News

Palo Alto's first SB 9 project would bring four homes to Barron Park lot

Proposal calls for creating flag lot at back of property, demolishing existing home

Palo Alto's first split-lot housing proposal under Senate Bill 9 would create four homes on a lot zoned for a single-family home.

​​Two days after California's new split-lot law took effect, Palo Alto received its first application: a proposal to build four homes on a single-family lot on Matadero Avenue.

Architect Randy Popp filed the application for the subdivision at 940 Matadero Ave. with the city on Jan. 3. The project is relying on Senate Bill 9, a law passed by state legislators last year that allows homeowners to split single-family lots to create up to four residential units.

According to a description that Popp provided to the city, the 1-acre Barron Park property will be split into two lots, with one fronting the street and the other one at the rear of the property. The proposed configuration will include access from the front of the property to the flag lot in the back.

The two existing structures on the property — a 2,411-square-foot single-family residence and a storage unit — would both be demolished to make way for a two-story home and an accessory dwelling unit on the front parcel and two single-story homes of roughly equal size on the rear lot, according to Popp's letter.

Jodie Gerhardt, the city's manager for current planning, confirmed that the Matadero proposal is the first SB 9 application that the city has received. The city's process for SB 9 proposals calls for a preliminary meeting with staff from the Department of Planning and Development Services, after which time an applicant can file for a formal building permit, Gerhardt said in an email.

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For Palo Alto, the Matadero project could serve as an important litmus test in applying the new law. The city has vehemently opposed SB 9, which was authored by state Sen. Toni Atkins and is widely seen as the most ambitious and controversial housing bill of the dozens passed in Sacramento last year. Palo Alto was among the cities that opposed SB9, arguing in its letter of opposition that the by-right approval process that it sets up "fail(s) to recognize the extensive public engagement associated with developing and adopting zoning ordinances and housing elements."

Since the law's passage in late August, Palo Alto and other cities have been trying to reassert their power over new housing projects by revising their design standards and adding new "objective criteria" that SB 9 projects will have to meet to qualify for approval. In Palo Alto, the City Council adopted an urgency ordinance on Dec. 6 that establishes a host of new rules for single-family homes and replaces what were once subjective criteria for neighborhood compatibility with quantifiable — or objective — standards.

Palo Alto's new rules cover everything from roof heights and building forms to window locations and porch requirements. One new standard requires each street-facing building elevation to have a "significant visual focal point" such as a large window with at least 50 square feet of glazing or a porch that is either roofed or trellised.

Another new law states that on blocks where at least 50% of homes have porches, the proposed house must include a street-facing porch that is no less than 6 feet deep and 8 feet wide.

The city also plans to pass a permanent ordinance in response to SB 9 later this year, after reviews by the Architectural Review Board and the Planning and Transportation Commission. That ordinance is expected to include additional requirements and restrictions, with some council members favoring requiring at least one of the new residences to be designated at below market rate.

Popp, a former chair of the city's Architectural Review Board, could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Palo Alto's first SB 9 project would bring four homes to Barron Park lot

Proposal calls for creating flag lot at back of property, demolishing existing home

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 4, 2022, 6:52 pm

​​Two days after California's new split-lot law took effect, Palo Alto received its first application: a proposal to build four homes on a single-family lot on Matadero Avenue.

Architect Randy Popp filed the application for the subdivision at 940 Matadero Ave. with the city on Jan. 3. The project is relying on Senate Bill 9, a law passed by state legislators last year that allows homeowners to split single-family lots to create up to four residential units.

According to a description that Popp provided to the city, the 1-acre Barron Park property will be split into two lots, with one fronting the street and the other one at the rear of the property. The proposed configuration will include access from the front of the property to the flag lot in the back.

The two existing structures on the property — a 2,411-square-foot single-family residence and a storage unit — would both be demolished to make way for a two-story home and an accessory dwelling unit on the front parcel and two single-story homes of roughly equal size on the rear lot, according to Popp's letter.

Jodie Gerhardt, the city's manager for current planning, confirmed that the Matadero proposal is the first SB 9 application that the city has received. The city's process for SB 9 proposals calls for a preliminary meeting with staff from the Department of Planning and Development Services, after which time an applicant can file for a formal building permit, Gerhardt said in an email.

