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Why Not Help Save The Last Orchard in Palo Alto?

Original post made by Margo Davis, Barron Park, on Sep 25, 2013


"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone." Henry David Thoreau

"There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall." Robert Frost

I am a photographer who has been teaching and working at Stanford and living in Palo Alto since 1972: 41 years in a city I love, more years than I have spent anywhere else in my life. I co-authored, The Stanford Album, A Photographic History 1886-1946. The first chapter describes the area when Leland Stanford Junior University was founded. It was "set among wild grainfields and paddocks".

Now known as Silicon Valley, it was formerly referred to as "the Valley of the Heart's Delight" because of the myriad fruit orchards and flowering trees. One of the last orchards around is the Palo Alto Orchard on Maybell Avenue, last owned by an Italian family. With their permission, I was able to harvest beautiful Blenheim apricots every July to make preserves and chutney.

The destiny of this 2.4 acre orchard with about 100 trees is currently being determined. Originally, all the land in our entire region were family orchards. Many of us would like to save this historic last orchard in our town and develop a heritage orchard and visitor center.
Before the Hewletts and the Packards, before the Jobs and the Andreessens forged Silicon Valley, this area was abundant with lush fruit orchards surrounded by foothills. The transition to a valley of chip manufacturers has been rapid, almost too rapid to avoid the total erasing of our past. Change is, for sure, inevitable and progress occasionally moves us forward. But, it is also destroying us. As our own Wallace Stegner has so eloquently written in his Wilderness Letter of Dec 3, 1960:

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste….

I urge everyone to read his entire memorable letter so poignant from our perspective of 2013:

Web Link

The orchards were man-made and replaced much of the wilderness that Stegner refers to. But looking back from our contemporary concrete jungle to the millions of acres of orchards with flowering fruit trees that was this land, we now pray for any garden of green in almost any form to provide relief from the asphalt and the cement. And, it behooves us to preserve a part of that history.

Why not memorialize this legacy by keeping the Palo Alto Orchard as an orchard of trees instead of an orchard of houses?

It is painful to see our communities morph into cookie-cutter cities without a shred of their singular past. It is painful to read Stegner and understand that what he was trying to prevent is already overwhelming us…in Palo Alto and many other towns around. It should be possible to move forward to meet the needs of our citizens for shelter, to be attentive to the needs of our seniors, and still hold on to features that cherish our history and preserve our aesthetics. Sadly, it seems that developments are erasing our natural environment and these links to the valley's history.

Why not keep the Maybell orchard as a community orchard of apricot trees and other stone fruit trees with a small center about the agricultural history of this valley? -- the same idea that frames the Pearson Arastradero Preserve with its center about the area's wildlife or something similar to the heritage orchards in Saratoga and Los Altos. As residents of Palo Alto we must take control of our town and legacy and plan for the kind of development WE want.

This idea would extend the Juana Briones Park and be so educational for all the schools, some seven, that are within a very few miles of its location. Our children should understand their own legacy and appreciate the agricultural heritage that is here, that belongs to the entire State of California as well. In understanding the deep roots of the orchards, we can connect more passionately to the history of our land and thus add more continuity to our lives.

Margo Davis




Comments (38)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

Have you driven on the 280? We have plenty of trees and forests here, but a desperate shortage of affordable housing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Enid Pearson
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:17 am

Margo Davis has a truly environmental proposal. But first we need to defeat Measure D. Say no to the intense development the City has proposed which will destroy the orchard she speaks so eloquently about. Developments are being proposed in Palo Alto that will have huge impacts on the livability of our city. As dense multi-family housing is built, more parks will become mandatory to maintain Palo Alto's great residential quality. Rows of multiple housing have been built in south Palo Alto and not one acre of new park land was required to offset the influx of the expected new populationl. Our current park facilities (those within biking and walking distance) will become inadequate and over crowded. This is surely not what any resident wants for our city. To defeat Measure D and add the orchard to Juana Briones Park would be fitting for "green" Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

"We have plenty of trees and forests here, but a desperate shortage of affordable housing."

Especially in Old Palo Alto which, to my knowledge, has none. It's time for that 'hood to step up to the plate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I'd like to see a small heritage orchard kept. 2.4 acres isn't going to make a big difference when it comes to affordable housing. Indeed, the city has problems servicing the population boom it's already had--heavy traffic, overcrowded schools and no end in sight.

