Residents will have a chance to voice their opinions on what benefits they would like to see from Stanford University's proposed expansion at a community meeting in Palo Alto this Thursday, when Santa Clara County officials will gather feedback as it begins negotiating a development agreement with the university.
County Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian, Board Vice President Cindy Chavez and county planning staff will listen to the public's concerns on the wide-ranging plan as it negotiates with the university. Stanford is seeking the county's approval for a permit that would allow it to build up to 2.275 million square feet of academic space and 3,150 housing units or beds by 2035. The board expects to make a decision on the permit application next year.
Development agreements are two-way negotiations between the applicant, in this case Stanford, and the public agency, which in this case is Santa Clara County. The university is expected to provide certain community benefits, such as transportation, housing and schools, among many other services that could be of aid to residents, and in turn, the county will agree to certain requests made by the applicant.
In what Simitian describes as a "listening session," residents of Palo Alto will have the opportunity to voice their suggestions on possible community benefits to be included in the development agreement.
"It's a negotiation, so there's the potential to negotiate benefits for the community above what may be available through a traditional land-use process," Simitian said
The meeting comes following the unanimous Nov. 14 decision by the Palo Alto school board to approve a resolution demanding that the Board of Supervisors request Stanford to provide the district with both land and money in an effort to balance the impacts of additional district students that the expansion plan will bring. The Board of Education's requests could be benefits negotiated in the development agreement.
Stanford and county officials began discussions on the development agreement at the university's request last year.
Additionally, the county is also working with consultants to produce the Final Environmental Impact Report, though a Draft Environmental Impact Report is already available for residents to view. The university aims to use the expansion to progress the long-term growth of the school.
Simitian said that throughout the process, members of the community have come forward with ideas about what they would like to see from the development agreement. Holding the meeting in Palo Alto, as opposed to San Jose where the county's offices are located, can guide further discussions with Stanford, as officials are aware of what the community desires.
"It'll be a better and more productive conversation if we have an idea of what the community's priorities are," Simitian said.
The community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m. at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.