https://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2019/04/17/palo-alto-aligns-itself-against-one-size-fits-all-housing-bills


Town Square

Palo Alto aligns itself against 'one-size-fits-all' housing bills

Original post made on Apr 17, 2019

Responding to a flurry of housing bills moving through Sacramento, Palo Alto's elected leaders took a stance on Monday night against any legislation that proposes a "one-size-fits-all" approach to land use decision-making.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 10:23 AM

Comments

28 people like this
Posted by Nimbys Nimbys everywhere
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 10:46 am

Is there anything Palo Alto won't oppose?

[Portion removed.] Filseth and DuBois will not be remembered well by history. You're either for more housing and more opportunity for people, or you're a nimby [portion removed.] Pretty simple.


28 people like this
Posted by dbaron
a resident of University South
on Apr 17, 2019 at 10:54 am

dbaron is a registered user.

This 4-2 majority on the council is taking the city in the wrong direction. I disagree with the position paper's assertion that what cities are doing to address the housing shortage is sufficient, and I disagree with a number of items in it that support preserving existing mechanisms of local control where the state government delegates powers to local governments, and oppose having the state government or regional bodies take some of these powers back.

It is understandable that local elected officials should seek to preserve the powers that they were elected to exercise. But it would be better if they took a step back and consider the effects those powers have on our society.

Local control of funding, when combined with income and wealth differences between local jurisdictions, means that children of rich parents get better schooling than children of poor parents. This is a major barrier to intergenerational income mobility.

Local control of housing and land use has a century-long history of being used for exclusion: exclusion of the poor, of African-Americans, and of others. See the book "The Color of Law" for many examples **in Santa Clara County**. This power has been used to ensure that rich people, and white people, get better schools, better air and water quality, and better access to government services.

Local control has also had harmful metro-area-wide effects from the accumulation of small decisions made by local governments. We're in a crisis-level housing shortage that is a result of local governments suppressing the construction of most of the housing that would be needed to meet the market demand. This has made the Bay Area unaffordable for most Americans. It threatens the structure of our society and it threatens our ability to provide income mobility by giving people who weren't born rich a chance to benefit from the Bay Area's strong economy. It leads to sprawl that increases greenhouse gas emissions.


88 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 11:02 am

Posted by Nimbys Nimbys everywhere, a resident of Evergreen Park

>> Is there anything Palo Alto won't oppose?

Yes. Well thought out housing proposals, which these are not.

>> NIMBYs like Filseth and DuBois will not be remembered well by history.

"Мы вас похороним!" Web Link

>> You're either for more housing and more opportunity for people, or you're a nimby (and I mean that in the most derogatory sense). Pretty simple.

Actually, it is simple, just not as you describe. You are either for further Manhattanization and gentrification, or, you are not.


125 people like this
Posted by Pro-Developer Councilmembers are Harming Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 11:21 am

I'm appalled to see councilmembers Fine and Kniss backing SB 50, the developer plan to pocket unprecdented profits by replacing lower-income housing with underparked luxury buildings. You could hardly dream up a better way to put truckfuls of money into the hands of developers while making life worse for poor and middle class people trying to afford housing.

Palo Alto should be joining those cities across the state already opposing this and all the others atrocious proposal spewing out of the developer-controlled state legislature. It should be a top City Council priority.


11 people like this
Posted by The attacks begin
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 11:45 am

[Portion removed.] The above poster writes the same , tired talking poInts used by the pro-pasz gang and their councilmemrs to attack kniss and fine.
Meanwhile the city for decades have not met their obligations regarding housing in the city. Now that they may be forced to, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The council members who have voted for this resolution have been long standing opponents of housing in the city and some have them have a financial interest in keeping home prices high.


18 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2019 at 11:56 am

Our housing shortage is a regional problem, not a one-city problem and not a statewide problem. It should be considered by a regional group that's large enough to include all the affected areas and small enough that cities and counties will be listened to. The affected area, from which people commute to the job centers, is pretty much the 11-county Bay Area. ABAG is the closest we have to a regional organization for that area.


14 people like this
Posted by Good neighbors
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 17, 2019 at 12:13 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


95 people like this
Posted by Don't Work for the State
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Thank goodness a majority of our elected representatives to our City Council realized that they were elected by us to represent us and our City and not the State of California. This seems so obvious to most, but not to Kniss and Fine who are eager to take the fundamental power of local control over our zoning and land use laws and give it to the State.

SB50, as mentioned, is one of the most destructive of the CASA Bills for renters, and will displace renters despite its weak counter provisions, and gives trickle-down lip service to creating middle and low-income housing. It mainly focuses on high-end market-rate housing that by definition is unaffordable. The so called protections from displacement are unenforceable in Palo Alto.

And the CASA Bills that are focused on Renter Protections have no chance of passing - it is merely a come-on to get well-meaning people to support the overall Compact which includes the nefarious Bills that may pass that will undermine the housing we need, with no meaningful renter protections.

What we need to do is build more moderate and low income housing, not have Council members handing over our City's local control to do this to the State so it can force us to build more market rate housing - which is what SB50 mandates. Read it. It is a huge give-away to developers, not a support of what is actually needed and wanted..

Councilman Adrian Fine, the developers friend, has become so untethered from serving Palo Altans that he actually has works with Scott Wiener in promoting SB50 at every turn. He speaks before the Young Democrats to try to indoctrinate them, and debates its merits online. And Kniss is tethered to Silicon Valley Corporations and has been for years. Hope she likes the 75-foot apartment buildings on her street.

What the majority of Council did Monday night was measured and reasonable (only 1 member was missing). Good for them. And good for Palo Alto.


87 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 12:53 pm

We don't have the infrastructure, pure and simple.

We have traffic gridlock, no public transport that makes sense apart from Caltrain which is extremely busy at commute times, little or no recreation, busy parks, large schools without easy access or school shuttles/buses for many areas, and power that fails when there is a storm, a mylar balloon, a squirrel or a duck. I am not sure about our water supply or the efficiency of our sewer system if we increase the number of residents.

We need a master plan of how to improve infrastructure before we put any more thought to increasing residential development or office development.


62 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2019 at 1:01 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

So, can we vote Fine out soon? Is it 2020? I can't wait!


7 people like this
Posted by The attacks begin
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Novelra- that will be up to the voters. If you want to doom the city then go ahead and elect [portion removed] council members like Holman, kudos, filseth and Dubois, who have an agenda of obstruction and opposing all progress


43 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Posted by Let the attacks begin, a resident of Evergreen Park

>> an agenda of obstruction and opposing all progress

For what definition of "progress"? Why is it "progress" to turn a city of trees, parks, and bicycle paths, into a "forest" of skyscrapers?

If there are 22,000 homeless people in California, let's build 22,000 units of affordable housing in optimal-cost-construction 4-5 story 50' buildings, not expensive, energy-inefficient skyscrapers that only the rich can afford.

Here are two sides to this coin in Vancouver, CA:

Web Link

Web Link

Two very different views, but, surprisingly in agreement on what is actually happening. This is what is in store for the Bay Area. And it won't be "affordable", I can guarantee that.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Not trying to double-post, but, that should be 22,000 for the Bay Area. Online I see an estimated 130,000 for California, with about 50,000 of those estimated to be in Los Angeles County. Web Link



49 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 17, 2019 at 4:58 pm

Thank Goodness! Now for a City Council vote openly opposing SB 50 ---- can't wait until that happens!

