News

Marriott hotels approved in south Palo Alto

Plan to bring 294 hotel rooms to San Antonio Road scores a victory

Palo Alto rolled out the welcome mat on Monday night to two new Marriott hotels, which won the City Council's approval despite heated opposition from the surrounding neighborhood.

By an 8-1 vote, with Councilwoman Lydia Kou dissenting, the council approved a proposal by T2 development for two hotels -- a sleek and urban AC Hotels by Marriott and the more traditional Courtyard by Marriott -- for a site at 744 and 748 San Antonio Road, near the Mountain View city border. The vote followed more than an hour of testimony from the public, with dozens of neighbors urging the council to strike down the project.

Some argued that the new hotels are grossly incompatible with their neighborhood, which includes a mix of small commercial buildings and the condominium complexes, Greenhouse I and Greenhouse II. And nearly everyone maintained that the new hotels, which will bring 294 rooms between them, would exacerbate the already worsening congestion on San Antonio.

"Seen in isolation, it's a great project," said Ralph Cahn, treasurer of the Greenhouse Homeowners Association, "But it's not in isolation."

Citing the two buildings' 50-foot heights, mass and anticipated traffic impacts, Cahn said the project represents "a huge change to the whole character of the street."

Phillip Hill said that on any weekend, there are many little children playing at the Greenhouse II housing complex. The new hotels, he said, would harm their quality of life.

"I'd implore all of you to search your conscience," Hill said. "If this hotel was built in your backyard or across the street from your house, would you still vote yes?

The council acknowledged the congested conditions on San Antonio, which has a "level of service" measurement of "D" (with "A" as free-flowing traffic and "F" as complete congestion), according to the Environmental Impact Report for the project. But the analysis also found that the hotels would not significantly worsen the traffic and the council agreed with this assessment.

The council tried to placate critics by attaching several conditions to its approval. Addressing residents' concerns about the loss of groundwater due to construction of the basement-level parking garage, the council approved an amendment by Councilwoman Karen Holman calling for the proposed garage to be reduced from two underground levels to one. The developer would also provide puzzle lifts in its garage to make up for the parking spots that would be lost with the reduction.

And in a nod to anxiety over traffic, the council supported Councilman Cory Wolbach's amendment directing half of the savings from the garage reduction to be used for congestion relief. While the hotel proposal already included a "transportation demand management" plan aimed at cutting the number of solo drivers to and from the hotel by 20 percent among employees and by 30 percent among guests, the council attached another condition requiring the hotels to provide shuttles to San Francisco International Airport (they already pledged to provide them to Mineta San Jose International Airport).

"It can't be overstated how serious the traffic problem is on San Antonio," Wolbach said, in discussing his amendment.

Mayor Greg Scharff noted that hotels will mostly cater to business travelers bound for Mountain View's industrial North Bayshore area. And with the hotels providing airport transportation and large high-tech firms offering their own shuttles, it will be possible for travelers to get around without cars.

"There will be money to hopefully do some mitigation on relieving congestion on San Antonio Road so that at the end of the day, after the hotel is built, the hotel will actually not to create congestion and hopefully even relieve some of the congestion," Scharff said. "Citywide, having a hotel in this location will relieve congestion in that people won't drive from other parts of the city to get to North Bayshore."

The council also concurred with the applicants' assertion that the project is compliant with the zoning code and all the relevant design guidelines. The Architectural Review Board, which held four meetings on the project, had voted 3-1 on June 1 to approve it.

Even so, not everyone on the council was thrilled about densifying San Antonio. Even though the project architects had expanded and refined the landscaping plans over the project's evolution, Holman wondered whether the transitions between the five-story buildings and the surrounding area are adequate.

Ultimately, she joined the majority in voting to support the project, which is expected to bring an estimated $3.6 million in annual hotel revenues. Several council members, including Scharff and Adrian Fine, pointed to the revenue-generating nature of hotels as a major benefit of the proposal.

