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New residential community eyed next to Greer Park

Original post made on Sep 30, 2021

The new residential community that SummerHill Homes plans to build in Palo Alto bears little resemblance to most of the other housing applications that the city has been fielding over the past year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 12:24 PM

Comments (19)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2021 at 11:12 am

Bystander is a registered user.

There is a similar development nearby at the corner of Loma Verde. Parking on Loma Verde is so problematic now that the city has to put no parking signs up to enable the street sweeper get by.

There is also parking problems at the units on Bayshore near Oregon, also close by.

Cars parking on Bayshore will be a problem. Visitors will park in Greer Park parking which will make it difficult for anyone visiting the park bringing sports equipment or picnic items to find parking.

Regardless of how much parking provided and visitor parking, my gut feeling is people will still park on the street.

With the new bike bridge, Bayshore is going to have much more bike traffic. The bike lanes on Bayshore are abysmal.

Please look into whether parking, traffic, and bike concerns are going to be impacted by this. I suspect it will be a mess.

Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2021 at 12:05 pm

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This sounds like a great project! *FINALLY* a development that does not force people to live in shoeboxes, which is the nature of every El Camino-area proposed development without exception. 1700 square foot units are large enough for couples and families w/kids, unlike the 350-square-foot "micro" units that other developers are pushing. A lovely relief.

There will be no parking issue here. I have been down this road countless times, as well as at Greer Park, and the concept of a parking shortage is irrational. Additionally, two parking spots per unit is ample to provide for guests. Car ownership is going down, not up, and it's counterproductive to ruin a good design with parking spots that will remain empty -- just like the parking garage monstrocities that the City Council giddily wasted limited taxpayer funds on near Cal Ave., which continue to stand empty and a blight in the neighborhood.

Regardless, the way to avoid traffic and parking challenges is to bring back -- and enhance -- public shuttles, and invest in safe bike lanes. The more viable alternatives there are to driving, the fewer cars there will be on the street.

When City Council cut the shuttle system last year, and also put on hold essential improvements for bike paths, our elected leaders created numerous parking and traffic problems that easily can be remedied by making our city easy to travel by bike and shuttle. Few people would choose to drive if a convenient, clean, free shuttle were available to take them to their destination without need to park. We must prioritize alternatives to single occupancy vehicles or our quality of life will continue to decline. It's simple, not complicated, and would benefit businesses and residents alike. What is City Council waiting for?

In the meantime, I deeply hope that this exciting development and rare opportunity to reclaim corporate property for the residents is given the city support it wholly deserves.

Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 30, 2021 at 1:42 pm

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Why is the city not out in front in finding sites to redevelop? We could get get a lot more housing if the Council members would not just complain about how difficult it is to build housing and actually promoted housing.

Instead of writing useless letters complaining about SB9 and SB10, rezone the city for housing and meet the RHNA requirement without all the whining that makes Palo Alto the object of the SF Chronicle's scorn.

Posted by Lacy W.
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2021 at 1:59 pm

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Concurring with Ms. Eisenberg and while we are at it, why not build new housing ALL along the frontage road from Oregon Expressway to Charleston Road?

Most of those older office complexes are vacant and visual eyesores.

Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2021 at 3:19 pm

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The reality.
I lived in the Woodland Creek apartments for almost a year with my toddler. I faced the creek, so there was a row of apartments that buffered me from the freeway. The freeway noise at night was almost unbearable. It would only quiet down after 2 AM, and then start up again at 5 AM. The young man who lived across from us told me he used to try and sleep in the hallway with earplugs, and pillows around his head and body to minimize the rumble and vibration from the traffic on 101.
The other problem was the fine particulate black soot from the freeway which managed to seep in, and coat everything in our new apartment each day, even though we never opened the windows (which faced the creek), and had central air conditioning. It was a horrible location.

Posted by tmp
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 30, 2021 at 4:01 pm

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The developer is asking to build a project that it too tall, exceeds the allowed floor area ratio, and will add to the water usage and pollution level of the city and state. Everyone pretends that they care about the ongoing and worsening water situation in the state and they claim they care about global warming and the extinction crisis - but what we get is more development and profits for developers. The city needs to say no to any exceptions and needs to discourage these projects.

The state just took away most zoning ability for local governments with SB9 and SB10 which automatically allow a doubling of all housing by legalizing lot splitting. Those laws alone have the potential to add thousands of homes to the city. Stop pushing this excessive growth down our throats and worsening the problems that we already have. Say no to any add-ons for developers.

Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2021 at 5:52 pm

Anne is a registered user.

No to any zoning changes this developer wants especially height requirements.

We don't need any more traffic or parking problems in Midtown. Loma Verde is already a freeway when it is supposed to be a nice residential street. Why does Palo Alto south of Oregon have to put up with all the new high density developments?

I forgot to there ANY mass transit close to this location? I'm guessing not.

Why would anyone want to live right next to 101 with all the noise and pollution? Ugh.

I have to say, Rebecca Eisenberg's claims regarding two parking spaces per unit being sufficient are not at all realistic. Unfortunately the article did not specify whether the parking spaces take the form of an attached garage or outside/underground garage parking. At my HOA we have two car attached garages and a number of visitor spots. Plenty of residents park their belongings in the garage and use the visitor spots, plus, because everyone wants to jam in to Palo Alto to access the good schools, our units house a much greater density of people in each unit than they used to, resulting inolo even greater demand for parking. This is the reality, not the wishful thinking Ms. Eisenberg engages in.

I would never take a shuttle because I don't like to wait. My time is valuable and unless shuttles are running every 5 minutes and going exactly where I want to go, using them is a waste of time. Cycling makes sense in decent weather, if I'm not shopping, which is when I usually use my car.