For Palo Alto, the Matadero project could serve as an important litmus test in applying the new law. The city has vehemently opposed SB 9, which was authored by state Sen. Toni Atkins and is widely seen as the most ambitious and controversial housing bill of the dozens passed in Sacramento last year. Palo Alto was among the cities that opposed SB9, arguing in its letter of opposition that the by-right approval process that it sets up "fail(s) to recognize the extensive public engagement associated with developing and adopting zoning ordinances and housing elements."

Since the law's passage in late August, Palo Alto and other cities have been trying to reassert their power over new housing projects by revising their design standards and adding new "objective criteria" that SB 9 projects will have to meet to qualify for approval. In Palo Alto, the City Council adopted an urgency ordinance on Dec. 6 that establishes a host of new rules for single-family homes and replaces what were once subjective criteria for neighborhood compatibility with quantifiable — or objective — standards.

Palo Alto's new rules cover everything from roof heights and building forms to window locations and porch requirements. One new standard requires each street-facing building elevation to have a "significant visual focal point" such as a large window with at least 50 square feet of glazing or a porch that is either roofed or trellised.

Another new law states that on blocks where at least 50% of homes have porches, the proposed house must include a street-facing porch that is no less than 6 feet deep and 8 feet wide.

The city also plans to pass a permanent ordinance in response to SB 9 later this year, after reviews by the Architectural Review Board and the Planning and Transportation Commission. That ordinance is expected to include additional requirements and restrictions, with some council members favoring requiring at least one of the new residences to be designated at below market rate.

Popp, a former chair of the city's Architectural Review Board, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Comments

felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2022 at 9:08 pm
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 4, 2022 at 9:08 pm

Only 4 days after the law took effect. Wow.

All jammed on a flag lot. Perfect.

Will any be affordable but to those with stacks of cash? No.

Will it enhance the rural feel of this part of the neighborhood? Hardly.

Will it make a boatload of dough for the landowner and Mr Popp? You bet.

Barron Park today, Crescent Park tomorrow, there goes Palo Alto.



Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2022 at 10:17 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 10:17 am

Didn't take long. The neighborhood will change as a result of this. What the article didn't mention is what off road parking there will be for the 4 homes!


Judith Wasserman
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 5, 2022 at 10:41 am
Judith Wasserman, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 10:41 am

Please read the article - only one of the lots will be a flag lot. Anyway, the city officially hates flag lots, so we still have to see how this rolls.
I doubt if Randy is getting rich from this; residential architects don't make that much.


TLM
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:06 am
TLM, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:06 am

Wow. This upper section of Matadero, along with Roble Ridge Rd, are actually zoned "Rural Estate", with a current zoning that does not allow the parcels to be broken up into lots of less than one acre. So this is a test, not just of the overall city policy, but of whether or not they will uphold the more stringent RE zoning of this rural area.


Barron Parker Too
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:13 am
Barron Parker Too, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:13 am

For clarity, the proposal is for a division into 2 lots, each with 2 houses. The flag lot would service 2 houses in the back.

I hope the city continues to forcefully oppose this terrible law, in every possible way.


Forever Name
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:37 am
Forever Name, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:37 am

Clearly a test for Palo Alto. How surprising, said no one.

Palo Alto liberal do gooders who voted to keep Newsom in office (who passed this law mandating high density housing), have NOTHING to complain about. You get what you vote for. It was hysterical just after the Gov Newsom recall failed when people posted on Nextdoor how shocked they were that Gov Newscom (immediately after the failed recall vote) passed this high density housing law. Apparently the liberal voters in Palo Alto who kept Newsom in office were expecting to have a local say over the matter. [Portion removed.] Enjoy your PC neighborhoods with new dense housing that serves no one in a low income bracket and no parking while developers laugh all the way to the bank building houses crammed together and apartment buildings on lots meant for single homes. Happy New Year!


