News

To spur housing production, Palo Alto rewrites zoning rules

City's planning commission recommends lower parking requirements, higher density for housing developments

After years of sluggish residential growth, Palo Alto officials are preparing for a significant revision to the city's zoning code with the goal of lowering some of the highest hurdles facing housing developers.

The changes, which the City Council will consider and could potentially approve this year, touch on everything from parking standards and density limits to open-space requirements and new "minimum density" standards for zones that allow multi-family housing. The Planning and Transportation Commission, which has been discussing the rule changes over a series of six meetings, on Wednesday gave its seal of approval to the zoning reforms, voting 5-1, with Doria Summa dissenting and William Riggs absent, to forward them to the council.

Among the most significant new initiatives is what staff is calling the Housing Incentive Program, which would grant housing developers significant density bonuses. The goals of the program are two-fold: to encourage builders to develop housing rather than commercial projects and to provide an alternative to Senate Bill 35, a state law that created a "streamlined" process for builders of affordable housing but which local officials have opposed. The state law allows these developers to move ahead with the project with no discretionary review from the city and waives all parking requirements for projects near transit services.

The Housing Incentive Program, by contrast, would still require developers to meet all the applicable parking requirements. Unlike SB35, the new program would not force developers to dedicate 50 percent of their projects to affordable housing (they would still have to designate 15 percent of their housing units for affordable housing, in keeping with the city's inclusionary-housing law). Nor would it waive the requirement for a review in front of the city's Architectural Review Board.

The local program would, however, offer developers something that SB35 does not: the right to build at far greater density. Those opting to use the Housing Incentive Program in downtown Palo Alto would allow a floor-area-ratio (FAR) of 3.0. That's more than twice the density that would be allowed if one were to build under SB35 (downtown generally allows residential FAR of 1.0; under another state program that offers density bonuses, that could increase to 1.35).

The policy would also apply to areas around California Avenue (where FAR for residential projects would be increased from 0.6 to 2.0 for those participating in the new city program) and along El Camino Real (where it would be raised from 0.5 or 0.6 to 1.5)

Parking standards would also be adjusted downward citywide. Currently, the city requires 1.25 parking spaces for studio apartments, 1.5 spaces for one-bedroom units and two spaces for apartments with two or more bedrooms. Under the proposed revisions, the city would require one parking space for studios and one-bedroom apartments and two spaces for units with two or more bedrooms.

The new ordinance would also lower the requirement for housing within half a mile of a fixed-rail station (that is, Caltrain), with parking requirements in these developments ranging from 0.5 spaces for a microunit to 1.6 spaces for apartments with two or more units.

The revised zoning ordinance would also reduce parking requirements for senior housing (0.75 spaces per unit) and for affordable-housing developments, where reductions would range from 20 percent for buildings targeted toward "low-income" residents to 40 percent for housing for "extremely low income" residents.

Another proposed change is to allow more density in some multi-family residential zones. The RM-15 zone, which allows 15 dwelling units per acre, would be turned into an RM-20 zone, which allows 20 units.

The commission, which has been debating the zoning changes for months, on Wednesday characterized the final product as a compromise. Commissioner Michael Alcheck and Vice Chair Susan Monk both argued that the city can do even more on the zoning front to encourage housing construction. In considering the long list of recommendations, Alcheck said there is "virtually nothing in these suggestions that I don't think is worth trying."

Monk called the reforms a "modest proposal" and said she hopes the council will actually move even more aggressively on adopting pro-housing policies. She cited the needs spoken of by various residents who have told commissioners of their challenges in finding housing in Palo Alto.

"We're at risk of losing an entire generation of people if we don't take a more liberal approach to our housing-production needs," Monk said.

Others on the commission were more cautious. Summa said that while she supports the city's goals for encouraging affordable housing, the proposals to reduce parking requirements for affordable-housing developments have not been sufficiently vetted and are not supported by data.

In addition to the list of pro-housing zoning revisions, commissioners also expressed support for eliminating a policy that allows downtown's commercial developers to pay "parking in-lieu" fees to avoid constructing parking. Because this fee program is not available to housing developers, staff felt it has provided an incentive for builders to choose commercial projects over residential ones.

"We have an in-lieu program that isn't working very well and that puts a thumb on the scale in favor of office development," said Commissioner Asher Waldfogel, one of four commissioners who voted to remove the program (Monk dissented and Alcheck abstained because he felt the process was flawed).

In a separate amendment, the commission voted 4-2 (with Summa and Ed Lauing opposed) to remove the requirement that housing developers who apply under the new affordable-housing combining district undergo hearings before the commission and the council. Rather, their projects will approved by right.

The revision to the zoning code is Palo Alto's most significant response to date to a colleagues memo penned in fall 2017 by Councilman Adrian Fine, with collaboration from Mayor Liz Kniss and Councilman Cory Wolbach. The memo alluded to the regional housing crisis and encouraged new zoning rules to encourage housing near transit and jobs.

The council has also adopted a goal earlier this year of generating 300 housing units annually, though it is almost certain to fall short of that goal in 2018.

"While Palo Alto may never be a truly affordable place to live, the City Council has an obligation to current and future residents to explore policies that expand housing choices for people of different incomes, generations, and needs," the memo states.

The memo prompted the city to create a Housing Work Plan, which the council adopted earlier this year. The plan proposes many of the revisions that the planning commission officially endorsed when it voted to send the zoning ordinance to the council.

"Many, if not most, of the things in Housing Work Plan have some place in the ordinance in front of us," Lauing said. "We also have state laws that changed the rules in the state and in the community. The bottom line is: all of this intending to get more housing in the state and in Palo Alto."

Comments

58 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:19 am

>> Parking standards would also be adjusted downward citywide. Currently, the city requires 1.25 parking spaces for studio apartments, 1.5 spaces for one-bedroom units and two spaces for apartments with two or more bedrooms. Under the proposed revisions, the city would require one parking space for studios and one-bedroom apartments and two spaces for units with two or more bedrooms.

If they want to adjust the parking downward, how about an enforceable limit on the number of cars the occupants can possess? I mean, if people really aren't using that parking, it should be no problem to get that in writing.

>> The new ordinance would also lower the requirement for housing within half a mile of a fixed-rail station (that is, Caltrain), with parking requirements in these developments ranging from 0.5 spaces for a microunit to 1.6 spaces for apartments with two or more units.