Why should we be smeared simply because we think single family homes are fine --- even acceptable ---- even more --- probably the culmination of the American Dream! This is what our ancestors who emigrated here dreamed of, owning their own home and living in a place where working hard counted and merit mattered. Instead we have people calling us names, just for not wanting to rip apart the fabric of our community, and for not agreeing that people are somehow entitled to live here without paying the rate of admission, like we did. I don't think so.


61 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 5:02 pm

Is NIMBY a bad thing. I don’t think so.

If fact I a very proud to protect my neighborhood so that makes me a nimby.


34 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Re SB 50: I heard about Lily on KQED today, the wonderful Lyft driver who drives from Tracy to San Francisco to drive Lyft all day in SF. Does that mean because Lily chooses to come to drive in SF rather than in Tracy, that SF or Lyft owes her a place to live?

What about the construction worker profiled in the NY Times who is currently driving from Stockton to work in San Jose on a temporary project, because he is making $25/hour as an unskilled laborer? That project will end soon. Does San Jose owe him housing because he chose to work in San Jose rather than closer to home at a lower hourly rate?

Where does it end? And where does it begin? Are teachers more worthy of housing than nurses, or is it police or fire fighters? Or do home health care workers have lower income and are more worthy? What about Lyft drivers, and the cashiers at Whole Foods, and what about gardeners --- are they all owed housing in the same city where they chose to take a job or where they sometimes work? Or was it their choice to take the job? In a city far away from where they live, or ???

There is income inequality. Yes. It is a capitalist market economy. Which has produces great wealth. For many.


47 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2019 at 6:25 pm

For those of you claiming PA doesn't do enough for housing, maybe you can ask why yet again PA is pushing to ELIMINATE more downtown affordable housing units and replace them yet more offices and luxury condos.

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Vinob Patel
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2019 at 6:52 pm

We have been looking for a house to buy in Palo Alto & everything is so expensive!

After some serious discussion, my wife & I have decided to buy an apartment complex with 12 units. We will reside in one unit & rent the others out for the going rate in Palo Alto which we figure to be about $4000/month for a simple 2BR/1B apartment.

Best to let the tenants pay off the balance of our 10 year mortgage and utilities, garbage & internet will be at the tenant's expense. There is one car parking per unit but that will be extra...$175.00 per stall/monthly as some residents do not own cars thus they can save some money. We are not ruthless landlords.

Rental agreements will be month to month with 1st/last + security deposit. That way we can easily evict anyone who is creating a problem in the complex. There is also a pool & the tenants will be required to pay a monthly service/maintanence fee if they wish to use the facility.

Being a landlord is Palo Alto is a potentially lucrative business venture & we are grateful for the opportunity. The $3M we have put down should emerge as a worthwhile & productive ROI.

Limited Palo Alto housing supply & demand is our friend & financial ally in this business venture.




51 people like this
Posted by WOOHOOO
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 7:43 pm


Here you go... City of Palo Alto’s letter in opposition (unless amended) of SB-50 Web Link

Palo Alto needs to kill SB-330 (Skinner) which infringes on the electorates’ democratic rights to referendum. Nancy Skinner (Berkeley) who authored this undemocratic bill should be voted out, along with all her senator colleagues who votes along with her.

Write and call your electeds, especially Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblymember Marc Berman.


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 8:54 pm

Here is the Cities Association website with the letters/paper: Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Rental Leases
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 17, 2019 at 9:41 pm

Rental Leases is a registered user.

@Vinob Patel

In Palo Alto the it is illegal to offer month to month rents. The lease period has to be no less than a year.


47 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2019 at 10:35 pm

Posted by Good neighbors, a resident of Southgate

>> let's be honest with ourselves - Palo Alto has not done enough to address the housing crisis.

Let's be honest with ourselves -- the real reason for the housing shortage is the continual creation of more and more office space. [Portion removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by The Public Interest
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 17, 2019 at 11:04 pm

@Vinod Making a return on an investment is not a crime or a shame; to the contrary, it's needed and expected for an entrepreneur or business owner and for our economy.


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 18, 2019 at 3:02 am

Just do what needs to be done Palo Alto.


50 people like this
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 18, 2019 at 6:21 am

Neal is a registered user.

It's impossible to build our way out the housing shortage. The demand side of the equation must be aggressively addressed to have any hope of success. Unfortunately, our leaders are willing to sacrifice our quality of life and environment for unbridled economic growth. Office growth has been so rampant it's affecting our front yards as well as our backyards. So I guess I'm a NIMBY and a NIMFY.


36 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 18, 2019 at 8:37 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

ABAG, suggested above is a conflicted organization. A bunch of people no one voted on who are absconding with tax money - that was a couple of years ago.

We have congressional people who are responsible for voting on this bill - That is Mr. Berman for Palo Alto. Do not let him off the hook or how he votes go unpublished. And if Mr. Weiner ever thinks he is going to ascend the political ladder by all of his bills then he is mistaken. Only SF the city is going to support him - and they are not happy at this time with his bills which further aggravate their problems.


As to "regional approach" - each city has a different foot print in the bay area - PA is built out. We were built our many years before the surrounding cities due to proximity to SU. What other cities are doing is irrelevant to PA - we have a city budget and city concerns.


13 people like this
Posted by Bummer
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 18, 2019 at 8:39 am

People, we are supposed to build 3,000 units per our very own COMP PLAN!

I am all for SB 50. It will create the vibrant downtown/Cal Ave I want to see, full of abundant retail and services (Omgosh like a real city!!!). The downtown-as-destination-mall thing is doomed to fail. Build housing at Stanford Shopping Center, University, and Cal Ave to ensure the City's economic success at the very least - and ensure we all have a super fun place to play and shop after work:).

Face it y'all, Palo Alto has done absolutely nothing on housing and the joke of a Housing Workplan we have started implementing makes it even harder to develop housing.

For chrissakes, the Mountain View EPC unanimously approved 500 units of beautiful apartment housing on April 3. And that is just ONE project. Most years, Palo Alto builds less than 200 units and we have a 3:1 jobs/housing ratio - and everyone wonders why we have all that cut-through traffic.

Please everyone stop talking about how we have no transit. A) it isn't true, b) ride your bike - it is beautiful here and you could use the exercise, c) transit follows density, it does not exist in a vacuum. If you build density, transit agencies (local and regional) will serve it - not the other way around.


47 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 18, 2019 at 10:25 am

@Bummer. how does it help the housing shortage to build 3,000 housing units while approving huge office projects that will employ TENS OF THOUSANDS of NEW workers? PA's just getting deeper and deeper into its office/housing quagmire while pricing mid- and lower-income people out of the housing market.


43 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 18, 2019 at 10:58 am

Annette is a registered user.

Our battle cry should be "Remember Sisyphus". Unless we stop growing the demand side of the equation by relentlessly adding commercial properties the jobs/housing imbalance mess will only persist and worsen. If we are sincere about housing, we must become sincere about curbing commercial development. As is, the hole we are in is so big that we cannot hope to provide housing for all who currently seek to live in this mecca, let alone all the new seekers that each new development generates.

It is hypocritical to decry the housing shortage while simultaneously supporting mega commercial projects. It is also reprehensible policy because it results in serious social problems including homelessness and housing insecurity.


43 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 18, 2019 at 11:44 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

The city isn't supposed to build 3000+ units per the comp plan. The city is required to identify enough building sites to meet its regional new-housing allocation, and to change zoning if necessary to achieve that. Palo Alto has done so.

Developers, not the city, are responsible for proposing and building new housing. Why isn't that happening? Well, the developers themselves are pretty clear that land and construction costs make all but luxury housing unprofitable to build here. There's also the problem that offices are more profitable than housing, so it's likely that a lot more financing is going to office projects than housing projects. All you have to do is look at the jobs/housing imbalance of essentially every mixed-use project in the Valley to see this playing out.

