News

Board rejects Zuckerberg's plans for Palo Alto homes

Architectural Review Board says Facebook CEO's plan effectively creates a 'compound,' clashes with city's vision for neighborhoods

Mark Zuckerberg's plan to demolish and replace his four homes in Palo Alto's Crescent Park neighborhood took an unexpected turn Thursday morning when the city's Architectural Review Board recommended denying his application, arguing that the proposed "compound" clashes with the city's official vision for single-family neighborhoods.

The board voted 3-1, with Alexander Lew recusing himself (he owns property within 500 feet of the project) and Kyu Kim dissenting, to recommend striking down Zuckerberg's proposal to replace the homes at 1451, 1457 and 1459 Hamilton Ave. and 1462 Edgewood Drive. The plan called for removing a pair of two-story homes and two one-story homes on the four separate parcels owned by the Facebook CEO. They would be replaced with three single-story homes and one two-story home.

In terms of height, density and architecture, the new homes were well within the city's building rules. Even the tallest building, the two-story home at 1457 Hamilton Ave., had a proposed height of about 26 feet, well below the 30-foot height limit in the residential district. The project also included ample landscaping, with trees generally screening the new buildings from the street.

The project architect, Kathy Scott from the firm Walker-Warner Architects, said a major goal of the project was to maintain the character of the neighborhood and reduce the scale of the homes.

Palo Alto's planning staff determined that the architects succeeded in achieving these goals and recommended approving the project. City Planner Graham Owen told the architectural board Thursday that the architecture of the buildings is compatible with the surrounding area and that the sole two-story building is consistent with Palo Alto's "individual review" guidelines for multi-story homes.

But it wasn't the architectural details that bugged the board but a broader issue having to do with the way in which the new buildings would be used. All three of the board members who opposed the application argued that the four homes, while located in a single-family residential zone, are not intended to house four families. This led them to conclude that they cannot make the finding that this project is compatible with the city's Comprehensive Plan, the broad -- and outdated -- document that guides the city's growth.

Peter Baltay noted that the Comprehensive Plan explicitly calls for maintaining the city's residential neighborhoods. The project proposed by Zuckerberg (whose name was never mentioned at the meeting; the applicant is listed as RBLKT LLC, SFRP LLC, RFBPO LLC, and JPAWW LLC) doesn't seem to be consistent with that vision, Baltay said.

"A residence is something where a family lives," said Baltay, the first board member to raise the land-use concerns. "These are not residences. They are part of a larger compound."

When asked by Baltay how the homes will be used, Scott told the board that the idea of the project is "to expand our client's capacity to enjoy the property," which would be shared with friends and family and which, as a result of the renovation, would have more outdoor space.

"The current property is quite restrictive, so this is giving additional space for their residential functions," Scott said.

She also noted that while her client intends to use the four properties in the short term, the idea is to make each building flexible and suitable for use as a single-family home in the future.

But Wynne Furth and Robert Gooyer concurred with Baltay's characterization, with each referring to the project as a "compound" that does not belong in a zoning district intended for single-family homes. Furth argued that the city code limits lot sizes in this district to 20,000 square feet precisely to prevent the loss of homes and the construction of projects that are out of scale with the neighborhood. The four structures proposed for the site, Furth said, "are not credible single-family homes."

"They are credible as part of a larger compound," Furth said. "We have zoning that instructs us that integrated residential use isn't supposed to be more than 20,000 square feet. So I can't make the finding that this is consistent with zoning."

She also noted that while the city doesn't attempt to define a "family," rules specify that each home in the residential district should be an independent housekeeping unit.

Furth and Gooyer also pointed to specific features in each of the homes that would seem irregular in a single-family home, but that only make sense when the buildings are thought of as a single compound.

Gooyer noted that in one of the homes, there is a living room at one end of the home, a kitchen on the other end and a bedroom between them.

"That's not normal," he said. "Once you put all these pieces together, it reads compound."

Furth pointed to each of the four homes and took note of features that aren't well suited to a single-family home. At 1457 Hamilton Ave., for example, plans call for a large entertainment space and what looked like a service kitchen, rather than a family kitchen. The home also includes a downstairs media room, she noted.

