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With little fanfare, Palo Alto adopts housing vision

Original post made on Jun 20, 2013

For Palo Alto, the new Housing Element is at once an expansive vision document, a catalog of future housing sites and a homework assignment from hell. So when the City Council unanimously voted Monday night to officially adopt the new housing vision, it did so with a sigh of relief rather than a cheer of celebration.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 20, 2013, 9:37 AM

Comments (19)

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Posted by Ed-itor
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

Scheyner rides again. What an incredibly impressive article, one that only could be written by someone deeply familiar with the entire situation. Comprehensive, cogent, and clever--the usual Scheyner hallmarks.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:23 am

(except San Antonio Avenue should be San Antonio Road)


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Posted by Pat
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

I don't understand why Palo Alto hasn't joined other local cities which are challenging the absurd housing requirements being imposed by the State.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:51 am

Where in the State Constitution does it say that the State can interfere in the housing availability of any city, town, or county? Cities should band together and fight back- right through the courts. The first obligation is to those who already live here.
Also throw out any senator or representative who does not represent our best interests. If we don't fight back, we are nothing more than civic wimps living in a totalitarian regime.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm

<<
"It is for me just maddening that a state agency can absolutely impose on us and punish us in the end for not attaining the numbers that someone has come up with," Kniss said.>>

Punishment, what punishment? What would the punishment be? Perhaps the "punishment" is something better than the punishment we are getting at Alma Plaza and Maybell.


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Posted by Get a grip
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

""It is for me just maddening that a state agency can absolutely impose on us and punish us in the end for not attaining the numbers that someone has come up with," Kniss said."

But its alright, Liz, for you to make the claim that you are the guardian of public health and tell us what we can and cannot do?

"Councilwoman Karen Holman sounded a similar note and said the process is "anything but local control.""

But it's alright, Karen, for you to try to take control of people's houses because you claim that everything is historic and needs you to be the guardian????

"Scheyner rides again. What an incredibly impressive article, one that only could be written by someone deeply familiar with the entire situation. Comprehensive, cogent, and clever--the usual Scheyner hallmarks."

Very amusing.


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Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm

WHY hasn't Palo ALto joined the other communities in protesting this mandate? Enough. Stop hallucinating that increased density won't add to our already horrible traffic congestion.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm

We can't grow out, due to all the open space around us. We can't go up due to reason of keeping small town flair in one of the largest job producing areas.

I would say can we open some,land in Morgan Hill, Half Moon Bay, Napa, and Santa Rosa.


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Posted by Fight ABAG
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm

ABAG does not reside in Palo Alto, how can they possibly know how much more traffic and high density housing we can hold? Their figures are arbitrary, and most Peninsula cities have chosen to fight them. Why not Palo Alto? Don't roll over and play dead for the housing tyrants!


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Posted by What Hypocrites
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Am I missing something? I was one of those neighbors who protested the inclusion of Maybell rezoning in the housing element, as if it were a done deal, and City Council never took it out. They simply delayed the vote on the housing element until after they rezoned Maybell, so they could include Maybell in the housing element as rezoned. They directed staff to look for more housing as a meaningless appeasement, which, by the way, had zero impact on the timing of anything. THEY DID NOT TAKE THE MAYBELL REZONING OUT OF THE HOUSING ELEMENT.

Gennady writes well, but I am not happy with his reporting on this issue. Once again, the story makes the "weekend summit" sound like it was some kind of official bigtime negotiation, when the City simply grabbed a few people after the Thursday meeting, told them not to worry, they weren't representing the neighborhoods, that they would be finding representatives (but that process never happened), the handful of people who attended made it clear they were just representing themselves, then the Mayor's memo made it seem like there was this big meeting between City Hall and representatives of the neighborhoods. Didn't happen.

For anyone on the City Council to say, ""I think this community would like to have a little more of a destiny with its own vision of how we want to incorporate our zoning and build for what we want" after the bullying they did in the Maybell rezoning is like a slap in the face.