The fundamental problem is that the benefits of unlimited growth flow to one set of people, and the costs to another. To fix this, it's going to have to become somewhat more expensive to hire here, and somewhat less expensive to build housing and transportation systems (among many other things) here. SB 50 and the other bills don't do this; instead, they actually increase the imbalance by pushing both direct costs and externalities onto the public.

Many people would like to address this by imposing head taxes. I think there are better ways; for example, requiring housing and transit entitlements before getting permission to build commercial space. But either of these suggestions gets a lot closer to a viable solution than the current crop of housing bills.


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 18, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@Bummer - you are so right about the positives of bicycling. Unfortunately, that is an option that is not viable for many people for numerous valid reasons. I look forward to hanging up my car keys and think that those who can commute by bike are the lucky ones. But I think we are a long ways from being even "car light". We still court car dealerships and there are fancy auto showrooms on Wall Street. So why kid ourselves and plan as though automobiles aren't a troublesome and demanding reality? When we build offices and housing, we need to factor in parking. I suspect there'd be a lot less resistance to some development projects if that was done.


53 people like this
Posted by The ONLY Solution is Deal with the DEMAND side
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2019 at 1:40 pm

"We're in a crisis-level housing shortage that is a result of local governments suppressing the construction of most of the housing that would be needed to meet the market demand. This has made the Bay Area unaffordable for most Americans. "

Wrong.

First of all, the Bay area has been unaffordable for decades, including during the last bust. Long before the recent tech boom that has caused this.

Companies all want to crowd into Silicon Valley and think everyone else should just pay for what they want -- massive construction of entry-level workforce housing regardless of the negative consequences. We do not have the infrastructure. It is not possible to achieve affordability by building densely or by transit, as every other example in the world such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Manhattan -- and even San Francisco -- has shown. The demand side is not static and building more in a job center only means more people come. Plus, in an expensive area, real estate investors will always prevent the market from really ever becoming affordable as soon as prices drop a little (as history has shown things have never been affordable here even during down times when vacancies abounded). They will swoop in on a "bargain" that is not a bargain to the rest of us, because real estate is such a great investment. During the last down cycle, there were even articles about why prices on rentals weren't even dropping that much despite vacancies -- many landlords would rather leave something vacant a little while than letting it go for much less than they having been getting for it, and that actually ends up working because of the inevitable up cycles.

The real NIMBYs are the pro-building-baby-builders who in principle like low-income people but don't care enough to NOT create conditions that actually shut them out. San Francisco has gone from 15% African American to 5% in ten years. Building too much only ratchets up costs in THIS kind of market, because the demand intensifies, it isn't a static thing that we just only have to catch up to.

And it's stupid to try, because if any investments need to be made, it's in renewing and creating additional centers of innovation -- cities even in California that have been losing people and shuttering -- so that companies have a place to go (since they obviously never invest up front in order to be able to do business, and they never pay back when they become successful). They are the overprivileged unwelcome rich house guest who brings in his entire entourage and extended family and demands to know why you didn't know to build him a mansion to fill up you backyard for all the other people he needs to serve his entourage. Let's get overprivileged boorish JohnnyComeLately set up somewhere where he has room to grow and not do so much damage to the regular people who sacrificed their whole lives to be there in the first place.

This place was always expensive, and no one could have anticipated this, except for the companies whose shortsightedness is destroying this area at the expense of the people who sacrificed their whole lives to put down roots here.


40 people like this
Posted by The ONLY Solution is Deal With the DEMAND Side
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2019 at 1:48 pm

The other reason not to overbuild is that we should not ossify this place to be stuck in the economic model of previous generations when the time and productivity of ordinary people did not matter. Already the overstressing of the infrastructure is hurting the productivity of people who live here. You cannot reduce commutes by overbuilding, people in Hong Kong have commutes as long as in Los Angeles, and even though they have the best transit in the world with the highest usage, people do not live near their work. That is just a completely unrealistic fantasy that gets used to sell the overbuilding so that those who profit can keep profiting at others' expense.

It matters to these companies that they are hurting the productivity of everyone in the area because of overbuilding and overstressing the already maxed infrastructure. We should be looking to increase the number of innovation centers rather than ignoring how these manipulative false arguments by the build-baby-build crowd are destroying this one.

There is a lot of capital in the world, and as long as we dither and allow developerss to push these FALSE arguments that only HURT low income people and displace them, and HURT the environment, we only make it easier for them to focus on this place to exploit for their profits.

The worst thing is that once this place gets unbearable, people will go elsewhere. Millenials actually majority want single-family homes. People commute mainly so they can afford the quality of life they want for their families (usually, single-family homes). We must find a way to multiply the number of job centers before the selfish companies and developers completely destroy this one. Maybe helping them understand that they are working to permanently handicap the productivity of people who live here will jolt them out of it.


2 people like this
Posted by Vinob Patel
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2019 at 3:41 pm

@Vinob Patel

In Palo Alto the it is illegal to offer month to month rents. The lease period has to be no less than a year.

Yes. My RE attorney just advised me of this PA statute. He is currently working on the provisions of the lease which will allow me the ease & option of early evictions for violations that I can stipulate in the rental agreement. No problem as lawyers are very adept at creating loopholes.


@Vinod Making a return on an investment is not a crime or a shame; to the contrary, it's needed and expected for an entrepreneur or business owner and for our economy.

I agree! And Palo Alto is a gold mine for the rental market. Local housing supply & demand is not only a realistic ally but a most lucrative benefactor.

Though we will also be relegated as apartment owners/managers to live among our tenants, we will be able to monitor them as well for any potential lease violations while maintaining an active standby list of future interested tenants.

No loud noise, pets, alcohol/drugs, parties or overnight guests will ensure a very quiet living environment for our renters.

I am now trying to come up with a name for our new apartment complex. Should it have a Palo Alto 'ring' to it or maybe something a bit more sophisticated?

Thinking 'Ohlone Terrace' or maybe something along the lines of 'The Stanford Indian Estates'...as I am originally from Mumbai.


58 people like this
Posted by Michael Hamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 18, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Kudos to Mayor Eric Filseth and the other Council Members that joined him. Shame on Adrian "YIMBY-Darling" Fine and Liz "I Love Developers' Money" Kniss for working against solving the affordable housing crisis.

SB 50 is a terrible bill that is designed solely to enrich developers. It does nothing to increase the supply of affordable housing. It should be called the 2019 Displacement, Gentrification, and Children Living in Cars Act.

Look at who Scott Wiener's campaign contributors are and you'll understand what's really behind this bill.


14 people like this
Posted by @Nimbys Nimbys everywhere
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm

@Nimbys Nimbys everywhere is a registered user.

Damn right!

This isn't
' i see it, i like it, i want it, you build it'

It's
'i see it, i like it, i want it, i work hard for 20 years and maybe i got it'

We all realize you and 'the attack begins' are trolls , probably paid trolls, who don't even know how to spell the names of our city councillors.
Leave your work for wiener and get a decent job that actually fulfills you.


