News

Developer proposes 30 homes for Maybell Avenue

New property owners unveils housing proposal on disputed site

The new owner of the 2.46-acre property on Maybell Avenue that was the subject of last November's citizen referendum in Palo Alto is proposing to build 30 two-story homes, according to plans submitted to the city Wednesday.

If approved, the development by Golden Gate Homes would replace four homes and a defunct orchard.

The development would include four detached homes along Maybell in the low-density R-2 (two homes per lot) zone and another four detached homes on Clemo Avenue. Another home would be on the corner of Maybell and Clemo. The developer, Yurong Han of Golden Gate Homes, is looking to construct the remaining 21 homes in the R-15 zone, which can accommodate greater density.

The application states that the interior of the property would feature 16 so-called "duets" -- eight pairs of homes, with each home connected to the other by its garage. The homes will range in size from about 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet.

In the application, Han emphasized that the proposal paid careful attention to the concerns of the neighborhood, which rallied last year to oppose a zone change on the property. The change to planned community (PC) zoning, which the City Council unanimously approved last June, would have accommodated a development of 60 apartments for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes.

The new project, by contrast, is not asking for a zone change. In fact, the application notes that the number of units proposed for the site is actually 13 percent to 53 fewer than the owner is entitled to build. The site could accommodate between 34 and 46 homes if the developer were to include affordable housing, which would make the project eligible for a density bonus.

"The vision of Golden Gate Homes is to build high-quality homes that integrate appropriately into and complement the existing neighborhood," Han's application states. "We studied previous proposals and the neighborhood's response to those site concepts, as well as for preferences for the property as expressed by the neighbors.

The development would include 57 parking spaces for residents. Another seven spots would be designated for guests, according to the application.

The proposal is still subject to approval by the city's Architectural Review Board. And even though the neighbors around the Barron Park site have yet to study the plans, the fact that the development complies with existing zoning is a step in the right direction, said Joe Hirsch, who was one of the organizers of last year's Measure D.

"If they work out a good parking plan and if they work out a good traffic plan, which was a major consideration last year, then I think the applicant will be well on his way to getting approval," Hirsch told the Weekly. "I'd still encourage (the developer) to meet with the neighborhood and show the plans to the neighborhood so we have a good understanding."

The question of what development will go on the old orchard site was a major issue in last year's Measure D campaign, with city officials arguing that even without a zone change, a future development could in fact bring greater negative impacts than the one proposed by Palo Alto Housing Corporation.

Before voting to support the senior-housing project last year, Councilman Marc Berman said that if the council were to reject it, the Housing Corp "could turn around and sell it to a private developer."

"No private developer who pays $16 million or more for a lot of land wouldn't maximize the project from this development," Berman said.

Councilman Larry Klein made a similar point and argued that the PC zone sought by the Housing Corporation would protect residents from the traffic problems of a potentially more disruptive housing development, one that could be built without a zone change.

"The people who are going to be living under this PC will drive a lot less than people who'd be living there if we were to develop this under existing zoning," Klein said.

Comments

1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:31 am

Wonder what all of the "Yes on D" doomsdayers have to say now? They all predicted 46 or more units...worse than the original proposal.

30.


1 person likes this
Posted by Lost Opportunity
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

This shows a viable affordable housing project couldn't be built in any other configuration than what was originally proposed last year. Folks who said they were "for affordable housing but"... are getting everything but.


3 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood Impact?
a resident of University South
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:51 am

Is that the same Joe Hirsch who told the Council that no more than 18 homes, max, could be built on the land? That math didn't quite work out.

A big concern of neighbors was commute traffic and impact on local schools. What has a worse impact on rush hour traffic and schools - 12 family units and 60 one-bedroom senior affordable units (600 sq/ft each), or 30 family units? Which leads to more students and more adults driving to and from work?


4 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:51 am

No matter what goes there, the traffic is an issue at that site. The owner still has to subdivide, and that means the development must be consistent with the Comp Plan, even in charter cities, or it could be challenged in court.

