News

El Camino housing project earns cautious support

Palo Alto council indicates it can back the development, provided it targets city workforce and limits cars

For Palo Alto's housing advocates, the apartment complex proposed for the busy corner of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road represents the perfect model for dealing with the city's housing shortage.

Filled with studios and small one-bedroom apartments, the project from Windy Hills Property Ventures would cater to young professionals and include a host of programs aimed at encouraging carless commutes.

But for critics of recent development trends, the proposal for 2755 El Camino Real is at best a flawed solution and, at worst, a parking nightmare waiting to happen. It would require a zone change; its density goes far beyond what would be allowed in any of the city's residential district; and it only provides 45 parking spots, even though the code would require about twice as many.

Both views were aired during Monday night's public hearing on the latest plan for the much discussed site. And while the City Council didn't take any votes, the majority agreed that the project -- for all its flaws -- has plenty of merits and is worth further exploration and refinement.

The council's generally positive reception was a marked departure from its prior discussions over the site, which is currently occupied by a parking lot. A year ago, the property owner had proposed a mixed-use development with offices, retail and four residential units. That plan was soundly rejected by the council, with most members saying that they'd much prefer to see housing on the property.

On Monday night, council members lauded Windy Hill for listening to earlier feedback and for responding accordingly. They praised the developer for creating much needed housing and lauded Windy Hill's proposal to give preference to Palo Alto's teachers, firefighters and city workers. And while some on the council said they remained concerned about the prospect of rezoning a site to suit a specific project, most agreed that it has many of the features that the city desperately needs: small apartments and aggressive measures to curb traffic.

Councilman Marc Berman was among the project's most enthusiastic supporters, calling the parking lot "the perfect site for housing," and praising the developer for heeding the council's prior feedback and for checking "every box" in considering ways to add housing. Though he acknowledged that the project, as presented, wouldn't comply with any existing zoning designation (it's far more dense than any multi-family zoning district would allow), Berman didn't see that as a problem.

"Yes, we need to have zoning reforms that encourage more units per acre and not less units per acre, but we don't have that now, and I don't want to wait until that process is completed before possibly approving this project and creating units of desperately needed housing,” Berman said.

Councilman Cory Wolbach agreed and said the project would bring much needed diversity to the city's housing stock, where single-family homes on suburban lots remain the dominant use. And while neighborhood leaders and land-use watchdogs raised concerns about the project's insufficient parking, Wolbach said he would support even fewer parking spots, along with deed restrictions prohibiting renters in the new building from owning cars.

"I'd be open to a project where there was parking for visitors, maybe people who work for the property, contractors -- that's about it,” Wolbach said. "This actually has a lot more parking than what I would envision in a car-light, car-free project. I would call this a compromise."

He used the same word to describe the units sizes. At about 500 square feet, these apartments would be far smaller than most apartments in Palo Alto. But they are also roughly twice as big as the "microunits" that have recently been developed in cities such as Berkeley and New York City, according to the developers.

Even those council members who are generally cautious about new developments acknowledged that the project has some merits. Councilman Eric Filseth argued that adding 60 small units to the city's housing stock "seems generally reasonable," particularly since they would be so close to the city's primary job center: Stanford Research Park. His support, however, was heavily conditioned on having the housing be restricted to city workers, teachers, firefighters and police officers.

The site is currently zoned as "public facility," a designation that would have to be changed to accommodate any type of private housing development. Filseth noted that removing that designation would effectively take away from the city the option of constructing an amenity such as a new animal shelter here.

"We should be very conscious about rezoning public-facilities land," Filseth said. "It's a one-way thing. You never get it back."

While Filseth said he would be interested in having the site support low- and mid-income employees who would not otherwise be able to afford to live in Palo Alto, he was far less enthusiastic than Wolbach and Berman about simply having housing at the site. City workers and teachers are unlikely to meet the $2,000-and-above rents that these apartments would likely fetch, he noted.

"If we had workforce people here, that would be public value," Filseth said, "but that's not going to happen if they have to bid for housing against high-tech workers like the 6,500 that Facebook will put in Menlo Park next door."

Tod Spieker and Jamie D'Allesandro, representing Windy Hill, emphasized that the project will not have impacts on schools and that it's meant "for people working close by."

Though it won't have as many parking spaces as required, it would include 84 bike-parking spots, Caltrain passes for tenants and a "transportation-demand manager" who will live on site and help residents find the best way to get around without cars. They also proposed a "bike kitchen" on the ground floor, where residents can store their bikes and get them repaired. The operation would be managed by a local Palo Alto bike shop.

To alleviate anxieties about parking impacts, D'Allesandro told the council that the development team also fully supports having a Residential Parking Program (RPP) in the surrounding neighborhoods that excludes building tenants from being eligible to buy permits. This policy would effectively bar residents from parking in adjacent neighborhoods for more than two hours. He and Spieker also said they would support stringent enforcement of traffic-reduction targets and fines if these targets aren't met.

"We fundamentally believe that people who will rent these units ... they don't want stuff," Spieker said. "They want a place to live close to their work and they don't own a car. They ride their bikes."

These assurances were enough to win over some council members, with Vice Mayor Greg Scharff saying he would support the new development as a pilot project, provided that the developers can provide assurances that the building tenants won't have more cars than parking spaces.

"I think it's outside the box," Scharff said of the project. "I think it can be a great pilot project."

Others weren't so sure. Councilwoman Karen Holman echoed the concerns of several neighborhood leaders when she characterized the proposal as "spot zoning" and indicated that she cannot support it. Though it doesn't have a zoning designation, the project is effectively a "planned community," a controversial designation that allows developers to exceed zoning regulations in exchange for negotiated public benefits. In 2014, the council effectively eliminated the zoning designation after acknowledging that it no longer enjoys public trust.

