News

Car dealership gets green light for former Ming's site

Mercedes-Benz and Audi to occupy prominent Embarcadero Road property despite residents' misgivings

A contentious proposal to build a Mercedes-Benz and Audi dealership in the Palo Alto Baylands won the City Council's approval on Monday night, despite concerns from citizens and major reservations from the city's Architectural Review Board.

The council voted 6-1, with Councilwoman Lydia Kou dissenting, to approve a development that Holman Automotive Group had proposed more than a year ago for the former site of Ming's Restaurant at 1700 and 1730 Embarcadero Road. The site has been vacant since Ming's closed in late 2014, and while the city had previously considered a four-story hotel and a different Mercedes dealership for the site, neither of those projects ultimately advanced.

The proposal from Holman Automotive fared better. After a lengthy discussion, the council agreed to rezone a site on Embarcadero to enable the new Mercedes and Audi dealership and to approve the environmental analysis for the project.

The vote came despite major concerns from some residents and council members about the development's lighting plan, its landscaping and the potential removal of numerous mature trees. These issues, and others, will ultimately be vetted by the Architectural Review Board.

The decision represents a significant and hard-fought victory for a project has been going through the city's tortuous design-review process for the past year, which included three reviews by the Architectural Review Board. Despite the numerous revisions, the project has failed to get the garner the board's support. Instead, the board voted at its June 6 meeting to continue the project to a later date, citing concerns about the building's color, size of trees and perimeter landscaping, as well as other issues.

While board members indicated that they would like to see the project one more time, the city's planning staff decided to bring the proposal to the council, without the benefit of a board recommendation. Planning Director Jonathan Lait noted in a report that the city's municipal code encourages a "streamlined" review with no more than three meetings.

Though city code gives the planning director the authority to add more meetings, Lait found that in this case, the board's concerns pertain to details that "do not have a significant impact to the overall building mass or design." As such, he opted to advance the project to the council for approval.

In a memo to the council, Lait and City Manager Ed Shikada argued that if the city does not apply its three-meeting rule, "there would be no limit to the number of meetings the ARB could request."

"While a fourth meeting is not unreasonable under certain circumstances, the benefit to hearing the Council's direction on the broader code interpretation issues concerning this project in advance of further ARB meetings is believed by staff to be consistent with City processes," the memo states.

The decision faced some pushback from residents, some of whom had argued in recent weeks that it would be irresponsible to approve a large commercial building near the Baylands without a board recommendation. More than a dozen critics of the proposal attended the Monday meeting and demanded that the council hit the brakes on the new dealership. Some argued that the project is too massive and dense for the area; others worried about the lighting from the new dealership and its impact on Baylands birds.

Land-use watchdog Bob Moss was part of a group urging for a more stringent review of the two-dealership development, which also includes a service area and a car wash. Moss rejected the notion that the council should vote on the project before the Architectural Review Board resolves the various outstanding issues.

"Each one is not considered major by itself, but the combination of all the issues makes it bizarre that it's going to the City Council at this point," Moss said. "At the very least, send it back to ARB until all the questions are satisfactorily resolved."

Former Mayor Karen Holman concurred and argued that approving the project without having the details resolved would send the wrong message about what types of developments are suitable for the Baylands. And while city staff still plans to send the project to the board to resolve these issues, Holman argued that with the project already approved, any future revisions would end up being "around the edges" and not significant.

"If there are so many issues outstanding, we must send the project back to make it right," Holman said.

Several residents characterized the former Ming's site as a "gateway to the Baylands" and urged the council to be extra careful about approving new developments there.

"The Baylands is a precious part of Palo Alto," said downtown resident Elaine Meyer. "I don't think we should be giving the entry way to such a huge, inappropriate commercial project."

Councilwoman Lydia Kou shared the residents' concerns and moved to deny the project. The building, she argued, is not harmonious with the Baylands setting and not compatible with the city's master plan for the Baylands.

"This does not make it look like gateway to the Baylands," Kou said. "It's just a tower with no trees and a very commercialized building."

Most of her colleagues rejected that view. Councilwoman Liz Kniss noted that the area already includes numerous industrial and commercial properties, including other dealerships.

"This is an industrial area. This is not a gateway to the Baylands," Kniss said.

