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Measure D opponents hang tough in cash battle

Original post made on Oct 25, 2013

With Election Day just around the corner, the nonprofit looking to build a bitterly contested housing development on Maybell Avenue has further widened its fundraising lead over the project's opponents by injecting another $60,000 into its political campaign.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 25, 2013, 9:40 AM

Comments (38)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

Give generously to PAHC, so they can spend more on politics.


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Posted by jerryl
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

I want a No on D sign on my lawn and happy to
contribute. But how?


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Posted by Jim Green Acres II
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

I am in favor of senior housing. However I am opposed to Measure D because it is another example of the city using PC zoning to help a developer at the expense of the neighborhood. That is why so many in Green Acres II, Barron Park, and across all of Palo Alto are against Measure D. The fact that the proponents are using city funds to promote their case just makes it more aggravating.


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Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

I am so happy to see Yes on D's fundraising for this period of time. 70,000 for Yes on D individuals and non-profits other than PAHC is more than the total contributed to No on D - as it should be given what is at stake - 60 units of well designed, low impact affordable housing for low-income seniors. Given how needlessly destructive this measure is - accomplishing nothing but hurting a lot of old people. I hope a lot more groups and people will continue to contribute money to the Yes on D campaign - easy to do, just go to yesondpaloalto.com. While there, read the FAQ sheet to get more ACCURATE information on the housing project.


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Posted by ellen
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

My property taxes went up this year (again). Is this funding the grant Palo Alto gave to PAHC who now gave another $60K to fund a political campaign that I completely oppose?
I support senior housing. I do not support questionable process where a council representing a city government with a financial interest in a project is then expected to vote in an unbiased way on that same project. That is just so wrong.

I already voted NO ON MEASURE D. Let's build senior housing on Maybell within the current zoning.


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Posted by Allen Edwards
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:03 am

This piecemeal rezoning has to stop or we will end up being a hodge podge of randomness. This seems like a good opportunity to send a message to the city council that zoning should be done on a city wide basis and not on a project by project basis.

I found the measure confusing and appreciate the final paragraph of this article:

"If Measure D passes, the City Council's June decision to rezone the 2.4-acre orchard site to "planned community" will stand. This would allow the Housing Corporation to build a 60-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes."

Let's let the existing zoning stand. My vote is a NO.


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:09 am

Looking at the campaign contributors listed on the City Clerk's web-site, we see that on sixteen separate business-oriented contributors are responsible for over $164K:

Contributor............................Amount
Gourmet Franks...........................50
California Housing Partnership Corp. ...100
Sterling Pool Supplies and Serv. .......100
Statcomm Inc. ..........................200
Anavoice Comm. Services ................200
New Glaze Industries ...................250
Still-Water Enterprises ................250
Community Economics ....................250
West Coast Tree Care ...................500
Gubb and Barshay .......................500
Triple A Plumbing Services .............500
Kazika Construction ....................600
Shelton Roofing ........................700
Eden Housing .........................2,000
Sunshine Quality Services ............4,500
Palo Alto Housing Corp ..............60,000
Palo Alto Housing Corp. .............94,066
...................................--------
Total: ............................$164,766

This $164K is about 88% of the total Vote-Yes money. Individuals have contributed barely $20K.

One does have to wonder what the business contributing to this one project--Maybell Orchard--expect to get for their contributions? Might be interesting to see if these companies routinely contribute to these sorts of campaigns? Might also be interesting to find out what kinds of promises these folks have been given about future business here in Palo Alto?


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

Happy that I will soon be casting my YES VOTE very soon. I am very fortunate to be a homeowner in this town where I grew up. However, I know people personally who benefit from the PAHC properties, and other seniors who potentially could. The Maybell property cannot be developed into affordable housing without a zoning change and suggesting otherwise is not realistic.


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Posted by New in Town
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

Council members can make campaign contributions to local (and bitterly contested) initiatives?


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Posted by Vote NO
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

I bet Shelton Roofing and the plumbing and tree care companies that contributed to the "Yes" campaign, will be given the contracts for building the housing (if it passes.) Remind me to never use Shelton Roofing, Triple A Plumbing and the other construction related businesses that donated to the "Yes" campaign. And, hey, does Gourmet Franks expect to have a food truck at the site regularly stinking up the Maybell neighborhood during the lunch hour?
I voted NO.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:58 am

If you want to help with the NO on D movement, got to the following website:
Web Link

You can donate, volunteer, or just learn more information. Support the grass roots effort to preserve our city.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm


In case the web links don't work for you, the website is

voteagainstd (dot) com

You can type the web address in yourself then.

