Around Town | December 7, 2018 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 7, 2018

Around Town

A HOUSING SOLUTION ... The local nonprofit Palo Alto Housing scored a huge victory on Thursday morning when the Architectural Review Board unanimously approved its proposal to build a 59-unit project for low-income and disabled residents in the Ventura neighborhood. The development at 3705 El Camino Real is the nonprofit's first bid to build in Palo Alto since 2013, when voters overturned in a referendum its plan to construct 60 units for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes on Maybell Avenue. Unlike that project, the new four-story building near Wilton Avenue would consist entirely of below-market-rate units, some of which would be designated for individuals with disabilities. With the board's endorsement, the project has overcome its most significant hurdle before it goes to a largely sympathetic City Council. While the board's approval spells good news for local proponents of affordable housing, the design didn't sit well with some area residents, who complained about the neighborhood impacts of the new development. Todd Lewis, who owns two residential buildings on Wilton Avenue, told the board that while he supports the goals of the project, he and other neighbors have a problem with height, density, the number of people and the number of cars the project would bring. One board member, Robert Gooyer, also voiced some reservations about the project's mass. "It still looks like a large, four-story shoebox to me," Gooyer said. His colleagues noted that the size and density of the building are fully consistent with the council's recent zone changes, including the creation of the new "affordable housing overlay zone" that allows more density. The Palo Alto Housing project is the city's first application under the new zone. "This is what the council wants us to build at this time. This is the shape of it," board member Peter Baltay said. Chair Wynne Furth said she was "delighted" to see the project move ahead. "All of us know that we're all in favor of affordable housing and we find particular proposals difficult. The question is always, 'What about the real proposal in front of us? Does it meet our standards?' I believe it does."

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Comments

7 people like this
Posted by Miriam Palm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 10, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Miriam Palm is a registered user.

What wonderful news about the history museum! Congratulations to all who worked so hard to achieve this goal.


1 person likes this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 10, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Congrats on reaching the Museum fundraising Goal, We look forward to the Museum opening.


2 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2018 at 5:21 pm

It only took 12 years. What a sure sign that there's community demand for this. Thanks too for omitting how much this will cost the city... I guess that part isn't newsworthy in the Dear Weekly's opinion.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2018 at 7:32 pm

"Thanks too for omitting how much this will cost the city... I guess that part isn't newsworthy in the Dear Weekly's opinion."

It rescues the city from its folly of having purchased this building on impulse from PAMF in 2000, with no real idea of what to do with it. Hence the remarkably long vacancy.

Known city sunk costs: $1,700,000 purchase price plus $250,000 to demolish 2/3 of the building to make room for an influential developer's luxury condo project. The museum will be responsible for all costs, including almost $10M up front to make the structure usable again.


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