Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 27, 2012

Proposed downtown 'gateway' building hit with setback

Planning commissioners demand more 'public benefits' from developer of five-story building

by Gennady Sheyner

A looming tower made of glass and connected to a new five-story building could soon become one of the most prominent features of downtown Palo Alto if the development can muster up enough "public benefits" to justify its size and density.

If approved by the City Council, the new building would stand at the site formerly occupied by a Shell gas station, and the tower would be one of the first local landmarks to greet Caltrain commuters entering University Avenue. Originally proposed a year ago, the project has since become bigger and more ambitious, growing from four floors to five, adding nine apartments and incorporating the new tower element at the prominent corner of Alma Street and Lytton Avenue.

Under the proposal, the fifth floor of the 64-foot building would house 14 apartments, five of which would be affordable housing (though the applicants said they would be willing to make seven of the apartments affordable housing). The project would also include 1,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor (up from 800 square feet in the prior version) and office space on the ground, second, third and fourth floors. The idea, from the developer's perspective, is to attract cutting-edge startups and further enhance the city's reputation for innovation. Another objective is to give Caltrain commuters a prominent "gateway" into the city a goal that the 84-foot tower would help achieve.

"The main intent of the tower element is for aesthetic purposes and to help identify the mixed-use building as a landmark for downtown Palo Alto," city Planner Jason Nortz wrote in a report on the project. "The mixed-use building is intended to serve as a promenade entry to downtown beginning with the crosswalk from the University Avenue."

The city's Planning and Transportation Commission held its third hearing on the project Wednesday night. After a wide-ranging discussion that lasted longer than four hours and stretched past midnight, the commission once again requested revisions from the applicant. The commission voted 6-1, with Vice Chair Susan Fineberg dissenting, to send the project back to the drawing board, despite recognition from several commissioners that the project is perfect for the site. The applicants had already acceded to prior suggestions from various commissioners to add height, include more affordable housing and increase the retail space. The earlier version of the project had four stories, three units of affordable housing and 800 square feet of retail.

Commissioners said Wednesday that the project still doesn't offer enough "public benefits" an ambiguous requirement that developers must satisfy to get the city's approval for a "planned community" (PC) zone. The zoning designation allows developers to exceed the city's regulations in exchange for negotiated benefits. Commissioner Arthur Keller argued that the building owners should offer Caltrain and VTA passes to all residents. Commissioner Samir Tuma advocated requiring the building to include below-market-rate commercial space (in addition to the affordable-housing units). Commissioner Greg Tanaka said the project should include more parking and suggested that the developers make the building's parking spaces available to the public.

After hours of discussion and disagreement among commissioners about what types of benefits the developer should provide, Commissioner Daniel Garber appeared frustrated by the increasing demands of his colleagues. He and Planning and Community Environment Director Curtis Williams both said that the proposal is consistent with the City Council's push to encourage more dense developments near transit hubs. The council had previously directed staff to allow projects to exceed the city's 50-foot height limit if they are located near Caltrain stations a policy aimed at promoting walking and use of public transit to relieve traffic congestion. The building's location across from the Caltrain station is also a leading reason for why the League of Women Voters and the Sierra Club both submitted letters in support of the project. Neighboring property owners also attended Wednesday's hearing to urge approval.

"It is one of the prime sites for redevelopment immediately adjacent to transit," Williams told the commission. "If not here, then where would we do it?"

Garber agreed and argued that the project is perfect for the proposed site at 355 Alma St. The building's size, he said, is exactly what the city is trying to encourage around train stations.

"I find it somehow astounding that we keep trying to find other things to add on to this," Garber said. "We're just piling on."

"I'm finding myself very frustrated with the fact that we have a project that's done everything we wanted it to do, and it doesn't seem like there's any consensus around it," he added. "I'm astounded by it."

Chair Eduardo Martinez agreed with Garber that higher density should be encouraged near transit but argued that there is an imbalance between the benefits to the developer and to the public.

Fineberg argued that the applicant didn't follow the commission's prior instructions to come back with more benefits.

"We as a body asked you to come back with substantive public benefits, and it didn't happen," Fineberg said. "We're making lots of additional suggestions tonight."

The commission agreed that the developer doesn't need to make any more changes to the building's design. When the application returns, the focus of the discussion will be solely on public benefits.

If the city doesn't approve the PC zone, the developer would have the option of building a standard two-story commercial building at the site under the existing zoning.

Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2012 at 6:28 am

The Planning and Transportation Commission was not voted in by the residents of Palo Alto. It is appointed. Over the years the Commission's requests, demands, and requirements get more outlandish and ridiculous. (Note the public benefit sign in the vegetation across from Ming's!! and the mini-mini-park on High Street). Over the years the P&C allowed the new Walgreen's, the in-your-face Cheesecake Factory, and other architectural monstrosities. It is time to take a hard look at this 'citizen's committee' and put the brakes on it. This one in particular has 'big' ego problems. . Who ARE these commissioners and WHAT is their expertise? Does Santa Barbara have problems like this?


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 26, 2012 at 6:38 am

Wait, Kate, this is just the beginning of the saga. Doesn't the Architectural Review Board have to look at it either--they are known for nitpicking projects to death. And of course certain members of our council will want to make sure that the building is "artistic" and "aesthetically pleasing".


Posted by rem, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:40 am

rem is a registered user.

One WORD - DISAPPROVED


Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

Daniel Mart is a registered user.

Get the public involved for once! The Walgreen's building is an eyesore (the ugliest building I've ever been in) ... the "new" Lytton Plaza sucks ... the new fountain for CA Avenue is completely out-of-place ... etc, etc.

For many years, there has been an enormous amount of dis-trust toward Palo Alto government.

If you want to know why, look around. And compare what you see now vs photos from a few decades ago.

And then go up the road from University Avenue to Downtown Menlo Park; to see how a city is supposed to be run.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:55 am

Please distinguish between the Planning and Transportation Commission and the Architectural Review Board. You could look it up.


Posted by Jo Ann, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

The wonderful old Shell station offered more public benefits.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

Time for change. As a future neighbor I welcome the proposed building. A significant upgrade and one fitting our downtown area.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

"Please distinguish between the Planning and Transportation Commission and the Architectural Review Board. You could look it up."
Re-read my post--both commissions/boards have to approve the building before it goes to the council. Not sure which goes first and why, but they both need to okay the structure.

"The Walgreen's building is an eyesore (the ugliest building I've ever been in) ... the "new" Lytton Plaza sucks ... the new fountain for CA Avenue is completely out-of-place ... etc, etc."
Thanks for your input Daniel. Every is entitled to an opinion.
How are things at the Palo Alto Bowl--oh wait--you helped drive it away.


Posted by Big and ugly, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

I agree:"The Walgreen's building is an eyesore (the ugliest building I've ever been in) ... the "new" Lytton Plaza sucks ... the new fountain for CA Avenue is completely out-of-place."
Sterile and lacking in imagination or a sense of place.


Posted by Easy Going PA resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

@Daniel Mart in Mountain View-what is the status of our new fountain on California Ave.? This Palo Alto resident wants to know.

A fountain by a famous artist was approved by the art commission about 5 years ago. But their decision was disapproved by city council & the artist was chosen to do the piece at the new library.

That was when water was still in the existing fountain. For the past 5 years or more, it's been slowly falling apart, and held up by metal supports.

I not only live in Palo Alto but I walk by the "fountain" area, every day to get to the train.

Last I heard, the art commission held a public contest for a new fountain. The vote was a close call and the art commission chose a piece and sent their nominee to council, for a vote. But it sits, undecided. The existing fountain continues to be dry, and crumbling.

Do people like you (in Mountain View) want a fountain that's falling apart with no water in it for California Ave? Do you want Palo Alto to continue to be second-fiddle to your own state of the art Castro Street, a bustling business area from early morning to the wee hours?

Your community is on its second round of remodeling, having enjoyed the benefits of the first round of renovations done what, in the 1990's? Your city council can make decisions. California Ave. remains stuck in the 1950's.

California Ave. needs a fountain. Summer is coming and it's time to see water. The artists fountain from 5 years ago would have been good. The public vote and the art commission's nominee choices would be good. Even another birdbath fountain would be good.

Just bring water. It's depressing to walk by that area day after day. Please council: stop micromanaging, and to Daniel - how about scrutinizing Mountain View?


Posted by ego-oriented development, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

There is a tendency to think "oh those poor developers" here , but they can go ahead and build within the exisitn gzoning. Only becasue they seek to profit by adding revenue-generating density through a PC designation are they required to jump through hoops. In my book this is a vanity project (soon to be followed by more north on Alma) that, unless the occupants are required to use public transit, will just add more congestion and a higher jobs-to-housing ratio, and a resulting increase in ABAGs already ridiculous housing targets. Any evidence whatsoever that transit oriented develeopment in Palo Alto has a meaningfully lower level of car use to justify city giveaways and expenses?