Green space matters--it's good for our sanity. And this is one of the best places in the world for growing apricots and plums.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by It's the $, Stupid
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The land is so valuable and the housing shortage so severe that it simply must be turned into housing. Perhaps the homes can be built around some of the orchard trees.

Blame the parents of the Boomers, who did not use birth control, for all the overcrowding.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm

We have a choice between quality of life and quantity of life. The basest biological instincts and profit motives favor the latter; in the end there is often neither.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Knight
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Until the 1960s the Santa Clara Valley was the largest fruit production and packing region in the world, with 39 canneries. Is there anyone living in or visiting the area who would know this from the current physical landscape? We would not call the area "the Valley of the Heart's Delight" anymore, not with cars parked on our freeways at rush hour and development pouring more and more concrete on the land. Why not keep 2.4 acres of fruit trees for those who might otherwise not know the meaning of "orchard" to the Valley.


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Posted by save us from this
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Because the land is worth like $30 million dollars that's why. It's literally insane to talk about maintaining a farm on some of the most valuable land on earth. Is the owner supposed to forego $1.5 million in income on the $30M per year so that the residents of PA can "know the meaning of 'orchard'"? What on earth are people thinking? I suppose it is easy to think about how we should just have an orchard if it costs you nothing -- yes I think that someone else who owns this land should just keep it a farm -- in the middle of Palo Alto -- because I would really like a farm across the street rather than low-income housing. All those old poor seniors should just go to Redwood City or anywhere they should go away. Palo Alto is for young, rich people and their vanity fantasy farm.

If you want a farm, move to Woodside. Oh, wait, you can't afford Woodside. But you would like someone else to subsidize that experience for you.

Now I have heard everything.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I believe Ms Knight was implicitly suggesting the city buy the orchard and dedicate it as a park. I totally support that idea; providing neighborhood open space is an essential, albeit blithely neglected, function of our city government. Our blind impulse to pack in population must be balanced by a program to acquire all possible park land.

Or do you advocate converting all our existing parks to high density housing for seniors and low income tenants?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Some responses here are rather bizarre. Land's valuable here, but $30 million for unimproved acreage?

Housing for seniors? Okay, let's get real--the whole housing-for-seniors thing is a developer boondoggle around here. Most of the seniors around here *own* their own homes and don't feel like moving into a condo next to a freeway. It's a way for developers to get high-density projects approved without having to deal with school-overcrowding issue (and be assessed accordingly)

There's no huge demand for senior housing here. The people who want to move to Palo Alto are A) families who want their kids in the district and B) people who work in the area. The big exception would be the seniors in the mobile home park.

And NO the demand for housing here and its high cost is NOT about the population boom. There's *plenty* of housing in this country. The demand's fed by the tech industry and the wealth it generates and, lately, by overseas investors--specifically, the Chinese who are looking for someplace to park their cash before the Chinese real-estate bubble bursts.

Open space and heritage orchards are something that would benefit the *entire* community. And, no, nothing about the OP's comment implies that the landowners are supposed to just give the land away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2013 at 1:19 am

I'm with Margo Davis here.
(And not merely because Stegner was my neighbor for 20 years...okay, I'm exaggerating in that I was oblivious to his work for much of that period and met him three times towards the end of his life, but he did sign my copy of "Crossing to Safety" "To my neighbor"...)

There's also a recent book about the orchards of Santa Clara Valley I picked up at Bell's Books, and the book by Ms.Yvonne Jacobson nee Olson from a few years ago. Robin Chapman,
Web Link
And
Web Link

Plus, see also George Packer comments on changes here... "The Unwinding..." -- reviewed in these vary pages last week.

But first get the word out on Measure D as a referendum on "planned community zoning" or on current bad leadership...AGAINST D / NO ON D

Of course I don't have the $30 million either but Foundations do, or people can make smaller contributions towards buying the land, or POST can maybe do it. (And I do have a track record of suggesting moon-shot take-backs from the maws of capital, like buying 209 Hamilton and reverting it to artist studios, or 456 University as a performance space...)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2013 at 1:19 am

I'm with Margo Davis here.
(And not merely because Stegner was my neighbor for 20 years...okay, I'm exaggerating in that I was oblivious to his work for much of that period and met him three times towards the end of his life, but he did sign my copy of "Crossing to Safety" "To my neighbor"...)

