News

Hungry for housing, Palo Alto seeks to lure developers to San Antonio Road

Commission recommends revising zoning code to allow residential projects near Mountain View border

The Planning and Transportation Commission voted on Aug. 12 to recommend approving a proposed 102-unit development at 788 San Antonio Road, which could be the first of several such projects in Palo Alto's new "Housing Incentive Program" district. Courtesy city of Palo Alto.

After trying, and largely failing, to lure residential developments to its main downtown districts, Palo Alto's elected leaders are shifting their sights to a part of the city that few in the past had envisioned as the ideal housing destination: San Antonio Road.

Unlike in Mountain View, where city officials have been swiftly approving housing and commercial development on the prominent artery, Palo Alto has been largely reluctant to pursue new housing developments on San Antonio, which runs along the border between the two cities. The Housing Incentive Program, which the city approved in 2018 in hopes of stimulating more housing development, applied only to downtown, California Avenue and El Camino Real, areas that are deemed more appealing for housing because of their transit and retail options.

But as Palo Alto continues to fall well short of its goals, San Antonio is emerging as one of its most promising housing sites. On Wednesday night, the Planning and Transportation Commission voted to recommend approval of a 102-unit residential development on San Antonio and Leghorn Street. The commission also approved an environmental analysis for the broader, 18-parcel stretch of San Antonio, between Middlefield and Charleston roads, which is zoned mostly for commercial use. The approval paves the way for other residential developers to pitch similar housing projects along the city's southern edge.

If approved by the City Council, the development proposed by Ted O'Hanlon on behalf of 788 SAPA Land LLC would consist of a four-story building with a two-level underground garage at 788 San Antonio Road, near Leghorn Street. The 102 units would include 32 studios, 66 one-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom apartments. Sixteen apartments would be provided at below-market-rate rates.

The units will initially be offered as rental units, though O'Hanlon said they may be converted to condominiums in the future. The development would also include 1,803 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

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The new proposal expands on the development that O'Hanlon had presented to the council in May 2019. At that time, the project included 64 units. The addition of 38 units reflects the willingness that the council expressed at last year's meeting for approving zone changes to loosen the density rules along San Antonio.

The Planning and Transportation Commission similarly endorsed the planned zone changes, as well as the new development. By a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Doria Summa dissenting, the commission voted to recommend approving the 102-unit project and to support the environmental impact report for the 18-parcel segment of San Antonio.

In presenting the project, O'Hanlon highlighted the location's proximity to jobs, particularly the Google campus and other companies in the North Bayshore area of Mountain View. The project, he said, is within a mile of 10,000 jobs.

He also emphasized the project's short distance to U.S. Highway 101, as well as the fact that the site is within a mile of the Caltrain station on San Antonio Road. And while the sites are mostly zoned for "service commercial," O'Hanlon pointed to other residential communities in the vicinity the site. These include the Green House and Green House 2 condominium developments and Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life.

O'Hanlon predicted that the project will encourage "alternative transportation use," particularly options that connect the area to Caltrain's San Antonio station. He also noted that the project makes a significant contribution toward the council's official goal of approving 300 units per year — a goal that the city has consistently failed to meet.

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"For Palo Alto, it's a good project because it shows Palo Alto can implement something like the HIP (Housing Incentive Program) and create housing, rather than other projects that might come in and try to utilize the state density bonus law or other state laws to increase housing density," O'Hanlon said.

Not everyone, however, is thrilled about the new proposal. Several residents from nearby developments pointed to other recently approved projects in the area, including two hotels that Marriott is currently building.

Pamela Harter, who lives at Green House 2 and who serves on the residential community's Homeowner Association, said her neighborhood already suffers from "severe gridlock" and that the new housing development would only exacerbate the area's traffic and parking problems. She said it has taken her 20 minutes or more to travel the quarter mile from Highway 101 to her condominium.

"I'm not opposed to a development of smart growth or affordable housing," Harter said. "I am opposed to a poorly considered development when traffic and parking are not considered, when full development is not considered."