I have an extra problem with this. Single or double occupancy, most singles or couples will have at least one car. I think the minimum should always be 1.0 per unit until we actually see lots of people going carless. Even if both people in a couple work locally or commute via Caltrain, they will have at least one car that they use occasionally to shop, visit parks, go out in the evening to visit people and places that are not accessible via public transit. I love Caltrain, but, most of Santa Clara County is accessible only via car.


46 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:27 am

The downward spiral of required parking spaces is a trend troubling to me.

There is no logical way of requiring that a renter or home owner owns a vehicle. Apart from freedoms there is also a very legitimate question of the definition of ownership. Most of the millenials I know don't own a vehicle. They do have a vehicle that is owned by their parents but used solely by the young person for reasons of insurance, financing/leasing, etc. It would be technically possible for someone to own a vehicle that is almost solely used by someone else at a different location for exactly the same reasons.

Parking requirements are important and at the very least a zip car facility could be included in a development or area.


75 people like this
Posted by Underparking Housing
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:36 am

Downtown and Cal Ave have a significant shortage of parking spaces, which is why so many employees need to park in the neighborhoods. Providing too little onsite parking for these new housing units will just make that problem worse. I get that it significantly boosts developer profit margins to under park them and that there are some pretty hard core pro developer folks on the PTC like Alcheck and Monk but they are doing the the existing residents a big disservice.

Also, going from a FAR 1.0 to 3.0 for primarily market rate (ie luxury) apartments seems like a giant developer give away without significant community benefit.


60 people like this
Posted by Utter Parking Catastrophe
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:07 am

There are so many problems in the proposed law, one doesn't know where to start.

The lowering parking requirements means existing apartments could take parking spaces that are currently for tenant use and instead lease them to the highest bidder, such as to high-income office commuters.

And the proposed law also reduces parking requirements for many businesses. A restaurant might be able to remove 25 parking spaces from public use and lease those out or build more there.

So where will tenants and customers park? Several blocks away, if they're lucky, because many streets will become jammed with cars.

By the way, there’s no evidence that these drastically lowered parking requirements will make housing in Palo Alto any more affordable. The law is completely silent on who gets the benefits. Unless you're a commercial developers, you probably won't save a penny.


61 people like this
Posted by dtnorth
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:12 am

We are a big risk losing our commercial services. We are losing our car repairs places. We can't do high density housing without planning for better infrastructure with roads and schools. People are correct if you don't demand parking for units. This revision of zoning is crazy


24 people like this
Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:15 am

Sally-Ann Rudd is a registered user.

Mandatory spaces for ZipCar and Scoot please! Its a lot easier not to own a car if you have the option of renting one and its right there in the parking garage for these developments.


36 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:22 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Sally-Ann Rudd - There are three zip car spots behind Hanahaus, just off Hamilton, and I have not see an actual zip car in those spots in years. Huge scam and waste that they have unused dedicated spots around town. Zipcar is dying, just laid off a bunch of staff, and has been superseded by Uber/Lyft/Lime/Bird.

The real question is how do we get those unused wasted spaces back into the public's hands.


28 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:44 am

Annette is a registered user.

"Monk . . . cited the needs spoken of by various residents who have told commissioners of their challenges in finding housing in Palo Alto."

That's a curious statement; if they are residents here they must have found housing in Palo Alto.

I get the overall point about housing production but it is concerning when zealous housing advocates on CC have a majority b/c whatever changes are put into play should evidence smart planning rather than such a broad relaxing of standards that we exacerbate existing problems or create new ones.


8 people like this
Posted by Monroe
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:55 am

Good going, Commissioners! Thank you for moving forward on more and more varied housing for Palo Alto.


2 people like this
Posted by Homeowner
a resident of University South
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:57 am

This is a great step forward for the city. It's hard to find people under 40 who are not burdened by the cost of housing - if you are with your kids at a park and talking to other parents, or making small talk with people in their 30s at work, the conversation will invariably turn to the Bay Area's housing crisis and especially the extraordinary cost of housing right here.

City Council, please approve these changes!


58 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm

There is a danger to the build at any cost mantra.

Squashing more and more people into the sardine can is only going to hurt all of us in the long term.

Just because a home may not have parking, where will the visitors, cleaners, maintenance, gardeners, delivery people park? Door Dash, Uber, Amazon prime, Google shopping, etc. circle constantly when they can't find somewhere to park.

Where will all these new residents spend their non-working time? Will they want to walk their dogs, jog, have a cookout, play frisbee or soccer, visit a dentist or a tax consultant, buy fresh bagels or fresh produce, last minute groceries, dry cleaning, preschools, elementary schools, etc. etc. etc.

We have dreadful public transportation with the exception of Caltrain which is crowded at commute hours.

Infrastructure is failing already. More residents will not compensate traffic concerns when they are just going to be more mouths at the feeding trough.


21 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Pat Burt is a registered user.

The actions over the last few years by the city council and the recent citizen initiative that have curbed the rate of office growth have laid the foundation for these very significant changes to our housing zoning regulations in three ways. First, as the article noted, office often competes with housing. Restraining the allowed amounts of new office makes housing better able to compete for the land. Second, as long as office/job growth was accelerating, our jobs/housing imbalance or supply/demand imbalance would not improve. Lastly, community support for additional housing, with appropriate traffic and parking mitigations, is greater as long as we are not just digger a deeper hole by unrestrained office growth.
The third leg that must be addressed is our traffic crisis. Restarining office growth helps, but does not solve the problem. The pilot downtown Transportation Management Association (TMA) has demonstrated that we can reduce commuter car trips and parking demand significantly, potentially even eliminating the need for city funded parking garages. Unfortunately, the TMA funding has had to come almost entirely from the city general fund, but subsidizing the business and developer community. Those are dollars that come out of parks, services, infrastructure, and paying down our unfunded pension liabilities. And we need to expand the program citywide, which will be expensive. A business tax for local transportation will be badly needed to fund the TMA and other trip reduction programs, as well as helping to fill the funding hole for rail grade separations. Fortunately, all of the council candidates are speaking in support of such a tax and the biggest opponent of that tax, Greg Scharff, is coming off the council.
Lastly, these are very big and impactful changes to our housing zoning, the most significant in 50 years. They triple the housing density in the downtowns and along El Camino. I had to chuckle after reading Susan Monk's quote that they are "a modest proposal". Has she mixed up Jonathon Lait with Jonathon Swift?