NO on D.


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Posted by supporter against measure D
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I typed in voteagainstd(dot)com in my browser and it took me to google with the top link to www.dotvoting.org I couldn't find anything about the measure D in there.


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Posted by YES on Measure D
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I'm voting YES on Measure D. Here is their web site Web Link for fellow citizens who may be interested in both sides.

This project abuts an existing 8-story apartment building on one side, a multi-family townhouse project on another side and a public park on the third side. It adds ZERO driveway cuts to Maybell. It adds 60 affordable, 6oo sq. ft. apartments for seniors and 12 single family homes that really are not inconsistent in design from other existing two-story single family homes on the street (except that the proposed single family homes do not add garages or driveway cuts onto the street--so in fact, they are better than those other existing houses from a traffic safety perspective).

Importantly, if the opponents succeed in defeating this proposal, a for-profit developer will likely buy the site and build as many as 46 single family homes. Those will have greater school and traffic impacts.

Lesson number one in advocacy: Understand what you might get instead. If that alternative is worse, back off. The alternative in this case is much worse.

There has been so much misinformation and emotional argument in this campaign. I believe many of the folks who are against this are really upset about a trend of infill development that feels out of control. I have to say I share their concern. However, I strongly believe that this particular project is not representative of what is wrong with the PC process.

I read the traffic study, all materials on the for and against web sites, staff reports and all related materials, and attended or listened to most of the community and public meetings on this subject. I'll be voting YES on Measure D. Please do your homework before you vote.


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Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Thank you to all who have taken the time to make a small donation to the Vote Against D campaign.

www.voteagainstd.com

Paypal is easy and secure to use for a donation. With the story showing that this is clearly outside corporate interests vs. residents, it is more important than every for residents from all neighborhoods to show our solidarity. VoteAgainstD.com

Thank you very much.

Tim Gray, Treasure for Palo Atans to Preserve Neighborhood Zoning


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Posted by Cheryl Lilienstein
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

@Jerryl
We welcome your contribution.
You can both contribute and get a yard sign (and also volunteer for other activities!) by going to this link:
Web Link
There is also a wealth of information there ready for you to download and email to encourage friends to Vote Against D.
November 5 is just around the corner: and we need to help our fellow citizens understand that rezoning residential neighborhoods for high density is bad for Palo Alto residents. We have always said we would like to achieve affordable senior housing consistent with present zoning regulations, and we hope that the voters of Palo Alto will enable us to achieve that goal.




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Posted by Palo Altan YES
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Let's add to the social value and fabric of our community and Vote YES on D.

Looking forward to Nov 6 and the barrage of fear, uncertainty and doom that the no side is wielding, their mixed messages, attacks on PAHC, twisted statistics, misinformation and innaccurate rhetoric ceasing. Nimbyists.

I did my homework, you should too and you will see Yes on D is the right vote.


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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Oct 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Proud to be a small individual contributor to the YES on D campaign.


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Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2013 at 1:35 pm

In the San Jose Mercury 10/20/13 "Developer gets another chance in housing battle" is the discussion of the California Supreme Court case in process for John Mozart of Classic Communities vs Palo Alto - Molly Stump City Attorney. The development is on West Bayshore - Sterling Park and concerns the financial transactions regarding affordable housing units. This case is still in process and affects the interpretation of code that will affect all developments in Santa Clara County. In light of unresolved legal issues affecting all building of housing developments in Santa Clara County where affordable housing comes into play it raises the question of the financial requirements regarding the Maybell property - still in question. The financial transactions currently in process which will determine the final cost for this Maybell effort is still unknown at this time. A vote of yes is a trip down the rabbit hole. Vote NO and let the legal issues regarding the financing of these developments sort out so more realistic financial projections can be provided.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Vote NO on D. We don't want or need these contrived government projects that may cause harm not just to this neighborhood but also to multiple neighborhoods in future, and which may not even end up benefiting local Palo Alto seniors.
Wild, complicated government financing schemes are over the top and I can't see how we can audit these developments for proper operations, either.
Instead, we should continue with well-thought out projects for low-income seniors.
I don't agree with the way this PA Housing Corp operates.
It's remarkable: I am virtually always opposed to anything Steven Levy proclaims.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Just sealed my ballot... Easy easy decision. NO to the backward, opaque, and dishonest way the city government ran this whole process. NO to this and the rampant giveaways to developers that this pro-developer, anti-resident city council has been issuing at the expense of the residents.

