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To spur more housing, Palo Alto chisels away at zoning code

Original post made on Dec 4, 2018

With Palo Alto falling far short of its housing goals for the year, city officials forged ahead Monday with a slew of zone changes that they hope will ramp up residential production in 2019 and beyond.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 12:30 AM

Comments (76)

98 people like this
Posted by Housing Loses, Developers Win
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 4:46 am

What a disaster. City employees have already admitted this proposal isn't going to create any housing -- or at best, just some high-end luxury units. It's actually a giant Christmas present of giveaways to developers, crafted by them in a series of private meetings with city staff but no public present.

This law reduces parking requirements at existing buildings! That's a huge gift to developers who wake up to find they now have excess parking spaces they can lease to new commercial projects, but terrible for residents and neighborhoods across the city.

And note how supposedly pro-housing councilmembers chafed at the in-lieu change that would encourage housing but hurt commercial development!

Don't be fooled. This was never about housing. It's just a way to make developers even richer.


11 people like this
Posted by Humans Need Homes
a resident of University South
on Dec 4, 2018 at 6:06 am

Humans Need Homes is a registered user.

Thank you, Crescent Park homeowner, for your concern for us lowly renters. I disagree with your assessment of this policy change, however.

Palo Alto has failed to produce sufficient housing units to provide for it’s citizens. The consequences of our exclusionary zoning practices have been devastating: displacement (as even demand for even modest units grows), long commutes (resulting in traffic people hate), and homelessness (as evidenced by our car/RV camping issue).

Letting developers build housing with appropriate levels of parking isn’t a gift to developers, it’s a gift to future renters who won’t have to pay for the parking they don’t need.

Staff suggested that this won’t produce enough housing to meet our goals because the changes don’t go far enough (due to PTC dysfunction). What we really need is market-rate parking that is decoupled from housing. Why should seniors have to pay for a parking spot when they sell their house and move downtown because they can’t drive anymore? Why are we incentivizing driving by baking costs of parking into housing costs?

Last night, the council improved our fundamentally broken housing policies. They have more work yet to do.


74 people like this
Posted by Humans must live in Palo Alto
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 6:43 am

There aren’t enough housing units in Palo Alto for everyone who prefers to live in Palo Alto.

That justifies nothing except a developer chase after the market opportunity.

What are the advantages of building more market rate housing in Palo Alto that compensate for the disadvantages?

This slap at the comprehensive plan will raise housing costs, add to traffic and parking problems, further exceed our infrastructure’s ability to support the city’s residents.

The members who voted for this are not performing a public service. They are abusing their elected status to exert their will.

We really need to get our city government back on track.


15 people like this
Posted by Humans Need Homes
a resident of University South
on Dec 4, 2018 at 7:33 am

Humans Need Homes is a registered user.

Maintaining housing scarcity in Palo Alto is clearly unacceptable from a moral perspective. What we see from the commenter above is motivated reasoning in order to protect the current order, which enriches current landowners who have long benefited from local government protecting their investments via draconian multifamily housing regulations.

I don't know any renters who don't recognize the need for more market-rate and affordable housing options. Go look for a place to rent, you'll find options that are old, poor quality, and expensive. The rental market here is bleak.

The sentiment that people deserve housing, just not here in Palo Alto, is insidious. Unfortunately, people in every suburb up and down the peninsula think this. It's how we got into this mess in the first place.


58 people like this
Posted by Architectural Review
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2018 at 7:48 am

While Palo Alto does have a shortage of housing, is there anyway possible for the developer/designers to come up with buildings that are more visually appealing?

Judging by the picture in the PA Weekly article, Mayfield Place is very spartan in appearance and reminiscent of big-city low-income housing.

Have the 'projects' finally come to Palo Alto?

Though I have no issue with adding some vertical housing in Palo Alto, the visual aesthetics of the architecture are critical to blending-in smoothly with the rest of the city's existing buildings and structures.


84 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 7:52 am

If nothing else makes one suspicious of this farcical piece of legislation consider the team that brought it to your elected officials under the guise of creating more affordable housing choices ; Keene and Lait.

The very same duo who just a few months ago concocted the plan that destroyed 75 units of reasonably priced rental units at the Hotel President apartments that resulted in destroying a vibrant community and putting residents out on the streets.

We have laws that prohibit the tragedy of destroying
These units but they didn’t care.
Now we are trusting them with creating new legislation that won’t help community and neighbors, but will just help property owners make more money and take away necessities from future residents like parking spaces and balconies etc....

Why trust the foxes in the hen house again?



73 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:02 am

Nearly half of Palo Altans are renters 45%.

I would state that we have a vibrant rather than”bleak”
Community of renters.

Unfortunately it costs a lot to live here regardless of ownership status and alst nights legislation won’t help that problem at all.
Renters will pay more for less and existing residents, renters and homeowners alike will continue to experience worse traffic, parking deficits, overcrowding of parks and schools and diminishing services from our local government.


34 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:08 am

Did anyone,anyone at city hall ask low income housing residents what they need?
Consider our existing lower income residents as experts at their own lifestyles???

Nope


91 people like this
Posted by Lydia Kou
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:18 am


The problem of rising rents has many people arguing for building many more apartments in order to lower rents. They are thinking "the law of supply and demand". (LoSaD) says supply will increase indefinitely until everyone can afford the product.

That isn't what the LoSaD says, but in any case it is not relevant because the supply in the case of housing is LAND and, they stopped making it. As demand increases for a limited supply of land, the price will increase as long as there is anyone anywhere that can pay the price.

Key points:
1. Econ 101's "Price Theory" - Law of Supply and Demand - is true for some things such as manufactured goods, commodities (like wood and grain), and for land, but, it is not true for housing because...
2. ...Real estate involves a fixed amount of land within city boundaries. Increasing demand for this land will not increase the supply, so the price must rise with demand.
3. Construction costs for different densities are greater per square foot as the height and density increases past a certain point.
4. People pay more to lessen their commute time. Therefore centers of cities will cost more because living there makes commuting easier.
5. The value of the land is determined by the income it will generate. Higher density housing means each acre of land generates more rent. This increases the value of the land and drives up the rental income required to generate a profit.