Holman noted that the project is "drastically different from what zoning allows" and that it has not been vetted by the community and has not undergone any significant analysis. She also criticized the project's design and for having insufficient open space (most apartments, though not all, would have balconies).

"We need to be housing people and not warehousing people," Holman said. "If people don't have adequate open space, we're warehousing people."

Concerns over zoning also proved to be an insurmountable hurdle for Councilman Tom DuBois. The proposed 50-foot-tall project would be incompatible with the condominium around the site he argued.

"I'm not really supportive of the project as it's currently described," DuBois said.

Residents were similarly split, with some urging the council to approve the desperately needed housing and others warning about the project's potential traffic and parking impacts.

Elaine Uang, co-founder of Palo Alto Forward, called the 60-unit project "a good start to think about new ways to provide housing in the right places." Prior to the meeting, her group circulated a letter to the council that was signed (and, in many cases, slightly modified) by dozens of residents.

"While I hope some preference is given to city employees, teachers, nurses, or local workers, even market-rate studios and one-bedrooms fill a need in our community and help relieve (somewhat) the competition for smaller affordable units," Uang said.

Randy Popp, former chair of the city's Architectural Review Board (ARB), wrote that this is "the right time to consider changing the status quo for housing and parking requirements" and encouraged the council to "approve this project without delay."

And Steve Pierce, real estate broker with the firm Zane MacGregor, argued that the city is "in a housing hole and need to work our way out at every opportunity."

"Diversity of housing types is a must. Reduced parking is appropriate for the Uber generation, particularly when proximate to Caltrain and VTA," he said.

But there were also plenty of skeptics, including neighborhood leaders and land-use watchdogs affiliated with the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning. A letter submitted by the umbrella group Palo Alto Neighborhoods, made the case for rejecting the project. It was co-signed by Sheri Furman, Rebecca Sanders, Norm Beamer, Annette Glanckopf, Jeff Levinsky, Roger Petersen and Doria Summa.

Critics of the project blasted the developers' "invent-a-zone approach" and called the project "massively under-parked." They also took issue with the site's "spot zoning" under which "neighbors can no longer know what will be next to them." That is "unfair and not good planning."

"Spot zoning harms the city as a whole," the letter states. "When a developer and a bare majority of council members can rezone a property to be worth millions of dollars more, confidence in our city government erodes."

Because the Monday hearing was a "pre-screening," it did not feature a vote. It will now be up to Windy Hill to consider the council's feedback and determine whether it has enough support to move forward with a formal application.

---

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Comments

66 people like this
Posted by Don't be Fooled
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 5:16 am

Isn't this just a cynical attempt to hoodwink the community? The developers claimed they didn't know what the rents for the studios and one-bedroom apartments would be. But of course they know -- and didn't want to admit they'll charge top-dollar rents that few if any public employees will be able to pay. So housing advocates will think this sort of project helps, when it will actually increase average rents in the city, not lower them.

If we truly want to create housing in Palo Alto for people who can't afford high market rents, agencies and non-profits that build BMRs (below-market-rate) housing for people of modest income should get a chance to propose how they could use this site. And we should focus on rezoning properties to help them, not for for-profit real-estate speculators.


8 people like this
Posted by SEA_SEELAM REDDY
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 13, 2016 at 5:28 am

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

It is a great attempt to solve housing shortage for some.

Rather than renting, the city and the investors could consider selling these units to city workers, teachers, firemen/women at a 40% discount like Stanford does and make it affordable.

There are many that would give up their cars instead have the security of a home ownership.

Also, follow the local zoning rules and cut down from 60 to 45.

Respectfully


28 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of University South
on Sep 13, 2016 at 6:46 am

It is great news to see the Council moving forward with a housing project. Even if the units rent for $2000/month, that's very affordable compared to most of the housing stock in Palo Alto. I know several service workers who are currently paying more than that now. And remember that new housing has never in the history of the world been cheap. Instead, it's function is to provide a place for new people so that they don't bid up the price of old housing.

Let's keep this going and we can make a dent in the city's housing crisis.


26 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 13, 2016 at 7:43 am

Such housing is welcome, but fulfilling parking needs is a must. The palliatives don't make sense, particularly in the long term. People will own cars, and need to put them somewhere. I guess the lot at the soccer fields across El Camino is available. Maybe they will drive around for 1/2 hour looking for street parking, like folks do in other big urban cities, where all the streets are jammed with cars parked everywhere. Arguably, every new building should provide more parking than the building needs, to make up for the problem we already have!


36 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

"Elaine Uang, co-founder of Palo Alto Forward, called the 60-unit project "a good start to think about new ways to provide housing in the right places." Prior to the meeting, her group circulated a letter to the council"


That's this group, right?

"We can still up-cycle. No one's talking about the Manhattanization of Palo Alto. A four or five or six-story community is not Manhattan; it's more like Brooklyn."

Elaine Uang, 3/15/2016
Web Link



33 people like this
Posted by already busy
a resident of Mayfield
on Sep 13, 2016 at 8:21 am

I am all for housing especially close to Cal Ave, but I'm concerned about how these people are going to get in and out of this complex....it's already jam packed for hours a day. The commuter time is getting longer and longer and that intersection is rarely flowing during the day. Not to mention a few projects closer to El Camino that haven't finished that will bring in more traffic.

P.S. Really how likely will it be affordable. That's the real question too.


83 people like this
Posted by Tired of PA Fwd
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 13, 2016 at 9:00 am

What a joke - this has no business even being discussed. Not enough parking, too tall etc etc.
This will be the same disaster that the build out at Ricky's Hyatt turned into.
PA Fwd will say some BS that "everyone will bike and take public transit" but we all know that is not true.
I know how I am voting in November and it isn't going to be for jokers like Marc Berman who don't have a clue.


Posted by Ugh
a resident of Southgate

on Sep 13, 2016 at 9:08 am


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42 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2016 at 9:09 am

SRB is a registered user.

