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Barron Park survey shows strong support for referendum on Maybell development

Original post made on Jul 3, 2013

A grassroots effort to reverse City Council's approval of a controversial development on Maybell Avenue is quickly gathering steam in Barron Park, where the neighborhood association just released a survey showing three quarters of the respondents supporting bringing the matter to a citywide vote.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 4:31 PM

Comments (61)

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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 3, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Please Don't Kick it Away

I credit the Barron Park and Green Acres communities for accomplishing a great deal in pushing back against a hastily put-together, though well-intentioned, project that didn't show an awareness of the deep suspicion of city hall and seething resentment over traffic impacts of the Arastradero makeover. Thanks to our efforts, the city was forced to acknowledge that we have a major traffic safety problem that has to be dealt with even if the Maybell/Clemo property reverts to apricot orchard. Public opinion around the city swung to sympathy and support for a neighborhood seen as fighting a process of land-use change that leaves citizens feeling powerless. Here was a neighborhood that wasn't going to take it lying down. And (here I differ from the strong majority of BPA membership) we got concession after concession as PAHC and the City Council fought to keep the project alive and show the neighbors that it truly was trying to come up with a project that would be a point of pride for Barron Park, not dismay.

Do members know that there will be 7 two-story homes on Maybell, with varied set-backs of 18–22 feet so there won't be a monotonous sameness, and the fronts of the buildings are to have distinctive elements so they look like anything but the generic rows of townhouses that we see elsewhere. There'll be no driveways onto Maybell. There will be 5 three-story homes on Clemo, the upper portions concealed by existing oak trees. Traffic will be restricted from accessing Maybell except through the adjacent apartment house complex parking lot. An amount of $200,000 is provided for addressing safety concerns on Maybell--work to be completed before actual construction begins. And, of course, the main goal and public benefit for this project would be the 60 units of affordable housing for seniors with limited income, with attractive landscaping inside the complex.

Would a commercial developer have to put up with these restrictions if they bought the property and built it out to current zoning limits. No. They would probably build the maximum allowed, between 34–46 family living units, exact number to be determined by what will generate greatest profit. And of course there would be no affordable housing for seniors.

I checked on how much PAHC paid and whether they overpaid. My understanding is that several developers submitted bids in the $16M area. PAHC came in a bit under that but the offer was successful because PAHC could close in 2012, which had tax advantages for the seller, and there were some other tax consequences in the seller's favor. My takeaway: if PAHC hadn't bought that land we'd soon be watching the bulldozers preparing ground for a large project that, by right of ownership, the developer could get permits for without Planning and Transportation Committee or City Council review. Citizen input? Are you kidding?

With public sympathy, City Council awareness, community engagement and the energy of Barron Park and Green Acres residents we have given Barron Park a chance to have an attractive, neighborhood-friendly element on Maybell for 50 years and beyond. People worried about the impact on home values (yes, there are some) should set their minds at ease. The commercial developer doing the single-family homes is not going to produce inferior houses because they'll be doing what they can to coax top-dollar out of discriminating buyers.

Or we can demand that the city rescind the rezoning and take our chances on Plan B.

I live a block off Maybell. When I look up Able toward the property in question I see the 8-story Tan Apartments looming over all. Having tastefully done 2-story single family homes on lot sizes that match the area to within 2 ft (48' vs 50') break up that view will be a pleasure, even with the 4-story senior apartments visible above the 2-story rooftops. The property along Maybell is currently zoned R-2, so Plan B would probably involve 4-5 duplexes along that same stretch. The rest of the property is zoned R-15, multi-family housing.

On traffic, I am as involved as anyone else I know of in this community in trying to make Maybell safe for student bicyclists and look forward to seeing the neighborhood actively engage with the city in pushing for solutions that put student safety as the number one priority. That's another discussion. Suffice it to say that I believe we will have more, not less traffic to deal with if the project does not go through. I live right here, this is my neighborhood and as a retired teacher I know how important it is that kids be safe on the streets. By and large Palo Alto kids are responsible cyclists, motorists are accommodating, and parents are doing their darnedest. But it shouldn't be so hard to avoid getting hurt. We want more students cyclists, not fewer, on Maybell so parents won't feel they have to drive their students to school.

