Growing pains | April 8, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - April 8, 2011

Growing pains

Palo Alto officials bet city's future growth on a thriving Caltrain

by Gennady Sheyner

When developer Jim Baer approached Palo Alto's planning commissioners last month to pitch a glassy, new five-story "gateway" building at the intersection of Alma Street and Lytton Avenue, one theme dominated his presentation: location, location, location.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be reached at [email protected]


Posted by Steve Raney
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2011 at 11:26 am

Adding 12,000 new Palo Alto homes in 2014-2035 planning period will improve Palo Alto and the Bay Area, provided Palo Alto imposes a "no new net trips policy." Under such a policy, EXISTING residents, visitors, and workers would be subjected to the same strong, effective auto trip reduction policies that Palo Alto has demanded of Stanford over the years.

I am concerned that Palo Alto has not shown a good faith effort in updating the 2007-14 Housing Element / General Plan to comply with the Association of Bay Area Governments (Palo Alto is a member city) Regional Housing Needs Allocation, a regional smart growth policy designed to minimize GHG and other externalities. I fear that Jerry Brown will embarrass Palo Alto, as he did to Pleasanton when he was Attorney General. Brown’s argument against Palo Alto will be that Palo Alto is "anti-climate."

FYI: My March 2010 advice to Council and Planning Commission re the 2007-14 Housing Element Update. Web Link

Posted by JD
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Adding new homes will NOT improve Palo Alto's Standard of fact it will have quite the opposite effect. Promoting high density to improve our lifestyle is a tired and outdated argument. Our large cities have major environmental problems - try finding sunlight in the Financial District.

And Brown can embarrass no-one but himself. His dad brought water redistribution, and although Jerry claims to be pro-environment, he proposes high density measures which at their core ruin the environment...

Posted by Lee Thé
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm

This entire debate is based on the unspoken principle that growth is good--growth without limits.

This is the philosophy of cancer.

When you complain about this you get the Borg Argument: "Resistance is futile--you will be assimilated."

The residents of the small town of Bolinas wrested control from the developers, construction union and their government allies by getting control of the water board and simply refusing to issue any new water permits.

Just a thought.

If growth is always good, the end result is a Palo Alto comprising a single gigantic structure as high as our tectonics and soil conditions permit.

If growth is not always good, what should be the limit?

How about...right now?

Not to mention the fact that the destruction of whole swaths of retail business areas around Palo Alto and replacing them with homes has reduced our ability to pay city worker pensions (the future prime allocation of city tax revenue).

If more people want to live in the Bay Area, that's understandable. If I'm homeless and want to pitch a tent in your back yard, that's understandable too. But I don't know any homeowners who are up for that.

Developers and trade unions and their sock puppets in city government will never stop trying to turn every park and retailer in Palo Alto into new residential construction.

Anyone who doesn't like that will also have to never stop trying to stop them.

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