"We have a lot of folks saying this is their neighborhood, and I get that ," Fine said. "At the same time, when I think about hotels here, it kind of makes sense here more than in any other places."

Related content:

Palo Alto council open to new Marriott hotels

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Comments

37 people like this
Posted by Cumulative impacts
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:30 am

@Weekly,
The reporter made an error - Greenacres I and II should be Greenhouse I and II. The monstrous hotels that displaced retail were already built near Greenacre I and II, and they weren't even as big as these.

[Portion removed.] They're back to treating South PA like a dumping ground for whatever they don't want in their own backyards. It's as if they think if Mountain View can put giant oversized developments there, then so should we. I hope the residents decide to fight this. We will support you. (Go talk to a good land use attorney and other residents. What City Council tells you is within zoning when they want something, may not be exactly correct,)

No matter what they put there, it should be contingent on that bridge over Alma being rebuilt first. Go look up the history on that bridge and the safety concerns.


61 people like this
Posted by Pension Tax
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:40 am

Thank you Lydia for standing up for residents. This is really just another hidden pension tax -- the bureaucrats know the trough has to be continually filled in order to pay the 6-figure pensions that our current, ridiculously broken system hands out like candy.

We need to trim the city bureaucracy and switch to 401k plans ASAP, before too many more of these monsters get approved.


36 people like this
Posted by Cumulative Impacts
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:43 am

"The council acknowledged the congested conditions on San Antonio Road, which has a “level of service” of D (with A as free-flowing traffic and F as complete congestion), according to the Environmental Impact Report for the project. But the analysis also found that the hotels would not significantly worsen the project and the council agreed with this assessment."

Greenhouse residents: Just some history. Staff "assessment" have a history of saying red is green whenever Council wants something. You could do an independent assessment.

If hope if those residents decide to rise up, they will work on recalling Kniss, Fine, and Tanaka over their development money desclosure "lapses" during the election, they will get other help. You can't recall within six months of an election. It's been six months.


Like this comment
Posted by Gennady Sheyner
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:54 am

Thanks, @Cumulative Impacts. Sorry for the error. It's been corrected.


28 people like this
Posted by Cumulative Impacts
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2017 at 8:04 am

""The council acknowledged the congested conditions on San Antonio Road, which has a “level of service” of D (with A as free-flowing traffic and F as complete congestion), according to the Environmental Impact Report for the project. But the analysis also found that the hotels would not significantly worsen the project and the council agreed"

It occurs to me that the state requires a limited number of things in comp plans, and one of them is traffic circulation. Greenhouse neighbors, if you have it in you, you could do this town big favors by going after the overdevelopment through fighting this. Again, go talk to people around town. Get help.

Why is this location better than the Ming's site where a hotel was supposed to be built? Why would it reduce cross town traffic for the spyglasses of Sauron? Hotels to the South that are near Google are cheaper.


27 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 13, 2017 at 9:09 am

It occurs to me, as someone who doesn't live near these hotel projects but goes to this area often, that several valid concerns were raised, especially about traffic impacts. I wonder about the increasing use of "transportation demand mamagement" plans to reduce one aspect of travel by 20%...another by 30%...seems bureaucratic and difficult to track. Will PA City staff have to follow this? Or will on-site hotel management supposedly track these stats to prove they have reduced car travel (on an ongoing basis?) I know this isn't new, just wonder how it works in reality.
We have high traffic levels all around here, in my opinion it's fine to encourage other transit options, but we must acknowledge that many auto trips ARE necessary and WILL occur. Visitors WILL take taxiis to/from San Jose Airport and these hotels.
The City should encourage smooth, fast auto traffic flow on major roads and refrain from pushing more auto trips onto side streets and cut-throughs of residential neighborhoods. The rest of us locals need to get places and are fully informed of potential options AND often DO need to drive single-occupancy cars, and this should be acknowledged rather than pretending we 1)all live in downtown PA and can walk a few blocks "to do everything" or 2)can use bikes for commutes or variety of other local trips we must take all the time. My fantastic dentist is in Cupertino, and it's a struggle to get there. Nobody subsidizes our family's commutes/travel - zero use/practicality of Caltrain or busses anyway.