Is this used to be (or stil is) a VTA parking lot, why didn't VTA or the City follow the State's Surplus Land Act? By that act, affordable housing developers get first dibs at re-development. The act also sets up a minimum amount of affordable housing to be provided.


31 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

If this gets built as proposed, I wonder who will be left to clean up the mess of cars with nowhere to park...


58 people like this
Posted by pacsailor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2016 at 9:58 am

I am sick and tired hearing about bikes and how people will not need cars. How are they going to bring groceries home? how about if they want to go to a neighboring city with the new VTA plan to cut bus service in Palo Alto. This project should have more than 60 parking spaces, one for each unit plus some for visitors. In our need for more housing we should not forget that people need to go outside of Palo Alto and with he current public transportation this will be impossible without a car.


78 people like this
Posted by Let's get real
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

I just hope the honest city council members (we already know some will do whatever their developer friends ask them to do) stop this project and don't drink any of the 'housing crisis' Kool Aid pushed by PAF and the developers.

Fellow residents, a few points to consider before our leaders get us into another fiasco triggering all kinds of litigations that we'll be paying with our taxes (like the one re Buena Vista):

1. The mitigating measure of residents not having cars is a joke. You cannot legislate who can or cannot own/drive a vehicle. Discrimination lawsuit in the horizon

2. There's nothing preventing an out-of-towner from getting these microunits and using the address for their kids and relatives to attend PAUSD schools. Big loophole than has been exploited throughout the city

3. As comforting as it sounds, I believe anti-discrimination housing laws would prevent any initiatives to reserve these units to specific public servants: firefighters, teachers, etc. Most likely, many wouldn't want to live in these units because we all want more space (just like Kate Downing)

4. And here's one for everybody to wake up: have you noticed the people behind this development have no roots in the community? This is just an opportunity for them to maximize their profits, regardless of the impact to us, the residents. The PAF petition signers have little skin in the game as well. Don't think they care to make this a better community. They just want housing now, and on their terms, because they somehow think they are entitled to it after getting their fancy jobs and paychecks


37 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:21 am

Newly built apartments in Redwood city, about 750sf, are renting for $3,500/month.

I suspect that if this project goes forward, the apartments will be renting in the same price range.

Many city workers, firefighters, teachers are married, have families, etc. I am very doubtful that they would pay $3,500/month.

As someone else has posted, the allocation of the building improvements to living units instead of parking, represents an $8+ million value to the builders. Or look at it as an $8 million subsidy for companies like Planitar.

How about we tax companies like Planitar $25,000/year per employee who doesn't live in Palo Alto to help fund housing. Then companies like Planitar can either pay their employees a wage sufficient for them to find housing in Palo Alto.


76 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:28 am

Currently in production we have the new low income housing on El Camino near Calif Ave. (the beige tiled facade), the Disney looking complex where JJ&F use to be also nearing completion, and the Stanford housing village between California and Page Mill. All these development are about to make their debut in the coming months. It means cars cars cars. Page Mill/El Camino intersection is grid lock now, a new building here will only make it into a parking lot. Parking anywhere in this city is impossible.

It's about time Palo Alto hung out a NO VACANCY sign, we just don't have the infrastructure to support more offices or housing. Let's work on public transportation first.


61 people like this
Posted by Floored
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:33 am

Floored is a registered user.

I know what the developers are thinking: this lot is in an undesirable location, it's polluted, noisy, dirty, smelly, far too congested with traffic and dangerously close to a Superfund site. We can get it for a song!

But what in the world is the city thinking? This is a dreadful, possibly unhealthy location that no living creature should be living on or in! I can just see the lawsuits coming in the future!

Santa Teresa 1970s Redux!


36 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:52 am

Annette is a registered user.

Suggestion: measure the real commitment level of those who would have CC and other deciders believe that Californians are willing to give up their cars and embrace alternate means of transportation. If you are such a believer, why not turn your driver's license in and have the DMV issue you an I.D. card? Maybe there could be a tax credit for Californians who voluntarily forfeit their driving privilege. And maybe those people could get priority for the sort of housing this development proposes. As is, the no-car talk is essentially a ploy and we end up with more of the same: up-zoning, density, under-parked buildings, more traffic, and a host of environmental concerns. And an even more divided community. This project may offer a creative approach, but that doesn't really matter a hill of beans if it is predicated on a false premise.


65 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Sanders
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2016 at 11:02 am

Rebecca Sanders is a registered user.

That a developer can buy a property zoned one way and know that Council will upzone it for them and thereby create wealth for the developer, well it just smacks of cronyism, corruption and back room deals. Yes we need more housing. Microunits are a great idea. These are NOT microunits and this is not the location to upzone into existence a pilot project. We need a big turnout in November folks. For those of you who don't really know quite what we are talking about please visit the link below to find out why this project is actually illegal. A rubber stamp from council has created a nice windfall for Windy Hill and Pollack Financial. However, discerning who really has our interests at heart for November is important. I realize now that we are surrounded by wolves in sheeps clothing -- those who preach residential quality of life but who gaze upon the developers and envy their good fortune, wishing they had that kind of influence and pull.

Web Link


63 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 11:06 am

Many astute comments that recognize this proposal is a MASSIVE developer give away, doesn't fulfill any expectations of a Public FacilIty zoned site, will increase traffic and parking problems and is a market rate project that will not help the most vulnerable in our Community!!!

But will make $$$$$ for the developer.

Once the sit is up-zoned ( or Faux-zoned to a zone the doesn't exist ) the developer can turn around and propose any project they like......This happened at the old Mings sight on east Bayshore that was up-zoned for a hotel and then the developer proposed a more profitable project a massive luxury car dealership

all of you and all other residents should Vote for Arthur Keller, Lydia Kou, Greer Stone & Stewart Carl for city Council !!!

