News

Proposal pits council in tug of war over desire for housing and zoning rules

Members send mixed signals over plan in Ventura neighborhood

Palo Alto is considering a proposal for a 119-unit development at 2591 El Camino Real, which would also include 5,000 square feet of office space and 1,000 square feet of retail. Courtesy Acclaimed Companies.

Eager to encourage more affordable housing, Palo Alto's elected officials signaled in February that they'd be willing to compromise on height limits, density, parking requirements and other zoning rules to support residential projects.

But as the City Council considered on Monday the latest such proposal, a mixed-use project in the Ventura neighborhood, members made it clear that their tolerance for zoning exemptions is extremely limited. After a wide-ranging discussion, the council split into familiar camps, with those on the more pro-growth side touting on the project's benefits — namely, 119 units of housing – and their three slow-growth colleagues focusing on the costs — significant height and density concessions.

The proposal from Menlo Park-based Acclaim Companies is the latest project to seek to develop under the new "planned housing zone" — a designation that allows builders to request zoning exemptions in exchange for housing. A descendent of the contentious "planned community" zone, which similarly allowed the city to bargain with developers over zoning exceptions and public benefits, the planned housing zone explicitly names housing as the primary benefit.

To date, the new zone has been generating some interest, though no takers. Planning Director Jonathan Lait said Monday that the city has been speaking to property owners from all over the city, with the various proposals adding up to about 1,000 housing units.

Acclaim's proposal for 2951 El Camino Real is among them. The project would combine five parcels — three zoned for commercial use and two zoned for single-family residential use between Pepper and Olive avenues, near Page Mill Road — for a five-story building with 119 apartments, 5,000 square feet of office space and 1,000 square feet of retail. According to the Acclaim Companies, 24 of the apartments would be below-market-rate units.

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But to make the project possible, Acclaim is seeking significant zoning exemptions. Acclaim is proposing a terraced five-story building that is about 56 feet tall on the El Camino Real side and about 37 feet tall in the rear, adjacent to the single-family zones on Olive and Pepper avenues. The proposed height exceeds the city's 35-foot height limit in areas that are located within 150 feet of single-family-zoned properties.

Acclaim is also requesting significant density bonuses from the city. It proposes to nearly double the floor-to-area ratio in the project, from the current limit of 1.5 to the proposed level of 2.8. The project also proposes a residential density of 108 dwelling units per acre, far exceeding the city's usual limits of 30 or 40 units per acre, depending on the zone.

With a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, the project would provide an average of 425 square feet of space per unit.

"These zoning modifications will contribute to a vibrant, mixed-use community by preserving existing ground floor retail and adding up to 24 affordable residential units," Acclaim wrote in the project description.

Gary Johnson, managing partner at Acclaim, noted that the development will have ample parking in its underground garage and that its apartments will include a variety of housing types, including studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The height limit, Johnson told the council, is necessary to make the project financially feasible.

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"The highest land values in the country, combined with the highest construction costs in the country here in Palo Alto make it very difficult for multifamily developers like us to build," Johnson said during the council's study session. "For housing projects in Palo Alto, the details really matter."

Several council members said they'd like to see Accclaim move ahead with a proposal for formal development. Prior to Monday's review, the only "planned home zoning" proposal that the council had considered was Sand Hill Property Company's plan to build 187 apartments next to an office development on a Stanford Research Park site at 3300 El Camino Real. Mayor Adrian Fine announced Monday that the developer has decided not to move ahead with that project. He urged his colleagues to be flexible.

"That project is not going forward as the developer thought we were too strong in our criticism," Fine said. "That's 187 housing units lost in Palo Alto, that we aren't going to see. And we're going to end up with an office building and a parking lot."

Councilwoman Liz Kniss shared his view.

"I don't know how many of these we'll turn down before finally anyone who wishes to develop will come to us any longer," Kniss said. "I hope at some point there will be some agreement among the council about what's acceptable and what could be built. If not, in the years to come we'll be way behind our numbers and way behind on the amount of affordable housing that gets build, should it ever get built."