Web Link


88 people like this
Posted by Lydia Kou
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:26 am


The ideology of if you build more the cost will be less is taking a chance and as members of the public calling it try and used and failed “trickle down economics”

"The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy.Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickled down.Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the dryest little spot. But he didn't know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night anyhow.But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.They saved the big banks but the little ones went up the flue." ~Will Rogers

Web Link

So, got to ask, WHAT IS THE GOAL? Affordability? For whom?



65 people like this
Posted by @humans need homes
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:32 am

Current homeowners do not benefit from rising house prices unless they flip their houses. Most are here to stay, have families and be part of a community. The only people making money off the tea estate hike are the developers.

Also this idea that people don’t own cars is pure fantasy. Don’t go down the anecdotal route ‘I know a friend...’. The facts are car ownership per household is climbing not falling. It may be that we as a city decide to accept these externalities but let’s not pretend they don’t exist.


7 people like this
Posted by @lydia Kou
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:50 am

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Architectural Review
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2018 at 9:44 am

Addressing the overflow of housing necessities in Palo Alto could be alleviated somewhat by developers teaming-up with EPA on a major suburban redelopment project.

EPA has both proximity/location factors in its favor and the city would prosper with an influx of newer commercial and residential developments.

Then the 'trickle-down' resources from the tax revenues could be used to improve the neighborhoods in general + augment vital municipal services.


35 people like this
Posted by 50 year old quote
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 9:46 am

Why does this remind me of the quote from the Vietnam War:

BENTRE, Feb. 7 (AP)―“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a United States major said today

He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.

The New York Times: “Major Describe Moves”, February 8, 1968, p. 14.


73 people like this
Posted by Haven't Kniss and Scharff damaged Palo Alto enough already?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 10:08 am

The "externalities" at Maybell weren't just parking, they had a lot to do with safety and the infrastructure already being overwhelmed under optimal conditions. They had a lot to do with the City's already allowing way too much overdevelopment.

This doesn't even pretend to be about affordable housing and will only make things worse. A reasonable proposal would have included holistic planning constraints related to other important needs like safety, infrastructure, water,traffic circulation, etc. I don't want to ever be asked to let all my plants die again if the City is going to keep densifying. I can't even afford a landscaper, and still don't have a garden again since the drought because I haven't been able to be my own. Every day, my family's quality of life and productivity are compromised by the existing overdevelopment.

Citizens: you can get together and referend this. If you don't, you will likely have no choice when the City decides your neighborhood needs to be turned into apartments.

This change may as well be called: force out almost anyone of medium or low income so we can turn Palo Alto into a big office park for good.

Mayor Scharff: you have children who live here. Do you think your power and wealth will magically protect them if they have to evacuate after an earthquake and almost inevitable post-earthquake fire? Traffic comes to a halt for whole areas of the City already if there is just a breakdown as it is. I hold you and your soul responsible for anything that happens because of your negligent subjugation of safety to greed.


15 people like this
Posted by @Kou@Holman@Dubois
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 4, 2018 at 10:44 am

I find it so difficult to sit through some of the arguments made during the meeting by Holman and Kou.

1) The opposition to rooftop gardens is just so unbelievable. It's akin to the fear-mongering that was directed at the caravan of migrants. Is there a real concern that 5 floors up someone's going to open an all-night disco? We have a noise ordinance that is used by residents all the time, maybe it's not quite as stringently enforced as you would like, but it is sufficient. You spent so many moments worrying about the rooftop garden "noise" that you wasted time that could have been spent having more important discussions. Have you ever been on a rooftop garden? It is not going to ruin anyone's life. Trust me. Move on. Seriously, move on!

2) What Kou fails to realize (all too often) is that there are really eloquent and intelligent responses to her concerns. No one involved is suggesting that trickle down economics works. That is the term that Jeff L. and his cohort have co-opted to make the effort to encourage more affordable housing sound terrible. You jumping on that bandwagon is the right thing to do.

3) Kou stated that term "affordable" has been co-opted. Does she mean that the "pro-growth" regime has taken over the word for their benefit? DOES ANYONE BELIEVE THAT NON-FOR-PROFIT HOUSING DEVELOPERS ARE BUILDING FOR THEIR PERSONAL BENEFIT? Nearly half of the discussions yesterday were about making 100% affordable projects more appealing.
4) And ONLY someone with very limited knowledge would suggest that "affordable" meant 120% average median income. "Why," you ask. Because NON FOR PROFIT developers use a financing scheme that involves federal grants which have for all of their historical life meant that the projects were limited to households making 60% or 80% AMI or less. OH WAIT, did he say households. Why yes I did. The average median income in Santa Clara is $93,500, so here's the breakdown...

• 120% AMI is $112,200. per household.
• 80% AMI is $74,800. per household.
• 60% AMI is $56,100. per household.

Guess what our school district pays (PER PERSON)...
• School Principal avg. $152,520.
• Elementary School Teacher avg. $22.61 per hour.
• School Secretary avg. $29.98
• Library Assistant avg. $23.93.

Anyone know how many hours it would take an elementary school teacher to make 60%, let alone 80% or 120% of AMI???
• 60% AMI would require him/her to work 47 hours a week assuming they worked every week of the entire year. Take 10 weeks off (for summer and holidays) and you now have to work 59 hours a week. QUICK QUESTION, anyone know any elementary kids in school 59 hours a week???
• 80%, oh what’s the point.

5) So why does it matter??? Here’s why, all of the 100% affordable housing projects that Kou and Holman and Dubois struggle to accommodate with more flexible development standards are built by non-for-profits that are required to deed restrict these developments to 60% or possible 80% AMI (PER HOUSEHOLD).

6) SO when someone says that this is a giveaway to “the rich” or is trickledown economics, DON’T let them get away with that nonsense. It is a red herring. Look that up if you are unfamiliar with the term.

7) What more do you need to know? Our teachers can’t live here. They can’t live anywhere on the Peninsula. We need teachers. STOP making it so difficult to build some housing.