ARTHUR KELLER, LYDIA KOU , GREER STONE AND STEWART CARL FOR CITY COUNCIL


23 people like this
Posted by al munday
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2016 at 11:17 am

in an article a few weeks back, it was about current residents that could not afford to live in PA.. Now you are talking about constructing new apts for "professional" with rents $2k and above for studio/one bedroom.

I don't know what qualifies for "affordable housing" these days, but someone on a
teachers salary should be able to at least comforably rent in PA, along with our Police/Fire


63 people like this
Posted by Jim Colton
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 13, 2016 at 11:21 am

Jim Colton is a registered user.

I agree with Eric Filseth that it would be good if we could designate this, or any, development for city workers to occupy. However, I don't think that can be legally stipulated. So who would rent this units? One group would be tech workers who can afford the units at market rate, i.e. tech workers who can afford nice cars--too many of them for the parking planned. The other group is families from out of town who want their children to attend Palo Alto schools. Many such families have already squeezed into such small spaces. This is akin to making our schools for sale.

Let's recognize that this project is heavily supported by Palo Alto Forward, and their friends on City Council and their candidates who would like to be on the City Council. They believe their due housing in Palo Alto just because. They are not concerned about the overall impact on the city and its residents.


41 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 11:51 am

Jim Colten

I agree with you and will go even further Palo Alto Forward PAF; is " not concerned about the overall impact on the city and its residents."

I would go even further and say they have planned for a much bigger & denser city and have either joined forces with developers or are naively being used by them....probably a combination of both to be fair.

Also disturbing; how they advocate for this kind of development that doesn't help the vulnerable or slightly less affluent people by advocating for BMR housing in Palo Alto.

Every action PAF has taken has helped to drive housing prices up by the continued approval of office space and is devoid of a sense of social justice or concern for those less fortunate than themselves.

I don't think this is consistent with the values of our community!


19 people like this
Posted by Carol jGilbert
a resident of University South
on Sep 13, 2016 at 11:55 am

Micro units for low income renters is an outstanding idea! Forty five parking spaces which is way under what will be needed is ridiculous. Either add the requisite number of parking spaces or require that the rental agreements stipulate that the tenant will NOT own a car. If that sounds silly, well so does not creating enough parking places.


59 people like this
Posted by We need better representation
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Fully agree w/ Jim Colton. The fact that this ridiculous proposal have gotten this far tells me that many in our city council do not represent the best interests of current residents.

Elections are coming up, and that's when we, residents of this city, have an obligation to elect candidates who won't cave in to the pressures of special-interest groups and self-entitled outsiders like PAF. Just like we don't appreciate some outsiders' telling us what we should do in our homes, neither should we accept outsiders' telling us what to do with our housing policies.

Be smart, and vote for candidates who have your neighborhoods' best interests in mind.


60 people like this
Posted by schools?
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2016 at 12:20 pm

"Tod Spieker and Jamie D'Allesandro, representing Windy Hill, emphasized that the project will not have impacts on schools and that it's meant "for people working close by.""
How can Spieker assume that "people working close by" do not have school-aged kids?


11 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Please pay attention. There are 45 spots for this development. The people who are attracted to this development will either work near by or use transit. If the unit does not have a parking spot, the tenant will not be able to park nearby.

The Nervous Nellies who post here cannot tolerate ANY change to their environment.
This is one small building. Before proceeding with others, teaks should and will be made to make it work.

It is unreasonable to say you cannot find 15 people in Palo Alto who do not want or need cars.


59 people like this
Posted by Know the Developer
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Know the Developer is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


20 people like this
Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Posted by Jim Colton: It would be good if we could
designate this, or any, development for city workers
to occupy. However, I don't think that can be legally
stipulated.


My suggestion last night was deed restriction for some or all of the units to city and PAUSD employees. Cara Silver, Senior Assistant City Attorney, said she thought something like this could indeed be legally achieved. Obviously it would have to be by mutual agreement between the city and the applicant.


67 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm

This awful project should've been DOA a long time ago. There is no housing crisis in Palo Alto. Palo Alto is small and expensive, always has been, just like many other similar communities. Lads and space are finite. Those who like to live like sardines on top of each other have several options in the Bay area, Palo Alto isn't one of them. Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Woodside and Portola Valley won't give lobbying groups like PAF the time of day, and neither should Palo Alto. And no, Palo Alto isn't Brooklyn, nor should it ever become anything like Brooklyn.



34 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm

margaret heath is a registered user.

Oh yes you can park nearby, overnight and weekends. The 2-hour parking permit program enforcement stops at 4pm, and no enforcement on weekends. There are so many apartment blocks around Sherman that at night it is already hard to park. Let alone visitors. Or park in Ventura, a short stroll away.

To promise there will be "deed restrictions" forbidding renters to own a car (or two) is simply not enforceable. Who is going to keep tabs? Is the city going to Increase the number of code enforcement employees from the current two into a fully fledged department with a highly salaried manager to enforce all the city codes? Check the DMV data for car owners, spy?

Car owners who drive to work will be gone during the day when 2-hour parking is enforced until 4 pm. A vehicle can be parked from 3 pm on, overnight, and drive off to work in the morning. Already, with all the apartments in the Sherman Street area, parking is difficult at night.

No, just like all the PC's that have been built where the developers, to obtain changes in zoning promise so called "public benefits" which are never enforced, a complete joke on us who live here. For a nearby example look no further than the apartment building housing Cafe Riace. The owner was allowed extra height and density in return promising a "public" plaza. Instead, the entire plaza soon turned into a space occupied entirely by Cafe Riace, started by his sons! Although I personally enjoy eating there and given it's rather hidden location, probably a better use of the space, that's beside the point.

Wishing something were so is not the same as it being so.


