A year after Palo Alto voters struck down an approved housing development on Maybell Avenue, the city is preparing to review another housing plan for the 2.46-acre site in the Green Acres neighborhood.
The new plan, like the one that the voters rejected last year, would bring dozens of housing units to the old orchard site at the intersection of Maybell and Clemo Avenue.
Aside from that, the two proposals have little in common. The one last year, which was proposed by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, included 60 units of affordable housing for seniors and 12 single-family homes that were to be sold at market rate. Though the City Council unanimously approved the project, it ultimately collapsed after a citizen referendum that culminated in the defeat of Measure D last year.
The new plan is being proposed by Golden Gate Homes, a developer who bought the site from the Palo Alto Housing Corporation earlier this year. It includes a total of 30 two-story homes at a site that currently includes four homes, for a total increase of 26 units. According to the site map, the proposed development includes five homes along Maybell Avenue, four homes along Clemo Avenue, and five more at the opposite end of the property from Clemo, immediately next to Arastradero Park, an affordable-housing complex.
The other 16 units would be in the interior of the property, arranged in a "duet" style with eight buildings and each building including two units connected to one another at the garage level.
Though the site map and the buildings' designs will require approval, the new proposal, unlike the one last year, will not require a zone change. The site includes two parcels with different zoning designations. The larger of these is zoned R-15, which allows low-density multi-family housing.
The homes would range in size from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet and each would include a garage capable of accommodating two cars.
In the application, Yurong Han of Golden Gate Homes notes that the number of units proposed for the site is significantly fewer than the zoning allows. If the developer were to provide affordable housing and take advantage of density bonuses, the project could yield up to 46 units, she noted. Han wrote that she believes that proposing fewer units than is allowed makes the project "more consistent with the surrounding neighborhood."
Han wrote in the application that in designing the project, the development team "studied previous proposals and the neighborhood's response to those site concepts, as well as preferences for the Property as expressed by neighbors."
"Far from simply trying to maximize development on the property, we believe we have created a viable, attractive and well-appointed project that is respectful of the neighborhood in which the property is located," Han wrote.
The Architectural Review Board is scheduled to consider the project on Dec. 18. This will be a preliminary review, which means no vote will be taken.