20 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 11, 2018 at 12:50 pm

"Mandatory spaces for ZipCar and Scoot please! Its a lot easier not to own a car if you have the option of renting one and its right there in the parking garage for these developments."

Isn't the purpose of not owning a car to not have a car needing a parking space, and doesn't having a rental car in a dedicated space awaiting the car unowner's convenience undo all that? Seems to me the only difference is who possesses the car's pink slip.


12 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 11, 2018 at 1:26 pm

No one is talking about the impact the rail project will have for years on commuters who currently rely on the train. Train schedules will be greatly reduced, unreliable, and sometimes cancelled altogether. What happens when large numbers of employees can no longer count on getting to work on time if they take the train?


56 people like this
Posted by I smell another referendum
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 11, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Maybell won with ~60% of the vote if I recall correctly. If this citywide blanket developer-giveaway faces a referendum, as I suspect it would, I'd wager the referendum garners about 70% this time. What a tone-deaf proposal.


64 people like this
Posted by PA Is Getting Uglier By the Day
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Is it just me or are people in PA ever going to get sick of seeing all of these mundane-looking mixed-use buildings sprouting up all over town?

They are beginning to remind me of a weed patch that has gotten out of control.

And to top it off, the architects who are designing these eyesores must still be playing with Legos or using them for their creative inspiration.

Housing and parking would not be ongoing problems if fewer people moved to Palo Alto. Isn't there such a thing (or concept) as suburban population control?


41 people like this
Posted by midtown senior
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2018 at 3:32 pm

midtown senior is a registered user.

re: "Parking standards would also be adjusted downward citywide. Currently, the city requires 1.25 parking spaces for studio apartments, 1.5 spaces for one-bedroom units and two spaces for apartments with two or more bedrooms. Under the proposed revisions, the city would require one parking space for studios and one-bedroom apartments and two spaces for units with two or more bedrooms."
In another mistaken attempt at "social engineering" the city is attempting to force us to reduce parking requirements on the assumption that we are going to stop buying cars and switch to bikes. This, despite the fact that our population is aging and public transport is inadequate, inconvenient, or impossible to meet our seniors' needs. It assumes that retired persons' time is worth nothing because they are retired and can wait for uses, etc. It assumes that our "car culture" can be ended by Fiat (to make a bad pun.) It assumes that a large proportion of commuters will soon change to public transport. It assumes that two-car families will use their garages to park cars instead of storing their infrequently-used possessions. It assumes that autonomous cars replacing Uber or Lyft (for example) will circle forever without ever needing parking. In other words, the "social engineering" is based on a whole range of mistaken assumptions that have been proven false in the past.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:07 pm

This is a step in the right direction, but it must be accompanied by another critical step: vast improvements to public transportation.

The bay area needs to get denser. While there are many lovely old neighborhoods that should maintain their strict zoning standards, there's also tons of acres of ugly and mundane middle class suburbia, and those are ripe for densification.

But along with this densification, Silicon Valley must add more train lines. Sadly it seems the way we're currently here is ugly 4-story mixed use buildings. Again, its a step in the right direction and should be strongly encouraged, given the alternative seems to be just more talk and inaction. But this type of densification won't allow for a walkable lifestyle. people will still need to travel long distances to go places, and the only reasonable way to do that in the vast majority of silicon valley is with a car. The end result will be increasingly awful traffic.

Reducing parking will not solve the problem. Build more trains.


39 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:38 pm

This "modest proposal" is a huge mistake for Palo Alto. In fact, it's nothing but a giveaway of public money to developers. Residents of Palo Alto want better quality of life, but our City leaders keep giving us worse. We are not clamoring for more dense, under-parked housing. Most of the noise on that front comes from trumped up special interests propped up by firms that stand to make millions by building more & more. If the City were serious about increasing housing supply, it would look to fill in (under EXISTING zoning codes) the under-built blight and vacant lots on El Camino. Do we really need a vaping shop on the corner of El Camino & Matadero on my City-designated "Safe Route" to Barron Park Elementary School? And an illegal Coupa Cafe warehouse next door? Thousands of units of housing are there for the building without any soul-sucking density increases or parking pretension. Forcing the "affordable housing" population into sub-standard parking and density conditions is morally objectionable, as is standing behind fig leaves like proximity to "transit services" to dump the bulk of this bunk in poor neighborhoods like Ventura. Why did the City spent millions to preserve the crummy conditions at Buena Vista rather than pony up with a redevelopment project that could have housed far more people in superior units? Why not start a private fundraising campaign/competition to build really nice affordable (subsidized rent) units for our hard workers that contribute to our tax base and deserve better opportunities to rise up? Sorry to go all Kavanaugh on this, but @Utter Parking Catastrophe has it right: so many problems here it's hard to know where to start.... But enough is enough!


36 people like this
Posted by Stricter zoning codes for less development
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:00 pm

This is just another attempt by the "growth at any cost" minority to ruin the quality of life in Palo Alto. Environments have limits and we have exceeded ours. Overcrowded roads, schools, and community centers, dirty water, air and endangered animals and plants everywhere - this place is a mess and we are the cause. Leave Palo Alto alone. Put out the we are full sign and have people go to another area.

We have finally stopped adding more jobs and aren't part of the massive run up of job growth that is destroying this area. It is OK to defend our quality of life and demand that height, density and parking limits not be exceeded. This place is worth so much money. Developers could build here and follow the zoning codes we have and still get rich. [Portion removed.]

If this passes we need a citizens referendum to enact even stricter density zoning than we have now.


42 people like this
Posted by booo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:50 pm

The Housing Incentive Program gives away far too much for far too little. Only 15% affordable housing required, so in a building with 6 or 7 units you only need 1 affordable unit to triple FAR and go from 50% to 100% lot coverage. The buildings that result from this program are going to look ridiculous. Imagine College Terrace Centre, now imagine it everywhere.

Beyond reducing the parking requirement for bedrooms, the ordinance also appears to eliminate the guest parking requirement. After how many thousands of hours residents and business owners in this city spent complaining to the city about the lack of parking, these parking requirement numbers are insulting. [Portion removed.]


36 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 12, 2018 at 6:05 am

mauricio is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] This crazy recommendation amounts to wealth distribution:public money to the bank accounts of developers, while Palo Alto residents give up what remains of their quality of life. Instead of pressuring companies to expand and relocate elsewhere and expand to where they are actually needed and where housing is affordable, companies are dumping the problems they are creating on the public, with the help of planning commission members and city politicians.


