News

Regional housing projections called 'excessive'

Palo Alto council members, planning commissioners criticize Plan Bay Area

Palo Alto takes great pride in its ongoing, aggressive efforts to fight climate change and encourage transit use, but a regional plan to do the same is rubbing local officials the wrong way and prompting an outpouring of criticism from City Hall.

The city, like other Bay Area municipalities, is now in the final stages of reviewing Plan Bay Area, a state-mandated vision document filled with strategies for reducing carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2040 and providing adequate housing to accommodate job growth. The goal is to make sure each community in the Bay Area provides its "fair share" of housing, thereby reducing the need for sprawl and the number of vehicles on state highways carrying just one person.

The plan, which was released in March by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, seeks to accommodate a projected increase of 2.1 million residents and 1.1 million jobs in the Bay Area in the period between 2010 and 2040. In recent months, the new plan has been a thorny subject for the City Council, which had formed a committee two years ago specifically to deal with the latest housing mandates. Members have consistently disagreed with the regional agencies about the growth projections, arguing that they are overstated and that the housing mandates cannot be reasonably met.

On Wednesday night, May 1, the Planning and Transportation Commission took its own crack at Plan Bay Area and voiced similar concerns. The commission voted 5-0, with commissioners Alex Panelli and Greg Tanaka absent, to approve a letter from the city to ABAG challenging the agency's approach for allocating housing and calling its projections "highly unrealistic and excessive."

Palo Alto, under the plan, would have to build 2,860 housing units over the next decade, growth that council members have long argued cannot be accommodated in a city with astronomical real estate prices and a shortage of undeveloped land. The city's letter argues that expecting Palo Alto to increase its housing supply so significantly is "entirely unrealistic, and using such an assumption as the basis for growth scenarios and transportation investments will likely result in failure of the planning effort."

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

Planning Director Curtis Williams called the regional projections "aspirational" rather than realistic.

"We believe they are very high, most likely overstated, but there seems to be a drive from a business (and) economics standpoint to shoot for the greatest amount of growth that we think the region could have," Williams said.

The letter from the city recommends that the agencies' plan include a range of forecasted growth, with a "low," "medium" and "high" scenarios; that the plan give communities more flexibility for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions; and that it include projections that are "not allocated to cities and counties but are used to provide context for regional transportation projects."

Plan Bay Area's chief tool for fighting sprawl is requiring cities to plan for more housing near major transit hubs. Cities were asked to identify "priority development areas" that could accommodate the bulk of the new housing. Grants would then be made available to help cities add transportation amenities in these areas.

In Palo Alto, the only "priority development area" is around California Avenue, where the council has been pursuing road improvements and encouraging mixed-use developments with housing components. The number of jobs in the area, according to Plan Bay Area, is expected to increase by 1,660 between 2010 and 2040. Two other areas, around downtown and on El Camino Real, were also considered, Williams said.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Plan Bay Area states that the distribution of housing "directs growth to locations where the transit system can be utilized more efficiently, where workers can be better connected to jobs, and where residents can access high-quality services." But some commissioners argued Wednesday that the city doesn't have the type of transit infrastructure that would be required to get people out of their cars. Building the kind of housing the plan demands would make the city's traffic congestion even worse than it already is, they said.

Chair Eduardo Martinez said he was concerned about a process that first identifies housing sites and then proceeds to transportation funding. He likened it to "chicken coming before the egg."

Commissioner Arthur Keller agreed.

"What Plan Bay Area seems to be designed to do is make it impossible to drive in communities like Palo Alto, so people will be forced to essentially take transit that doesn't exist," Keller said.

Keller also argued that the regional process should give more latitude to cities for reducing greenhouse gases. The city has recently celebrated a series of major accomplishments on that front, including an adoption of a carbon-free electric portfolio and a 53 percent reduction in emissions from citywide operations between 2005 and last year.

"We're forced to shoehorn into the techniques of the region instead of getting credit of what we're actually accomplishing," Keller said, adding that the plan's process "doesn't necessarily work for us."

Plan Bay Area also projects a major increase in multi-family housing, particularly in urban areas near transit hubs. Multi-family housing, the plan says, comprised 35 percent of housing construction in the Bay Area in the 1990s. That percentage went up to nearly 50 percent in 2000 and to 65 percent in 2010. The number of people per household is also expected to rise from 2.69 in 2010 to 2.75 by 2040.

"Market demand for new homes will tilt toward townhomes, condominiums and apartments in developed areas near transit, shops and services," Plan Bay Area states.

The plan projects that the number of jobs in Palo Alto will grow by 33 percent between 2010 and 2040. The city boasted 89,370 jobs in 2010, trailing only San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Santa Clara and Fremont in the nine-county area.

The City Council is expected to officially approve the letter to ABAG later this month.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Regional housing projections called 'excessive'

Palo Alto council members, planning commissioners criticize Plan Bay Area

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, May 1, 2013, 10:56 pm

Palo Alto takes great pride in its ongoing, aggressive efforts to fight climate change and encourage transit use, but a regional plan to do the same is rubbing local officials the wrong way and prompting an outpouring of criticism from City Hall.

The city, like other Bay Area municipalities, is now in the final stages of reviewing Plan Bay Area, a state-mandated vision document filled with strategies for reducing carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2040 and providing adequate housing to accommodate job growth. The goal is to make sure each community in the Bay Area provides its "fair share" of housing, thereby reducing the need for sprawl and the number of vehicles on state highways carrying just one person.

The plan, which was released in March by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, seeks to accommodate a projected increase of 2.1 million residents and 1.1 million jobs in the Bay Area in the period between 2010 and 2040. In recent months, the new plan has been a thorny subject for the City Council, which had formed a committee two years ago specifically to deal with the latest housing mandates. Members have consistently disagreed with the regional agencies about the growth projections, arguing that they are overstated and that the housing mandates cannot be reasonably met.

On Wednesday night, May 1, the Planning and Transportation Commission took its own crack at Plan Bay Area and voiced similar concerns. The commission voted 5-0, with commissioners Alex Panelli and Greg Tanaka absent, to approve a letter from the city to ABAG challenging the agency's approach for allocating housing and calling its projections "highly unrealistic and excessive."

