News


Google opposes limit on Palo Alto office growth

Local tech firms clash with slow-growth proponents over ways to curb traffic, parking woes

With debate over commercial growth in Palo Alto set to reignite on Monday night, Google has joined the growing ranks of tech titans, small businesses and architects opposing an annual cap on new office and research space.

The City Council will consider on Monday its next steps for managing commercial growth. Among the most controversial proposals on the table is a 35,000- to 50,000-square-feet annual limit on new office and research-and-development space. Residents and several council members have lauded the cap as a great tool to temporarily slow down commercial growth while the city works to solve its growing parking and traffic problems. Critics -- including Stanford University, the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the citizens group Palo Alto Forward -- have slammed the proposal as a blunt tool that does not address the core problems.

At the council's March 2 discussion, Vice Mayor Greg Schmid and Councilman Eric Filseth both favored going forward with the cap, though after a long discussion the council agreed to defer a decision until March 23. While balking at taking action, several other members expressed support for restricting office growth, noting their concern that offices are pricing out and displacing long-time retailers. Mayor Karen Holman said the "council can't sit here and not act."

Other council members were less adamant about taking immediate action. Councilman Pat Burt said the council needs more time to consider what the limit should be. Council members Liz Kniss, Greg Scharff, Cory Wolbach and Marc Berman all opposed a new cap and said the city should focus on the negative consequences of development, rather than development itself.

"I don't think the cap would make any difference in these negative impacts, frankly," Scharff said on March 2. "Or such minimal impacts that you really won't notice."

Now, Google has joined firms such as HP, VMWare, Palantir and SurveyMonkey in arguing against the restriction. Speaking as a "corporate citizen of the city of Palo Alto," where it owns and leases numerous properties, the Mountain View-based search giant advised the council to "take actions to limit traffic and allow corporations to prove that they can grow while meeting the city's traffic-reduction goals."

"Setting up a proactive approach to traffic concerns that rewards innovation and effective solutions is far preferable to a blanket policy that affects everyone regardless of their location and ability to grow responsibly," wrote John Igoe, Google's real estate director.

"Without new projects, companies would not be participating in new traffic management measures or creating innovative solutions to existing parking concerns," he stated.

Furthermore, a growth cap may "hinder development in areas where development would benefit the community," such as near transit or major highways and in areas that have vacant, underutilized or out-of-date spaces. The cap may also have unintended consequences, he wrote, because restricting supply at a time of heavy demand may increase rents, "pushing existing city businesses out of the city."

Even if the council decides to explore a cap, the limit would not kick in any time soon. Rather, it would be one alternative considered as part of the ongoing update of the city's Comprehensive Plan, which guides land-use decisions and is not expected to be completed until next year.

Several residents at the March 2 meeting argued that the proposal doesn't go far enough and called for the council to adopt a moratorium on commercial growth -- an idea that didn't get much traction from the council. City staff is likewise recommending that the council only consider an annual cap in the context of the city's long-term vision and not on an interim basis, due to the complexity of adopting it.

The council will have the option of adopting other near-term measures in the interim while the Comprehensive Plan is being updated. These could include new requirements for developments to provide parking and reduce traffic. A temporary reduction in allowed office density is also an option, according to staff.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I agree with the comments concerning buildings that are vacant, underutilized, and structurally out of date. You will note that the Moffat Park area has torn down many buildings and is rebuilding using current specifications for earthquake requirements, as well as current building codes and more modern building materials.

We have a number of buildings in the East Bayshore area that are continually "for lease". These are building that were built before the big earthquake. The depreciation schedule on those buildings must be expired by now. The tax assessment on those properties is undervalued.

That is a whole commercial area that can be updated to the cities advantage - and based on location will not impact the downtown parking area. This area should be rebuilt if for nothing more than the flood impact requirements. Since a hotel is going in here at Ming's then another nice restaurant added will make this area a destination for the work week. Also for the weekend sports - baseball, soccer, and golf enthusiasts.


2 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2015 at 3:52 pm

FYI - it's "Moffet" with an "e", not "Moffat".


19 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2015 at 9:10 am

We have no problem with Google using office parks that are already zoned for office buildings. These office parks usually have good road access and increasing their density will encourage low-pollution commuting, such as Google busses, shuttles from Caltrain, and building new bike paths.

Just stop cannibalizing retail storefronts around downtown and California Ave.


10 people like this
Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 21, 2015 at 10:19 am

Given the infatuations with any big tech firm, I suspect google gets what they want. The city will roll over into a compromise that makes no sense and things just get worse. After all, google puts things into code so they must be experts on town planning.


