Housing eyed near busy Palo Alto intersection

Developer proposes a 60-apartment project at El Camino Real and Page Mill Road

After seeing its initial bid rebuffed by Palo Alto officials, the development team looking to construct a four-story building at the bustling intersection of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road is having another go.

This time, however, the project is focusing on housing, rather than office space, according to plans obtained by the Weekly.

Under the new proposal, which the City Council is set to consider after it returns from its summer break, the former Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) parking lot on the northeastern corner of the intersection would be occupied by a building with 60 apartments. Half of these would be studios; the other half would be one-bedroom units.

The proposal is a marked departure from the plan the property owner presented to the council last September. Though the earlier proposal included four residential units and retail space on the ground floor, the bulk of it consisted of office space. Given the council's recent efforts to cap new office development and limit traffic congestion, that proposal was soundly rejected, with council members saying that they'd prefer to see more housing at the prominent site near the city's geographic center.

At the Sept. 15, 2015, meeting, Councilman Cory Wolbach said he would be worried about having a development that would bring in more jobs than housing units -- a major issue in a city that has about three jobs for every employed resident. He encouraged the developer, Pollock Financial Group, to find a way to put as many residential units in the site as it can.

Other council members offered similar views, with Councilman Marc Berman citing the city's "acute housing crisis" and both Councilman Greg Scharff and Councilwoman Karen Holman saying they would support housing at the site.

The council has plenty of leverage when it comes to this particular parcel. Because it is zoned for a "public facility," the developer needs a zone change before proceeding with any kind of residential, commercial or mixed-use project. Last year, the council summarily rejected the proposal from Pollock to rezone the site to "community commercial" and encouraged the developer to seek a different zoning designation, one that would allow a high volume of residential units.

While the new plans submitted by Pollock don't specify what type of zoning the developer will request, the decision to devote most of the project to housing suggests that it could be RM-40, which allows the highest density of residential use. The downside of this designation, from the council's standpoint, is that it does not allow for ground-floor retail, a feature that council members have been strongly encouraging in recent years.

In that sense, the absence of ground-floor retail at one of the most visible and bustling corners in Palo Alto may prove to be the new project's biggest drawback. During the September discussion, both Holman and Scharff said they would like to see retail there, even as they acknowledged that the zoning would not allow it.

In the past, the council addressed issues such as this by approving "planned-community" zones, which allow the city and the developer to bypass certain zoning regulations to achieve projects that provide public benefits. But with public furor rising over new developments (and the failure of some developers to deliver the promised public benefits), the council agreed in 2014 to impose a moratorium on planned-community projects.

While the new proposal lacks retail, it does offer the council something that members have been clamoring for: small apartments catering to young professionals. The 30 studios in the plan are each 501 square feet. The one-bedroom apartments will range from 545 square feet to 710 square feet.

The development would also include an underground garage with 45 parking spaces, some of them created through the use of a stacked parking system, according to plans obtained by the Weekly.


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32 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of University South
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:34 am

Excellent! More housing would be welcome. Too many people in Palo Alto are having trouble with high housing prices. That's why the city survey found 76% worried about housing prices, while only 30% worried about "too much growth and development".

78 people like this
Posted by Realist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:34 am

Here's a few other drawbacks. Any project right now that goes through with higher density housing is going to reopen the aspirations of those trying to evict the Buena Vista residents, because it renews the hope of building greater density there, i.e., of profiting from removing the residents. If the Council nevertheless approves higher density housing, it will make them out to be giant hypocrites trying on the backend to sink the effort to save BV even as the claim for public consumption to be for it.

Th second problem is the elephant in the room for far too long. If proponents of increased housing are correct, that more housing will drop rental prices, this increases the ability of people inclined to rent a really small place in otder to send their kids to Palo Alto schools. Peoplebuy a nice place somewhere else, then rent an apartment in Palo Alto for the ddress and a place to crash during the week.

