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Bad and Messy of the Year

Original post made by Art Liberman, Barron Park, on Jan 3, 2007

How could the PA Weekly not have included this story among the Bad or the Messy of the year?

" Toxic fumes spew from CPI in Feb 2nd , leaving a worker ‘gasping for air’ (this quote was included) and residents in the Barron Park neighborhood outraged."

• outraged that the CPI did not notify the emergency authorities;
• outraged that the Fire Department investigation is still not released;
• outraged that CPI still hasn’t done anything - and the city hasn’t told them to do anything - to protect residents from the next accident;
• outraged that in 2004 the Planning Director allowed CPI to renovate a facility using large amounts of extremely hazardous materials within 100 ft of houses without ARB review;
• outraged that residents weren't notified;
• outraged that in the past two years CPI has increased the amounts of hazardous materials (including a 50% increase in cyanide chemicals);

And this has left us feeling vulnerable because CPI poses the greatest risk to residents from a hazardous materials accident of any facility in Palo Alto. And because the city doesn't have an evacuation plan or even an effective resident emergency notification process, a serious chemical accident at CPI could become a disaster for our community.

But we Barron Park residents haven’t been idle. We prodded the City staff and the Planning Commission to add a buffer in the zoning code, so extremely hazardous materials would not be allowed within 300 feet of residences. Incredulously, however, the proposal from the Planning Commission would allow CPI to increase the amounts of extremely hazardous materials that are already so close to residences by another 25% ! Did I say we are outraged? For more on this issue, see

Comments (6)

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Posted by realist
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2007 at 9:19 am

What came first, CPI at it's location or all the homes surrounding CPI?
I guess if you moved next to the Caltrain tarcks you would want the trains to stop running.Realist

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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 4, 2007 at 10:36 am

Actually, the homes were there first. I remember how Varian pushed the project through the City in the 60's, putting up this one building (now CPI) very close to the houses. Barron Park was not part of Palo Alto back then - just unincorporated Santa Clara County - so the city didn't pay any attention to residents. Before they sold the business, Varian had a few incidents in the 80's with gas releases that caused evacuations. It would be a shame if some children die or an old person dies the next time that happens. Think about it as though that might be your grandchild or your grandparent.

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Posted by Brian Kaplan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 4, 2007 at 11:51 am

the link to the website showing the potential danger is at

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 4, 2007 at 2:21 pm

What does CPI do or make? I know nothing about this company. Thanks.

Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2007 at 10:31 am

You can find more information on CPI here:

Web Link

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Gunn High School

on Jun 5, 2017 at 4:49 am

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

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