Councilman Tom DuBois and Kou were both loath to approve the project without having the benefit of an Architectural Review Board recommendations. DuBois said he felt the project was coming to the council "prematurely" and said he is concerned about its traffic impacts and landscaping, among other things.

Ultimately, however, he joined the council majority in supporting a motion from Kniss, which called for approving the project with the understanding that it will later return to the architectural board for further refinements.

The council specified as part of its approval that it wants the board to work with the applicant to include larger trees that would shield the building from the Baylands, to refine the lighting plan and to ensure that the building has "muted colors" that are compatible with the marshy open space preserve.

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Comments

80 people like this
Posted by Paving Paradise
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2019 at 1:43 am

This immense industrial-sized facility will become a permanent blight upon the Baylands, a hulking mass looming over the graceful low buildings there now, with their pleasant plantings and trees.

Palo Alto claims to be about being green and sustainable. But that's all forgotten once wealthy developers show up. The Council majority bends over backwards to let the developers build whatever huge industrial-scale buildings they want, even in an environmentally-sensitive area like the Baylands. After all, isn't selling more luxury cars that pollute just what we need to save the planet?

Apparently, just one council member is willing to say no to this insanity. In years to come, she'll be the one everyone admires, just like her predecessors who worked hard to preserve our natural environment in the face of ever-greedier development.

As for the rest, history will judge them too.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2019 at 2:59 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I spoke at the city Council meeting regarding my concern with the way staff is treating the artist Peter Wegner.

To me this is part of a pattern including our relationship with Bruce Beasley, Sam Yates, and the two artists whose work we deaccesioned.
There are no disputing matters of Taste as the saying goes, But I hope we all agree that if we have public art and 1% for art we should try for a best practice principle.
If necessary we could raise private funds on an ad hoc basis or a PPP to restore the artist’s original proposal for the new public safety building. He actually came to the meeting, and then approached me and said that the staff did an inadequate job of explaining or defending the changes. At times like this I’m almost embarrassed to be a Palo Altan. Is there some kind of deep state Philistine conspiracy here making the bureaucrats say and do things they would not normally do?


60 people like this
Posted by We Deserve Better
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2019 at 7:18 am

What really stood out last night was incompetent staff. If any reader thinks that is too strong a statement, then they were not watching. It is accurate and was a shocking display by Dir. of Planning Lait who couldn't or wouldn't produce accurate critical information for council and the public, then had to provide an "at places" memo to correct one important document regarding the mass of the Mercedes building, which the Mayor then had to interrupt Lait to point out that this vital corrected document was still wrong.

One commenter toted up all the many documents referred to in the staff report for this matter but unavailable to the public - a Brown Act violation which is to ensure transparency in government and that the public is informed. But this seemed to cause no concern by the City Attorney. In the days of prior City Attorney Ariel Calonne, he would have been all over this and much more that Molly Stump just sits and remains silent about.

The practice of providing key information to council members "at places", once a rare event, has now become a common practice under the Lait regime, with council members getting even complex information on an item at the last moment when they can't absorb and use it properly.

All this somehow seems to work to the advantage of developers and against the interests of the public, whether it is Lait's "by right" pronouncements about the President Hotel, his multi errors last night about the mass of the building, or his many in between.

The Lait -Stump team are not serving us well.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2019 at 7:20 am

Such a shame no housing component to this development :)


34 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 25, 2019 at 7:34 am

Not sure about the official rating but I give that intersection an F already.


67 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 25, 2019 at 7:46 am

A poor example of governance and leadership once again!
The project fails the people in three ways and the supposed benefit for the public tax dollars was not even asked to be speculated on. Surely the applicant has an idea of their profit annually or over decades from which a reasonable tax portion to the city could have been estimated so as to see if indeed selling this zoning entitlement benefited the residents financially as well as the applicant. In the absence of any data this decision was made in the dark. the residents are left wondering if the trade off was a reasonable one or they or the council they elected acted in bad faith or simply made a bad deal.

Buildings are not usually expressed by volume in our planning process but auto dealerships get huge numbers of square feet that are physically there but not counted so the building is one size in calculations on paper and massively larger in reality.

Staff did not present a report with the information the public is entitled to nor the governing bodies need to make the best decision. Staff does not seem to have followed the legal process and in doing so opens itself to criticism and potentially legal and civil response.