25 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 18, 2019 at 9:01 pm

Thank you, majority Palo Alto City Council for your general stance.
There is much more to do to alert the public about state and - some regional-level groups and politicians - who desire outrageous control over residential property owners and residents. This is happening blindingly fast and without clear understanding of many voters.
Big developers and companies are thrilled.
The losers, if they don’t pay attention quick - will be thousands, perhaps millions of us residential property owners. Why should big companies benefit and skate?
Yes, we need additional housing BUT current proposals are a state and regional level power grab.
WE will pay AND suffer huge impacts and stunning loss of quality of life because of politicians who are unreasonable and desire control.
This is an ongoing challenge: San Francisco politicians and select others now in Sacramento seeking to dominate a state of tens of millions. Their holier than thou attitudes mask a confused jumble of proposals, supposedly to assist “housing” and their desires to extract ever more taxes/fees out of us taxpayers and to dictate in a way they should not be able to ever do. See also: Casa Compact. Please, advise others to contact your state assemblymember and state senator to vote NO on SB 50 and oppose the Casa Compact and similar anti-homeowner, anti-local zoning proposals.
It’s very important for Californians to understand the extreme control these politicians want.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 18, 2019 at 10:41 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I checked out the new construction that is going on the east side 101 off Marsh Road - the whole place is going up in buildings and a new hotel. This is in San Mateo County but right in our back door. It is in part Facebook buildings but also other company buildings. When people talk about "regional" are they expecting us to increase our housing in part to support all of the new construction in surrounding areas? This whole area both north of us, east and south of us in Moffatt Park is really taking off. These buildings are filling in what was empty space, or buildings that had to be torn down and replaced for newer earthquake standards. This is going to result in a lot of pressure on Palo Alto to support "regional" goals. I hope the city has lined up what it can, and cannot support based on the current available budget. The surrounding cities are going to have to work within their own budget constraints. A lot of city personnel has left recently so I hope the city is on top of what are realistic goals and do not get talked into circumstances that are beyond reasonable.


31 people like this
Posted by Represent Palo Altohkxb4
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2019 at 8:11 am

Good for the Council. At least the majority knows it was elected to serve the City of Palo Alto, not developers or the State.

How any elected Council member could support taking away basic rights from Palo Alto to govern itself (Senate Bill 50 and others that the CASA Compact rests on do that) seems to border on a breach of sworn duty and a violation of office. But Kniss and Fine voted no.

Kniss is a great friend to the Silicon Valley developers, so her vote was not surprising to ease the way for them to build more unaffordable market rate housing that we don’t need (we’ve met our annual goals for building market rate housing which does NOT trickle down), even though it may harm our town. Remember - she is being investigated for taking a lot of developer money she didn’t report until after her last election - having promised voters not to take developer money.

Adrian Fine is actively working to get SB 50 passed. He speaks to Young Democrat’s, at events sponsored by Palo Alto Forward, trying to indoctrinate people. This is someone we elected to represent us, not undermine us. If he runs again for City Council surely he is unelectable since he doesn’t seem to know who he represents.


22 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 19, 2019 at 8:54 am

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 19, 2019 at 9:19 am

Land economics. California is a very expensive place to live, the coast. High land costs, a very well educated populace. It's all relative. "Affordable housing" a euphemism for subsidized housing. Who gets it: "Who dies first the caregiver or the cared for (now in Boston metro) as well as coastal California. The bottom line virtually nobody other than the cared for are now getting "affordable housing", as it should be. California's government is already bankrupt with a trillion dollar unfunded liabilities bill. The "wealthy" are already heavily taxed in California. Raise taxes, bye bye the golden geese. New York state. Welfare state: many unintended results if not counter productive. Where we're really screwed however is with global warming. We have to go back to the 18th century with a population level of that time. Land economics, Malthus is back.


14 people like this
Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 19, 2019 at 10:39 am

Nice to see that Cormack didn't vote with the pro development majority this time.


3 people like this
Posted by @Resident-1
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2019 at 11:53 am

"When people talk about "regional" are they expecting us to increase our housing in part to support all of the new construction in surrounding areas?"

This is laughable. Palo Alto puts far more regional housing pressure on surrounding cities than the region puts on it.


6 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 19, 2019 at 1:15 pm

>This is laughable. Palo Alto puts far more regional housing pressure
>on surrounding cities than the region puts on it.

Ok, accepting your logic let's then put in the necessary language in SB50 whereby cities cannot put housing pressure on surrounding cities. Right now, cities like Los Altos and the Hills, Saratoga, Atherton, etc. are at risk of losing their quality of life and characteristics owing to the choices others make. Unless that is corrected SB50 should be trashed for the risk it presents for all in the region and the State.

Let's see you and your cohorts that support SB50 make that distinction from here on. [Portion removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 19, 2019 at 2:18 pm

OK, I'm a NIMBY. Want to change my mind? Build as much housing as you want, just make it -ALL- below market rate.

Otherwise you can take all your underparked, traffic and pollution generating mega-mansions and luxury condominiums and move to the Gobi.

Affordable housing for all service workers and teachers before a single nail is driven for anything else. Then watch Fine and Kniss backpedal like they have stepped on a snake.


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Posted by Humanitarian Housing In PA
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm

I currently rent out my 4 unit apartment in Palo Alto. Each unit is 2BR/1B & in order to provide affordable housing for my tenants, each bedroom has two bunk beds which sleeps four people + four upright metal lockers.

At full occupancy my apartment can accommodate 32 tenants & I charge them $800.00 per month + utilities which each unit member shares the expense of.

They are required to pay in cash which allows me to take in roughly $25K+ per month (at full occupancy) or about $300K yearly.

The living/dining rooms + kitchen are communal areas & I rent the carport (which holds four cars) to an automobile collector who pays me $400.00 per month for all four stalls. I also have two porta-potties in the backyard which I got from a friend in the construction business. There is room to add 2-3 more as needed.

This is about the best I can do to help ease the housing shortage in Palo Alto & it is a win-win situation as my tenants are grateful for the cost-effective lodging csts + I am paid in cash only & tenancy is month to month.

This is but one way to ease the local housing crunch & to date, the neighbors have not complained.


2 people like this
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2019 at 3:26 pm

"Ok, accepting your logic let's then put in the necessary language in SB50 whereby cities cannot put housing pressure on surrounding cities. Right now, cities like Los Altos and the Hills, Saratoga, Atherton, etc. are at risk of losing their quality of life and characteristics owing to the choices others make."

Exactly, which is why the language in SB50 mandates that such cities putting housing pressure on other cities be required to upzone and not block housing development, thereby not externalizing the requisite housing onto surrounding bedroom communities.


26 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 19, 2019 at 4:02 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

If Kniss and Fine actually cared about job housing imbalance they wouldn't oppose capping commercial development. These two are agents of the real estate development industry in all but name. Those who think either cares about actual residents, which they are supposed to represent but represent but never have, are sadly delusional.


7 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 19, 2019 at 6:44 pm

>Exactly, which is why the language in SB50 mandates that such cities
>putting housing pressure on other cities be required to upzone and
>not block housing development, thereby not externalizing the requisite
>housing onto surrounding bedroom communities.

There is no such language in SB50.
You are dissembling, evasive, and failing to address the key issue I raise: why does SB 50 require cities that don't add jobs, do not put "housing pressure on other cities", do not "externalize the requisite housing onto surrounding communities" to comply with its many and extraordinary demands?
It is not just SB50 but other related bills as well.
Answer that and directly. Point out exactly where in SB50 a city that adds jobs is required to put up appropriate housing within its jurisdiction and neighboring communities are spared the cost of having to pay for the choices others make. [Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2019 at 7:47 pm

"why does SB 50 require cities that don't add jobs, do not put "housing pressure on other cities", do not "externalize the requisite housing onto surrounding communities" to comply with its many and extraordinary demands?"

That doesn't sound like a jobs-rich area then, does it?


