Around Town | July 5, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


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Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 5, 2013

Around Town

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION ... The Palo Alto City Council generally doesn't schedule meetings for late Friday afternoons, particularly during the week leading up to its summer vacation. Bob Moss, a land-use watchdog, said he hadn't seen a Friday meeting in his 45 years of following the local political scene. Yet that didn't stop Moss and a few other residents in Barron Park and Green Acres neighborhoods from going to City Hall to ask the council to reject a zone change for 567 Maybell Ave., which would enable 60 units of housing for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes. Not that the pleas had a chance. The council had already approved the project earlier in the month and the Friday hearing was for a "second reading," largely a formality. After minimal discussion, the council approved the project by a 7-0 vote, with Councilman Larry Klein and Councilwoman Liz Kniss registering their votes through the speakerphone. That, however, is not the end of the story. The council's decision to approve the proposal by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation has prompted a push for a referendum by residents opposing the densification of the former orchard site. In their notice to circulate the petition, project critics Rosemarie C. Dufresne, Kenneth D. Scholz and Ruth A. Lowy of the recently formed "Maybell Action Group" wrote: "The City Council's action establishes a bad land-use precedent and abandons the city's promise to preserve single-family neighborhoods. We support affordable senior housing provided for under existing zoning." The group now needs to collect 2,298 signatures to attempt to repeal the council's decision, according to City Clerk Donna Grider.

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