The traffic should all go out on Clemo to Arastradero, with a light at Clemo tied to the one at Coulomb. It's the only realistic way to put even that much more new traffic there. During Measure D, the City said the impacts were too great, as if putting the traffic on substandard Maybell were better.

Anyway, it sounds like the developer is interested in working with the neighborhood. Also, it's promising to see 2- story rather than 3- and 4- story buildings.


3 people like this
Posted by sandyhn
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

Measure D called for 60 senior apartments and 12 homes. If each apartment housed one senior and each house held an average of three residents, AT BEST that would total 96 people, some of whom would be children. This new proposal is made up of 30 homes, each of which would house an average of three people, making a possibly low total of 90 residents. What on earth is preferable about this new proposal???


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:58 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

I'm glad that we finally have closure on the question of what a private developer would do with the Maybell/Clemo site if it, rather than the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, had title to the property.

So there will be 5 rather than 7 two-story homes along Maybell (don't know yet if they will have driveway access to the street). And there will be 5 two-story instead of three-story homes on Clemo. Then twenty other homes, distributed through the remainder of the property. I look forward to seeing sketches of the project, which if I'm not mistaken does not require formal approval by city council, planning commission or neighbors to be implemented.


4 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

Each new home will have its own parking.
None of the buildings will be 50 feet in height, instead the heights will be the same as the surrounding neighborhood of 1-story and 2-story homes.

You are conveniently saying only 60 seniors in 60 units --- not a very realistic number at all. You are also leaving out the number of staff (and their cars/parking/traffic) that would have been required to manage the proposed senior housing. The building was going to be 50 feet high --- 3x higher than some of the neighboring homes. There were approx. 40 parking spaces for 60 units plus service staff...severely under-parked.


12 people like this
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

Oh goody! More unaffordable homes, crowding and traffic. It never ends.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Just noticed the renderings at the top of this page. The question about driveway access to Maybell is resolved: one street and five driveways are shown which will put cars onto Maybell Avenue.


6 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

And can we stop talking like Maybell was some lost opportunity? If it wasn't for Measure D, we would still have Jay Paul and 27 University at 100 ft, and Prometheus never would have bowed out of BV.

The lost opportunity at Maybell was to save the orchard, direct the public energy to helping find another way to provide the affordable housing (which they were offering to do prior to the referendum), and make Maybell safer (imagine expanding the parking at APAC so Maybell could be no parking, and there could be an actual bike path on that side.

The City had the right via the purchase agreement to buy the property in first right of refusal, and put whatever restrictions it wanted on it for safety (safety being basic duty of the City) before reselling it at a profit. Or they could have given residents time to raise the money to save the orchard and if not, made money reselling it (with restrictions for safety). So the arguments were all manufactured, but look how well it silenced the tree huggers who would normally be up in arms about 100 established trees being bulldozed. I didn't see what the plans are to preserve the 12 giant native oaks?


11 people like this
Posted by Who is GGH?
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

Very hard to figure out who are the locals working for Golden Gate Homes. GGH is a huge corporation and it hides the names of its principals.
Anyone know who is running this deal?


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

> I'm glad that we finally have closure on the question of what a private
> developer would do with the Maybell/Clemo site

Things are not that simple. If the residents had not revolted, and sent this Council a very clear message, then it's hard to speculate what any other developer would have done.
This developer has information about the willingness of the neighbors, and most Palo Alto homeowners, to stand up to undue "densification".

It would be interesting to ask this fellow how many units he would really like to build if the residents were docile, and did what they were told to do by the City Council.


9 people like this
Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:38 am

"The (30) homes will range in size from about 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet." And there will be 57 parking spaces.

Of course no one in a 3,000 sq ft home would have 2 cars or even more. And they and their kids would never ever have visitors or service people who'd need to park.


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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

Looks like a reasonable (when compared to the previous one) solution.
Build within the current code without needing exceptions.