Palo Alto, under the plan, would have to build 2,860 housing units over the next decade, growth that council members have long argued cannot be accommodated in a city with astronomical real estate prices and a shortage of undeveloped land. The city's letter argues that expecting Palo Alto to increase its housing supply so significantly is "entirely unrealistic, and using such an assumption as the basis for growth scenarios and transportation investments will likely result in failure of the planning effort."

Planning Director Curtis Williams called the regional projections "aspirational" rather than realistic.

"We believe they are very high, most likely overstated, but there seems to be a drive from a business (and) economics standpoint to shoot for the greatest amount of growth that we think the region could have," Williams said.

The letter from the city recommends that the agencies' plan include a range of forecasted growth, with a "low," "medium" and "high" scenarios; that the plan give communities more flexibility for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions; and that it include projections that are "not allocated to cities and counties but are used to provide context for regional transportation projects."

Plan Bay Area's chief tool for fighting sprawl is requiring cities to plan for more housing near major transit hubs. Cities were asked to identify "priority development areas" that could accommodate the bulk of the new housing. Grants would then be made available to help cities add transportation amenities in these areas.

In Palo Alto, the only "priority development area" is around California Avenue, where the council has been pursuing road improvements and encouraging mixed-use developments with housing components. The number of jobs in the area, according to Plan Bay Area, is expected to increase by 1,660 between 2010 and 2040. Two other areas, around downtown and on El Camino Real, were also considered, Williams said.

Plan Bay Area states that the distribution of housing "directs growth to locations where the transit system can be utilized more efficiently, where workers can be better connected to jobs, and where residents can access high-quality services." But some commissioners argued Wednesday that the city doesn't have the type of transit infrastructure that would be required to get people out of their cars. Building the kind of housing the plan demands would make the city's traffic congestion even worse than it already is, they said.

Chair Eduardo Martinez said he was concerned about a process that first identifies housing sites and then proceeds to transportation funding. He likened it to "chicken coming before the egg."

Commissioner Arthur Keller agreed.

"What Plan Bay Area seems to be designed to do is make it impossible to drive in communities like Palo Alto, so people will be forced to essentially take transit that doesn't exist," Keller said.

Keller also argued that the regional process should give more latitude to cities for reducing greenhouse gases. The city has recently celebrated a series of major accomplishments on that front, including an adoption of a carbon-free electric portfolio and a 53 percent reduction in emissions from citywide operations between 2005 and last year.

"We're forced to shoehorn into the techniques of the region instead of getting credit of what we're actually accomplishing," Keller said, adding that the plan's process "doesn't necessarily work for us."

Plan Bay Area also projects a major increase in multi-family housing, particularly in urban areas near transit hubs. Multi-family housing, the plan says, comprised 35 percent of housing construction in the Bay Area in the 1990s. That percentage went up to nearly 50 percent in 2000 and to 65 percent in 2010. The number of people per household is also expected to rise from 2.69 in 2010 to 2.75 by 2040.

"Market demand for new homes will tilt toward townhomes, condominiums and apartments in developed areas near transit, shops and services," Plan Bay Area states.

The plan projects that the number of jobs in Palo Alto will grow by 33 percent between 2010 and 2040. The city boasted 89,370 jobs in 2010, trailing only San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Santa Clara and Fremont in the nine-county area.

The City Council is expected to officially approve the letter to ABAG later this month.

Comments

Enough
Menlo Park
on May 2, 2013 at 7:06 am
Enough, Menlo Park
on May 2, 2013 at 7:06 am
Like this comment

Less People = Less Emissions. Pretty simple.


Jobs are the answer
College Terrace
on May 2, 2013 at 7:28 am
Jobs are the answer , College Terrace
on May 2, 2013 at 7:28 am
Like this comment

Less jobs = less emissions
More jobs + long car commutes = more pollution


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 7:43 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 7:43 am
Like this comment

Palo Alto does not have lots of space to build homes, just rabbit hutches. Do the high tech workers of Palo Alto want to live in rabbit hutches near Caltrain?

Who will buy any rabbit hutches built near Caltrain? Probably those who want to get their children into PA schools without actually living there themselves, or 3 generational families that squeeze as many people into a single home with grandparents being used as nannies while both parents work in other places who are here just for the schools, or....


palo alto parent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 8:07 am
palo alto parent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 8:07 am
Like this comment

I am that the commisioners realize that Palo Alto doesn't have the transit infrastructure in place to really allow people not to need a car. We also don't have the shopping and services available near transit hubs.


Even Better
Los Altos
on May 2, 2013 at 8:33 am
Even Better, Los Altos
on May 2, 2013 at 8:33 am
Like this comment

BART under El Camino Real!
Metropolitan Transportation Commission should fund BART from Millbrae to Santa Clara, underground of El Camino Real. Then high density house, business can be built around all stations on El Camino Real.


Cal Ave
Midtown
on May 2, 2013 at 8:33 am
Cal Ave, Midtown
on May 2, 2013 at 8:33 am
Like this comment

The California Ave area has a transit hub (Caltrain station), shopping and services, and some amount of empty space south of the train station. Why is this area never considered as a major transit village?


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 8:38 am
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 8:38 am
Like this comment

As a resident in a part of town where the traffic in and out of the neighborhood is horrendous already, and PAHC and a deveoper are trying to rezone to high density right in the heart of our neighborhood - for seniors, who would have zero services that can be reached on foot, not even groceries - I support this questioning, but find it surreal, given how all reason and planning values have gone completely out the window in practice.

The only thing that seems to matter now to city planners is to stick density wherever they can get away with it, i.e., developers' rationalizations trump all reason, safety, and zoning rules. The smart pace to put a senior development - if one cared about such things as emissions and being green - would be to put the housing near Stanford, with medical, Avenidas, Trader Joe's and Sigona's, free enrichment at the university, classes at the adult school, etc nearby.

