News

Page Mill development clears final hurdle

Palo Alto City Council approves new three-story building near one of city's busiest intersections

The sizzling construction climate around California Avenue turned even hotter Tuesday morning when the City Council narrowly approved a three-story development near one of Palo Alto's busiest intersections.

The council voted 5-4, with Mayor Karen Holman, Vice Mayor Greg Schmid and Councilmen Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth dissenting, to approve Norm Schwab's application for 441 Page Mill Road. Once built, the mixed-use project will replace four dilapidated homes on an eclectic and mostly commercial block just east of the intersection of Page Mill and El Camino Real.

The approval came at a time when new developments are facing significant scrutiny from the council, which now wields a slow-growth "residentialist" majority. In January, the project at 441 Page Mill was the first to face the new council, which proceeded to pick apart its economic analysis and kicked the project back for further study.

This time, the outcome was just as suspenseful but more conclusive. Even though the project proposed a higher density than the city's zoning normally allows and requested two "design-enhancement exceptions," it managed to overcome the final hurdle and win a favorable vote.

In approving the development, the council acknowledged the changes made by the applicant since the January review. These changes include less office space, more retail space and an increase of apartment units from 10 to 16. These include five affordable-housing units. The prior proposal included three.

Schwab also agreed in the waning moments of the hearing to designate these five apartments for affordable housing for 50 years rather than the 30 initially proposed -- a change that was proposed by Holman.

Because of the affordable-housing component, the project was able to take advantage of a state law that automatically grants density bonuses to developers. It also requested design exceptions that would allow a greater setback from the road, creating a larger sidewalk.

Though the council last month took a stand against exemptions, the council majority agreed with Councilman Greg Scharff that in this case the exception is requested to comply with the council's explicit call for wider sidewalks, which makes the circumstances "extraordinary."

Councilwoman Liz Kniss said the project is "a tough one to vote for" because of the density and the exceptions, but she lauded it for providing more housing and responding to the council's direction in January.

Councilmen Pat Burt and Greg Scharff each thanked the developer for listening to the council's January instructions and adjusting the application accordingly. Councilman Marc Berman concurred that the applicant did "what's necessary to meet the criteria."

Dissenting council members, however, weren't swayed by the new economic analyses, which confirmed the conclusions of the earlier study. The city's consultant, Keyser Marston Associates, found that the density concessions requested are needed financially to provide affordable housing.

But the council's staunchest residentialists challenged the new economic analysis and argued that the building does not need the added density to build affordable housing units and still be economically feasible. DuBois said he was concerned about the fact that by approving the project, the city is setting a precedent for acceptable analyses.

"The key question is: Are the concessions necessary?" DuBois said. "From what I heard from different people, I don't think they are."

Council members also raised flags about the project's traffic impacts. Several speakers, including area residents, brought up concerns about the issue and spoke out against the project.

Chris Donlay, who lives in the adjacent Ventura neighborhood and who has been surveying the neighborhood's available parking, handed the council a map showing most blocks in his area are completely congested. Though the development would include an underground garage with 91 spaces, Donlay and others argued that this would not prevent workers in the new development from taking up street spots in the residential neighborhood.

"We are a parking lot," Donlay said, "We're already there."

Traffic was also a major theme of opponents, with several residents urging the council not to approve projects that would further deteriorate the area's traffic conditions. Barron Park resident Lydia Kou pointed to bottlenecks that already exist in the area during rush hour and suggested that cars will start relying on neighborhood streets, including bicycle boulevards on California and Margarita avenues.

A traffic study that showed that the project would not significantly affect traffic conditions did little to alleviate the council's anxieties. Schmid pointed to the myriad projects now being developed in the California Avenue area and stressed the importance of considering their "cumulative impacts" on area traffic before approving new projects.

Councilman Eric Filseth shared Schmid's concern about traffic. He also criticized the proposal for requesting design exceptions.

"I don't think it's a good process," Filseth said. "I think we should have a code that produces a good process so that we don't need variances. We're playing a game we shouldn't be playing."