Congratulations, Barron Park and Green Acres for what you've accomplished. Please don't kick it away.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Maybe the residents of Barron park are hoping to " alma plaza" the project --I.e. tie it up with complaints/ objections for years to come . Of course, look what we needed up with! Jerry does has a point


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I intend to sign the petition, and vote for the Ballot Item to overturn this act of the Council, should the matter get to the ballot.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 3, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Thanks very much to the residents of Barron Park, many of whom aren't as impacted directly as the neighbors in Greenacres (though all of our children are impacted by the lack of safety review in rushing this thing through, and development in that location).

BREAKING NEWS: Neighbors will have to circulate a 2nd referendum related to this. Remember when the City Council put the rezoning in the comprehensive plan and wouldn't take it out? It turns out, they could go to court and nullify the referendum for being against the comprehensive plan if that provision is also not referended. Confusing! So everyone who wants the rezoning to go to vote, needs to sign TWO petitions, one for the rezoning to be put to the voters, the other for rezoning being in the comprehensive plan to be voted on.

And guess what? We only have two weeks to get the signatures on the latter! Please go to www.paloaltoville.com over the next couple of days (it's not updated quite yet) to get information on where and how to sign. The 2nd one will actually be downloadable so people can download the 4-page packet and drop off their signatures with their packet. The notice will be in the paper Friday, so signature gathering can begin then (for the 2ND referendum related to this!)

The neighbors are all really busy with this, so if anyone out there is interested in saving the historic orchard and the 90 fruit trees (and possibly the 2 giant 100-year-old oaks which were deemed necessary to take out, but the timing of this need for removal and placement relative to the development's needs make me think that needs another careful look, just in case), and turning that into parkland/a community orchard like Gamble Gardens is for gardens? -- start circulating the initiative!

Thanks for the support of our neighbors across Palo Alto, we support PAHC, but this is a bad land use for the area and a bad precedent for Palo Alto, and it's not even nearly the best place for a senior development (no adjacency).


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Posted by resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm

@ Not an issue,

This case is not like Alma Plaza, except for the fact that PAHC is trying to put ticky-tacky narrow row houses on tiny lots, just like at Alma Plaza in the middle of a single-family residential area. Please stop using Alma Plaza as a threat, we ARE GETTING Alma Plaza in the middle of our neighborhood if we don't stop this. Where currently the 4 ranch houses sit on Maybell, they will put more than 2 houses per each lot (and that's their "compromise", it was worse before!)

The reason this isn't like Alma Plaza is that in this case, the City loaned nearly $6million to aid in purchasing the property, and their fingerprints are all over the contract. They have the right to foreclose, or to make PAHC sell the City the property if they wish. So the City can take over the property, sell off the single-family homes (and make back 8-10million today, all of the homes are over 2,000 sq ft, one is over 3,000). They could pay off the other loan holders easily with that, and turn the historic orchard into a community orchard. The City has the power to do that TODAY if they wished.

If the City didn't want to use the $6million as public benefit for a community orchard, they could still give residents the time/chance to figure out how to come up with the money. They do not have to sell the property to a predatory developer, if they did that it would be purely out of spite. It's all perfectly within the City's power to do things differently at Maybell. The neighbors aren't just against this overdevelopment, they're FOR a unique opportunity that Alma Plaza never had, which is to save the historic orchard that sits there now and turn it into a community orchard. The City did not have the power to do anything like that at Alma Plaza.

Furthermore, the City has many responsibilities, including safety, and no one ever did a comprehensive traffic study using current data (as required) and studying the impact on the bicyclists and pedestrians, even though that property is bordered by two heavily traveled safe routes to school (over 1,000 kids on bike/foot every school day on Maybell and Arastradero), has no other routes in and out except by those school commute routes, and one of those routes, Maybell, is significantly substandard in width and already grossly overburdened by traffic during the school year.

It may very well be that given the regional overdevelopment of the last few years, that location simply cannot safely support ANY development, much less of the size and scale the City is pushing here. The City could ensure that there is no more traffic added in that location, to Arastradero or Maybell, by simply turning the property onto a low-traffic asset for the City such as a community orchard, and saving nearly 100 trees in the process. It may very well save the life of a child, too. They have the power, they have just chosen to work against the citizens rather than with them.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm

@Jerry,
You are a well known proponent of the development as it is. That's fine if you want to live with that kind of density, there are places you can move for it. Your neighbors would like to put safety first and maintain the character of the neighborhood.