If we were being green and wanted to have services near where people live, the city should have seen that parcel, across the street from an existing park, as an opportunity to have a playing field on this side of town where it is badly needed and to which so many of our kids can walk and bike, rather than spending millions putting fields out at the Bayland where, let's face it, most children will have to be driven.

Putting too much density in one area causes congestion, as we are aware in the south side of town, which creates more emissions, not fewer. Perhaps if the city wanted to make it's point more effectively, it should have distributed the high density more evenly across town. If they had tried to rezone a $16 million parcel of Crescent park to put a high density high rise there like they are doing in the heart of my residential neighborhood, they'd have gotten some more powerful voices against ABAG.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 8:43 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 8:43 am
Like this comment

I will repeat what I have said before about playing fields at the Baylands.

The Baylands playing fields wil mainly be used for adult leagues which will leave more space in our local parks for younger children to play sports.

The crunch for field space is increased when adult leagues take over space in our local parks. If we can get those adult leagues to use the commuter fields then the local parks will have space for local kids. QED

We will also have to have more facilities put near the Baylands to add sales tax from these adult league players. (The burger bars run by volunteers do not generate tax dollars for Palo Alto).


S. Brown
Community Center
on May 2, 2013 at 8:51 am
S. Brown, Community Center
on May 2, 2013 at 8:51 am
Like this comment

ABAG = Real Estate Developer Bailout plan. They are the only ones who benefit from this crazy plan.


Deadeye
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 9:38 am
Deadeye, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 9:38 am
Like this comment

Whatever happened to Palo Alto being a bedroom community? That is what it was zoned to be.


Mr. Map
Mountain View
on May 2, 2013 at 9:45 am
Mr. Map, Mountain View
on May 2, 2013 at 9:45 am
Like this comment

"Palo Alto takes great pride in its ongoing, aggressive efforts to fight climate change and encourage transit use" but when the rubber hits the road, it's just another part of the smug, mall-head, white middle class suburban sprawl.
Even dense development adjacent to the downtown area get squashed by the city government that seems to understand nothing about planning, density, and transportation.


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 9:52 am
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 9:52 am
Like this comment

@Resident,
Thank you for the clarification. That's a very good point about moving adult leagues to the Baylands, but it still doesn't address the fact that on this side of town, we don't have a real sports field, so whether kids have to be trucked to the Baylands or somewhere else across town, kids on THIS end of town will still spend a lot of time in cars going to games (especially because of our often stop-and-go traffic in and out of the neighborhood). Our problem is mostly not adult leagues crowding out kids on this side of town from all the playing fields, it's that we don't have a real playing field on this end of town!

In fact, if Maybell/Clemo, which is now an old orchard, would remain open space as a sports field, your point would help allay the concerns of people who are concerned about adult leagues using a neighborhood field, as they (I'm sorry to say) tend to be a little harder on the neighborhood than kids.

That 2.5 acres plot, by the way, would fit a full regulation-sized soccer field and another field, and is across the street from an existing park (so younger siblings would have a place to play).

Actually, it is big enough to comfortably put Hostess House there (out of harm's way), and still have a regulation-sized soccer field, which kids could reach by foot or bike from numerous local school areas (schools that either don't have such fields themselves like Briones, Keys or Bowman, or as in the case of Gunn, don't have public access to them, or as in the case of Terman, just have insufficiently-sized school field space). In fact, if the city were to decide to put a field there and Hostess House, it would be a much-needed gathering space as it was of old, that we also don't have on this side of town. (Putting Hostess House at the Baylands is an upkeep nightmare with the air/damp/salt.)

The advantage of a field over here is that so many kids could walk or bike here. The ability of kids to be independent then, and to get the activity we want them to have, is priceless. The conversion costs to make that already open space a field are minimal. The neighborhood would be in support. It would not add to the traffic at the most critical times, because the kids who would use it would be in school, nor at other times, as they could walk. It could be a tremendous resource in the event of emergencies on this side of town, as it is situated across from a fire station, too.

I could continue on for pages, but there's no point, as things like open space, kids independence and having services near where they live so they can walk, emergency access to the neighborhood, emergency "quakeville" space, quality of life, cutting emissions from people in the neighborhood in daily stop and go traffic, honoring zoning laws and principles, etc etc -- none of those things matter. All that matters in the process, the most important thing, the ONLY thing that planners seem to care about, is that we are adding density.

It's Miki's Market all over again. In fact the City loaned $3million for a project that can only be built if it rezones to high density PC zoning - with NO restrictions on setback or height! -- right in the middle of an R-1 region. Do you know what they proposed when neighbors complained of 16 tall, skinny 3-story homes being planned on tiny lots with almost no setback on Clemo/Maybell (where currently 4 sit), which is effectively a one-lane street much of the day? They proposed to turn the houses around so that they face away from the street!

Nothing matters but density. Nothing has changed since the MIki's Market debacle. In another time, that orchard going on the market would have been seen as the opportunity it is to provide a field across from an existing park (that doesn't have full-sized flat space for a real sports field, though it gets used for peewee games). Once it's gone, it's gone.


out of control
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 9:57 am
out of control , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 9:57 am
Like this comment

The City's position is completely untenable and irreconcilable as
exemplified by Curtis Williams' response that "there seems to be a drive from a business and economics standpoint to shoot for the greatest amount of growth". This is exactly what the City of Palo Alto is allowing by its out of control, pro-growth anti-planning polices. We represent and are the driver of exactly what Curtis Willims is criticing about ABAG's growth projections. But we don't have room for the ABAG housing mandate the City says, to go with the jobs. We are in the "twilight zone" folks. Our City has no long-range
planning, over-rides zoning and the result is what you see.