8 people like this
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2017 at 11:44 am

This will increase traffic and people at the hotel will probably have cars even with an airport shuttle. Its not like there are many businesses nearby. If the shuttles also went to downtown PA that would probably help. I am confused by one thing - why would kids playing at a condo complex on the other side of a 4 lane street have their quality of life changed by this project?


3 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2017 at 11:46 am

"The City should encourage smooth, fast auto traffic flow on major roads"

We have seen what a disaster planning based solely on maximizing vehicle throughput is, and thankfully no longer do that.


33 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2017 at 11:47 am

Annette is a registered user.

It's discouraging to observe what continues to happen via Staff, Council, and Commission decisions. It is one thing to NOT solve problems but to affirmatively make them worse is unconscionable.

Related issue: the Protégé parking matter. I agree that applicants shouldn't be held hostage to philosophical disagreements, but Staff shouldn't tee up that sort of dynamic between applicants and residents by deliberately disregarding established rules. We seem to be following the "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" maxim with the result that the City's myriad problems are in fact getting worse rather than better.

I don't have all the answers, but cleaning house at election time is a good place to start.


65 people like this
Posted by Lydia Kou
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

The Environmental Impact Report for these 2 hotels are completely inadequate and flawed. I cannot in good conscience "certify" this poorly done EIR.

The Mass and Compatibility is overwhelming for that site. As suggested by a member of the public, a Marriot like the one on El Camino Real in Los Altos Web Link, set back from the street so that it is less imposing and instead of 5 floors, it should be 3 or 4 floors. That would have been more acceptable.

The city should also include in its conditions that if there are any modifications to the number of rooms, height, parking, landscape, etc. there should be a monetary penalty which should be collected when permits are issued and should be held in an escrow account.

Our building codes and local standards for the health, safety and welfare of its residents are in pretty sad state.

Lastly, all the campaign rhetoric about having to do more about the housing crisis, well... I guess it wasn't that much of a crisis after all.


29 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Lydia, thank you for continuing to fight the good fight. Shame on the city and the rest of the city council for continuing to make our lives even worse by creating more traffic and gridlock. The mayor's point about how the money collected from these hotels will "mitigate" our problems is absolutely laughable.

If the city is so desperate for money and happy to waste our time sitting in traffic, maybe they shouldn't be in such a rush leave the multi-million dollars in sales tax revenues from newly legalized marijuana sales on the table.

According to recent reports, nearby San Carlos will take in $2,000,000 from the 3 dispensaries it's already approved for consenting adults. From MEDICAL marijuana, San Jose has funded more than 15 police officers and a branch library.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:57 pm

This may be a superfluous comment, but can anyone explain the need for two hotels instead of one?

I can see that they will share parking, but will they have two reception lobbies, two staff entrances, two delivery entrances, etc. Isn't there going to be some duplication of various amenities that would mean one hotel rather than two would make more sense?


5 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm

@ Resident
I think one is a regular hotel and one may be a longer-stay-for-business type hotel (forget what that's called).


39 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Thank you Lydia, for trying to stop this. The council appears to be in deep denial about traffic. I traveled extensively for business and it was a rare trip where I, or my co-workers, didn't need a rental car at our disposal. This will simply contribute more to the traffic on nearby residential streets. Charleston is a parking lot from 101 to 280 during the ever expanding commute hours. What do the council members get out of this that makes it acceptable to inflict this on the residents?


41 people like this
Posted by Enid Pearson
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2017 at 3:16 pm


Thank You, Councilwoman Kou for your vote against this proposal. My observation tells me that every new bldg whether office, hotel, or even housing guarantees significantly more traffic. There is no other way to move around this area and it will take (if ever) dozens of years to finance and build. Then there is the problem of educating everyone that it is ok to use other transportation means than one's very own isolated and insulated car. And I am including myself and at this time in my life, biking is not an option and walking takes too long.