"This is a great place for a party, but I don't see as a credible single-family detached dwelling," Furth said.

Toward the end of the hearing, Baltay raised an even broader concern when he questioned the need to demolish the existing buildings at all. He called the four homes "stellar examples of architecture in Palo Alto."

"I find it a real shame that we're tearing down four perfectly fine homes," Baltay said.

With the board's recommendation submitted, it will now be up to the city's planning director to consider the board's findings and to determine whether the project should be allowed to commence.

---

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Comments

37 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Non-sensical. To the best of my knowledge -- I've read the City's single family individual review guidelines and key portions of the City Code dealing with R1 development -- no part of this proposal runs against the grain of, or conflicts with, either . While several of the ASRB members' concerns appear wise and well-construction, several are less-than-reasonable and stretch logic.

"That's not normal." There's nothing in the guidelines or City Code obligating compliance with what is 'normal'. To the contrary, I, as a 44-year resident of Crescent Park, would argue one part of the City's nature and heart is its ability to tolerate and embrace what is then not-quite-'normal'. ;)


36 people like this
Posted by SEA_SEELAM REDDY
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

Marc and His wife are very nice people in our community. I briefly met them at Tin Pot. They are donating ~95% of their wealth to our nation.

We like to have them here.

Do the best to give them options to build their home.

They deserve a nice home for what they are giving to our nation; jobs and improving the world.

Respectfully


93 people like this
Posted by Sometimes you have to wonder!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm

What's the Architectural Review Board doing about the proposed mega-home (11 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms) being proposed for the corner of Newell and Embarcadero? Talk about "not normal"!!

Web Link.


75 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Ridiculous reasoning. They are approving a 10 bed 14 bath home and refusing 4 separate homes on separate lots. Something very wrong about all this.

I smell a fish.


80 people like this
Posted by Luda-Chris
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Luda-Chris is a registered user.

This is just nuts. Zuckerberg's plans are a great improvement over what is there now, which is in poor condition.

At least the plan for the compound shows some real thought and consideration went into it.

There have been some real abominations built on small lots that got approval.

Seems it's a random luck -of-the-draw when it comes to project approval. What does th ARB do-- use the eenie, meenie, mynie, moe method?????


54 people like this
Posted by sans-culottes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm

sans-culottes is a registered user.

Good for the city standing up to the hypocrisy. The design was an obvious attempt to build a moat of houses to insulate the residents from the common people (sans-culottes or without silk knee breeches) and provide lodging for their servants, 16 security guards and revolving political cronies.

Where is PAF when you need it? How about some micro apartments with zoning exceptions and no parking provisions? Alternatively, the city could buy up the properties for 65M and turn it into a mobile home park for the displaced Buena Vista residents.

No more penances for the wealthy liberal elites.


50 people like this
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Let Mark build.


52 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Some folks had been concerned that this project was intended for some sort of compound, and the spokespersons for the project denied it. Now it seems that there is some basis for the concern. It is certainly within the scope of the city's review authority to turn such a proposal down, even if objective zoning criteria are otherwise observed. Philanthropic and other good qualities of the applicants are not a good reason to remove good housing stock from the market.


22 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

If only Mark was a developer......


21 people like this
Posted by Kerry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

If Marc will sign a BMR lease with Buena Vista residents to live in these four homes, then he should be allowed to go ahead. Palo Alto needs as much affordable housing as possible, and Marc has supported this concept. Now let him prove his belief. I hope he is not just another limo lib.


30 people like this
Posted by Nice people
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

NGood to see the ARB doing the job they are supposed to do. Congratulations!

Marc is tired of driving to work. He's in the "walk to work" trend. Bring the work and the workers home to you.

"They are nice people" That's a reason to make zoning decisions?


20 people like this
Posted by advice for Mark
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Mark if you are reading these comments here is my suggestion. Redesign the houses to make them look more normal and after you receive final signoff to occupy go and move a few walls and space around to create what you want. Hundreds of other Palo Alto residents are guilty of the same witness the number of garages that are somehow magically turned into family rooms.