There's also a recent book about the orchards of Santa Clara Valley I picked up at Bell's Books, and the book by Ms.Yvonne Jacobson nee Olson from a few years ago. Robin Chapman,
Web Link
And
Web Link

Plus, see also George Packer comments on changes here... "The Unwinding..." -- reviewed in these vary pages last week.

But first get the word out on Measure D as a referendum on "planned community zoning" or on current bad leadership...AGAINST D / NO ON D

Of course I don't have the $30 million either but Foundations do, or people can make smaller contributions towards buying the land, or POST can maybe do it. (And I do have a track record of suggesting moon-shot take-backs from the maws of capital, like buying 209 Hamilton and reverting it to artist studios, or 456 University as a performance space...)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2013 at 1:35 am

Actually maybe concurrent to AGAINST D could be Margo Davis and her fellow travelers fleshing out the idea of an initiative to promote PALO ALTO ORCHARD idea, perhaps with a colorful outreach campaign. What comes to mind is Howard Gossage and Jerry Mander's work with and for David Brower in the 1960s, about National Parks:

Web Link

I've been loosely AGAINST D for months but only recently saw the site for the first time and not until 10 minutes ago did the significance of the fruit blossom so to speak.

Independent of the actual campaign (i.e the one for which Tim Gray is treasurer), nothing prevents citizens from articulating their desires and visions.

Mark Weiss
refugee from the ad industry



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Anderson
a resident of Woodside
on Sep 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

The question is, why would we not want to save an orchard space? As a realtor I often see developments created with total disregard to future generations and the preservation of the beauty that has made this area special. Remember once this development is completed it can not be reversed. There are other sites available that in my opinion would be better candidates, sites that involve improving existing developed sites instead of removing a beautiful natural site enjoyed and appreciated by neighbors and residents of the neighboring towns.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm


"Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

Cree proverb, quoted today by Greenpeace activist Kumi Naidoo on the Bill Moyers show on PBS and KQED


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Right idea, wrong location
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Orchards only have a limited lifetime. The current one needs to make way for development. Instead we should fund a proper community orchard somewhere more accessible and where it's overbuilt so the community gets the greatest benefit. The best location would be with the removal of Macarthut Park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ok
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Come up with the money and buy it. I do not support the city buying it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Geenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 30, 2013 at 2:14 am

@ok
The City already bought it. The $15 million came from public money from the City and County. Alright, I understand that they moved on buying the property, but they should have then held a public process to decide the land use, especially since so much was the Stanfrd funds which the Council spoke about buildng another path over 101 with.

The property was $15 million, not $30million, and it has 4 ranch houses along one end that could be renovated lavishly for probably $600,000, to sell for 10million, especially if some more land was added to their yards and they were for sure going to have an orchard in back. That leaves $5million for the orchard, which is cheap as these things go.

There are $40million in the Standford funds for just such visionary projects. If the City were to even put up half from the Stanford funds, a small faction of the total, not much more than they are spending to gussy up City Chambers more than they already are, the neighbors could raise the rest. And it saves that location as a low traffic use.

People forget that ths neighborhood already has more affordable housing developments than any other residential neighbrhood. I don't say that out of resentment, I say that because we include affordable housing, and understand that is a bad location for a dense development. I also say it because the only other location with as much affordable housing developments, downtown, also has City Hall, Lucie Stern Community Center, Lucie Stern Theatre, the Children's Theatre, the Children's Museum and Zoo, the Main Library, the Downtown Library, the Children's Library, the Bowling Green, Rinconada Park, Gamble Gardens, Rinconada swimming pool, the children's wading pool (awesome place!), Avenidas, the Art Center, nearby, the golf course, Rinconada tennis courts - do I go on?

We have Juana Briones Park and Bol Park. And the City would have put an electric substation where Juana Briones Park is if neighbors hadn't fought it off and gotten it placed in a more appropriate location near El Camino. That's it. We used to have a (private) bowling alley, but now it's a dense ugly development.

We aren't even really on the same side of town as Mitchell Park, having to cross El Camino, the railroad tracks, and Alma to get there. One time when Maybell was blocked for street work, it took me 45 minutes to drive there - (too bad I needed the car, it would have been a faster walk)!

The point is, why are we chopped liver? Our taxes help support all those things in other areas of town. What is wrong with expecting the Council to invest in a public asset over here, especially since our code has an open space requirement and our side of town has had so much development without that being met? The orchard was purchased with public money. The real estate agent above is right, there are better sites for such development, they do come up for sale, and the City never engaged in a search for them with PAHC. Although frankly, I think Measure D should be defeated and they should put the money into saving the mobile home park, in the same neighborhood. That money added to the $14.5 million the neighbors have would be a competitive offer, and the city and county would own an asset that they could develop or sell later, but in the meantime, instantly save over 400 low-income residents who are longtime Palo Altans.