You keep restating the City's false claim that someone could put up 45 houses there. Joe Hirsch, former head of planning for Palo Alto, put that number at more like 18 or less. You spin a fine yarn, but the fact is, in this case, the City has the legal ability to take over the property and ensure that a market developer doesn't put anything undesirable there.

The Tan Apartments is a sore point, please don't bring it up as an excuse to densify the neighborhood. It was zoned under county rules, finished in 1965, and nearly the whole city council was recalled in 1967 because of the overdevelopment at the time (including the Tan Plaza). The only reason that Maybell property is zoned as it is now is to make it a proper transition zone from the Tan to the R-1 neighborhood, consistent with the general plan. Putting a 4-story high rise there effectively makes 60-units per acre. The zoning that orchard had was essentially the promise that the area would be a soft transition zone to the neighborhood, and now it's being turned into a spot zone of high density in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Please don't justify the overdevelopment of our neighborhood with a historic sore point.

But your point does highlight how, if we allow another high-rise in the neighborhood, there will be no more defense at all against more density along Arastradero. For everyone else who is tired of the traffic on Arastradero, I implore you to support the neighbors in overturning the rezoning, and further, if you want to see NO more traffic added, to look into saving the trees and turning the orchard into a community orchard!

This is not downtown, and we are all sick of the overdevelopment of the last few years. Please help us stop it. ABAG wanted the City to rezone areas within 1/4 mile of El Camino to high density, and the City said it couldn't because they are residential areas. This property is 1/4 to 1/3mile away in a residential area, and if the City allows this, it no longer has the defense that it can't upzone residential areas, other residential areas of Palo Alto will face rezoning to high density, especially those within 1/4 mile of El Camino (which is much of Barron Park).


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Thanks fr the info, resident. BTW, do you know how many residents there are in Barron park?


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

I agree with Jerry all the way. And there are so many errors opponents keep repeating even when given the facts, that no amount of reason will dissuade. As someone involved back then with alma plaza - maybell shares little resemblance. That maybell is bmr brings a very high ethical burden to be overcome. But I know what I or others say will not matter to you.


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

I agree with Jerry all the way. And there are so many errors opponents keep repeating even when given the facts, that no amount of reason will dissuade. As someone involved back then with alma plaza - maybell shares little resemblance. That maybell is bmr brings a very high ethical burden to be overcome. But I know what I or others say will not matter to you.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2013 at 9:11 pm

I don't live in Barron Park or Green Acres but the Palo Alto City Council and the PAHC have handled this very badly. It was a done deal as soon as the City loaned the money to buy the property.

I'd like the rezoning put to a referendum and rescinded, if for no other reason that to make the City Government more transparent and responsive to ALL its constituents.


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Posted by get a clue about zoning
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2013 at 1:04 am

Thank you, Jerry, for a thoughtful perspective.

Resident of Green Acres, just a few obvious misstatements of facts: Joe Hirsh is NOT "former head of planning for Palo Alto". He's a citizen who served on the Palo Alto Planning Commission in the late 1990s. He knows many things, but he's most definitely wrong on the number of units that could be built on the lot under the existing zoning.

Did you listen to any of the actual facts that presented in response to questions from planning commissioners and City Council members an the points raised by the opponents? Bottom line: the property owner has the right to build 34 units on this land, with up to 45 allowed in certain cases. All this with NO need for zoning approvals at all, let alone any consideration of what the neighbors think. And no sidewalks, either.

One thing is certain: The result of any successful attempt to reverse the unanimous City Council decision would be much, much worse in terms of neighborhood compatibility, traffic generation, and safety for kids en route to school.

Also, the statement that "there will be no more defense at all against more density along Arastradero" if the PAHC project goes forward is absolutely incorrect. The R-1 properties that are across from the Tan Plaza have not been rezoned in the last 48 years and if you read the city's current Comprehensive Plan or the Housing Update you would find there's no basis for such fear-mongering. FYI, El Camino Real frontage is NOT zoned R-1, it's mostly commercial zoning, which in this town has an underlying R-30 (30 units per acre) housing designation.

How sad that the opponents choose to keep repeating erroneous assumptions, unfounded allegations and fantasies about preserving the aging and unhealthy "orchard". As for the vote of BPA members, aren't there more like a thousand households in Barron Park?