8 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 20, 2019 at 11:38 am

SB 50 is dead on arrival. Where is the "government": e g. taxpayers going to get the money for subsidized housing. If you live in perhaps the most expensive area in the world you simply can't afford virtually any subsidized housing: except for the truly needy (old, sick etc.) Resources are scarce. If land rents are too high for teachers, etc. then, then the metro dies. I'm doing my best to get those mobile home parks into development in San Jose with it's sickening rent control. Palo Alto's land development should go into high end development as it is west side in perhaps (so far) the most gifted urban area in history.


13 people like this
Posted by Developer supporters
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 22, 2019 at 2:54 pm

This was posted above, it bears repeating:

>Councilman Adrian Fine, the developers friend, has become so untethered from serving Palo Altans that he actually has works with Scott Wiener in promoting SB50 at every turn.
He speaks before the Young Democrats to try to indoctrinate them, and debates its merits online. And Kniss is tethered to Silicon Valley Corporations and has been for years. Hope she likes the 75-foot apartment buildings on her street. <

I would add, what has happened to the FEPC investigation of Kniss's admitted non-reporting of developers contributions? Very suspicious delay. [Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 22, 2019 at 3:13 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

FEPC investigation of Kniss's admitted non-reporting of developers contributions could have been completed in a matter of days. The results, which I suspect would have finished off her political career have very obviously been suppressed and will never see the light of day.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Just saw on the news that "TRASH" is now out-of-control and our cans will be inspected to see if we are putting things in the right place. The mountains of trash do not have a buyer so now they are scrambling as to where to put it. That is one of the costs of increasing the population beyond the carrying point. There is no infrastructure to support the growing pains. And SF has it even worse. All of the cities are now struggling with the issues. Adding more people to a built out area is not the answer.


5 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 23, 2019 at 9:12 am

Ancient Rome had fewer than 2000 free standing houses in a metro of 1.5 million people. All the rest of housing was insulari (apartment houses). Augusts limited their height to about seven stories. The Tiber was the sewage system. Disease was rampant. Rome ate people. But the attraction was games and bread and "togetherness". Thought question of the day: How does California resemble ancient Rome.

George Drysdale land economist and intiator


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2019 at 10:15 am

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows

>> Just saw on the news that "TRASH" is now out-of-control and our cans will be inspected to see if we are putting things in the right place.

(Should probably be a new thread rather than this one.) Do you have an online reference for this? Details are certainly of interest.


2 people like this
Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2019 at 11:01 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

"Preserving "local control" as a primary goal is redolent of the dog whistle "preserving states rights" heard during the civil rights era. If cities don't want the state imposing solutions to the housing crisis then they must come up with their own. But, solutions are required.


5 people like this
Posted by Say Goodbye To Palo Alto & Neighboring Cities
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2019 at 11:33 am

The midpeninsula has gone completely downhill & the only ones who really want to move or reside here are disenfranchised Millennials & newcomers from overseas (most notably China and India).

From the standpoint of new housing or buying older properties, this is what the future holds.

Meanwhile the NIMBYs are clinging to their residual visions of yesteryear.

For those who lived here in the 1950s-early 1970s, the SF midpeninsula has become a bad dream.

Meanwhile the various city councils, overpaid consultants, do-nothing commissions & avaricious developers continue to play with people's heads.

Is this what your life is going to be all about? How sad.


11 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm

>"Preserving "local control" as a primary goal is redolent of the dog whistle
>"preserving states rights" heard during the civil rights era.

Ok...it is also equally applicable that your bringing up "civil rights era" arguments is the dog whistle that is at work here.

Consider instead the simple economic issue of externalities (spillover effects caused by decisions). Some cities e.g., Mountain View, Menlo Park etc made certain decisions re: jobs without addressing the housing issues that arise as a result of their decisions. In other words, they externalized the problems caused by decisions they made. Other cities near and far were faced with the spillover from those decisions.

As a result of the misbehavior of a few cities, SB50 requires ALL cities to compromise their character and quality of life and toe the line. How can that be acceptable to any reasonable person? If you find that acceptable, then let's start with holding you responsible and accountable for your neighbor's bad behavior!

>solutions are required.
Sure. That starts with requiring cities to insure balance between jobs and housing within their jurisdictions. Not by transforming into the "surrender monkeys" SB50 and its proponents and those in Sacramento want us to be.


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Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2019 at 8:44 pm

Are you under the impression that SB50 mandates that ALL cities in the State of California upzone?


2 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2019 at 9:06 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2019 at 10:31 am

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by San Antonio Road Is A Model For Palo Alto!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2019 at 2:43 pm

I live in a high-rise on San Antonio Road between Ela Camino Real & Central Expressway. It is great! Very convenient as well.

Under the proposed SB 50 statute, Palo Alto should strive to add more of these kinds of mixed-use dwellings. They are a very efficient use of available land and can house many people.

The key will be to make them affordable so the majority of people who wish to reside in Palo Alto can swing the payments.

Barron Park is an ideal site for this kind of construction. El Camino Real is a major thoroughfare and within reasonable walking distance to the Caltrains RR as well.

Ideally we could have these kinds of dwellings from page Mill Road south to San Antonio Road. That should accommodate nearly all newcomers to Palo Alto.

Parking? Not a problem. Just go underground.

Palo Alto's current population is around 67000. With added multi-level housing along El Camino Real/Barron Park, it would not be unreasonable to estimate a projected city-wide population of close to 140,000 or more inhabitants. That is not unreasonable and this growth would also stimulate the local economy.

Let's strive to meet the SB 50 mandate by setting an example for other SF Bay Area cities.

The preservationists and NIMBY's will always have the nicer Palo Alto residential areas to call their own.

Neighborhoods like the Barron Park/ECR & the East Meadow/Wilkie area could use a major face lift. They are dumps and not reflective of the upscale civic presentation most Palo Altans are proud of. To eradicate these run-down areas of Palo Alto with new residential and commercial construction will pave the way for the future and enhance the overall appearance of Palo Alto at large!


13 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 24, 2019 at 3:56 pm

"Palo Alto's current population is around 67000. With added multi-level housing along El Camino Real/Barron Park, it would not be unreasonable to estimate a projected city-wide population of close to 140,000 or more inhabitants. That is not unreasonable and this growth would also stimulate the local economy."

LOL. Palo Alto's small town infrastructure is insufficient to accommodate the permanent 70,000 residents and about 200,000 daily visitors, imagine the utter chaos and environmental catastrophe if the permanent population is doubled. Stimulate the local economy? The local economy is so stimulated it's practically on fire and needs to cool down. The absolute last thing P.A needs for the foreseeable future is an even more overheated economy.


8 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Could Handle Much More Growth
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2019 at 6:23 pm

>>> Palo Alto's small town infrastructure is insufficient to accommodate the permanent 70,000 residents and about 200,000 daily visitors, imagine the utter chaos and environmental catastrophe if the permanent population is doubled. Stimulate the local economy? The local economy is so stimulated it's practically on fire and needs to cool down. The absolute last thing P.A needs for the foreseeable future is an even more overheated economy.

Palo Alto could sustain the population growth & the added revenue would help offset the drawbacks.

The merchants, inn-keepers & service industries (including health professions) would welcome such economic growth. More money = happiness & an even deeper sense of well-being for those able to tap into the new market.

This what some of the more progressive PACC members have been trying to convey.

Change always takes a bit of getting used to but once it's in place, people manage to adjust & adapt.