The council failed to balance the interest of the citizens with the desires of the applicants and In this case that was their primary job.

Not the place to go into all the details but simply put
The baylands were disrespected
The process and ARB were disrespected
The electorate was disrespected
And the law was disrespected


68 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2019 at 8:01 am

If the project was within current zoning rules that would be one thing. But they had to pass an ordinance changing the zoning to enable the project to go forward. No one has a right to build something that does not comply with the zoning for that parcel. It is bad policy to spot-rezone a parcel just to let a developer get their way.


19 people like this
Posted by Wanna See A Star?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 25, 2019 at 8:24 am

I have no issue with the dealership being located here. It make sense from a planning perspective as it is located adjacent to 101 and across 101 from housing.

The Honda and Audi dealers are already there.

The land is difficult to use as it is in a flood zone. Housing would need to be elevated at least a story above the current street level. Again, a car dealer makes sense.

The real problem is light pollution from dealer lots. Lighting of dealership lots is traditionally very VERY bright. This is a problem for Baylands, and for overall light pollution.

I suggest that Planning and the Council take to heart the recommendations of Dark Skys and carefully limit the amount of ambient light used to illuminate the dealerships.

See link:

www.darksky.org/

To this end, gas stations are the second biggest offenders. Look at the amount of new crazy bright lights used to illuminate the 76 Station at Middlefield - San Antonio Road. That place shines like a diamond retailer. Important note - contrary to popular belief...there is no data to support crazy bright lights deterring crime.

The dealership is fine, just use a sane lighting program that does not damage our already limited views of the stars.




52 people like this
Posted by writing wrongs
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2019 at 8:58 am

How many wrongs make for a Council decision? The number seems limitless and matters not to our City Council majority. Some even seemed eager to embrace the package of misstatements, misleading information, factual errors, conflicting analysis, missing documents, fuzzy math, denial of governing document guidance.

It became obvious early on where Liz Kniss was headed when she wrongly declared this project was smaller than the prior project at this site that she voted against because it was too large. When in the face of quotes from the Baylands Master Plan and the Comp Plan, she countered by declaring this location is no Gateway to the Baylands nor is Embarcadero a scenic corridor. She was reading out of the staff playbook, a staff that has been denying these facts, as well.

Do our code, master plans or Comprehensive Plan matter, or is it the whim of the Council at the will of the developer du jour that carries the day. Yes, that is a statement rather than a question.

A bell weather that this project was headed for approved? A construction fence went up last week around the Ming’s building. So much for public and open process.
It’s enough to make a bird hurl itself into a window out of frustration.


34 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2019 at 10:00 am

Just in case you missed it-- straight from the horse's mouth:

"This is an industrial area. This is not a gateway to the Baylands," Kniss said.


43 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 25, 2019 at 10:23 am

Annette is a registered user.

"This is an industrial area. This is not a gateway to the Baylands," Kniss said.

That comment is as mind boggling as her previous comments about parking and traffic. I hope there are no more Baylands-related decisions to be made by CC while she and people who think like that are still in office. The Baylands are wondrous and deserving of the utmost protection.

I attended last night's meeting and my impression is that the residents who spoke were aiming to improve, not kill, the project. It is big, it does not conform with the area, and lighting is an issue. The project needs work. Fortunately, it sounds like the developer and architect are agreeable about working with the ARB.

The process also needs work. Staff warped the process by pushing this forward w/o ARB approval and there were - are - loads of mistakes and procedural errors. Lait's flip explanations brought to mind his convenient "it was a typo" explanation about the troublesome language in a key ordinance that impacted the President Hotel issue.

Sadly, I agree w/the comments above by We Deserve Better and Anon. And I marvel at the irony this particular project represents. At least the Holman Automotive Group isn't trying to convince us that Californians are giving up their cars. Hopefully Staff and certain members of CC will now let go of that inane argument.


15 people like this
Posted by Local dotard
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2019 at 10:56 am

It seems we have our own local dotard.