We're building houses based on suppositions that prove wrong time and again. The Arbor Real upzoning was justified based on saying only retired people and seniors would want to live there (it's mostly people wanting to rent a newer place near schools, and the opening of it coincided with Briones elementary filling). The need for lower-cost senior housing was deemed so great, and yet, 20 units in a senior living facility that could have housed 40 seniors went empty for years because the well-meaning planners figured if they built it, it would meet the need. When they finally looked at what would fill the units, it was RAISING the asset limits (seniors with low income who wanted to live there had too much not too little equity).

We're told we have to build more housing because we have a jobs housing imbalance. But building more small apartments is only going to temporarily make the Neo-yuppies happy - remember what the yuppies did? They got older and wanted single family homes. Building very small apartments is basically chumming for more people to fill our schools that we are already overcrowding without a reasonable plan to solve. We have taxed many of our house-poor residents to the point of pain and are now asking them to pay for the wish list of overprivileged NeoYuppies and their developer lords. (A wishlist that will still not be filled no matter what or they would be in Manhattan or Hong Kong now.)

No, it's time we woke up and stopped the overdevelopment bandwagon. Was the mental health crisis in our schools or the overcrowded classrooms not wake up call enough! Building new apartments means impacting the schools, period. We do not need more housing. We must come up with a plan to reduce the population of office workers coming to Palo Ato daily, a far more sensible and achievable goal. It is far easier for a few companies to move than to densify without regard to the infrastructure/costs/negative impacts of cramming in more housing. Reversing the mistake of allowing overbuilding of office space is better than compounding it.

96 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:41 am

60 apartments with only 45 parking spaces!

Does anyone else see a problem here.

Will these parking spaces be an additional rent, be allocated by lottery, or what? Even if these renters walk to work or the Caltrain station, they will still want a car for evenings and weekends.

I foresee a big problem here.

82 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:49 am

El Camino will look like a Tunnel in a couple of years.
The congestion is getting real bad.
City planners are not doing a good job. We dont need uncontrolled expansion.

73 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:52 am

Are the building more roads to handle the choked up, glut of endless Stop. Go. Stop-- Sit, inch forward-- Stop again traffic?


We don't need more housing crammed into every square inch of our city which some of us remember it when it was a nice town...

36 people like this
Posted by More Housing Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2016 at 11:01 am

We have neglected housing in this town for too long. We have traffic because everyone who works here has to live somewhere else, often 30, 60, 90 miles out. We can make room for a few more people in our city. Better to have people living on this parcel, contributing to our shops and retail, working nearby, than having an empty parking lot. Two thumbs up!

36 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2016 at 11:13 am

I think it is a good plan to have small housing units for 1 or 2 people to live in. When young, I lived in a studio or single bedroom apartment for many years with a partner. There are many single people living in large houses taking up valuable living space they do not need and that others could use.

However, 45 spaces for parking? With 30 studios (1 or 2 people, probably 1) + 30 1 bedroom (1 or 2 people, probably a mix) there is a need for more than 60 parking places, probably more like 75. I think it is unlikely that even those smart people who bicycle, or use the near by Caltrain, or El Camino bus will not have a car for other trips.

46 people like this
Posted by maggie
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 11:27 am

When my children were at school here I knew a San Mateo family that bought a 2-bedroom apartment to camp out with their three children during school nights, and then back to their home Friday to Monday. Later the apartment was sold for a profit! The school district requires a primary home in Palo Alto but doesn't have the staff to keep track.
Parents make great sacrifices to enroll their children in the Palo Alto school district, If any or al of these new units are to be rentals, I believe the law does not allow property owners to restrict occupancy to adults only.

Parking is totally inadequate. If car ownership is restricted who is going to check up on that? Park in the neighborhood and nobody is the wiser.

63 people like this
Posted by ZhN
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2016 at 11:35 am

I thought the site was ~19,500 sqft. How does RM-40 result in 60 units on 0.45 acres? 60 units/0.45 acres = 133 units/acre. I don't know what zoning code these people are looking at, but I'm pretty sure RM-133 isn't in ours. This site is zoned public facility, let's keep it public facility not turn it into a public nuisance.