10 people like this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:21 am

Hope someone will be tracking the pressure that Google tries to use against any Council action that limits new office space. One can only wonder how much office space Google is internally projecting, and how many of those new offices Google wants to put in Palo Alto?

Each of the Council members should keep a log of the contacts with commercials interests that they experience, and make that log available to the public when this matter is finally decided.


17 people like this
Posted by Pa mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:31 am

I hope the city council and planning commission feel partly responsible for the recent teen suicides. Kids need something to do other than walk past office buildings. We have lost the bowling ally, music stores, art stores, mainstream movie theatre, book stores, ten center, toy stores, drive-in, Frost amphitheater, Teens need recreation, summer jobs, fun. Palo Alto has nothing to offer its teens. It's a terrible place to be a kid.


7 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

A cap on growth is not desirable, IMO. There are creative approaches to traffic that caps will not promote. For example, RPPP, satellite lots with shuttle buses, CalTrain, corporate buses, improved public transit, teleconferencing, development fees for parking (underground and public parking garages). Let's not forget working at home through email and databases.

The main issue is that our neighborhoods are protected from densification schemes, be it subsidized housing or encroaching zoning exemptions... or grandma apartments, or AirBnb, etc. Once our single-family neighborhoods start to crumble, Palo Alto, as a comfortable place to live, with neighborhood schools will crumble. Then there goes our home values....


7 people like this
Posted by Moving on
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Craig...
Schools WILL crumble? I think 9 suicudes means the schools HAVE crumbled. I'm selling my 5M dollar home and taking my kids to a town where kids aren't throwing themselves in front of the train.


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 21, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I do not care if it is Google, Yahoo, Palantir, etc. Reality is that we have many buildings that are old and not up to spec. Go over to Moffet Park - they have taken down all of the old buildings and are replacing them. I worked in some of those buildings and they were held together with glue.
You cannot house employees in a building that is not earthquake safe. Something happens and the company will be sued.

We have a lot of old buildings in the downtown and Bayshore areas. A lot of those buildings need to be replaced with new buildings. In the process that changes the tax assessed value for those buildings.

People keep beating on the single house family for tax assessment. How many ancient building do we have that have minimal tax assessed value. Someone should print a report on the commercial properties - who owns them - for how long - and tax assessed value. That is where your tax dollars are being robbed. It is like commercial slum lords.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Schools will crumble? Yes - I was on BART in the city and some young man said he went to Gunn and the buildings were falling apart. How about Cubberley - the city is allowing that property to fall apart - they are gaming that property. We need another school and that is what it will be.


12 people like this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm

> People keep beating on the single house family for tax assessment. How many
> ancient building do we have that have minimal tax assessed value.

This information is available on the County Assessor's web-site, on a parcel-by-parcel basis. If one takes the time to look, it can be seen that a lot of commercial properties have turned over in the last decade--bringing their assessed value close to market values.

Places like Rickey's has been replaced with single family housing, and downtown properties have turned over for very high prices. The Stanford Shopping center changed hands a few years ago--again raising the assessed value by hundreds of millions of dollars.

That said, it would be a good idea to make a parcel map of all of the business districts in Palo Alto to see just what kinds of property tax these businesses are generating. It's a shame that the Planning Department, or the so-called Business Development Manager, hasn't created such a map by now, and made the data available on the City's web-site.


4 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2015 at 1:05 pm

>Craig...
Schools WILL crumble? I think 9 suicudes means the schools HAVE crumbled. I'm selling my 5M dollar home and taking my kids to a town where kids aren't throwing themselves in front of the train.

I wish you well on your move. However, I don't think the suicide cluster has anything to do with high quality schools. When you move, there will probably be another family behind you to move it...and they will love their single-family neighborhood, and not complain about the competitive tracks available in our schools...in fact, they might think that this easy, compared to where they came from. And, if they don't like the heat for their kids in the competitive lane, they can just allow them to be in the non-competitive lanes. Then you have the private school options. I wish you had the educational voucher option, but the teachers' union oppose it.


11 people like this
Posted by Wim
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2015 at 7:49 pm

The city council should do what is best for the city, not what is best for one constituency. Over the last few decades, the city has thrived and attracted many dynamic people and companies. I hope that most residents agree that this city is a great place to live and realize that this is partly because of the contributions of these visionaries.