LaLa
University South
on May 2, 2013 at 10:02 am
LaLa, University South
on May 2, 2013 at 10:02 am
Like this comment

Density doesn't cause congestion, driving and an over-abundance of available parking cause congesstion. The whole point of Priority Development Areas is to build housing for people who wnt to live near where they work and/or shop. Housing that is (surprise) much in demand and short in supply.
If there is less parking built, housing units become more affordable, and with more people living in a the 'downtown' area, there are more people to patronize the locally-owned businesses that give each town it's unique personality, and more 'eyes on the street', which reduces crime, and less need for ugly parking structures.
Furthermore, there is a big difference between "affordable" housing, which is priced for working people earning 50-80% of the area median income, which in Palo Alto is still a sizable sum. Wouldn't it be great if your kids' teachers could afford to live nearby, instead of driving in from Dublin or Livermore? Or local police or firefighters.
ABAG and MTC have created a plan that, in my opinion, isn't nearly aggressive enough in its goals of meeting GHG abd PM-reduction targets, but it's a step in the right direction.
When towns around the bay are being inundated by tides and storms, I hope they remember Palo Alto's "agressive efforts to fight climate change," which translates to "build everything somewhere else so we can continue to live like it's 1959."


Fiscally-Responsible
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 10:26 am
Fiscally-Responsible, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 10:26 am
Like this comment

> BART under El Camino Real!

The insanity of public transportation advocates never ends. We are looking at a (possibly) $1B electrification project for the already irresponsibly-run CalTrain, maybe $100B in construction costs, and who knows how many tens/hundreds of billions of dollars in yearly operational losses, and this yoyo wants to spend tens of billions more running BART under El Camino Real!!!

It’s astounding how little such people understand where money comes from, and how ineffectively government spend that money. California has billions upon billions of outstanding bond debt. This guy wants to make that hundreds of billions of dollars that will take generations to pay down—if repaying a debt of such magnitude is really ever possible!

NO! NO! NO!


Please use data
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 10:28 am
Please use data, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 10:28 am
Like this comment

"Density doesn't cause congestion, driving and an over-abundance of available parking cause congesstion."

False. In large cities in Asia, there are far fewer parking places per person and per vehicle and per job and per residence, and yet totally jammed roads. Density causes congestion, not parking spots. (There are places in some of these cities where a single permanent parking spot costs more to rent than an apartment here.)

"The whole point of Priority Development Areas is to build housing for people who wnt to live near where they work and/or shop."

This may be the point, but it's a futile approach. People do not control where their work is. Nor do the <1% of the new residents who do work near their new homes move every time they change jobs. More density near jobs makes congestion, not people living near jobs. Those residents will commute to work!

Orwell.


observer
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 10:30 am
observer, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 10:30 am
Like this comment

The two-headed monster in Palo Alto is the traffic fed by the over-development pro-growth policies and the City's response to the traffic and fear of more traffic with its sign clutter, paint, barriers, diversion of traffic, etc. It's too bad ABAG doesn't have a local mandate for attractive, livable cities. Palo Alto would have to write a letter opposing that.


FrankF
Registered user
Ventura
on May 2, 2013 at 10:35 am
FrankF, Ventura
Registered user
on May 2, 2013 at 10:35 am
Like this comment

Did anyone read the next story, "Bay Area drove state population growth in 2012"? People are coming - in droves. We will be better off if we build homes for them.

As for: "Do the high tech workers of Palo Alto want to live in rabbit hutches near Caltrain?" - they seem to be selling - I have not noticed a high vacancy rate even among the "Rabbit Hutches near Caltrain" have you?


LauraR
another community
on May 2, 2013 at 10:59 am
LauraR, another community
on May 2, 2013 at 10:59 am
Like this comment

Why aren't local cities teaming up to fight ABAG's overdevelopment demands? See Web Link
Eight cities asked ABAG to be allowed to decrease overbuilding, and 5 were denied:
“City of Hayward: Support appeal for reduction of 116 units.
· City of Lafayette: Support appeal for reduction of 27 units.
· City of Mountain View: Deny appeal.
· City of Oakley: Deny appeal.
· City of Palo Alto: Deny appeal.
· City of San Ramon: Deny appeal.
· City of Saratoga: Deny appeal.
· City of Sunnyvale: Support appeal for reduction of 531 units.”

There's strength in numbers. Let's join forces in changing these rules.


Learn more and how to rech key decision-makers
Greenmeadow
on May 2, 2013 at 11:22 am
Learn more and how to rech key decision-makers, Greenmeadow
on May 2, 2013 at 11:22 am
Like this comment

Learn more and share your comments and concerns with the key decision-makers here Web Link

It is a waste of time to comment on Palo Alto Online. The key decison-makers don't read this. Write to key decison-makers DIRECTLY to effect a change in direction.


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 am
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 am
Like this comment

@LaLa - Your density fantasy is exactly what is leading Palo Alto to ruin. You can never have enough density in a small town (under 100k) to realize any of the benefits you mention. It can work for SF because there is enough diversity of jobs, housing, income, and population. If you add more density to a small suburban town, you just get more people driving in and out of the city. If you get rid of parking you just force people to park out further in residential neighborhoods. You could double the office space and job in Palo Alto, and a majority of people will still end up working outside the city.


John Galt
Fairmeadow
on May 2, 2013 at 11:37 am
John Galt, Fairmeadow
on May 2, 2013 at 11:37 am
Like this comment

Note the very first paragraph, the left is abandoning "Global Warming" for Climate Change and are still attacking CO2! "Global Warming" (MAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE) is a CON! Climate change has been going on for 3.5 Billion years and will continue, despite the posturing of Leftists conning voters into supporting their specious claims of preventing an inevitable consequence of Earth's climate dynamics. Climate change will happen, is happenning and will continue! The ice caps are melting, that is a fact. "GLOBAL WARMING" is not the cause. Climate change is REAL!!
Real steps must be taken to combat the effects of climate change not useless "FEEL GOOD" panaceas that enrich the sychophants, politicians and the politically connected.


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Like this comment

@LaLa,
And your points don't address the circumstances of my concern, because the particular location I am discussing is being proposed for high-density senior housing, even though there are no services for seniors within walking distance at all, not even grocery, and it's not a senior center. (There are plenty of seniors living in the neighborhood who would never qualify for the housing, and there is a high-density senior community just a few thousand feet away from that location across El Camino, so please remember the actual circumstances before beginning an ideological reply.) Changing the zoning will add 100-150 cars right there, and it's already packed at certain times of the day.