Since some of these units have shared walls (garage), is there a Homeowners association to manage the use of the 'Guest' parking slots?


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm

This shows how much knowledge the city council, planning & transportation commission, and the planning department has about real estate development.

They were all saying 46 units would be built; and the proposal of 30 units is what will maximize profits for a developer.


2 people like this
Posted by Plans Online Soon...
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm

The plans that were submitted for the project should be available here soon:

Web Link

Current Description of Work: Request by Golden Gates Homes LLC for ARB Preliminary Review of a 30 home residential development including 1) five (5) single family detached homes on Maybell Avenue in R-2 zone district, and 2) 25 single family units (9 detached units and 16 attached units) using the VILLAGE RESIDENTIAL zoning standards in the RM-15 zone district. No exceptions to development standards have been indicated.


8 people like this
Posted by Clarity
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm

I think it's really sad that the greater lesson - that this neighborhood is full of engaged accomplished people willing to try to accomplish the impossible - was not learned [portion removed.] These same neighbors, long before there was a Measure D, were offering to put the citizen energy toward coming up with a win-win for everyone, including PAHC. Most people constantly voiced the opinion internally that they wished they could be spending their time trying to solve the problems together, and provide the affordable housing, rather than fighting a battle to stop something being imposed on them. Given the history of the neighborhood: saving Juana Briones park from being an electrical substation, saving Bol Park from development, saving Terman school from development and getting the affordable apts at Terman as part of it, saving Greenacres 1 from becoming a road from El Camino to Arastradero, ensuring Juana Briones school had a nice library instead of what had been planned as essentially a glorified portable, etc etc, and seeing what they did in Measure D, that they were rebuffed in their efforts to collaborate to find a win-win is the real loss here.

But, it's water under the bridge, since Measure D was itself a watershed in the power dynamic between City Hall and residents. City Hall got the idea from High Street referendum, especially since residents didn't realize then how the ballot was deliberately biased by the City, that residents could not win a land use referendum. This ushered in that whole era of overbuilding. If Measure D had gone through, it would have cemented an unhealthy imbalance in power here that would have given license to everyone to build more more more, with no end in sight.

The other lesson is for others in the future. By far the most favored land use there, by surveys of the neighbors, was for the orchard to be saved. (It's still there, by the way, mostly apricots, and some giant native oaks, if you love trees.) Land use attys told them if they wanted an orchard, to push it then, but neighbors were convinced they would have to wait until the referendum was done. Not that there weren't people talking and writing about it to City Hall. But when it was done, Nancy Shepherd specifically and other Councilmembers twisted the outcry against building over zoning into a desire by the neighborhood to see a development go there. She said this in emails.

I heard the City owes us residents about 25 acres of open space to offset all the new developments, from what's promised in the code. The lesson to those faced with this in the future - if you think it the City should save an orchard, or whatever, push also for them to save the orchard. Those 100+ trees survive yet without water in this drought, and should have been considered an irreplaceable asset to satisfy the open space the City promises residents in the code when there is development. [Portion removed.]

Neighbors are already talking about meeting with the developer, so hopefully things will go more positively. Sadly, not for the trees or the hawk nesting there.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm

If the new developer maintains the current zoning and the buildings don't look out of place (i.e. like the JCC or the Grocery Outlet), then he's met the criteria for the site. Short of the city building the property, that's all we can hope for.


7 people like this
Posted by ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm

The Yes on D people NEVER said another developer would build "46 or more units" as is maintained above. In the ballot argument supporting the project the number 46 is cited as "up to" if a density bonus were included.

The primary question is not the number of units, but how many bedrooms are planned for all units, total. The number of bedrooms indicates the approximate number of people who will live there - and the number of cars and amount of traffic they will generate.