Thank you for giving us the chance to rebuke this city council gone bad. And Shame on the city attorney for writing such deceptive, misleading ballot language. Once a pro resident council is elected, they should let her go.

No on D!


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Posted by Bob/Mary Carlstead
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 25, 2013 at 2:14 pm

We are seniors and have lived here forty-eight years. We think Measure D sets the most dangerous
threat to protected single-family zoning that has ever been placed on the ballot. Look at the top contributors to
Yes on D! Is their support and enthusiasm only for the Maybell project OR are they looking down the
road to their "building future" ? What's in it for politicians who endorsed it? What is the next 'target'? If it can
happen to Maybell, it can happen all over town. VOTE A RESOUNDING "NO ON D"

Bob and Mary Carlstead, Duveneck/St. Francis Neighborhood.


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Posted by Robin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Voted NO along with my husband when the ballot arrived. The city council continues either to think it knows better than its own residents what is good for our neighborhoods, or simply not care.

Granting PAHC an expensive election at the time of their own choosing is ridiculous after PAHC brought the anger of over 4000 residents down on their poorly conceived project.

This city council continues to double down on Stupid. Looking forward to a residentialist slate to take our city back from these jokers in 2014.


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Posted by Barron Parker
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

If D fails we can blame the weekly for puff pieces like this one which is basically just an advertisement for the No on D fundraising campaign. The scrappy little NIMBY that could. [Portion removed.] Do you really think that we will be better off without the housing? Do you really think that driving a wooden stake through the heart of affordable housing in PA is going to contribute to the overall social good here? If D fails, this is the absolute end for affordable housing in PA. And you will, indeed, have your share of the blame.


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Posted by Zayda
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm

@Barron Parker
What is at "stake" here is not the heart of affordable housing, but the very character of our entire city of Palo Alto. This is just the first battle to stop the greedy developers and their political allies from turning every neighborhood in our beautiful town into a jungle of concrete, steel and glass for the sake of the almighty dollar. Every time I look at the ugly "bastille" at 801 Alma I can only think..."To the barricades."


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Posted by Barron Parker
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by don't do it
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


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Posted by PA resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


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Posted by Jean Valjean
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Jean Valjean is a registered user.



This is not a choice between the proposed senior housing project and what is currently on this site. If this project is not built the land will be sold to a private developer and will return to the prior high density zoning: 87% RM-15 and 13% RM-2. This zoning allows 46 single family units to be built without zoning changes or variances.

The PAHC project went through a lengthy public vetting process that included several community outreach meetings. This resulted in many positive changes to the project including reducing the number of single family homes, the elimination of all private driveways on Maybell and the addition of a much needed sidewalk. These driveways could be built under the current zoning creating a safety concern for bikers and pedestrians. In addition current zoning allows eight instead of the seven proposed single family homes on the Maybell side and instead of the five single family homes with 10 foot side yard setbacks on Clemo a developer could build a three story contiguous multi-family building on the Clemo side with balconies in lieu of outdoor yard space.

46 single family homes will create far more car trips, especially at peak commute hours when student safety is of concern, versus the PAHC project with 12 single family homes and 60 one bedroom senior apartments.

VOTE YES on D to preserve our neighborhoods, reduce traffic and support an inclusive community that values and supports our seniors.


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Posted by Vote AGAINST D
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 25, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Vote AGAINST D is a registered user.

I live in the neighborhood. If Measure D passes, do you think the City Council will let me sell 55% of my lot for a four-story high density building, so I can afford to pay off my mortgage?

So why does the for-profit developer putting in market-rate housing on 55% of the property get to violate the zoning, and put these stovepipe homes on ~2500 sq ft lots, when the minimum lot size in the neighborhood is 6,000 sq ft? If other neighborhoods approve this new way of building affordable housing in residential areas without any respect for neighborhood zoning - essentially selling off the neighborhood's zoning in order to get the housing cheap, instead of paying the actual cost - it will become the new norm and enable more of it, the Mayor has promised it.

If you do not want to have to deal with such a steamroller against your neighborhood in the future, please help us now. If you don't mind having someone come in and put a 50foot high-density building in your residential neighborhood, then please get together with your neighbors and write the Mayor immediately, we can work out a win win. Because if the ordinance to rezone is passed via this Measure, then neighbors will fight on. If AGAINST Measure D wins, neighbors have indicated they are willing to have PAHC build a senior development under (or even close to) the existing zoning.

