map for ten units that the developer keeps referring to EXPIRED about a year ago). The developer is NOT entitled to 26 units under the existing zoning. To get that, they have to request a zoning change. I hope our City Council will not give it to them. Zoning is supposed to protect property owners from unexpected changes to neighboring properties by controlling what can be built there. This is not a site that is even being considered for housing infill in the current Comp Plan revision. Please enforce existing zoning and just say NO.

It is hard to justify higher density here. The site is not served well by public transit. On one side, the proposed two-story project abuts an R-1, single-story Eichler neighborhood with glass walls that FACE the proposed development. A two-story project next to an Eichler neighborohood is something EVERY Eichler neighborhood should be watching closely for precedent.

PAUSD is interested in the site, and I think that makes sense. There are a lot of issues surrounding code, elementary school capacity, traffic, costs that acquiring this site might resolve for the district---if they do it right. I agree with the previous writer who said they thought this site presents a potentially useful opportunity for the district and the city if they can get a thoughtful strategic plan together.

However, if Council approves the 525 San Antonio site for more housing density (housing is the most profitable use in Palo Alto), that will drive up the value of the land, making it less affordable to the district. That is a decision that will not serve our city well...and the developer is NOT legally entitled to it.

Peninsula Day Care provided AFFORDABLE, high quality child care--a rarity in Palo Alto. I am sorry to see the community lose this service. Let's not exacerbate the problem by replacing the day care with a higher density housing project that will increase demand for the type of service we are losing.

As a voter, I'll be watching this one VERY closely.

Like this comment
Posted by Day Care Parent
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm

As a parent of a child at PDCC, I am devastated to lose the only affordable, exciting, clean, and educational facility in the area for school-age children. In the letter I received from the day care, giving us a year's notice of its closing, several reasons were given for this decision, including the fact that the property passed to the children upon Mrs. Shaw's death, with a provision that the day care could remain open under lease. However, when the state passed the new diesel bus emission laws going into effect in 2011, parents were told it would take over half a million dollars to update their buses to meet the new requirements. As a low cost, non-profit, this was not a viable choice, so they decided to end their lease as of June, 2011. We will truly miss the wonderful staff, and the loving and affordable care they have provided.

Like this comment
Posted by A Day Care Parent & Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I too am a Day Care Parent and know how difficult it's been for Mr. Shaw to continue with the center. With many parents losing their jobs and free child care being offered at many of the Mtn. View schools, it's impossible to keep the quality and standards that Peninsula is known for. Mr. Shaw wasn't willing to compromise the center and ultimately, the children. He's almost 80 and has given the last 35+ years to the center. Before that he Pastored Christian Life Center Church. As hard as it is to lose the center, I can speak for many of the parents, we're happy for him and wish him all the best.

With that said, for those of us living near PDCC, it hasn't been without it's problems. There is the constant noise of kids from 7am-6pm. There's the buses (about 10) every morning going in and out, testing their braking systems and honking their horns. From 7-9am and from 3-6pm, you don't even want to go near that place unless you have to, as traffic is crazy. I myself have been blessed with a home and all the amenities that go with it, so why is everyone so upset about these units. You know, there are many, many people who work in Palo Alto and are unable to buy into the Eichler housing development. The only way they can be part of the Palo Alto community, is if they're able to find affordable housing. You talk about helping low income children, well what about helping families by given them these options. It seems some of you are scared of people who live in these places and somehow consider their homes as 2nd rate.

We've seen Summer Hill's plans' and it's not a big blob of apartment type homes. These are very well laid out with lots of grassy areas and even a circular street running through it. This could be a great addition to the community and aesthetically, it would look a lot nicer that the old Day Care Facilities.

Personally, I welcome new blood into the community and embrace their families as the arrive. They're welcome in my neighborhood

Like this comment
Posted by Darlene R
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 13, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I called the Social Service Department in the Santa Clara Departments which monitors and controls Day Care Centers. What they told me is Day Care Centers are running 50-59% capacity meaning there is plenty of space for children in Day Care Centers. Why lay all the problems on PDCC and demand they stay open when there is plenty of room for children at other Day Care Centers. Not allowing the family to sell there property except to PAUSD is meanspirited and tacky at best. I can't wait to confront these people at the City Hall meetings who are so righteous about not having 26 additional homes and want the City to spend more money buying property that they already have plenty to develop next door--I think its about 35 acres available for development that the city already owns.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident of Greendell
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 14, 2010 at 7:17 am

That information about 50-59% capacity is very useful to know. On the other hand, the class sizes in the Fairmeadow elementary school have swollen in the recent years. Many of us are concerned that the addition of more housing in the area feeding into Fairmeadow worsens the class size problem. That probably explains PAUSD's interest in that site.