Most people of Palo Alto that I talk to are distressed that the residential character of our city is changing into an
intense and dense place to live. And worst of all it appears that there is no way to stop or slow the process. Angry citizens have no impact. Maybe we need a change of leadership?




Posted by Anon
a resident of Mountain View

on Jun 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm


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6 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Lots of talk and no action-as usual. What happened to the spirit and 'take em on' attitude from Maybell a few years ago. Pretty much down the drain.


6 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Seriously folks. Prop 13 isn't for free. The tax revenue from hotels dwarfs revenue from the small percentage of property tax the city gets from residents.

Remember that when you continue to pay less than your fair share of property tax twice a year.

And these complaints about traffic? I thought long-time residents don't use infrastructure and services as much as younger folks. Oh, except roads. Maybe fire. Oh, don't forget police....


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I've never met Enid Pearson or Steve Dabrowski so I am not simply agreeing with pals here when I say that both are exactly right.

Concerned residents: it is time to meet and consider an organized response. If we do not at least try we are assured of more development, more traffic, less parking, and all sorts of other related infrastructure issues including continued long delays in getting everywhere.

If no one with a large yard or driveway can host, I will do so on a weekday evening at my College Terrace home.


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Please stop the nonsense about paying fair share of property taxes.

We all pay property taxes that are based on the purchase price of our property. That sounds extremely fair to me. Any other system would be totally unfair. A person who earns high salaries and is willing to pay high dollars for their home knows exactly what their property tax bill will be. Likewise, someone who bought their home x number of years ago also had a good idea what the property tax would be on their home. Escalating the amount of a long term homeowner's property tax based on anything other than their own purchase price would be totally unfair, totally unreasonable and questionable as to how this would work.

Property tax works well the way it is done now. Don't tax longtime property owners out of their own homes!


11 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2017 at 5:35 pm

"The council acknowledged the congested conditions on San Antonio Road, which has a “level of service” of D (with A as free-flowing traffic and F as complete congestion), according to the Environmental Impact Report for the project. But the analysis also found that the hotels would not significantly worsen the project and the council agreed with this assessment."

City hall has its very own logic for assessing traffic impacts: if traffic in the project vicinity is already virtually impossible to impossible, adding more traffic cannot make it worse. So, pile in developments freely.


"It's as if they think if Mountain View can put giant oversized developments there, then so should we."

We cannot let Mountain View get ahead of us, can we? It's a matter of civic pride.


28 people like this
Posted by HousingAnyone?
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Maybe this is stated somewhere above, but if the city needs housing, then why aren't we seeing HOUSING being built there??


22 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

@Annette, great idea! If you organize a meeting, I'll help and even bring cookies. Same for anyone else hosting it.

For those so aghast, about Prop 13, let them go after the commercial owners first. They benefit from their low low assessments yet continue to charge outrageous rents, hurting retail and individual tenants. Be honest and pick on them for a change and show you're not just schilling for the developer interests. There's a LOT more money there.

Re the EIRs and the traffic studies, it's been known for years that the city's traffic studies are erroneous and the city still refuses to correct them and/or conduct them during peak traffic times that might show the horrors they're perpetuating. They're so bad residents have started funding their own more accurate studies which is outrageous. Examples abound but I'll spare you.


14 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:15 pm

The location of this proposal is fine. It's already fairly dense in commercial development. We have to be willing to make trade offs between slow or no growth and our revenue base, and I'm glad the city council had the fortitude to do it with a sensible compromise, knowing that the NIMBies would be out in force. It certainly is better than what has happened in other parts of the city, where decisions on commercial development drag on for years and years, leaving tax revenues on the table.