7 people like this
Posted by Sans-culottes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Sans-culottes is a registered user.

[Post removed due to possible copyright infringement.]


56 people like this
Posted by If/Then - deny 1710 Newell too!
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm

If/Then - deny 1710 Newell too! is a registered user.

If the ARB denies the Zuckerbergs for want to build housing they feel is "not intended to house four families", then they should also deny the house at 1710 Newell - which is clearly not meant to house a family at all. Families don't build basements with multiple bedrooms and a "Common Room".

So either deny both or approve both.


40 people like this
Posted by Martin
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

This is a massive own goal by Palo Alto. Here is a person who has complied with the rules, with an understated development, who is an enormous asset to Palo Alto, whose charitable activities can have a profound impact on those less fortunate - and has now been snubbed! The ARB does not have a mandate for social engineering and should intervene only when projects fall egregiously outside broad guidelines


27 people like this
Posted by Zillow
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Out of curiosity, I checked Zillow's estimate of these four teardown homes that some say are in bad condition: $7.3 million, $19.5 million, $7.2 million, and $18.8 million. It's a different world over there in Crescent Park!


25 people like this
Posted by KK
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:14 pm

This is interesting. He is denied but Larry Page was approved for what is going on in all of his properties? I don't mean to deny him either, but the hypocrisy and short term memory of people on these committees is pretty ridiculous. At least these look like houses.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Midtown

on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:27 pm

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


23 people like this
Posted by Your kidding
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Baltays comment

"I find it a real shame that we're tearing down four perfectly fine homes," Baltay said.

this happens everyday in Palo Alto! why are you even suggesting that as a reason to stop this project. Unbelievable inconsistency of policy


13 people like this
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Seriously? is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


10 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

So what would happen with MZ's historical house? I'd love to see his annoying security dudes get off the street, but it sounds like the ARB has been thoughtful.

Re Larry Page - didn't he turn his place on that tiny street into a compound?


16 people like this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Chris Zaharias is a registered user.

I don't know about other neighbors, but we've always gone out of our way to give he & his family all the privacy they deserve Keep the homes as they are or remodel them, and just build a few fence gates, problem solved.


26 people like this
Posted by Bon
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Does this mean PA is going to start cracking down on ghost houses? Didn't think so. This city is in the middle of such a huge identity crisis.


18 people like this
Posted by retired guy who follows the schools
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 5:18 pm

retired guy who follows the schools is a registered user.

Hey, I've got an idea. (Happens to me every few years.)

I so crazy it just might work!

So, okay, we already know the Z Man is big into education. (Because he gave $100 million to schools in New Jersey a few years back.)

Also: lots of times we let people build things they want to build if they'll do, like, "mitigations." (If they'll, e.g., throw in parking or housing or open space or public art or what-have-you.)

And: we're already funding our Palo Alto public schools thru home-ownership (property taxes) and Mr Z. will already be contributing, right?

So: what if we let him build what he's got his heart set on and in exchange he might be happy to close our current $4.3 million (peanuts!) district shortfall in the schools budget plus help downsize the class-sizes (as everyone is talking about currently) for, whatever, the next few years?

(Like for the years around the corner when Paly and Gunn are supposed to get a lot more kids otherwise?)

Hey, isn't Palo Alto supposed to be "innovative" and "creative" and "cutting edge"? Are there reasons McGee and the board and council and "zoning" or whoever the case may be can't DO this?!

Well, I told you it was so crazy it might work, didn't I? :-)

Here's the skinny on that big New Jersey gift:

Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by if/Then - deny 1710 Newell too!
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm

if/Then - deny 1710 Newell too! is a registered user.

@retired guy - here's another idea, stop expecting people who have money to bail out people for being stupid. The PAUSD Board got us into this mess by being fiscally irresponsible (Except for Mr. Dauber). THEY should be bailing us out.


11 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm

The difference between the Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page compounds is the very nice Halloween exhibits that the latter throws at Waverly Oaks. I don't believe anyone outsider visitors have breached the Zuck Crescent Park fortress yet. The giant [portion removed] wall he is building around his HI compound highlights the different attitudes.