13 people like this
Posted by Madias
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 12, 2018 at 6:57 am

Ruining Palo Alto.

Home prices started crashing in May.
Price drops everywhere. Homes on market for months now.
Home down the road dropped their price by 30% (house on Military in Barron Park).
Too late to get out now, the party is over and the dream is dead.
Thanks City Council.


37 people like this
Posted by Real Data
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 12, 2018 at 8:57 am

Council must require REAL data for this proposal. Ideological-based decision making is ruining Palo Alto. Thank you Doria Suma for being a voice of reason! Increased the FAR within but we need parking. We also need a REAL definition of usable transit so this only applies where someone could realistically use public transit instead of a car. Not somewhere where a shuttle comes by that takes you no where.


54 people like this
Posted by We Are Living Like Rats
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 12, 2018 at 9:18 am

The problem is that many of those who wish to live in Palo Alto don't necessarily work in Palo Alto. Due to quality of life perceptions, most want to commute from PA to their various places of employment within Silicon Valley.

Accomodating these people has got to stop. Pro-development CC members, avaricious developers and opportunistic RE agents only add to the problem.

To accomodate additional new residents amounts to more crowding, traffic/parking gridlock and a strain on the public school system.

Despite the vast amount of money to be made by overcrowding Palo Alto, the aftermath will only get worse than what it is today.

Is this what you really want?


37 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm

The headline should read: "Council majority prepares plan to repay real-estate developers for campaign contributions"


41 people like this
Posted by The Big Money Sell-Out
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:49 pm

> The headline should read: "Council majority prepares plan to repay real-estate developers for campaign contributions"

Has this city been bought and sold to developer interests?

A simple yes or no will suffice as there is no middle ground remaining.


19 people like this
Posted by The Future Is Now
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 12, 2018 at 7:17 pm

> Has this city been bought and sold to developer interests?

When El Camino Real (from San Antonio Road to Page Mill Road and beyond) takes on the current appearance of the former San Antonio Shopping Center, the answer will be YES.

Right now, Palo Alto is an unfinished canvas. While the older neighborhoods will be retained for their traditional 'old town' quaintness, everything south of Page Mill Road (South PA, Ventura, Barron Park etc.) will eventually be revamped along with the south eastern sections from Midtown on to Charleston. The only 'sub-quaint' neighborhoods remaining will be the Eichler tracts. Everywhere else there will be new high-rise buildings, both commercial and mixed-usage to accommodate the housing and shopping needs of a city population now approaching 350,000-400,000 inhabitants.

Welcome to the future.


Like this comment
Posted by @The Future Is Now
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2018 at 8:15 pm

"Welcome to the future."

A future of high density homes near jobs and mass transit, built in enough quantity that millennials can stop packing into single family homes turned into dormatories and actually afford to have a unit of their own with some privacy? Sounds fantastic!


15 people like this
Posted by sm
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 12, 2018 at 9:01 pm

The proposal also eliminates site and design review for residential & mixed use projects at El Camino, Cal Ave, and Downtown. According to our code site and design review is supposed to be a review process for

"[...] established community areas which may be sensitive to negative aesthetic factors, excessive noise, increased traffic or other disruptions, in order to assure that use and development will be harmonious with other uses in the general vicinity [...]"

City Hall thinks site and design review is a waste of time. Why does it matter if developments are incompatible or disturb the neighborhood. Here on out it's anything goes anywhere free for all.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2018 at 9:07 pm

To @ The Future is Now

You should watch the old Vallco demolition and rebirth right beside the new Apple campus. Will the Apple employees be flocking to this development so that they can ride bikes to Apple spaceship and relieve traffic woes?


14 people like this
Posted by No Relief In Sight
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm

"You should watch the old Vallco demolition and rebirth right beside the new Apple campus. Will the Apple employees be flocking to this development so that they can ride bikes to Apple spaceship and relieve traffic woes?"

Highly unlikely...unless Apple employees actually enjoy hanging out and regularly crossing paths after work hours.

Me...I can't wait until Friday to get away from the people I work with/under.


Like this comment
Posted by Jemaho
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 15, 2018 at 8:16 am

Dear Annette,

I am an example of the sort of person who considers myself a resident and has housing challenges. I am Palo Alto born and bred, I've been paying rents (and therefore other people's property taxes) since 1978, I am employed by the city of Palo Alto, and I've been sleeping in my minivan for 2.5 years, ever since my rent was raised to $3000. per month for a small apartment. For me, and for many, the need is real.


16 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2018 at 9:24 am

Posted by Jemaho, a resident of Community Center

>> I am Palo Alto born and bred, I've been paying rents (and therefore other people's property taxes) since 1978, [...] I've been sleeping in my minivan for 2.5 years, [...] For me, and for many, the need is real.

Jemaho, I can appreciate your plight. Unfortunately, rents have gone sky-high due to overdevelopment of office space by the city. At this point, there is no way to restore the balance quickly, but, the first step is to stop building new office space.


Like this comment
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Rents are sky high because of an underdevelopment of housing. You'd tell Jemaho to leave sooner than build the housing necessary to get them out of their car.


16 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 15, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Rents are high because of an over-development of offices/jobs. We've got an almost 4:1 jobs /housing imbalance. Competition for rentals is further exacerbated by the increased use of low-paid ($60K) foreign contractors by big tech firms and foreign real estate speculation.

Look at the big picture, the whole picture and stop office development.


12 people like this
Posted by PA Reality
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 15, 2018 at 5:02 pm

> A future of high density homes near jobs and mass transit, built in enough quantity that millennials can stop packing into single family homes turned into dormatories and actually afford to have a unit of their own with some privacy? Sounds fantastic!

Sorry to burst your bubble but the PA rents will be just as high or higher than they are today. The market aka 'demand' dictates the prices.

Probably best to move somewhere else more affordable.


23 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2018 at 5:36 pm

It simply amazes me that there are people who believe you can make real-estate LESS expensive by developing it!

The only reason developers buy and develop real-estate is to make it MORE expensive, so they can sell it for more than the purchase price.