The commission agreed that the area's traffic problems warrant further analysis and recommended that the council commission a study of land use and transportation on San Antonio Road. Commissioner William Riggs suggested that the city move ahead as soon as possible with transportation improvements along Leghorn Street to encourage bicycling and other alternatives to cars.

Commissioner Ed Lauing agreed and said it's "fundamental that we make some adjustments now."

Others cautioned against imposing any conditions that would slow down the approval process for the 788 San Antonio Road project. Vice Chair Giselle Roohparvar noted that this is the first substantial housing project that the commission has seen since she joined two years ago. Commissioner Michael Alcheck disputed the notion that the stretch of San Antonio is not well suited to housing and pointed to the recent and pending construction on the Mountain View side.

Alcheck said he believes the city may have been too harsh on residential developments in imposing conditions for approval.

"When you're dying of thirst, every drop of canteen counts," Alcheck said.

As the lone dissenter, Summa said she had concerns about lumping the approval of this particular project with a program for the broader segment of San Antonio. Even so, she said she is glad to see the project at 788 San Antonio Road advance.

For Palo Alto's housing advocates, the San Antonio proposal is a rare glint of good news in what has been another disappointing year for residential projects. The new Housing Incentive Program, which granted density bonuses and other incentives to builders around downtown, California Avenue and El Camino Real, has not led to an influx of proposals, as the city had hoped. Prior proposals to add housing at Cubberley Community Center and on Portage Avenue that until recently was occupied by Fry's Electronics have been largely scrapped because of insufficient political support, in the case of the former, and the property owner's reluctance to redevelop, in the case of the latter.

At the same time, the city is preparing to see a significant increase in the number of housing units it has to plan for in the next Regional Housing Needs Allocation cycle, which will stretch from 2023 to 2031. The new mandate will almost certainly require Palo Alto to designate new areas of the city as potential housing sites.

The zoning amendment that the planning commission supported would extend the housing incentives to all the commercially zoned properties on the east side of San Antonio, between Middlefield and East Charleston roads (the incentive zone also includes one parcel west side of San Antonio, at 705 San Antonio Road). In addition to allowing greater density for residential projects along this stretch, the amendment allows these projects to use rooftop gardens to meet open-space requirements and exempt the first 1,500 square feet of retail area from parking requirements.

Alcheck strongly supported the change and lamented the fact that the city's politics make it difficult to achieve its official housing goals.

"I continue to believe our record in adding housing in the last decade is the best evidence that the baby steps approach to addressing this crisis isn't working," Alcheck said.

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Hungry for housing, Palo Alto seeks to lure developers to San Antonio Road

Commission recommends revising zoning code to allow residential projects near Mountain View border

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 3:03 pm

After trying, and largely failing, to lure residential developments to its main downtown districts, Palo Alto's elected leaders are shifting their sights to a part of the city that few in the past had envisioned as the ideal housing destination: San Antonio Road.

Unlike in Mountain View, where city officials have been swiftly approving housing and commercial development on the prominent artery, Palo Alto has been largely reluctant to pursue new housing developments on San Antonio, which runs along the border between the two cities. The Housing Incentive Program, which the city approved in 2018 in hopes of stimulating more housing development, applied only to downtown, California Avenue and El Camino Real, areas that are deemed more appealing for housing because of their transit and retail options.

But as Palo Alto continues to fall well short of its goals, San Antonio is emerging as one of its most promising housing sites. On Wednesday night, the Planning and Transportation Commission voted to recommend approval of a 102-unit residential development on San Antonio and Leghorn Street. The commission also approved an environmental analysis for the broader, 18-parcel stretch of San Antonio, between Middlefield and Charleston roads, which is zoned mostly for commercial use. The approval paves the way for other residential developers to pitch similar housing projects along the city's southern edge.

If approved by the City Council, the development proposed by Ted O'Hanlon on behalf of 788 SAPA Land LLC would consist of a four-story building with a two-level underground garage at 788 San Antonio Road, near Leghorn Street. The 102 units would include 32 studios, 66 one-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom apartments. Sixteen apartments would be provided at below-market-rate rates.