Posted by commonsense, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Well what is it "for profit" or "vanity project"? It can't be both. By the way, all real estate developers are not evil and the risks they take are extraordinary. Many have lost everything on "sure things."


Posted by Tina Peak, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Great. Yet another ridiculously huge building that only benefits the developers by allowing them much more square footage (read money) than they are entitled to under current zoning. They are allowed to build a reasonable two story building but if it is rezoned PC then the "sky (literally) is the limit". And the city bureaucrats want it because they apparently pride themselves on smothering Palo Alto with huge "cutting edge", "modern" structures so when they move on to their next job they can point to all that they "accomplished" while at this job. No one in the city cares about the current residents who have no place to park, can't drive or bike down the overcrowded and rutted streets, have seen our schools become grossly overcrowded, and have to live in the shadow of these monstrosities. We don't need this building at all. Make it two stories and end the over-development craze. No more PC!


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

This building will be approved soon. Its developer knows how to handle the natives. He could paste some toy cars around the entry, like he did at his 390 Lytton building, and watch our civic leaders swoon agog over the uniquely extravagant public benefit like they did then. Or he could be more direct and lavish cash on the campaigns of commissioners who want to become councilmembers. Our government can be very eagerly gullible when given the right incentives.


Posted by ego-oriented development, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Re: Well what is it "for profit" or "vanity project"?
For gross profit for the developers, vanity for the city leaders. What is the count of new office commuters vs residents in this "planned community"? Is a market really a needed public benefit and why subsidize it? AF Ferrari was a market and consumers did not support it. The reasons the Commission is all over the map is because t does not make sense. The City cannot even give you a list of the "public benefits" we have received over the many PCs that have been granted, let alone enforce them. Ask the Planning Department. Did you know that Caffe Riace is a PC public benefit as is the outdoor seating at 800 High for St Michaels Alley, both of which I believe net the owner higher lease income for the benefits use by private entities? Gateway? I remember a past council member calling a building on E. Bayshore near Ming's a "gateway to the Baylands", and worthy of special attention. Have you ever been to that ugly mixed-office area?


Posted by Linda, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

It's ugly ! You can do better ! Amenities - some local low scale and creative and delicious eateries would be nice (AKA San Francisco ; Portland). Perhaps a truck food alley !! A cafe outdoor seating that's NOT right next to a high traffic road or parking lot. That would be nice !


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

PLEASE do not construct this building. This is a huge building for a small area. At least in SF, builders are mandated by law to have significant public plazas/garden spaces. The height of the building is a real issue. And, yes, the Cheesecake Factory should NEVER have been approved. It makes one wonder whose palm was greased...


Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

There are a group of middle-aged men who are developers and are having a contest to see who can exceed the zoning laws by the greatest margin vertically and leave the tallest monument to themselves. So at the very least -- if it is too much to ask council and commissioners to think about the other 59,000 of us residents -- then I'd like to see some lady developers get up and on it and in the mix.

Or sometimes a tower is just a tower?


Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm

My other problem with Gen's story is that it does not name the applicant. In fact, if you read staff report, applicant seems to be a LLC like a shell organization with consultants and a figure head perhaps -- a recent MBA -- and apropos of the growing dialogue about whether a small group of people have too much sway and game all downtown development, I would like to see something with a little more sunshine in terms of reporting.

And speaking of sunshine, it looks like the "daylight plane" of the building is problematic. This is way too big for what is a residential area. Not enough parking. He says "consistent with the City Council's push to encourage more dense developments near transit hubs. The council had previously directed staff to allow projects to exceed the city's 50-foot height limit if they are located near Caltrain stations -- a policy aimed at promoting walking and use of public transit to relieve traffic congestion"

but I think that is just a smokescreen for greed, greed, greed and lack of leadership in terms of standing up for Palo Altans who live here versus those who profit off of us.

Greener than densely building near CalTrain is to build less. Reduce, reuse, recycle, How about a little park there at Alma and Lytton? Go and build near HSR Fresno.




Posted by Gail, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Who are the developers/owners of the proposed Shell Station development? I'd like to know their names. Anyone know?? The developers think they are going to pull a fast one on the citizens of Palo Alto and get this monster building approved. It reminds me of the ugly highrise on Univesity, which is way too tall. Can you imagine the rents they will reap from such a tall, out of place building. If this gets approved, we'll all know that some PA city employee got paid off.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm

As usual, we are being shown a lovely artists impression of a building, with lovely trees, beside a street with an occasional car and some happy pedestrians strolling near.

