News

Developer scales down plan for contested Maybell Avenue site

New proposal calls for 23 new homes on former orchard property

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.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by okay
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:48 am

This sounds rather cookie cutter and a good addition to the neighborhood.


15 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm

I think this is a promising step, but - Do these meet minimum lot sizes? I don't see any yards or open space on the plans.

One of the big problems on this side of town is that all the development has gone on with the Council ignoring that we are owed open space under the City codes along with development. Where is the open space the City code requires? While everyone says they care about the emotional health of kids, it seems to stop where they have to honor the laws regarding land use.

Where do the cars come out from the development? Cars should come out at Clemo only. Lest anyone forget the biggest concerns for the parents who started the referendum was safety and traffic.


33 people like this
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Thankyou Palo Alto residents for not believing the threats that the new development would be worse than the 72 residences proposed by Measure D.

The 23 residences now proposed proves the deceit presented when Mayor Greg Scharf told us at the Leaugue of Women Voters' debate that "if you don't approve this development, I promise you that future alternatives will be far worse and far more dense."

I guess it is built into our cultural values that new development justifies deceipt and fear.

Let's use this moment of 20/20 hindsight to clearly see the character of the politely forces that wish to impose a growth agenda on the neighborhoods. We can approach our future, which includes reasonable growth, with a plan that is based on integrity and transparency.

Best regards,

Tim Gray


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2015 at 2:37 pm

"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."

Look out, ma'am. The ARB don't like community input, and it will reject as too pedestrian anything the community favors.


4 people like this
Posted by @Questions
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 3:51 pm

There is ample open space in this neighborhood. Juana Briones Park is 4.1 acres and directly across from the site.


1 person likes this
Posted by Bruce
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

The developer's rendering looks like ticky-tacky little boxes to me. Is this subsidized housing? Not something I would want in my neighborhood.

Wait, this is my neighborhood.


17 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm

@@Questions from Midtown,

You say that because the families on this side of town don't deserve the same amenities or honoring of the City code as other parts of town? They are increasingly cut off by development impacts/traffic etc, and need adjacency in amenities same as anywhere else.

Juana Briones Park is 4 acres?

Rinconada is 19 acres with a community swimming pool and tennis courts (that their taxes help pay for even though it is increasingly difficult to go there.)

Mitchell Park is 21.4 acres

The fact is, the CITY CODE states that residents are supposed to get open space for given amounts of development. We've gotten the development, where is the open space? Juana Briones park was pre-existing and doesn't satisfy the open space requirement for NEW development. It's also a tiny fraction of the size of the parks in other major areas of the city.

This side of town desperately needs community/public gathering/meeting space and amenities. The argument that Juana Briones Park is big enough rings pretty hollow when our taxes pay for far greater amenities in other major segments of town, all the while access is getting more difficult from the same development that is supposed to be offset by (city code required) additional open space.

Given the layout and physical characteristics, JB Park isn't even large enough for a real playing field, though it is heavily used anyway. The playground isn't even disabled accessible even though the school for the most physically disabled students in the district is right across the street (but then, this town is just becoming increasingly hostile to the disabled everyday).

A high percentage of the town's children go to schools over here, and yet the kids have almost no place to go outside of school. Now that the bowling alley is gone, there's really no place for kids to go if they don't want their kids crossing back and forth across El Camino, Alma, the railroad tracks, and up El Camino Way or Arastradero, in the dark no less (during the school year) if they wan to let them be independent. A lot of kids just basically go to Walgreen's if they want to go do something.


5 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Yes, more ticky-tacky little boxes for Our Town...


4 people like this
Posted by Be Careful What You Wish For
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Rinconada and Mitchell Parks are large spaces, and are also overrun by non-residents every weekend. Mitchell Park hosts crowds of people who stay late into the night, being loud, until someone calls the police to investigate, and also hosts many festivals and music events which subject the neighborhood to loud music and sometimes parking issues.

Want to trade for "not enough open space?" I'd say it's a different, but equal playing field. Enjoy your small park, and the peace and quiet you enjoy.


6 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:25 am

@Wish,

We get out-of-towners at the small park we have, too. We'll take having a community meeting space/community orchard in addition any day.