The units will initially be offered as rental units, though O'Hanlon said they may be converted to condominiums in the future. The development would also include 1,803 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

The new proposal expands on the development that O'Hanlon had presented to the council in May 2019. At that time, the project included 64 units. The addition of 38 units reflects the willingness that the council expressed at last year's meeting for approving zone changes to loosen the density rules along San Antonio.

The Planning and Transportation Commission similarly endorsed the planned zone changes, as well as the new development. By a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Doria Summa dissenting, the commission voted to recommend approving the 102-unit project and to support the environmental impact report for the 18-parcel segment of San Antonio.

In presenting the project, O'Hanlon highlighted the location's proximity to jobs, particularly the Google campus and other companies in the North Bayshore area of Mountain View. The project, he said, is within a mile of 10,000 jobs.

He also emphasized the project's short distance to U.S. Highway 101, as well as the fact that the site is within a mile of the Caltrain station on San Antonio Road. And while the sites are mostly zoned for "service commercial," O'Hanlon pointed to other residential communities in the vicinity the site. These include the Green House and Green House 2 condominium developments and Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life.

O'Hanlon predicted that the project will encourage "alternative transportation use," particularly options that connect the area to Caltrain's San Antonio station. He also noted that the project makes a significant contribution toward the council's official goal of approving 300 units per year — a goal that the city has consistently failed to meet.

"For Palo Alto, it's a good project because it shows Palo Alto can implement something like the HIP (Housing Incentive Program) and create housing, rather than other projects that might come in and try to utilize the state density bonus law or other state laws to increase housing density," O'Hanlon said.

Not everyone, however, is thrilled about the new proposal. Several residents from nearby developments pointed to other recently approved projects in the area, including two hotels that Marriott is currently building.

Pamela Harter, who lives at Green House 2 and who serves on the residential community's Homeowner Association, said her neighborhood already suffers from "severe gridlock" and that the new housing development would only exacerbate the area's traffic and parking problems. She said it has taken her 20 minutes or more to travel the quarter mile from Highway 101 to her condominium.

"I'm not opposed to a development of smart growth or affordable housing," Harter said. "I am opposed to a poorly considered development when traffic and parking are not considered, when full development is not considered."

The commission agreed that the area's traffic problems warrant further analysis and recommended that the council commission a study of land use and transportation on San Antonio Road. Commissioner William Riggs suggested that the city move ahead as soon as possible with transportation improvements along Leghorn Street to encourage bicycling and other alternatives to cars.

Commissioner Ed Lauing agreed and said it's "fundamental that we make some adjustments now."

Others cautioned against imposing any conditions that would slow down the approval process for the 788 San Antonio Road project. Vice Chair Giselle Roohparvar noted that this is the first substantial housing project that the commission has seen since she joined two years ago. Commissioner Michael Alcheck disputed the notion that the stretch of San Antonio is not well suited to housing and pointed to the recent and pending construction on the Mountain View side.

Alcheck said he believes the city may have been too harsh on residential developments in imposing conditions for approval.

"When you're dying of thirst, every drop of canteen counts," Alcheck said.

As the lone dissenter, Summa said she had concerns about lumping the approval of this particular project with a program for the broader segment of San Antonio. Even so, she said she is glad to see the project at 788 San Antonio Road advance.

For Palo Alto's housing advocates, the San Antonio proposal is a rare glint of good news in what has been another disappointing year for residential projects. The new Housing Incentive Program, which granted density bonuses and other incentives to builders around downtown, California Avenue and El Camino Real, has not led to an influx of proposals, as the city had hoped. Prior proposals to add housing at Cubberley Community Center and on Portage Avenue that until recently was occupied by Fry's Electronics have been largely scrapped because of insufficient political support, in the case of the former, and the property owner's reluctance to redevelop, in the case of the latter.

At the same time, the city is preparing to see a significant increase in the number of housing units it has to plan for in the next Regional Housing Needs Allocation cycle, which will stretch from 2023 to 2031. The new mandate will almost certainly require Palo Alto to designate new areas of the city as potential housing sites.