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

"Did you listen to any of the actual facts that presented in response to questions from planning commissioners and City Council members an the points raised by the opponents?"

Apparently the poster who posed this question (above) did not follow his or her own advice. PAHC and the city are the bodies that have been repeating false information -- including but by no means limited to:

1. Using a traffic study that deliberately ignores pedestrians (not so good in a school corridor)
2. Providing photo simulations in which the proposed structures are (deliberately?) undersized,
3. Characterizing neighborhood opposition as "anti-affordable housing" while ignoring traffic and other neighborhood concerns
4. Sending out insufficient notice to try to sneak the project through approval
5. Attempting to backdoor the project by including it in the housing element before the zoning process was complete
6. Allocating tax money to the project before any vetting (this part should be illegal and probably compromises the city if later legal action occurs)
7. Continuing to repeat the "34 units" alternative that would be physically impossible under the current zoning rules (with setbacks, access road widths, and other requirements adjered to).
8. Misleading on traffic and parking data -- at the CC meeting, PAHC and their traffic consultant were caught using an older engineering standard: one which caused traffic to be underestimated by 35-50% -- yet the council didn't seem to want to press further into why such a critical mistake had been made.

Those are just the one I can think of off the top of my head. The City Council needs to be stopped. They are running rampant over our neighborhoods, and PAHC has devolved into 1/2 charity, 1/2 front for for profit developers. They need to get back to their core mission and stop playing the rezone-and-flip zoning gambit.

Where do I sign?


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Posted by Ronnie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 4, 2013 at 9:24 am

Spell checker alert! I think you mean "Survey Monkey" not "Survey Monday."

"The survey was conducted both electronically, using Survey Monday, and through paper ballots..."


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Posted by norezone
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 4, 2013 at 9:31 am

@ get a clue -- states "Bottom line: the property owner has the right to build 34 units on this land, with up to 45 allowed in certain cases. All this with NO need for zoning approvals at all, let alone any consideration of what the neighbors think. And no sidewalks, either."

Even if your statement is true (although I doubt it), certainly your assertion that a developer can do whatever he/she wants is wrong. New construction should be compatible and fit in with the neighborhood, so the city DOES have a say in what is developed on that property and how it fits with the neighborhood, no matter what.

The problems here are the city is in violation of the comprehensive plan and changing the zoning without due process.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

It does not matter at all what anyone could build on that property. If the City truly thinks a private developer would create even more burdens, it has complete control in this situation to prevent it. If they do not, they will be held liable.

See Staff Report, p9, June 10
Web Link

"Upon termination the loan permitted the City to request immediate repayment of the loan, foreclose on the property, or exercise its right to purchase the property from PAHC...

The City has first right to purchase the property from PAHC. If this falls apart, the City can exercise its right to purchase the property from PAHC. The City has a stack of disclosure now inches thick, and Marc Berman himself has admitted that Maybell is NOT a safe route to school, despite its designation as such.

No one ever did the traffic study to determine the impact of development in that critical location on the bicycles. Maybell is already hugely overburdened and it may be the infrastructure simply cannot take any more burden at that critical juncture.

If the City buys the property, does the safety study it should have done, it can always attach proviso on building in the resale. Or it could sell off the 4 houses and give the community the consideration in the way it spends public funds it should have in the first place and consider a low-traffic community orcahrd.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

And by the way, it's a lark to think that spending more money painting stripes on Maybell is going to fix this. Maybell was already the subject of a large six-figure safety upgrade in the last few years. It couldn't fix the fundamental problems because Maybell is only 15 feet wide at some places, narrower than internal development lanes are required to be by law, and is heavily overburdened by traffic at many times during the school day, not just rush hour.

The City should have done the traffic study. PTC is who told PAHC what to do. They were negligent in not looking at the impact on bicycle traffic. Maybell is not only a school commute corridor and safe route to school, it is listed as a city bicycle boulevard along with Bryant. Maybell and Arastradero are the only outlets for that development, both school commute corridors with heavy traffic. There are some possibly irremediable conditions here, it's not okay to charge forward without good data and figure it will all work out. Thousands of kids' safety is at stake.