In case it escaped your notice, the orchard is only about 2.5 acres. If it were added to the current Juana Briones Park, it would mean:

Juana Briones Park 6.5 acres, including saving ~100 established trees (think drought)
Rinconada 19 acres
Mitchell Park 21.4 acres

Still miniscule by comparison, but the added space would make it possible to have some desperately-needed community space . I am guessing if you put it to a vote over hear, your objection would seem pretty silly and sentiment is pretty strong to save the orchard/that we need community space. (You sound like a rich person admonishing a poor person about the perils of having enough money.)


4 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:29 am

" I'd say it's a different, but equal playing field."

Actually, no, it's not equal playing field. Not by a long shot.


9 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:16 am

@ Questions

@Be Careful What You Wish For said...

"Rinconada and Mitchell Parks are .<clip> .. overrun by non-residents every weekend.... hosts crowds of people who stay late into the night, being loud, until someone calls the police ..... also hosts many festivals and music events which subject the neighborhood to loud music and sometimes parking issues...<clip>.. Enjoy your small park, and the peace and quiet...."

This is absolutely true! I used to live there and it has always been a problem. Even back when I was a kid growing up. The loud adult parties, alcohol, fights, police calls, etc.

From what I've seen and heard from the Maybell community/coalition, and what I know as a 50+ year resident of Palo Alto, you do NOT want to live with the consequences of a larger park and/or open space in your neighborhood. Keep up the good fight, and keep it small.


5 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:31 am

@Questions

Also, since the lot in question is private property anyway, the city has no ability the control the development of the lot as a park. The developer can legally develop the lot per the Zoning in place at time of the purchase. The current development proposal is compliant with that zoning (per the article) so there is no legal basis for you to stop it.

What your interest (park/open space) requires, is for the city to buy the land from the owner and then make it a park/open space. Unfortunately,
1. The city council is too busy buying a trailer park down the road from you, and will spend all its money to do so. and
2. the city council hates your community after the Measure D debacle, and will not lift a finger to help you. But I'm sure you already know that.


2 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

The city can change a zoning up until the point that the builder gets the permit from the city to start construction. There is no guarantee or vested right when you own or buy a property that the zoning can't be changed. Not that I'm suggesting that the city will step in.

Also the comment "the city council hates your community" is a little out of date. If you hadn't noticed we have had an election with new council members who are interested in balancing the impacts of new development with what our infrastructure can bear and not so inclined as some present and past council members to give developers an automatic pass.


3 people like this
Posted by Be Careful What You Wish For
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

@Questions:

You're reading much more into my post than is there and your characterization of me is way off the mark.

I think it would be very desirable to keep the orchard as is and I loathe the thought of cutting down trees. But my understanding is that the site will be developed whether we like it or not. Have you started a campaign to have the city buy it and keep it a park, or are you just flaming at innocent people on this forum?


4 people like this
Posted by NancyK
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2015 at 1:17 pm

A number of us are concerned about the lack of a community center on the west side of El Camino.

During the school year, the students congregate on the sidewalks in front of Walgreens (corner of Maybell and El Camino), pouring down Maybell and Los Robles to the Walgreens. It would be great if they had a teen center, such as the one at the Mitchell community center.

The other Barron Park constituencies would sure also enjoy a community center too.

The funds being used to purchase the Buena Vista mobile home park land can't be used for a community center. Those funds are developers' fees, expressly designated for affordable housing.


4 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Right now, the City is revising the Comprehensive Plan which will guide future development throughout Palo Alto.

Now is the time to contact City Council and express your desires. This email address will send your correspondence to all nine members: city.council@cityofpaloalto.org

You may not get satisfaction, but your words are more likely to receive attention via direct email than Town Square.


24 people like this
Posted by south side resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 23, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Golden Gate Homes bought the property. They are looking to turn a profit. Unless the City or neighborhoods come up with a way to buy the property from them and give Golden Gate Homes the profit they are looking to make, then discussing any other use of the property is moot.

What is of great concern is that the proposed design puts all the traffic from the majority of homes (18 out of the 23) right onto Arastradero via Clemo at a VERY critical intersection. At that very location there is the fire station, the mid block cross walk with its safety island, and off set streets into two landlocked neighborhoods.