The zoning amendment that the planning commission supported would extend the housing incentives to all the commercially zoned properties on the east side of San Antonio, between Middlefield and East Charleston roads (the incentive zone also includes one parcel west side of San Antonio, at 705 San Antonio Road). In addition to allowing greater density for residential projects along this stretch, the amendment allows these projects to use rooftop gardens to meet open-space requirements and exempt the first 1,500 square feet of retail area from parking requirements.

Alcheck strongly supported the change and lamented the fact that the city's politics make it difficult to achieve its official housing goals.

"I continue to believe our record in adding housing in the last decade is the best evidence that the baby steps approach to addressing this crisis isn't working," Alcheck said.

Comments

Sheri
Registered user
Midtown
on Aug 14, 2020 at 3:44 pm
Sheri, Midtown
Registered user
on Aug 14, 2020 at 3:44 pm
25 people like this

16 out of 102 units are non-market rate. How does that help our RHNA requirements? The "something is better than nothing" theory is just not getting affordable housing built.


San Antonio Parking Lot
Registered user
Palo Verde School
on Aug 14, 2020 at 4:56 pm
San Antonio Parking Lot, Palo Verde School
Registered user
on Aug 14, 2020 at 4:56 pm
43 people like this

Well...the apartment dwellers will definitely need "alternative transportation" since San Antonio Road is a parking lot for 3 hours every weekday morning and evening. And, good luck trying to get a bike to Google. The 101 crossings at San Antonio and Rengstorff are incredibly dangerous to bike through.

The commuters from the 3 massive apartment complexes at San Antonio and California in Mountain View/Los Altos will likely just give up and check into the new Hyatt hotel. Maybe that was the Hyatt’s business plan all along.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 14, 2020 at 5:16 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 14, 2020 at 5:16 pm
46 people like this

San Antonio Parking Lot, right you are. And the gridlock gives you ample opportunity to contemplate how ugly that area's become and to read the "For Rent: $3,000 and $4,000 a month" signs for Carmel Village there.

So glad that The Milk Pail which was ousted from its long-time location there has a thriving drive-thru business, Too bad that this latest development will make it even tougher to get there via Leghorn and San Antonio.

16 BMR units out of 102 does pathetically little to help solve the rental housing crisis for middle-class workers, esp, since the developer admits the whole development might ultimately go condo.


Resident
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Aug 14, 2020 at 8:37 pm
Resident, Meadow Park
Registered user
on Aug 14, 2020 at 8:37 pm
33 people like this

Holy traffic, Batman!! This area of San Antonio is already total gridlock 6 hours a day. With this new proposed project, the new Marriott Hotel, and the gigantic office project right over the border in MV, this area - and the Charleston/101 corridor - will be a nightmare.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 14, 2020 at 9:03 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 14, 2020 at 9:03 pm
32 people like this

Speaking of the Charleston/101 corridor, how special they've recently reduced the through traffic lanes to add new bike lanes and those confusing traffic-calming barriers on Charleston west of Middlefield near the Montessori School.

With the University/101 corridor blocked, that leaves Embarcadero as the only direct access road to 101 -- and we know how beautifully traffic flows there.

Fun, fun!


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 15, 2020 at 10:03 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 15, 2020 at 10:03 am
24 people like this

We already have a problem of people parking in the residential areas who are going to Oshman or local work. The plan as presented does not include enough parking for the people who live in the apartments so they will be using other residential streets to park.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 15, 2020 at 12:39 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 15, 2020 at 12:39 pm
17 people like this

Google News' Top Stories has packaged up the stories about the outages hitting 2,000,000 Californians with comments from the grid operator, the fact that electricity rates hit on all-time high on Friday before the shutoffs, etc.
Web Link

It makes for interesting reading, esp. the ones from Bloomberg/Business Week/ It also makes one wonder why PA is so aggressively pushing the more costly and less reliable electricity vs cheaper natural gas.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 15, 2020 at 12:42 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 15, 2020 at 12:42 pm
5 people like this

Sorry for the above post in the wrong topic. I tried to delete it but couldn't.