22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2016 at 5:22 pm

First question, what about the vehicles that are already using this parking lot? Where will they park in the future? This is getting rid of parking that is being used and we need to know where it will be replaced.

Secondly, I can't believe the arrogance of the CC who think that the residents of this property won't own stuff, won't want to store anything other than a bicycle and won't need a car to go to Costco, Target, or have guests with cars. I can't believe that these people will bring groceries home on their bikes. I can't believe that these people will not want to go to hike in Foothills Park or the Baylands and will ride their bikes there. I can't believe that Caltrain passes or VTA buses will get them to visit friends who live in the East Bay or Cupertino. I can't believe that they will never have need to drive a car when they feel unwell or injured. I can't believe that they will want to move home each time they change jobs or change partner, or that both partners will continue working in commute distance by bike or by Caltrain.

This is a horrendous type of housing option and not sustainable. I am even doubting whether they will get anyone who actually wants to live in this type of accommodation for more than a few months at a time. This is not a vacation rental, it is supposed to house permanent workers who will supposedly want to live there for x years at a time.

I can't see it working well.


21 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 5:35 pm

This is a bad development for the reasons stated above.
No development should be allowed if that project needs up zoning, exceeds current allowed density, or does not provide at least two parking spots per unit plus a significant number of extra spaces for visitors. The City should not even look at any proposal that would need up zoning or not fulfill the number of spaces above.
I can see that our current Council is in the palm of the developers. The election is coming soon. Think carefully and vote for the residentialists Kou, Keller, stone.
The spot selected is also a very bad one for a large residential development. Air quality is low due to all the traffic and gridlock, developments must include sufficient parking for each unit, rents will be high unless subsidized as low income housing.


4 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

I posted in a previous article on this project...to 'just let it move forward', and if it gets approved, so be it. I said that mainly out of frustration. I personally think it would be a disaster, but we need one of those once in a while as a teaching/learning lesson...like a test tube blowing up in chem lab. I said it would be a test case, an important one, and hopefully one with limited damage, if it doesn't work as planned by the pro housing proponents, and of course PAF is leading that parade.

If it was approved, and failed miserably for all the reasons many have pointed out, I wanted this to be a way of demonstrating and exposing the fallacies in the arguments of the pro high density, under parked housing proponents' ideas. Let's put them to the task, in a corner they can't back out of, and any plans for future and long political careers should be dashed if it doesn't work. This will be on them, win or lose. Oh, they probably are already making their list of reasons why it didn't work out, if it doesn't.

I have no idea where the $2,000 per month rent rate came from. Forget that. Try $3,000 as a starting point. New construction is very expensive. And those units are tiny, big enough for high income singles and couples maybe, but certainly not meant for people thinking of raising a family here. I doubt if it would ever attract, policemen, firemen, or teachers. It seems to be targeted for the young single tech workers, and that's about all.

Rough numbers: Renters earning $100,000 a year would have a net income available of around $67,000. The rent would be 53% of that. That leaves, food, clothing, entertainment, vacations/travel, and other incidental things to come out of the rest. It will still be a problem with no viable solutions offered. Opining is popular and easy...I'm a world class opiner myself...but nothing seems to get done just by opining!

And the parking issue. Trust me, the country I grew up in still rules, where people own and love their cars, and most of us have one...or two. So, all those ideas of rental agreement rules (swearing to not owning a car) will be violated big time. They can manipulate the system...give up their car just long enough for that to be recorded by the DMV, and then get it back the next day. And the one poster was right...there will be nobody to enforce it. There are scofflaws standing in the wings, waiting for CC to make bad decisions.

Oh, and the idea that limited parking spaces will allow developers to build more housing units and that the rent rates would be cheaper as a result? Boy, they've set the hook hard and that fish will never get away.


31 people like this
Posted by Resident2
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 13, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Resident2 is a registered user.

I strongly agree with Eric Filseth that this project should go forward only if it is restricted to critical city employees who cannot otherwise afford housing here. And I strongly agree with Karen Holman's concern about spot zoning. This is not "out of the box", as Marc Berman asserts. This is absolutely standard stack-and-pack development, squeezing the city for concessions for unclear benefit.

We must not fix an over-development problem (on the commercial side) by introducing another over-development problem (on the residential side). Step back, do real planning, figure out how we are going to fund any needed infrastructure for our plan (thank you Mayor Burt for that emphasis), and THEN consider what to build.

Quit caving to developers. Our opponents have created a false sense of urgency to encourage poor decision-making, a classic tactic. We are smarter than that.


9 people like this
Posted by Yes In My Back Yard
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2016 at 6:19 pm

I used to live in the apartment complex that overlooked that empty parking lot. It'll be lovely to replace that lot with a useful building. And it's a great location for car-less housing, being walking distance to the Cal Ave downtown and farmers market, the Caltrain stop, and being right next to the bus stop.

And for those who are so incredulous about the car-free lifestyle: I've been living without a car, biking around town, for over a year now. I have a Zipcar membership but I never need to use it. You can load groceries into a bike bag (pannier), believe it or not, and bulky items can be delivered. I don't know why this notion generates such hostility. Don't worry, I'm not coming for your cars! In fact, by providing housing for Millenials like me that encourages us to stay car-free, you keep us out of the way of your cars.


8 people like this
Posted by Yes In My Back Yard
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2016 at 6:30 pm

There is a housing crisis. Rents in the region have gone up 66% ($1000) since 2010, reports the SF Chronicle.

Just last week, this newspaper reported on the mass evictions and homelessness happening to our neighbors in East Palo Alto:

Web Link

"Griselda Gonzalez and her children, ages 4, 16 and 17, were living in a small trailer in a backyard until they were evicted on July 27. ... they slept in a park. Eventually, they were living in their car."

When people make cynical remarks about any and every development, as if it benefits no one but the developer, I hope you will think of Griselda and her three kids with nowhere to live.