In addition, there is an access point to the Tan Apartments that also uses Clemo in the same location......and of course all the school children on bikes that cross that roadway during the school year. This additional traffic turning both left and right out of Clemo onto Arastradero is not only dangerous but it will make access into and out of the neighborhoods to the south side of Arastradero almost impossible.

Golden Gate Homes consulted with neighbors from all the adjacent neighborhoods. Those on the south side expressed their concern about the traffic flow but were willing to share the traffic burden with those on the north side by having an ingress/egress from the new development at both Maybell and Clemo/Arastradero. That way, people needing to travel east could exit at Maybell and make a right turn while people heading west would exit at Clemo/Arastradero and turn right. This would eliminate the need to turn left at either access point and make it safer for everyone.

Unfortunately those on the north side were not willing to make any compromise. They wanted Maybell to receive none of the resulting traffic. Being less considerate and more vocal, Golden Gate Homes acquiesced to their demands and put the major traffic load on to Arastradero via Clemo.

What the residents to the north of Arastradero don't realize is that by not being considerate of their neighbors to the south, they will actually be encouraging more people to drive up Maybell to access Arastradero via the light at Coulombe. That will be the only way we on the south side will be able to make the turn into our neighborhoods. The net result will probably be more cars on Maybell then would have otherwise been experienced if the traffic load from the new development were shared.




8 people like this
Posted by Ready for an appeal?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:39 am

It looks to me like the developer may be headed toward an appeal because he is unwisely bending to the pressure of a small, vocal minority. South Side Resident makes good points worth considering. The current traffic circulation plan is poorly planned--designed in knee jerk reaction to a few noisy immediate neighbors--rather than systemically planned to address the needs of the whole surrounding area.

The number of single family homes is a given--an unhappy result of Measure D--but the traffic circulation plan is not a given.

The matter of traffic circulation is highly controversial as we heard at the community meeting, and should go to PTC and Council. The developer is NOT entitled to decide the circulation plan for this denser project where it interacts with public rights of way.

This article reads like a public relations article for the developer and a few of the vocal immediate neighbors who want to get their way. The plan does not serve surrounding neighborhoods well.

Mr. Sheyner's reporting is usually more balanced. I'm hoping and trusting that he's planning to write a follow-up with the alternative viewpoints.


Like this comment
Posted by akka
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:12 am

So barely a third of the density we could have had under the original proposal. What a waste. Not to mention that it now includes 65 parking spaces (!) for only 23 units. We have the worst housing shortage in the country, the city is underdeveloped and crushingly unaffordable, we desperately need more places for people to live (and don't need more places for cars to park), and instead we get the opposite. Not a surprise, but still incredibly disappointing.


11 people like this
Posted by Hypocrisy alert!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:29 am

Funny how the commenter above from old Palo Alto, the least sense and least impacted neighborhood in the city, is all for piling density into a "not so elite" neighborhood. Why not adress your prodessed concern for a shortage of housing by rezoning old Palo Alto to rm15 and allowing developers to but the big lots with their giant wasted lawn spaces as they come on the market and address the housing shortage that way. I imaging the tone of the comments coming from old Palo Alto would be somewhat different when it's you're own neighborhood that is impacted.


19 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

@Hypocrisy alert!: Good post! The elite neighborhoods always like to speak from Mt. Olympus...unless their mountain has to pay the price. Been going on for decades in Palo Alto. Going forward, all new proposed high density subsidized housing should go only in the elite neighborhoods.


13 people like this
Posted by Cheryl Lilienstein
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Thank you other posters for asking that there be some equity in city services distribution. Those living west of Alma have little to be proud of with regard to how the city spends our tax dollars.