I am also sad to read a few responses throwing the recent suicides into the discussion. A march article in the Atlantic quotes a study from the JAMA that these sad occurrences are twice as frequent in rural areas than urban areas. And they are not due to lack of bowling allies and theaters, but to a myriad of causes, one of them depression which is a serious condition which parents, medical professions and educators should work jointly with the community to recognize and treat.

I love living in Palo Alto and try to support improvements, not to point a finger.


17 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2015 at 9:13 pm

This makes me sick. Google calling itself a "corporate citizen", any attempt at humanizing a multi billion dollar corporation is just silly. Also using the weak argument that if PA doesn't let Google in, then Google can't help solve traffic issues in PA?! What has Google done for MV's traffic issues??? Oh right, they paid for a few people to ride the 82 bus.


11 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Craig, you are misinformed. There is no correlation between a cap and lack of creative traffic planning. As much as Ayn Rand wants you to believe, it's just plain false.


2 people like this
Posted by Uhhh?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 21, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Craig, you do not want a cap on office growth, but then you complain about Airbnb and granny units? All the additional office workers need a place to live, and this often is an Airbnb or a granny unit these days.


17 people like this
Posted by Techie
a resident of University South
on Mar 22, 2015 at 12:08 am

Seriously, Bob? "TECHIE SCUM"?

When I moved here ten years ago, I was proud of Palo Alto as a welcoming community where anyone could achieve anything. This whole "residentialist" debate makes me wonder if I understood the city like I thought I did. This kind of hostility to "outsiders" should have no place in our city.

Still, I have faith that the residents of Palo Alto aren't represented by the hostile tone of so many of the comments from the "residentialists" on this website. Certainly, the residents I know are welcoming to outsiders, welcoming to new companies, and welcoming to innovation. I am still proud of the Palo Alto I know.


13 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2015 at 7:37 am

Techie, I was born and raised in PA. Been here for 40 years. Seen my house multiply 10x in value, but that is not nearly as important as losing valuable community and friends to TECHIES pushing us out. The majority of my circle in PA feels the same way. We spit on your buses. Take your "Disruption" elsewhere and solve some real world issues.


4 people like this
Posted by Clear
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2015 at 7:42 am

Just to be clear, council isn't debating replacing existing sq ft with upgraded modern building. The discussion is about space ABOVE what a building currently has.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2015 at 8:02 am

Absolutely nothing wrong with the people in the tech industry moving here. Most of the long term residents of Palo Alto were the ones that started the tech industry back in the 50s and 60s. I hope that the arriving tech workers who live in Palo Alto will remain here for the next half century and enjoy the rich history of Palo Alto and keep that alive.

What we must prevent though is the non tech type developers who want to destroy the soul of the area by pushing through ugly brick wall facades hiding the character of town. We want to see life being lived as we drive along our streets, not stark walls with "inspiring" slogans and pictures of happy faced models enjoying whatever is going on behind the wall. I am particularly against the slogans on the Mitchell park library which mean nothing and the generic pictures of people on the walls of the JCC which look nothing like a representative view of the people of Palo Alto.

Life is a better thing to see rather than imitation.


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2015 at 8:03 am

Rickey's has turned into a beautiful housing area - and it is huge is size.
The whole El Camino segment between San Antonio and Charleston and further north is filled with apartments that are fairly new. Maybe you all could think of that area as "done". You start running into new hotels in that area.
I see the problem area as the commercial buildings east of 101 between San Antonio and Embarcadero/Creek. These are very old buildings with a few newer buildings starting to show up.

That is the area to concentrate on for new buildings that are both housing and business. The tax assessment for those buildings must be very old and a lot of those buildings are for lease on a regular basis.

You will have a new hotel - Ming's, a golf course, an airport, a sports complex, and baylands for walking. Look at Michaels in Shoreline Park - perfect restaurant - have been there for a number of company and organization functions and receptions for private parties. Excellent property that could have a location in PA.

Development in this area would remove a lot of traffic from the downtown area. Also new bike path with bridge enhances this area. There are small buses in that area on a regular basis for Stanford and downtown.

This area is the only obvious location that would benefit from upgrade.
Please - no "deals" with the developers to manipulate the tax assessment for this area.

At this time the focus is on single family homes - guess what - those are turning over at a fairly regular rate. Turning single family homes into apartments is a redistribution of wealth operation and is needless in the face of so many buildings that are underutilized.

I am not a PAF person - not looking for beehives all over the city - just common sense utilization of land.