Related content:

New 'density bonus' law put to immediate test

Skeptical Palo Alto council not sold on Page Mill development

Page Mill development to test Palo Alto's new affordable-housing law

Comments

19 people like this
Posted by Housing needs
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2015 at 7:46 am

16 new housing units and 5 BMRs


37 people like this
Posted by consultants
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2015 at 8:36 am

Why do we even bother hiring a professional staff and expert consultants when the likes of Tom Dubois throws theirs years of experience out the window and declares that he disagrees based on what "some people" told him. Some people, being PASZ? That's the way to run a city! Who needs statistics and data when we can just cite anonymous people and don't have to actually present real counter-arguments? Council, you're not there to re-do the homework of the staff. Nor would you ever be able to since you have zero education or experience in planning.


38 people like this
Posted by L'etat, c'est moi
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2015 at 9:12 am

"I don't think it's a good process," Filseth said. "I think we should have a code that produces a good process so that we don't need variances. We're playing a game we shouldn't be playing."

I think that Mr. Filseth's eagerness to "just follow the code" was exposed as a sham when he opposed the fully complying building at 429 University. We have a group that are simply opposed to new or different people. They want ample space for their cars, and want to protect their giant houses. Welcoming diversity or vibrancy? They oppose this at all costs.


26 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2015 at 9:14 am

it was interesting watching Sharf, Berman, Kniss and Wolbach protecting the developer. No surprises there.
Both Kniss and Scharff agreed that there were defects and mistakes in the design documents, bemoaned the increase in traffic at the worst intersection of the city, they really looked sincere. Then he voted to approve it.
You gotta love those two faced people.
And also Burt. Two faced is a compliment for someone with so many faces.


2 people like this
Posted by Bambi
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 16, 2015 at 9:34 am

I hope the city will install a roundabout at the corner of Page Mill Road and Park Boulevard. What happened with the sun deck, which I thought was a great idea?


30 people like this
Posted by 5th Generation
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

Can you say "gridlock"?


18 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

Some improvements were made such as replacing some office space with housing, adding two more below market apartments, bike lockers and GO passes.

However, the project is oversized and the concessions very excessive. The economic analysis was flawed at best. The $506K additional profit for the affordable housing version is not required to be credited to the developer but can be used to reduce concessions by that much. The low income apartments should be a simple add on to an existing project and the concessions for them offset, rather than comparing two completely separate projects to justify large concessions.

We are currently in the process of creating serious total gridlock at El Camino and Alma by allowing these oversized projects to be approved.

On a separate note, I thought the Design Exceptions to allow trees in front were fine, although its clear the garage entrance is too narrow.


42 people like this
Posted by vote
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2015 at 10:26 am

Just think how the result of so many votes like this would have been different if a hundred or so more people had gone to the polls to vote for Kou, allowing her, rather than Wolbach, to be the 4th CC winner. Next time, remember to vote!


33 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

mauricio is a registered user.

"vote" has pretty much took the words out of my mouth. When PAF candidate Cory Wolbach squeezed in by a few votes over Lydia Kou, the developers got an automatic, enthusiastic vote for any proposed development. i keep hearing now from people who voted from him, and they all say that he got their vote because he seemed so polite, soft spoken and "nice". They never bothered to find out what he actually stood for. Well, now they know, and they are tearing their hair out, because, when even the pro development guru, Liz Kniss, states that 'it was a tough one to vote for', Wolbach never questioned anything and as always, voted for a development project.

This development will cause a major gridlock in perhaps the already most gridlocked intersection in Palo Alto. Yes, elections have consequences, particularly votes based on emotions and sound-bytes.


15 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

"an increase of apartment units from 10 to 16. These include five affordable-housing units."

And what happens if the "apartments" wind up being de facto luxury office suites?

The building owner makes more money.

Our innocent little city council has been snookered again.


33 people like this
Posted by Snookered
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 16, 2015 at 11:09 am

Four small single family homes converted into a building that required 3 zoning concessions, 2 Design exceptions, a parking exception, and a loading zone around the block on a residential street.

It used the State Density Bonus law - a law designed to create more housing - and used NO housing density at all, the residential units met the current zoning and required no exception. ALL of the excetions were for commercial space.

Palo Alto will be a poster child for the allowing the worst abuse of the State Density Bonus Law, no city has done this. A law designed to increase residential density was completely subverted to create more office space and worsen the job-housing balance.

5 of our councilmembers delivered a huge Christmas gift to the property owner, when this should have been a great test case to uphold the intent of the law. The analysis was so contorted I don't think a judge in the land would have been fooled for a second.

