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Why isn't hp being asked to pay for employee housing?

Original post made by Sierra, Evergreen Park, on Jul 27, 2010

My headline is meant in a whimsical way. Why does Stanford go under the gun on housing, but when thousands of hp employees move their jobs to Palo Alto, not a peep? Not a word in the paper about this. This is another example of the absurd and hypocritical nature of those who are trying to get Stanford to build housing for its employees. Where is the hue and cry from the anti-everything crowd - you know, the people who are always whining about how much traffic Stanford brings. Not a word from them about hp. Hmmmmmm.........

Comments (18)

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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm

HP could as easily change their mind and relocate to Cupertino if the City of Palo Alto tried to use the same tactics as they are with Stanford Hospital; note that HP will be doing improvements to the buildings, so they need city approval.

Stanford Hospital doesn't have the same option, or at least hasn't gone to there yet, so the City of Palo Alto can try to use their strong arm tactics to try to extract hundreds of millions of dollars from a non-profit entity.

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Posted by building permits?
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Is HP asking for any new building permits? Environmental waivers? Zoning changes? The city can ask for certain considerations in return.

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Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

While I understand your point, I think the distinction is that in HP's case, these are existing employees whose offices are moving from Cupertino to Palo Alto, so they already have homes somewhere in the area. On the other hand, Stanford's plan is to add new people to their staff, who might be moving here from other areas, and need new housing.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

HP isn't expanding it's footprint or employee capacity on the Page Mill site. In theory, HP already paid it's development fees, school fees, etc. when the site was built.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the Stanford project includes an increase in total square footage and employee capacity.

HP is only using what they already have. While Stanford is expanding.

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Posted by Obvious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 28, 2010 at 8:05 am

The HP offices aren't next to College Terrace!

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Posted by Garden Gnome
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 28, 2010 at 10:52 am

Sierra has a valid point. You can debate here why HP's case is different from Stanford's, but the fact of the matter is that there WILL be more traffic, regardless of what fees were paid in the past for development. (That should be obvious, no?)

Welcome (back) HP! Our local merchants can use the revenue.

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Posted by Ground rules
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2010 at 11:12 am

The environmental review process is governed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If HP is using capacity for which they already paid development impact fees in the past (and I have not studied this project so I don't know if that is true), they are not required (by California law) to pay additional impact fees--they may be permitted (by law) to do a mitigated negative declaration.

Stanford, on the other hand, is significantly expanding capacity. They are, therefore, required by CEQA to do a full-blown Environmental Impact Report which will identify appropriate mitigations which they must then pay for. This is California law. Stanford knew it when they started this process. They are not being treated differently than other develoiopers. It appears you don't know that other developers ARE required to pay housing fees, traffic and school impact fees, etc. Please balance what you read in Stanford's very well-funded PR campaign with some understanding of the law and the process.

This is the largest project the city has seen in fifty years. It will have significant impacts on the community and Stanford should be, as other developers are, held acountable for mitigating those impacts.

That is STATE LAW...and, as neighbors, it is the right thing to do.

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Posted by Unbelievable council
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 28, 2010 at 11:18 am

Stanford is offering the city of PA more than $100 million in mitigation. That is apparently not enough for the greedy city council. They have in the past, in the days of Kishimoto/Morton/Drekmeier (the well known troika of Stanford haters) and now under a new regime, we continue to see an attempt to extort money from Stanford.
HP would just laugh and move elsewhere if our council made the same demands of them.

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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

HP is renovating to increase capacity; the 2,000 - 3,000 employees changing work locations from Cupertino to Palo Alto is roughly the same number employees that Stanford Hospitals will add with their expansion.

The existing HP locations are zoned for a particular use (ie. manufacturing or R&D), and they are now being used for office, which if they go through the re-zoning process would have different requirements. Look at Facebook. They took over the Agilent building and the use is different. and look at the issues.

One of the reasons why the city isn't trying to extort payments from HP is that they could easily change their mind and set up shop in Cupertino (as they toyed with a few years ago), while Stanford hasn't opened up their decision process to that alternative.

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Posted by Tom Jordan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Short answer to your headline is that Stanford has applied to the City of Palo Alto for permission to expand, permission which does not have to be granted because Stanford has no right to a larger development on site than it has. Palo Alto is following State Law which requires it to assess environmental impacts of the requested expansion and to avoid or lessen those impacts as much as possible. Employment growth leads to traffic and population growth which Palo Alto is required by State Law to try to deal with. There has been no mention anywhere of HP building a new plant in PA, for which it too would have to file an application and be subject to the same State Laws that Stanford is. Surely the writer of the original item understands that basic difference and is trying to parade ignorance as a provocative question -- an effort in which Palo Alto Online, who I know understands the simple point that I have just stated, seems happy to cooperate with. What can be better than to let Stanford use an anonymous forum to blow more smoke than it already has on the process. By the way, there IS a significant difference between Stanford and HP if both applied for a new building housing 2,242 new workers. HP would be required to make a cash payment into a housing fund maintained by the City, while Stanford has managed to block being governed by the same requirement. Where did the writer get the idea that anything has been or will be required of Stanford re employment growth. Since Stanford has raised the point in Palo Alto Online, let me head a similar topic with my observations of how Stanford has continually ripped off Palo Alto.