If PAHC decides to sell the property to a market-rate developer instead, you cannot put 45million houses/units on there. That's like saying you'd better let me park my tour bus where I want, or else someone will park their compact car there, and for sure, it will be a clown car with way more passengers than the bus.

The existing "low density" zoning has height, setback, daylight plane, density, minimum lot size, minimum lane size, minimum parking spots, etc. restrictions. The restrictions are the equivalent of the constraints of the compact car, and there is only so many things that can realistically go in it. Those constraints protect the character and quality of life in the neighborhood. Please tell City Hall we would like those to be respected. We can have senior housing AND respect neighborhood zoning. Please vote AGAINST D.


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Posted by Vote AGAINST D
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Vote AGAINST D is a registered user.

@ Jean ValJean,
You wrote "If this project is not built the land will be sold to a private developer and will return to the prior high density zoning: 87% RM-15 and 13% RM-2."

This is utterly incorrect. You have only to look at facts in the City's own zoning code and the ballot.

Here's the facts:
1) As of today, the land has never been rezoned. It is currently RM-15 and R-2 "low density" zoning.

According to the City Attorney's write up in the ballot "If a majority of the qualified electors voting on this measure vote against the ordinance, the ordinance shall not be adopted and the current RM-15 and R2 zoning shall remain." It says "current RM-15 and R2 zoning".

If AGAINST Measure D wins, the property will remain the current LOW DENSITY zoning.


2) You mistakenly called the current low density RM-15 and R-2 zoning "high density" zoning. This portraying the current "LOW DENSITY" zoning as worse than the HIGH DENSITY REZONING for the densest residential development in Palo Alto in decades is getting out of hand.

According to Palo Alto City code, R-2 is called "low density" and is basically single family residential. You can build an in-law unit up to 450sq ft on the property if your lot is big enough. (The current R-2 parcels on the Maybell property are not big enough.)

According to the Palo Alto City code, RM-15 is "Low Density" Multifamily Residential. The RM-15 was designated as a transition zone from the Tan Apartments, built on Arastradero under County rules and grandfathered in, to the surrounding single-family residential area (single-family residential is the dominant land use):
Web Link

"The RM-15 low-density multiple-family residence district is intended to create, preserve and
enhance areas for a mixture of single-family and multiple-family housing which is
compatible with lower density and residential districts nearby, including single-family
residence districts. The RM-15 residence district also serves as a transition to moderate
density multiple-family districts or districts with nonresidential uses. Permitted densities in
the RM-15 residence district range from eight to fifteen dwelling units per acre."

The City of Palo Alto also has two other multiple family residence zoning:
RM-30 Medium Density multiple family residence
RM-40 High Density multiple-family residence

Note, please, that the staff report outlines the many ways the "high density" PC rezone of this ordinance violates even RM-40 high-density zoning. The main building is the equivalent of RM-60 (but with a lot less parking spots than required), a zoning designation we don't even have in Palo Alto code.

The City of Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan further says of land use for all multiple family residential zoning designations: "Density should be on the lower end of the scale next to single
family residential areas." Meaning, if a private developer develops, they have to subdivide, and this means the subdivision has to comply with the comprehensive plan or neighbors can enforce it in court (and they will), meaning, 8 units per acre, i.e., 16-18 houses in total, on the whole property.

The EXISTING RM-15 zoning IS the transition zone from the apartments built there on Arastradero to the surrounding neighborhood. Please don't take that protection away from us.







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Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:15 pm

rick is a registered user.

@Jean, where does 87% RM-15 and 13% RM-2 come from? My yardstick says 74% RM-15 and 26% RM-2 (81900 sq ft and 28800 sq ft respectively). I don't see how current R-2 zoning (6000 sq ft minimum lot size) allows eight single family homes on the Maybell. Does R-2 mean two single family homes on each lot? With the second dwelling unit 450 square feet or less?

Even with 8 on Maybell, the 46 unit total requires another 38 units on the RM-15 part. If the "15" is maximum units per acre, my arithmetic says 15 times 1.88 acres is only 28 units. And I suspect access ways, setbacks, and daylight planes would reduce this number.

When in doubt, I generally vote No. I also never vote early, since I don't know how to change my vote if more information comes my way.

PS -- I wrote this before Vote Against D's response.)


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Posted by Vote AGAINST D
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 25, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Vote AGAINST D is a registered user.

