Harold Hohbach's 'Park Plaza' project wins approval Palo Alto Issues, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Jun 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm
After years of litigation, appeals, revisions and public hearings, developer Harold Hohbach finally claimed on Monday the prize that has long eluded him -- the city's permission to build a three-story development on Page Mill Road.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 25, 2012, 10:23 PM
Posted by YIMBY, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm YIMBY is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Finally a decisive showing that the council is not anti-housing (though some residents clearly are). 82 new households - 17 of which which will be developer-subsidized to be affordable to those earning <median income, presumably, will join the ranks of Palo Alto. Unlike most residents, they will live above research and development space and provide what may be the best example of residential mixed-use in the city in modern times. [One just need go to the President Apts. on University/Cowper and see the 'old style' mixed use - six floors of residences above 6 retail stores/restaurants.]
Posted by Robert, a resident of Stanford, on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm
As far as this residential voter is concerned, the PACC vote to approve this project is yet another nail in the coffin of once-charming Palo Alto, a community that used to be radically different in beauty and the character of its public space from places like Berkeley. The population density of this city is relentlessly and monotonically increasing and the noise, pollution, traffic congestion, parking difficulties, and general level of anxiety and stress that people face in public space because of these trends will continue to increase. I realize that in the short run this project won't make a huge negative difference. But the precedents it sets or continues, when aggregated over time, will add up to a major impact, one that will further erode the quality of life in this community. Only when a significant number of cities are far-sighted and courageous enough to decide that they need to put limits on their population levels for the sake of the quality of everyday social life will other cities be compelled to join them, thereby enabling the country as a whole to move toward setting a sustainable population level. Barring that, it won't be that long -- between 50 and 100 years -- before the population of the U.S. reaches 1 billion and California's reaches 100 billion, with more and more of the state being paved over, overbuilt, and looking like L.A. in all its problematic aspects: long delays on the roads, having to travel in smaller and smaller windows during off hours times, more spare-the-air days, more crowded sidewalks, longer lines at more and more businesses, and higher blood pressure and more irritable behavior from more people more of the time. Unfortunately, City Council members don't vote with the long-term social, cultural, and aesthetic effects of their actions in mind. Not only should we think globally even as we act locally, we should think long-term even as we act short-term.
Posted by Andrew Boone, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 27, 2012 at 12:16 am
Good Job, Palo Alto City Council!
Higher-density mixed-use developments near transit are essential to addressing traffic congestion in Palo Alto. Jobs near transit reduce the need to commute by car, and housing near jobs (that's the mixed use part) reduce it even further.
Palo Alto has a severe housing shortage which forces most employees to live elsewhere and commute longer distances. And placing so many jobs far from good transit (Stanford Research Park, for example) requires most to drive to those jobs.
The Park Plaza project is a step in the right direction. Now let's get more built like that!
Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm Douglas Moran is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Mr Boone also represents the triumph of ill-logic and ignorance behind this decision.
1. He wants to see Palo Alto reduce the jobs-housing imbalance, so he praises a project that increases that imbalance.
2. "Housing near jobs" does not reduce commuting because there is no attempt to link the specific housing to the nearby jobs, or to address the other factors in who lives where. Experience suggests that 65-80% of those living in the apartments will commute to work in another city and that at least 90% will do so by car. And of those that don't commute out of Palo Alto, most will drive to work because the distance of this project from schools will persuade parents to drive their children.
3. Boone gets it wrong when talks of Stanford Research Park being far from transit. SRP has a very aggressive transit system (shuttle buses) linking the employers to the Caltrain train stations. However, the inadequate schedule for CalAve has many using UAve instead. So Mr Boone has this project both "near transit" and "far from good transit".
It is so easy to be a New Urbanist if you are dismissive of logic and well-known facts, and if you don't have to live with the consequences of your advocacy.
Posted by YIMBY, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jun 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm YIMBY is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
It strikes me that some want Palo Alto to be the city they envisage when they first moved here.....Cities change, with or without city council approvals of new housing. The term 'boutique city' comes to mind. Very interesting article in Tuesday's WSJ on housing in San Francisco - when demand exceeds supply ...enormously.
June 26, 2012,
Tech Boom Hits San Francisco Rental Prices
Prices Soar as Well-Paid Tech Workers Stream Into City After a Long Exodus