Here you have 2 story single family homes. They will be 4 to 5 bedrooms each - certainly no smaller. For sake of argument and to use a conservative measure, let's say each dwelling has 4 bedrooms (though I bet some will have 5). That is 4 times 30 units = 120 bedrooms total. A conservative estimate puts 3 to 4 people in each unit based on the number of bedrooms (of course some will have more of course). But figure half the dwellings will have 3 people and half, 4 people, and you have between 90 and 120 people living there, a number that is less but only slightly less on the upper end than the number of people that would have lived there had PAHC built. And I bet there will be more people than 90 - 120.

Remember, there are 1.9 parking places per dwelling (57 total). So surely that means no teens with a car are foreseen as living there, or adults with more than 1.9 cars (however that works!) between them - HA.

This is nearly as dense people-wise than had PAHC built there. The difference? A glaring one - Maybell was primarily for low-income Palo Alto seniors. This new development will be entirely for rich people, probably mostly moving in from out of town, or absentee landlords parking oversees money.

What a sad situation.


5 people like this
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

The only solution is to put a 5 year moratorium on any new development. Palo Alto cannot afford any additional increase in population density.


1 person likes this
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Any kind of blanket, city wide moratorium will be taken to court and the city will lose at a meeting monetary cost to the taxpayers. Looks like this project is not asking for any exemptions-- was nt even go,before the city council.


1 person likes this
Posted by Clarity
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:45 pm

[Portion removed.]
There are other glaring differences, like that existing zoning means no 4-story building, and won't be underparked. and if you cared so much about low-income housing, you should have cared that the City dedicated its affordable housing money at Maybell when they knew it would be unavailable at BV. That bothers me a lot more. [Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Clarity
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I think if the drought continues, the City could easily declare a drought emergency and place a moratorium on building. The have broad powers for health and safety.


1 person likes this
Posted by Clarity/local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Sorry, I chose a name appropriate for each of two threads, clarity and local. I am same, please do not delete.


7 people like this
Posted by So sad.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm

A sad day for Palo Alto.


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm

@ Ellie - you should go back and read some of the threads during the Measure D campaign. There were plenty of D supporters who were claiming that a developer would max out the site at 46 units. And after the vote, there were the same bitter individuals who were (in effect) saying, "you'll see --- 46 units are coming".

As stated above - the homes will be 1500 - 3000 sqft. I sincerely doubt "4-5" bedrooms will fit into a 1500sqft home (which includes garage by the way). 4 bedroom average seems a bit too high, don't you think? Parking - if you're correct - 1.9 per unit. That's typical if not higher than average for PA. And just like everywhere else in PA, people park in front of their homes. I see no impact as such.

The Yes people never acknowledged that the imposing 50ft height was out of place for the neighborhood. And they never acknowledged that the site only had ~40 spaces for 60 units and employees...the difference is that those that didn't have parking would have to park on outlying streets - not in front of their own homes.


1 person likes this
Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

The above comment misstated what I wrote. Read again, above, what I actually said.


2 people like this
Posted by Joe in Green Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Joe in Green Acres is a registered user.

"Is that the same Joe Hirsch who told the Council that no more than 18 homes, max, could be built on the land? That math didn't quite work out." Quote by Neighborhood Impact.

Yes, it is the same Joe Hirsch, but you are contrasting apples and oranges. What I said last year was that if a developer wanted to build to the highest and best use, that is, R-1 residential, which would as I indicated at the time require a zone change, he (or she) could build 18 R-1 size (minimum 6,000sf lots) on 2.46 acres (107,157sf). The math is quite simple and equates with 18 R-1 size residential lots. I was not advocating that scenario, merely responding to some arguments that were made by others. I made other analysis at the time based upon the then-current, and still-current, R-2 and RM-15 zones on the site. Those analyses were made public at various City Council meetings.

I still need to see the plans of the new developer, as we all should, before rendering opinions - good or bad. The initial report in the Daily Post was for 5 single-family homes and 24 apartments. That seems to be different from what Gennady wrote above.


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Posted by Joe in Green Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Joe in Green Acres is a registered user.