23 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

re: "The people who are attracted to this development will either work near by or use transit."
Let's assume this is true (although it is magical thinking to think so). So does it follow that those people will not have a car? No, it does not follow. So all those cars will be parked around the clock in nearby neighborhoods. That is not acceptable.


24 people like this
Posted by bob gardiner
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2016 at 8:02 pm

This project is irrational. It degrades our quality of life. This simply allows developers to re-zone their property, and make big profits subsidized by PA residents’ in the form of a slowly eroding standard of living.

Firefighters and teachers can afford to live here. They prefer not to because they don’t want to live in 500 sqft boxes and deal with intense traffic jams. So let’s drop that argument.

Palo Alto apartment rents are the same as those in Milpitas, Mt. View and San Jose. As a result, this project will bring in more residents to our overdeveloped city, and will exacerbate traffic congestion and increase accidents when they cut through our streets to their jobs in San Jose and Redwood Shores.

If we are serious about protecting the environment and improving our quality of life, we should halt construction in PA, and require all new employers to subsidize their employee’s local housing so that we minimize commute traffic, as Stanford and Palantir do.


17 people like this
Posted by Grouchy
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm

As Resident points out, there are 12-20 vehicles parked in this lot every day which will need to park somewhere else. Add to this the 45 or so extra cars that this under-parked proposal will put on the streets. And who would use stack parking with the Mayfield soccer complex across the street, where no doubt all these extra cars will end up, possibly for days at a time. Parking is already tight at Mayfield and dozens of long term parked cars will cause chaos for those using the facility. The assumption that people living near a transit center will not have cars is ridiculous.


20 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 13, 2016 at 9:57 pm

DOA. No more dense housing at all and at any location. Time to save Palo Alto and roll back any other development projects in the pipeline and no to all future dense housing development plans. Again, so many other areas in the State and the nation need the infusion of capital and jobs - we do not. Now it's a quality of life issue. If you want to see what we will look like without a no-growth city council just look to Redwood City (see how many high rises they are approving and evicting affordable housing along the water front). So ugly and industrial: a cold and uninviting urban sprawl. Come November, a no more growth city council; now more than ever.


9 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:33 pm

I must say, that corner was much nicer when there was a simple fence and horses grazing on the grass in the field.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 13, 2016 at 11:29 pm

@CPA, furthest back I remember is a burger drive-in with an Indian and big S on the sign.


13 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 14, 2016 at 12:31 am

This new complex is targeted at young professionals, who are quickly beginning to give up their cars.

I realize that many (if not most) of the posters on here have families/children and may not be able to go car-less just now. But for young professionals, it's quickly becoming the future.

While relying on public transportation remains a pipe dream in the suburbs (and will continue to remain so), the introduction of Uberpool and Lyft Line (the carpool versions of Uber and Lyft) has been a total game changer. Most young professionals I know in the area are quickly giving up their cars. Why? Simply because it's cheaper and a more efficient use of time.

Case in point: During commute hours (7-10 am, 5-8pm) an uberpool from Palo Alto to SFO can cost as little as $8. To Downtown Mountain View, it is rarely more extra $4.75. (That's crazy cheap, considering SFO Long Term Parking just raised its rate to $25/day.)

When you consider the cost of gas, depreciation, insurance, tolls, (as well as the opportunity cost of having to drive when you could be working in the back of a car), car ownership is quickly becoming financially irrational. (Unless if you're driving from Palo Alto to Santa Cruz everyday.)

By giving up my car, I am personally saving $400/month. And I am still managing to commute to my work (in San Jose!), gym, groceries, the airport, and San Francisco. (Oh, and I get to use the carpool lane on the highway, which saves me 20 minutes each way during rush hour!)

It's funny watching people complain about a dearth of parking, when in 5 years we'll be wondering what to do about a surplus in empty parking lots. Sure, traffic will continue to get worse over the next couple years as the economy continues to rebound and as the area becomes increasingly desirable. But as our society begins to adopt ride hailing applications and driverless technologies, the trend will dramatically reverse itself in a few years.

Uberpool (and Lyft Line) have only been in Silicon Valley since this spring, but already I have seen dozens of friends give up their cars. Everyday, when I hail my $5 Uberpool from Palo Alto to my office in San Jose, I am matched with someone who is going on a nearly identical route. It's crazy to think just how many people will be using these services in 1 year, let alone 2.

If Palo Alto claims to be a truly progressive city, it should be upgrading its infrastructure for the next 10, 20 years — rather than worrying about a few parking spots here and there. Just as new houses need to be wired for electric cars, new condo buildings should have designated ride-sharing drop off/pick up curbs for easy access. Moreover, new condominiums should be asked to educate their tenants about the different forms of transportation available to them. For most young people, a combination of Uber (for everyday commuting) and Caltrain (to go up to SF) is a more efficient and significantly cheaper option.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2016 at 1:11 am

@Paly Grad

If you work in San Jose, can I ask how you chose Palo Alto, which must be a sizeable commute? Family? Stanford? Schools? Peninsula Creamery?

And, would you yourself spend $2,000/mo or more to rent one of those studios?


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 14, 2016 at 1:32 am

The bigger question is why work in San Jose when you reside in Palo Alto.

Sounds like the proposed apartment dwellers of this project would not be allowed to work in San Jose no matter how they commute, which of course is totally unenforceable.


27 people like this
Posted by Schools
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 14, 2016 at 6:59 am

Whenever someone says that a housing development won't have an impact the schools, I cringe. Does the city really believe that these young, single professionals are all going to materialize from elsewhere? Many already live in Palo Alto, sharing housing with others. As soon as they move into these small units, that single family house opens up for an actual family to move into. We have evidence from previous Stanford building projects from the last 20 years that show us this trend. There will absolutely be impacts to the schools.