Suzanne Keehn
Registered user
Barron Park
on Aug 17, 2020 at 10:42 am
Suzanne Keehn, Barron Park
Registered user
on Aug 17, 2020 at 10:42 am
26 people like this

Incredible, we keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result!! So 16 units that will be BMR out of 104. We do not need market rate housing, we NEED housing for all kinds of workers in the many service industries, for teachers etc. What is with our Planning Commission, their priorities are wrong and 'more of the same.'


Pam T
Registered user
Charleston Gardens
on Aug 17, 2020 at 11:04 am
Pam T, Charleston Gardens
Registered user
on Aug 17, 2020 at 11:04 am
26 people like this

I live in the Greenhouse Condo's and the traffic on San Antonio Road is, at present, atrocious. Bumper to bumper in all directions at all times other than late at night. With Greenhouse one and Greenhouse two, the two big, new hotels, Charleston Center housing, the housing getting built at the Old Mill and the Safeway site, Oshman senior housing...whoever is approving this on the board may be happy to finally be getting something approved somewhere, but they CLEARLY do not live here. If they did, they would never encourage any more housing development. South Palo Alto is, and always has been, the "step-child" of Palo Alto. There's plenty of room in Palo Alto to build elsewhere, with decent traffic movement. Shameful.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2020 at 11:27 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 17, 2020 at 11:27 am
17 people like this

"There's plenty of room in Palo Alto to build elsewhere, with decent traffic movement. Shameful."

Where?


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2020 at 6:21 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Aug 17, 2020 at 6:21 pm
19 people like this

I strongly agree with the commenters above that this project is nothing to celebrate. When I heard that a member of the Planning Commission had framed this as approving"102 new family houses!" I was surprised. This project - Web Link - includes 102 condominiums - apparently for rent rather than sale - that many would not call "family" sized. Specifically, the project will include:

Studio: 32
1-bedroom: 66
2-bedroom: 4
Total: 102

How big will be these units? I could not find reference to that in the attachment, nor in any document linked from the project description. As such, that number also is missing from this article. So here is my best guess: the gross square footage designated for residential is 84,800, the net, given the large number of units in such a small space, likely is approximately 72,000 square feet. 102 units in that 72,000 square feet, each unit will be approximately 700 square feet.

700 square feet is typical for a family home in Manhattan or Tokyo... but it is a fraction of the size of a typical single-family home in Palo Alto. And, given that 2/3rd of these units will be one-room studios, I think it is fairly disingenuous to describe this as a "multi-family" development, as does the developer here. This seems particularly the case given the references throughout the documents to "micro-homes" which are exempt from parking requirements - homes of fewer than 450 square feet. Given that exemption, although I could not find any details about this, any developer seeking to maximize profit would try to load up this building with as many under-450 square foot units as they can.

I don't know why the Planning Commission did not ask these common sense questions -- how big will the units be? Whom do you see living there? How many will be under 450 square feet? ...other than to guess that the Planning Commission just doesn't *ask* those questions -the obviously important questions.

That is why, despite the misleading description as "multi-family residences!" it is hard to blame the developer here. The Planning Commission needs to give more clear directives to the Planning Department to create reports that emphasize the factors that the COMMUNITY cares about, rather than the ones that the developer cares about.

And, the Planning Commission REALLY needs to take a closer look at its policies and fee structures. For example, this 15% set-aside for "affordable housing" always has been a failure - and it was a failure even when that percentage was better aligned with other cities facing urgent housing crises (closer to 30%)... for a number of reasons.

First, assuming developers don't manage to get out of their requirements (which is common), they do what this particular developer did in this case: Instead of setting aside 15% of the units it originally proposed --64 -- to affordable housing, it tacked on extra units, making all units on average much smaller and increasing the profits the developer can squeeze out of tenants on a square foot basis. Making the units more numerous and smaller also increases the traffic created by the residential building, while reducing the number of parking spots required (since micro-units don't have to have parking). Of course, the biggest generator of traffic will be the large retail space (three times the size of a residence) on the first floor.

In allowing the tiny-ification of these apartments, the planning commission and department could and should have looked into replacing that retail with housing -- given that retail can generate hundreds of times as much traffic as homes. That also was a missed opportunity. Instead, the PTC approved the developers changes without ANY compromise on behalf of the community and neighbors.