Sunny Living
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:46 am
Sunny Living, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:46 am

Man, it's crazy to read the comments here. I'm super supportive of SB 9 and excited to see some new development! It would be great to see more of these projects make their way to Midtown to provide some more affordable housing to my neighbors who rent and have little chance of being able to afford a house in the neighborhood with the currently supply. I hope the project is a success.


ndn
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:57 am
ndn, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 11:57 am

Those speaking about this law seem to be convinced that bringing housing to more people is immoral whereas having large lots to serve only a few is a good thing. Well, I have news for them:
people need housing and you can exercise your preferences by maintaining your property as you see fit and when offered a large amount of money for it (courtesy of those who can pay) do not sell if the buyer doesn't sign a legally biding document that obligates the buyer to keep the property undivided. Every other action is hypocrisy and dishonesty.
SB9 was approved by the Legislator body so why the political vitriol for the Governor?
Your house is worth more if your lot qualifies for a 2nd house on it (not all lots do). Quit whining. You can move. But if you stay you will have to abide by the law and vote.


Chris
Registered user
University South
on Jan 5, 2022 at 12:33 pm
Chris, University South
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 12:33 pm

Professorville and Downtown North are 2 of the nicer neighborhoods in Palo Alto and each has many lots that are not single family houses. New projects could make Barron Park more desirable.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2022 at 12:53 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 12:53 pm

This is not something that most homeowners in Palo Alto would want unless they are in the market of selling their home and looking more at dollars than sense.

Parking, water, public transportation, infrastructure concerns are not even mentioned when this law is being discussed. With remote working habits and the real possibility of a declining California population, the housing crisis may not be an issue. As for lack of housing, go to Hollister, Livermore, Napa and see many homes being built. And nice homes for a family, space for a back yard for the children and they can have their own bedroom too!

Packing more and more people into Palo Alto is taking away quality of life for the rest of us who have chosen to live here for many years. Housing will not be affordable in Palo Alto and the likelihood is that it will not enable restaurant workers or even school teachers or police to live here as if they have families they are most likely to want to live with more space.

It is true that this law was passed days after Newsom regained the safety of office. Funny that he did not sign this the week before and it could have been an issue in the recall. Hopefully, we will be able to make it an issue for the next election.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 5, 2022 at 1:27 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 1:27 pm

What Bystander said! I love hearing people say density equals affordability. If the framers of these laws wanted "affordability" why didn't they include provisions for making properties more affordable? Because they were only paying lip service to the CONCEPT of affordability but not the reality.

In what world are tiny studios renting for $3500 "affordable"?

In what way does adding almost 1,000,000 more people to the Bay Area make life better? How much water will each of us have to conserve so that the 1,000,000 new people can also have water? Because of Palo Alto's climate change goals, they're already trying to restrict our lives to places we can get to within 15 MINUTES! Too bad about families, going to concerts, visiting friends, going to the dentist in another town?

We've got to give up too much to enrich Big Tech and Big Developers who will keep cramming people into $3500 a month studios BEFORE they raise the rents/prices to accommodate the 1,000,000 more people bidding UP prices.


ndn
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 5, 2022 at 1:57 pm
ndn, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 1:57 pm

Oh the lamentations about the past "the real Palo Alto". I came here in 1982 and now it seems a way better, at least we there are no legal covenants prohibiting "some" people to live here.
Housing became very expensive and that has benefit many homeowners beyond their greediest,
mostly the ones who have lived here for a while or even a long time paying lowest property taxes who don't cover their footprint. I guess that those to whom this description applies are the kind that just takes and takes and give nary a thought about what really makes Palo Alto and how much they receive. People, all people need housing. Many people live contentedly in smaller spaces, but if you like your situation nobody is telling you you must build more housing in your property. Stop trying to badmouth those who do.


Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2022 at 2:23 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Let’s see now. Four units of housing on a one acre lot comes to an average of one quarter acre per dwelling. This is a wonderful first proposal to take advantage of SB9. If this doesn’t pass muster, it’s hard to see how anything would. I trust the council to act responsibly in protecting the city’s character while following the law instead of trying to overturn it.