The reality is that this big building is much too close to the street. (The setback in the headline has nothing to do with the setback from the street - important to see that the building does not appear to have a setback from the architectural point of view). The trees will not have space to grow into the size in the sketch because of space for roots, branches, and questionable amounts of soil, water and light. The road will have many more cars than shown and many more pedestrians moving in both directions in a hurry to catch trains or get to work on time passing on a narrow sidewalk with cars speeding by and probably bicycles on the sidewalk too!

The picture looks lovely. The reality is that the wool is being pulled over our eyes again and it will look just like the other ugly buildings we have all over town. Please give us a realistic picture of what this would look like.


Posted by anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm


"Lytton Gateway LLC — which consists of Boyd Smith, Lund Smith and Scott Foster, with consultant Jim Baer of Premier Properties "

Per PA Weekly story in July.
Web Link

Over the years, Mr. Baer has turned up as a consultant for developments from one end of Palo Alto to another... the JCC, the PA Bowl replacement hotel/townhouses, this project...


Posted by Big and ugly, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm

The story perpetuates the wrong building height. It was pointed out last night that the building is EIGHTY FOUR feet high. Parts of it are lower, 64 feet.
PS What Jim Baer wants, Jim Baer gets. That's why the big money boys hire him. What do we need a city council for, they and the architects, are subservient to him.


Posted by Aghast, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

It has become apparent that Palo Alto city management and its committees are completely disfunctional. It's hard to tell whether the quality of planning is the result of bribery or idiocy.
Just take a look:
Charleston Avenue is a mess.
A horrible auto showroom-like building currently now occupies the untenanted site in the 3000-block of Middlefield Avenue.
The previously mentioned cheezy Cheesecake Factory.
The proposed "improvement" of California Avenue.
Etc., etc., etc.
Beyond idiocy is the ego fulfillment of committee members. No matter what a builder proposes, it will be subject to the death-of-a-thousand-cuts. By the time a proposal has the necessary imprimatur it will no longer make sense financially or esthetically. I think there's only one answer: vote all of the bastards out!!!
Let's have a clean sweep of entrenched city management and start over!


Posted by Rod, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

Boyd Smith joins important boards in Palo Alto, so he can gain influence that will help push through all his commercial real estate projects. I hope the city won't be intimidated by him. His latest project is grossly too big for downtown Palo Alto. Shame on him and shame on Palo Alto if they approve this building.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

Is there any point in Palo Altans saying it is not what we want, because they will do it anyway? We had similar reservations about the JCC, Elks Club, Alma Plaza, - too big for a building right beside the street. We don't want such tall buildings without setbacks right beside the street. It is claustrophobic and ugly. The artists' impression gives a false impression of what the finished building will look like in reality.

Is anyone going to listen to us?


Posted by anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

and the hotel set to replace the PA Bowl will be the same thing.. a multi story building just feet from the street.

Theoretically that type of placement is supposed to encourage interaction with pedestrians. Sure hasn't worked out that way thus far. But that is what the city planners and zoning guidelines require these days.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm

The move to scale down new bldgs. is inconsistent in PA ---why didn't the citizens fight the megahouse-zoning in the hills! Answer: because they wanted it.

The previous post that observes "It has become apparent that Palo Alto city management and its committees are completely disfunctional" didn't go far enough. The town AND its populace are disfunctional.

Can PA elect, or hire, anyone it actually likes? Oh....I forgot....PA wants to cut the pay for the people it hires.


Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 28, 2012 at 4:14 am

Here is an archive about Boyd Smith, by Jay Thor; I think it says that, at least as of 2002, they also own Fry's, the land.
Web Link

I will stand by my previous post about the phallic nature of their work, and who is the biggest.

Of course, at El Camino Park we have a big whole in the ground; but the common denominator is: who makes money off all this digging, pouring concrete, cutting down trees, building -- this is like Winchester Mystery House. What about quiet enjoyment?


Posted by Linda, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

What we need around the train stations are shuttles for all the local neighborhoods ! We have a few to a few industrial parks but they don't go thru key neighborhood spots to cater to people needing to take the train to work from here to San Francisco, San Jose ETC. We need that way more than this project !! It's difficult to all day near a station!!! More regional cooperation needed !


Posted by JT, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 29, 2012 at 12:43 am

After seeing what Jim Baer got away with when he developed the new JCC in South Palo Alto, everybody should keep a close eye on this project. The JCC was massively out of scale for the neighborhood, and he's going to get away with the same thing here if we don't watch out.