8) Oh and yes, before you say but what about the incentives for market-rate housing. Well here’s a little fact. Let’s say your local teacher who’s making less than $56,000 gets engaged (YAY, so exciting) and his/her spouse makes an equally paltry $56,000 working in the classroom next door, yep you guessed it, they now need some 120% AMI housing. Because they are now no longer eligible for those more affordable projects.

I appreciate that you three think you are helping. But I hope you take a good long look at the track records you have. We are not going to forget that you found every reason to slow the fire truck we are trying to drive from getting to the fire that is our housing crisis. Every young family in this town is going to wake up one day and learn that the elementary school teachers that make up our “outstanding schooling system” are no longer willing to make the 2-hour commutes and have decided to teach elsewhere and when that happens we can all thank you for it.


59 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2018 at 11:03 am

mauricio is a registered user.

There isn't one desirable city/town in the world that managed to build itself into affordability. The exact opposite is true, as densification actually attracted more demand for housing and pushed prices higher. Investigate as diverse cities as Hong Kong, London, Sao Paulo, NYC, to name just a few and realize that the more housing they allowed to be developed, the more expensive it became.

The law of supply and demand collapses when it comes to real estate, especially in desirable areas, since land and space are finite, as is infrastructure capacity and the ability to accommodate the additional transient population needed to service the increasing population.


12 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Dec 4, 2018 at 11:29 am

I don't think it would be possible to find 2 more negative people than Holman and Kou.

I'm glad Holman is going off the council next month and I hope somebody steps up to defeat Kou in 2 years. At least, Filseth and Dubois have a modicum of common sense.


12 people like this
Posted by Humans Need Homes
a resident of University South
on Dec 4, 2018 at 11:30 am

Humans Need Homes is a registered user.

I get that you all think of yourselves as good liberals and don’t think you are motivated by property values or nativism or racism. For you, it’s about traffic or parking or schools. Your reasons for preventing housing are unimportant, as the effect on human beings remains the same. More poverty, more homelessness, more commuting.

Your belief that not owning a car is a “fantasy” reflects a social circle that does not include extremely low income and disabled people. Not everyone can drive, even if they would like to. Why do they have to pay for parking they don’t need.

Renters are experiencing profound pain throughout in Palo Alto (and the entire state) and the rental market is certainly not “vibrant”. Renters make up 44% of the population but we are largely unrepresented in city government.

I’ve grown wary of Palo Altans expressing outrage over displacement while advocating for policies which excerbate them.

Lydia Kou: I can’t even with your economics lesson. Please read the actual research and not what your anti housing pals send circulate amongst themselves. These policies are complicated but policy makers on the state level have consensus that we have a dire housing shortage. You have publicly denied we have a housing shortage and, as a realtor, you directly profit from the inflated property values the shortage has created. Gross.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 11:37 am

Posted by @Kou@Holman@Dubois, a resident of Community Center

>> I find it so difficult to sit through some of the arguments made during the meeting by Holman and Kou.

Rhetorically speaking, this is known today as a "Gish Gallop":

"The Gish Gallop (also known as proof by verbosity) is the fallacious debate tactic of drowning your opponent in a flood of individually-weak arguments in order to prevent rebuttal of the whole argument collection without great effort. The Gish Gallop is a belt-fed version of the "on the spot fallacy", as it's unreasonable for anyone to have a well-composed answer immediately available to every argument present in the Gallop. The Gish Gallop is named after creationist Duane Gish, who often abused it." Web Link

The fundamental misunderstanding of economics that underlies so many of the weak arguments in this and similar posts is the misapplication of "supply and demand". The value of the land in any project depends on what is allowed to be built there. This, as well as the higher cost of building (fire-safe) high-rise construction, is why those TV show apartments are so laughable. Here is a humorous article in, appropriately, the New York Post, regarding famous TV apartments: Web Link In reality, the new-construction-apartment that you could barely afford is going to be like this one, at 240 square-feet, near the SF Caltrain station: Web Link Not too bad if you were a single guy, but, hardly big enough for the fantasized-about "schoolteacher and family".


13 people like this
Posted by Col. Beck/LtC USMC (retired)
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:08 pm

> “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a United States major said today
> He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.

That was because the Viet Cong were embedded within the village. The VC were South Vietnamese guerrilla fighters with North Viet Nam alliances. Unfortunately, the casualties of war always involve innocent people and as in the Middle East, one cannot easily identify the enemy. Though some villagers may have perished, American lives were saved in the process.

BTW, I was against this war but after graduating from Annapolis, I was sent over there as an unsuspecting and naive 2nd Lieutenant. I saw a lot of good people (both American and Vietnamese) fall by the wayside. The Vietnamese still refer to this conflict as 'The American War' and they are 100% correct.

Now what this comparison has to do with Palo Alto housing issues is beyond me.

> I get that you all think of yourselves as good liberals and don’t think you are motivated by property values or nativism or racism. For you, it’s about traffic or parking or schools.

Agreed. It's protectionism on the part of those who do not want to share the wealth or operate on a level playing field...aka liberal minded double-talk that only creates more conflict.


26 people like this
Posted by Haven't Kniss and Scharff damaged..?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Eric Filseth:

Speaking of Maybell, please answer this. The developer has (predictably) dithered on building the proposed development. They have knocked down all the trees, though, and dug some very big holes.

Does this new rule apply to that property? If so, when is the reading of this ordinance?

Also, please investigate what, if any, finders fees may have come into play in that original deal. You should make it criminally unlawful for anyone on Counsel or any City commission to take funds from a developer while in office.



@@@
Your arguments are still notably detached from reality. No one buys a home outright from their salary in the Bay Area except really rich people, none of which I am living near in my neighborhood. You buy a starter home somewhere else and live in really substandard housing for a decade, then you move up into another substandard starter home in maybe a less unsafe neighborhood when the market moves. YOu spend practically all of your spare time looking for or fixing up your resident, or coping with the substandard space and conditions. Finally after 20 years you move into a home in a safer place anywhere you can get it, so that you can be abused and shaken down by people who make more than you to pay for their better lifestyle.

I am already paying for teachers who make more than we do and live better than we can, some of whom I am happy to call my neighbors. A teacher couple can easily make upwards of $200,000, which is far more than us and enough to get into the housing market faster than we did.

