Update: The Architectural Review Board approved Golden Gate Homes' 16-unit housing proposal by a 4-1 vote on Thursday, July 20. Read more here.
A long-debated proposal to build 16 homes at a former orchard site on Maybell Avenue could win a key approval Thursday morning, when the project goes in front of the Architectural Review Board for a final decision.
The proposed project is a sharp departure from the development at 567 Maybell Ave. that the city had reviewed and approved in 2013 and that included 60 units of housing for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes. Despite winning unanimous council approval, that proposal by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation fizzled after a citizen referendum.
The new project, which is being developed by Golden Gate Homes, consists of 16 two-story townhouses with basements. It has won the support of the neighbors, who last year urged the City Council to approve a tentative map that would support the development. In June 2016, the council voted 8-1, with Cory Wolbach dissenting, to do just that.
But even though the project has won over the neighborhood, the Architectural Review Board has been somewhat skeptical of the proposed plans. The board has already had two meetings on the project and members have offered a long list of concerns, which include major issues such as the adequacy of the proposed parking and window locations and minor ones like the design of decorative chimneys.
The city's municipal code encourages planning officials (whom the board advises) to make a decision on projects after three public hearings. According to a new report from the Planning and Community Environment Department, the applicant had responded to the board's concerns by changing the layout of the parking area, which is not in a tandem arrangement), removing the chimneys and replacing the shed roofs in the prior designs with pitched roofs.
The board meeting will begin Thursday at 8:30 a.m.