4 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2015 at 8:30 am

Resident, you are incorrect. "Most" long time PA residents did not create the tech industry. More accurately, a "few" created the tech industry. When I grew up in PA my neighbors were professors at Stanford, farmers, janitors, and teaches.

Tech is a utopian fantasy, which is why you see those unrealistic images you dislike plastered on walls. Don't be misled in thinking tech doesn't have a strong influence in every interaction of every second you spend in this city.


9 people like this
Posted by BP Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2015 at 8:34 am

To the people who propose the use of space near 101/Embarcadero (Mings) and say 'this will not impact traffic in downtown' obviously have not been anywhere near 101/Embarcadero during rush hour. The traffic there is appalling. Something seriously needs to be done. I don't see how this area can successfully be developed and not impact traffic.


7 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2015 at 9:41 am

BP - you all are the people that are complaining about more growth in your area. You are already built out on El Camino. If you are complaining about the growth in your area then what else do you propose? You can't complain about your area without a solution.

Yes - the traffic in the 101 corridor is appalling because everyone is getting off to go towards Stanford. People are not getting off to go towards the bay - unless they are giant dirt hauling trucks and other giant trucks delivering cars, what ever. I can not believe the number of dirt hauling trucks that are dumping dirt in the "soccer field" - what ever happened to that scheme? That is dirt from the building going on up Page Mill in Stanford Research Park. We need to get control of that whole area - it is being ruined, It is not producing value to anyone - unknown people - and the value of the land is going up but the tax assessment value is stuck 20 years ago - or worse.

If the people already live in the new apartments east of 101 and are going to work in the businesses east of 101 then they do not have a traffic problem - they have a traffic solution. And we have met a requirement to add housing near work and can make this a really neat destination area.

What is the whole point of adding bike trails and bridges? So people can get from point A to pint B without using a car. All of those elements are being put in place so we need to make that area attractive and useful - it should be a beautiful destination area.


11 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2015 at 10:59 am

I'm sorry but I didn't realize Google was running the City of Palo Alto. I guess what big business and money want, they usually can persuade the puppets on City Council to dance.


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2015 at 11:52 am

Mike - do not see it that way. What I see is a bunch of old, decrepit buildings that are empty half the time - leased by local real estate groups for the ultimate owner - whoever that is. Then I see a bunch of decrepit apartment buildings - one or two story - that should be torn down and replaced by four story apartments that are using current building standards. Google does not own that group of buildings - those are owned by individual investors or corporations that sit on the properties and do nothing to upgrade them and have had those properties for many, many years.

Then I see PAF talk about "the single family home" as though that was the enemy.

The enemy is the corporation or single owner that has sat on these decrepit properties for many, many years and let them deteriorate.

I don't work for Google, Yahoo, etc. I just see a bunch of good, clever people who can add value. Zuckerburg is adding value to Menlo Park with his building project and jobs. Everyone around us is upgrading in their business districts - we can too. Samsung is upgrading North San Jose, along with other corporations. Give these people credit.


17 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

How tragic:Palo Alto sole raison d'être now is to serve and satisfy the whims of multi billion high tech firms. Most Palo Altans in the 50's and 60's were not high tech people, actually, relatively few were. High tech was dropped on Palo Alto by Stanford, and the politicians of the past, as well as some currently still serving, have sold our sole to the devil in a matter of speaking by allowing our small town infrastructure to serve the Stanford Research park which started the avalanche. Google and its fellow high tech corporations don't care at all what's good for Palo Alto.


14 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 22, 2015 at 4:21 pm

I am shocked -- shocked! -- that a large corporation is lobbying for unfettered growth. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly.


4 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2015 at 5:36 pm

You all are forgetting that Ford Aerospace and Communications Corporation, Western Developmental Labs occupied the site that is now SSL on Fabian Way. There were buildings in East Meadow Circle and on Charleston where you now have Google Buildings. There was a 6-story building that eventually was torn down on Fabian. Also sites in Philadelphia, Houston, Sunnyvale, Vandenberg AFB,CA.

FACC was bought by Loral Space Systems and a portion was sold to Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale and Stanford Research Park, as well as other locations both locally, Southern California and world wide. Between Ford, Loral and Lockheed we were the biggest employers in this area with exception to SU.

Many of the major developments and scientific break-throughs occurred in this area. You have major history here. SSL is still a major employer in PA and has many buildings in Mountain View - local area. They are a major communications satellite builder.