Summerhill mentions schools are within walking distance. Witness the crazy amount of activity near schools in the morning and afternoon because most of the parents are DRIVINGh their kid to and from school.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2021 at 6:34 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

More thoughts.

No public transport near this site.

As for schools, Ohlone is the nearest elementary public school and it is lottery only. It would be walking distance.

This area is Paly and there are no bus routes from this area to Paly. Middle schools are a long walk.

Posted by Markie
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 30, 2021 at 8:03 pm

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@Rebecca, the assertion that "There will be no parking issue here" is what seems irrational, given the ample evidence provided by the recent similar residential development at the corner of Loma Verde and Bayshore, which has at least some guest parking. Please provide any reasons why anyone should believe that the 20+ cars that overflow onto both sides of Loma Verde would not be repeated with this proposed new development, with or without expanded shuttle service.

Not to mention the weekend soccer events at Greer Park that currently overflow to fill all available street parking along Bayshore in a way that would make any bicyclist want to avoid that route.

It is wishful thinking that the demand for cars will suddenly decline despite the massive time savings and individual freedom cars provide in a suburban setting. But of course the goal of most real estate developers and real estate agents driving these agendas is to transform the entire Bay Area into an urban environment (except of course in their own neighborhoods in Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, etc.).

Posted by Paul Blackburn
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 1, 2021 at 9:27 am

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Many people reside in homes and apartments along freeways. Just put up a sound barrier wall.

No different than living by the railroad tracks (i.e. Alma/Central Expressway).

Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2021 at 11:32 am

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It's a good idea, but it'll get Palo Alto'd and die a slow death.

Posted by NanaDi
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:13 am

NanaDi is a registered user.

Since I no longer live in Palo Alto, perhaps I shouldn't comment on this subject. However, in reading all the comments by citizens who obviously care about the quality of life in PA, I am struck by all the negative reactions to this proposed project. TMP, especially, makes valid points with his (her?) concerns about increased water usage and pollution, but I have to ask, WHAT DO YOU PROPOSE AS A REMEDY TO THE CRITICAL HOUSING SHORTAGE that has people sleeping in their cars, or else spending 4+ hours of every day commuting from the Central Valley? This is a situation that calls for solutions, NOT criticism, in my opinion.

Posted by Hinrich
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2021 at 7:11 pm

Hinrich is a registered user.

If you're not planning for the other parts that must grow (water, power, sewer, schools, police, fire, transportation) it's just more housing because we want more housing and we'll worry about the rest later (or, how PA got so overcrowded in the first place). None of the projects will solve the housing demand - more housing will grow more demand. It's possible that PA can't afford more density without continuing Ponzi financing. Peninsula businesses and governments should endorse decentralization and build back better elsewhere.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2021 at 8:04 pm

eileen is a registered user.

I think this is a wonderful project! Housing for families is critical! There are so many young families renting. Many want homeownership to foster stability. I hope there are more family housing projects in Palo Alto!

Posted by Hinrich
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2021 at 8:28 am

Hinrich is a registered user.

All of these projects always float the same promises - it will alleviate the housing crunch, bring new revenues and jobs to the city, etc. But that doesn't really happen. The availability of housing is worse, the roads more congested, the city is evermore challenged to squeeze in more cars and find more water and utilities, support it's growing budget and push out it's looming unfunded liabilities. How much density is too much? Society doesn't flourish confined to shoeboxes, without places to play and meet and share time with others. These things have to be part of the design. This is why people move to Texas - even with the negatives - and there are lot's of negatives - affordable space to live is a must. It is interesting that this project is tagged as a 'community' - a housing block, by itself, isn't a 'community'

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2021 at 11:32 am

Bystander is a registered user.

TV news did a report on what $500k could buy in other areas of the country. From the look of many of the homes being shown in this report, it looked very like they were trying to encourage people to move. If a family can buy a 5 bedroom, 5 bath home in move in condition on a large lot for $499,000 what are the incentives to stay here?

Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 7, 2021 at 6:08 pm

Chris is a registered user.


Some people have jobs here and some people have family here. Also, you may want to live in a mansion but many people prefer smaller spaces.

Posted by Joe in Green Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 8, 2021 at 4:14 pm

Joe in Green Acres is a registered user.

Reading Rebecca’s and Eileen’s comments I wonder if they have actually driven by or walked 1033 Amarillo, as I have. They may have and, if so, it makes their comments more difficult to understand. If they have not, they should.

“1033 Amarillo” actually has four small “cottage” units on it: 1031, 1033, 1035, and 1037 Amarillo. According to Zillow, three have two bedrooms, one has one bedroom and all four are between 800 and 900sf in size.

“1033 Amarillo” was purchased in April for $5,000,000 (according to Zillow and Redfin). The four cottage units, which seem suitable for very low-, low- and moderate-income people, will be history if this “great”, “exciting”, “wonderful” project proceeds. Instead, there will be six or eight units each sharing an allocated portion of that $5,000,000 plus development approval, demolition, construction and financing, etc. costs. Oh yes, and developer profits – cannot forget that. Accordingly, the new units will be more expensive that the units existing there now, and, most likely, there will not be four units affordable to very low-, low or moderate-income people as exist there now.

All in the name of the SB9’s objective of having more housing, while in this instance eliminating four units of housing that appear to be truly affordable to people who do not have well-paid, tech-employee incomes.

Progress? Not in my mind. Not even close.

Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 11, 2021 at 8:26 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

This story references proposals for 183 new housing units in Palo Alto. These homes would be constructed and occupied in the midst of the the 3rd worst drought in the last 100 years -- a drought that won't end with a single 'normally' wet winter. To me, that's a far more important consideration than parking and shuttle routes.

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