16 people like this
Posted by Council watcher
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

@Lydia. Everyone else on the city council including Karen Holman certified the EIR. It was professionally done and clearly met all legal standards. The City attorney also clearly believes that it met the legal standard. No one at the meeting said it was insufficient or provided any reason to doubt its accuracy. You have been on council 6 months have no experience with EIRs or what constitutes a good or bad EIR. The fact that this was an 8-1 vote with Karen Holman, Eric Filseth and Tom DuBois voting yes indicates that you are the outlier. The project t met the cities zoning and will provide over 100 million in revenue over the next 25 years to fund services to residents such as police, Fire, libraries, Parks etc. The pro resident vote was to vote for the hotels as all of your colleagues unanimously agreed


28 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm

@Lydia:

Don't let the Snarkers get you down. Like councilmember and city planner Nancy Lytle was in the early years of this century, you were the lone vote of rationality. Stick to your guns.


Anybody know if this ill-advised approval is referendable?


27 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2017 at 8:59 pm

@CouncilWatcher - in fact there were comments that were critical of the EIR, and for good reason. It is flawed. As for it being certified by 8 on CC, no doubt some of that is political. But I agree that Council Member Kou was the outlier on the issue. Good for her for having the fortitude to vote as she did and to require compliance with the law.

As for the City Attorney not saying anything, have you watched The Godfather lately? At this point I can practically script what our City attorney will say on development matters and EIRs. Everything is always just fine. And yet there's empirical evidence to the contrary all over town.


29 people like this
Posted by saw it on tv
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2017 at 10:02 pm

When the public comment concluded the Mayor opened the council discussion.
The first speaker was Adrian Fine and after profusely thanking the developer and staff, Fine introduced a Motion.
That trick has been used by the Mayor in the past, it means that all subsequent conversation must be about his motion.
This underhanded control trick should not be allowed and the Mayor is at fault for not saying, let us have a discussion before motions are offered.

Mr. Fine's character becomes more apparent as time goes on. It's not a pretty sight.


14 people like this
Posted by Gnar
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 13, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Oh thank god. I was beginning to wonder whether we'd ever overcome our desperate hotel shortage.

Seriously, though, why is every freaking construction project a hotel?

They add nothing to the community, except a towering and unfriendly facade. Every hotel that goes up is another lost opportunity to make our neighborhoods more walkable by putting up interesting shops and spaces where people can convene.


16 people like this
Posted by Cumulative Impacts
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 8:44 am

@Curmudgeon,
The best thing is for some neighbors to get together and talk with a few land use attorneys post haste, and to find out what residents can do. I think if residents do go after this, and I think they should, they should simultaneously recall Kniss, Fine, and Tanaka (separately) over the election disclosure from developer money problem. It will allow residents a more honest discussion about development and our leadership, since the three vehemently claimed they were centrists while loaning themselves money that they later took from developers after it was too late for disclosure.

I also think we have so many hotels now in this part of Palo Alto - from Charleston all the way to San Antonio, it's just one hotel after the other - residents should start an initiative that directs all the tax funding from these and any future hotels on this side of town to directly benefit residents, such as to buy land, e.g. the Frys site if it comes to it, for community amenities and civic/urban open space, in order to offset development in recent years, especially on that side of town. It would finally give the public what is owed In urban open space to offset development, and create walkable amenities now that the City amenities on the North sude of town have become so inaccessible to those on the South. It's all well and good to talk about getting out of cars, but we have fewer and fewer walkable amenities, while the traffic gets worse and more dangerous.

@Annette, I hope you are serious and reach out to Greenhouse residents and other resident groups who would help. Usually what's needed is leadership, many are ready to get to work.


8 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm

I travel on San Antonio Rd almost daily to get to my medical clinic, bank, big Safeway, favorite restaurants, et al. And on cross streets Charleston and Middlefield. My blood pressure goes up and I swear a lot, even tho nobody's listening, when I travel on those roads.