The fact is that allowing general market densification is only going to make the land more valuable to developers, who will have greater incentive to displace low- and moderate-income residents in favor of, oh, luxury hotels like at President Hotel or large developments at 4X the density like they tried at BV.

Greater density should ONLY be allowed for 100% affordable complexes. If the business model has to require you to hurt already struggling residents for giveaways to people making more than them, than there is something wrong with that model. Maybe if you didn't ignore things like safety, noise, people's ability to lead their lives because of traffic, the loss of daylight plane, then you might find it easier to get support behind doing projects a different way. Look at all the support that was behind the Terman Apartments (which came about in part because of the very same neighbors who referended at Maybell) or behind saving BV? There was absolutely no clamor against the affordable development on El Camino near Stanford just after the referendum.

The developers are not doing affordable housing any favors with this ordinance, the are putting the nails in the coffin of retaining low-and moderate-income people here, and engendering huge future opposition by falsely conflating this giveaway to companies as related to those who need housing. All this ordinance does in reality is enable developer profits and accelerate displacement of existing residents.

I hope the new Council will start taking up the issues of strengthening the oversight of rules related to safety, traffic circulation, etc, to development, especially to companies that are bringing in way too many workers.

Democrats are used by developers the way Republicans are used over religious arguments: we get led around by the nose by politicians under the guise of something we believe in so they can do exactly the opposite.


13 people like this
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm

I wanna be in Palo Alto. Bulid a house for ME. Will U ?


18 people like this
Posted by Haven't Kniss and Scharf...?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:12 pm

Palo Alto Weekly: Did you know that there were secret documents related to the City's involvement in the Maybell sale that the City would not release to the public, and that they demanded back from a resident for accidentally releasing some of them?

Sorry, but I still smell a rat. That project continues to be talked about like it was anything but primarily about zone busting and FOR-PROFIT developer giveaways.


12 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Online Protects Kou
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:27 pm

[Portion removed.]

Lydia Kou [portion removed] seems much more interested in ideology. And preventing housing. And reaping the rewards of being a realtor in that market!


42 people like this
Posted by Trust your city?
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:39 pm

The head of the Palo Alto Housing Corp. recently went to work for major developer Sand Hill Corp.

The head of PA Forward owns a construction company.

Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie now works for several developers, including AJCapital which is destroying the President apartments. Also Richard Hackman from the City Manager's office works for them.

City Manager Keene's connection to PA Forward needs investigation.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:43 pm

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:48 pm

commonsense is a registered user.

Lidya Kou's understanding of economics is hilarious! The law of supply and demand doesn't apply to housing? This only makes sense if every piece of land already had the maximum units allowed on it (and that a horrible, old 50' height rule could not be changed.)

The only way out of the jobs/housing imbalance IS to increase supply, not just in Palo Alto but throughout the bay area.


35 people like this
Posted by @humans need homes
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Any housing in the downtown core that will get built, will not be available at a price point for the extremely low income people you mention who do not have cars. That’s just the basic math for a city where land is so expensive.

That housing will go to some newly minted Google or Facebook engineer whonprobably drives a Tesla

And to thiose of you dumping on Councillor Kou: anyone who posts under their own name deserves respect. You should post under your real name and stand by your comments, if you plan to personally lambast someone on the thread. Otherwise it’s just gutless and bad form.


2 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:02 pm

commonsense is a registered user.

@humans need homes, you have a unique name.


18 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Good reporting, I think, but not really sure how accurate it is because I didn't stay awake long enough to see the end of the meeting. I hope any and every future candidate tunes in to these CC webcasts or cable TV channels, so they know what lies ahead, and what they can expect.

My head is still spinning after reading the article and the comments. Whatever I would say or add would just be repeating what many others have said. I basically agree with the approved ordinance, with a few exceptions. Parking is one. Nice try on that one. Let the developers prove there is not the need for parking? Wow, are we now letting the fox tend to the hens in chicken coop again? I'm sure we'll hear about studies done in Hoboken and Peoria to prove how well this could work in our town.

I have a better idea, and one that Tom Dubois supported and spoke out about. Let's do our own study in our town, starting with the VTA project as a test case, a pilot project, to see how the light parking idea plays out. And any talk about enforcement of any ordinances is a joke. If we don't have the ability to deal with noisy leaf blowers, for Pete's sake, why do we think anything will be different for the parking relief law enforcement?


58 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Lydia Kuo consistently speaks for the residents, was one of the few CC members to dig into what the rushed ADU regs meant and, more recently, to support the residents calling for a review of the rushed Verizon cell tower decision in light of the former CIO's many international trips paid for by the high tech and other telecom companies.

Back in the day, that type of "conflict of interest" and even "appearance of conflict of interest" would have been a clear-cut no-no for a public officials and even journalists to preserve their credibility.


21 people like this
Posted by Jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm

The residents of Palo Alto don't want new housing, especially low income housing and "affordable housing". They want safe streets, parking downtown, safe walking downtown, more police, decreased burglaries, and the same things any other middle class American city wants for its residents. This city has an ultra left wing City Council that it beholden to developers and obsessed with shoving low income housing and "affordable housing" down Palo Alto residents throats no matter how much residents object.
The Council has gone out of its way to destroy Barron Park and make it a dumping ground for low income housing, with multiple projects doing that and completely deteriorate the neighborhood with multiple apartments and the trailer park


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Posted by Humans Need Homes
a resident of University South
on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Humans Need Homes is a registered user.

New housing will be more expensive than old. That is obvious. I don’t begrudge techies for having a place to live. And we should do more to make development downtown pencil for non-profit developers by letting them build on public land/helping with land acquisition/eliminating parking requirements/density restrictions/height limits. They should be allowed to do whatever they want and the city should regulate parking.

I will certainly not post under my own name within this abusive comments section. I should also stop driving traffic to this terrible company by engaging with you very good liberals who care deeply about homelessness, as long as it doesn’t impact your daylight plane or affect you personally in any way.


35 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:37 pm

For the last 30 years the real-estate industry and local government have worked hand in hand at every opportunity to do everything in their power to increase the price of real-estate. The real-estate industry loves to profits from the development fueled viscous cycle of escalating prices and government loves the tax revenues (and the campaign contributions).