9 people like this
Posted by Max
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 25, 2019 at 11:58 am

This will be wonderful to finally do something with that site. Bravo to CC for moving this forward. I sure by the time this is actually a working car dealership I will be in the market for a new vehicle anyways. I am disappointed in some of these replies as they just show how selfish some people are.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 25, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Well - there goes another potential RV parking area. Note that the city of Oakland has carved out an area with bathrooms, showers, etc. Maybe all of our RV dwellers would like to go to Oakland.

I am concerned that there does not appear to be any total city planning that shows who owns what. Each of these exercises just pop up with random lack of total city planning. It is like these events produce no information that correctly shows an auditable process of how decisions made. How do these people get hired?


9 people like this
Posted by Who is the dotarf
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Well if this is the gateway to the baylands why has the city allowed car Dealership s, offices and industry there?
What a surprise that Lydia opposed the project. She has been trained well. I see another 10 year delay in building the bike bridge if she has her way

So which of the PAsz members is the dotard?


48 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2019 at 12:39 pm

"This is an industrial area. This is not a gateway to the Baylands," Kniss said.

Watch if Kniss is driving or soon driving a new Mercedes.

Does anybody know how her FPPC ethics case is going?


10 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Hulkamania is a registered user.

Gateway To The Baylands?!?! More like, Gateway To The Road That Leads To The Gateway To The Baylands Which Is A Mile East Of Here.

Anyone concern about light pollution should petition to have the lights at the baseball field removed.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2019 at 1:03 pm

>> Anyone concern about light pollution should petition to have the lights at the baseball field removed.

I haven't been over there at night recently (I'm saying that in case they have already worked on it), but, recent outdoor sports lighting has been improved dramatically with respect to light pollution, and, both Dark Skies, the lighting industry, and recreation managers all seem pretty happy with the results. If the Baylands fields haven't been upgraded, then, they should be:

Web Link

Web Link

If they are smart, the auto dealership designers will do the same.


15 people like this
Posted by Wanna See a Star?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 25, 2019 at 1:17 pm

So to understand what we mean by a common sense approach to lighting outdoor activities.

See:

www.darksky.org/our-work/lighting/lighting-for-citizens/lighting-basics/

Light the showrooms internally. Have a confined area with higher outdoor light intensities for inspecting cars outdoors. Reduce overall lot lighting to minimum save levels.

We cannot have supernova levels of lighting to sell those Honda, Audi, and Mercedes Benz at night. Common sense lighting is good for everyone.

Have you seen the milky way or even a star lately?


30 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 25, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Annette is a registered user.

For years the area in question has accommodated nature and commerce. That needn't change if development respects nature.

It is inaccurate to characterize the area as industrial. In fact, the area is home to an odd mix of buildings including the Byer Eye Institute, car dealerships, and several office buildings. Not far away: the municipal golf course, the muni airport, and the athletic fields where Little League is played.

And even less far away: the Baylands. In fact, directly across from the site where the new dealership will go is an official wooden Palo Alto sign that reads:

Welcome to the City of Palo Alto
BAYLANDS NATURE PRESERVE
Hours: 8am to Sunset
Please help us to protect this area

There are well marked official trails that meander around the Baylands and the trailhead of one is about 2 blocks from the site. I happen to be glad that the property is going to be improved, but let's not pretend that it isn't where it is, abutting what it abuts. And please, let's never underestimate how important the Baylands are.


16 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2019 at 9:59 pm

Well, the property owner will profit handsomely from this large development.. To me, it’s too massive and I agree excessive lighting and traffic may be a concern - oh, but by then it’ll be too late. But wow what a profit!!
I disagree with Liz Kniss.
I remain concerned about the Palo Alto Baylands and “creep” - what will be the next ask - the Baylands ARE a treasure and deserve to be protected in more than a minor semblance of nature. I recommend Palo Altans check out the renovated boardwalk!


9 people like this
Posted by Truth Teller
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2019 at 12:42 am

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave.

All of those decades of force feeding Nature down Folks throats.
Goes to show you that, Money talks and B.S. walks.
We could of had that connection from the Dumbarton Bridge to 101 by now?
Going to need it even more than ever now, with more cars being Sold.
Maybe they'll also install a charging station for The Tesla's and others users.
(gotta save that environment).
That Intersection is loaded with "Cut-Through" Traffic going into East Palo Alto towards the Dumbarton Bridge.