A PA population of 140,000 is sustainable and the baylands offer even more room for growth.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2019 at 6:27 pm

San Antonio Road Is A Model For Palo Alto!:

>> Neighborhoods like the Barron Park/ECR & the East Meadow/Wilkie area could use a major face lift. They are dumps

Bizarre statement. There is a wide variety of different buildings in different states in those areas. I guess you have a problem with that? Look on Zillow. You think $2M+ houses in great repair are "dumps"?! Strange.

>> and not reflective of the upscale civic presentation most Palo Altans are proud of.

Speak for yourself. Many of us Palo Altans want less gentrification, not more.

>> To eradicate these run-down areas of Palo Alto

"urban renewal" raises its ugly head again. Please do some research on the disastrous history of urban renewal before you start "to eradicate" other people's homes.

>> with new residential and commercial construction will pave the way for the future and enhance the overall appearance of Palo Alto at large!

The last thing we need is more ugly high-rises. If you want to build them in Mountain View, go ahead and make the developers happy-- they will be the real beneficiaries, not the citizens of Mountain View.


10 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Could Handle Much More Growth
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2019 at 6:34 pm

> There is a wide variety of different buildings in different states in those areas. I guess you have a problem with that? Look on Zillow. You think $2M+ houses in great repair are "dumps"?! Strange.

I can't speak for the other poster & his/her perceived derogatory remarks but a $2M 'fixer-upper' is not uncommon in Palo Alto.

And I've driven through that area. While some of the houses are definitely not 'dumps' others seem to show a genuine lack of care and pride on the part of the residents.

Maybe the neighborhood needs a homeowners association to help straighten things out.


11 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 24, 2019 at 6:39 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

It often helps me to put some numbers to a proposal in order to get perspective. So, suppose you were going to house 70K people on El Camino between Page Mill and San Antonio. What would it be like?

It's hard to know how tightly people would be willing to pack, but last time I checked, the average in Santa Clara County was about 2.3 people per apartment unit, and the Embarcadero Institute report on SB 50 says to allow 1500 sq ft per unit (which includes proportional shares of driveways, parking, stairways, hallways, etc.). Using those numbers, we'd need about 46M sq ft of apartments. To make them as affordable as possible, let's build them 5 stories tall, which is the least-expensive configuration per unit around here. That means we'd need about 9M sq ft of land.

From eyeballing the map, I'd guess it's about 2 miles between Page Mill and San Antonio on El Camino. Let's call it 11K feet.

So we'd need a two-mile-long strip of 5-story-high apartment buildings 830 feet wide.

Then there's traffic. From the Stanford GUP EIR section 5.15 I got some data about traffic at Page Mill and El Camino. Current level-of-service is "E" ("high delays and long queues"). As a result of Stanford's expansion alone, it's expected to reach "F" ("extreme congestion, very high delays, and long queues unacceptable to most drivers") even after mitigation measures have been taken. Caltrain is saturated, and their business plan says we can't count on substantial increase in capacity for 20 years or so, assuming funding for expansion can be found. I think it's a pretty good bet that this section of El Camino wouldn't be able to handle the traffic from another 70K residents, even if most of them use bicycles and buses.

A lot of this stretch of El Camino is already zoned in ways that allow housing to be built, but not much is under construction. SB 50 likely wouldn't change that, because its main effect in Palo Alto is to break up single-family neighborhoods. Depending on who you ask, that's for social-justice reasons, environmental reasons, or money-making reasons. But I don't think it would have much effect on El Camino.


17 people like this
Posted by Exploitation by the richest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2019 at 9:47 pm

It's just hilarious and sad that anyone thinks you can build to affordability here. Any capacity that brings things down even a little gets bargain hunting investors in. Things have never been easy or cheap here even in down cycles and articles have been written about the tendency of landlords to wait out vacancies rather than lower prices much in down markets. This notion is just a lever to build more which actually ends up raising prices as it had and is what has happened every expensive place that has densified like this.


5 people like this
Posted by Exploitation by the richest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2019 at 9:54 pm

Social justice to destroy what I any nonwealthy neighbors worked decades of our lives for? What hypocrisy to think low income are incapable of and disinterested in making it out so it's social justice to destroy us when we do.


5 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 25, 2019 at 9:33 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Just to keep in mind one of the real reasons there's so little affordable housing being built around here:

Web Link

"New Bay Area crown: Most expensive place to build in the world"

"The region eclipsed New York for the first time last year, and also outstripped London, Zurich and Hong Kong for the top spot. The average construction cost per square foot in the Bay Area is now $417, besting New York’s average of $368 per square foot."

"More than 80 percent of the new homes permitted in the last four years were priced at the top of the market, affordable only to residents in the top-quarter of all earners."

"High construction prices means higher costs for building new apartments, often driving up rents in new projects."


8 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 25, 2019 at 9:47 am

@Palo Alto Could Handle Much More Growth

You are shortsighted and ill-informed. The reason we have so many people living in trailers and motor homes on our streets is precisely because of over development of business and the fact that no sane developer will build below-market rate housing when they can rip off our infrastructure and make a fortune in the process. Service workers cannot afford to live here. Change does take some getting used to and one adapts. Just ask the residents of San Quentin.


8 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Could Handle Much More Growth
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2019 at 10:12 am

(1) This 'no more new housing' VS 'add new housing' debate/issue is basically a...

(a) A 'we were here first' mindset & want to keep things the way they were when we first arrived,
VS
(b) We now live & work in the area & close proximity housing is a necessity.

(2) Solution...there is no viable solution other than for the existing anti-development PA residents to cash-out on their overpriced PA homes and move to somewhere else where they can re-establish their dellusional visions of Vahalla, and for Palo Alto to eventually convert the less than desirable aforementioned neighborhoods to modern 21st century residential redevelopment (i.e. high-rise & mixed usage applications with underground parking).

As for the nicer & older Palo Alto neighborhoods...they will be maintained & preserved to some extent by the increasing numbers of wealthy overseas expatriates from China and the growing number of successful high-tech entrepreneurs from East India.

This will be the Palo Alto of 2075. It's already happening & beyond the nascent stage so get used to it.

Besides, many of the anti-development gripers will be gone by then so does it really matter to preserve someplace when you probably won't even around?

For those seeking a quiet respite from the emerging Palo Alto congestion & traffic gridlock, Alta Mesa will provide a viable escape.

The Millennials (18-36) are now the generation who will be calling the shots in the future with the added input of the (37-55) GenXers. The post-war Baby Boomers (56-73) with their self-serving 'forever young mentality' is growing old & eventually their feedback will be relegated to listening to senile babble.













21 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 25, 2019 at 10:58 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Even a 70,000 populations seems to be barely sustainable, and mega growth proponents refuse to even mention the environmental damage and the cost to upgrading the infrastructure(roads can't even be widened in this small town), upgrading water, gas and electricity. 140,000 is truly and insane idea only those completely ignorant of sustainable urban development can come up with. it is a laughable idea, and I doubt even many millennials would take it seriously, let alone raise a family in micro units in the nightmare Palo Alto would become.


2 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 25, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Look around. There is plenty of construction going on, the schools are packed: for those who can afford the price. Service workers must be paid more. I'm doing my best to knock hundreds of acres into development. Build, build, build like Tokyo. California's biggest problem is political. Rent control is a massively destructive force. Taxing the rich out of the state is a good way to have the rich go to other states. Demography, also is destiny.

George Drysdale land economist and intiator


12 people like this
Posted by Millennial Seeking PA Housing
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm

".. I doubt even many millennials would take it seriously, let alone raise a family in micro units in the nightmare Palo Alto would become."

The increased housing is for single Millennials. *duh*

When the time comes for raising a family, a 2BR 'micro' unit might suffice for the early years. After that, it's get the hell out of Palo Alto & let others assume these units. A good investment given the growth in local businesses.