Like this comment
Posted by @PA Reality
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Prices are a function of both supply and demand. This is literally econ 101. Just say that you care more about maintaining a suburban neighborhood character than letting the millennial generation into the middle class.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2018 at 5:58 pm

With huge Facebook, Amazon and Google campuses right on our doorstep, it really doesn't matter how many housing units are built in Palo Alto, there will still be people who want to live here. It doesn't matter whether they are high tech coders or janitors, these FAANG companies are still going to have a huge workforce in driving distance of Palo Alto and that doesn't even mention all the other smaller companies or restaurants, teachers, etc.

Building more housing is not going to bring down housing prices or relieve traffic.

Traffic management that involves regional transport options for those who live across the Bay, at Coast, further north and further south are the only solutions that will make a dent in the present chaos. Even the ferries are not able to handle the number of passengers according to today's news.

Public transit, remote highway shuttles at our offramps and efficient bus services that use commuter lanes on highways.

Wake up, we can't solve the problem here in Palo Alto. We need regional planning.


Like this comment
Posted by @Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Palo Alto is part of the region, and its massive jobs to housing imbalance is exactly why it needs to be a focal point of where housing is built. Same as San Francisco, Mountain View, Cupertino, and every other job center where housing keeps being held back.

Otherwise the single family homes around you will continue to be filled with tenants renting out bedrooms and the streets filled with RVs. Because people are coming either way.


10 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2018 at 9:18 pm

@PA Reality,

Why don't you "just say" how you can make a piece of real-estate LESS expensive by developing it? With your deep understanding of economic this should be easy to explain.

For extra points, explain why any real-estate developer would want to do that.


9 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Posted by @Anon, a resident of another community

>> Rents are sky high because of an underdevelopment of housing. You'd tell Jemaho to leave sooner than build the housing necessary to get them out of their car.

Actually, as long as we keep adding new office space, Jemaho will never be able to afford rent here.


Like this comment
Posted by @Another Giveaway
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 1:59 am

You build densely on the piece of land and sell/rent units in the building to recoup the original cost of the land purchase and construction costs plus profit. What aspect of this is hard to understand?


Like this comment
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 2:01 am

If you don't build more housing it's not going to matter. As long as there's a constrained supply of housing then prices will remain high.

Web Link


76 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2018 at 8:31 am

Millennials should unite and vote for all pro-development PA councilmembers.

The anti-development Palo Alto residents are discriminating against a generation just as some did with minorities and people of color when it came to preventing them from moving into their neighborhoods. Their opposition to added housing is almost like racism.

We don't need as many stores nowadays as more people shop online. The space can be better utilized for affordable Palo Alto housing and high-rise dwellings make the best use of available land.

The housing complex near the old San Antonio Shopping Center is an excellent example of modern land usage to accomodate the masses. We need more of them. Much more. There is so much land left in Palo Alto to build these kinds of mixed-use dwellings.

If the old people still want to go shopping, the first floor of these buildings can accomodate their needs. Silly people.



5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 8:47 am

Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials, a resident of College Terrace

>> Millennials should unite and vote for all pro-development PA councilmembers.

>> The anti-development Palo Alto residents are discriminating against a generation just as some did with minorities and people of color when it came to preventing them from moving into their neighborhoods. Their opposition to added housing is almost like racism.

I can't tell if you really believe this or not, but, you have no idea what you are talking about. No idea. Really. No idea.

>> The housing complex near the old San Antonio Shopping Center is an excellent example of modern land usage to accomodate the masses. We need more of them. Much more. There is so much land left in Palo Alto to build these kinds of mixed-use dwellings.

Just asking -- are you saying that you don't care about the rights of people who are currently living in Palo Alto? If that is true, why do you even live here? Why not move to the San Antonio center area if it is so much more affordable? And, what do you think the population of Palo Alto should end up being, and, why? 100,000? 1,000,000? 10,000,000? 100,000,000? 1,000,000,000? 10,000,000,000? What does your whole development picture look like, and, -why-?

>> If the old people still want to go shopping, the first floor of these buildings can accomodate their needs. Silly people.

The silly people are the ones who can't be bothered to do simple arithmetic. No wonder the pro-development people keep pulling the wool over their eyes over and over and over again.

You still haven't answered the question of why you want to continue living here? Is it the Palo Alto -brand-? Clearly it isn't the silly old people who are your neighbors now.


76 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2018 at 9:13 am

>>You still haven't answered the question of why you want to continue living here? Is it the Palo Alto -brand-? Clearly it isn't the silly old people who are your neighbors now.

I am currently a post-grad at Stanford co-renting a small apartment nearby. Whether I opt to remain in Palo Alto or elsewhere is my business and will depend upon job opportunities/offerings at a later date.

And yes, I do have some silly old neighbors (including the landlord) who dwell on the Palo Alto of the past. That was then and now is now.


>> And, what do you think the population of Palo Alto should end up being, and, why? 100,000? 1,000,000? 10,000,000? 100,000,000? 1,000,000,000? 10,000,000,000? What does your whole development picture look like, and, -why-?

Los Angeles was once a small enclave. It expanded over time to meet the needs of migrating residents and new businesses. Palo Alto won't get as large as LA because there are other towns nearby to restrict its land expansion. So what's the big deal?


>>are you saying that you don't care about the rights of people who are currently living in Palo Alto?

As long as one's civil rights are still protected, I don't see the problem. Even the dinosaurs had to move on and they became fossil fuel for later applications.
Times change and to stubbornly fight progress or evolution is futile.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 9:58 am

Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials, a resident of College Terrace

>> Los Angeles was once a small enclave. It expanded over time to meet the needs of migrating residents and new businesses. Palo Alto won't get as large as LA because there are other towns nearby to restrict its land expansion. So what's the big deal?

IOW, you can't or won't answer the question. A nebulous wave towards progress or evolution doesn't cut it. But, speaking of Los Angeles, here is a -number- for you: 1900 vehicles per hour per lane. Web Link -Simple arithmetic- shows you how LA got to be the way it is now. Developer fantasies vs arithmetic.

>> Even the dinosaurs had to move on and they became fossil fuel for later applications. Times change and to stubbornly fight progress or evolution is futile.

Are fossil fuels in our evolutionary transportation future, or, not? Is ever-expanding use of single-occupancy vehicles in dense urban settings progress, or not? Vague allusions to evolution and progress are not arguments.


34 people like this
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

Have you heard of mass transit? Just because you guys never invested in it doesn't mean that single occupant cars need to be in our future as the Bay Area grows.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

Posted by @Anon, a resident of another community

>> Have you heard of mass transit?