24 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:28 am

Remember how Kate Downing and her PAF friends kept telling us that people should live next to their work place? Here we have a person who works in San Jose, insists on living in Palo Alto, and supports building small units for people who will change their job location every 2.5 years, which is the average for techies in this area.

This absurdity is a perfect indication of how phony the job/housing imbalance is, and how phony the meme that Palo Alto has a housing crisis. Using that absurd logic, there is a Ferrari crisis, because so many people want to own a Ferrari, but Ferrari doesn't make enough cars to satisfy the demand, and they are too expensive for all but a few. Woodside residents don't believe they have a housing crisis, although none of the people working in Woodside can afford to live there. Palo Alto doesn't have a housing crisis, and once we stop taking this fallacy seriously, we won't have to hear this tiresome argument day in and day out.


11 people like this
Posted by Bogus comparison
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:46 am

Sorry maurucio, but palo alto has a housing crisis. We have been ignoring housing for decades. Toy silly comparisons of Ferrari and Brooklyn ate funny but not really relevant. And palo alto wishes it was Brooklyn-- Brooklyn has real historic buildings, arts, diversity etc. Palo alto is a wannabe- no real historic structures, no arts or culture and a very non diverse population. Anyway, maurucio, you don't live in Palo alto anymore.


16 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Marie is a registered user.

The problem with deed restrictions is that the city cannot enforce them. They have not worked well to prevent second stories. The only way to stop violations, or at least get compromises, is to file very expensive lawsuits.

Unless there is some way to legally zone the building so that renters will never be allowed cars, then the building should have adequate parking.

Also, mechanized lifts take much more time to enter or leave a parking area. Do you really want to hold up traffic for the minutes it takes to use one of these mechanized car lifts?

This is just one more instance of giving gifts to developers. And why didn't Palo Alto consider buying this land and adding more low-to-moderate income housing - and to add a right hand turn lane which would greatly improve this intersection.

No building should be upzoned without significant public benefits, such as public parking or improvements to the intersection such as an added right hand turn lane.


14 people like this
Posted by sheri
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm

sheri is a registered user.

Regarding deed restrictions for city workers, teachers, police, fire personnel, etc. As these are rental units, what happens when someone changes jobs or goes to work in another city. Are they then evicted? I'm not sure either is legal.


12 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 14, 2016 at 1:44 pm

We could more easily believe the "these tenants won't have cars and won't impact schools" statements if the units came with corresponding covenants. Otherwise it's just guesswork, and the natural result is that a young, car-less professional moving in will want to stay even as they marry, have kids, and buy a car. Surrounding neighborhoods like Ventura should be protected with RPPs of their own (if there really won't be cars, what's the harm?). Prioritizing housing on this PF lot for public safety workers, teachers, and the like is a good idea, and we ought to prioritize the housing of people over animals (no need for a shelter here).


7 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@Yes in My Back Yard

I, and many others who know the story, share your empathy for Griselda and her family. Communities (city governments), churches, and non-profits need to find ways of providing safety nets for those less fortunate who struggle with finding affordable housing. It is unarguably a big problem in the Bay Area. Anyone who is even the least informed about it, hopefully and thankfully not having to experience it, but just from the media reports, knows it is.

However, the fact that makes people, and I'm one of them, cynical about the big proposed housing development projects is that they are not meant to help the Griseldas. The ones currently being considered for approval and many others that are talked about by city planners and CC members, are tailored for a very specific group of workers...highly paid, mostly young, mostly singles or couples, and mostly involved in the tech industry in some way.

If the city is really serious about helping the 'Griseldas' they should work very hard to find a way to provide housing, even if it means funding it thru additional taxes on us residents/homeowners, contributions from non-profits, private donors, philanthropists, etc. I wish we would hear from the current CC members and candidates running for office in November on this. Forget about ADU's, high density high cost rentals in new housing developments just to serve the afore mentioned group.

City officials...elected, appointed, and volunteers...please show your mettle and speak out on this issue. Are you for or against? Don't do the political posturing dance (sashay)...you might trip and fall. And, if these questions are too difficult for you to deal with, in an open and honest way, then maybe you are not the right ones to be dealing with them.

One more thought for the day. Politics should never be a career. Get in, serve the public, and get out. Public service should be and is the key, working to best serve us common folks and not special interests with big lobbying groups. That should be a life time career, not influenced by outside groups. When you start thinking about politics as a career, then all the good that you could and should do just gets cast aside...evaporates, or if those words are too strong...at least gets marginalized. Your new goal is just to get re-elected. Very bad. Pity us who have to decide by the number of campaign signs up on lawns, corners, and shopping centers. Funny, today I saw two 'Liz Kniss' signs up, side by side, at the corner of the Charleston Shopping Center. Is she worried? Maybe a third one will seal the deal. The more the better?...


20 people like this
Posted by Creepy
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Creepy is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


4 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

>By giving up my car, I am personally saving $400/month

so after 10 years you will have "saved" $48k vs owning a car during the same period? How much would it cost you to own a basic car during that time period? sounds like some funny financial calculations going on. The cost of car ownership looks something like this:

"average quality" used car cost ~ 20k / 10 year lifetime = 2k per year (20,000).. and you can probably recoup ~1-1.5k re-selling it after 10 years)
maintenance ... 2 oil changes per year + smog = $150 Jiffy Lube (or do it yourself) (1,500)
1 change of tires: 1 k (1000)
2 major services required : i.e. timing belt/water pump = $1000 (1000)
insurance $500/year + $100/yr registration (6,000)
assume ~ 100k miles / 25 mpg @ $4/gal = $16,000 (16,000)

total cost for freedom of car ownership/mobility over 10 years: ~$46k (maybe 10k more if you get an expensive used car or a new car, or have a bad driving record and much higher insurance cost)