Addendum...not every Millennial wants to have children or raise a family. People are getting married later in life now (if at all).


"Besides, many of the anti-development gripers will be gone by then so does it really matter to preserve someplace when you probably won't even around?"

Older people tend to cling to the past. Tomorrow frightens them to no end.


9 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 25, 2019 at 1:42 pm

^ Whatever your view of older people, justice will be served as you yourself grow older.


3 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 25, 2019 at 3:21 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Alert!! Beware, beware, we have NIMBY's living everywhere, and among us, but most noticeably in our beautiful single family home neighborhoods, where homeowners bought their homes many years ago, and for the same reasons they did and want their neighborhoods to be preserved and stay the same way as when they bought them. Okay...okay...now you have to beware of me also, because I am a member of the NIMBY clan. I'm friendly, tame, and docile, but have been labeled as a bad guy in my town because I didn't support the ADU initiative. It's seems to have been very popular initially...but let's wait a while and then see how much further it will go. Let's see, based on objective analysis, how it's being received in neighborhoods and how much further expansion in support of our housing shortage, it can carry, with the big hope that ADU's will play a big role in it. Is an ADU in every backyard the goal...except in Liz's and other well heeled and large home and property owner's backyards...far removed from the ones who they propose as being good candidates for it. Us folks south of Oregon Expressway seem to be stepping up to the bar pretty well.

I think this grand idea will reach a saturation point very soon. No marketing firm in this country would take on the task of convincing every homeowner to be an ADU provider. Game over...some neighborhoods adversely affected...but still no good solution to the housing shortage...other than to totally stop any more office space development. And how much of a total housing gain will ADU's add? We gave away a bunch on the Hotel President fiasco. Are ADU's enough to offset that giveaway?


2 people like this
Posted by The Golden Years
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2019 at 6:42 pm

We just worked out a nice living arrangement with the new Chinese purchasers of our house.

Five years ago we added an ADU but decided 'granny' (mother-in-law) would be better served in a rest home so we placed her there...against her wishes but no big deal.

The new owners have decided to let us remain in the ADU contingent on our selling our house to them at 20% below today's market listing.

Since we paid $40K for the house in 1965 this seemed like a good deal.

We received some major CASH upfront & now have a smaller dwelling to cover our housing needs for the next 15-20 years. After that it won't matter as we will probably be deceased.

Our new Chinese landlords were very accommodating and we are grateful for the new wealth that the Chinese are bringing into Palo Alto and surrounding communities.

They and the East Indians represent the future predominant demographics of Palo Alto and like the Ohlones, we are simply biding our remaining time on earth.


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Posted by @musical
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2019 at 7:09 pm

"^ Whatever your view of older people, justice will be served as you yourself grow older."

Not really "older people", just older Boomers.


1 person likes this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 26, 2019 at 10:44 am

According to Forbes half of the "big money" is buried somewhere. The Chinese are newcomers to the game of big money. Big money would love to invest in apartments in Silicon Valley, Seattle winner cities. Seattle has reached equilibrium as has Portland Oregon. Then, then rent control goes in in Oregon. Who did it? You cannot separate economics from politics. Chairman Chui out of San Francisco would be arrested in Washington state for a conspiracy to commit fraud. California government in action, destroying the motivation to build, build build. Did Palo Alto vote for the for the former mayor of San Francisco? Yes you did.

George Drysdale social studies teacher


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2019 at 11:45 am

Posted by Palo Alto Could Handle Much More Growth, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> As for the nicer & older Palo Alto neighborhoods...they will be maintained & preserved to some extent by the increasing numbers of wealthy overseas expatriates from China and the growing number of successful high-tech entrepreneurs from East India.

>> This will be the Palo Alto of 2075. It's already happening & beyond the nascent stage so get used to it.

>> Besides, many of the anti-development gripers will be gone by then so does it really matter to preserve someplace when you probably won't even around?

You are confusing the diversity of future residents with office space. What do I mean? Any variety of people from all over the world might live here, but, there is no necessity for building more office space. No need to Manhattanize. We don't want it, we don't need it. Let them build their skyscrapers someplace else.


2 people like this
Posted by PA= Small Potatoes
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2019 at 12:42 pm

> there is no necessity for building more office space. No need to Manhattanize. We don't want it, we don't need it. Let them build their skyscrapers someplace else.

This will never happen.

Besides, until Palo Alto is able to support an NFL/MLB/NHA/NBA professional sports team it will always be a SMALL city regardless of how many skyscrapers or high-rise dwellings line its streets.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2019 at 5:33 pm

Posted by PA= Small Potatoes, a resident of Barron Park

You are absolutely correct. Palo Alto is "Small Potatoes"-- might as well just ignore it, forget about it, and move on.

>> Besides, until Palo Alto is able to support an NFL/MLB/NHA/NBA professional sports team it will always be a SMALL city regardless of how many skyscrapers or high-rise dwellings line its streets.

Yup, always a SMALL city. Don't bother building skyscrapers; Palo Alto will never amount to anything. Go build your skyscrapers somewhere else.


8 people like this
Posted by Looking To Buy Into A High-Rise Apartment
a resident of University South
on Apr 26, 2019 at 5:43 pm

>>...always a SMALL city. Don't bother building skyscrapers; Palo Alto will never amount to anything. Go build your skyscrapers somewhere else.

WRONG. Palo Alto has become a BUSINESS COMMUNITY & requisite housing has become a vital necessity to house its increasing number of professional-level employees.

Many would not have a problem residing in a high-rise mixed usage building & if these dwellings are not being built on the street where you actually reside, what business/concern is it of yours?

As others have cited...there are some run-down neighborhoods in PA where newer buildings would actually be an improvement!


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2019 at 8:08 am

Posted by Looking To Buy Into A High-Rise Apartment, a resident of University South:

>> Many would not have a problem residing in a high-rise mixed usage building & if these dwellings are not being built on the street where you actually reside, what business/concern is it of yours?

We all have an interest in energy use, and waste. High-rise buildings typically are very wasteful of energy:

"Researchers at UCL's Energy Institute have found that electricity use, per square metre of floor area, is nearly two and a half times greater in high-rise office buildings of 20 or more storeys than in low-rise buildings of 6 storeys or less. Gas use also increases with height, by around 40%. As a result, total carbon emissions from gas and electricity from high-rise buildings are twice as high as in low-rise."

Web Link

High-rises are also -not necessary- to achieve moderate density, as has been documented many times here. But, from the report:

"A third part of the study looked at the relationship of different forms of building to their densities, where density is measured by taking the total floor area and dividing by the site area. The work has shown that, in many circumstances, the densities achieved by tall towers can be achieved with lower-rise slab or courtyard buildings. It is not always necessary to build tall to achieve high densities and energy use could, in many cases, be greatly reduced by building in different forms on fewer storeys."

High rises are also more expensive per square foot, creating -less affordable- housing and contributing to further gentrification.


8 people like this
Posted by A Separate Reality
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 27, 2019 at 9:34 am

A Separate Reality is a registered user.

People can debate these controversial residential options until the end of time & nothing will change for the better at this point...at least on the midpeninsula.

It's too late. Even Los Altos is getting overcrowded & the downtown area is now overly inundated with new office complexes. Whether one commutes or resides nearby, the die has already been cast.

All we can do now is remember the more desirable, less-congested times & try to move on with our lives.

That OR move away as many have already done. If you've lived here awhile & are a homeowner, chances are you will make a killing on your property. The Chinese from overseas are more than willing to purchase your home for cash & there are many high-tech East Indians moving into the nicer neighborhoods as well.