Reminiscing of the dredging of the long forgotten Marina. The lovely restaurant. The Palo Alto dump. All gone.
All the fun things are leaving. And all you can come up with is "Bright Lights"?
Well maybe Palo Alto will allow the 4th of July Firework show in returning. Just a thought.

The Visions of the Developers are GREATER than the money in your pocketbooks.
Because everytime they finish a project, they have more money in getting their way.
Money wins 1.
Bugs, Frogs and Little Mouse 0.


6 people like this
Posted by vern
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 26, 2019 at 8:14 am

the arb is out of control----go to a meeting it is a hoot--I went to 3 meetings over the last many years regarding the new police building---it is a delay organization that adds little to the process---I understand the city had to go to the arb 3 times on the new fire station on newell road which added to the cost and that is a reason it is now stalled in getting built---please take the time and go to a arb meeting---it is the palo alto process on steroids.


10 people like this
Posted by Keep It Local
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 26, 2019 at 8:54 am

A downtown PA Mercedes dealership would be far more convenient.

We used to have Paddleford Oldsmobile, Lutz Ford, H&E BMW and Keyes Pontiac/GMC.



6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2019 at 9:29 am

Perhaps it could be limited to E vehicles, after all that would fit with the City image.


6 people like this
Posted by OK
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2019 at 10:00 am

This is better than any RV lot or new housing! RV lot would bring fear and new housing would bring additional traffic. This brings taxes to help Palo Alto.


15 people like this
Posted by Buy Or Lease
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 26, 2019 at 11:54 am

If you cannot get Chinese food on the Embaradero anymore, might as well be able to purchase or lease a new Mercedes. There's not much out that way worth driving to in the first place.

The baylands are a considerable distance from the former Mings site and the ducks won't mind.

An auto row makes sense. Why should car dealerships along the 680 or Stevens Creek Boulevard be making all the money?

Except for maybe the golf course, this section of Embarcadero is not being used for much.




1 person likes this
Posted by Vote no
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 26, 2019 at 4:54 pm

Curmudgeon (curholman) funny hearing the finder fee queen trying to cast aspersions on kniss. Meanwhile you are building a $60 million palace to your ego.


10 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2019 at 5:04 pm

"Curmudgeon (curholman)"

Still on your jag, huh. Sorry pal. I'm flattered by the conflation but am unable to claim the honor. You would find me quite distinct from Ms. Holman if you could see us together, which you never will.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


7 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2019 at 12:16 am

All the arguments against the dealership building make no sense at all.

Gateway to the Baylands? for what? It has been an industrial area for ages, and far away from the bay. The garbage mountain at Byxbee is probably higher than the proposed dealership building.

Light pollution? Come on! The endless streams of car lights on 101 will dwarf any "light pollution" emitting out of that building. It's completely nonsensical.




21 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 27, 2019 at 10:12 am

Annette is a registered user.

Some of the posts lead me to the conclusion that there's a knowledge gap regarding both the geography of the Baylands Nature Preserve and what's located on the east end of Embarcadero. I work in the area and walk the Baylands trails several times a week.

The dealership is actually very close to the Baylands Nature Preserve, which is not entirely wetlands. Less than 2 blocks south of the very busy F-rated Embarcadero/E Bayshore intersection there's a trail that leads into an area of the preserve that is behind the property where Ming's was. This area is beautiful in its own special way. And peaceful.

As for "not much worth driving to in the first place" the congestion at the intersection alone suggests that that is a mistaken notion. The Baylands Nature Preserve is well worth a visit. Also, in addition to a golf course and airport there are car dealerships, the Stanford Tech Center, the Stanford Federal Credit Union, some start-ups, several law firms, various other businesses, and the Byer Eye Institute. The buildings in the area are low profile; no doubt the airport location has something to do with that.

I've worked in the area going on 20 years and while it may once have been primarily industrial, that is no longer the case. Things have changed and now there's an unusual mix of enterprises at the east end of Embarcadero.

I think there's merit to the concern about lighting. There's a difference between the lights from headlights on moving vehicles and stationery building lights that are on throughout the night. Comments at the CC meeting suggest that this is accepted and the applicant is open to addressing the concerns.


21 people like this
Posted by Giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 27, 2019 at 10:13 am

Giraffe is a registered user.