Additionally, the City's requirement of "affordable housing" MUST be changed to require very-low-income-housing AND below-market-rate housing. These 16 below-market-rate units will do absolutely zero to help Palo Alto have a chance of complying with our residential building requirements.

Finally, the PTC and City Council really needs to stop blaming *everyone else* for the failure of residential housing (developers, neighbors, ABAG, the State). What is imminently clear is that the City's intentional tax and fee structures give windfalls to the development of office space that eclipse any "incentives" for residential development.

For example, commercial developer fees in Palo Alto are on average approximately 1/2 of what developers pay in neighboring cities. The City literally is PAYING developers to build office space due to the cost structure of its fees.

And - tax subsidies available to neighbor cities to incentivize residential development carry no weight here given the fact that commercial development is NOT taxed.

The profit structure of developing real estate has been intentionally created by the City of Palo Alto, and is not an immutable force that holds our City Council and its Planning Commission hostage. And even though the City Council continues to demand that ABAG or Sacramento fix the problems that the City's own policies created, the truth is that the solution is so much easier.

City Council has created a fee and taxation system that makes office building the most profitable game in town -- and far more profitable than building in neighboring towns.

If the City really did want to align developer behavior with public good -- which is the building of housing - it needs to change the taxes and fees it charges (or does not charge). But the City Council still refuses to this, and the Planning Commission does not advise them to do so.

TLDR: we need to fix our dysfunctional fee structure and tax developers- and require them to pay the actual city costs of their projects - like our neighbors do, or we can't expect much better than mostly-commercial buildings topped with 100 500-square foot "family" apartments. Want to know how Mountain View is succeeding in housing development? They are not giving away city money to developers of commercial properties.... like we are.

PS If I estimated the apartment size incorrectly, I would be happy to be corrected. As I mentioned, I used the data I could find -- and given that the size of the apartments was not available, I guessed. I hope the units are bigger than that.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 17, 2020 at 9:35 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 17, 2020 at 9:35 pm
9 people like this

Thank you all for calling out the planning department - commission. They are allowing money to be spent bringing incomplete data to the community. This is a disadvantage to the developer as we have not clarified the requirements up front. It looks like we need to anchor the base requirements up front so people are not spinning their wheels - wasting theirs and our time on incomplete or non-compliant designs.

Time to anchor the base requirements for any new effort. Publish those requirements so developers will be able to provide a design effort that is compliant with city standards.


anon1234
Registered user
College Terrace
on Aug 18, 2020 at 9:39 am
anon1234, College Terrace
Registered user
on Aug 18, 2020 at 9:39 am
5 people like this

To Rebecca above.
Actually all the questions you claim PTC did not think to ask last Wednesday were discussed; such as unit size who the likely tenants would’ve etc...
Despite the lengthy and thorough discussion the PTC majority approved recommendation of not just the project you find lacks merit, but potentially 8 1/2 acres more of identical or at least similar projects.
It seems to me that focusing on the deficiencies of the PTC discussion rather than the outcome undermines your opinion of the actual action recommended , in this
case a multi family Project, multiple changes to the municipal code, a variance and a change to the comprehensive plan that effect not only this project but an additional 7 1/2 acres


anon1234
Registered user
College Terrace
on Aug 18, 2020 at 9:43 am
anon1234, College Terrace
Registered user
on Aug 18, 2020 at 9:43 am
1 person likes this

Sorry typos
At the end should say again 8 1/2 acres


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 18, 2020 at 10:25 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 18, 2020 at 10:25 am
12 people like this

I think the area referred to above is the block of land where the Ace Hardware sits. That has recently changed hands. I have concerns here that the city is either the dog or the tail of the dog. Who is wagging who?

Who thinks up taking down Cubberly and turning it into housing? Who thinks up a Target at the Fry's site? I get the feeling that developers think up an idea, come in and sell it. They get their insiders to agree. Then the city has to convince the residents what a great idea it is - like they thought it up first. But the residents are not a comprehensive legal group so lack centralized power to say enough is enough.