57 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 11:49 am

Parking in this area is already in short supply. By allowing a living facility that has fewer spaces than units, some of which might have 2 or more occupants, the problem will be exacerbated. Very soon residents will stop shopping in nearby stores because there is no place to park. This will drive out more of the already few locally owned shops.
We must also remember that people will use these apartments for a few years until they save enough for a home. What will happen in the next downturn? These places will stand empty.
Don't fall into the daveloper's trap.
We need more places to park for 3 or more hours.

16 people like this
Posted by better
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

60 new housing units will positively impact the housing to jobs imbalance, rather than exacerbating it as the previous proposal for new office space would have done. If they can tweak the proposal by adding ground-floor retail and include a 1:1 ratio of units:parking spaces, this would be a reasonable proposal IMO.

29 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:10 pm

El Camino Real => El Camino Ugly.
At least once all useful retail is gone there won't be any reason to drive down the canyon.

80 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Palo Alto does NOT need more housing, more people, more cars, added traffic. . .the City is too crowded as it is. Children don't need "Palo Alto Schools" to succeed. Call a halt to these big developers!

78 people like this
Posted by A neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm

45 parking spots for 60 units?!!!

This is a non starter. They need double that many spots.

12 people like this
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Be Positive is a registered user.

Something is going to get built on this lot. The choice is more offices with a tiny bit of housing or a pretty substantial amount of housing that would benefit the MANY offices nearby. The only downside I see is that lack of sufficient parking.

16 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2016 at 1:14 pm

This is step in better direction. It is not clear to be if this is all rental or condos. Either way I predict most units will be occupied "full-time" by occupants, others crash pads for SF residents, corporate leased for employees/guest, AirBNB speculation, etc, etc.

Re parking: The J. Paul Development Corp clearly stated best parking policy. These type of project in this specific location should not be approved without residential permit parking in place before occupancy. Furthermore, I advocate that tenants and property owner must agree that occupants of the building must not be eligible for non-resident parking permits. Renters and/or owners are explicitly agreeing to limit use of POV and must not create more competition for existing resident and Calif Ave workers who do not have sufficient parking capacity. Conditional use permit or some other mechanism must be placed on this project if and when it is approved by City Council

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Greater Miranda

on Jul 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

26 people like this
Posted by yes!
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 1:33 pm

I live right next to this site and I'm really looking forward to the ugly parking lot going away and having a nice new building there. This is right next to the Caltrain, right next to Stanford Research Park, and on top of a bus stop and the Marguerite shuttle. California Ave is already looking to put in a residential parking permit program here which would mean you can't park in the area without such a permit. If we do that and part of the development agreement is that residents can't apply for those permits, then it doesn't matter how much parking this development builds - you'll get towed if you try to park without a permit. And honestly, lots and lots of people work in the Stanford Research Park and would love to live nearby. Those people could easily walk, bike, or take the Marguerite to work. This is great and I'm so glad it's not going to be more office space.

The concerns about people using these apartments as crash pads for kids is really overblown. People aren't going to cram a family into a studio. That's just absurd and I'm not going to believe that for a minute. I've spent 13 years of my adult life without kids and myself and people like me need a place to live. Most people don't have kids and most people are waiting until their 30s to have them. If you never build studios and one bedrooms, what you're going to keep getting is a bunch of roommates sharing the larger homes throughout Palo Alto and then the neighbors will complain about people coming and going and parking on their streets. So you decide, would you rather people like me live with a bunch of roommates with no privacy in a big house in PA (and that house won't be available to a family) or would you rather people like me live in a decent space I can call my own?

27 people like this
Posted by Duveneck Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2016 at 1:34 pm

45 parking spots is way too under parked. Double the spaces should be required. Without this project being deeply surrounded by RPP it means folks will be parking on the street and there is not enough parking now.

Also, in exchange for up zoning, the city council should require a significant percentage of the units be below market. Say 25%.

I think there is no need for more retail. There is plenty within walking distance of this site and too big a shortage of housing.

If the developer could agree to the increase in parking and affordable housing, I could support this project.