How does this approval of a violation of zoning requirements benefit residents of Palo Alto? Was that presented at the meeting? I guess it means that you don't have to drive as far to get your new MB. And, I presume that the city will get some amount of tax dollars. But, so what? There have been lots of new development in the last several years, so I guess lots of new tax dollars, but in what way have these dollars improved our lives?


2 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jun 27, 2019 at 12:31 pm

"This is an industrial area. This is not a gateway to the Baylands," Kniss said.

She is right. It is an industrial park. It is no different than the industrial park near Shoreline in Mountain View, or the one next to the Don Edwards preserve directly across the bay in Fremont. They tend to minimize human intrusion into these areas, which is what causes the most environmental damage.


2 people like this
Posted by Local dotard
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 27, 2019 at 3:33 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by chris brown
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 29, 2019 at 9:33 am

I think its great it passed. It took way to long to pass. Congrats to the Counsel. Its a business that generates very high tax dollars for a city thats underwater with staff pensions. On the location - get real Its an office park under a massive power line tower. Its also next to existing autodealerships. Baylands "gateway" is a joke given the tower and office parks. Finally common sense decision from our government!


10 people like this
Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2019 at 10:11 pm

I don't understand why this was even approved considering the fact that there is a MB dealership 9 miles north on 101.

But now that this monstrosity is a given, why not put all of the lights on motion detectors?


2 people like this
Posted by Spock
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2019 at 8:46 am

Logic dictates that population and development are linked in advanced cultures. For those desirous of a simpler life, Fresno awaits.


12 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2019 at 10:22 am

Sad, don't like it or appreciate it. The car dealerships that are there already cheapen the whole area for anything really serious or nice.


2 people like this
Posted by No Big Deal
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 30, 2019 at 1:12 pm

After the bay land waters rise by 2050 as per the environmental doomsday prophets, these car dealerships can then be converted to boat sales dealerships.

In the meantime, it's just another mundane industrial/multi-use region. Might as well make use of the acreage.

The bay lands and harbor are a long ways from the former Ming's site. No impact on nature.


11 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2019 at 6:28 pm

"I don't understand why this was even approved considering the fact that there is a MB dealership 9 miles north on 101."

Star-struck at city hall. Especially by three-pointed stars.

City council makes a big fuss in public about minimizing carbon emissions. But money talks behind the curtain. When people buy these expensive machines for converting petroleum to CO2, Palo Alto wants its cut. It's that simple.


5 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 1, 2019 at 9:58 am

@Curmudgeon

You are absolutely correct. We don't need more car dealerships. And the city clowncil should regulate how many supermarkets, gas stations, coffee shops, shoe repairs, etc that should be allowed in the city.

We clearly don't need as many Starbucks as we have in Palo Alto. We should institute a centrally managed economy, where a knowledgeable group of bureaucrats make decisions as to what businesses are allowed in town, who can live in town and where, what we can wear, etc. We can't let these important decisions be left to the general public and the people who own the property and businesses.

/marc


1 person likes this
Posted by Facts
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 1, 2019 at 10:28 am

Aside from the debate about the environmental impacts of the building in its location, Mercedes and Audi are pursuing aggressive plans for electrification of their product lines. Palo Alto and surrounding cities are among the strongest adopters of EV’s in the US so this new dealership will likely be a leader in EV sales.
Next to Apple stores, auto dealerships are the highest sales tax revenue per square foot and they have low trip generation compared to other retail sales.


2 people like this
Posted by Local dotard
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 2, 2019 at 4:49 pm

To Who is--
If you can't tell who it is, here's a hint:

Someone on the Council who cannot cope with anything remotely complicated. She changes the subject to something peripheral (in this case a discussion about a previous irrelevant project).
Then she automatically votes for the developer.

What happened to the unreported developer-funding investigation?


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2019 at 6:13 pm

Posted by Facts, a resident of Community Center

>> Mercedes and Audi are pursuing aggressive plans for electrification of their product lines. Palo Alto and surrounding cities are among the strongest adopters of EV’s

Great idea! Let Mercedes propose a dealership with only chic -electric vehicles- for display/sale and service. It will be very elegant. With the best dark-sky-approved night lighting. People looking for legacy fossil-fuel MB vehicles can head to Belmont.


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