Apartments could replace some Buena Vista mobile homes | May 17, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- May 17, 2013

Apartments could replace some Buena Vista mobile homes

Palo Alto Housing Corporation and developer could explore possible partnership to build housing for displaced families

by Sue Dremann

A proposal to build about 65 low-income apartments for displaced families at Buena Vista Mobile Home Park is being considered by the property's developer and the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.

This story contains 701 words.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at [email protected]


Posted by Love the idea
a resident of Barron Park
on May 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by real affordable
a resident of Green Acres
on May 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I appreciate the work that PAHC does, but I really wish there were a way of preserving the REAL affordable housing of the current residents, who are paying market rates for their existing housing, without having to apply for and be in a government program that carries all kinds of baggage. Different baggage than elsewhere, please don't jump on me about that, but still baggage.

Why can't some of the Maybell property be swapped? Let the developer build market rate homes within the existing zoning on Maybell (and make a lot of money) and PAHC put a senior development next to the other, there will still be room for the market-rate apartments.

The Maybell property won't be swapped because the financing scheme is Jessica de Wit's territory -- PAHC has come up with a new scheme where they buy up a property they can't afford, rezone it all PC, segment off part of it to sell for market-rate housing but included under the PC zoning and totally out of character with the neighborhood, with no setback or height restrictions, and use the profit to build a high-density project nearby. This appears to be more doable in the heart of a residential neighborhood, 1/3mile from El Camino, than on El Camino because of the premium the scrunched together PC zoned houses get for being in the middle of a better neighborhood.

People on the north side of town, watch out. If Maybell gets rezoned and this new financing scheme works, you're next. The PC-zone market rate houses will fetch even more in your neighborhoods.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm

If it makes sense to build a certain type of housing, fine. I think it's wild to build for a specific set of people, specifically! Why should one particular group of people be entitled to receive brand-new homes (apartments, whatever)?
If the city and our developers wish to develop a range of properties aimed at a certain audience, it should be up to them to decide to do that. It has nothing to do with pressuring the school district!
I also think it is up to the property owner to do what s/he wants to, within the legal limits of the property's use, not what others try to dictate. This person (or company) invested in the property in the first place with the eye to a profit, presumably, at some time. Places change, and some of us can now afford to buy into or rent in places where we couldn't afford to previously. No one is "guaranteed" to live a particular place.
I read there is a generous offer to buy out the mobile home owners (for their homes) even though the mobile homes are not up to code, are old, likely can't even be moved - basically, they have not been maintained! I think they should be thankful for this offer.
The entire SF Bay Area is costly.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Ah, the old "why are they entitled?" whine. Some folks are entitled to affordable housing because IT IS THE LAW.

Posted by Jack
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Why can't these displaced residents move to affordable housing in East Palo Alto? The children can still stay in the Palo Alto School District through the Tinsley program.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

And some folks are entitled to tax loop-holes because IT IS THE LAW.

Posted by Samina
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 20, 2013 at 10:54 am

There is a greater law we should all be following, the law of kindness, love, sharing, caring and trying our best to alleviate suffering of others, especially children's and seniors. They are not trying to get a new luxurious apartments, they are just looking for a safe place to raise their kids and be able to provide them with good education. Let us make a pledge that all of the residents of Palo Alto will do their best to save homes and schools for these families by opening our hearts and valets. Let us have a city wide fundraiser for this purpose? I will be more than happy to help organize one.

Posted by crowded
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2013 at 11:39 am

this new proposal sounds like it might have legs. and i am for keeping buena vista kids in palo alto not just in the school district but in the neighborhood... but my bigger concern for palo alto and the mid peninsula in general is the seemingly continuous permit approval for multi-family housing units without the needed simultaneous upgrade in infrastructural support i.e. roads, parking, increased services coverage by government, and of course schools...palo alto isn't even capable of serving existing residents, why do they keep entertaining bigger and bigger developments of condos, townhouses & apartments?

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

@Jack: Tinsley kids are only accepted in kindergarten. If a Tinsley child moves away, their spot is not replaced and they cannot return to the Tinsley program if they move back to EPA after leaving. Plus, Tinsley students need to be "minorities". So a poor Caucasian cannot be a Tinsley student.

Low income housing is the perfect choice for the owner to be politically correct. However, for Palo Alto, this would hurt the middle class - those who would like to move to Palo Alto yet cannot afford a house, but are not low income either. How about moderate-income housing?

Posted by retired PAUSD educator
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm

re. proposal that Buena Vista residents mitigate PAUSD issue by renting in EPA while continuing in PAUSD via Tinsley Program: it's not that simple. Tinsley is a lottery so no guarantees. Even once admitted, no guarantee which district or school one attends. Bus ride is at least an hour each way. The student no longer lives where s/he attends school. The family as a whole is changing communities. Many layers to what is under consideration here.