Who is going to check up on that transportation demand management projection? Of course...nobody. The hotels aren't going to self report bad news on failed projections.

And so it goes. The TOT seems to be the big motivator, since there seems to be little self control at city hall on pulling back on programs or doing anything much on the pension problem. Just find another revenue source and tax the residents more.

There are so many commenters that made good points. To cite a few...Lydia Kou, Curmudgeon, Annette, saw it on tv, and Gnar. I know I left a lot out.

Cory lives close to the problem so he understands it very well and acknowledged it. Didn't sway his vote tho.

Now CC, back to what you all are in favor of and ran for office on...more housing, and more affordable housing. Haven't heard much talk about that lately. Is it on the back burner until election time?


6 people like this
Posted by Never pleased
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm

So, gale, doo you think if housing was proposed for that site, people wouldn't object with usual complaints ( i.e. traffic etc)?
Let's be honest palo alto complains spell the time about cars, traffic, visitors etc, but they want the tax revenue from hotel patrons and car sales.
Plus isn't this area zoned for commercial use and not housing


10 people like this
Posted by Scotty the Boot
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

And the # of RV's on El "RV" Camino continue to line up.


29 people like this
Posted by Eejits
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Obviously, little or no thought was put into this!

Perhaps the developer has too much influence in high places in Palo Alto.


8 people like this
Posted by Ingeborg
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Eejits-- just because you do not like the outcome does not mean that plenty of thought and work has no gone into this project. This is a plus for the city.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Ingeborg
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 14, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Referendum is the proper way to resist this city council. After Maybell there was a sea change that, unfortunately, did not last. That referendum should have stock piled names of supporters and methods so it could be repeated quickly in such times of need. Leaders of that action might be of great help going forward. Hope something can be done to halt these atrocities.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert Neff
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 6:49 pm

This is all part of a longer term plan to fund infrastructure in Palo Alto.

In 2009 Palo Alto changed the hotel ordinance to encourage more development of hotels.
Web Link

We passed a hotel tax, and then increased it (in 2014?). (you can search for that on PA Online also).

At the same time we (well, our city council, who we elected) have planned on using revenues from the hotel tax to cover upcoming capitol infrastructure costs. The biggest ones of those are (Gennady should write a story about this):
The Public Safety Building
Parking Garage near Cal Ave.
New Parking Garages downtown.
Fire station rebuilding.
Also transportation improvements for cars, bikes, and pedestrians.
Someday (I don't think this is in the budget yet) Palo Alto contributions towards railroad grade separations.

My point is that the momentum for this is from this long term policy change to encourage hotel development and reap that tax windfall to pay for community identified needs. To just say "No" to this project does not address where the tax stream to pay for these capitol projects would come from otherwise.

This does show the power of changing development rules. If we want to encourage development of more housing, then we don't have to decide where, we have to make it relatively more profitable to developers. For example, instead of every property in the Stanford Business Park being rebuilt to max out its density for jobs (that is happening now, part of why we continue to exacerbate the jobs/housing imbalance), would we consider changing development rules and zoning so it is more favorable to tear down an industrial site on the boundary of the research park and convert it to housing, instead?


14 people like this
Posted by Cumulative Impacts
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm

@Steve,
All you have to do is reach out to the neighborhood leaders for methods, I'm sure people would be glad to pass along the wisdom.

Those lists exist. People forget that Maybell was two referenda, one that City Council simply accepted and did not send to vote. Residents were able to do the second one far more easily. But across town, you would have to do the ground work again. It just takes commitment and leadership. As I wrote to @Annette, reach out to civic and neighborhood leaders.

People who did that were just your neighbirs, with illnesses, deaths in the family, school issues. No one wanted to have to do that. People went back to their lives. Lydia Kou decided to be more active and run for Council, bless her, but most did not. However, the knowledge is still there.