If you watch the meeting, at the very end the developer agrees with no hesitation to change the BMR protection from 30 years to 50 years, completely changing the economics. Clearly they are making out like thieves on this one. The financial analysis was a joke. A joke on the people of Palo Alto.


15 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 16, 2015 at 11:30 am

I'd like to see the results of that traffic study that showed no significant affects. Let's have a look at that and then when the project is completed and fully occupied let's see how close the study comes to reality.


9 people like this
Posted by Michele
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 16, 2015 at 11:32 am

We are getting FIVE affordable housing units? Buena Viata has ten times that many and the City Council is going to allow it to be closed. Go figure.


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2015 at 11:40 am

A great day for helping the housing crunch in Palo Alto. 100+ more people seeking housing near their new job on Page Mill. But 13 new apartments for them! (Less any corporate ones of course.)

Great news for existing Palo Alto land investors. Yeah renters, not so much.


24 people like this
Posted by missing Kou
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

@vote @Mauricio
There is much more to this.The closeness of the vote between Kou and Wolbach in itself, and the pattern of results as they came in as reported by Doug Moran in his blog, should have led to a recount to clear the air at the least and given people confidence in the results. That never happened.
And if people regret their vote for Wolbach, that could and should apply equally to any of the other protect the status quo candidates who kept Kou off the Council.


15 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

>Even though the project proposed a higher density than the city's zoning normally allows and requested two "design-enhancement exceptions," it managed to overcome the final hurdle and win a favorable vote.

In approving the development, the council acknowledged the changes made by the applicant since the January review. These changes include less office space, more retail space and an increase of apartment units from 10 to 16. These include five affordable-housing units. The prior proposal included three.

So there it is: Provide 5 BMR apartments, and the zoning density gets increased. The subsidized housing special interests are the tail that wags the dog in Palo Alto.

Why not just tell the developers to live within the existing zoning, unless they propose something truly remarkable? BMR housing is a real drag on our city.


19 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm

"The financial analysis was a joke. A joke on the people of Palo Alto."


It certainly fooled the 5 rubes on the council, who seemed strangely eager to be fooled. Let's be sure to monitor their donor lists on past and future campaigns.


25 people like this
Posted by Mystified
a resident of University South
on Jun 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

The BMR housing density increase is required according to state law, so it's part of the property rights of the developer at this point, not an optional increase granted by city council. If you're against BMR housing (I'm not), you should complain to the state, not the city.

It appears the only discretionary exemption was allowing wider sidewalks in an area where the city council has called for wider sidewalks. Otherwise, this was just built according to city zoning as modified by state law.

To all of you who wanted to see this development rejected - what legal basis would you have wanted the council to use?


10 people like this
Posted by observer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


24 people like this
Posted by Ventura Resident
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 16, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Thank you to Cory Wolbach and the other council members who voted 'yes'! There was no legal basis for denying this development. A 'no' vote would've opened the city up to lawsuits.

The housing crisis has gone on for too long. I'm glad to have more homes and more commercial development in my neighborhood.


24 people like this
Posted by geraldine kinyon
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Putting residential housing on the busiest street corner in ALL OF Palo Alto is ______________________________. You can fill in the blank....Smog, noise and dangerous comes to my mind...............................................


40 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2015 at 4:40 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

We now have five council members who will vote for any development, all the time. The election of Cory Wolbach, who managed to snooker enough voters with his-let's all get along and be nice to each other I don't really want to specify my positions on development-is absolutely tragic for the present and future of Palo Alto as a town, not a dense urban metropolis, with relatively low population density and high quality of life. We may look at this absurd development, in the busiest corner of Palo Alto, as the beginning of the end of Palo Alto as we used to know it, replaced by the vision of PAF.


18 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm

"If you're against BMR housing (I'm not), you should complain to the state, not the city."

But will BMR housing really materialize there? What if it somehow morphs into premium office suites? Will the city monitor annually? Probably not. Even if it did check, what if the BMR became offices? Will they have to unconstruct the bonus part of the building? Probably nothing would happen, which is why the city will save its energy and never check in the first place.

The city of PA has a famously poor record of collecting on its side of these bargains. It knows that, but it remains strangely helpless anyway.