Resident
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jan 5, 2022 at 2:52 pm
Resident, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 2:52 pm

I support this step and hope the application gets approved.
To all the people complaining about affordability, the reason Palo Alto isn't affordable is because a lot of people want to live here but very little new housing is being built. Nobody wants to pay outrageous rents/prices for ordinary houses/apartments.
While the city should build more affordable BMR apartments, building more housing in general will ease the affordability crisis, it's basic supply and demand.
Also, a quarter acre is over 10k sqft, enough to fit 100 SUVs, so I'm sure the architect can figure out some space for off-road parking.


felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2022 at 4:20 pm
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 4:20 pm

@ Jerry - problem is nearly all lots are subject to SB9 - not just this larger 1-acre lot, an exception, (which BTW is in an area of higher fire danger). Nearly all lots can be crammed, above and below ground, with infrastructure, and little room for anything else.
Four-foot side and rear set-backs will eliminate trees from the buildable area. We will suffer from more heat islands where before we were shielded and cooled by big trees.
Study after study shows that densification raises, not reduces land values. The only way to get a lot of affordable housing is to fund/subsidize it as deed restricted. ADUs are a prime example - the city acknowledges it turned out mostly unaffordable as most owners charge top dollar.

@Chris, from Uni south - check your attitude about Barron Park. You say - “New projects could make Barron Park more desirable.”

Clearly PAs most interesting neighborhood with its 2 creeks, most beautiful park in town, donkeys, etc., is utterly unknown to you and not for you. And once again here is the superior attitude of N PA talking down to S PA. Really?

As you seem positive about this project, I hope you will have lot splits with 4, 2 story homes on each side of you to make your neighborhood more desirable.


Longview
Registered user
Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2022 at 4:34 pm
Longview, Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 4:34 pm

It is hard to see any Palo Alto home as affordable - but less unaffordable is worth something. Also - adding homes, on average, will reduce commutes, which helps protect all beautiful Palo Alto neighborhoods from drought and global warming. Palo Alto home owners - you live in Eden, and more homes won't change that.


RDR
Registered user
another community
on Jan 5, 2022 at 4:46 pm
RDR, another community
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 4:46 pm

So 2 new houses on a new 20,000 sf flag lot. Much more land per house than the typical Palo Alto house has. And on the front another 20,000 sf lot with a new house and an ADU.

Both of these 2 new properties are going to be worth over $5 Million--maybe over $6 Million. How affordable! 2 houses for $5 Million. I wonder how much the rent will be. Anyway, the new law lets the developer make millions of dollars in profits based on increased development over what was allowed before. Helps the developer. The buyers are not helped much.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 5, 2022 at 5:15 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 5:15 pm

I've spoken out against SB 9 and I hope all the efforts by our city government to stop it or make it very unattractive for owners and developers, comes to fruition.

Keep up the good work Gennady, and stay on this story! Please dig down deep, to get to the bottom, to stay on top! Who is the owner of the property? Will it be built to rent the proposed units or to sell the two parcels? How will the restriction that the owner has to live in one of the units for two years be enforced. That was a sham, a dangling bait, to get it passed in the Legislature. I can see opportunities for doctored paperwork and violations of the rule. [Portion removed.] I think the rule should be extended to 10 years so the owner can get to know his/her neighbors, maybe host a block party on the 4th of July, and maybe even run for a CC seat to represent his/her constituency in his/her neighborhood.

In my opinion Online Name and Annette always seem to get it right. And the responses to their comments are pretty feeble, in some cases non-existent. The challenging question, if $3,500/mo rent for a studio apartment is affordable housing? It never gets answered because those proponents of affordable housing don't have an answer. I'm betting that none of the units proposed for this development could be classified as affordable, and yet, that's the travesty of this bad bill. No added affordable housing that was the main thrust, promise, and purpose of the bill. [Portion removed.]


scott
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Jan 5, 2022 at 5:38 pm
scott, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 5:38 pm

Every once in a while I ask if anyone can name another time and place in human history when successive generations of human beings chose to turn their children into economic migrants rather than build housing to accommodate both them and economic growth.

We've been so determined not to change that we've voted in a council that brags about their efforts throttle economic growth. At least there are adults in Sacramento.

To everyone who wants to kill the golden goose to protect empty curbside parking spaces: be careful what you wish for.


YentaThe Renter
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jan 5, 2022 at 5:49 pm
YentaThe Renter, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 5:49 pm

I hear even Rome fell, once. Accordingly, Palo Alto may become Queens. Life goes on.