But for others, the sheer magnitude of the sought exemptions was too tough a sell. Vice Mayor Tom DuBois said that while he would be willing to support design exemptions that allow minor height increases, in this case, the proposal dramatically exceeds what the code would allow. The city, he noted, already requires housing developments to devote 15% of their units to affordable housing. This proposal, he said, pitched an offer of 20% of its units at below-market-rate housing. He suggested that it would be hard to approve such a "massive" project for just an extra 5% of affordable-housing units.

"We're being asked to exceed zoning. We have existing property owners who bought their homes with certain expectations of what would be built next door," DuBois said.

Johnson, however, indicated that without zoning exemptions, there probably won't be any new housing at all at the site. By having five stories, the developer can get the density that is required to make the project financially feasible, he argued. Affordable units, he added, provide no financial benefits to the builder.

Even so, Councilwoman Lydia Kou insisted that a developer that seeks so many zoning exemptions needs to designate a higher percentage of units for affordable housing. She bemoaned the fact that most of the apartments in the proposed development would be "luxury units," with only 24 earmarked for residents making 80% of area median income.

"If the benefit is supposed to be affordable housing, 20% is not significant enough. It needs to be a lot higher — 50% or more," Kou said.

Fine countered that the only reason the market-rate units are considered "luxury" is because they're rare.

"And they're certainly not going to become cheaper by us opposing more housing projects," Fine said.

The project also received a mixed signal from the community, with several housing advocates urging the council to advance it and numerous residents who live near the project site expressing concern about the proposed building's mass and height.

"If you will approve this proposal, would you support a similar proposal at California and Bryant?" asked Ventura resident Ken Joye. "I absolutely believe more housing is needed in this community. … I am, however, not convinced that this is what best serves in Palo Alto."

Angie Evans, who lives in Crescent Park, said she would absolutely love to see such developments in her neighborhood and asked the council to support Acclaim's plan. More and more families, she said, are moving out of Palo Alto because of the city's shortage of affordable housing.

"I hope we can all really start to prioritize housing and make it feasible," Evans said. "Because if we don't, the wonderful things about Palo Alto — our neighbors, our community members — are all going to be gone."

Construction workers gather at the site of a future mixed-use building at 2515 El Camino Real on April 2. Photo by Gennady Sheyner.

Some Ventura residents pointed to the high number of projects going up in their neighborhood, including new mixed-use projects at 2755 El Camino Real (the former Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority site at El Camino Real and Page Mill Road) and on the 2500 block of El Camino Real (the former Olive Garden site). Anupa Bajwa, whose lives on Olive Avenue, next to the project site, said she was concerned that the new building will "completely block out the sun for us."

"Please consider very carefully what kind of precedent you will set when you allow a developer to take over your city, when you allow the rezoning to be without consideration of the neighbors, without even asking the neighbors what they want and without taking their input into account" Bajwa said.

Fine agreed that the city needs to do more to encourage new housing in other neighborhoods, including downtown. But Councilwoman Alison Cormack noted that the El Camino location eyed by Acclaim is particularly suitable for housing, given its proximity to Stanford Research Park and its wealth of jobs.

"That's the kind of an exception that I'm willing to make and I think most people in the community would understand," Cormack said.

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Proposal pits council in tug of war over desire for housing and zoning rules

Members send mixed signals over plan in Ventura neighborhood

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 6, 2020, 1:04 am

Eager to encourage more affordable housing, Palo Alto's elected officials signaled in February that they'd be willing to compromise on height limits, density, parking requirements and other zoning rules to support residential projects.

But as the City Council considered on Monday the latest such proposal, a mixed-use project in the Ventura neighborhood, members made it clear that their tolerance for zoning exemptions is extremely limited. After a wide-ranging discussion, the council split into familiar camps, with those on the more pro-growth side touting on the project's benefits — namely, 119 units of housing – and their three slow-growth colleagues focusing on the costs — significant height and density concessions.

The proposal from Menlo Park-based Acclaim Companies is the latest project to seek to develop under the new "planned housing zone" — a designation that allows builders to request zoning exemptions in exchange for housing. A descendent of the contentious "planned community" zone, which similarly allowed the city to bargain with developers over zoning exceptions and public benefits, the planned housing zone explicitly names housing as the primary benefit.

To date, the new zone has been generating some interest, though no takers. Planning Director Jonathan Lait said Monday that the city has been speaking to property owners from all over the city, with the various proposals adding up to about 1,000 housing units.