LOL. I guess you must be new here. See my other posts.

>> Just because you guys

Knock off the collective guilt thing, OK?

>> never invested in it doesn't mean that single occupant cars need to be in our future as the Bay Area grows.

I've been using when I could, and paying taxes for, public transportation my entire working life. Here is a simplified cartoon showing why commuter rail is so much more efficient than SOVs.

Web Link

But, I would ask Developer or CC member who thinks the VTA 22 Bus on ECR is a viable alternative to ride it during rush hour traffic. Guess what? It is always slower than the car traffic. Buses sharing the car right-of-way will never be the preferred choice of people who can afford cars.


36 people like this
Posted by @Anon
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 11:32 am

Which is the whole point of building high density housing and jobs around mass transit instead of building get more single family homes and suburban sprawl. It reduces the need for car ownership. There are cities in other developed nations which have invested in their mass transit infrastructure and densely at each station, and the whole thing is a joy to use. You'd never need a car. Here in the states we've built car-oriented cities, but that's a societal choice and doesn't have to continue.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Posted by @Anon, a resident of another community

>> Which is the whole point of building high density housing and jobs around mass transit

I'm just pointing out that the 22 bus on ECR is not "mass transit". If the CC wants to develop ECR as a transit-oriented corridor, they need to figure out how to put real mass transit along it that won't be stuck in and behind auto traffic.

>> instead of building get more single family homes and suburban sprawl. It reduces the need for car ownership. There are cities in other developed nations which have invested in their mass transit [...]

I agree with you about this. Look at Toronto, for example. However, it makes no sense to build high-density housing in the middle of suburbia with no high-speed transit nearby. People will drive.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 1:27 pm

I have used public transport for work in other cities and there were many reasons for my choice.

It was clean, efficient and affordable, and this in comparison to solo driving.

To drive I had to get stuck in traffic. Bus lanes that served all buses and commuter trains were better alternatives.

Parking was expensive and hard to find.

Parking was not provided by most employers and looked on as a perk for the most senior employees. Those who were senior in longevity were rewarded with a coveted parking space, but it was often reflected as such when it came to awarding bonuses that they were already getting the perk of a parking space which often meant a lower percentage raise or bonus.


72 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2018 at 2:16 pm

> Vague allusions to evolution and progress are not arguments.

Neither is endorsing the status quo just for the sake of it.

That's how most old people think. They are desperately clinging to the past.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 2:46 pm

I not not like all these millenials v baby boomers arguments.

One thing about those of us over a certain age, we were taught to appreciate our elders and to respect them as people. They fought wars to give us a future. They did without as a way of life. They learned how to live on very little, to make do, to live within their means and not on credit, to work hard and to not expect all the luxuries the world has to offer. At least that is what my parents taught me. I hope my own kids know better than to disregard this advice.


62 people like this
Posted by @Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I respect the generation that came before you. Yours, not so much.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 4:55 pm

And I hope your parents are proud of you.


58 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2018 at 5:07 pm

> I respect the generation that came before you. Yours, not so much.


Well said. Respect is earned not designated.


7 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm

@HDAM - What's your vision? Build everything within 5 miles of the Stanford Campus to 4 stories? 16 stories? Or some mixture?

What's your prototype? SOMA? Downtown Los Angeles? Brooklyn? Manhattan? Houston? Shanghai?

How fast to get there? 1 year? 5 years? 20 years?

Does transportation matter? Do you want roads? Trains? Buses? Hyperloop? To where?

What about other public amenities? Parks? Schools? Arts? Sports? Other services?

Do you see regional alliances? Or do you want each town to offer everything?

You can help us understand what you want, but we need more than "I feel discriminated against because I'm coliving in grad school"


44 people like this
Posted by @Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 5:55 pm

My answer to that:

Build densely near the Caltrain stops in Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose. 16+ stories, make the height whatever makes sense given demand (not backyard views). Leverage Caltrain as the central form of mass transit while investing in it to make it faster / more frequent / higher capacity.

There needs to be a Bay Area wide regional authority to manage all of this, because individual cities have completely failed to do their part to solve the housing crisis and there's no coordinated effort to improve mass transit across the Bay (and individual cities like Atherton constantly delay attempts to make Caltrain better).


9 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Some millenials cling to a utopian vision that can never be, even more desperately than some "old people" cling to the past.

You cannot develop real-estate into being LESS expensive. The ONLY way to make a profit developing real-estate is to develop it into something MORE expensive than the purchase price.


Like this comment
Posted by @Another Giveaway
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Are you under the impression that millennials are trying to each individually own their own apartment tower and the land that it sits on?


3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

@@Anonymous - Appreciate your ideas. You'll need to ask a developer for real numbers, but a 1BR in a 16 story new building in the Bay Area will probably rent for $4500/month to recover development costs. At 16 stories construction cost drives the model. So we can do that, but affordable housing in Santa Clara County needs to rent for $1500/month. Does that gap worry you?

Does your Bay Area regional authority need to build transit? What's their revenue source? Upgrading Caltrain to the sort of system you envision is probably a $20B project. Expanding to great quality regional transit is another $100B to $200B. All great goals, but locally we can't even get businesses and Stanford, who rely heavily on Caltrain, to kick in their fair share for Caltrain grade separation.


48 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2018 at 6:55 pm

> Build densely near the Caltrain stops in Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose. 16+ stories, make the height whatever makes sense given demand (not backyard views). Leverage Caltrain as the central form of mass transit while investing in it to make it faster / more frequent / higher capacity.

^^^^ This will equate to fewer cars on the road. Combine it with an effective shuttle service that carries passengers to various sites/venues both from the stations and from the high-rise residential dwellings.


>> You cannot develop real-estate into being LESS expensive. The ONLY way to make a profit developing real-estate is to develop it into something MORE expensive than the purchase price.

^^^^ This is a developer/RE agent perspective as the focus should be on LESS profit and more affordable/available housing.

We are dealing with one of the basics here (i.e. food, shelter, clothing et al).
And in this case, it's housing. No one's asking to live in a private mansion or estate...just a safe, warm and convenient place to reside at an affordable (aka reasonable) cost.

This is not just a Millennial concern but one which may effect seniors as well.