What the real-estate industry and government don't like is taking responsibility for high real-estate prices, so they shame, blame, and gaslight residents.

Anything to keep the mad orgy of development going and the political campaign contributions rolling in.


41 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm

StarSpring is a registered user.

Wolbach is channeling Scott Walker in defying the wishes of the voters who ousted him. Fine out next!


56 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 4, 2018 at 2:21 pm

StarSpring is a registered user.

Kou is RIGHT! The problem with Palo Alto, and almost every other physicality constrained city, is LAND! There isn't anything in Palo Alto that warrants moving here except the jobs that have been created by overdeveloping office space. Reduce office space will reduce the number of jobs and create affordable living space for our teachers and service workers. If you want affordable housing, first bulldoze some office complexes to make room.


18 people like this
Posted by Prof. Crunchy, Ph.D.
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2018 at 4:14 pm

"Palo Alto has failed to produce sufficient housing units to provide for it’s citizens."

Wrong. By definition, Palo Alto has produced sufficient housing units for its residents (countries have citizens; cities have residents), who are by definition those individuals who reside in the city. Their long commutes result from their choices to work in distant places.

There is plenty of housing available for purchase and rent in Palo Alto. Indeed, the newspapers in this town, Weekly among them, earn the majority of their revenue from real estate advertising. Why does the real estate industry advertise, you may ask? Because there are not throngs of purchasers breathlessly besieging each housing offering; wannabe sellers must reach out to prospective buyers by advertising.

So, follow this Web Link and become a resident if you are serious and not just randomly ranting.

P.S. There's a real steal on Bryant at Channing. It's been on the market for a whole two weeks. And the to be revamped President Hotel will soon offer housing on demand for just $30k/month, or $360k/year for valued residents.


28 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Annette is a registered user.

The term jobs:housing imbalance itself says it all: two things that should be in balance for a community to be functional are badly out of balance. Success and desirability have a down side that includes housing insecurity and homelessness. Some of us are more negatively impacted by this than others but at this point, the only purpose blame serves is identifying what to NOT do so that we don't make matters worse. I'd put anything that increases the jobs side of the equation, such as office development, at the top of that list. Not forever, but for the foreseeable future.

I've a question for CC and Staff: what's the plan for developing the TRANSIT part of the "Pedestrian and Transit Oriented Development (PTOD) combining district"? The idea of using the VTA lot project as a test case is an idea that should be pursued. Does car light even work in this community? It doesn't make much sense to me to use proximity to transit as justification of reduced parking if the available transit system isn't convenient, practical, and put to good use. It is irresponsible to build as though we have a robust, well used system when we do not.

Last night CC took steps to increase housing. I think there's a big "maybe" around that, but I also ask: what is going to be done to improve transportation? Transit and circulation improvements should precede or coincide with new development, not succeed it. This means we must make a decision on grade separation and get going on that. As is, we talk too much. On this we need action.

2019 ushers in a new and smaller Council + a new City Manager. I'm hoping that results in some positive changes.


45 people like this
Posted by Come On
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2018 at 4:33 pm

I really want a Porsche but they are way too expensive. I have enough to buy a Toyota, but I really don't want to drive one. Why can't the government just give me the extra money to buy a Porsche. Then I'd be happy.

Nobody is forcing you to live here. There are thousands of cities in the Unites States. Pick another.


26 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Palo Alto land is expensive. That is a fact.

There are areas in cities around Palo Alto where land is less expensive.

Doesn't it make sense to make truly affordable housing available in areas where land is less expensive. After all, if the land (which just might be the most expensive cost of the housing) is cheaper to begin with, wouldn't that make the cost of building the affordable housing cheaper which in turn would make the rent in such housing cheaper?


19 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@Resident - based only on empirical information I think the housing situation has gotten so far out of whack that the areas and cities around Palo Alto are as land lacking as we are. As our very congested roadways attest, too many people must commute a long way to find housing, particularly affordable housing.

I continue to think that businesses can crack this nut by relocating at least some jobs to cities that can absorb and support the development. This would lessen demand for what doesn't exist (housing) and possibly open housing inventory for those with jobs that cannot be relocated. Like those in community-serving jobs that we all rely on every single day.

An economic downturn would also do the trick, but no one wants that.


13 people like this
Posted by Shift the Developments From PA to EPA
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 4, 2018 at 5:33 pm

"Addressing the overflow of housing necessities in Palo Alto could be alleviated somewhat by developers teaming-up with EPA on a major suburban redelopment project."

"EPA has both proximity/location factors in its favor and the city would prosper with an influx of newer commercial and residential developments."

YES. Let's absolve ourselves of this contentious Palo Alto housing issue and transfer it to East Palo Alto. They've got the available space and both their city and landowners would prosper from any redevelopment measures + the land is cheaper.

A developer's dream. And since most Palo Altans tend to be ambivalent towards EPA residents in general, any housing displacements would be largely ignored and not even subject to further discussion.







38 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

If you're not following all the local media coverage (tv and print) on Google's huge development plans for San Jose, do. The media are doing an excellent job of breaking down the huge new jobs / housing imbalance created, the number of existing homeowners and renters being pushed out and all of the renters being pushed into homelessness because they can no longer afford their increased rents.

Maybe high tech and institutions like Stanford should start paying their fair share of costs instead of pushing those costs onto homeowners and renters.


25 people like this
Posted by loophole after loophole
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm

The use of mechanical lifts in office buildings needs to be evaluated along with the use of in-lieu parking fees.Besides the in-lieu parking fee loophole the City has been providing to developers to enable higher office densities is approving the use of mechanical lifts for stacked parking to fulfill reduced parking requirements under the City approval process smokescreen. Is this lift parking practical and actually being used? The answer is most likely no in Downtown PA. So the underparking is in fact actually worse than even presumed. There are many aspects to the mess the City is in.



38 people like this
Posted by Prof. Crunchy, Ph.D.
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2018 at 8:55 pm

"Palo Alto land is expensive. That is a fact."

Palo Alto land is expensive because too many people are here wanting to own it. Palo Alto land prices will drop as ever more of the techies demanding housing depart Palo Alto. That is a fact.