22 people like this
Posted by Last of the self reliant
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2015 at 5:09 pm

@Michele

"We are getting FIVE affordable housing units? Buena Viata has ten times that many and the City Council is going to allow it to be closed. Go figure."

So the city and county have allocated $20M+ of public funds for you and your group at BV to help buy it. What are you and your group doing to get the rest?


10 people like this
Posted by jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 16, 2015 at 6:35 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by observer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


37 people like this
Posted by Cory Wolbach
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 16, 2015 at 10:41 pm

Cory Wolbach is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

@jane, who copies and pastes the same absurdities in multiple threads: Exactly how many words did I speak during this agenda item last night?

@mauricio and @observer: On this item, my colleagues raised all the concerns I had. Why waste time repeating them? My positions are consistent with those I expressed in the 2014 campaign, during which I offered extensive explanations of my views on development to anyone willing to listen or engage in dialogue. Do you think radical misrepresentation of others (due to your own willful ignorance or politically-motivated dishonesty) helps your case or your credibility. If you would like to have a serious conversation about development in general, any specific project, or anything else relating to Palo Alto, you know how to reach me. I await your call.

@missing Kou: Doug dropped any questioning that the election was not clear. His words to me when I asked him about this, post election, were, "you won." It was indeed close, but insinuations of illegitimacy in this case are pure politics. Talk to Doug. BTW, some of my closest friends supported Lydia and myself. I didn't run against her.

@Vote: I don't think I liked this project any more than Lydia did. Were Lydia with us on the dais, I struggle to see how she would have changed the outcome (see below).

@Ventura Resident and Mystified: Thank you for recognizing the issue at hand. In a quasi-judicial decision, our choices are not merely dependent upon our preferences. I would have preferred that a prior Council had not rezoned the site to allow office space. I would have preferred that the state had put us in a bind. I'm glad somebody, Ventura Resident, was happy with the outcome, but I was not. Were there a viable option to oppose the project, I would have likely supported that. In the end, even my most ardently anti-development colleagues were unable to present justification for rejecting the project. Let's be clear: there was no alternative motion offered by anyone on Council, even those who voted no in protest.

@resident: See above.


16 people like this
Posted by Cory Wolbach
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 16, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Cory Wolbach is a registered user.

Corrections of typos in my previous comment:
1) Missing question mark at the end of my query to mauricio and observer.

2) "I would have preferred that the state had NOT put us in a bind."


32 people like this
Posted by The Quiet Majority
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2015 at 11:20 pm

@Cory: Thanks for your response and for calling it like it is.

All I can say is thank goodness the negative, uninformed, deliberately misleading and, in some cases, downright nasty views reflected on this thread reflect the attitude of no more than a tiny percentage of Palo Alto residents.

Let me add that I am quite confident this project will be a net plus for Palo Alto. We certainly need more housing in Palo Alto -- and affordable housing in particular. This project will replace four dilapidated houses that are an eyesore on one of our busiest streets with an attractive new project that will provide 16 new apartments, include 5 affordable units, plus some office space. What's wrong with that? Or, to put it another way, what would be better -- and realistic? Would I prefer a project that only contained affordable apartments? Sure. Is that realistic? Not a chance. Remember, the City's ability to dictate what can and cannot be built on that site (or any other site in the city) is limited. My guess is Palo Alto got the best result realistically possible for that site.


10 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 17, 2015 at 7:47 am

The traffic problems will be alleviated once Palo Alto and Peninsula cities develop Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along El Camino AND the connecting bus routes we'll need, running both north and south. When we develop our public transportation, workers and shoppers from out of town won't have to drive. Maybe we won't even need to own cars. There is only one solution to the traffic--since we are going to grow, we must have frequent buses and smart routes to serve everyone. At the same time we can reduce air pollution.


30 people like this
Posted by Consider the Rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2015 at 8:58 am

This project was a tough call, and I commend the council members for collectively doing their job to uphold our existing laws, working through the challenges and arriving at motion to pass it, especially if they didn't particularly like the project.

The fact is our area (not just Palo Alto, but the Peninsula and Bay Area as a whole) is a highly popular place to live and to work. We have a good problem that few other places in the country are lucky enough to have. But when supply is fixed for commercial, retail and residential space, supply and demand laws apply (gasp!) and prices go up for everything. So we all need to work constructively through our growing pains to achieve the right balance.