City policy states the school commute routes are supposed to be accorded heightened scrutiny for changes like these -- does failing to take the impact of the bicyclists into account and using old data in their traffic study sound like that to you?


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Posted by No Growth
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Can we get a no growth initiative on the ballot for ALL of Palo Alto? I think it have support. An initiative to pause new developments until a comprehensive plan is put together.


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Posted by no rezone
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm

@ No Growth "Can we get a no growth initiative on the ballot for ALL of Palo Alto? I think it have support. An initiative to pause new developments until a comprehensive plan is put together."

This would be the first step toward that goal. Once this project is stopped then the council will have to pay attention to what the people of Palo Alto want for their city and their neighborhoods. We need to support Palo Alto as a whole because all roads lead to the same place. A majority vote for no rezone will clearly send that message.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Palo Alto has had a formal Comprehensive Plan, at least on paper, for decades. But it has no real teeth; city hall simply modifies it piecemeal to accommodate each exception that comes along.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

@ Curmudgeon,
The PC zoning is the escape hatch where they completely circumvent zoning rules, intentions, and the comprehensive plan. It's ridiculous.

I think Bob Moss is considering an initiative to curb PC zoning. Curmudgeon, if downtown came up with its own initiative to strengthen our zoning laws, I think you will have no trouble getting interest, votes, and signatures on this side of town, too! Internal polls of Greenacres show an even higher level of opposition to the rezoning (probably because Greenacres II is even more impacted than Barron Park).


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Posted by Daniel
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm

You folks seem more concerned about a BMR senior project that will be a good neighbor than you are about the biggest project by far just blocks away - the jay paul project. It will generate a zillion times more everything than maybell. All trees with no clue of the forest. You energy is misdirected.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I intend to support this initiative. What the City can do to a lot on Maybell they can do to any neighborhood anywhere in Palo Alto.

The City can just take three houses anywhere and rezone them for multiple BMR units or Senior housing right in the middle of any neighborhood. We must stop this now.


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

We (the residents) definitely need to get a ballot initiative in place to terminate PC zoning. From Googling "pc zoning" in the past, Palo Alto was about the only City that generated any search results for this particular zoning type.

It would really pay for someone to research the history of this particular code, to see if there is a paper trail as to how it came into existence. It certainly has been utilized by the property developers to their maximum benefit, and to the maximum detriment of the residents.

Since this, and other Councils, have demonstrated very little interest in what we residents think--it's time to put an end to this very destructive aspect of the Palo Alto zoning code.


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Posted by Baroness
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Bravo! I will fully support these initiatives. We now live in a town over-run by rules and regulations, yet the City Council consistently disregards existing zoning rules, safety AND community sentiment.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - Santayana

Web Link


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Posted by get a clue about zoning
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Be sure to get accurate information before signing any petition for a referendum on the unanimous decision of the City Council approving the PAHC project with a reduced number of market rate houses that allows compatible single family housing compatible with the housing across Maybell!

Despite what you are hearing from the opponents, there are two critical points you need to know:

(1) The alternative that would result from building within the existing R-2/R-15 zoning would be significantly worse in terms of peak traffic impact, neighborhood compatibility and the safety of student bicyclists and pedestrians.
Don't have to take my word for it -- here's what the president of the Barron Park Association posted about point # 1 on the BPA website: "There is a tradeoff when comparing the PAHC project, or variants of it, with other possibilities for development of the Maybell Clemo site. If the property were developed following the existing zoning, most likely we would see a project with 35 or so multi-family units or apartments in the rear and about 8 single family or duplex homes along Maybell, with some adjustments in land lines, still with driveways for entrance and exit on Maybell and Clemo and possibly curb cuts for single family homes or duplex homes along Maybell. While there would be more people and more units and a taller building in the rear of the property, it turns out when looking at the numbers that the combination of many fewer single family homes and the senior affordable unit would likely be less disruptive in terms of traffic and would place fewer demands on schools and street parking than if the property were developed according to current zoning."