I don't think all people opposed to this development are righteous. Would anyone like it if they lived in a house with an entire back wall with glass, and someone put a row of houses roughly 3-times the height right behind their fence?

Like this comment
Posted by Darlene R
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 14, 2010 at 9:29 am

If I'm not mistaken we're talking about only 4 or 5 houses that would be affected. The other side has 2 story apartments and the back is already a school. I would think SummerHill would do an excellent job and am assuming the 4 or 5 houses affected would prefer quality built homes with a few new neighbors than a school with a couple hundred kids and all the traffic that would generate. I'm not sure what you mean by entire back of wall glass.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

I think the truth of the matter is that this site would be an excellent purchase for PAUSD rather than a sale to a developer who may not even have/get the necessary zoning.

PAUSD had wonderful ideas to open a mega elementary school at the Garland site and fortunately they stopped in their tracks, for various reasons, as this was not the place where elementary places were needed.

The place that elementary spaces are needed is where the housing is being built, in south Palo Alto. Fairmeadow and Palo Verde are not able to cope with the numbers of new students from the new housing and putting them into Garland would make new problems. Opening Greendell as the site now stands means moving successful programs (I see nothing particularly wrong with that) but even then the Greendell site would be a small site. Using Cubberly for elementary students would be a waste of that site as we are definitely going to need it for middle/high school places in the future.

This new site attached to the Greendell site gives great potential for a wonderful new elementary school in the south of the City where it is needed most. If designed properly, there will still be room for Young 5s and other preschool/afterschool/daycare programs in the area and sharing of some of the facilities plus parking problems/traffic problems make this even more attractive.

I agree that the owners should be selling to whichever prospective buyer gives them the best deal, but I do think that the City (with a Capital C) should remain firm on the zoning and refuse any permission for high/medium density housing.

If this site goes to housing, it will be lost and the opportunity for PAUSD to do some sensible moves to educate our kids will be lost.
The City and PAUSD are two different entities and the City (ridiculously) can't take school impact into consideration of new housing. But, in this particular case, the zoning question may be the one thing in the favor of common sense.

Like this comment
Posted by Greendell Resident
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 14, 2010 at 11:31 am

Hey Darlene,

Those 4 or 5 houses are Eichlers and the entire rear of the house, living room, family room and master bedroom are entirely glass and are about 25 feet from the fence. If you put a 30 foot home on the other side of the fence, all of their 2nd story windows are directly looking into the houses and master bedroom. Have you ever been in an Eichler? Do you really think that they should now either try to sell their house (which will be impossible with those monsters in the backyard) or try to adapt to a new lifestyle with windows a few feet away looking into every part of what has been their private lives?

Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

"Do you really think that they should now either try to sell their house (which will be impossible with those monsters in the backyard) or try to adapt to a new lifestyle with windows a few feet away looking into every part of what has been their private lives?"

Why do you think that there should always be an expectation that the area around your house will not change? Is that part of purchasing a home in PA--where it is stated that your neighborhood will remain frozen in time as it was the day you bought the home?

I also noticed when I drove by the Day care that there is a second sign that says PENINSULA CHRISTIAN CENTER. what is that all about? ARe they brainwashing the children that are there and indoctrinating them into certain religious beliefs?

Like this comment
Posted by Greendell Resident
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

Hey Too Much Traffic

Yes things can change, but that is why there is Zoning laws. You buy the house in a hood zoned for one thing and then a developer gets it re-zoned for another purpose and that is one of the problems, they are trying to re-zone the land behind these houses for more density.

Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

"Yes things can change, but that is why there is Zoning laws."

But obviously zoning laws can be changed as well--that is part of the evolution of a city. I assume that if there is a request for rezoning then it will be put before the council and the public will be allowed to offer their opinions.
Of course the question is also what came first--the day care or the Eichler's that are behind it. AS an aside, Eichler's are overrated.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident of Greendell
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Darlene said:
> If I'm not mistaken we're talking about only 4 or 5 houses that would be affected.

I don't think those 5-6 houses should be merely a statistic. These are real families who chose to buy their houses because of the neighborhood and the zoning that has existed for decades. Telling these families "Too bad, we are going to rezone and put monster homes in your backyard" isn't right. Again, I doubt that would you have the same reaction if you were one of those 5-6 families.