A better location, per your ideals, would be near Stanford (medical, Avenidas, low-cost classes, Trader Joe's, enrichment at Stanford, etc) A better use of the property in question, instead of adding 100-150 cars at the juncture between the only two routes in and out of that neighborhood -- which are "safe routes" to school and jammed with cars and thousands of bikes under the best of circumstances at times every day -- would be to turn it into something that local residents need that they would otherwise drive to, like a playing field, of which there are no full-sized ones available for after-school sports on this side of town.

Even though there are 4 schools on that corridor with thousands biking every day, and there are no routes out of that property except via a school route (one of them effectively a one-lane road), and thousands more children will be placed at those schools in the next few years, the city's traffic report didn't even take the bike traffic into account in its analysis. The only thing that matters, even in their arguments, is prioritizing putting density anywhere they can, even if it means putting seniors far away from services they need, and negatively impacting the safety of thousands of children.


Jeff
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm
Jeff, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm
Like this comment

Now that California Ave is having the number of lanes reduced, let's move more people there?

Every time traffic is pushed off of one road, others become worse. Same with parking, if there are more jobs and retail you need more parking not less otherwise residential neighborhoods become commuter parking lots.

The large development being proposed/started near the Palo Alto / Menlo Park border seems insane. There are no commute routes! Every street that goes for more than two blocks will be filled with commuters.


palo alto parent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm
palo alto parent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm
Like this comment

LaLa - Your idea of people "living in a the 'downtown' area" to "patronize the locally-owned businesses" is a great one, but it doesn't apply to downtown Palo Alto. There are very few locally owned businesses downtown, even less of them are of a practical nature (think a full-service grocery store, shoe repair, toiletries, etc.) Downtown Palo Alto is primarily offices and businesses that service them, such as restaurants.

The current public transit in the Bay area is so disconnected that it is impractical to rely on for regular aka daily use. Try to get to an airport from a home in Palo Alto. Unlike many places, such as Chicago where you can take the train directly to the airport, here it takes buses, trains, then buses....


Dave J
Addison School
on May 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm
Dave J, Addison School
on May 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm
Like this comment

The Bay Area has 4 of the fast growing counties in California, including SF, SM, and SCL counties. Time to build some places for our kids to live. And since the population seems intent on living longer all the time.... we're gonna have to put folks somewhere.


JerryL
Adobe-Meadow
on May 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm
JerryL, Adobe-Meadow
on May 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Like this comment

We would get far more bang for the buck and make a huge impact
on traffic congestion if systems were developed for better matching people to job locations. When I'm stuck in traffic my mind wanders and I start wondering how many similar people are driving north to and from similar jobs as their clones are driving south to exactly the same kinds of jobs.

If we could identify those similarities efficiently and somehow facilitate job swapping it would have a huge effect on the traffic flow on our major arteries, I believe.


curmudgeon
Downtown North
on May 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm
curmudgeon, Downtown North
on May 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm
Like this comment

How do high-end communities Woodside, Atherton, Hillsborough, Los Altos Hills, and Monte Sereno deal with ABAG mandates? Blow them off?


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm
Like this comment

@Dave J,
That's an interesting point you make. Seniors in our neighborhood tend to want to stay in their homes until they die. They don't want to move into senior housing (they wouldn't quality for the high density project PAHC wants to put in our neighborhood anyway, and have no interest in moving across El Camino the that senior development). I respect that, we all pay our dues living in cramped spaces when we are younger and often not so young. My mom comes from a nation where spacious housing is in short supply so there's a lot of pressure on the elderly to move out of residential homes to make room for families. I would not support that sort of thing, especially since having seniors in our community makes the community so much more diverse and vibrant. Seniors do a lot of the social heavy lifting (and are some of the most vocal opponents of the unwise attempt to rezone our neighborhood).

So Dave, does this mean you are offering in your neighborhood by Addison to take some of the high density development our neighborhood has been taking? Because we've been taking more than our share and I don't see North Palo Alto doing the same. (When you say we have to put them somewhere, please don't suggest more in my backyard and not in yours.)


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm
Like this comment

Rather than state that people will drive to work regardless, it is about time to completely rethink public transportation.

Google is running its own bus service between San Francisco and Googleland in Mountain View. Facebook also runs shuttles.

Public transportation is failing and the larger companies are doing their own mass transit. Employees get first class buses and are able to work while commuting.

Public transportation is often dirty and inadequate for the use of many who travel more than 5 miles to work. Large companies can do their own but smaller employers cannot.

We need a serious look at transportation in the Bay Area. We need to merge and improve what we already have, but we still need to rethink how to get people to where they want to go efficiently, in a clean, comfortable environment where they can work or use their time productively.

Someone needs to think about luxury buses running along the commute highways stopping at 5 mile intervals where there is adequate parking/bike rentals/shuttles and similar type of transit for the first mile/last mile part of the commute. Google and Mountain View are talking about people moving pods from transit to business parks.

New ways of transit have to be invoked to enable all these people to get where they are going efficiently. The system in place will break down eventually. We can't continue to increase lanes on the highways.

Something will be done eventually, why not start making moves now.


palo alto parent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm
palo alto parent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm
Like this comment

Resident - I love the idea of improving our transportation system, especially luxury buses.

Curmudgeon - I believe the ABAG housing allocations are based on the jobs in the particular city. I personally think they should be much more regional. Places like Atherton have little or no businesses so their jobs to housing ratio is fine.

Long Time Palo Alton - there is high density housing near Addison for example - Channing House, The Weatherly, Hamilton House, Lytton Gardens, the new complex by Eden housing on Alma, apartment complexes downtown, etc.


Evan
Crescent Park
on May 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Evan, Crescent Park
on May 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Like this comment

It doesn't get any better than the lead to this story:

"Palo Alto takes great pride in its ongoing, aggressive efforts to fight climate change and encourage transit use, but a regional plan to do the same is rubbing local officials the wrong way and prompting an outpouring of criticism from City Hall."