8 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2015 at 7:18 pm

Resident 1, Zuck has done good things for Menlo? Try telling that to the family renting a garage without heat or water for $800 a mont in east Menlo. All because Zuck moved in. Oh and the tenants of the house cook Zuck's breakfast at his favorite restaurant, clean his hoodies at the dry cleaner, wash his VW Golf at the car wash, and wash his dishes at Palo Alto Sol. Yeah! He's doing great things! Those families should be so grateful to be graced by the presence of such an empathetic and caring human being. With one of his many BILLIONS he could actually do something good, and not just for PR.

There is more to life than TECH


6 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 23, 2015 at 7:07 am

Bob - Can't tell how much of your response is hyperbole. When the new apartments in Menlo Park are completed they will have a bike repair shop, cleaners, café, etc. They also have those services on their campus. That is new jobs for lots of people who are not tech. Gardeners, food preparation, lots of jobs that are not high tech. any facility put there needs people to provide the basic services that all facilities need.


7 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 23, 2015 at 10:34 am

Of COURSE Google opposes a building slow down. Why not force out the rest of the people who have lived here over 5 years? Don't worry Google, the Palo Alto City Council more than has your back. Money talks, longtime residents walk.


9 people like this
Posted by not bob
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2015 at 11:11 am

Bob, If you re spitting on buses, you really do need to see someone about that. All decisions of any magnitude by our city council will be a problem or a benefit for different groups. And, for those who cannot tolerate any change, it will have them raving and spitting on things all the time, since change is constant. That said, a blanket cap on anything, just as a blanket cut on a budget, or a blanket increase in spending is not a particularly skillful way to get results. But the alternative takes thoughtful assessment to achieve a well understood goal. It's not clear the city council has the chops to do it, and certainly citizens who spit on buses aren't going to add any value.


5 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 23, 2015 at 11:52 am

I guess "resident" didn't hear Mark Z's speech at Stanford wherein he bashed older workers. A quote:

"I want to stress the importance of being young and technical," Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 28, told an audience at a Stanford University startup conference in 2007. "Young people are just smarter. Why are most chess masters under 30? I don't know. Young people just have simpler lives. We may not own a car. We may not have family. Simplicity in life allows you to focus on what's important."

What is important to Zuckerberg and other industry titans is increasing profits through apps, social media, and cloud technology — all relatively nascent technologies that require expertise from only those with the most “recent skills,” which leaves out most senior-level managers who have technical experience. Additionally, as Zuckerberg referenced in his Stanford address, young people have “simpler lives” and are unlikely to be married or have a family when they arrive to the Bay Area. This leaves them with less “baggage” and ripe for potential workplace exploitation.

That is ageism, discrimination and more important, WRONG. More and more older people, older than 40, are finding themselves out of work, priced out of this valley and being forced to leave friends and family. Tech is NOT helping the non tech population, and brutally punishing people who are not "young" and "unencumbered."


2 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm

>Craig, you do not want a cap on office growth, but then you complain about Airbnb and granny units? All the additional office workers need a place to live, and this often is an Airbnb or a granny unit these days.

I don't see any contradiction. New jobs in Palo Alto should pay high salaries, so that the job takers can afford to buy into Palo Alto, or at least afford to rent here. Palo Alto should not be seen as a housing tract for every new startup out there. There is no need to cram in workers with granny units and Airbnb units.

If Mark Z wants his young bright workers to live in Palo Alto, then pay them enough to actually do that...they can buy out the old workers/retirees who already live here.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2015 at 12:43 pm

>More and more older people, older than 40, are finding themselves out of work, priced out of this valley and being forced to leave friends and family.

Well, according to most of the regular posters here, that's a "spoiled" and "entitled" attitude, and they should simply move so somewhere they can afford.


4 people like this
Posted by Downtown PA Resident
a resident of Addison School
on Mar 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm

I live in the middle of downtown, where traffic is atrocious. No one seems to be coming up with or implementing "creative traffic planning" yet. With the new "residentialist" city council members recently voted into office, my hope is that supposed "corporate citizens" and not recognized as citizens at all. They need to be treated as they truly are - profit-seeking-at-any-cost and interested in a short term/temporary solutions to maintain growth in a hot economy. The minute the economy takes a turn, they will be out of here...

Sometimes a city should remember that sometimes earning extra tax dollars is not worth the price and that every decision should not be a revenue decision.


2 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 23, 2015 at 3:02 pm

@Downtown PA Resident
Thanks! I too am puzzled. Let the creative approaches to traffic and parking begin. What's holding things up? The situation is bad now and has been for some time. That a cap will disincentivize solving the problem is ridiculous.Companies should already be taking action. And a fully coordinated system of all our local bus services would help also.