I think referendum will not be enough with this Council, recalls at the same time are probably the best way.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by SadDay
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 14, 2017 at 10:59 pm

So basically Palo Alto treats South Palo Alto like a second class citizen. Lets get more tax money. Lets put those hotels there. This is just terrible. As a South Palo Alto resident, count me in into any opposition that is being organized around this. We don't need more traffic from visitors to Palo Alto clogging up San Antonio.


1 person likes this
Posted by CheekyPaloAltan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:03 pm

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:04 am

Hilarious to see Palo Alto residents, who in generally make tons more money through stock options or in their appreciation of their property than developers keep accusing developers of having undue influence on Palo Alto city council.

You guys are like the liberal Alex Jones - conspiracy theories everywhere. Might want to check your bills recently to see how much tin foil you guys have purchased recently.

(actually I use the word "liberal" ironically - this is about the most small "c" conservative uni-ethnic town I've lived in)


14 people like this
Posted by Greenhouse Resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Do any of the members who approved the project actually live in Grenhouse apartments I or II? Would they be interested in supporting this decision if they would live here? I happen to live here, and the decision will affect my life directly as well as that of my neighbors. Who needs two hotels in Palo Alto? What about the residential needs? Whose interests are being served? Does the vote of the residents count at all? the ones who are actually the residents of the area? There is no democracy here, only money talks, just as it happens when politics is personal, not for the people.
The residents vote was NO NO NO.


10 people like this
Posted by GH Resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm

This was "approved" long time ago in City's mind because they wants that 3.6 million for their own salary increase and pension. Nothing for Palo Alto Residents. All the City do is pretending a "democratic" process with fake hearings for Residents around that area. They had the last hearing at Monday night, with all "No No No" from the real location residents, do they even listen???? No, not at all....all they care is money money money for their own pension and salary!!! Very sad day for real Palo Alto residents. Very sad day for what this city is heading and what this country is heading..."I have the power, who cares about your little citizen" :-(


13 people like this
Posted by Money On The Table
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 15, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Palo Alto could have had the #5.6 million and more if it had approved and taxed marijuana dispensaries WITHOUT all the short-sighted traffic mess.


22 people like this
Posted by shocking
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

I live on the MV side of San Antonio, in the Monta Loma neighborhood. It is absolutely astounding to me that a facility (make that TWO) of this size would be approved in this location. There is NO WAY that area can accommodate the amount of traffic that will come with this development!

I routinely drive 101 to Alma. It can take as much as 20 minutes sometimes to go that distance. 20 MINUTES to travel less than 2 miles. Insane.

We need to fight this. I am happy to walk my neighborhood and distribute flyers or information if someone can get this off the ground.


Like this comment
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Now is the time for a new room tax on hotels. Let the travelers pay for some City Services, like other more progressive cities do.


9 people like this
Posted by mj
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm

You mean more than he 12% occupancy tax they already hotel guests already pay?


11 people like this
Posted by Mica Rose
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm

"Let's be honest palo alto complains spell the time about cars, traffic, visitors etc, but they want the tax revenue from hotel patrons and car sales."

@Never Pleased, then solve the problem of traffic congestion. Getting tax revenue from hotel patrons and car sales and throwing money at TMAs and TDMs is NOT exactly solving the traffic congestion problem, is it? This City is building a bike/pedestrian bridge over the 101 to build that bridge over 101 makes this site perfect for housing.

In the next election, watch out for the candidates' flip flop politics and not being forthright. One can say that the voters voted for this in the 2016 election, but, it was based on lies. Complete lies!

Kou and Keller's ad during the campaign was not wrong about Adrian Fine. He is giving the keys to the City of Palo Alto to the developers. Anyone still have that brochure? All true!











5 people like this
Posted by I live nearby
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2017 at 6:11 pm

I live nearby and am glad to see this go forward. You all seem to speak so loudly about concepts but don't want to be bothered by the available facts. The reports on the table Monday night were pretty clear - The traffic from these hotels will be less than what housing at this site would generate. In fact, the metric of vehicles miles traveled, which is a much better indicator of traffic impact than counting cars leaving the site, shows a pretty big reduction regionally. Sounds like a win to me...