S. Underwood
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jan 5, 2022 at 6:10 pm
S. Underwood, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 6:10 pm

The problem with SB 9 is that it's a blunt hammer that will destroy neighborhoods, environment, and overwhelm public infrastructure with no plan other than "The Market! Allow supply, build build build!"

The question of individual right of control on land one owns versus the shared public interest is old and complex. What we need is urban planning for density plus green-space plus transportation infrastructure that's not stuck in the 1940s. THAT would be progressive leadership, and I would be all for it. SB 9 is not even close. Let's overturn it and get real progressive leadership instead of these blow-with-the-wind progressives we've got running the show...


toransu
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2022 at 7:28 pm
toransu, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 7:28 pm

[Portion removed.] Fantastic, I’m glad we’re getting four houses there!


Chris
Registered user
University South
on Jan 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Chris, University South
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm

RDR,

So the owner of the property should build a $10 million mansion?
Is that how how want to upgrade Barron Park? Make it the home of the
next generation of Tech CEO’s?


Denise Atkins
Registered user
another community
on Jan 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Denise Atkins, another community
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm

SB 9 was pitched as means to create more affordable housing, and for working families to build intergenerational wealth. Assembly member Marc Berman supported it as a way to help address housing affordability for those struggling under the weight of the housing crisis. (Web Link

Section 4 of SB 9 says that “The Legislature finds and declares that ensuring access to affordable housing is a matter of statewide concern and not a municipal affair…” as justification for the bill’s amendments to the state constitution.

Any proposed SB 9 development that doesn’t increase the supply of affordable housing violates the intent of the bill, and should be rejected. Otherwise, we’ve all been lied to.


RDR
Registered user
another community
on Jan 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm
RDR, another community
Registered user
on Jan 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm

I should correct my price guestimates. The parcels after subdivision with new construction on them will likely sell for over $10 Million. So one potential "CEO" house out front with the ADU and total price $10 Million for that, and the 2 perhaps rental homes behind together worth $10 Million as well, depending on what's constructed, i.e. how big. I didn't mean to imply that these properties developed this way were NOT "CEO" homes. Another possibility is that the front home while built with an ADU up front will later have a 2nd house added onto the parcel at a future date. The point is that such big pieces of land will not become affordable homes, not with brand new construction.

The existing zoning was suppressing the value of the land. Now an acre lot like this will go by itself for $12 Million at least! Back when it was limited to one home, the land was not worth so much.


ndn
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2022 at 9:09 am
ndn, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2022 at 9:09 am

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Ben Lerner
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Jan 6, 2022 at 11:02 am
Ben Lerner, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2022 at 11:02 am

I'd like to inform everyone who opposes SB9 that there is hope:

There is an effort underway to negate SB9 and guarantee local control over land use. This is being done via a proposed Voter Initiative Constitutional Amendment to give priority to local zoning if it conflicts with the State. (Certain necessary exceptions exist, e.g. it doesn't overturn the Coastal Commission.) This initiative is called "Our Neighborhood Voices" and their web page is at Web Link

They need to collect a million signatures by May 2022, so if you would like to help stop Sacramento's overreach, please get in touch with them to sign the petition. Or look for canvassing tables at Farmer's Market and other communal areas around town. Polling has shown that 70% of Californians who hadn't heard about SB9 opposed it once told what it does. We can stop SB9!


Amie
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2022 at 1:51 pm
Amie, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2022 at 1:51 pm

As usual, it seems that this is a lot of hysterics for not a big deal. I live downtown and the 4-plexes blend in perfectly, you don't even notice them. This is housing for older parents, younger kids, vulnerable populations (my neighbor has an autistic older child who lives in a ADU), or folks that just plain want to live near work - remember that abysmal 3:1 jobs/housing ratio PA has. I am all for these changes and think it will be great for the overall community, local business who need our support, and GHG reduction (people can bike to work or at the very least drive shorter distances).

We need solutions and creative ideas [portion removed.] There are way too many smart people in this town to think that we cannot find local solutions to house people.


Bill Bucy
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2022 at 7:36 am
Bill Bucy, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2022 at 7:36 am

Setting aside the useless whining about SB which is now a law, not a debatable legislative proposal...

The proposed Palo Alto construction plan is for four homes, each built on lots larger than most single-home properties in Barron Park. I kinda, sorta don't see this as creating any kind of density problem.


Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2022 at 12:42 pm
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2022 at 12:42 pm

I think it is notable that the passage of these laws coincides with news reports of big tech and Stanford buying up homes.

Money talks.


S. Underwood
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jan 7, 2022 at 2:37 pm
S. Underwood, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2022 at 2:37 pm

@Bill -- Yes it is law. But the debate certainly isn't done, as a (likely successful) effort to overturn it is sure to emerge.

If folks wanted it, Newsom would've signed before the recall effort, not the day after.


William Hitchens
Registered user
Mountain View
on Jan 7, 2022 at 6:34 pm
William Hitchens, Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2022 at 6:34 pm
III
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 8, 2022 at 8:03 am
III, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2022 at 8:03 am

Am 100% against this new law as I understand it.
Last thing I want is a semi apartment building going
up next to me. Bad enough the Mega MacMansions which
take 2 yrs to tear down old house and build a new one.
Live next to that and you will understand.
New law and MacMansions, double, triple the amount
of cars parking on the streets, in front of your home,
and speeding on residential streets often accompanies.
As someone wrote.... Money talks in this event/new law.
III


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 8:36 am
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2022 at 8:36 am

This bill might stand a chance of being overturned in another state, but not California. We had the "chance" to fight government overreach, but Californians chose to keep Newsom. You get who you vote for, and what he stands for. For those of you who voted for him -- live with the consequences.


Allen Akin
Registered user
Professorville
on Jan 8, 2022 at 10:10 am
Allen Akin, Professorville
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2022 at 10:10 am

The market determines the value of a property, so I did a quick check on redfin.com for comparables. In the past year, eight 1/4 acre properties in Barron Park have sold, for $3.5M to $4.85M. If you go a little smaller, to 9500 sq ft, you pick up a few more; the range is from $3.5M to $6.5M. New houses likely will have higher prices. So @RDR is correct; this split will not produce affordable homes. This is consistent with the conclusions of the Terner Center's study of SB9 and with Richard Condon's analysis; SB9 increases density but doesn't make housing more affordable.

@Amie: "There are way too many smart people in this town to think that we cannot find local solutions to house people." We do know how to do this. The key is to balance creation of jobs with creation of housing and infrastructure for people working those jobs. I've heard of at least two ways.

1. Regulation. For example, issue no building permits for offices until building permits for a balancing amount of housing have been issued. Palo Alto and Mountain View (in one case) are experimenting with this.

2. Economic balance. Make the cost of creating a job here closer to the cost of housing an employee here. Development fees can be used to fund affordable housing. Business taxes can be used to support water and transportation infrastructure, both of which are currently insufficient to support much growth. There are other methods, too.

@scott: "...name another time and place...when...human beings chose to turn their children into economic migrants..." This argument doesn't apply; our problem is dealing with the high inflow of people and money, not families already here. But to answer your question, there are many cultures where this is common; for example, those that practice primogeniture. Start here Web Link . Jared Diamond has also written about this.


SRB
Registered user
Mountain View
on Jan 8, 2022 at 11:09 am
SRB, Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2022 at 11:09 am

Just curious but wasn't it possible to subdivide an 1-acre lot even before SB9? Or did Palo Alto disallow that? -I know of such sub-divisions in Mountain View-


Allen Akin
Registered user
Professorville
on Jan 9, 2022 at 12:24 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2022 at 12:24 pm

@SRB: I had a quick look at the Municipal Code, but that's all, so please take this with a grain of salt.

This property is in an RE zone. Section 18.10.010 of the code says: "The RE residential estate district is intended to create and maintain single-family living areas characterized by compatibility with the natural terrain and native vegetation. The RE district provides locations for residential, limited agricultural, and open space activities most suitably located in areas of very low density or rural qualities. Accessory dwelling unit(s) and accessory structures or buildings are appropriate where consistent with the site and neighborhood character."

According to section 18.10.040 of the code, the minimum lot size in RE zones is one acre, so my understanding is that this particular subdivision wouldn't have been possible before SB9.

As @RDR noted above, SB9 is a huge financial gift to property owners in this situation.


