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Council begins overhaul of design rules for housing projects

Original post made on Oct 5, 2021

Responding to recently enacted housing laws, the Palo Alto City Council kicked off on Monday the complex and somewhat contentious process of revamping the city's rules for approving new residential projects.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 4, 2021, 11:16 PM

Comments (6)

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Oct 5, 2021 at 1:35 am

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

Posted by tmp
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2021 at 11:57 am

tmp is a registered user.

Hopefully the city will impose the strictest standards that it can. Large set backs, no intrusive windows, no exemptions to height or set back limits, no exemptions to the FAR, mandating enough parking for todays car usage, etc.

The state and the greedy developers that they are currently supporting, who are using all of the new state laws to overcrowd and reduce livability in cities and remove our rights, are eager to force cities to let them build their monstrous ugly buildings. So again we need to pass the most restrictive design laws we can so that they don't have as much room for their disastrous proposals.

Further we need to support law suits and referendums to roll back these give-away bills (like SB9 and 10) to developers that are damaging and destroying our ability to live in nice communities that are not overcrowded, polluting, environmental destroying nightmares that are being forced on us now.

Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 5, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Chris is a registered user.


People would have more sympathy for you if Palo Alto had not built commercial space for 120,000 workers. Then it closes the gates and tell the rest of the state to worry about where these workers live.

If you think about it, you will understand why Palo Alto has been fighting a losing battle at the state level.

Palo Alto has the ability to build well-designed housing which will have a net benefit on the environment.

Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2021 at 4:09 pm

Steve Dabrowski is a registered user.

Californians for Community Planning have submitted a ballot measure to the Secretary of State to pass a constitutional amendment making local zoning control the law of the state and to overrule Sacramento efforts like SB10 and 9 to rule our communities. The effort will be working to get sufficient signatures to get it on the 2022 ballot. It would be a good thing if our local elected leaders and the local media would get behind this effort or at least publicise it.

Details of the initiators and the text of the initiative can be found on the website associated with the effort, just type in the groups name shown above and it will come up. On Safari there will be a note indicating the certificate is not recognized, but clicking continue will get you right to it. On Chrome however it comes up with some red letter warnings about donating etc and a push to get additional Google security added. Just click on advanced button and go down to the bottom where it shows in fine print to click and get to the site.

A couple of weeks ago Chrome went to it without issue, but it may be that Google realized the initiative would be counter to their desires to flood our area with worker housing so they have decided to try to obstruct access with this trick.

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 6, 2021 at 8:36 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

The website and donations work fine on my PC without any warnings in Google Chrome. To read more about and ideally support the ballot for maintaining local zoning control go to: Web Link

Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 8, 2021 at 7:23 pm

Eric Filseth is a registered user.

There aren’t 120K total jobs in Palo Alto, let alone new ones; but in the post-Recession tech boom we certainly added far more jobs than housing. Census data shows from 2010 to 2016 Palo Alto added 20,000 new jobs, a 25% increase and 9 times more than the entire previous decade; plus a few hundred housing units. The whole Valley ran up unprecedented housing deficits during that time, with Palo Alto one of the leaders.

Palo Alto’s office caps were adopted to stop this. Census data suggests success: since 2016 Palo Alto job growth has been essentially zero. PA housing deficits are flat or even slightly declining, a nearly unheard-of situation.

However, the region’s are still escalating. In building new deficits, high job-growth cities including Mt View (40K new jobs since 2010, 3.4K new housing), Sunnyvale (30K new jobs, 5.5K new housing) and Santa Clara (27K new jobs, 5.1K new housing) have passed Palo Alto (20K new jobs since 2010, 0.7K new housing), and continue to pull away. Menlo Park (14K jobs, .8K housing) is close behind.

The key measure of human impact is actually the arithmetic difference, not the ratios. You have to adjust for workers per housing unit, but the short answer is 10K jobs / 2K housing displaces over 3,600 more workers than 5K jobs / 1K housing; plus any cohabitants.

The extreme “let the rest of the state worry about it” case is San Francisco: 198,385 new jobs from 2010 to 2020, a 33% increase. At 1.35 workers per housing unit (Working Partnerships USA), demand would be 146,951 new units. In that time SF actually added 29,686 new units - a difference of 117,266 units, equal to the entire housing supply of Palo Alto, Mt View and Sunnyvale combined. The social impacts of adding three cities’ worth of negative housing to SF in 10 years have been well-documented. Incidentally, the legislators now attempting to control all California housing through state mandates hail primarily from … SF.

Data is from Census tables H1 and B08601.

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