Slight correction: the Daily Post article said 5 single-family homes and 25 (not 24) apartments. My apologies for the typo.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:09 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm

And hypocritical to tell people they can't cut down the last of the redwoods or fill in the rest of the bay, which were the exact things previous generations took for granted. I can't even get a plastic grocery bag anymore.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

My understanding is that the Daily Post got it wrong. The plan as it now stands, modifications possible, I presume, calls for five homes on Maybell, 4 (not 5) on Clemo, 5 more stand alone homes on the Arastradero Park side, and 16 other single family homes in paired configurations, as reported in the Weekly, elsewhere on the site. No multi-family dwellings or apartments are planned.


Like this comment
Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:26 am

@ Robert,

[Portion removed.]

The neighbors were only to happy to try to come up with a solution that would have resulted in creating the housing, though perhaps not at that exact site because of the 100 trees there (still there) and said bottleneck, and because of the value of the 100 trees on the orchard being saved from a bulldozer. Just like those same neighbors did almost across the street from there when a developer wanted to fill in the local school site with apartments. That resulted in 92 units of affordable housing being built, as well as the middle school site being saved. Some of the same neighbors who did that were calling for a similar working group at Maybell.

Why are people still fighting this battle? [Portion removed.] Do they really not understand that all this high density upzoned housing is driving up the price of land and heavily competing for sites that would otherwise be available for affordable projects? Are you trying to convince the neighborhood that they should scare away the developer, because if it's going to be developed, it sure seems like a better plan. Perhaps you'd prefer to try to save the orchard? No? [Portion removed.]

All you do by keeping this up is create liability for the City, that had warned of existing zoning being unsafe yet failed to exercise their right to first right of refusal to purchase the property even temporarily to put deed restrictions that would ensure any development would be safe at that critical bottleneck to the neighborhood between the two main safe routes to school for 4 major local schools. [Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2014 at 4:35 am

I want to buy a home. I need my own home.
I have been trying to afford a home here in my hometown for 20 years, but gave up 6 years ago when I kept being outbid by groups of buyers from India and China.
I just don't have that kind of money.
It is hard enough already with these high prices.
I need a home because I am getting old.
I constantly worry that my landlord in Taiwan may evict me in order to build a bigger home on his land.





Like this comment
Posted by John Kelley
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

@ Ellie, a resident of College Terrace: Thank you for your thoughtful comment and your polite response. I am trying to gather more information about housing issues in Palo Alto generally. If you would care to discuss these issues further offline, please let me know.

Thanks,

John
jkelley@399innovation.com


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:14 am

Long time resident -- house prices aren't quite so horrendously ridiculous in attractive and safe neighborhoods in Redwood City and in Mountain View. Only 15 minutes from Palo Alto. Give them a look-see.


Like this comment
Posted by local too
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 11:41 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

[Portion removed.] The Weekly fell down on the job on some of those topics, but the evidence is there if you care to look past your opinions.


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 20, 2014 at 12:25 am

I just got a real estate listing for the neighborhood. Pretty much every home oover 2700 sq ft on a reasonable sized lot sold for > $3M.


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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Does anyone at PASZ have any thoughts on trying to get Sobrato to reduce their plans for the 15 acre Fry's site, which might include up to 500 (at R-30) homes, to something like 200 homes and a major new park?

We are already below our guidelines in the general plan / comp plan for parks in acre per capita.

I originally posted here backing Margot Davis' idea of preserving the Maybell Orchards, but felt that in context of inaction on Buena Vista it seemed to "let them eat cake" to push for a park there.

(And for the record, shame on leadership for not brokering a deal for Buena Vista residents becoming owners).

Who is for a park at Ventura?


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Plans Online Soon

Thanks for the Web Link to the MAYBELL AVENUE - ARB SUBMITTAL FOR PRELIMINARY REVIEW.

The proposal reveals exquisite attention to the debate over PAHC's proposal for 12 market rate single family homes on relatively small lots and 60 apartments for low-income seniors.

These will all be attractive, expensive single-family homes. [Portion removed.]
No apartments, no condominiums, all 30 units will be on fee simple lots, which should make them more attractive to home owners and investors.