Lastly, although it's a crying shame that the City has managed to silence all the environmental and open space advocates -- it's no accident they changed their minds and decided to make the property for seniors (it wasn't initially, according to PAHC) because how else could they bulldoze 100 established fruit trees in the last piece of historic orchard land in Palo Alto without a fight? -- if AGAINST Measure D wins and the City still wants to put a senior complex there, neighbors have said many times that they should do that (most would look the other way if the proposal included even 50 or 60 units).

Just please pay the actual cost, as the low-income developer at 801 Alma did, rather than asking our small neighborhood to pay for it through this wholesale violation of the zoning protections. The property will still be available for building senior housing if AGAINST Measure D wins the day.

If For D wins, neighbors will battle on to protect the neighborhood from such violation. Those who care about our community and about housing for seniors should vote AGAINST D.


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Posted by Jean Valjean
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Jean Valjean is a registered user.

The information below is from the city website FAQ's for the Maybell project. If you go to the bottom of the document you can see photos of current RM-15 projects in the city. Jacob Court and Palo Alto Bowl are listed as examples. They are three story attached residences. Web Link


If the approved PAHC does not get built, what could be built under the existing
zoning?

Under the existing zoning (R‐2 and RM‐15) approximately 34‐46 homes could be
built. The ultimate number of homes would be dependent on the size of the homes,
the affordability levels, site layout and roadway configurations. Included in the
potential 34‐46 home development could be up to 8‐10 homes (as duplexes) along
Maybell Avenue. One home on each lot along Maybell Avenue would be a standard 567
single‐family home and the second home on each lot could be up to 900 sq. ft. (or
more, potentially up to 1,350 sq. ft. because of the State Density Bonus
Law). Automobile parking access to all of these Maybell facing homes could be
obtained via driveways on Maybell Avenue. Up to 36 homes could then be built on
the rear portion of the property.

The student yield for a 34 unit market rate project would be a net increase of
approximately 21 students, whereas the proposed development would yield an
estimated net increase of 6 students.

Any development built per the underlying R2 & RM‐15 zoning would likely
have more total bedrooms than the approved development. The approved
development includes 60 senior units, all of which are 1 bedroom, except for the 2
bedroom manager's unit. A development constructed under the R2 and RM‐15
zoning would likely contain all 3 to 4 bedroom homes.

Additional information about Maybell can be found on the city website Web Link


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Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm

rick is a registered user.

Well then, looks like the City ignores its own zoning ordinances. Something stinks here. I'm voting no.


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Posted by Vote AGAINST D
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Vote AGAINST D is a registered user.

@rick,
Thank you! Your neighbors across town appreciate it!

@Jean Valjean,
Take a look at the long list of restrictions under existing zoning, such as height, density, enough space for parking, daylight plane, density, open space, minimum lane size, etc, and work the numbers yourself. The Weekly article says PAHC and the city have never produced a drawing, but that's actually not true. In the beginning, they tried to say 36 units could go there and waved around a hand-drawing until someone in the neighborhood ran the actual numbers with Tim Wong. Then the drawing disappeared and they started claiming even more units could go there under existing zoning.

Saying the existing "low-density" (as it is called in our city code) zoning could be worse than the high-density rezoning that far exceeds the highest density zone in Palo Alto code is like saying you think a compact car would be worse than a tour bus because for sure the compact car will be a clown car with more people in it than a tour bus.

If you want to know what would be built in the neighborhood under RM-15 existing zoning, just go a few blocks away in the same neighborhood to the Glenbrook extension - much of it was RM-15 - the lots are minimum 6,000 square feet. The City has actually had the opposite problem, where in residential areas developers want to build LESS dense housing, because they make more money that way. (See those giant houses at the end of the Glenbrook extension? They are 9,000+sq ft single-family houses, not apartment buildings.)

But it doesn't matter - the property will have to be subdivided, which means neighbors have legal recourse to ensure the development meets the comprehensive plan and zoning regulations, i.e., 6000 sq ft lots minimum, etc. Which means, per the comprehensive plan, 8 units per acre or 16-18 houses total for the whole property, which is not much more than are packed onto the market-rate portion of the proposed development.


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Posted by bobgnote
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

bobgnote is a registered user.

Measure D opponents don't deserve a dime.

Opponents had months, to go to City Council meetings, and their opposition is typical, of media, which Mike Judge could make, into a sequel, to IDIOCRACY (2006).