In fact, people doing essential, useful jobs (like teachers, plumbers, police, nurses, ... ) could afford to live here again if enough of the creators of software that spies on us went elsewhere.


28 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 5, 2018 at 6:49 am

mauricio is a registered user.

One poster claimed that residentialists are preventing him from joining the middle class by, to paraphrase, not allowing a massive building spree in Palo Alto. This is the quintessential arrogant, self entitled attitude that keeps so many residents from feeling empathy with people like him/her.

I can imagine the ridicule I would face if I stated that I'm prevented from joining the middle class by not being allowed to purchase a Lamborghini at a price that fits my income. Imagine people who live in greater Los Angeles complaining how not being able to rent or buy a home in Malibu prevents them from joining the middle class. The same complainers reject any suggestion they should live where they actually are able to afford to live:San Jose, Redwwood City, Sunnyvale, Fremont, Burlingame, Millbrae, etc. It's Palo Alto or bust, because it has always been about a Palo Alto zip code which should be subsidized for them by the public.


2 people like this
Posted by Middle Class Values
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2018 at 7:45 am

> ...I'm prevented from joining the middle class by not being allowed to purchase a Lamborghini at a price that fits my income. Imagine people who live in greater Los Angeles complaining how not being able to rent or buy a home in Malibu prevents them from joining the middle class.

Poor examples. A Lamborghini and Malibu beach houses are not reflective of the middle class. Try something less expensive.


22 people like this
Posted by Precisely the point
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 5, 2018 at 8:55 am

I think that is precisely Mauricio’s point. As owning a home in Malibu and a Lamborghini are considered luxuries, so too is owning a home in Palo Alto. None are represenrative of middle class America.

An education is perhaps what keeps people from joining the middle class. But the middle class is nowhere near Palo Alto.

Middle class is defined in the US as a household income between $45k to $135k


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> If you're not following all the local media coverage (tv and print) on Google's huge development plans for San Jose, do. The media are doing an excellent job of breaking down the huge new jobs / housing imbalance created,

Do you happen to have a link to a good factual summary of what was actually approved? I've seen various reports of 20,000 jobs and housing for 5,000 employees, but, I'm not clear on what the approved proposal will actually contain wrt jobs and housing.

If 20,000 and 5,000 are close to the final numbers, it seems curious that some folks are touting this as -improving- the San Jose jobs/housing imbalance. ?


15 people like this
Posted by Middle Class Values
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2018 at 9:52 am

> As owning a home in Malibu and a Lamborghini are considered luxuries, so too is owning a home in Palo Alto. None are represenrative of middle class America...But the middle class is nowhere near Palo Alto.

Concurring. Palo Alto has become 'upper' middle class (i.e. a professional and well educated population) and the housing/rental prices are reflective of these factors.

So why are the lower-income and lower working classes still trying to reside or maintain residency in Palo Alto?

Common sense and an acute awareness of one's personal finances would seem to dictate that a Palo Alto residency is out of their league.


8 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:37 am

Online Name is a registered user.

@anon, I wish I could but evidently final details remain sketchy although the Google San Jose deal was approved last night amid protests. There's lots of new coverage putting the number of new workers between 25,000 and 20,000, the figure of 25% "affordable" housing seems constant but never defined.

#Middle Class Values, the median price for a Malibu beach house and a Palo Alto home is almost identical according to Zillow, with only $200,000 separating them. $3,400.000 vs $3,200.000.


Like this comment
Posted by @Middle Class Values
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:44 am

Palo Alto has a professional and well-educated workforce. There's demand for housing by this workforce near the jobs they work at. The housing costs reflect this demand as well as an artificially restricted supply caused by current homeowners. This causes demand to spill out into neighboring cities as any available housing near these jobs skyrocket in price from this demand. Eventually those high housing costs spread not just on the Peninsula, but throughout the Bay Area.

But it all comes back to where the jobs are. Build housing next to those jobs and housing prices elsewhere go down as demand gets soaked up.

@mauricio "This is the quintessential arrogant, self entitled attitude" Project much?


19 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:49 am

mauricio is a registered user.

@Middle Class Values: It is actually easier to acquire a Lamborghini than a house in Palo Alto, and that has been exactly my point for many years. Palo Alto has been affordable to a few even before Silicon Vally was established, and it will always be very expensive. Those who think it's possible to build into affordability in a desirable town such as this are just fantasying against solid evidence that it's impossible. When I was looking for a home to buy, I'd have much preferred to live in Woodside or Los Altos Hills, much nicer towns than Palo Alto, but I just couldn't afford it, so I ended up punching a home in P.A, but only after many years of difficult sacrifices and living in places and conditions today's millennials refuse to even consider.

The analogy with a Lamborghini is perfectly valid in a town where fixer uppers are sold for 3 million dollars. No-one should feel they are prevented from joining the middle class, in Palo Alto's case actually the upper middle class if they can't afford a Lamborghini=house or even rent in Palo Alto. The overwhelming majority of those desiring to live in P.A will never be able to afford to, and that's just how it was, how it is and how it will always be.


2 people like this
Posted by @mauricio
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2018 at 11:54 am

"but only after many years of difficult sacrifices and living in places and conditions today's millennials refuse to even consider"

Which is why those places are currently unrented, sitting vacant with a landlord desperately trying to get someone to come in and rent, right? Can you point to where this massive supply of housing is that would solve this crisis if only the millennials would lower their standards from the garages and Big Brother houses they currently live in?


9 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 5, 2018 at 11:55 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@Anon: I don't think the plans for the Google development have been finalized. I believe the approval last night was just for a land sale; see Web Link . Another article Web Link discusses some of the development options being considered; the final results will depend on a lot of things (including removing height restrictions on buildings near the airport).

As for jobs/housing imbalance, the second article I cited above puts it at about 2:1. Some people regard this as an improvement because San Jose as a whole has more housing than jobs, so the development would push the city toward 1:1. If you support a goal of regional balance (for example, because people change jobs from time to time), then the development makes the imbalance worse.