On top of all that, didn't the Council obligate the developer to give half the money they are saving by not building a second level of basement garage to traffic reduction measures? That was basically a bribe but it seems like a pretty generous offer to help the community by the developer.

You all paint this developer as evil but I venture to guess the developer of the Greenhouse made a pretty nice profit on that project, and you all benefit from it without a peep. I bet if a Greenhouse III were proposed you'd all lose your minds in typical NIMBY fashion.

Let's push for the best use of the money that is going to be available. The Council dedicated an amendment to that - let's use our energy to hold them to it instead of all this silly referendum talk. The vote was 8-1. You just are not going to get the support for any overturning of this.


4 people like this
Posted by I live nearby
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2017 at 6:15 pm

@mj and @senor blogger

The hotel tax was recently increased to 14%! There is an awful lot this city can do with $4mm/year (I say that because I bet the estimates they quote are lowball due to the occupancy rate being so high and the room rates being high as well)


7 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2017 at 6:20 pm

@mj, we increased that figure by almost 17% over two years ago.

And since hotel rates haves increased as well, TOT revenue is waaay ahead of inflation.


1 person likes this
Posted by shocking
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2017 at 7:34 pm

you know what @I live nearby? I all BS. Complete and utter BS. Hotel traffic on this stretch of road?

INSANE.

Follow the money my friends, follow the money. Hopefully there are enough sick of it to start doing something about it.


13 people like this
Posted by William T. Sherman
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2017 at 12:12 am

Councilwatcher review the disorderly record as presented by Staff: repeated requests by residents and businesses for legally sufficient environmental analysis of traffic, aesthetics (correctly done shade study), comprehensive plan consistency (cherry picked to avoid to residential designation) forget using the new air quality assessment or Green House Gas assessment regulations and then promise ( thank you former ARB Member....) to do a shade study in your Council argument (sorry the law says----for over 25 years that if you are going to mitigate you must do it in the EIR )and lastly don't consider the reality of an electrified CALTRAIN with double the present capacity....Lydia did the right thing. I hope the residents' hunt for a lawyer is successful


15 people like this
Posted by Kafka Runs Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 16, 2017 at 11:26 am

So the city creates more gridlock and then gets concerned about banning cars from idling because idling causes emissions. DUH.

But sure, let's waste more money on this nonsense, more unwanted but very expensive roundabouts on totally residential streets.


10 people like this
Posted by Lazlo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2017 at 11:50 am

Too funny! Always enjoy misinformed politicians ill equipped to handle information contained in EIR reports. Yep, guess you can cheery pick sentences or info to sell a project. Problem is you have to read the whole thing to comprehend the report. While most politicians lack the ability to omprehend or understand these reports they transfer this responsibility to low level government staff to provide a 2 page brief to somehow make sense of a 200 page report. Had to laugh when councilmembers promoted the project as only having a D traffic rating (F being the worst) and found this acceptable. One councilmember even went on record that traffic congestion would be so bad that people would avoid the area due to traffic congestion. How can you argue against dysfunctional thinking like that? Good luck!


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jun 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Thanks to council members Holman, Dubois and Filseth for making good suggestions (using half of the parking savings for transit is a positive idea accepted by the developer as was running shuttles to SFO), helping fund infrastructure, presenting their concerns and then making the approval 8-1, a rarity for contentious projects in PA.

24 people got to speak their concerns, all the council members had a turn and the final vote was before 10 pm if I remember correctly.

Well done, all.


4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Gee, we're sure gonna need a lot of police to arrest all the idling drivers...I would prefer an educational campaign over "enforcement" on such a random, minor thing. I notice there was a rather non-committal but pure PR response/statement from the Zuckerberg conglomerate re: their security "team" and observed idling. Flying about in corporate jets surely more of a carbon footprint!
Ah, government, government.


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