One note, is that this location is within easy walking distance of Stanford Research Park making it ideal for high density apartments for folks who don't feel like sitting in traffic while commuting every day.

27 people like this
Posted by MargaretJ
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm

MargaretJ is a registered user.

why can't we have nice things?

12 people like this
Posted by Sue Allen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm

I think this is a great idea -- dense housing at a dense intersection. BUT I will echo those who think it needs double the parking. Not hard to do, just more expensive. Use the ground floor for that. No one wants to live on the ground floor at that location.

44 people like this
Posted by Realist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm

"When my children were at school here I knew a San Mateo family that bought a 2-bedroom apartment to camp out with their three children during school nights, and then back to their home Friday to Monday."

I've known several people who rented places, sometimes for grandparents with whom the kids lived during the week, sometimes for one or two parents or for just a high school student. They go live in their homes in the East Bay, etc, over the summer, then come back for school. The Weekly did an article once about foreign nationals getting places for okder kids then keaving them here to fend for themselves. If you have very small apartments that go for less, it's a given that they will be ILOPT (in lieu of private tuition) crash pads. I have even known people who got an apartment here so their kids could go to school here, lived elsewhere, then took their time to find a home to buy here when the time was right for them financially..

It's hilarious that @yes who has never had kids and cites no factual basis claims such concerns are "overblown" when schools have always been one of the primary draws here. I guess as an older property renter, he doesn't have tp pay for all this overdevelopment and its consequences so he doesn't care.

Back to Cal Ave: If the property is under parked, the already beleaguered area merchants will suffer. We don't need to lose more beneficial retail to gyms for daytime commuters. We don't need more housing here, we need more sensible levels of office occupancy.

Look at the fleets of Google buses - they exist because the NeoYuppies want to live in San Francisco, period. Why don't we move some of the jobs to them? There are tons of housing units in San Mateo along the rail line and Milpitas, all new and on transit. The San Mateo units are a short rail stop to Palo Alto, very easy. Since building supposedly makes things cheap, the apartments should be free, have at it. Or we could atudy liveability and give grants to cities that just need a little boost - there are many cities that are losing people who would benefit if they jist had some more desirability factors.

I want the City Council to represent the interests of our City and not approve one unit more so long as I and all residents still have to ration so much water. And I want anyone who even proposes a development, taking time away from civic matters, to pay such fees that I can be reimbursed for my dead trees and drought-tolerant garden (that died for lack of any water). Then when the water resource limitations are dealt with, I want any new development to be made within guidelines cognizant of limited water, not based on the wettest years.

If housing is going there - which is a stupid idea on a corner so heavily impacted by traffic - it should ALL be affordable housing, limited to people who are truly low income and then only if they have worked or lived in PA at least five years. Which of course, begs the question of why the City us subsidizing employers who won't pay their workers a living wage. But small market rate apartments get snapped up as crash pads for people who wants the schools, that's a given. When is theCity Council going to start representing the residents again? (I think @yes's contention that there are that many longtime renters here is the more suspect contention. The olatility of the rental market plus the inability of renters to ever get ahead eventually encourages people to leave or do what is necessary to buy.)

37 people like this
Posted by Annie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

@Yes thinks that people renting weekday apartments for the school district is an urban legend. Think again. One of my kids went through school with a student whose family had a nice big house with a pool in Fremont, but rented an apt here for the school district. The kid had to sneak and lie the whole time. The irony is the kid ended up in a UC he certainly could have gotten into from Fremont!

Agree with everyone about the lack of parking. Total scam.

48 people like this
Posted by Paco
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Let's build more housing on one of the most polluted SuperFund sites in the city. Ever wonder why there is a kids soccer field across the street on one of the most prominent pieces of city real estate and that it required being "capped" with thousands of yards of concrete prior to putting plastic grass on it? Ever wonder why none of the buildings at this Page Mill/ ECR intersection and surrounding area have any underground parking? Pretty easy to research this and many SuperFund sites located within city limits.

5 people like this
Posted by Simplicio
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm

"Agree with everyone about the lack of parking. Total scam."