We have people from the Oshman center parking daily in the residential area. They are told to do that because they are employees and they want the space for the non-resident visitors. The question came up during the development stage and the residents who raised that concern were told there was sufficient parking on the property for the whole business efforts of that location. We have people who have assigned spaces for themselves in front of people's homes. Worse - I was over there for an events and a portion of the garage was being used to store equipment and was blocked off.

So now we read about a huge amount of projects that the PTC is looking at. It would be nice if they provided those "ideas" to the general public so we can time when we want to move out of here. We have the Real Estate industry busy selling high price homes with no reference to what else is happening in the city that mitigates the value of that home.

Side Note - family members moved to Maryland to a nice suburban location that backed up to a pasture with horses on a grand estate. Once they moved in they discovered that the "pasture" was going to be developed into two story hones. So now their backyard has two story homes on the other side of the
picturesque" fence. They moved from a Portland Oregon high end suburb for the same reason.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 18, 2020 at 11:38 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 18, 2020 at 11:38 am
14 people like this

Another side note for the new Marriott hotel going up on this street. I stayed at a Marriott in SOCAL on Ventura Blvd at the 405 interchange. The parking garage was very limited so I went to the residential area that was right outside. The streets were wall to wall autos. The workers for the hotel were parked on the residential street to leave room in the garage for the hotel visitors. So we have a pattern established for how property is planned out and what resources are available "on the streets" for the people who work in the area. So side note to the people who live in the residential areas near the new hotels - possibly require parking tags for residents. Make parking a topic for discussion in the planning stages. Where are the workers going to Park?


StarSpring
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 22, 2020 at 1:14 pm
StarSpring, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2020 at 1:14 pm
18 people like this

Who are theses people who are "Hungry for Housing"? Tell the developers they can turn existing office buildings into 100% BMR housing, or they can go to some other city that craves congestion and traffic problems.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 22, 2020 at 1:31 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2020 at 1:31 pm
9 people like this

@StarSpring, I was wondering the same thing!


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 22, 2020 at 5:32 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2020 at 5:32 pm
4 people like this

Palantir is leaving so that will change the algorithm for the housing to business ratio. It is not that people are looking for more traffic or density - it is that the city is being threatened by state agencies and it is better that we have some input rather than having outside agencies dictating where housing will be. We have R-1 neighborhoods that they are targeting. If we can get the housing into a location that
satisfies the need for teacher housing and local city staff then we have met some requirement without destroying our city neighborhoods.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 22, 2020 at 6:29 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2020 at 6:29 pm
14 people like this

The council just voted by one vote NOT to challenge those targets -- while knowing that the number of workers has dropped and will stay down since many of the biggest employers and institutions aren't bringing them back for at least another year.


Multi-family zoning
Registered user
College Terrace
on Aug 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm
Multi-family zoning, College Terrace
Registered user
on Aug 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm
13 people like this

The zoning for this property is multiple family with the existing commercial uses sunsetted with the expiration of the Fry's lease. The current owner bought the property knowing this. However, when the Fry's lease ran out the owner of the property had sufficient influence at city hall to allow him to extend the Fry's lease to 2019.

So now that date has come and gone and Fry's has gone, why does the city allow continued commercial luse on this property? use?

Is it because the owner has sufficient clout in city hall that when the city counsel worded the legal document permitting extending the Fry's lease to 2019 it was done in a way that undermined the commercial sunset clause and weakened the multifamily only zoning?


Justin Case
Registered user
another community
on Aug 23, 2020 at 8:05 pm
Justin Case, another community
Registered user
on Aug 23, 2020 at 8:05 pm
16 people like this

At this point...San Antonio Road has become so uglyfied, it won't make that much difference whether the area gets plastered with even more housing units. The only noteworthy concern is added traffic gridlock.

Let's face it ...San Antonio Road can never be beautified as it has become just another cluttered thoroughfare.