RDR
Registered user
another community
on Jan 9, 2022 at 10:51 pm
RDR, another community
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2022 at 10:51 pm

The property in question has a 106 foot frontage on Matadero Avenue but is 410 feet deep. The back of the property borders on the industrial district. So subdividing it is not very easy. You would have quite a deep flag lot. I guess that's what they are now planning, a 200 foot long driveway across the front parcel to get to the edge of the back property with 2 houses. Likely the driveway would continue on another 100 foot or more to reach both houses on the back property. For a 10 foot wide driveway, the driveway eats up 2000 sf out of the front parcel. 2000 sf is nearly big enough by itself to subdivide under SB9. Ha ha.

The developers are quoted in a news article as saying its not practical to develop affordable housing. However, the developer says the sale of 2 of the houses will likely cover the entire cost of the property and ALL the construction, which means one house will have been FREE.
So, yeah, its impossible to develop affordable housing if you keep 1 out of 3 houses free for yourself. But you paid $0 for that house you keep. Not affordable?

Turn one $4.5 Million home into 3 $5 Million homes...


SteveDabrowski
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2022 at 12:03 pm
SteveDabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 12:03 pm

@ Bill Lerner: Good comment on the initiative to wrest back local control, but there is so little publicity regarding the existence of this initiative that it may well fail to get the signatures needed. Having been to their website it mostly consists of concerns about the law. What is needed is a clear guide as to where to go to sign up! If you have to just go out and drive around hoping to find the petition it is not going to be successful.

Good initiative, way past due, F- on getting it out there!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 10, 2022 at 12:31 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 12:31 pm

Remember that the bills encourage housing speculation and make it tougher for people to buy starter homes. Here's just one of many reports on the increased speculation -- now 25% of the entire market -- and rising from Bloomberg.

Web Link

"Buying Starter Homes Gets Harder as Wall Street Uses Zillow To Buy Thousands of Homes.


ccb in midtown
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 10, 2022 at 1:11 pm
ccb in midtown, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 1:11 pm

First, this is SO not about affordable housing. [Portion removed.]

Second, is the purchase transaction contingent on the city's approval of their 4-on-1 plan? I couldn't find record of the transaction at the county so I'm thinking this is the new spillway --- find as large a lot as you possibly can, preferably one who's owner has died so you only have to negotiate with their trust (as is the case here), create an LLC w/ your friends to pool resources/provide collateral to back a construction loan, build a bunch of houses, sell off 3, keep the last for free --- and, make your purchase offer contingent on building permit approval. Speaking of which, Wu said "the project is good to go" w/ the only reservation from city staff being whether the standard set backs are met.

[Portion removed pending verification of assertions made.]


Chris
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jan 11, 2022 at 5:34 am
Chris, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2022 at 5:34 am

[Portion removed.]
Trying to fix homelessness with more houses is like giving a fat kid food to fix obesity
Okay real simple here people....humans....multiply. you could never, ever, build enough houses to put them all in without checking population growth

Here's a quick lesson for you [portion removed]-- prices work in equilibrium. There are too many humans on the planet. Therefore prices have adjusted to reflect that stark fact. The high price of houses discourages procreation, which is better for the planet.

Okay, lesson two. SB 9 does NOT support affordable housing. SB nine supports MARKET RATE housing. Guess what we don't need more of. [Portion removed.]

Supply and demand. Well guess what? Demand is practically and essentially infinite in this situation, as humans multiply over time. The price again will reach an equilibrium to discourage the destruction of the planet's resources, as is intended.

[Portion removed.]


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 12, 2022 at 1:43 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 12, 2022 at 1:43 pm

I opposed SB 9 and SB 10, as did a wide constituency around California.
I joined Livable California please see: livablecalifornia.org
Scott Wiener of San Francisco had to really push long and hard to get these poorly worded/poor concept bills through state legislature.
Why?
- Destroying single family homes and local zoning in favor of state-level control and developer-friendly and profitable schemes.
So interesting.
Time to get engaged in state level government and politics, please.


Carol
Registered user
another community
on Jan 14, 2022 at 9:24 am
Carol, another community
Registered user
on Jan 14, 2022 at 9:24 am

I bet we will be reading in the future about more elderly victims that have been property scammed in some fashion. Cold calls have already geared up.


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