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Posted by Robert Egypt
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm

"Since Stanford has raised the point in Palo Alto Online, let me head a similar topic with my observations of how Stanford has continually ripped off Palo Alto. "

Very amusing, Mr Jordan. Palo Alto is trying to rip off Stanford. Palo Alto is what it is today because of Stanford not visa versa. Palo Alto makes mucho money from Stanford because of visitors, events etc.
Unfortunately our city leaders have never been able to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with Stanford--instead it has been antagonistic, in no small part to the narrow minded past and present members of our city council

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Posted by Tom Jordan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

To Robert Egypt: I will be happy to lay out the facts to contrast how Stanford deals with Palo Alto (very selfishly and treating it as though it were a colony that exists to serve Stanford) with how Harvard, Yale and Princeton deal with their surrounding communities (as neighbors with fairness and consideration). After all Stanford aspires to be considered among those great universities, so it should not shrink from being compared to them. I will offer my facts in response to your generalities. For now, i will just say that the heart of the problem lies in the asymmetrical relationship whereby Stanford is an important force for the entire region, whereas most of the costs of having Stanford here are borne mainly within the City of Palo Alto and PAUSD. Your statement that Palo Alto "is trying to rip Stanford off" is not only untrue but unworthy of an intelligent dialogue. Since you were the one who threw that stinkbomb, perhaps you would like to give a concrete example?

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Posted by a stanford employee
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 28, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Well, Tom, considering that Stanford is offering PA more than $100 million in mitigations and the city is not satisfied with that, they want Stanford to pay for a new police building, as one example.
BTW, I find it interesting that you label my claim that Palo Alto is trying to rip Stanford off as a "stink bomb",but have no problem claiming that Stanford has continually ripped off Palo Alto.
Maybe Harvard, Yale and Princeton neighbors know how to deal with their universities,as opposed to the near-sighted Jack Morton approach you push. I see that you are an "environmentalist"--that makes sense--push the myopic policies of Kishimoto and drekmeier.

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Posted by Tom Jordan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm

To an anonymous Stanford employee: Mitigations are not "offered". They are required by the Lead Agency (City of Palo Alto) to lessen the impacts of Stanford's huge expansion and will be mandatory. Environmental Review under CEQA is not a negotiation. It is the local government telling the Applicant what it has to do if it proceeds with the Project. Although Stanford tries to act as though this were a negotiation, it is not. As much as it tries to pretend otherwise, Stanford is merely a landowner who wants a large development approved. It has no more standing for special treatment than either you or I. Anything about a police building will not be part of the CEQA review. Stanford is asking Palo Alto for a Development Agreement under which Stanford wants Palo Alto to freeze in place for the next fifteen years all of its land use rules with respect to Stanford. That is something that PA does not have to agree to, and PA, like all cities which are asked for this, wants some substantial inducement to enter the Dev Agree. It is a negotiated contract, not government regulation, and if the parties cannot agree on the terms, they just walk away. It is instructive that Stanford has you believing otherwise. I oppose the use of general derogatory terms in a specific debate on the merits -- something along the lines of your use of "environmentalist", myopic, near sighted. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Marc
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Me thinks mr Jordan doesth protest too much. He decries the use of derogatory terms, yet has no problem calling another posters comment a stinkbomb. He also forgets that criticism of positions held by elected officials is part of the American way.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 29, 2010 at 10:45 am

@ common sense --- the HP site is at "60% capacity", moving 2-3000 people to the site will not increase the site's capacity.

The HP Page Mill site is zoned as "Research/Office Park".

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Posted by George
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Did HP try to hire Stanford Hospital's PR chief to become a Manager in the Palo Alto Planning Department? no,HP didn't, but Stanford did.

Did HP hire a former mayor of Palo Alto to head their development team? no HP didn't, but Stanford did.

Did HP call a 3 billion dollar plan a "Renewal"? no, HP didn't, but Stanford did.

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Posted by HPEngineer
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2010 at 11:30 am

Don't assume HP is actually going to move all those people to Palo Alto. They have closed other buildings across the country and have forced employees to work from home (just to save more money so that Mr. Hurd can look like he's doing a great job).

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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