The residential SF Bay Area is becoming their turf and so be it as every dog has its day. It's now someone else's turn to settle here...including the disgruntled Millennials clamoring for more 'affordable' high-rise mixed use dwellings.

So be it. The Ohlones gave way to the Spanish & Mexicans who in turn lost their land grants to the white westward settlors and each period has had its own style of architecture.

Besides, no one lives forever so who cares?


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Posted by A Separate Reality, a resident of Los Altos

>> It's now someone else's turn to settle here...including the disgruntled Millennials clamoring for more 'affordable' high-rise mixed use dwellings.

There is no such thing. High-rise =/= affordable. Not anywhere, but, especially not in the Bay Area, construction costs are the highest in the world:

"New Bay Area crown: Most expensive place in the world to build"

"The Bay Area is the most expensive place in the world to build an apartment building, office tower, hospital, warehouse or school.

And it’s not even close — the region is 13 percent more costly to develop than second-place New York, according to a new report by UK-based consultant Turner & Townsend."

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Zhao
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 28, 2019 at 1:14 pm

>> Neighborhoods like the Barron Park/ECR & the East Meadow/Wilkie area could use a major face lift. They are dumps and not reflective of the upscale civic presentation most Palo Altans are proud of.

>> And I've driven through that area. While some of the houses are definitely not 'dumps' others seem to show a genuine lack of care and pride on the part of the residents.

Our real estate agent told us the same thing. Don't buy house there, pick something nicer and in a better Palo Alto neighborhood.

Makes sense. Why pay $2M+ for a fixer-upper?


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2019 at 7:59 pm

Posted by Zhao, a resident of Palo Alto Hills

>> Our real estate agent told us the same thing. Don't buy house there, pick something nicer and in a better Palo Alto neighborhood.

Even better: buy a house near Lynbrook High School. Higher average SATs than Gunn, according to this website: Web Link Easier to drive to so many jobs via Lawrence Expressway, 85, etc. Houses newer and a better value than Palo Alto.


22 people like this
Posted by Zhao
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 28, 2019 at 8:08 pm

> Even better: buy a house near Lynbrook High School. Higher average SATs than Gunn, according to this website: Web Link Easier to drive to so many jobs via Lawrence Expressway, 85, etc. Houses newer and a better value than Palo Alto.

We already reside in Palo Alto. No plans to relocate. Gunn High SATs are not an issue as my son goes to St. Francis.

Do you have something against Chinese people residing in Palo Alto?


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2019 at 8:54 pm

>> Do you have something against Chinese people residing in Palo Alto?

An odd non sequitur Web Link . We were talking about better real estate values. Palo Alto is not a better value, don't you agree? So, if that is your primary concern-- better look elsewhere.

I did not mention my own or anybody else's race, religion, or national origin. I'm perfectly happy for people of all racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to reside in Palo Alto. (And -ages-, BTW. I see all kinds of bare naked ageism in postings here.) I do enjoy -neighbors- who appreciate the uniqueness of Palo Alto.


20 people like this
Posted by Zhao
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 29, 2019 at 9:13 pm

>> We were talking about better real estate values. Palo Alto is not a better value, don't you agree?

It depends on how much money you have to spend. People with less money to spend buy a Toyota. People with more money to spend buy a Mercedes. Toyota is a better value but a MB is more enjoyable to drive.

Would you prefer that more Chinese people lived in San Jose rather than in Palo Alto?

Many do reside in San Jose but some Chinese prefer Palo Alto.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2019 at 8:16 am

Posted by A Separate Reality, a resident of Los Altos, on Apr 27, 2019 at 9:34 am

>> People can debate these controversial residential options until the end of time & nothing will change for the better at this point...at least on the midpeninsula.

I disagree. That's why we are debating.

>> It's too late.

"It's too late. Always has been, always will be…too late.”

>> Besides, no one lives forever so who cares?

"Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."

We see many things presented here as "facts" that are actually -preferences-. For example, high-rises are rearing their ugly heads again. High-rises are a -preference- that some wealthy people have. They are not, however, an affordable housing solution, and they are not necessary to achieve any reasonable density.

What I don't get is why people come here, are attracted to the tree-lined streets and bicycles, and then try to turn it into Manhattan. Just move somewhere where the -preference- for high-rises is "honored". Ride Caltrain to work. Please be aware that high-rises are usually serious energy wasters.


22 people like this
Posted by Zhao
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 30, 2019 at 9:06 am

> We see many things presented here as "facts" that are actually -preferences-.

You have it wrong. Preferences can be facts.


> ...move somewhere where the -preference- for high-rises is "honored". Ride Caltrain to work.

Is this not called San Antonio Road between El Camino Real and Alma Street? Obviously a preference and a fact.


> What I don't get is why people come here, are attracted to the tree-lined streets and bicycles, and then try to turn it into Manhattan.

Palo Alto will never become Manhattan because the local geography is different. This is a fact.


Though you recommend that fewer people reside in Palo Alto that is a preference and not a fact.

In any event, we are not planning to relocate from Palo Alto to San Jose though you might prefer that we do.






18 people like this
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 30, 2019 at 12:31 pm

>>I'm perfectly happy for people of all racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to reside in Palo Alto.

As long as they don't opt to reside in a high-rise mixed-used condo?

Or are from overseas?


17 people like this
Posted by Mark Rubin
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 30, 2019 at 2:30 pm

"Even better: buy a house near Lynbrook High School. Higher average SATs than Gunn, according to this website: Web Link Easier to drive to so many jobs via Lawrence Expressway, 85, etc. Houses newer and a better value than Palo Alto."

Then why don't you move to or live there rather than telling others to do so?

Are you of the 'we were here first' mentality?

That mindset doesn't cut it any more. Times have changed & the former majority residents are now becoming minority residents. Better get used to it. Money talks in this area.


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 30, 2019 at 2:34 pm

"Is this not called San Antonio Road between El Camino Real and Alma Street? Obviously a preference and a fact." Maybe, but it's not Palo Alto in fact.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Posted by Mark Rubin, a resident of Menlo Park

>> Then why don't you move to or live there rather than telling others to do so?

-I'm- not the one arguing for thinly-disguised -urban renewal- in less-than-gentrified Palo Alto neighborhoods. Web Link

>> Are you of the 'we were here first' mentality?

I'm of the "tree city" mentality.

>> Money talks in this area.

Thanks for making your viewpoint 100% clear. Don't be surprised if I ignore your preferences, just as you have vowed to ignore mine. In the meantime, I'm just here to debunk incorrect "pro-housing" arguments that the developer's advocates continue to post.


2 people like this
Posted by Have Your Cake & Eat It Too!
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2019 at 6:08 pm

"I'm of the "tree city" mentality."

Trees can be easily planted along the sidewalks next to high-rise/mixed-use dwellings!


"Times have changed & the former majority residents are now becoming minority residents. Better get used to it. Money talks in this area."

How true as many of the existing homes in Palo Alto will eventually be remodeled to accommodate extended families from overseas.

This equates to smaller front & back yards with more square-footage and multi-levels. It doesn't matter to the newer overseas residents whether this involves demolishing or adding on.

To many, interior living space takes precedence & once we sell our home, who cares what the new owners do with it?

So in some ways, there will be moderate 'high-rises' even in established PA residential neighborhoods and it's already occurring.

And once we move to Lincoln, what the new owners do is immaterial to us. If the so-called preservationist/tree people are against such a measure, then poll your resources & buy the house. Otherwise, It's the least of our concerns.