> The other side has 2 story apartments and the back is already a school.
No, the 2-story apartments are not adjoining these affected homes. In fact, those apartments are far enough that one can't even see them from these homes. You might want to go out there and check out the site and affected homes.

The Greendell School building in the back is all single-story. Besides, those buildings are set so far back from these houses because of playgrounds that privacy is not an issue due to the school. Eichler and the City have obviously thought a lot about how to do things right when they built the neighborhood over 50 years ago.

Darlene said:
> I would think SummerHill would do an excellent job ...

I have no personal like or dislike for SummerHill. They are developers who are in business to make money. They are not the ones who are going to live in these Eichlers or the proposed homes. So their obvious motivation is to make as much money as possible. There is nothing wrong with that. That's why any of us are in business. But we can't assume that "SummerHill would an excellent job" for the best interest of the community. They will do an excellent job for their own bottom line.

Darlene said:
> ... and am assuming the 4 or 5 houses affected would prefer quality built homes with a few new neighbors than a school with a couple hundred kids and all the traffic that would generate.

From what I know of those residents' reactions, your assumption is not right.

Darlene said:
> I'm not sure what you mean by entire back of wall glass.

Looks like someone prior to my comment has already responded to your question. Your signature says you are a resident of Greenmeadow neighborhood, which is all Eichlers. Doesn't your house have an entire back wall made of glass?

Like this comment
Posted by Janice
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 14, 2010 at 4:21 pm

My house is down a couple of streets, so I'm not personally affected, but, my friends who live in one of the home's (with the Day Care directly over the fence) has said, they have balls coming over the fence on a daily basis and the noise level during the mid-morning and most of the afternoon, is so loud, they can't even keep their windows open. To me these people have been held hostage to the fact that the Day Care was there first and so their rights super seed. That's just the way is goes. Although the center has always been gracious and tried as best they can to be a good neighbor, it still keeps these home owners from being able to open their windows on a hot day or sit in the backyard without worrying what might hit them in the head.
I think those of you who are worried about the 4 or 5 houses affected, should go to talk with them. Their probably glad to see the change. I would! Peace, quiet, tranquillity, don't we all want that in and around our homes.
The way I see it, the Summer Hill homes are not being built right up against the property line, they've been designed to give privacy to both the homes on Ferne St. and the Summer Hill homes. Why don't you go to talk to Summer Hill and see the plans and what they propose. That's what we did, and we liked it. We thought they were beautiful and well designed. I think they would bring a little life and freshness to our neighborhood and property values might even go up.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I agree with Jim. This is ridiculous -- it is reasonable to expect zoning to protect neighborhoods from losing their character and from totally unexpected changes. Palo Alto must not permit the zoning change.

Like this comment
Posted by Darlene
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm

I made a mistake--I thought you were referring to the new houses SummerHill was proposing concerning the glass--that their new homes was going to be all glass from top to bottom—stupid misunderstanding. Concerning the apartments in the original article it said the new homes would be right next to the apartments and when I went and looked it shows the Day Care is right next door to the apartments which are two stories.

In terms of what I said regarding SummerHill building an excellent development I was just thinking that they would realize the concern of the 4-5 Eichler Homes right next door to the Day Care and be very concerned and sensitive to make sure it is architecturally pleasing and not being “monster homes” with no concern for the neighbors. I have not seen any plans so will hold judgment until they become available.

Also, I have not heard anyone who lives in the 4-5 Eichler Homes directly next door to the Day Care say they don’t like the proposal. I’d like to know where you got that information from.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident of Greendell
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Darlene said:
> Also, I have not heard anyone who lives in the 4-5 Eichler Homes directly next door to the Day Care say they don’t like the proposal. I’d like to know where you got that information from.