9 people like this
Posted by A Millenial View
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 5, 2018 at 12:17 pm

> "but only after many years of difficult sacrifices and living in places and conditions today's millennials refuse to even consider"

Would love to hear some examples of your personal sacrifices (i.e. spending the night in a VW van while on the way to Woodstock)?

> Can you point to where this massive supply of housing is that would solve this crisis if only the millennials would lower their standards from the garages and Big Brother houses they currently live in?

Probably somewhere out in the middle of a Nevada desert. Bring your own tent and fall-out suit.

Ironic how the Baby Boomers tend to brand the Millennials as 'entitled'. The last time I checked, sociologists referred to the Baby Boomers as the 'Me Generation' (i.e. self-serving and self-centered). Now they're pulling the same stunt, except many are retired and milking various entitlement programs like SSI and CalPERS...guess who's paying for their extended stay in Never Ever Land?

Botox and collagen implants appear to be the new Baby Boomer drugs of choice as they continue to delude themselves of growing older. Guess what...you are whatever it says on your CDL and BTW, 60+ is not the new 40 (or 30 for those still hallucinating).


31 people like this
Posted by Gen X'er
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm

@Mellenial View:

Your diatribe against baby boomers seems a bit misplaced. Baby Boomers represent a very small proportion of Palo Alto's population. There have been several generations that have come and gone since theirs. Moreover, many of us did indeed work our way through college, live in crappy little apartments early in our careers, and scrimp and save over a number of years for a down payment so we could put down permanent roots.

I bought in Palo Alto because I couldn't afford Atherton or Los Altos. Now Palo Alto prices have risen, so people have to buy in Mountain View or Sunnyvale. Big deal. That's life.


2 people like this
Posted by A Millennial View
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 5, 2018 at 1:57 pm

> There have been several generations that have come and gone since theirs.

The last time I checked, the Baby Boomers preceded Generation X and the Millennials followed thereafter. According to my count, that's only three generations (excluding the WW2 generation and those before them which don't even figure into this discussion).

The Baby Boomers are 54-72 years in age...Gen Xers around 36-53 and Millennials anywhere from 27-35. None of these generations have left town en masse.

The Baby Boomers and some of the older Gen Xers seem to have a pretty strong foothold politically and residentially in Palo Alto. This will change over time as people age and eventually begin to die off in droves. Give it about 20-25 years for the progressive changes to finally take effect. We'll wait.




22 people like this
Posted by @millenial
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Some of us came for risky small start-ups where the main compensation was stock. The mindset was taking a risk. Some of us were working round the clock so it didn’t much matter where we lived, because we lived at work. We didn’t spend time on forums like these because we were too busy building something we cared about. We weren’t employee #10,006 at google. ..... the folks who arrived after all the risk had evaporated, when the brand was established, yet still thinking they were the ‘bomb’, when really they were kinda boring, follow the leader, cogs in the wheel.
Nobody 20 years ago was thinking I ‘need’ to live in Palo Alto. We were thinking how do we make this idea work.
This place ain’t that special. It’s the people that make it special. But when I read this forum and the housing entitlement comments I realize Palo Alto has already gone to the dogs.


12 people like this
Posted by @ millenial
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 5, 2018 at 2:15 pm

@ millenial is a registered user.

man, you need to stop opining, get off your pampered little tush and get back to work!
my pension isn't going to pay itself!


26 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

High salaried techies who can't afford to live in Palo Alto can afford to live in Redwood City, Half Moon Bay, Greater San Jose, Mountain View, Millbrae, Bellingham, Daly City, Foster City, Fremont, and this is only a partial list. Those towns and cities have more available, and less expensive housing. However, when you suggest this to millennials, they react as if you insulted their moms. They want only Palo Alto or San Francisco. Well, I once wanted only Woodside, Los Altos Hills or Portola Valley, and couldn't get my wish, but somehow my peers and I didn't whine. We came up with a brilliant, novel idea:You live where you can afford to live. This is in response to the poster who asked about places that have more available and more affordable housing.


23 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm

This generational thing type argument is not worthy of sensible discussion. I don't care about the generalizations, but I will say that being "entitled" or "me generation" is just something put out by the media as being descriptive of some but not all in any generation.

We moved to Palo Alto of course because of jobs and at the time we were looking for somewhere to rent within a certain distance of job. We owned a home elsewhere that was small and within our budget at the time we bought, but it was not easy to sell so renting was necessary. Our original home was bought while we shared one small old car, we started out with lawn furniture to sit on and limited eating out for special days and vacationed by staying with friends or family, or camping. When we moved to Palo Alto we rented in what we felt was a nice area and continued with our one car (which had been replaced) and our habit of being careful with eating out and vacationing on limited budgets. As our family started to grow we did buy a second car, but it was many years before we were able to buy again and this time it was an older home in its original condition. It was several years before we could start remodeling/updating and lived with a kitchen and bathrooms that were an embarrassment although functional.

I don't like labels that generalize, but I do think that our experience is very typical of many people who have lived in Palo Alto for 20 years or more, raising children, and gradually benefiting from wise financial decisions until we were able to make improvements to our home to make it more comfortable for us as well as being able to use more of our income for improvements in lifestyle.

Am I saying that this is the best way to live? It was for us and it has been a worthwhile method to live in an area we enjoy being part of. We did make sacrifices, we did live modestly, we did learn to value simple pleasures, we did enjoy eating 90% of the time at home, camping and visiting family, we did realize that a car was basically transportation and not a status symbol and that eating out or buying coffee out on a daily basis was not a necessity.

Living in Palo Alto is not a right. In a past life both of us have had long commutes often on public transport and often not with the perk of free parking at work. We have chosen to live here because we like the tree lined streets, the neighborhood schools, the (one time) ease to get where we want to go and the fact that there were many amenities very close. We enjoy the Baylands, Foothills Park, and other attractions being close by.

And, as we both know that things do not remain the same forever, we still would prefer to see some of the things we value in Palo Alto remain. We do not want it to turn into a dormitory area where there is nothing else to do other than work, sleep and have everything needed delivered to our door. We do like to walk and bike, but we also appreciate the necessity of owning cars for many reasons.