And at the same time, they could (for cheap) save 100 established fruit trees, across the street from the OH at Juana Briones, and in the heart of a neighborhood that could really use a public gathering space as this essay so beautifully lays out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mid town mom
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2013 at 10:27 am

I LOVE this idea!!! Would any of the open space organizations be willing to aid the purchase for land in the middle of Palo Alto?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stephanie Enos
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm

The suggestions by the resident from Green acres are the first imaginative ones I've read.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm

@Midtown Mom,
There are public grants for heritage agricultural sites. But the bulk of fundraising can't happen while the land is in this kind of controversy, philanthropists don't like to give in a situation like that with all the controversy.

If anyone on the City Council cares about their political future (or ending the battles), they'll swallow their bile if Measure D fails and work out something like that. Neighbors would put similar energy into making it a reality. Low-traffic land use = safety for the kids first and foremost.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

@Stephanie Enos,
Thanks - if you like the idea please write city.council@cityofpaloalto.org ! Of course, they aren't going to take kindly to it now, but if Against D wins, that will be what I'd be pushing for. In many ways, I think it would also help heal any rifts in the community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Clara
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I really like the idea put forth about saving the land as an orchard and having some open space preserved. So many people visit Palo Alto and have no idea about " the Valley of Hearts Delight" and our agricultural history. Los Altos did a beautiful job preserving their apricot orchard, City Hall, City Library and History Museum. Let's all defeat Measure D and then try to save some open space here in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stephanie Enos
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

@ Greenacres

I don't feel that the city council really listens anymore as once an idea is
locked into, a few tweaks here and there is all they are prepared to do as a nod to local objections.

I have been living here for 20 years and we chose it mainly because of Bol Park and the low key funky kind of place it was. That has all changed sadly
and it is already being knocked down house by house replaced by the humungous houses that swallow almost the whole lot with scant regard or consideration for neighbors, the environment or the idea of community.

Bol Park itself was saved by action from local people banding together to preserve it as open space for everyone and look how many people from all walks of life benefit from their foresight for the future. I'm sure if Bol Park wasn't already a dedicated Park today the same arguments would be used by developers to build it out with a minor portion given over to low income housing.

Nevertheless I will write to the city council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2013 at 5:12 pm

@Greenacres, maybe you can answer something I've been idly curious about -- were the owners of the four houses on Maybell forced to sell, or just made an offer they couldn't refuse? Or were they just rentals on leased land? Were they threatened with redevelopment of the orchard and unknown hoards staring over the fence into their backyards? Will they have seller's remorse if the orchard is preserved? Or did they laugh all the way to the bank and live happily ever after in some other community? I figured to live the rest of my days in hometown Palo Alto, but at the current rate I will probably be driven out one way or another.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@musical

The houses were rentals. The heirs who owned the entire property, houses and orchard, decided to sell it. Several commercial developers bid on it. One of them was under contract for it in 2011 but pulled out, only to re-enter the competition in 2012. PAHC won out with a lower bid because it could close in the tax year 2012, before tax changes took effect that would reduce the sellers' gains. Other tax advantages that come from selling to a non-profit like PAHC also helped make its offer successful.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 1, 2013 at 8:13 am

Thank you Jerry. I guess in the end everything is driven by taxation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

I love the idea of the owners of the Maybell property giving up millions of dollars to keep it an orchard for the rest of us to enjoy!
You know what really bugs me, though? How small Juana Briones and Bol Parks are, compared to how big they could be. If only the current property owners that border them donated their land too, they could be so much larger! Wouldn't that be a real testament to a bygone way of life, when you could stroll through the orchards to the railroad line to the city?
I unfortunately live just outside the reclamation zone, but I would be happy to contribute my encouragement to these landowners to give up their rights so that we can raze the existing houses and create a real community treasure!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I'm w/Stupid
a resident of University South
on Nov 1, 2013 at 9:08 am

I agree with it's the $, Stupid. Sad, but true.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 1, 2013 at 9:26 am

@I'm with,
In my suggestion above, no one is asking the owners to donate the land. They have already sold it. It was purchased with $15 million in public money. Read what I wrote. The same circumstances that made it attractive to PAHC also make it easier to save the orchard. We should put our money where are mouths are and save Buena Vista AND the orchard. It is doable, but would take a City Council willing to work with, rather than at odds with, energized residents.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

In the "marketplace of ideas" that we pride ourselves on in Palo Alto, the idea of blocking development of the Maybell/Clemo orchard in favor of putting resources into a memorial to our agricultural past has been found wanting.