(2) The traffic issues on Maybell are serious on school days during school commute periods. However, these are pre-existing conditions, and this project will both improve safety through the approved conditions of the project and have trivial peak traffic impact regardless of which ITE manual is used. Actual data on trips generated by comparable PAHC projects show that vehicle counts after the project is build are in fact LOWER than predicted by ITE, not higher as fantasized by opponents. Residents who are really concerned about safety should consider the advice given by three council members who urged the school district and the city to work together to mitigate the safety issues caused by vehicle congestion and the increased number of student bicyclists and pedestrians.
Here's what the president of the Barron Park Association posted on the BPA website about point #2:
"Progress could be made if the capabilities of the energetic group of Greenacres and Barron Park residents who mobilized so effectively to challenge the PC rezoning could be harnessed to make sure City staff and School District staff examine all the aspects of this issue – and keep the pressure on them until they come up with some solutions and improvements that we in the neighborhood want to see happen."

Here's hoping that what goes forward is dialogue about the larger issues of regional housing mandates and impacts on existing neighborhoods, and constructive solution finding on Maybell's existing traffic issues, and that the Alma Plaza worst case solution that would result from overturning the Council decision on 567 Maybell is avoided.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

The president of the Barron park assoc (a nice guy) is no more knowledgeable about land use and planning issues than my 90 year old mother down the street. You folks continue to make things up as you go along such as telling people, elsewhere, that they should sign onto your second referendum (yes - 2 referendums!) if they want an orchard or a garden. This is a 16 million dollar piece of property that you don't own - it will be developed one way or another and has as much chance of being an orchard or garden as it does of being a space ship or a home for fairies. The current project is the best you are going to get. Clearly you all bought bad advice and now must do a 2nd desperate referendum to try to fix the inadequacies of the first, adding a lot more work to you chance of getting it either passed. This is not an impressive beginning and reflects what has been apparent - you don't know what you are doing.


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Posted by Jtmt
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

It is so amazing that big developers can "pay off" the city so that their proposed downtown developments will not have to have low cost housing. Where will the 60 seniors shop? There will more cars on Arasterdero Road than it can handle . Do not forget that two schools open to Arasterdero (and one that is open to Maybell.). That could force more cars on Maybell,Donald and Georgia. The whole program is a disaster!!!! Our community is not considered at all. It was an easy solution. Does any council member live in the area?
What would they say if it were their neighborhood ?
The seniors would have much more access to needed facilities near downtown.
The council thinks that they will not have many cars. Are they to walk to the grocery store?


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 5, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Pay-- the fact that people in palo alto are trying to control properties that they do not own is nothing new


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Posted by Misha
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Where do I go to sign the petitions? The link to Paloaltoville.com did not work for me.


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Posted by Misha
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Where do I go to sign the petitions? The link to Paloaltoville.com did not work for me.


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Posted by fed-up
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Maybell is not an isolated event. It is simply a full blown example
of the way things are done here, the actual "Palo Alto Process", which has been going on for years at every level of decision-making in City Hall. Insiders, special interests, staff agendas,and an endless stream of special studies and consulting contracts. The
result? Drive around Palo Alto and take a look.


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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

To Not An Issue, Since you like flat roofed buildings and buildings with a saw tooth roof line, perhaps living in Milpitis or Fremont would be a better fit for you.


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Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Correction: the "palo alto process" does not refer to collusion between city staff, council, commissioners and developers as alluded to above. It refers to the long tradition of resident engagement in city land use process. To first be accurately informed, understand the process, and at least the basics of how our city works is fundamental to taking an appropriate position or action. These basics clearly are missing for maybell bmr opponents as shown in nearly every email's inaccuracies. You give activists a bad name.

By the way - over and over it is said that the BMR Sr. Housing should go downtown (ie - not where I live) Where downtown? I want to know where there is as big a property as maybell to finance and build 60 bmr units? name it. You can't cause it does not exist - so stop saying it as though it was is an alternative.


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Posted by Katie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Where can a person go to sign the petition? No one seems to answer this question in this post. You're not going to get enough signatures if you don't let people know where to sign. You're making it too difficult for people.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Elizabeth-- are you saying that people that only like the kind of architecture that you like are welcome to live in palo alto? FYI, I live in palo alto because it is near to my work. But more and more new buildings have that great modern look. Even some homes-- check out the 2900 block of waverly and on the corner of Ross/mayview. Militias and Fremont look nice-- they are not stuck in the past


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Posted by fed up
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm

@Ellie
Please, what I said was "actual Palo Alto Process", in other words
how things play out today, not how the media describes the process or the way it used to be twenty or thirty years ago. The Palo Alto process you describe does not exist today since the outcomes have nothing to do with it. Public input is a sidelight. We have confrontation not dialogue. The only viable and effective form of civic and resident engagement today is through a referendum to overturn decisions which do not reflect public input or the public interest.