9 people like this
Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 15, 2016 at 7:10 pm

We need more people like Mark & Priscilla to live in this community. They will beautify Palo Alto by having less artificial footprints and pay more taxes.

Mark & Priscilla please do more for Palo Alto. You should be able to do more like helping us to build more underpass/overpass rail crossings for us. That will save more lives, save time on commute and improve air quality.


19 people like this
Posted by sans-culottes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm

sans-culottes is a registered user.

[Post removed.]






30 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 15, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Just about every street has empty scraper holes for new construction so rejecting this seems inconsistent and hypocritical. Beautiful old homes are constantly being scraped and replaced. A 3-house compound on Middlefield near the new Library was approved. Parking was so scarce there the realtors had to shuttle people to the open house.

If this gets rejected, then the 14-bedroom Newell /Embarcadero monstrosity that has no parking on one of the busiest streets in PA certainly should be.



21 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm

This is nuts. Who can say what the houses will be used for. This is just the 99% ers taking a shot at the 0.000001% ers. Period.


6 people like this
Posted by Eileen Wright
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 9:26 pm

[Portion removed.] This is big goverment at its worse!


14 people like this
Posted by eye roll
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 15, 2016 at 9:43 pm

This is Palo Alto. You have to violate the city plan to get approved. Duh!


35 people like this
Posted by Oh Brother
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 15, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Seriously? We have Palantir taking over downtown and turning it into their own private compound, but MZ cannot renovate four unobtrusive houses? The neighbor behind me just put up a giant monster home with in-your-face windows that look right through the back of the houses behind, when the planner told us the only thing toward us would be a high window over a shower that no one could ever see through. The thing should never have been approved for utter lack of respect of the neighbors' privacy, yet that one sailed through (and hey, I wonder how they will feel when some teenager puts their family on the internet - loss of privacy works both ways, neighbor.) Zuckerberg's problem was trying to be too nice, if he had done some pedestrian intrusive monster home like my neighbor, he'd have gotten kid gloves.


13 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2016 at 10:21 pm

Palo Alto city and downtown should be for regular people. I think it is great that MZ wants to live here, and I am sure that some compromise will be reached. Normally I am hyper-critical of what the city does ... because of what it does. I think a lot of the comments here have ulterior motives to curry favor with this billionaire. He can follow the rules ... and yes, the city should be more restrictive on the other projects mentioned. We cannot have a city of feudal castles surrounded by peasants, so if what he is doing is too uncharacteristic of the city I support the city to say so and push for something that fits in more.


8 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 15, 2016 at 11:39 pm

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by David Solnick
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2016 at 6:13 am

This is an issue of zoning, not design. The ARB has overstepped its mandate.


17 people like this
Posted by Don't be fooled
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2016 at 7:23 am

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Be positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 16, 2016 at 8:28 am

Be positive is a registered user.

There are many homes in Palo Alto the are two or more "combined" lots, I know of several just in crescent park. The only difference is they built the properties one at a time or in one case, not at all so they could have more yard.


22 people like this
Posted by Kerry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2016 at 9:22 am

The ARB has completely overstepped its mandate. This is so hypocritical. MZ was trying to be a nice guy, and what does he get for it DENIAL . ARB architects should look at their own monstrosities, one of which blocks my daylight plane and destroys any sense of privacy for my family. My neighborhood is filled with illegal garages and sheds housing people with no repurcussions or code enforcement. MZ should not be pushed toward Atherton/Woodside, which is clearly the message that the City is sending!
Can't wait till the media gets onto this story, we'll be the laughing stock of the Nation.


19 people like this
Posted by Residents unite and act
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2016 at 9:43 am

This is another example of how disconnected our city bureaucrats are with us,residents w/ roots in the community and who are here for the long run.

The people who rejected this project are probably the same ones who have approved some of the monstrosities pushed by real estate developers and the pro-growth advocates, with no regard for the impact to the community.