The developer is faced, though, with the same problem of street access that faced PAHC. The plans show two alternatives, one with internal drive access to both to Maybell and Clemo and another with access to Clemo only. And the driveways on Maybell that provoked so much concern before PAHC redesigned their proposal to remove them are back again in both versions of the new proposal.

The orchard will be removed, but the street trees will be retained to the greatest extent possible.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2014 at 12:14 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@local

The Terman Working Group did not get 92 units of affordable housing built. The negotiations resulted in a long-term HUD Section 8 contract with the private corporation that owned the already existing apartment complex, which obligated the corporation to accept Section 8 vouchers (federal rent subsidies) for 25 years.

The San Jose Mercury New reported in November, 2008 that the city used to have several apartment complexes with long-term contracts for Section 8 subsidies and that as those contracts expired the city helped nonprofits buy the properties to ensure that rents stayed below market. PAHC said during the Measure D campaign that it had approached the owner, Goldrich & Kest, but they deemed the property too valuable to sell.

I don't know if Terman Apartments still accepts Section 8 vouchers.

By way of contrast, the Maybell units would be guaranteed affordable (by formula) for 55 years, extendable if there was still a need.



1 person likes this
Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 21, 2014 at 1:20 am

@ Jerry Underdal,
[Portion removed.]

The neighbors began their dealings with PAHC for MONTHS letting them know they supported them but that they would face resistance to anything with such significant upzoning. PAHC was not willing to budge. The City had shot their wad at 801 Alma and PAHC was proposing that new way of financing it because they couldn't get the same amount of funding.

[Portion removed.]

Many attempts were made to let PAHC, City Council, individual City Councilors, know that neighbors were motivated to put considerable energy into a positive solution for all, including possibly saving the orchard, and of course providing the housing, but perhaps not assuming that razing the last open orchard in Palo Alto and building a 4-story underparked project for nonspecified residents is the only way. Many neighbors griped internally all along that they wished they could have worked to create something positive together, rather than having to just fight.

[Portion removed.]

It's interesting that you would bring up Terman, because many of us recognized that during the debates, it would have been eminently possible to get the public behind heroic measures to save other affordable housing in the neighborhood in a quid pro quo, in order to keep the orchard and that location as a low-traffic use. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 21, 2014 at 1:25 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 21, 2014 at 1:28 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2014 at 6:38 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Developer Toole
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by more of the same
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Ah, yes, because what this city really needs is more multi-million dollar McMansions that only multimillionaires can afford. There definitely aren't a lot of those around in Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Atherton, right? Homes that will likely be purchased by the newly wealthy in China and either left sitting idle, or rented out at ever higher rents to multi-generational households who have no option but to all share one roof because there ARE no apartment for gramps or the 25 yr old kids that either can afford anywhere near here.


1 person likes this
Posted by please
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 21, 2014 at 5:57 pm

These are such enjoyable threads full of hypocrisy. Those that talk in contempt of high home prices generally stand to benefit the most as long term residents. They sound like the people who went to Burning Man in its infancy and now hate on its growth and popularity.

Palo Alto with its wonderful climate, world class employers, prop 13 tax bases, scarce home inventory, renowned university and high scoring public school systems is a product decades in the making.

Now, everybody wants some, that's all.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 23, 2014 at 4:47 am

[Portion removed.]

@Ellie, The erstwhile Maybell proposal was not "primarily for low income seniors" - the proposal was 60% market rate development upzoned for the profit of a for-profit developer. There would have been 12 homes. Subtract from 30, that means you are claiming a 60-unit 4-story building with less than half a parking spot per unit would have fewer impacts than 18 apartments with almost 2spots per unit. (And how would you guarantee Grandma wouldn't move in so junior could go to Gunn? That's what happens in so many other apartments nearby. [Portion removed.]

"Affordable housing" has become the greatest cover for developers. When people who say they care are willing to believe anything as in your error-riddled post, they are ultimately going to hurt the cause of actual affordable housing as people in real need go unaided and get caught in the inevitable backlash with everyone else.