Correction for Gennady: the applicant is asking for a zoning change from RM15 to Village Residential. So according to Jodi Gehrhardt who was the planner responsible for the previous plan, the entire plan is "discretionary" and NOT simply subject to an ARB ruling. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The new planner in charge of this project is Sheldon Ah Sing
sheldon@mplanninggroup.com

Prior to Mr Sing taking over, on July 14, I spent some time reviewing the plans at city hall.
I left sticky notes on the plans for Ms Gehrhardt to consider:
My concerns are tiny lots that use the centers of roadways as property lines for the purpose of setbacks (I believe this is not permitted by zoning regulations), and lack of floor to area information disclosure on the plans (which one would expect should be a requirement when filing for a permit: otherwise it's a waste of staff time and expensive for taxpayers: instead of applicants paying architects to do those calculations, OUR city staff spends time doing it, and bills far less than architects would, I expect, so....no wonder there is a continuing demand for MORE city employees!)

Anyway, the plan results in a packed neighborhood similar to Alma Village. And more traffic onto what should be safe routes to schools, especially Arastradero which is already a nightmare.

Dear Sheldon,
I have some questions about the project.
— As proposed, who is responsible for the roadways? Are they all wide enough?
— Can you tell me whether the zoning code allows property lines to include roadways and if so, where in the zoning code this is allowed?
— What is the FAR and site coverage for the new Maybell project? As I recall, the developer claims 31% site coverage, yet for each individual parcel this is (using the eyeballing method) not the case, and I couldn’t find the calculations for floor area for each of the floorpans…
— Also, are streets allowed to be used as “open space” or for site coverage calculations or FAR?
— RE: definitions of usable open space and private open space: how are they different? What counts, what doesn’t and where to find that in the code?



2 people like this
Posted by Eileen Wright
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 25, 2015 at 1:47 pm

"Going forward, all new proposed high density subsidized housing should go only in the elite neighborhoods."

But surely excluding your own, Mr. Laughton.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2015 at 1:52 pm

"... entire plan is "discretionary" and NOT simply subject to an ARB ruling."

Then the city council must pass an ordinance to specifically enable the project, which means it is referendable. Measure D+ here.


3 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 25, 2015 at 6:39 pm

>But surely excluding your own, Mr. Laughton

I sure don't want any more of it in College Terrace (btw, CT is not an elite neighborhood). Surely, though, you could get your neighbors in Crescent Park to demand to have it there. Perhaps you can organize the effort, Eileen?


8 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Greenacres II has square footage property values as high as most of the elite neighborhoods with the exception of (I forget which) Old Palo Alto or Crescent Park. And yet we also have apartments on the main streets that often have vacancies and have vacancies now, and it's not because they're outrageously priced in this area. This town has often had BMR units that have gone empty for long periods of time, including during that Maybell referendum.

The manufactured crisis - and the idea that somehow the entire housing crisis of the Bay Area needed to be solved on the backs of a single lot in a single neighborhood already more impacted by development than most -- was all about ensuring no one got up in arms about cutting down all those trees in the orchard like they did over the lesser trees on California Avenue. It worked even though the rezoning didn't, much to the previous Council's surprise.

I'm still wondering about the ethical questions surrounding conflicts of interest in the City not purchasing that property noncompetitively and Golden Gate Homes having such a close relationship with Candace Gonzales through her husband.


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Cheryl Lilienstein is carrying out due diligence in searching out possible legal deficiencies in the proposed plan. Golden Gate Homes's architects have had a good long time to work on the details of this project. It would be surprising if they were tripped up by inattention to important matters that would render all their planning time and expense worthless. If this plan for 23 detached single family homes falls through, will the next proposal be in the direction of the 16 single family homes on standard R-1-sized lots advocated at the community meeting months ago. Or could it go in the direction of multi-family housing?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Maybell would see little change in traffic from the project with five homes sharing three driveways. Currently each of the existing four homes has its own driveway. Arastradero, however, would have 18 additional households' worth of cars entering and exiting from the project. Whether that is a significant increase or not will no doubt be disputed.

The elusive orchard/community center deal is still a possibility, I suppose. How much pressure is city hall getting to pull together the millions needed to purchase the property and the additional millions needed to build the center and maintain a program there?
















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6 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:07 pm

@Jerry Underdal,

Probably the only way the orchard would possibly end up being saved is if there was something wrong with the contract with Golden Gate homes - something about the sale that invalidated it, for example. In that event, I would assume the City could purchase it for the $16 million or $18 million, or whatever was in the previous contract giving them right of refusal. Then the houses would be sold, probably for at least $10 million, and the remaining orchard would be a $6 million or $8 million purchase, a steal for that amount of land in this town. I believe there was an appraisal from the City that set the value of the orchard itself at around $6 million.