Like this comment
Posted by @Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 6:56 pm

It'd be great to see the figures you're using to derive these hypothetical rent costs, especially given that taller modern buildings in San Francisco downtown seem to be able to rent studios for 3k.


3 people like this
Posted by Explain please
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 16, 2018 at 7:05 pm

A 16 story building equates to fewer cars and less traffic.

I can’t see how that is true, unless you use government math, where slowing spending growth is called a spending cut.

But they do that for spin, not for accuracy or to help clear thinking.


52 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2018 at 7:19 pm

> A 16 story building equates to fewer cars and less traffic.

Assuming a majority of the residents use transit...which would have to be vastly improved over today's offerings.

Or better yet, don't have any underground parking facilities and instead offer housing priority to those who don't own cars!

Besides, there are plenty of places to rent one if the need actually arose.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2018 at 8:09 pm

@@Anonymous - ask your developer friends for their models and where they'd price new studio/1BR/2BR units in the PA market.

@HADM - you appear to be coming from a pretty privileged, non-woke place, with good credit and capacity to rent cars and use ride-share when you want it. I'm guessing no kids, so you don't worry about schlepping a car seat or a trunk full of soccer balls. How important is affordable housing in your view - housing that's priced under $1500/month? Do you think affordable family housing is a priority? How would you allocate the first few thousand units of affordable housing?


22 people like this
Posted by @Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2018 at 10:32 pm

In other words, your numbers aren't based on anything.


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2018 at 8:10 am

@@Anonymous - testy are we?

Here's a good 2014 discussion: Web Link

And costs are up 20% since 2014: Web Link

Most builders will tell you that steel or concrete construction required for taller buildings costs more than wood frame construction mentioned in the SPUR article. Sorry I don't have a citation. Steel costs are trending up: Web Link


28 people like this
Posted by A Millenial View
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 17, 2018 at 8:36 am

> One thing about those of us over a certain age, we were taught to appreciate our elders and to respect them as people. They fought wars to give us a future.

**If you are referring to the generation that lived through the depression and fought in World War II (e.g. my grandparents), I agree.

**On the other hand, if you are also including the Baby Boomers, I would have to disagree. You cannot put draft-dodgers, hippies and the 'Me Generation' in the same category.

The Baby Boomers are just older people who never grew up and they're still trying to stay 'forever young'. How sad.







4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:22 am

My, My.

Some young people bear a grudge against the hippy generation who by the way, were a very small part of the population. Yes, there were some draft dodging, weed smoking individuals around who in fact grew up and began to understand that they had to become productive adults. And then a few of them decide to relive their youth on weekends and ride their Harleys at weekends or do whatever floats their boats in their spare time.

But some of them never got into the hippy lifestyle and instead decided to start HP, Microsoft, Apple, and a few others you may have heard of too. Others pioneered organ transplants, space travel, and other technologies that you appreciate using every day.

If it wasn't for baby boomers hard work, you probably wouldn't have a job here or anywhere in high tech and would probably still think of computers as people who figured out math computations!


20 people like this
Posted by A Millenial View
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:50 am

> But some of them never got into the hippy lifestyle and instead decided to start HP, Microsoft, Apple, and a few others you may have heard of too.

FYI...Hewlett-Packard was started by William Hewlett and David Packard in 1939. They were not Baby Boomers.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:52 am

Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials, a resident of College Terrace

>> Assuming a majority of the residents use transit...which would have to be vastly improved over today's offerings.

OK, so, let's build the transit. Can we agree on that?

>> Or better yet, don't have any underground parking facilities and instead offer housing priority to those who don't own cars!

If you can find enough people who will sign binding contracts that specify that they won't own, lease, borrow, or otherwise possess cars that are parked in the street, then, sure. Parking adds a huge amount to costs. I just don't believe that many people will live along ECR between Wilton and Maybell with no car stashed away somewhere, happily riding the 22 bus in traffic to get "everywhere".

BTW, minimum building costs are for 3-4 story buildings. If you don't need parking, you can get 40 units/acre. But, you haven't convinced me that many people will actually live here without at least one car per unit.


18 people like this
Posted by @Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2018 at 10:12 am

Someone really latched onto the hippy comment. I think you guys are generally awful because you've done nothing to maintain the infrastructural, educational, and economic investments into this country that your parents generation made, choosing instead to take full advantage of them and then choose to tear them down on your way out through tax cuts and funding decreases. Systemically blocking housing construction and causing a housing crisis that directly impacts the financial future of millennials (because it would be "too tall" and "ruin my view"). Pushing the global warming crisis onto us rather than taking steps to solve it when the alarms were already blaring.

But yeah, thanks for computers in the 80s.


18 people like this
Posted by A Millenial View
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

> But yeah, thanks for computers in the 80s.

Absolutely. Baby Boomers Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were pretty ruthless in their own right but highly successful. Probably eery reincarnations from The Gilded Age of the 1870s.



Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2018 at 10:27 am

Posted by @Resident, a resident of another community

>> Someone really latched onto the hippy comment. I think you guys are generally awful

You wouldn't happen to be another Millennial? ;-)

>> But yeah, thanks for computers in the 80s.

You are welcome.

Posted by A Millenial View, a resident of Evergreen Park

>> Absolutely. Baby Boomers Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were pretty ruthless in their own right but highly successful. Probably eery reincarnations from The Gilded Age of the 1870s.

Sorry, I just can't grok this. You are anti-"hippy" libertarian socialists who want to be able to afford to buy into Palo Alto -now!- ??

I guess these comments pass the Turing Test. A simple bot would be attempting some level of consistent viewpoint.


12 people like this
Posted by NPC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2018 at 11:59 am

@Town Square Moderator,

Why is one poster being allowed to use multiple names in violation of Town Square's terms of use?

@The future is Now, @Resident, @PA Reality, @Resident, @Another Giveaway, and @Anonymous are obviously the same poster using multiple names.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 17, 2018 at 12:03 pm

^ perhaps different IP addresses (different devices for access)


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Not only using different names, but also using different devices to "like" his own comments within a few minutes of posting.

Also interesting how this hard working millenial is able to spend much of the busy working day monitoring Town Square.


8 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 17, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Of course, our zoning codes can be improved, but the wild relaxation proposed would guarantee the type of unmitigated over-development our city can ill-afford.

Please vote to re-elect Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth to ensure City Council takes a balanced approach when planning the future of our home town!


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 17, 2018 at 1:04 pm

>> Also interesting how this hard working millenial is able to spend much of the busy working day monitoring Town Square.