That's exactly it. Palo Alto loves to be green and forward-thinking in THEORY. But as soon as it means any inconvenience whatsoever, whether it be denser housing, more school students or construction for high-speed rail, residents go screaming to the hills. And that, folks, is why both I and my parents have left Palo Alto, the place we spent most of the last 30 years.

People want to live in the Bay Area, and they want to live in Palo Alto specifically. We should support denser housing, especially near transit, to make that dream possible. Just as Palo Alto's residents of yester-year saw their vast multi-acre lots be subdivided, and those before them let their apple orchards be replaced with streets and housing, Palo Alto should support progress and open up the Palo Alto dream to others.


j99
Barron Park
on May 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm
j99, Barron Park
on May 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm
Like this comment

Too many people equals too much congestion.

The idea of closing two lanes of El Camino and making them bus lanes is luncay. Its alreay a parking lot from 3PM on every day.

If we need more apartments and affordable housing, build it in East Palo Alto, an easy bus ride from downtown and more affordable than Palo Alto. We are sick of the city council forcing affordable housing people down our throats in Barron Park while they live in North Palo alto that does not participate in the food stamp trade.

We need a new city council that is in tourch with the people that actually live in Palo Alto.


palo alto parent
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm
palo alto parent, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm
Like this comment

Evan - Crescent Park is a beautiful part of town with large lots and an easy walk to the train. Are you volunteering to put high on your lot?


Crescent Park Dad
Crescent Park
on May 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm
Crescent Park Dad, Crescent Park
on May 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm
Like this comment

Evan - sorry, don't agree at all. IMHO the reasons people want to live in PA today are the schools and the variety of single family homes.

Both assets will cease to be very appealing if we over-crowd our schools (question for you: where do you put new schools to take on the extra families?) and all those beautiful single family homes become high-rise apartment buildings.

Not the Palo Alto dream. More like the Palo Alto nightmare.


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Like this comment

@ palo alto parent,
Are you serious? Channing House was built in 1963 at the site of the old palo alto high school. No one rezoned a block of "low-density residential" to build that there, especially not lately. Lytton gardens is on the corner of University and Middlefield, downtown, and the Weatherly and Hamilton House are luxury condos/apartments in a downtown area, too, with bigger dwellings than most of the $1.8million homes on our side of town. But that does bring up a good point - since Channing House is there, are you okay with rezoning anything within eye shot currently at low-density for high-density, just because Channing house is there? That's what's essentially going on in my neighborhood with a grandfathered-in structure.

How many high-density low-income projects are in the middle of, say, Crescent Park? How about your neighborhood? What about Old Palo Alto, Community Center, and Professorville? How many times have the residents had to endure having the city come in and try to rezone any low-density zoning to high-density right along congested safe routes to school? How about rezoning that lovely bowling green for high density low-income housing? We all have to do our share, right? -- that's what everyone else is telling us.

I live in Greenacres. Until a few years ago, it was downright pastoral. We have two grandfathered-in apartment buildings, too, we're not talking about those. We've been taking huge amounts of dense new development on our side of town, I don't see it happening anywhere else in Palo Alto, except maybe downtown, but we are NOT downtown, we are not zoned like downtown, and we do not have walkable amenities like downtown either. I'm still waiting for you to mention the high-density low-income development going in at Crescent Park.

As for high-density developments on the busy roads, I'd say we probably have a lot more than you could point to anywhere on the North side of town, just on El Camino. But rezoning for high density into the neighborhood proper, trying to get a zoning with no setbacks or height restrictions on a patch surrounded by an R-1 region? Putting a high density development right at the bottleneck of the only two routes in and out of the neighborhood, that are also safe routes to school where thousands of children bike everyday, where currently an orchard (generating NO traffic) sits? You name one development in residential neighborhoods in the North where the city is trying to do that now.


Fiscal-Responsibility
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Fiscal-Responsibility, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Like this comment

Please remember that Channing House, Lytton Garden, as well as virtually all of the so-called senior housing projects, or affordable housing projects--like Webster Wood--do not pay property taxes. With all of these projects, and no doubt hunders (perhaps thousands) of new affordable units that developers, and government types, are salivating over--all of the costs of municipal services are paid by the R1 property owners, and commercial properties.

With the City claiming to spend over $2,500/resident in municipal services--these folks in "affordable/senior housing" don't much such good neighbors--since they have sluffed the costs of their services off on their younger neighbors.


Craig Laughton
College Terrace
on May 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm
Craig Laughton, College Terrace
on May 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm
Like this comment

>Palo Alto takes great pride in its ongoing, aggressive efforts to fight climate change

It is no longer climate warming, apparently. Climate change is always occurring. Why would Palo Alto be prideful in fighting the inevitable? We may all be facing a warming period, overall, or a cooling period (new ice age?).

There are a number of ways to decrease CO2 emissions, including solar, wind, efficiencies, NG, nuclear. However, there is not very much evidence that CO2 precedes global warming. The ice core data demonstrates the opposite...the temperature increases first, then the CO2 increases, out of the oceans. Other proxy data is full of contradictions. The IFR radiation back into space is a very complex level of understanding, especially at the tropical troposphere.

Why would Palo Alto base any major policy on such questionable concepts? Except that it is a convenient political power play by the zero waste crowd.

I think Palo Alto city council should take a step back, and take a rational look. There is no rational reason to accept the ABAG extortion. Just say no!


Bag ABAG
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm
Bag ABAG, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm
Like this comment

The City staff's vision of Palo Alto is an office canyon with lots of free parking around it. ABAG's vision is we're Tokyo.

We need to:

- disengage from ABAG. They're just not competent.
- elect a council in 2014 that puts residents ahead of other groups.
- eliminate PC exemptions


Concur
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm
Concur, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm
Like this comment

Bag ABAG has it right. But I'm not sure there even is a staff vision-they don't think in those terms. It's just an accumulation of ad hoc decisions serving special interests without any long-term perspective. The staff is not a counterweight to the Council which on balance does the same thing despite all the rhetoric and self-congratulations. So the unique qualities of Palo Alto which need to be understood and protected are completely sacrificed. This is an immense loss. The balance on the Council needs to be replaced although so much damage has been done already,only some of which can be reversed.