Personally, I'm glad to see more housing in this Page Mill project, and that the applicant worked to accommodate council's request. It's not enough, but that's less the fault of the evil "developer/architect/city council" trifecta and more a product of our currently inadequate zoning codes. Mixed use projects in PA have limits on residential square footage, and until we change that, we can't accommodate enough housing in any single mixed use project to net a "jobs/housing balance", much less change the overall regional housing shortage.

This project technically complies with our laws as they are currently written and I believe council did the right thing in approving it because there is no good legal cause to deny the application. It may not be exactly what we WANT collectively (ie more housing) but that's because our codes set certain incentives and limit others.

Electeds have a tough job and are obligated to uphold our existing laws. Before we shame our hard working elected officials for tough decisions, let's also consider the rules we have today and figure out how to make them better for us today, tomorrow, and our not so distant future.


5 people like this
Posted by observer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2015 at 9:59 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


16 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2015 at 11:01 am

This vote shows exactly which candidates were residentialists even if they claimed otherwise. In the next election, ignore the words coming out of their mouths and just look at their votes.


19 people like this
Posted by six of one
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2015 at 11:08 am

anonymous--just because a certain group of council members are anti-development [portion removed] does not mean they can circumvent the law. as stated numerous times, this development conforms to the regulations and their IS NO LEGAL BASIS to deny it's approval.


2 people like this
Posted by Politicians
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2015 at 12:03 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 17, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Cory, I apologise for my remark. It was a cheap shot. This is the only time I have ever posted the same words on two different threads, and I don't post under any other names.


8 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 17, 2015 at 1:42 pm

@Rose
I like your forward looking optimism but you used a key word, "once" the traffic alleviating measures are implemented. When?

I'm pretty sure none of the CC members have played the game "let's pretend". It would be a good learning experience and experiment if they did play it as "let's pretend I'm a commuter". The scenario...each of them (no carpooling) drive out to 101 and then drive to the Oregon Avenue Expressway exit heading west towards Stanford Research Park. And do this at between 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM on a weekday, just to make the experiment more interesting and real.

My dentist lives in Half Moon Bay. I saw her yesterday and asked if she's noticed a big difference in traffic from what it was 10 years ago. She said "Absolutely!" She said it takes her 30 minutes from the time she takes the Page Mill Rd exit off 280 until she gets to her office at the corner of Alma and California Ave. What is that, 5 miles, maybe 6 at the most?


So all the previous posters who talked about gridlock are right. We already have it and it will get even worse. I know it's not PA's problem alone to solve, but we can change zoning codes and should do so with urgency to not let these kinds of mixed use projects continue with no real relief for the housing shortage. We need more housing only projects, especially affordable, whatever that means in PA these days. But you don't see property owners and developers lining up at city hall with their plans, architect's drawings tucked under their arms, for those kinds of projects, do you? Of course not, and you won't. It's offices, offices, offices, cuz that's where the money is. Let someone else solve the traffic and parking problems that we helped create. Cities with lenient CC's (we love them) and they love us and really like what we have to offer.

I'm sure they're delighted by all the county and city's efforts, and our tax dollars, to save BV. Saving it will make a big dent in the affordable housing needs in our community but we still don't have a clue what the real final cost (not just the purchase price) will be, or if the Jissers even want to sell. But I think our good Samaritan supervisor, Joe, had already paved the way for a sale deal with them. He knows how to wheel and deal with taxpayer's money.

CC, just do the right things for our town, and I think you are all trying to do your best. We have a couple new members who seem to be good at analysis, it was sorely needed and we welcome them, and we have the idealists, how to make this a perfect world, well at least here in our small town. All you posters who have such hate built up against the other side, just stop it. You will win nobody, well maybe a dozen or so, over to your side. It's just bitter vitriol, doesn't sound like good citizens that I know.

I voted, did you? I might have got a few wrong and you might have too. But the next election cycle can correct all that, and don't worry, with the pace things move in PA the next election cycle is just around the corner. Not too much more damage can be done before that...I hope.


2 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 17, 2015 at 3:18 pm

@The Quiet Majority

Everybody claims the support of The Quiet Majority, whatever side of the issue they may be on. The Quiet Majority, being quiet, never contradicts them. That's how I know The Quiet Majority opposes this development.