I urge you to vote in the upcoming election, and ensure we get officials who support our vision of keeping Palo Alto as a nice place to live. Do your homework, and definitely don't get brainwashed by the massive and slick marketing of those candidates w/ big money behind them. You know whose interests they'll be fighting for.


26 people like this
Posted by myopinion
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2016 at 10:58 am

This is not surprising, Did we really believe MZ would remodel those homes for school teachers making 70K per year? If he wants to live in a compound he should buy 10 acres in the hills. A neighborhood should be neighborly.


13 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:08 am

I'd be interested to know if all of the immediate neighbors support the compound. It's not clear form the comments that there is unanimous support (I am suspicious of the "I vouch for my good friend 'Marc'" emails that misspell his name!). Negative impacts to neighbors can be much greater from "normal" houses--it really depends on the courtesy of the people living there, which seems sadly lacking with increasing frequency. Kudos to the City for having some backbone and seeing the project for what it is. But if this plan is lower impact than alternatives and doesn't prevent the lots from being used as separate residences at a future date, then the idea could be OK. I don't have all the facts the City does.


8 people like this
Posted by Judith Wasserman
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:09 am

Judith Wasserman is a registered user.

FYI - The ARB does not review the house at Newell and Embarcadero, because is it one house. You have to be building 3 or more houses to get ARB review.


7 people like this
Posted by grandmakk
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:11 am

Wonder what the City's take is on the recently completed Jobs' compound on Santa Rita? The neighboring house at the back of the yard was turned into a "guest house," it appears.


26 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:21 am

I am so disappointed in the Architectural Review Board. We should embrace the Zuckerberg plans. This is so much better than building four mega-individual homes (think the proposal at Newell and Embarcadero). The Zuckerbergs have been good neighbors and my husband and I support their plans.


24 people like this
Posted by Eli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:22 am

Palo Alto is doing to Mark Zuckerberg what Woodside did to Steve Jobs - Woodside didn't approve his home for years and historically it turned tout to be a benefit for Palo Alto. Here the review board is playing Sherlock Holmes to "suspect" this is a compound. Let me tell you, dear board: yes, this is a compound but if each structure complies with architecture code why do you care where the bedroom is located? In the big picture we are proud to have MZ live here and if he complies, why not?


17 people like this
Posted by need code enforcement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:30 am

@Kerry Your comment is spot on. Code enforcement allows stuffing a R-1 house full of tenants no matter how that affects the neighborhood. We wish the city would enforce keeping the R-1 low density in place. But currently you can run a boarding house or convert your garage to a rental with no oversight.


9 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
14 hours ago
"Palo Alto city and downtown should be for regular people. I think it is great that MZ wants to live here, and I am sure that some compromise will be reached. Normally I am hyper-critical of what the city does ... because of what it does. I think a lot of the comments here have ulterior motives to curry favor with this billionaire. He can follow the rules ... and yes, the city should be more restrictive on the other projects mentioned. We cannot have a city of feudal castles surrounded by peasants, so if what he is doing is too uncharacteristic of the city I support the city to say so and push for something that fits in more."

Thank You, @ Plane Speaker, for the above post which is to the point and worth repeating.
I agree with you.


12 people like this
Posted by Enough tech already
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Facebook ruined Palo Alto. [Portion removed.] I do not Facebook. I am a public school teacher saddened by the tech wave squeezing out the little creative guy. [Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Grandma
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm

If Zuckerbergs want a compound, they should go buy land or a tear-down on a big lot in Portola Valley or Woodside or Los Altos Hills and build their compound there. Don't they realize that where they are will be subject to flooding as sea levels rise? Or are they planning to build their own levee? In any event, I totally agree - we don't need this in Palo Alto.


16 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Bwaahahah I hope Mark screws over the board in some way. What about the jerks that want to build the 1710 Newell home? What about the "rezoned" building proposed for page mill/el camino? Palo Alto has its head so far up it's banana it's funny.