"Greenacres," an organizer of the Maybell Action Group, parent to Palo Altans forResponsible Zoning and "No on D," tried hard but failed to get support for actively promoting this use of the land. Other portions of the coalition against PAHC's affordable housing for seniors project had other objectives in mind.

The orchard notion was seen as at best a distraction from the serious business of confronting the city on traffic management issues and promoting a city-wide movement to block zoning changes that enable developers to push aside restrictions. And at worst, sheer folly.

If "Greenacres" had a plan for renovating the orchard and building a visitors center at the beginning of the "Maybell Revolution," it should have been laid out for public reaction and submitted to a reality check.

As things stand, this is a land use version of the "vaporware" announcements that characterized competition among software developers here not so long ago. We should recognize it when we see it.

So here we have a situation where a pioneer of the anti-PAHC proposal movement is pushing for the orchard, while the movement she founded and for which she still advocates strongly here in the Town Square talks reassuringly to concerned Palo Altans about affordable housing done right.

Should Palo Alto turn away a responsible, attractive development that would provide affordable housing for seniors for at least 55 years just to preserve the fantasy of an unrealizable orchard project for a bit longer.

Until the bulldozer's roar signals that reality still rules.

Vote Yes on D.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mid town mom
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Could the orchard be designated a historical property? With Green Acres idea of selling portions of the land at market rates, maintaining the Orchard as a buffer to the park would be a great thing to do


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm

@Jerry,
You are strange and delusional.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stay Involved
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Anyone interested in joining the Palo Altans to Preserve Neighborhood Zoning should sign up on the volunteer page of Web Link

Just provide your contact info so we can get in touch with you on zoning issues.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I would be all for saving the orchard as a tribute to our agricultural past... except thats clearly not the goal. Lets be adults here, this is just a backhanded attempt to prevent any development on the property.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm

@ Robert,
You are wrong to imply subtext where there is none. An orchard is a better outcome for the neighborhood and school safety. The orchard has like 100 trees that don't need watering and they are green all summer.

We should put our money where are mouths are and save Buena Vista AND the orchard. It is doable, but would take a City Council willing to work with, rather than at odds with, energized residents. Everyone wins, there would be more affordable housing now and in the future, open space, quality of life, and safety get conserved.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 2, 2013 at 3:11 am

@ Robert,
You are obviously not familiar with the neighbors. This side of town desperately needs a central meeting place. Are you kidding? If neighbors get the opportunity to put in a small community center as part of agricultural heritage and orchard like in Los Altos, it's a dream come true. This part of town is very centered around the kids. It would be amazing to expand the park that way.

People who want to save the orchard have tried to be quiet and take a back seat to the goal for senior housing, though. That was probably the intent of the Council in pushing after all the ruckus when the fewer and far less magnificent trees on California Avenue were removed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 2, 2013 at 10:44 am

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

Maybell Middle Ground

Everyone agrees that the Maybell site is an excellent site for senior housing, which could be the start of working toward consensus. No one wants to see the land sold to a for-profit developer, but an alternative to the rezoning overdevelopment will not emerge unless Measure D fails to pass.

The corporation backing Measure D, the proponent of rezoning, claims that they cannot obtain all of the grants & loans with just a 41-unit apartment building at Maybell. But they can build the 60-unit building they want to build, without any modifications to to the existing design, through a density transfer from the rest of the land. They also claim that their budget will not balance without the twelve luxury homes planned for two-thirds of the land. I have been attempting to obtain evidence which prove or refute this claim since July, 2013; when and if I receive any I'll get back to you.

If Measure D fails, the financial issues can be put on hold while the neighbors & the corporation negotiate a solution everyone can live with. Preferably directly, without the City Council playing emperor. If a compromise is reached, the pending lawsuits will disappear before the next City Council election. Otherwise the discord will continue to be expensive for all in both time, money, & additional damage to the social fabric of the community.

This could include at least part of the orchard.

This much-needed reconciliation will not happen unless Measure D fails, so please vote NO on Measure D.


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