Acclaim's proposal for 2951 El Camino Real is among them. The project would combine five parcels — three zoned for commercial use and two zoned for single-family residential use between Pepper and Olive avenues, near Page Mill Road — for a five-story building with 119 apartments, 5,000 square feet of office space and 1,000 square feet of retail. According to the Acclaim Companies, 24 of the apartments would be below-market-rate units.

But to make the project possible, Acclaim is seeking significant zoning exemptions. Acclaim is proposing a terraced five-story building that is about 56 feet tall on the El Camino Real side and about 37 feet tall in the rear, adjacent to the single-family zones on Olive and Pepper avenues. The proposed height exceeds the city's 35-foot height limit in areas that are located within 150 feet of single-family-zoned properties.

Acclaim is also requesting significant density bonuses from the city. It proposes to nearly double the floor-to-area ratio in the project, from the current limit of 1.5 to the proposed level of 2.8. The project also proposes a residential density of 108 dwelling units per acre, far exceeding the city's usual limits of 30 or 40 units per acre, depending on the zone.

With a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, the project would provide an average of 425 square feet of space per unit.

"These zoning modifications will contribute to a vibrant, mixed-use community by preserving existing ground floor retail and adding up to 24 affordable residential units," Acclaim wrote in the project description.

Gary Johnson, managing partner at Acclaim, noted that the development will have ample parking in its underground garage and that its apartments will include a variety of housing types, including studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The height limit, Johnson told the council, is necessary to make the project financially feasible.

"The highest land values in the country, combined with the highest construction costs in the country here in Palo Alto make it very difficult for multifamily developers like us to build," Johnson said during the council's study session. "For housing projects in Palo Alto, the details really matter."

Several council members said they'd like to see Accclaim move ahead with a proposal for formal development. Prior to Monday's review, the only "planned home zoning" proposal that the council had considered was Sand Hill Property Company's plan to build 187 apartments next to an office development on a Stanford Research Park site at 3300 El Camino Real. Mayor Adrian Fine announced Monday that the developer has decided not to move ahead with that project. He urged his colleagues to be flexible.

"That project is not going forward as the developer thought we were too strong in our criticism," Fine said. "That's 187 housing units lost in Palo Alto, that we aren't going to see. And we're going to end up with an office building and a parking lot."

Councilwoman Liz Kniss shared his view.

"I don't know how many of these we'll turn down before finally anyone who wishes to develop will come to us any longer," Kniss said. "I hope at some point there will be some agreement among the council about what's acceptable and what could be built. If not, in the years to come we'll be way behind our numbers and way behind on the amount of affordable housing that gets build, should it ever get built."

But for others, the sheer magnitude of the sought exemptions was too tough a sell. Vice Mayor Tom DuBois said that while he would be willing to support design exemptions that allow minor height increases, in this case, the proposal dramatically exceeds what the code would allow. The city, he noted, already requires housing developments to devote 15% of their units to affordable housing. This proposal, he said, pitched an offer of 20% of its units at below-market-rate housing. He suggested that it would be hard to approve such a "massive" project for just an extra 5% of affordable-housing units.

"We're being asked to exceed zoning. We have existing property owners who bought their homes with certain expectations of what would be built next door," DuBois said.

Johnson, however, indicated that without zoning exemptions, there probably won't be any new housing at all at the site. By having five stories, the developer can get the density that is required to make the project financially feasible, he argued. Affordable units, he added, provide no financial benefits to the builder.

Even so, Councilwoman Lydia Kou insisted that a developer that seeks so many zoning exemptions needs to designate a higher percentage of units for affordable housing. She bemoaned the fact that most of the apartments in the proposed development would be "luxury units," with only 24 earmarked for residents making 80% of area median income.

"If the benefit is supposed to be affordable housing, 20% is not significant enough. It needs to be a lot higher — 50% or more," Kou said.

Fine countered that the only reason the market-rate units are considered "luxury" is because they're rare.

"And they're certainly not going to become cheaper by us opposing more housing projects," Fine said.

The project also received a mixed signal from the community, with several housing advocates urging the council to advance it and numerous residents who live near the project site expressing concern about the proposed building's mass and height.