When we eat out now we rarely eat out in Palo Alto. We rarely shop in Palo Alto. Our kids are grown but they enjoyed many things that are gone such as the bowling alley, lazerquest, movies, winter lodge, church, family restaurants, riding bikes to school and after school activities. Some of these are still possible and others are gone.

Please remember that quality of life issues are just as important as a bed and a shower in a rabbit hutch/sardine can. We can argue as much as we like about jobs/housing balance, but the truth is a large number of people who live in Palo Alto do not work here and are commuting out every day - Caltrain stations and traffic lines to get onto freeways in the morning commute say this. Even if someone does move into Palo Alto so that they can walk to work, it doesn't follow that they will keep the same job for very long. Many professionals change jobs every 2 - 5 years for career reasons, and their next job does not necessarily mean that they will move home also.

The arguing here is pointless in my opinion. We need to look at quality of life and infrastructure much more than we do when we talk about increasing the number of homes being built in town.


8 people like this
Posted by Live Where You Can Afford
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm

> ...Redwood City, Half Moon Bay, Greater San Jose, Mountain View, Millbrae, Bellingham, Daly City, Foster City, Fremont, and this is only a partial list. Those towns and cities have more available, and less expensive housing.
> Living in Palo Alto is not a right.

Excellent points. Now try conveying those points to the President Hotel residents as well.

They don't have a personal lease on Palo Alto either.





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Posted by @Live Where You Can Afford
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Let me know when you plan on giving up Prop 13 and taking your own advice.


14 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 5, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Let me know when the commercial landlords give up their Prop 13 first since corporate entities last much longer than human property owners. They're richer, too, so focusing exclusively on the residents seems a bit hypocritical and short-sighted.

See also Willie Sutton.


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Posted by Prof. Crunchy, Ph.D., a resident of Professorville

>> Palo Alto land is expensive because too many people are here wanting to own it. Palo Alto land prices will drop as ever more of the techies demanding housing depart Palo Alto. That is a fact.

What I can't figure out is why none of these newer companies have followed in HP's footsteps and developed campuses in more distant college towns. The Bay Area is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the US (depending on which measure - could be fifth). College towns are usually socially liberal enough and have enough cultural amenities, while being much more affordable. And, many don't mind a little growth, which is something the Bay Area does not need.


8 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:18 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@Anon: "What I can't figure out is why none of these newer companies have followed in HP's footsteps and developed campuses in more distant college towns."

The compelling features of the Bay Area are the size and quality of the employee pool. So long as the public (or Sacramento) is willing to take on the extraordinary costs of supporting that employee pool, there's no incentive to move. And the first companies to expand elsewhere would be forced to take on some of those costs, putting them at a competitive disadvantage relative to the companies that stay here.

I think the only way to break that deadlock is to make sure companies that expand here take on a proportionate share of the costs of expanding here. That puts other expansion options on an equal footing.

I'd rather see that happen by requiring companies to contribute directly to housing and transportation infrastructure; I think that would help prevent abuse. But the other way is head taxes or compensation taxes, and that seems to have more momentum right now.


8 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 5, 2018 at 10:30 pm

The funny thing isnthere is nothing in Palo Alto that males all this wailing and gnashing of teeth worthwhile. It is all FOMO. No plans for new schools. No plans to address traffic or CalTrain cutting the community in half. University as a shopping district is absurd. O parking, no housing. What os the attraction?


6 people like this
Posted by Madias
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 5, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Which is why home prices are falling.
There is no new supply, but demand is falling because the area is not desirable anymore. Just look at any of the real estate search sites. 30% price drops are the norm.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 6, 2018 at 4:14 am

^ Nah, it's the stock market dropping 30%. Calpers will be in a world of hurt.


6 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 6, 2018 at 6:28 am

@Musical. That may be part of it, but the Chinese money and flows of buyers have Virtually disappeared. My neighbor tells me that their friends/relatives back in China don’t regard the US and/or Palo Alto as a good place to go or invest. The image of the US has changed negatively.

As far as the 30% Madias says... I’ve seen worse drops than that. A house around the corner dropped their price almost in half! They weren’t getting ANY offers before that. We were shocked because they had set their original price per the usual formula (comps minus $250k) to attract a bidding war. They got no offers.

This collapse is something much bigger than stock market fluctuation. Check out the estimates on Zillow or Trulia and then look at some houses for sale. Some are on the market for months with multiple price drops of hundreds of $k per drop.

Regardless returning to the current article, the price of housing is falling on its own so perhaps the need to chisel at code and make zoning exceptions is no longer necessary. We may actually need to find ways to prop up home prices and attract buyers soon.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 6, 2018 at 7:44 am

The number of Stanford applications this year might be interesting.


14 people like this
Posted by Where to James?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2018 at 8:07 am

> ...the Chinese money and flows of buyers have Virtually disappeared. My neighbor tells me that their friends/relatives back in China don’t regard the US and/or Palo Alto as a good place to go or invest.

Curious. Are the Chinese opting to remain in China or have they zeroed-in on a new residential locale? Anywhere from $2.5M-$8M seems to be their standard home purchase price range.

Also curious. Given the contentious immigration issue in the United States, how and why are so many Chinese nationals able to settle here permanently? It can't all be based on technological necessities and/or political/human rights asylum.









11 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 6, 2018 at 10:30 am

mauricio is a registered user.

quote:There is no new supply, but demand is falling because the area is not desirable anymore.

This is absolutely right. The area is not desirable anymore, and Palo Alto is a mess, with traffic unmanageable and out of control, defeaning noise everywhere you go, poor air quality. This "wailing and gnashing of teeth" to live in Palo Alto is ridiculously absurd. It's not worth it. Some long time residents won't move out because of the stiff capital gains hit, but why would anyone want to scarify at this point in time to live in P.A.? It is absolutely not worth it, there are so many much bette, and far less expensiver places.


8 people like this
Posted by Yeah But...
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 6, 2018 at 2:05 pm

>> The area is not desirable anymore, and Palo Alto is a mess, with traffic unmanageable and out of control, defeaning noise everywhere you go, poor air quality.

So let's make Palo Alto more accessible to the the homeless, transient RVs and disgruntled Millennial renters.

Everyone in favor, please raise your hands...hmmm, just as I thought.


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