30 parking spaces is way too many. Doesn't anybody read these threads? Everybody knows that dense housing occupants walk to work, or ride bicycles, or use transit.

47 people like this
Posted by parking lot
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 22, 2016 at 5:07 pm

The parking is definitely an issue. The current single level parking lot on the location is already heavily used, by Sunrise living etc. So in addition to "where will the new residents park" there is the question of "where will the current parking lot users park"?

I'm not saying a single level ground parking lot (current) is the best use for this lot. But it is actually being used right now, and those cars will also need to go somewhere.

34 people like this
Posted by better
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 5:11 pm

What about 45 units, ground floor retail and 45 parking spots?

42 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2016 at 7:34 pm

pearl is a registered user.

"A rendering of the proposed four-story building at the bustling intersection of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road, which would include 60 apartments (half studios and the other half would be one-bedroom units) catered to young professionals."

Housing "catered to young professionals"?!? You're joking!!! What about affordable housing catered to seniors?!? Shame on you!!! :(

41 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Marie is a registered user.

Since a zoning change is required, the city can hold out for an appropriate development which this is not. The building should have retail on the first floor, apartments above, including the required number of below market units. Do not accept cash instead, unless Palo Alto has identified a place to build those units. The city should also require adequate parking for both the retail establishments and the apartments (1.5 spaces per apartment). If the parking spaces are not utilized by the residents, they can be rented to residents of nearby buildings with inadequate parking.

Stop letting developers buy a lot zoned one way, and then upzone it to make a huge profit, with the neighbors paying the price. Maybe the true use for this lot should be a parking garage, with retail on the first floor.

Remember when Sunrise was able to build with retirement center with very little parking because seniors don't have cars? How well has that worked out? Has anyone in the city bothered to find out how many actual parking spots are needed by the residents and workers versus how many were provided? Rumors are there are far more cars than parking spots. And that is at a senior resident where the owners could easily refused to allow the residents to have cars, to meet their estimated demand.

The city needs information comparing the actual number of spots needed vs the inadequate estimates from the developers so more reasonable requirements can be added to the zoning laws. Unlike senior residences, I see no way to keep market rate apartment dwellers from owning vehicles and parking them nearby unless you remove all street parking in the vicinity.

15 people like this
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 23, 2016 at 8:37 am

Be Positive is a registered user.

@Marie, I had a family member living at Sunrise, very few of the residents have cars (the majority of residents had mild to severe dementia and couldn't drive). On the other hand, the employees of Sunrise need somewhere to park!

@Annie and others, if you know someone who lives elsewhere and lies about their address, please report it to the school district. They will give the family time to actually move here.

28 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm

So it is under-parked by at least a factor of 3. So let's say 1.5 spaces per unit would be about right (one car per person). That would be 90 spaces. The developer is proposing a capacity of 45 WITH SOME BEING STACKED. What does that mean? It means elevators for one car over another so he really only has to build 23 spaces. Would you want an upper birth for your car? Really? So it is under-parked by at least a factor of 3. This is a non-starter, almost as bad as the hotel downtown with ZERO parking spaces. What with the VTA bailing out, we all can take BART and no one needs a car.

41 people like this
Posted by maggie
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Recently met a woman who happened to mention the house next to hers had been rented a few years back to a Chinese woman and her two sons. They moved in during the summer, but soon after school year started the mother moved back to China for the rest of the school year. The boys, aged about 12 and 14 were left there alone! Rather shocking, although I was glad to hear there were relatives living not close but not very far away. I would definitely have reported that.

54 people like this
Posted by More Than We Know
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Maggie, this happens a lot, and not just in Silicon Valley. Four kids from China, known as "parachute kids" were recently sentenced to long terms in prison for ganging up on a female classmate who was NOT Asian, beating her, choking her, cutting her, etc, for HOURS and leaving for dead. All were high schoolers in an elite SoCal private school.

The defendants were called "parachute kids" because their parents rented apartments for them, enrolled them in school, and then left them unattended while they, the parents, returned to China. Three were boys, one a girl, but all got into trouble from the get-go.