Posted by Big and uglyf, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 29, 2012 at 12:46 am

Can you believe that the housing advocates from the local League of Women Voters spoke in favor of the project? and the single member of the Sierra chapter, q housing advocate, did too.
I can remember when these organizations had the respect of the community. Now they are adjuncts to the Chamber of Commerce developers. Their members are not familiar with the projects they support. Sad, sad.


Posted by Gordon, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Despite the negativity expressed in many comments above, I live in this neighborhood hope this gets built! If we're going to have high density anywhere, it might as well be next to the train station. Still, I hope they don't actually write "Next Big Thing" atop the tower.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Jan 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

I agree with Gordon. I live and work nearby. I think the debate on public benefits is legitimate but, aside from that, I like the project and do not think I have the right to criticize the looks of buildings any more than I suspect most residents would want other Palo Altans to tell them how to remodel their house as long as the laws are being obeyed.


Posted by Big and ugly, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Don't have a right to criticize a development that requires city approval? We need to be polite to millionaire profiteers at the public's expense, who lie about the size of the structure and lie about the Public Benefits they are supposed to supply in order to get the millions of dollars they reap from the rezoning?
That's a shocking defense of corruption in my opinion.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Jan 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

My statement was an "I" statement--not to tell anyone else what to think or do. Read it again

I like the project and do not think I have the right to criticize the looks of buildings any more than I suspect most residents would want other Palo Altans to tell them how to remodel their house as long as the laws are being obeyed.

And it was about the look of the building not all the zoning issues. And yes I do believe I do not have the right to tell people what color to paint their building or to change how it looks if I think, for example, it is big and ugly as long as the laws are being obeyed.

Other people are, of course, entitled to their opinion as long as they are willing for it to be applied back to them.


Posted by Dee Vel Oper, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2012 at 2:39 am

Jim Baer, Chop Keenan, Roxy Rapp - these three know Palo Alto cold. They're nice guys, and they know how to work the ropes. We're in Round 1, and so far the only competition is a bunch of whiners and obsessive anti-development types in the Palo Alto forums.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

"After seeing what Jim Baer got away with when he developed the new JCC in South Palo Alto"
What did Jim Bae get away with? Wasn't the JCC project vetted bu committees, boards and the council? Are you saying that Baer proposed one thing and built something totally different.

"The JCC was massively out of scale for the neighborhood"

What neighborhood??? The JCC is surrounded by businesses, industrial areas, gas station etc.

No matter what is built in the city--some people will spend their time constantly bashing it.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

<<No matter what is built in the city--some people will spend their time constantly bashing it.>>

Not so. I really like the new basketball court on Fabian instead of Kiki's/Palo Alto Joes and also the replacement building for the gas station on Middlefield beside the Winter Lodge. They are both fine buildings with pleasant setbacks which are improvements on what was there before. Shame that the new building on Middlefield has no tenants, but that is another debate.


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm

"If we're going to have high density anywhere, it might as well be next to the train station."

Why? That just increases the traffic congestion, pollution, and carbon footprint for the streets near the train station. What's the gain in that?


Posted by German Ulloa, a resident of Atherton
on Jan 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm

What I see of the most importance is... neighbors WANT better constructions, and any community efforts aned ideas need to be listen, not for the fun of it, but for empowering the Palo Alto future right away.


Posted by Big and ugly, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

ARB architect Judith Wasserman said the building would be beautiful.
She also testified to the City Council that the JCC building would be beautiful. She particularly liked its tower. Minor problem: when she said it, the tower had not yet been designed.
Wasserman also praised the beauty of 800 High Street before it was built.

Not everyone's conception of a beautiful building will be the same as Wasserman's. But then again, we don't make a living off of developers.


Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Would really like to see these developments go underground rather than above ground. The JCC dropped the ball when it had the opportunity. We see massive basements being added to homes throughout the community, no reason commercial developments can't go well underground in the same manner.

As for the public benefits, they are largely a joke. Next time you shop at Whole Foods, try using the public parking spaces which were included as a public benefit for the High street project. Door access to the street is locked, the only way for a non-resident to access the lot is to use the narrow car ramp. Residents will question you as to why you are parking in their building.


Posted by anon, a resident of Monroe Park
on Feb 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm

As much as I detest the look of the JCC, it couldn't have been partially underground ... the water table is too high that close to the bay.


Posted by Public Benefits disappear, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

There were supposed to be 63 public parking spots under 800 High.That was the public benefit and there was huge publicity for it to help the local parking shortage. Steve Emslie, now assistant City Manager, negotiated that agreement.
Where are they?


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