And for now I remain skeptical of numbers provided by companies on how their employees come to work unless there is a way to independently verify that. I would like to see that broken down by types of transportation.

And now I will repeat myself. Rather than more office space, which all developers love to do for obvious reasons, how can they
be encouraged to build more affordable housing for the office workers? Then the workers could live right here and spend their money here which would bolster retail business and provide more tax dollars for PA. I would even be willing to see the height
limit increased to accommodate another floor or two. The PTC and ARB would have to be selective on where they could be built, however.

And now a little history about myself. My wife and I moved here in 1961 when I was hired by Philco's Western Developmental Laboratories on Fabian Way. We lived in a 2 bdrm duplex at 3153 Alma St. I think it was one of the nicest units in that strip of
apartment buildings. I have seen on that street over many years, periods of full occupancy, but other times when there were lots of "For Rent" signs up. I see some of those buildings showing signs of wear and tear. If there could be a planned upgrading or rebuilding in that area with higher height limits I see that as a way to add more housing in PA. I have no idea what would have to be done to accomplish this, zoning/ordinance changes perhaps?


4 people like this
Posted by PRO CAP
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm

I disagree with Google.


2 people like this
Posted by Think about It
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2015 at 6:18 pm

If the Titans of tech want u impeded growth, why don't they just move out to the Central Valley or the East Bay????

Then, at least, their employees won't have those magnanimous commutes that cause so much pollution. The real estate is cheaper, so everyone saves money.


Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm

But don't forget my fellow citizens, the power is with the people and remember who you voted for and promises made by them.
There will be another election cycle and then some might see their political futures abbreviated, dashed, at least in my town. I will hold the NIMBY title proudly. And why shouldn't I? Why do we have to accede to developers and companies that have no real interest in what our citizens want and don't really like and care about what we like about our town? They are profit driven pure and simple. They like to set the hook in the soft mouths of developers, commissions and council members. I know my town can never go back to the way it was when we moved here but it doesn't need it's future to be driven by outside forces and our home grown in town folks who are complicit in this tradgety.


Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm

And don't forget, you winners, some 51.1 percent winners. You still have an obligation to serve the other 49.9 per cent.


2 people like this
Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm

As a long time resident of Midtown, I fully support Google and the other tech companies. Palo Alto should be proud of its history as the center of innovation. Let's make sure that does not become the past and that we continue to think openly and embrace what is necessary to continue to innovate.


Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 23, 2015 at 10:10 pm

I watched a lot of the council meeting on TV tonight.

I enjoyed watching the discussions and comments from our citizen speakers on the cap issue. Wow, doesn't that help the council get the message? I hope so. Interesting that there were no speakers siding with the companies opposed to the cap. They like to make their weak points and threats from afar and expect PA to solve the problems they create. Some council members kinda stumbled over themselves in trying to make their points and I think Liz thinks Palo Alto ends at Oregon Expressway. Burt did a superb job of digesting, analyzing, and cutting through it all and proposing a way forward. No moratorium, but go slowly, evaluate as we go along, and then make decisions later based on what we learn.


3 people like this
Posted by Rainer
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 24, 2015 at 12:30 am

Rainer is a registered user.

I completely disagree with Gail Johnson on Burt (but agree on Liz Kniss).

Burt masterly got the "delay, delay, the Palo Alto Way" going. Only this time he did not even have to bully Tom Dubois like the 2 last times. Tom crawled into Burt's corner. Pretty sad spectacle!


2 people like this
Posted by Imporoved Council
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2015 at 4:25 pm

The city council works at the pleasure of the residents of Palo Alto. This new city council seems to understand that. That is, except for the ill prepared, developer pandering, out of touch, Berman. It's embarrassing that he is a representative of Palo Alto. He'll get booted out in the next election. This council is thoughtful and balanced. The mayor is in control and conducts the city council meetings in a friendly but firm business like manner. Hooray!


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm

I was hoping that they were an improved council who listened to residents concerns.

But it seems that last night they spent so long discussing growth that they forgot to put any time about what residents wanted when they decided on the food waste issue.

Unfortunately, they have no common sense when it comes to trash reduction.


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Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2015 at 9:53 pm

No more growth until traffic can be managed. Its RIDICULOUS. All exits from 101 are backed up almost to the freeway at peak hours and roads are starting to look like tunnels because of the multi-story building on either side. NO Thanks! Stop the craziness. If this city council caves to developers, we'll kick them out with a referendum if need be.


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