13 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm

@Plane Speaker

"We cannot have a city of feudal castles surrounded by peasants"

The fact that Palo Alto homeowners view themselves this way, without a hint of irony or self awareness, is just too much.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jan
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2016 at 1:32 pm

"Ma'am, I know you've done your homework and so you know that money isn't a big part of my life, but at the moment I could buy Mt. Auburn Street, take the Phoenix Club, and turn it into my ping-pong room."


20 people like this
Posted by Chrisc
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Frankly, I don't see what the problem is. People had bought multiple lots, torn down some adorable houses/cottages, built a Ginourmous "house" and moved lots of people in. Isn't it better to have it spread out with good architecture and beautiful grounds? We have billionaires living here, and that's what billionaires do.


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 16, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The applicants have been totally upfront and honest.

If what they have proposed is not approved then they should simply rebuild each individual house in conformance with the current zoning and then install whatever gates they wish in the fences, if any, between those homes.

The Palo Alto zoning ordinance neither requires fences between adjacent homes nor does any Palo Alto ordinance require that individual homes be occupied.


18 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2016 at 4:24 pm

It seems to comply with the code. Let them build it.


8 people like this
Posted by Sharon
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2016 at 4:34 pm

How very sad, shame on all the developers, city planners, and tech companies who are responsible for the death of retail in Palo Alto.


13 people like this
Posted by Sharon
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Ridiculous, good way for nice folks like Zuckerberg and Chan to leave Palo Alto along with all the retail. This will be an empty shell of a city with the guidance of our local politicians.


19 people like this
Posted by Hamilton Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2016 at 7:40 pm

I live very nearby the proposed compound. I'm sure there is a reasonable compromise for this situation, like making all four new homes 3-4 bedroom for future families. The Zuckerberg family are absolutely lovely neighbors, as simple as that. A growing family who wants to enjoy beautiful Palo Alto and be close to work, just like everyone else.


16 people like this
Posted by need code enforcement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2016 at 10:48 pm

So if you under utilize your property you get shut down for not being compatible with the comprehensive plan and R-1 codes. But if you over utilize the city let's you pass. We need some reforms here.


6 people like this
Posted by sans-culottes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2016 at 4:37 pm

sans-culottes is a registered user.

Let's not build walls around our homes, let's build bridges. Drawbridges that is...

Why shouldn't the rich and powerful be able to create multi-million dollar moats around them so they don't have to be seen or interact with the common folk? Every compound can come with concertina wire, closed circuit TV and sport coat wearing security guards that stand by the gates of their driveways and usher people onward who stroll down the street.

Do not worry. These new compounds will be opportunities for ABAG housing (Association for Billionaires and Government Officials) to be offered to visiting lobbyists, fundraisers and global aristocrats. Convoys of dark tinted SUVs will shuttle them about disrupting traffic on their way to important meetings or to private jets at Moffet Field or the Palo Alto Airport.

Ironically, Palo Alto will be turned into a different kind of Green Zone. Less to represent the environment or even money and more like the infamous compound in Iraq for out of touch elites.

If the rest of society cannot afford to eat bread, then let them eat sushi.


Like this comment
Posted by Kg
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2016 at 10:37 pm

"Convoys of dark tinted SUVs will shuttle them about disrupting traffic on their way to important meetings or to private jets at Moffet Field or the Palo Alto Airport"

You don't need to be wealthy to do this. Just look at Elizabeth Holmes


7 people like this
Posted by Oh Brother
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2016 at 9:26 am

Maybe that is the ARBs purpose - to encourage MZ to move to a place like Los Altos where the billionaires are taking an active role in saving the quality of life, to prevent it from happening here. Steve Jobs, who influenced MZ, moved here for a more ordinary life. I remember running into Steve Jobs at the toy store, or on walks around the neighborhood. That Palo Alto is disappearing by design of the development crowd, and perhaps the ARB is afraid people like MZ or MM will want to get involved in making Palo Alto a nice family town again. I still think they should have started with an in-your face monster home plan and scaled back from that, it would have gotten approval.

I hope MZ PC will get fed up and start an equivalent effort like Passerelle did in Los Altos, to allow small businesses, retail, friendly planning policies. Of course, they will have to start soon, or it will be impossible to turn downtown Mordor back into Hobbiton...


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