Maybe this is his job.


16 people like this
Posted by May You Stay Forever Young
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 17, 2018 at 1:55 pm

> The Baby Boomers are just older people who never grew up and they're still trying to stay 'forever young'. How sad.

Not necessarily sad but highly profitable if one happens to be a reconstructive surgeon. My uncle (who happens to be a baby boomer as well) has a practice down south in Orange County/Newport Beach.

The majority of his patients are 40+ women trying to look 25. Big money as these procedures (breast augmentations, Botox, liposuction, collagen injections etc.) are not covered by most medical insurance carriers and out of pocket expenses.

He once told me that most of his patients are very insecure about their appearance (including the men who get face lifts) and some will spend tens of thousands of dollars for periodic treatments. A major cash cow for him.

The funny thing is that despite his apparent skill, they never really look like they're in their 20s. To continually chase the fountain of youth in futility...now that's sad.


10 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 17, 2018 at 5:09 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

To some millennials, a housing crisis means not being able to buy or rent in very fashionable, expensive and desirable towns. I call them the 'Only in Palo Alto and San Francisco' generation. I wish I had a dollar for each time I would suggest that there was available and much less expensive housing in places like Fremont, Castro Valley, Millbrae, Daly City, even Redwood City. The reply was always along the lines of: 'You want me to live where?!

If we were living around Los Angeles, they would whine about not being able to afford Malibu and Pacific Palisades.


10 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm

> The funny thing is that despite his apparent skill, they never really look like they're in their 20s. To continually chase the fountain of youth in futility...now that's sad.

A possible growth industry for morticians when the time comes as well.


12 people like this
Posted by Housing Discrimination Against Millenials
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 17, 2018 at 5:39 pm

> But some of them never got into the hippy lifestyle and instead decided to start HP, Microsoft, Apple, and a few others you may have heard of too. Others pioneered organ transplants, space travel, and other technologies that you appreciate using every day.

Having a 'senior moment' in terms of various recollections?

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs = baby boomers. HP founders = not baby boomers.

Your insights are reminiscent of Al Gore (another baby boomer) claiming to have invented the internet.


Like this comment
Posted by @mauricio
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2018 at 5:50 pm

San Francisco and Palo Alto are major job centers. I don't know if any millennial who wants to move to Palo Alto because it's "hip" (hint: it's not), but because it's close to work and along the Caltrain line. Yeah, go live in Fremont where is cheaper, and be yet another car clogging 101 and the bridge so you guys can complain about traffic when the topic of building new housing in Palo Alto comes up.


6 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 18, 2018 at 5:59 am

mauricio is a registered user.

There are tens of thousands of people who commute into NYC 5 days a week for work not only from various other parts of N.Y State, but from New Jersey and Connecticut. Burlingame and Millbrae are not far from the job centers you mentioned, but dare suggest them to a millennial and they drop their $6.50 cup of coffee in shock and dismay. They want to live in glorified zip codes, and when they can't afford them, because they haven't saved and scarified for many years to achieve that, like so many older generations have, they whine.


8 people like this
Posted by A Gen-X Perspective
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 18, 2018 at 8:39 am

The baby boomer (greed factor) vs millennial (hopelessness and despair in regards to affordable housing) debate can be directly attributed to: INFLATION. It is not a generational war...at least it shouldn't be.

A 2BR apartment in PA/MP rented for about $750.00 during the 1980s and a 3BR/2B house could be rented for about $1500.00 (sometimes as low as $900.00 in MV). Then again, wages and salaries were lower. If someone made at least $25,000.00 a year, they could afford to reside in today's 'unaffordible' neighborhoods.

Houses were cheaper to buy as well. Around $350,000.00 got you a modest 3BR/2B home in Midtown. Like gasoline prices, local houses hadn't reached a certain unbelievable figure.

So in essence, the younger workers (aka Millennials) are making far more in salary than their predecessors (the Boomers) but prices for just about everything have reached astronomical figures except for some overseas-manufactured products.

Overseas manufacturing and employment sourcing has also contributed to this dilemma. Farming out work, whether through H1-B visas or goods being made in 3rd world/developing countries has allowed an emerging group of people to become wealthy and guess what? They come to America and permanently settle in many instances.

Choosing neighborhoods that are both safe and have good public school systems are their primary considerations in addition to other priorities like commute times and convenience to high-end shopping. With surplus CASH readily available, overseas buyers can easily force various properties into being overvalued based on their demand criteria. It doesn't take a Ph.D. in Economics to put 2+2 together.

Granted, the current housing situation in the better parts of the SF midpeninsula sucks. Incidentally, this perspective is coming from a Gen-Xer...the generation once labled as 'slackers' by the media/press. Younger than the Boomers but older than the Millennials, some/many of us are stuck in a similar dilemma when it comes to procuring desired housing and meeting other key expenses.























Like this comment
Posted by @mauricio
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

Is living in Palo Alto a status thing for you? Do you feel like you have a "glorified" zip code? That it's an exclusive club where you need to sacrifice to get in? What is this, Atherton?


10 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 18, 2018 at 11:18 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Living in Palo Alto has never been a status thing for me. It is though for millennials, so it seems. Millennials who don't, and probably never will work in Palo Alto, but work in Sunnyvale or San Jose, for example, reject housing in towns up or down the road, not to mention across the Bay 'You want me to live where?!'

Yes, you need to sacrifice to get in because it's a desirable place, and therefore it is, and always has been and will be, very expensive, one of the quirks of the free market system:The more desirable a commodity is, the higher it's price.

When a generation feels entitled to have housing in a very expensive area made available to them and tailored to their income, it is self entitlement.

It his absurd for twenty something kids to expect the availability of something that older generations had to save up for and sacrifice for many years. If you can't afford it, live where you can afford to food a while, and you will never be able to develop into affordability, quite the opposite.


Like this comment
Posted by @mauricio
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Uh huh, ok. I'm sure you've talked to plenty of millennials and aren't just conjuring up bogus anecdotes based on your preconceived notions.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Should we get rid of state propositions on the ballot?
By Diana Diamond | 14 comments | 1,675 views

San Francisco's Urban Ritual boba pops up in Redwood City
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,477 views

Couples: A Relationship Test . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,142 views

Food Party! SOS
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 930 views

Enjoy every configuration of your family
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 587 views