Another possibility is if there are more specific tools to evaluate City systems rather than development in isolation, that allowed a better look at impacts and cumulative impacts, and there was some reason related to safety or some other existing rule or condition that would then limit the development of that property and make it uninteresting to develop. There has been a great deal of building over the zoning in that general area, the traffic on Arastradero and cut through traffic in the neighborhood hasn't escaped most people's notice. There are rules about development and impacts on schools, bike corridors, etc. Arastradero was never supposed to be a major artery, the City even describes it as a residential arterial. As you say, it will be interesting to see what happens. I

Adding a light at Clemo has been suggested by neighbors for a long time in order to help manage the traffic there. If it were tied to the light at Coulomb and the fire station had control over it, it could improve safety and traffic flow. But it does put an awful lot of lights on what is supposed to be a residential street.


6 people like this
Posted by south side resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 26, 2015 at 7:37 am

@ Jerry Underdal,

You say: "Maybell would see little change in traffic from the project with five homes sharing three driveways."

I beg to differ. There are upwards of one hundred fifty households on the south side of Arastradero who will consider using Maybell in order to access the light at Coulombe so they can safely get across Arastradero and then make a turn into their landlocked neighborhoods.

In addition, as the Clemo/Arastradero intersection can not safely handle the additional load of 18 households at commute time, especially if they are looking to travel eastbound, the suggestion was put out there that a "right turn only" could be used at commute hours. A right turn only would help but do realize, those residents of the Maybell project who need to travel eastbound will make the right on Arastradero, then turn right on Coulombe and then right again on Maybell in order to successfully head eastbound.

So, the net result will be that they will be traveling on Maybell anyway, with or without a direct access point on to Maybell from the new development......and they will be traveling a longer distance on Maybell than they would otherwise have had to if they could have used an access driveway at the east side of the complex.

Either way there will be more traffic on Maybell. How much more will be determined by the number of access points into and out of the new Maybell complex.








8 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2015 at 10:00 am

@south side residents,

All valid points. Residents here have been so impacted by the previous City Council overdeveloping (meaning, exceeding zoning in so many places) without regard to the livability, safety, or future development potential of existing properties would be impacted.

I think we need to demand adequate systems tools to allow us all to debate specific impacts. This should have been done during the prior Maybell debates. The City has various policies and codes - open space to offset development, greater scrutiny of developments impacting school commute routes -- and yet, no analytical or accepted way to evaluate those or enforce them.

One of the new Councilmembers, Eric Filseth, had come up with a calculation for how much open space the City owed us just from the development in the pipeline. And proposed we needed systems tools to analyze development. Has any of that been implemented? Also, the state office of research and development has rules and guidelines about Comprehensive Plans, including traffic circulation and noise. How has the development to date violated the existing comp plan? What is your recourse as citizens?

I don't have answers today, only questions. Greenacres I residents are indeed heavily impacted by the traffic on Arastradero. Some kind of community space or orchard (with meeting space) that could be walked to at the Maybell site was always the lowest-traffic option given that critical location, and the most needed civic amenity on this side of town. You all fought off the City from putting a road from El Camino through your neighborhood and also fought off giant apartments in the extension - Is there anyone willing to lead to save the orchard and thus mitigate the development impacts there? It could solve a lot of civic problems in one bite, but won't be easy.


Like this comment
Posted by Be Careful What You Wish For
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2015 at 10:17 am

@akka:

>> We have the worst housing shortage in the country...

No, we have the worst over-crowding in the country. Why do people think "If we come, they will build it?" Why do companies think they should keep adding jobs here, hiring workers from outside the area, with no concern for where people will live? And why do some people think we should sacrifice our quality of life and keep packing in people just because they want to live here?

@Cheryl:

Regarding the use of streets as part of the property to calculate the setbacks and FAR, I believe a comparable precedent might be flag lots (which the city no longer allows to be built). Flag lots us the driveway width as part of the setback, but the "flagpole" portion of the lot cannot be used to calculate the FAR. If the same concept is used with this site, they would allow the streets to be used to meet setback requirements, but not to calculate the size of the homes that could be built.