Stop assuming that expensive buildings are the answer while ignoring people. All that energy should have gone to help the residents at BV.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 6:41 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:43 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Local

"And how would you guarantee Grandma wouldn't move in so junior could go to Gunn? That's what happens in so many other apartments nearby."

Junior would have to be Grandma's dependent, and there are other restrictions that make this scenario unlikely if not guaranteed impossible. PAHC addressed this, ineffectively, during the campaign.


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Posted by local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:53 am

@Jerry,
The last consultant report found that PAHC was unable to enforce its own rules. People who live in the neighborhood are aware of lax enforcement of the rules at APAC next door but I don't even like saying this here now, and frankly ask the moderator this time to delete both of our posts after Jerry sees it, because it's not ok for individuals to be hurt by our discussion. But there are restrictions on how many people can live in the APAC units and those go vastly exceeded in some cases.


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 23, 2014 at 10:19 am

@ Mark,
You should fight that inclination, because it's always seemed to those of us who lived here that the City telling PAHC to go after Maybell (and they did do that, i heard that first-person from someone at PAHC) was a cynical attempt to completely neutralize any tree huggers (after what happened at Cal Ave to the less established, fewer, temporary trees).

Plus, it would actually be a really savvy political move to tie saving the orchard and saving BV together. Any politician who could do that would get the undying loyalty of this whole side of town... Shepherd and Scharff must have really thought they didn't need our votes this time around.


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 23, 2014 at 10:24 am

@ Mark Weiss,
I am 100% with you on saving the orchard, saving BV, and saving Fry's as a unique open space -- maker space? (have you ever heard of the Tinkering School?)

This side of Palo Alto really needs some kind of "center" of civic life like that. So much more than we need a $10million bridge. For less than that, they could have saved the orchard, even to just give the neighbors time to come up with a plan to pay them back.


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

Just a reminder that the purpose of that housing was not for people living in the neighborhood to transfer their 7-figure assets to relatives so they could live nearby and pay next to nothing.


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Posted by Senior longtime resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm

It is truly a travesty to build housing on the Maybell Orchard and not to preserve it as the last orchard in Palo Alto. Longtime residents of this area remember the Santa Clara Valley before it became Silicon Valley. Change happens. We accept that but some preservation to acknowledge the past and the history of our valley is important. Where is our sense of history? Would we want to destroy the petroglyphs in the Southwest to build housing or the Coloseum in Rome? You get the picture.

Shame on this wealthy intellectual city!!


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

" . . .the purpose of that housing was not for people living in the neighborhood to transfer their 7-figure assets to relatives so they could live nearby and pay next to nothing."

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. That housing would have been for seniors with low- and very-low incomes. Are you positing a scam in which elders who own their own homes in Barron Park and Green Acres would transfer ownership to family members and successfully crash PAHC's long waiting list for affordable housing? What did PAHC leadership say when you raised this concern?


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 27, 2014 at 2:58 am

@Senior Longtime Resident,
I agree. If you look at the staff report after Measure D, the City talked about how it could " exercise its option to purchase" the property, but only considered regional housing needs allocation and building housing there, it did not even consider how the property presented a really unique opportunity to save >100 established trees and, with the sale of the homes on the perimeter, could have basically ended up being about as cheap as it gets to produce parkland. Plus with the land catty corner to a school for the disabled and an elementary, it was a perfect location. This Council has long since stopped even pretending to care about the schools and kids.


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 27, 2014 at 2:59 am

@Underdal,
I don't know. If someone transferred their 7-figure asset to children a number of years ago and got on the list, they may already be in a good position to take a spot from someone who really needs it.


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Posted by Local
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

For tree lovers: Despite the drought and no watering, the orchard is still there, across from Juana Briones Park. Go enjoy it while it is still there. (Sadly, it's about the only place in town where I could see kids having a place to safely climb trees...)


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

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