Some of the middle and high school kids in Palo Alto who are from China are in similar dire straits: no parents, possibly an au pair only a couple of years older than they, whom they ignore. They bully other kids, especially girls.

This can't be legal!

26 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 23, 2016 at 6:40 pm

"A rendering of the proposed four-story building at the bustling intersection of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road, which would include 60 apartments (half studios and the other half would be one-bedroom units) catered to young professionals."

It's the perfect configuration for repurposing to offices with wet bars and private baths, plus executive office suites with same a menities. City hall would never check or care.

56 people like this
Posted by NO
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2016 at 7:57 am

The City does not need more housing,more people, more cars. We are over developed right now. No more UPZONING. As I see more Palo Altans deciding to move to greener pastures, I wonder when will the City recognize that the balance has tipped: more citizens don't favor any more BUILDINGS. Uphold zoning codes,developers buy what property is zoned for just like other cities do. NO EXCEPTIONS. All the pro housing folks, advocate for taking a few R 1 lots in Old Palo Alto, Crescent Park, GreenMeadow and spread out your desired housing. Make everyone have to deal with this over development equitably!

6 people like this
Posted by Let em eat cake
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2016 at 11:42 am

[Post removed.]

26 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2016 at 12:15 pm

This proposal clearly doesn't have enough parking, and will create more demand for the already oversubscribed street parking in the neighborhood. Also, the pictures don't clearly identify how wide the sidewalks will be and how the street trees will work. I would ask for a redesign to increase the amount of parking, and, probably, widen the sidewalks and enlarge the presence of the street trees.

3 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 24, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Good idea.
We need more housing.
good for the 18th district.
Excellent location looking west with hills view.
Lot of jobs lot of housing for these young people.

38 people like this
Posted by Ventura Resident
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 25, 2016 at 9:17 am

The area is so heavily impacted with no parking and gridlock along Park BLVD/Page Mill/El Camino. Where are the new residents going to attend school? Are there going to be any traffic police (a thing of the past) to monitor road rage and red light runners at Page Mill & El Camino? What about parking? Not to mention building being built right up to the edge of the road so visibility is limited?

Terrible idea to put in housing first then address the parking, traffic and lack of school space issues later.

26 people like this
Posted by SuperD
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

Here comes more traffic congestion...

40 people like this
Posted by Uh-Oh
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Uh-Oh is a registered user.

If apartments or condos are built in this location, how in the world will the residents ever be able to even get out of the premises in the morning-- or get back in the evening?

This is one of the busiest, most heavily travelled intersections in the county, which makes it a ROTTEN location to build housing.

And it isn't just traffic: it's air pollution and groundwater pollution, too. Don't be surprised if a cancer cluster pops up here, and the victims sue the builder as well as the city of Palo Alto!

33 people like this
Posted by CM
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2016 at 8:58 pm

This land is zoned public facility and should stay that way. Public facility land should be used for something that benefits residents. The city should stop wasting the few parcels that are available for residents to help developers make millions in profits. There is no call to change the zoning.

There is also no need to continue to destroy this city with more housing. Adding a few hundred to a few thousand more houses in Palo Alto will never, ever, bring housing prices down, they will sell or rent for market rate. What it will do is add hundreds to thousands more cars to the streets, overcrowd the infrastructure of the city and overcrowd the schools that are already slipping in performance from overcrowding. The biggest lie perpetrated by these developers is tricking the city staff and the "urbanistas" into believing that those who live here will not drive cars. What a bunch of hooey. 101 Alma, a 15 story highrise a block from the train station, has 1 spot per unit and the biggest complaint from residents to management is that they want more parking!! These people drive everywhere - jobs, store, entertainment, you name it.

We need to set limits to population and growth in Palo Alto. We need to live sustainably and lower the number of jobs here and stop the crazy planet killing growth. Palo Alto should set the standard for how to plan a livable small city that provides a good quality of life to residents, keeps consumption low, lowers it footprint on the earth by using sustainable resources and knows when to stop growing. It is OK to say we are full.