Kate
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm
Kate, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm
Like this comment

Technically, I am a senior. I belong to the AARP- lower age limit 50, and I get freebie discounts at McDonalds and other places. I intend to live in my home until i'm carried out feet first. I'll mortgage it if necessary. But I know friends who are now very unhappy in small rooms in senior complexes. When the time comes I'll get deliveries of milk and also groceries delivered from Safeway. But I do NOT want to live in a tiny apartment without a garden. Who's dreaming all this up? What young staff 'whippersnappers' with a degree in "Sociology" are designing Palo Alto's future? Did anyone survey the seniors here? The city is big on surveys....but no one asked. No, don't spend $300K on a silly survey. Anyone with any brains can make this one up - even at City Hall. And tell the real estate agents to back off!!


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 3, 2013 at 1:09 am
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 3, 2013 at 1:09 am
Like this comment

Bag ABAG,
Here, here!!


neighbor
another community
on May 3, 2013 at 11:49 am
neighbor, another community
on May 3, 2013 at 11:49 am
Like this comment

ABAG has underestimated growth, not overestimated it. All of the towns along the Peninsula are feeling it. The infrastructure and regional systems are strained. The surge is already WAY underway. The housing market has gone crazy.

Did you read about this in today's NY Times? Web Link

The article makes many critical points -- but NOTE THIS quote: “We are becoming a community where our teachers, our police, our firefighters, our nurses, they can’t live with us. They have to come in from other places. Healthy communities have all these people living together.”

Palo Alto and other communities, including mine, cannot stop growth but can plan for it. You will have to accommodate change.


Crescent Park Dad
Crescent Park
on May 3, 2013 at 11:51 am
Crescent Park Dad, Crescent Park
on May 3, 2013 at 11:51 am
Like this comment

The senior demographic in our area is much different than the other parts of the Bay Area or in a national perspective.

Much more active to begin with. Definitely more independent. And as "Kate" put it, love their homes so much that they'll be carried out feet-first.

There's some city planner who pushed high-rise senior housing on Alma, ECR and also by Cal Ave. This guy has no clue and no connection to the citizens around here.

Most folks around here have been smart with their retirement funds, have invested in long-term medical insurance, etc. --- all so that they can stay in their current homes. Who in their right mind would want to give up a beautiful home with a yard and a garage for a high-rise apartment that is less than half the space, no yard, no storage and no garage?

Speaking from personal experience, my Mom is 80 and would rather be dead (direct quote) than to live in a senior "community" complex.

ABAG and certain city planners are trying to force a lifestyle on us. I'm all for smart investments in public infrastructure --- but these people can kiss my you know what if they think that they're going to force us to give up our neighborhoods (and schools) as they are today.


neighbor
another community
on May 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm
neighbor, another community
on May 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Like this comment

Your sample size of the demand for senior housing -- personal does not mean much. Your mother = a sample of 1, and the anecdotal "evidence" i.e., hearsay you/others always mention -- will not stop the pressures that are well underway.

The huge growth spurt is already happening. The price of prosperity is that you'd better plan for it so that you can continue to meet the needs of a healthy community --- that includes our parents, our kids (!), our nurses/teachers/cops/firefighters.

Those people are not the enemy. We/I need them IN the community. Our neighborhoods WILL change.


concur- Bag ABAG
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm
concur- Bag ABAG, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm
Like this comment


Re: BAG ABAG
The visual image of an "office canyon with lots of free parking around it", the staff's vision, and "we're Tokyo", ABAG's vision,
are just so descriptive. The character of Palo Alto, a unique place,
is completely lost under these scenarios. Those who are willing to
promote such growth regardless are ignoring other limits- like water!
Nobody is paying attention to the developing drought situation- except the trees which are already under stress.







Glen
Palo Alto Hills
on May 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm
Glen, Palo Alto Hills
on May 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm
Like this comment

If people want to live in high density and have greater transportation options that's fine let the pay for it at market rates and appropriate bus and train fares. But do not force the rest of us to give up our property rights or force the rest us to subsidize their utopian desires. Housing projects have been built since the 40's and 50's most fail miserably turning into crime infested slums. Think Cabrini Green in Chicago Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn NY. Is that what you want for PA?


definely a loophole
Barron Park
on May 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm
definely a loophole, Barron Park
on May 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm
Like this comment

I agree that ABAG should look at regional and not citywide boundaries. Why exempt Atherton, LAH, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Monte Sereno, etc from these mandates? Their residents all work nearby and live on huge huge lots. They make sure they have none/minimal office space. They are blatantly gaming the system and since frequently they are the elite that define and run government, they get away with it. Imagine a flat one acre lot in Atherton with ONE residence..when city is proposing hundreds on homes on 2.5 acres in Green Acres!!! Atherton is just a few miles away. The days of 0.25, 0.5, 1 acre minimum lot sizes in these cities should come to an end. They are taking advantage of cities like Palo Alto, MTV, S'vale, Santa Clara, etc. Maybell is truly is a dangerous road and a nightmare to navigate with all the traffic for 3 schools already.


Garrett
another community
on May 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Garrett, another community
on May 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Like this comment

The number of housing units are high which I think won't be ever built. Time to think on building on open space inside the 9 counties.

We need to design and build new urban projects just outside the cities, connect projects with mass transit.

Sunol to Palo Alto/Menlo Park. Deal with infill while keeping in mind most of Palo Alto is single family homes. We are trying to solve the housing problem but changing 50 years of living in a short period of time.


Garrett
another community
on May 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Garrett, another community
on May 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm
Like this comment

The number of housing units are high which I think won't be ever built. Time to think on building on open space inside the 9 counties.

We need to design and build new urban projects just outside the cities, connect projects with mass transit.

Sunol to Palo Alto/Menlo Park. Deal with infill while keeping in mind most of Palo Alto is single family homes. We are trying to solve the housing problem but changing 50 years of living in a short period of time.


neighbor
another community
on May 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm
neighbor, another community
on May 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm
Like this comment

ABAG isn't the only source of the population pressure --- It's the economy! The market will also affect the East Bay -- but the DEMAND is here.