As for the City, they need to fix the in lieu fee situation, where developers downtown pay money so they don't have to put the affordable housing in their buildings, i.e., someone paid money to avoid putting in affordable housing in some new buildings downtown but to put it in our neighborhood instead, but not enough money to reduce the burdens to the neighborhood.

The article didn't say anything about what else is in the housing element. It says the City vision is to focus on south Palo Alto for density. Is that okay with you? Because apparently from the Maybell experience, it's not just along El Camino, neighborhoods are fair game, too, especially if you have any rare open space left.



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Posted by What Hypocrites
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm

By the way, what I heard is that the planners took one look at the affordable housing on the top floors of those proposed buildings downtown, and someone said, You mean, those seniors are going to have those nice views? and it was out of there.


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Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I can't believe we (our city) are not fighting ABAG and Agenda 21...this is bad, so bad. I don't want to see Palo Alto as a stack and pack housing city. I love my backyard and garden and pond. It may not be something we see, but our kids and grandkids might have to deal with it.
So sad.


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Posted by What Hypocrites
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

It's amazing that the housing is looked at by City, too, since many of the communities around are bedroom communities, like Atherton and Los Altos, Los Altos Hills -- they don't have to come up with the housing because they don't have the jobs.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

The next Housing Element is likely to be much, much worse. Although ABAG has temporarily abandoned the jobs-housing balance within individual city limits, it could easily come back. Yet the City is repeating what is widely acknowledged to have been a serious mistake when the Stanford Research Park was created -- that of not identifying housing locations.

So ignoring history and common sense, the City has embarked on a program of facilitating developers building massive amounts of office space (27 University, Jay Paul on Page Mill, expansion in the Research Park,...) and other job sites (Stanford Hospital expansion) without any notion of where to put housing (Note: I served for over two years as a citizen on the Technical Advisory Panel for this Housing Element and have nothing but wasted time and frustration to show for it).

Although the City supposedly wants to have "walkable neighborhoods", it has implicitly decided to eliminate south El Camino Real as a walkable retail district by disrupting the necessary clusters of retail with offices and housing. The predictable result is that the only retail that will be left is "destination retail" -- what one drives to.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Yes, Doug, we should have made Stanford keep the old hospital, which was not earthquake safe. And we should have prevented the building of a modern state of the art facility, which will serve the local community if ever a major disaster strikes the area. That is the typical backwards thinking of palo alto. Oh, and to hell with all the jobs this construction project creates--- palo alto residents want the city to remain in the 20th century, when it was so wonderful. The residents do not really want walkable neighborhoods. It sounds nice, but walkabout neighborhoods requires retail and any retail is objected to for the usual reasons ( too large, too small, too much traffic, too much noise, too much ( fill in the blank)


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Posted by Too absurd!!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Palo Alto is not fighting the ABAG requirement because it's about money!! If we don't accept ABAG's requirements we loose a whole lot of grant money from the State.

Of course the City needs all the grant money they can get because they need to narrow down California Avenue from 4 to 2 lanes, re-design El Camino and create designated bus lanes, install useless bike paths along Matadero Creek, build a bicycle bridge over HW101 etc. That's why we have to accept ABAG's low cost housing!!


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Posted by Lydia Kou
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 20, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Everyone should take some time to research who are the true instigators behind ABAG...it is very interesting. Then, check out FOCUS Web Link as if the decision/policy maker the troubles they caused day in day out.


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Posted by Carlos
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

It's all about money, even in a community like ours where we think our elected officials would be decent enough to represent the best interests of the people who voted them into office.
After the blatant anti-neighborhood decision the city council made by allowing the rezoning of the Maybell development, I really want to know how the $ flows and who benefits from these decisions. It's definitely not the neighborhoods being affected. Just go ask anybody living near the proposed Maybell development.


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Posted by They have blinders on
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm

The City Council does not have vision when it comes to housing projects--unless you want to call it "fatal vision" ( with a nod to Joe McGuiness' book). They wear blinders like skittish horses at the race track, and never look off to the side.

No, the city of Palo Alto is legally blind when it comes to housing vision. Someone buy them a guide dog, please!


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