"If you will approve this proposal, would you support a similar proposal at California and Bryant?" asked Ventura resident Ken Joye. "I absolutely believe more housing is needed in this community. … I am, however, not convinced that this is what best serves in Palo Alto."

Angie Evans, who lives in Crescent Park, said she would absolutely love to see such developments in her neighborhood and asked the council to support Acclaim's plan. More and more families, she said, are moving out of Palo Alto because of the city's shortage of affordable housing.

"I hope we can all really start to prioritize housing and make it feasible," Evans said. "Because if we don't, the wonderful things about Palo Alto — our neighbors, our community members — are all going to be gone."

Some Ventura residents pointed to the high number of projects going up in their neighborhood, including new mixed-use projects at 2755 El Camino Real (the former Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority site at El Camino Real and Page Mill Road) and on the 2500 block of El Camino Real (the former Olive Garden site). Anupa Bajwa, whose lives on Olive Avenue, next to the project site, said she was concerned that the new building will "completely block out the sun for us."

"Please consider very carefully what kind of precedent you will set when you allow a developer to take over your city, when you allow the rezoning to be without consideration of the neighbors, without even asking the neighbors what they want and without taking their input into account" Bajwa said.

Fine agreed that the city needs to do more to encourage new housing in other neighborhoods, including downtown. But Councilwoman Alison Cormack noted that the El Camino location eyed by Acclaim is particularly suitable for housing, given its proximity to Stanford Research Park and its wealth of jobs.

"That's the kind of an exception that I'm willing to make and I think most people in the community would understand," Cormack said.

Comments

Zee Kay
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2020 at 8:46 am
Zee Kay, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 8:46 am
3 people like this

City should allow high rises and relax it’s height requirements. More multi-residence units will help provide business to the struggling small businesses in Palo Alto. Redwood City has been so successful with its progressive approach but Palo Alto is still stuck in the 60’s.


Zee Kay
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2020 at 8:46 am
Zee Kay, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 8:46 am
3 people like this

City should allow high rises and relax it’s height requirements. More multi-residence units will help provide business to the struggling small businesses in Palo Alto. Redwood City has been so successful with its progressive approach but Palo Alto is still old fashioned.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2020 at 9:14 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 9:14 am
26 people like this

Yes - RWC is doing a great job in re-making it's DOWNTOWN. It has nothing to do with "progressive" ideas - it has to do with JOBS. Saying something is a "progressive" idea says nothing relevant to the facts on the table. The facts are specific to the economic growth in that specific area. The port system is developing and will get a ferry to SF. Technology jobs are increasing in the COUNTY. San Mateo County appears to be more advanced in their Caltrain issues - they use underpasses on major streets. San Mateo County has a different working relationship with its' business base.

And yes - the apartment buildings in the downtown area are at a higher level. But they are not into breaking up residential areas - all of their growth is in the downtown area.

That is a direct opposite from PA - we do not have high apartment's on El Camino in concentrated locations. We do not have underpasses on major streets for Caltrain. We appear to be doing everything backward from what successful cities are doing. RWC does not have RV's parked on El Camino.

Take every issue in PA and look at what another county and city are doing. What works, what does not work. And this is specific to JOBS.
For PA - the FRY's site is where you need to concentrate your buildings - up to 4 high rises in that location with a building type dedicated to teachers, city workers, and older people with a mini urgency care on a first floor. The current owner of that location has a decidedly very low tax base. The city should take that land with help from the state if need be. It would respond to the very issues that we are required to meet as a city.


Joyce Freiberg
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Oct 6, 2020 at 11:42 am
Joyce Freiberg, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 11:42 am
4 people like this

What is the status if the old Fry’s property? Seems to me it is quite large and could be developed with green space and mixed use. Without crowding people into that space it could be nicely developed.


Here Since 1979
Registered user
Green Acres
on Oct 6, 2020 at 11:56 am
Here Since 1979, Green Acres
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 11:56 am
9 people like this

Again people, yes we need jobs and income BUT no one will answer the question of where the water is going to come from. I've lived through 3 major droughts here including one where we had rationing. Water is essential for life and industry. It is finite. We can't rely on contracts with other states to buy water from them if needed. We've been fighting the peripheral canal (in its many forms) to keep our water in No. Calif. All the greedy people whose money is more important than anything else, there will Holy Hades to pay when some of the same people who wanted development start to complain that they don't have enough water for the new people drawn here. Be responsible, not greedy.