The best we can do now is avoid going in that direction...I do.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 24, 2020 at 10:40 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 10:40 am
13 people like this

08.24 - SJM - "Single Family Housing linked to segregation". Sen Scott Weiner.
What an amazing set of deductions by people who have no idea how a city grid is set up. I have a relative that set up the city grid for the City of Stockton. If you look at how old Stockton is you need to appreciate that in the gold mining days following state hood segregation was not upper most on people's minds in the state.

When a city grid is planned out you have streets, sanitary plumbing that is directed to a common source for treatment, water distribution based on what is available at that location - needs to be treated first. Available energy and how distributed. A commercial center for the city hall, library, jail, police, markets, commercial uses - clothing and hardware, ETC. The streets have to intersect and run in a uniform fashion. If single family homes then all of the underground support is laid out for a single home.

When you fly over CA you can see how little of the state is actually devoted to cities and housing. That is because the grid work required to support a city has limitations. You build out to the limitations that you have at any point in time.

When all is said and done you have to process the outcome of city use within the limitations that you have at the time. Back in the day that was the city dump - we had a city dump in PA. Big tractors pushing stuff around trying to bury it.
The group of people who think this type of stuff up - racial profiling of city planning - have no engineering background or knowledge of how a population can be sustained in any one area. They are legislators - note the skill set attributed to them.
PA was set up piece by piece based on what was available. South PA was built on farmland. Water, energy, underground utilities, trash - all elements in the planning.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:10 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:10 am
14 people like this

Like to note here that Mr. Weiner - the proponent of SB50 and it's corollary legislation on housing lives in an old apartment in the Castro while in town. Note that the city of SF in it's older sections has drainage problems, flooding on streets, backed up sanitary systems, and broken sewer systems. My son lived in an apartment on Jones street on a steep hill and that place was a fire trap beyond all belief. One problem after another with the systems that you expect to work in a newer home. The underground of SF is a total mess. Overloaded with humanity and no planning. We are not going there.


city infrastructure
Registered user
College Terrace
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:39 am
city infrastructure, College Terrace
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 11:39 am
10 people like this

Thank you Resident1-Adobe Meadows for the informative post explaining why there are limitations to how much development existing city infrastructure can absorb.

Too often accusations are made by those who are either completely ignorant or want their accusations to be true because how else can they continue to feel morally superior and outraged.


Steve Dabrowski
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm
13 people like this

Elections matter, we have one coming up so consider carefully who you vote for. That is the only way to stop this disaster. Just take a trip to Mountain View along El Camino and see what these groups have planned for us.


city infrastructure
Registered user
College Terrace
on Aug 24, 2020 at 1:34 pm
city infrastructure, College Terrace
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 1:34 pm
21 people like this

The problem is in the past in Palo Alto very well funded PR election campaigns
have misrepresented candidates which the Weekly and Post sometimes overlook. It seems that there are so many residents who aren't informed and believe the glossy brochure statements and editorials recommending certain candidate who do not have the interests of residents as their primary objective if it conflicts with commercial development. Who is funding these candidates is very informative.


Steve Dabrowski
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 24, 2020 at 5:22 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 5:22 pm
6 people like this

When evaluating election brochures a strong indicator that the candidate is pro growth are prominent endorsements from Anna Eshoo, Joe Simitian, and/or local Democratic party or officials. A majority of the pro growth candidates elected in the last few elections have claimed those endorsements and have a clear regional vs community bias.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 24, 2020 at 6:20 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 6:20 pm
17 people like this

@Steve, actually I see endorsements by Liz Kniss, Ms Kleinberg the head of the Chamber of Commerce, other CC and PTC pro-growthers, Elaine Ulang(sp?) from Palo Alto Forward), representatives of the YUMBVY party, etc etc. as key indicators,


Here SInce 1979
Registered user
Green Acres
on Aug 27, 2020 at 4:54 pm
Here SInce 1979, Green Acres
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 4:54 pm
13 people like this

I understand the need for housing, need for bmr housing, traffic control, growth, etc.

The big question is where are we going to get the water needed for the extra people? Sure we can involve ourselves in water contracts or buying from other states. You can scale projects up or down, limit or encourage monetary growth, but we are at the mercy of nature for what is essential to our very lives.. In the last 4 major droughts CA had to purchase water.


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