Faced with criticism from the surrounding neighborhood, the developer looking to build houses on a much contested Maybell Avenue property has agreed to scale down the proposal.
The new plans, which the developer Golden Gate Homes submitted last month, calls for 23 units on the 2.46-acre site at 567 Maybell Ave., seven fewer than it had proposed in its initial application and one fewer than it had in its previous proposal, which won a mixed reception from neighboring properties.
The development would be built at the site that the city had once hoped to use for affordable housing for seniors. In 2013, voters rejected in a referendum an approved proposal by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation that called for 60 units of low-income housing for seniors in the interior of the property and 12 single-family homes along Maybell and Clemo avenues.
While that proposal required a zone change to enable the desired density, the new one does not. Most of the property is zoned for multi-family residential use, though a small portion along Maybell is zoned for single-family residential use. Thus, the proposal would not require reviews by the Planning and Transportation Commission or the City Council unless the project is appealed or requires an Environmental Impact Report, city planning Jodie Gerhardt said.
The only board that would have to approve the proposal is the Architectural Review Board, which would then make a recommendation to the planning director. Gerhardt said the review in front of the architectural panel has not yet been scheduled but noted that there will be a community meeting to discuss the project before it goes to the board.
Site plans for the new proposal show five two-story homes along Maybell Avenue and 18 homes clustered throughout the rest of the site. A new L-shaped road cuts through the cluster, with nine homes tucked inside the L and the other nine spread out over its periphery.
The Maybell homes would have a total of 20 parking spaces, two covered and two uncovered spaces per unit. There would also be 45 parking spaces for the rest of the homes, which includes two for each unit and nine designated for guest parking.
Altogether, the proposal would bring 53,451 square feet of new development to the former orchard site, the maximum allowed under zoning regulations, according to the site plan.
The new plan includes one fewer unit than the plan that the developer presented to the neighbors in February. At that time, the 24-unit proposal drew criticism from some residents who argued that the project is too dense and that its traffic impacts would be too significant.