Posted by Jane
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm

It's zoned rm15 and people are complaining about bumping that number to rm40. Now we are talking about rm60 or more. What is next a high rise in our backyard??

Posted by John P
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Move the residents to East Palo Alto, where there is a lot of room and affordable apartments. Bus the kids from EPA to PA school system. Probably half the "kids going to Palo Alto schools" live somewhere else and use the trailer park address to get a free education paid for by Palo Alto taxpayers. ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching is expensive. And the schools never check whether the kids are living in PA anyway, like the 3 RV's parked on El Camino near Maybell, with kids going to PA schools.

Posted by George
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm

@Samina [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] Is fine for him to talk about Buena Vista because he does not live anywhere near the broken down trailer park, but we do, and want it GONE, and with its residents gone too.
Palo Alto needs good apartments for the employees of Facebook and Google and other that are hiring many new employees and would like to live close to work. THEY PAY TAXES and don't use social services- we want them living next to us. Period
Another example of politially correct people being phenomenally generous with other people's money.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Hey, keep your own problem residents in your town & find viable solutions instead of offloading them here, please. We have enough people here who can't fend for themselves - we don't need more. We need people here who are strong-willed, hard-working and INFORMED & who're willing to become engaged in the very real civics issues we're dealing with. We're not your dumping ground for poor people - you all have your own towns in your county that offers that.

Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

The city is again meddling (as always) and trying to force Prometheus to build low income apartments for the Trailer Park living across the street. How about swapping the seniors that the city is trying to build apartments for at the Maybell Senior Housing Project site and moving the trailer park people over there. That way Palo Alto residents would not have to be concerned about seniors driving near schools.

Posted by Jerky
a resident of Ventura
on May 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I'm somehow not surprised at the vaguely racist, and most certainly classist, responses to this sort of issue, with people suggesting they move all the trailer park residents to East Palo Alto.

Posted by A
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm

so there will be a rush on buying a spot at the park so you would automatically get an apartment! Sounds like a good deal. Sign me up.

Posted by Jaake
a resident of Community Center
on May 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Only offering in PA school district! Now go bullying something else.

Posted by barron park parent
a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2013 at 12:17 am

PLEASE BUILDER- Developer ( Promotheus??) continue with your plans. Do not include a segregated building for low income people.

If you want to include BMR apt. that is great. But the "PA housing" groups builds shoddy apartments, do not let them take over part of this land.

Please hold out for your rights to purchase and develop this "expensive" property.

Most of Barron Park will be so happy to get a nice development in our area.

We need to organize the people who want the improvements, any ideas on a way to organize?

Posted by another PAUSD parent
a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2013 at 6:45 am

@ barron park parent
the barron park association may be putting out a survey in hopes to reach all or most of barron park residents about this topic. There's a BPA meeting tonight at the barron park school 7:15p room 2 if youre intersted in going to express your opinion. i think you may not be alone on this. they are also going to talk about the maybell proposal too so it might be a bumpy night.

Posted by Oh No, Not Another PAHC Apartment Complex
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm

What ever you do Prometheus group, don't let PAHC be the developer or property management company for affordable housing at BV. PAHC will find a way to deny those very same BV residents who apply for the housing based on some subjective and vague property management policy/rule. PAHC is not a good property management company,just ask current tenants. Even if the BV residents are accepted into the new affordable apartment complex, they will regret being involved with PAHC as PAHC has too many subjective requirements (disguised as House Rules) that they enforce on their tenants. The residents are essentially stuck because the apartments are affordable financially. The residents have no other place to go in Palo Alto, because PAHC owns most of the affordable housing units. The BV residents would be selling their souls to the devil if PAHC becomes their landlord. It is most likely that this is not a good fit for the BV residents as those residents are used to being their own landlords so to speak. The Jissers were merely collecting monthly rent for the space. With PAHC as their landlord, the BV residents would feel constrained with such a landlord/property manager, and who is to say that some of those very BV residents would not eventually be evicted with PAHC as their property manager, as PAHC has very strict lease and house rules to the point that residents feel constructively evicted with each day with all the intrusions and rules imposed by PAHC. Just saying....

Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I suspect any discussion involving PAHC and Prometheus is pretty one sided. A small group of vocal pro-Buena Vista supporters put forward this proposal, but Prometheus has already promised a handful of units in their development for BMR housing.

PAHC's Oak Manor Apartments next to Buena Vista is 33 units on a little over 1 acre of land and 2 stories tall. This proposal would double the number of units on basically the same sized parcel. By comparison, Oak Court Apartments on Ramona is 53 units on about 1.25 acres, but the complex is 3 stories tall. So, 65 units on 1 acre is 4 stories tall?

Pushing such a massive concentration of low income housing in two adjacent parcels in Barron Park may be easier to sell to Prometheus than the surrounding neighborhood. Which is, to put it politely, not going to happen.

Posted by @ George
a resident of Mountain View
on May 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]