Now if you are "saving $400/month" for 10 years, that works out to 400x12x10 = $48,000 saved (completely paid for your car ownership + some extra cash). how is that possible? Maybe Uber is actually paying you to use their service or providing service for free? The only way using ride share makes financial sense as your primary transportation is if a) you don't get out much at all and/or b) you live in an area where parking is very expensive (i.e. big city)

There are of course more complications, such as considering present value of money sunk into the car, etc., but think about it this way and you don't really need to do the detailed calculations: If it was cheaper to rideshare than drive, how could your rideshare driver + his vulture "employer" make a profit (its costing him similar overhead for car ownership)? They always tack on overhead + profit margins to the cost of just the driving. Just like renters aren't usually "saving" money over cost of owning a property ... otherwise the landlord would just sell the property because there would be no profit in it (i.e. your rent has to be higher than the costs the landlord incurs to own/operate the property). By renting, leasing, ridesharing you are just trading off your personal convenience for an overall higher cost solution.


23 people like this
Posted by Trickle-Down Housing Fallacy
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Before jumping to the conclusion that the solution to the non-wealthy being able to afford to live in Palo Alto is building more market-rate housing, take a look at this 48 Hills piece by Tim Redmond:
Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Dan@Midtown,

He still needs car insurance to use zipcar; or else he's probably spending alot more for Uber/Lyft rides during the weekends, or nights out.

According to Edmunds, a 10 year old Honda Civic is worth $4,800.

So I would say he would be saving about $10,000 over 10 years by owning a car.


21 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 7:07 pm

It is complete fantasy that there won't be 60 plus cars associated with the proposed building. The builder is proposing to build 25 spaces. He then inflates the number by saying lifts will bring the number to 47. Has anyone ever used a lift? The car on the bottom has to be gone to get the one on top out. Would you want a top berth? No this thing is under-parked by a factor at least 4. My generation always had about one car per person. Using this ratio that would be about 90 cars. This proposal is DOA.


2 people like this
Posted by ABAG
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2016 at 10:42 pm

The only positive I can see to this proposal as it provides 60 more units towards our ABAG-mandated new housing units. Making all units studios would be even better in this regard.


2 people like this
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:31 am

Been thinking about what Paly Grad wrote above about how so many of the younger folks in town are not driving or owning cars as much as my generation does.

Why not lhave the City demand a fully-parked plan as a "Plan A" and then if the building residents and users truly don't need so many cars after a preset number of years allow a portion of the parking to be converted to housing or other use as a pre-spproved "Plan B"! Palo Alto could be the first town to have such car-reduction incentives in building use permits.


19 people like this
Posted by Four_units
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 15, 2016 at 2:33 am

I would like to build six units on my single family lot. I think I can fit them all in, I just do not have space for parking ! Do you think Marc Bremen will help me with this zone problem?


4 people like this
Posted by Six_units
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:01 am

[Post removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by No Upzoning
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 5:28 am

It is zoned public facility. There are plenty of good uses that fall under public facility.We cannot solve the Housing affordability problem in Palo Alto. Building 60 units will not bring down the cost of housing, all it does is lower the quality of life for those of us living here already. The traffic on Page Mill and El Camino is atrocious. I have sat in my car for 3 light cycles to make the left turn onto El Camino south from Page Mill. This is in no way imaginable a place for people to live. There are plenty of these small one bedroom apts in the HUGE San Antonio Devt. Where at least they have amenities like stores, movie theaters, restaurants, train access. Since this parcel is zoned public facility then it shouldn't be up zoned for a developer to make his millions of dollars. Zoning should not be for sale in Palo Alto. It's time to stop this practice once and for all!


10 people like this
Posted by realist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 5:50 am

@Midtown raises a key issue about the actual use
of parking lifts. At 537 Hamilton there are parking lifts and I have only seen a car going in/out of that garage a few times. Does the City do any follow-up on this? Of course not. Also this new project will have a major impact on the adjacent residential building and there is no
mention/consideration of that. This City is in a
major cycle of destruction/decline fostered and
perpetuated by the City Council/staff and developers whose value system is defined by $$$ signs.


16 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 6:27 am

Marc Berman should have recused himself from this, as he is getting campaign contributions from developers donating to his campaign for state legislator.


14 people like this
Posted by Annie
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:18 pm

I still don't see what prevents someone from renting one of these units to live in during the week so their kids can go to school here. Then they return to their nice big house in the East Bay for the weekend. Yes, it's against the rules, but it still happens.


2 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@ABAG

Good try, but it's possible it was meant to be a spoof post! Am I right? If not, then it doesn't make sense. And if you are serious, please recite for all of us readers the details of the ABAG mandate. It doesn't just say housing...how about adding the words "for very low income, low income, and median income people"? I don't think any of them would fit into the grand plan for this project...with unit rents starting at $3,000 (that's my number and I'll bet it will be that or even higher). I keep reading about $2,000 a month rent rates but never know were that number came from. That is certainly not a number that came from the developers because they haven't given one yet,and for good reason, on their part. And if making them all studios is such a great idea, how about going a step further and say how much greater it would be if they were all micro units...Now that is a spoof comment BTW.


7 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 15, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Snookered again, housies. As I've explained in prior posts, this development is a natural design for post-construction office conversion.

A developer with a puckish sense of dark humor might complain to the city council that there is not enough parking in the city-council-approved design to support housing usage, but there is just enough for offices. Outcome: office conversion duly allowed.

Else, they simply cut a few interior doors and just rent as office space. City hall will not care. In fact, I'll bet the project's enabling ordinance will be carefully written, per custom, to preclude any meaningful enforcement of the conditions of approval.


1 person likes this
Posted by hewmin
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2016 at 11:12 am

Agreed that there is too much parking as planned, but realistically probably what we have to live with given the politics. Regardless---nice to see a bit of our underutilized land put to use, especially with a housing project.


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

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