I spoke to two of them. I know another neighbor has spoken to one more.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident--Home Owner
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 15, 2010 at 7:36 am

So now Palo Alto is being ruined by High Density Home Development (twenty six homes). The three alternatives are PAUSD buys the property and builds some additional schools (even though they have around 40 underutilized acres next door), twenty five homes are built or ten homes are built. From my vantage point this argument against High Density Home Development is bogus and simply wrong. Palo Alto has very few High Density Homes—most of our homes are 1.5 million and up! “When people argue against new high-density and affordable housing, they often use myths to convince decision-makers that the new development and its residents don’t belong there. Traffic will be too heavy and schools will grow overcrowded. The buildings will clash with existing neighborhoods. The people won’t fit in. Maybe they'll even be criminals.” These twenty five homes will be affordable for people who can’t afford most of what Palo Alto has to offer. But no, we want only 10 homes where only the rich will be able to afford them. Isn’t that sweet.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident of Greendell
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 15, 2010 at 8:39 am

"These twenty five homes will be affordable for people who can’t afford most of what Palo Alto has to offer. "

Where did you get your information. These are not going to be small affordable homes. These will be 1.2 million and higher.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident of Palo Alto
a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

There are several issues that must be considered with the prospect of closing/selling the day care site. South Palo Alto has already taken more than its share of high density housing. Consider the Hyatt development and the JCC at Charleston/San Antonio Ave. Both are very high density and UGLY. The traffic is horrible and the schools are overcrowded. If PAUSD would buy this property they could have after school childcare at the new school and much needed school and daycare would be solved. PAUSD wasn't forward thinking when they previously disposed of school sites. Now adequate sized parcels of land for schools are very rare and getting even more rare.

The presence of 30 foot high homes next to single story homes is not good planning for all concerned.

Hopefully PAUSD will see the error in their past actions and purchase the sitr for a new elementary school.

Like this comment
Posted by Daycare Parent
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 16, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Just to clarify, Mr. Shaw will not benefit from the sale of this property in any way. The land was left to Mrs. Shaw's grown children, who will all enjoy tremendously the money from this sale. I hope they enjoy it, as it empacts literally hundreds of families from their Staff to the hundreds of children served by Peninsula Daycare.

Like this comment
Posted by Day care parent
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Oct 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I do not know what a member name is. One fact that has not been mentioned in any of your articles, as far as I can tell, is that the main reason the lease with the new owners is being terminated in June, 2011, is that the day care, as a low cost non-profit, cannot afford the more than half million dollars it would cost to upgrade their bus fleet to meet the new emission laws for diesel buses that the state has enacted as of 2011.

Like this comment
Posted by day care parent
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I'm very sad to hear of this my son loves PDCC and it's a safe haven for kids. The staff is amazing and loving!! It's everything I've wanted in a day care. All the work that Mary Jo put into achieving such a great place is being stomped into the dirt like trash. I don't think her children appricate what there mom has done. This is not only effecting several community but the staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Get real
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

As I see it. You have a three acre parcel of land on San Antonio Road that would have to cost a pretty penny. My guess the property would sale for around 9 to 12 million. The city and or the school district cannot afford to waste any money for this property. Not buying this property would be a win for the school district and city.
Let’s fix the problems we have before we create more problems.

AS for the land owners near the property, no more noise from 400 children, from 40 to 50 cars and buses an hour going into and out of the Day Care, the property value in that area would be positively affected, about being two story units, it’s a wash, not everything is perfect in life, I can live with this one. I have to say this is a big win for the nearby property owners.

I do not know the Shaw's but my neighbor has a child that goes to PDDC. She says MR. Shaw works from before 6am in the morning to closing time of 6pm, he is 70plus years old. His children do not work at the Cay Care and really have no part in its workings. Mr. Shaw must have took a risk in giving their employees and parents of the children more than a reasonable amount of time to take care of their future. Nothing unfair about that. I am retired, and I would not want Mr. Shaw's schedule. If the time in his life has come to retire, then things change.

Nothing is perfect in this world and not everyone is going to get their way. The only way we will win is for the City and School District not to spend any time or money on this fool hardy idea to purchase the property. For the nearby land owners to realize that what they have now compared to later, will be so much better with the development (remember if you squawk too much you might just get your way) and the Shaw children will put a Wal-Mart up right next door. Most important is for Mr. Shaw to enjoy his time here on earth and do things he has always wanted to do.

Like this comment
Posted by tom
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

Palo Alto has enough homes!!!!!
People are willing to spend so much money to buy and live in the city because of the excellent shcools.
Only when the city has enough and excellent schools, people will come to the city. I hope Summerhill will understand this. Don't be shortsight!

PAUSD should spend their full effort to compete for this property, not just show your interest. Again, no good school, no good school reputation, no people come to the city!

Palo Alto city should support PAUSD. Don't you think you are building enough new homes recently? Indeed you may get more property tax from building more homes, but if school reputation ruins, who will come to here?

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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 6,860 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 2,316 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 2,200 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,555 views

The kindness of strangers
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 662 views


Register today!

​On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More