Chris
Registered user
University South
on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:26 pm
Chris, University South
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:26 pm
9 people like this

If Kuo insists on blocking housing, the state will force less desirable buildings on Palo Alto. It is time to elect some reasonable people to City Council.


Overpopulation is the real problem
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm
Overpopulation is the real problem, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm
31 people like this

Palo Alto and the surrounding area are massively overpopulated. The developer of the above project says that it is too expensive to buy land and develop in this area. Exactly - so go somewhere else where it is less expensive. It is expensive here because it is full.

Further it is time to really deal with global climate change and environmental destruction. The guiding plan for continued human life on this planet is to open up discuss of population control, using fewer resources and saving the planet from our excesses. Building more luxury buildings is just more consumption and ignorance of what needs to be done.


Me 2
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2020 at 1:31 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 1:31 pm
11 people like this

"Palo Alto and the surrounding area are massively overpopulated."

LOL. Someone needs to drive up to Palo Alto Hills or just on 280 to know this is a falsehood.

"'If the benefit is supposed to be affordable housing, 20% is not significant enough. It needs to be a lot higher — 50% or more,' Kou said."

The unholy alliance between NIMBYs and housing advocates has now come down from SF to infect Palo Alto. Of course 50% won't pencil out, because the "market rate" housing will be too expensive to subsidize such a ridiculous requirement. Either she is not smart enough to understand that developers pass along costs to the eventual buyers/renters of "market rate" units or she is just doing her thing to squelch housing.

She doesn't strike me as being dumb, so it must be she is just a NIMBY. She should just be honest instead of cloaking her intentions behind nonsensical affordable housing requirements.

Typical. She already has hers, so she doesn't care about anyone new. Build a wall, indeed.

The focus on BMRs/affordable housing squeezes out the middle class. People like Kou are the reason why.


NIMBYest
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 6, 2020 at 4:51 pm
NIMBYest, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 4:51 pm
6 people like this

City Council allocated a good chuck of our money to study housing development, code requirements and methods to potentially realize more housing PROPOSALS. The study returned that 15% of units as affordable makes sense and perhaps you could get 20%, exactly as this developer has done.

Kou sits there and gets personally offended when projects propose a reasonable development but do not solve the housing imbalance in one stroke. Affordable housing developers have the same (actually way more with the use of public funds) feasibility requirements as market rate developers. The project must pencil, otherwise, no project. The now routine and expected melt downs are an extremely disingenuous act to show support for affordable housing but is a ruse to see that no housing of any kind gets built. Remember, Kou was instrumental in the opposition of an affordable senior housing project that by unit count was 83% affordable (12 units market rate, 60 units affordable).

Dubois on the other hand just nitpicks, not even constructively, any reason to get to NO. Apparently there was a code violation on one of the properties, perhaps for years. Can we fine them and use the money in the affordable housing fund? Anyway, moving on.... let's just pick at this and hope to not see it again.

It does appear that this project could make some adjustments to be workable and provide 20% of the units to affordable housing (yes, 20% of something) at a significant cost and risk to this developer with NO funds from the city, which has none anyway.

However, the developer must now consider wanting to further invest money & time in the multitude reviews, design revisions, environmental studies and then perhaps after a few years build a project. Or they could go elsewhere and put their limited resources to use since Palo Alto is a well-known waste of time. As the Mayor said at the outset of this review, Palo Alto already lost a potential housing project down the street earlier this year, but guess what? We are going to get a large office building! Well done Council! Way to skin that opportunity to disappear.

How are we having constructive approaches to creating housing and what's with our city leaders? One we are stuck with, the other, let's send on their way with a special thanks for service and making the city look like the biggest NIMBY stronghold in the country.

Let's vote thoughtful, creative, responsible, collaborative leadership. Perhaps if that happens housing proposals on El Camino or other parts of the city might actually, one day, in several years, get built.