Remember this when you vote for city council members this November. We still have more "growthers" on the city council than those who would maintain a livable Palo Alto quality of life. Do not get fooled by "growthers" saying that they care about residents - what they care about is adding more residents and destroying the quality of life for current residents. Look for candidates who want to control overall growth and not those who preach "high rise heaven."

30 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2016 at 12:11 pm

The city has an affordability problem with middle-income and low-income workers, not with affluent "Neo Yuppies" as somebody above put it, who can already afford to live here if they really want to.

I don't see why the city would rezone to add housing specifically meant for that group. It would make more sense to tackle actual affordability, and people who work here but actually can't afford to live here.

26 people like this
Posted by Not bullied
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 26, 2016 at 5:14 pm

To those so concerned about the woes of the "jobs/housing imbalance" in Palo Alto, take your complaints to the developers and city planners. They're the ones who've forced the housing issue by opening the doors to businesses that should have located in urban centers like San Francisco and San Jose. Don't blame those of us long time residents fighting some ill conceived strategic plan made behind closed doors. [Portion removed.]

14 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm

To paraphrase many of the folks strongly opposed to this project...

Let's not build any more housing in one of the most housing-crunched cities in the state (possibly the country?) because I know someone who's heard stories of "people" (mostly foreigners) cramming families into small apartments just so they can pollute the PA school system [portion removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by housing
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Although housing is certainly preferable to more offices, it seems that this development could focus on studios and include both market rate and BMR housing to appeal to 1) seniors as well as young tech workers and 2) reduce the impact on PAUSD. Adding ground floor retail that is appealing to those in the neighborhood would be an added bonus.

20 people like this
Posted by Airbnb
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2016 at 11:27 pm

IMO Palo Alto really needs to follow SF's example and legislate restrictions on short-term rentals (aka Airbnb) so that any new housing like what is being proposed here is actually used to house city residents rather than as an investment by absentee landlords.

10 people like this
Posted by GoodIdea
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm

I live in a small place not far from this site. So, any new development will impact me. But I am not selfish to oppose any housing development in the city that everyone knows we sorely need. The idea of dense small units is a fantastic concept. I am 99% sure that in Palo Alto, the average bedroom occupancy of SFH's are less than 50%. I would really be interested in someone has a more accurate data on this. So, big houses are just waste of good land in the town at the expense of quality of life of younger people.

21 people like this
Posted by City That Hates Its Residents
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2016 at 1:06 pm

City That Hates Its Residents is a registered user.

Why does this city continue to do things that lower the living quality for its residents? This is a small city in terms of square footage, with too little parking, too many vehicles, too much pollution from cars, buses and trains-- but awash in cash, all the same.

Many residents, even more so than myself, feel as if the city is purposely trying to make life here as miserable as possible in the hope that we will leave. That way, the city council, city managers, and all city decision makers can create the world's tiniest, most high-density urban metropolis.

7 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Jul 31, 2016 at 11:56 am

The city should have bought at least part of this real estate when it was first available to create another north-bound turn lane onto El Camino to help the traffic flow. There is no available parking in the surrounding neighborhood -- it's CRITICAL that any development include parking for residents plus a few spaces for guests. On the next street a family of four lives in a one-bedroom condo -- parents are professionals and the kids are adolescents -- under no circumstances should the city allow an under-parked building.

10 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm

"Many residents, even more so than myself, feel as if the city is purposely trying to make life here as miserable as possible in the hope that we will leave."

Not really. What we have here is the evil of banality. City staff build their resumes by shepherding real estate developments through the planning process. Putting a 100,000 square feet development through garners more points than a measly 50,000 square feet one when they apply for that next job in LA, Phoenix, etc. They have no further interest in the outcome. Heck, none of them live here anyway.

Palo Alto is a stepping stone on the city planners' career path, so we'll get stepped on a lot if we let down our guard.

11 people like this
Posted by Zoning Changes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Most communities have laws that prevent zoning from being changed arbitrarily by a city council or mayor. Why isn't this the case in Palo Alto, when most communities require a public vote to change zoning??

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

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