6 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 17, 2015 at 4:20 pm

@missing Kou wrote:

"And if people regret their vote for Wolbach, that could and should apply equally to any of the other protect the status quo candidates who kept Kou off the Council."

Wasn't it the voters who did that?

As for the Page Mill project, good! Now build a good portion of the 2,000 or so units of housing nearby (our commitment to ABAG) so the employees can walk or bike to work. California Avenue is nearby and would make a good location for new housing towers - restaurants, a couple of grocery stores, Fry's, and easy access to Caltrain.

@Roger Overnaut wrote:

"Everybody claims the support of The Quiet Majority"

OK, the Quiet Majority wants a Hancock Tower built in Barron Park. Now that should be interesting... ;-)


8 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm

@Consider the Rules wrote:

"But when supply is fixed for commercial, retail and residential space, supply and demand laws apply (gasp!) and prices go up for everything. So we all need to work constructively through our growing pains to achieve the right balance."

I agree with your conclusions, but disagree with one of your premises. The supply of residential units is not fixed. We don't get to do that, and are required by state law to plan for nearly 2,000 additional housing units over the next seven years.

Web Link

That is why the Anti Growth notion is a non-starter, at least in part. Anti-growth? Not going to happen. Well planned growth? It had better happen.


7 people like this
Posted by to Cory
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Cory, although, like you, Lydia Kou would probably also have voted for the project, she would undoubtedly NOT have voted for the exceptions. It's the exceptions that are the problem. This is why you and other PAForward members are so unpopular with longtime Palo Alto residents.


6 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

Marie is a registered user.

Why is there a time limit on the below-market-rate (BLM) units? Unless the building is torn down, I think the BLM units should continue being BLM units. If that is according to current code, then it should be changed. The extra density and traffic generated by this project will never go away. Why should the BLM be limited to 50 years? The need for BLM will certainly not go away in 50 years.


3 people like this
Posted by noparkingspaces
a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2015 at 5:19 pm

June 23, 2015
Density bonus law amendment to change to no parking required, no parking minimums, if developer requests density bonus.
AB 744 by Chau and Gonzalez has passed the Assembly and will be heard in the Senate Transportation and Housing on June 30. AB 744 adds a long, non-required section on legislative intent on density bonus, mixed-use, eliminating vehicle parking, and declares that infill development and excessive parking requirements is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair.

The League of California Cities requested a "No" vote on the Assembly Floor on June 3.

Among the reasons listed in the League of California Cities alert for voting no on this bill that will remove parking minimums:
AB 744 offers a complete exemption for senior housing, 62-plus, with no connection to transit.
AB 744 offers a complete exemption for housing for lower (80 percentage of median) income, near transit.
If you oppose this bill contact your State Senator and the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee before the hearing date of June 30.


3 people like this
Posted by nowhere to go
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 5, 2015 at 8:41 am

yes, it will be loads of fun sitting in traffic all day as the project progresses to the finish line. you think waiting in line while the Oregon Expressway fiasco took place--wait until this project gets started. might as well not even use Oregon Expressway for the next year to year and a half while all the construction vehicles and "funeral" trucks line up on both sides of the street waiting to take dirt and debris away from the construction site. one of the busiest intersections in PA just came to a stand still-- and while we are thinking about it, probably best not to use El Camino during this construction project either--more vehicles and trucks on El Camino idling by while waiting for their role.

And, oh by the way, when it is all finished---where do you think you will be going then? Now, you will be dealing with all of the added cars going to and from the new buildings. good luck Palo Alto-- you have just created the biggest mess yet for our citizens. Have you no conscience??


1 person likes this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 5, 2015 at 1:20 pm

And emitting MTs of CO2 in the process. Where's this towns purported "green" commitment?


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

It takes 10,000 cars running 24/7 for a year to emit one megaton CO2.


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Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 5, 2015 at 11:25 pm

"It takes 10,000 cars running 24/7 for a year to emit one megaton CO2."

MT is one metric ton in CO2 emissions context.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 6, 2015 at 12:43 am

Whoops, sorry for the confusion. This belongs more in the climate change threads, but I usually see MT and GT informally as mega and gigatons, whether metric or US units. Technically it looks like the official metric units use a lower-case t, as Mt and Gt.

Difficult for the layman to imagine a billion tons of air, until one tries to multiply 14 pounds per square inch times the number of square inches on earth's surface.


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