N
Registered user
Ventura
on Oct 6, 2020 at 5:19 pm
N, Ventura
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 5:19 pm
14 people like this

Isn't it amazing how every developer says they can't build housing without going double over the zoning regulations?

Critical thinking tells us that there is a market with both SUPPLY and DEMAND. Clearly the large developers think (and have learned from past experience) that they can often get approval to go way over the zoning. What does this do to land prices? It drives it up!

Simple cause and effect. If we let one developer get permission to go over double the density that zoning law allows, the prices of surrounding parcels will rise (if we as a city do not hold firm). And so the cycle continues.

All we need to do to start making *all* projects "pencil-out" for profitability, is to hold the line on zoning consistently and firmly. After a few months to a year, developers will get the message and they can either build per zoning, or sell their (long vacant & speculated-upon) properties for market value.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2020 at 6:18 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 6:18 pm
4 people like this

More “kicking the can down the road” politic’ing from an overly privileged CC. Renters unit. Vote reasonable, affordable housing candidates in — Vote change. CC Excuses nervously ensue that single family homes will get overshadowed by multi family housing from all they moved here for?! Discriminatory, scare tactics .


chris
Registered user
University South
on Oct 6, 2020 at 6:42 pm
chris, University South
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2020 at 6:42 pm
3 people like this

Overpopulation,

You don’t know what overpopulation is. It was Palo Alto’s choice to allow 3x as many jobs as workers. As a Palo Altan, you have benefited from this imbalance for a long time. Now you need to take responsibility for dealing with the impact.
The results for Pal Alto will be worse if the solutions are forced on Palo Alto. The city needs to act responsibly before that happens.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 7, 2020 at 10:19 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2020 at 10:19 am
Like this comment

RWC is proceeding with building a large number of apartment buildings in the downtown area between Veteran and El Camino. They are tall buildings over three stories. SU has a new, huge apartment on Jefferson across from the shopping center. They have concentrated their new buildings within the downtown area. It looks really great. This has benefited the downtown restaurants and shops. The economy is booming.

Meanwhile - on El Camino we have one-story commercial buildings that have been there over 50 years. How much business do they get there? I have no incentive to go shopping there. We instead argue about invading the established residential areas and bombarding them with duplexes, etc. Does who ever owns those old buildings have so much clout in this city that they are untouchable?
And the FRY's site is still untouchable for housing? My guess on that one is that the city is gaming that site to put pressure on the Cubberley site. We can see the game and it is not acceptable. If you follow these "ideas" through their logical conclusion if you increase the population of the city then you have more children going to school. Cubberley is a school - I have a relative who went there. And you are not going to dismantle the school because you gamed other locations.

Your last location is the Palo Alto Business Park on East Bayshore at San Antonio. There is a gigantic parking space there and buildings which are half empty. The city has a building there You don't want to talk about that location? No- never comes up. There is your issue - you decline to discuss the obvious,.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 7, 2020 at 10:38 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 7, 2020 at 10:38 am
6 people like this

"It was Palo Alto’s choice to allow 3x as many jobs as workers. As a Palo Altan, you have benefited from this imbalance for a long time."

How have we benefited from this imbalance?? We've got congestion. We've got gridlock on major roads during rush-hour and school pickup/drop off times. It takes much longer to get anywhere. Offices have replaced stores and service businesses so we have to drive to other towns to accomplish what we used to be able to do within city limits, thus depriving the city of sales tax revenue.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 8, 2020 at 9:13 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2020 at 9:13 am
2 people like this

When I mentioned the Palo Alto Business Park on East Bayshore and San Antonio to a county supervisor the response was: "ROI". That is "Return on Investment". So private homeowners and churches are being sold an idea and meanwhile the baseline for city owned property is protected. If you dump duplexes into the middle of single family homes you are reducing the ROI for the single family homes. If you allow RV's in a broken down condition on El Camino you are reducing the ROI of the city in general.

The current want-a-bees for the PACC want to eliminate the R-1 zoning and therefore reduce the ROI for the property owners but must be getting a kick-back in state funding for increasing the home stock. What is the trade-off?

For every debit there is a credit. So now the city and sate have to fully define what the trade-offs are and since ROI is the name of the game then define the problem in those terms.


Name hidden
Downtown North

Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 10:23 pm
Name hidden, Downtown North

Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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