I regularly see an opposition sign, which has "PROTECT OUR SCHOOLS," on one side. What on Earth can less senior housing do, to protect schools or students, afflicted by bizarre thinking?

No money could solve such defects.

As for the parking problem, foreseen by opponents, I suggest no opponent knows any seniors, personally, since we tend to divest automobiles, later in life. I have a bike.

Get one of those and ride it, instead of raising money, to rant about schools, which didn't help you, and if you are so slow, at attending City Council meetings or assessing media, as to rant, about schools, here, you need to get on your scooters and ride.


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Posted by Vote AGAINST D
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 28, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Vote AGAINST D is a registered user.

@bobgnote in Mountain View,

The opposition sign said: "Protect our Children".

First of all, Measure D is not for or against senior housing. The City Attorney, working for the City, somehow gets to write the ballot, so that's how she wrote it, to mislead people into not realizing the ordinance was a ZONING ordinance, to upzone a neighborhood by up to 8 times the existing zoning limits for a particular building plan. Senior housing could be built there without this rezoning, with a different rezoning, or a better plan, and neighbors have simply asked that that be done.

When they were not listened to, they felt they had to oppose THAT PLAN -- one reason, because safety should come first, especially where children are concerned. Proponents of the rezoning have done little more than belittle neighbors who live there who know how dangerous it is, rather than educate themselves about the facts and try to push for solutions that would allow a better plan.

AGAINST D is only a rejection of a particularly odious plan. IF AGAINST D WINS, THE NEIGHBORHOOD HAS ALL ALONG PUBLICLY WELCOMED A NEW PLAN TO DEVELOP THE SENIOR HOUSING IN A WAY THAT RESPECTS THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTER, CHILDREN'S SAFETY, AND (AT LEAST TO SOME REASONABLE APPROXIMATION) EXISTING ZONING, WHICH CAN BE DONE, IN MORE THAN ONE WAY. That is the crux of it. Many of the same people leading AGAINST D were involved in bringing a 92-unit low-income housing complex (with 25 units set aside for seniors) to the same neighborhood through the Terman Working Group.

Regarding children's safety:
The City has steadfastly refused to do traffic safety analysis for the development, even though the City's own policy is of "heightened scrutiny" on school commute routes. That new development puts a major, high-density development between the major two Safe Routes to School to 4 major local schools, for over 3,000 students, almost half on foot and by bike, including Gunn High School. One of those streets, Maybell, is seriously substandard, without room for even a single continuous or full-width sidewalk or bike path on either side. Plus it has a huge amount of traffic for such a narrow street, and peaks come in waves throughout the day. It has in the last few years gone through an expensive safety upgrade, with much citizen participation, so they know it's as safe as it gets. Nevertheless, the stop sign in front of the school has had to be replaced many times from being knocked to the ground by cars. There have been many deaths of bicyclists reported around the Bay Area in recent weeks, many of them schoolchildren - residents who live here can see it is unsafe, and have every right to expect the City, whose first job is safety, to put the safety of children first. They have not done so here.

One of the most well-respected traffic engineers in the state reviewed the traffic analysis for Maybell and found it "inadequate". He said there was no traffic safety analysis done for bicycle and pedestrian safety, and that the proposed project may have a significant impact on traffic circulation and bicycle safety. Hence the sign you saw.

After approving Maybell, the City Council adopted two of that same traffic engineer's projects, including moving away from the outdated traffic model they used at Maybell for the whole City, but they did not apply new traffic data or current standards to review the Maybell situation, even though one of the Councilmembers who came out to witness it admitted "It may be a Safe Route to School, but it's not a safe route to school."

If you think the proposed development will have such insignificant impacts, then why the steadfast refusal to review safety? If AGAINST D wins, it will still be possible to put senior housing there (!), but the City will have to be willing to work with neighbors, ensure it's done in a safe way, and maybe even come up with a different plan to accomplish the same goals.

For example, the current plan is made cheaper to the City/PAHC by PAHC selling off 55% of the property, upzoned for the benefit of a private developer. PAHC makes the profits from the sale of the upzoned land, but not the profits from the sale of the houses, many millions the for-profit developer will make by violating neighborhood zoning. If PAHC simply built fewer, more in-character houses themselves at the same time as building the main building, they could use the greater profits they would get from selling the houses as well as the extra land they would get from fewer of them to solve the impacts the current plan is foisting on the neighborhood. (The complex is 50-feet tall because it's squeezed onto 45% of the property.)

It's a bad plan, and CAN be done better. Please Vote Against D.


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