Also, flag lots are privately owned and where more than one property owner uses the driveway it requires an easement, and the maintenance of the driveway falls to the neighbors to "work it out" amongst themselves. I suspect in this case, all fo the property will remain private (i.e. none will be handed over to the city to be city-owned and maintained roads) and an HOA will be set up to maintain the private roads/easements.

I don't work for the city, that's just my layman's belief.


8 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm

@Questions:

>Greenacres II has square footage property values as high as most of the elite neighborhoods with the exception of (I forget which) Old Palo Alto or Crescent Park

Lest you should forget, perhaps you should refresh your memory with: Esther Clarke, Palo Alto Hills, Leland Manor/Embarcadero.

Any future high density subsidized housing should only be considered for those PA neighborhoods. Of course, that would mean that no more such housing is ever built in Palo Alto, because the elites don't want it in THEIR vicinity. They prefer that it only gets dumped on the non-elite neighborhoods.


2 people like this
Posted by @Craig Laughton
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2015 at 1:16 pm

I would actually be in favor of placing "high density subsidized housing" in College Terrace. More specifically, in one particular block of College Terrace.

(And College Terrace not an "elite neighborhood"? Yeah, right.)


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2015 at 1:18 pm

"...that would mean that no more such housing is ever built in Palo Alto, because the elites don't want it in THEIR vicinity. They prefer that it only gets dumped on the non-elite neighborhoods."

Every R1-er wants such housing to be out of their sight in ghettos by the train tracks. The code phrase is "put it near transit by the tracks."


9 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm

> The code phrase is "put it near transit by the tracks."

Curmudgeon, I appreciate your point. There is much 'code' in PA politics. However, if any new high density subsidized housing is put in elite neighborhoods, remote from the tracks, it would be a simple matter of running shuttle buses on a regular basis. Surely, the elites should support that, right?


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2015 at 5:35 pm

@Craig

I've said this several times before, but with your kind forebearance:

R1 is the most logical site for future mass housing development. Our land utilization is the least efficient there, especially in CP and OPA. Mixed density development works very well where it exists, like around downtown and CalAve and CT.

Bottom line: We all share our living space. No pseudo-New-Urbanist ghettos "by the tracks."


7 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2015 at 5:57 pm

@Curmudgeon

>R1 is the most logical site for future mass housing development

That would require up-zoning. What do you think the odds are of up-zoning CP or OPA or Esther Clarke or PA Hills? I think there would be a prairie fire rebellion, but I could be wrong. It would be good to hear from these folks on this forum.

To your general point: Why should Palo Alto want to densify?


20 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2015 at 7:32 pm

@Craig Laughton,

"To your general point: Why should Palo Alto want to densify?"

Also excellent points. Allowing some densification seems to be like wanting to be somewhat pregnant. The people who liv there see no reason the rest shouldn't be like that and it is indeed a slippery slope.

One thing that really bothers me about all of this is that I've traversed this country as a child and more recently, and the decline has been startling. Those who want to force this place to keep densifying and ignoring the fact that we are a large nation with many urban areas in need of revitalization, where the development would be most welcome. It's smarter and better for our nation to have many vibrant hubs of innovation. There are other up-and-coming areas, including in California. Although environmental reasons get used as a cover for the overdevelopment, it's not really smart environmentally to overdevelop a place particularly one with limitations on water. Larger populations mean bringing in resources from farther and farther away.

I agree, there is no reason to ruin this place just because more people want to live here, want to live here now, and don't want to pay the dues most everyone else did to live here.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2015 at 11:10 am

"I think there would be a prairie fire rebellion..."

Roger that. It's always easy to be a New Urbanist outside one's own backyard. At home, ...

"To your general point: Why should Palo Alto want to densify?"

Short answer: A few well-placed individuals would make lots of money building it.

I'm NOT advocating for densification. I'm only pointing out the most logical place for it if someone else demands it. Maybe they will think again.

More likely they will remain on mantra: "by the tracks near transit (over there, not in my backyard)."


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Posted by sea reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 28, 2015 at 6:11 am

Good move to scale down.

respectfully


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

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