Folks like Supply and Demand when the effects coincide with their preferences. But, when the preferences of other folks drive the market and conflict with some personal desires..."not so much."

The Peninsula is changing. It will get more dense. Guiding the development instead of denying it would be better.


Garrett
another community
on May 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm
Garrett, another community
on May 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm
Like this comment

@ neighbor

Yes I agree, ABAG doesn't control the economy or even why people come here, but I can tell you the population has gotten bigger. People mostly likely will have kids, those kids will get married and have kids.

We can't house everybody, but we keep knocking long time residents out from owning a home, last time I could afford a home was back in 1992. Prices were still low, back then they will still viewed as high but now. I can't see anyone expect tech people owning homes in the general area.


neighbor
another community
on May 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm
neighbor, another community
on May 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm
Like this comment

The free market -- esp. the real estate market -- can be cutthroat, but rational zoning can help.

Palo Alto neighborhoods will be changing. Find a way to accommodate senior citizens without segregating them in marginal areas, and there will be a place for you in your own neighborhood when you need it.


pat
Midtown
on May 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm
pat, Midtown
on May 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm
Like this comment

The 3/21/12 Daily Post ran this headline: “Report says Hispanics, Asians like living together”

The article says “Even John Goodwin, a spokesman for the MTC, said he wasn’t quite sure where that assertion came from.

It came from the One Bay Area plan at Web Link

“… by 2040 the Bay Area population will become substantially more racially and ethnically diverse. Latinos will emerge as the largest ethnic group, increasing from 23 percent to 35 percent of the total population. The number of Asians also will increase, growing from 21 percent to about 24 percent of the population.

“Both population groups have demonstrated an historic preference for multifamily housing, and they form multigenerational households at a higher rate than the general population. This is expected to drive higher demand for multifamily housing, in contrast to the historic development pattern of building primarily single-family homes. Likewise, many Latinos and Asians rely more on public transit than non-Hispanic whites.”

How many things can you find wrong with this conclusion, e.g., how much of this historic preference is based on the fact that many Hispanics don’t earn enough to purchase a single-family home and often have to live in crowded housing with multigenerational families? And have to ride the bus because they can’t afford a car, let alone two?

And why are so many Asians buying single-family homes in Palo Alto and Cupertino? Could it be the schools?

If this is any indication of the kind of “research” and “conclusions” we can expect from One Bay Area/ABAG, we are indeed in serious trouble.

A March 2013 survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says, “Race and ethnicity also impacted home size preferences, with minority buyers desiring more space than White, non-Hispanic buyers. White, non-Hispanic buyers report wanting about 2,197 square feet, while Asian buyers desire 2,280 square feet, Hispanic buyers want 2,347 square feet, and African-American buyers prefer 2,664 square feet.” Web Link


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 5, 2013 at 9:21 pm
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 5, 2013 at 9:21 pm
Like this comment

@neighbor,
You wrote "The free market -- esp. the real estate market -- can be cutthroat, but rational zoning can help..... and "Find a way to accommodate senior citizens without segregating them in marginal areas, and there will be a place for you in your own neighborhood when you need it."

This is the same kind of glib detachment from the facts that threatens to overwhelm important examinations of safety and traffic issues with the Maybell site. First of all, what's free market about the Maybell project? The city loaned PAHC millions to buy the property -- which, in a free market, would have stayed on the market longer, price dropping -- on the promise that they be paid back when the (tall, skinny, no setback) market-rate housing sells, and the developer will only do that deal if the city rezones the property to high-density first. There's a word for that where I come from and it ain't "free market".

Secondly, there are many seniors in this neighborhood, and has been stated above, they prefer to a one to go out feet first. No one moves to apartments. In fact, I'd say seniors represent the majority of neighbors. And there won't be a space for me in apartments here, because I own a home, and if I sold it, I wouldn't quality for the housing like most people who own homes already. I fully expect I'll have to make the decision whether to move away for financial reasons when I am older if I can't stay in my home, that's just life in the Valley.

Lastly, why do you think no one is accommodating seniors? At the Maybell site at least, neighbors would welcome PAHC to build for seniors under existing zoning, but they're not interested.

Moldaw has 20 senior units in the BMR program that have gone unfilled for years.

At Maybell at least, it isn't about senior housing,affordable housing, it's about that exact location having only two routes in and out of the neighborhood, routes that are already horribly congested at certain times of the day, are the ONLY routes in and out of that and other neighborhoods in the area, and are also safe routes to school traveled every day by over a thousand school children on bicycles (soon to be hundreds more). Maybell is effectively a one-lane road where the rezoning would put tiny tall houses with little setback on a street with R-1 zoning to either side (can you say "Miki's Market/Alma Plaza"?)

The traffic study didn't even take the bicycles into account.

Lastly, the whole goal of ABAG is to reduce congestion by putting homes near where people do business. So why put seniors right where they have zero services, not even grocery, nearby? They have to drive for everything or have someone drive for them. This is clearly about sticking high density anywhere possible because of ABAG's mandate, no matter how much it CAUSES congestion and emission!

If you think this is about seniors, let me ask you an important -- and serious -- question, not rhetorical. If you think this project is such a great idea, why don't you help find a safer location that PAHC can put this project, that would be better situated nearer to Stanford (medical, Avenidas, adult school classes, enrichment at Stanford, restaurants, Trader Joe's and Sigonas, etc etc)? How about Professorville? Last I checked, they hadn't taken nearly the affordable housing stock our small neighborhood has. Anyone else?

Perhaps this could be like Ohlone taking the Mandarin immersion program, where instead of people criticizing the schools that don't have space for another program, someone steps up to make space where space can be made. How about your Palo Alto neighborhood? Instead of criticizing, how about stepping up and finding a place to rezone a low-density residential space for high-density PC with no limitations on height or setback? I"m sure with $16million, you could find something.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Longtime Palo Altan
Green Acres
on May 5, 2013 at 9:24 pm
Longtime Palo Altan, Green Acres
on May 5, 2013 at 9:24 pm
Like this comment

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

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