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Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2013 at 4:58 am

While giving due consideration to the issues raised, I cannot bring myself to support a neighborhood that is represented in a Chili Cook-off by an abhorrently concocted cold chili adulterated with legumes.


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Posted by norezone
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 6, 2013 at 8:42 am

Would the Maybell senior housing have a restriction to be for Palo Alto low income seniors only? Just curious.

And, this so-called housing imbalance is nonsense. We are surrounded by other cities where people can reside and still be close to their jobs here in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Maybell Referendum Supporter
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Fellow Palo Altans:

Thanks for all the support you have expressed for the Maybell referendums. We are a grassroots group canvassing neighborhoods, and unfortunately cannot get to everyone's house, and often folks are not home. Posted below are some times and places below where signature gatherers will be stationed. We will update the list on paloaltoville.com shortly. Please come out and help us send the message to City Hall that the residents of this city are tired of having their concerns and ideas arrogantly dismissed and ignored.

Hope to see everyone there!

List of signature gathering places:

(1) Philz Coffee, 3191 Middlefield Rd Palo Alto (Mon, Tues July 8 and 9 from 10 am - 2 pm)

(2) Referendum Signing Party Mitchell Park at parking entrance at E. Meadow near Toddler playground on Sunday July 14 from 6:30-8:30 pm

(3) 4132 Willmar Drive, Palo Alto (M-F July 8-12 from 7 am - 10 am)

(4) 708 Matadero Avenue, Palo Alto (list dates/times below)

6-Jul Saturday 8:00 am - 11:00 am and 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
7-Jul Sunday 6:00 am - 8:30 am
8-Jul Monday 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
9-Jul Tuesday 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
11-Jul Thursday5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
12-Jul Friday 3:00 pm - 8:30 pm
14-Jul Sunday 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
15-Jul Monday 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
16-Jul Tuesday 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
17-Jul Wednesday 9:00 am - 11:00 am, 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
18-Jul Thursday 8:00 am - 11 am
19-Jul Friday 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
21-Jul Sunday 6:00 am - 8:30 am, 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
22-Jul Monday 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
23-Jul Tuesday 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
25-Jul Thursday 11:30 am - 8:00 pm


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@resident, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Resident. I was alarmed to read in your post that Maybell is 15' wide at its narrowest point. That surely would complicate any traffic measures that could be taken to protect student cyclists

Fortunately, I live just around the corner (often bike and walk on Maybell) and it took only an instant to check for myself. I took 6 measurements, from the street side edge of of the gutter to the edge of pavement and concrete on the other side. The narrowest, and most frequent, width was 26'. It's a little more than that at the Clemo/Maybell intersection.

The difference between 15' and 26' is significant and depending on which figure we consider correct we will have wild disagreements on the nature of the problem and proposed solutions. I invite you to verify for yourself if you are uneasy with the adequacy of my measurements.

There are many other assertions that have appeared in online discussions of this project that would benefit from some crowd-sourced fact checking. What do you think?



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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 7, 2013 at 7:22 am

@Jerry,
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I cannot check it now, but regardless of numbers, there was already a six-figure "improvement" on Maybell in the last few years, and there isn't room for a full-width sidewalk and real bike paths the length of Maybell. The City Bike + Pedestrian plan lists Maybell as a bicycle boulevard along with Bryant, saying there should be room for cars to pass comfortably without going around bikes. There is no way for his to be achieved, there isn't even real space for regular bike paths.

Perhaps you would like to argue with the two independent traffic engineers who found the traffic report had failed to use current data and failed to study the impact on bicyclists and pedestrians. Perhaps you would like to argue with the City plicy that requires heightened scrutiny on school commute routes?

Instead of arguing with me, why wouldn't you support arguing over real traffic data? Or do you not support the city's own policy to accord the school commute corridors heightened scrutiny?


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Posted by Ruth
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 7, 2013 at 7:43 am

When a commentor here attacks another commentor personally (which I think is terrible ro do) such as Greenacres does to Jerry, at least have the integrity to sign your name rather than hide behind anonymity. [Portion removed due to deletion of referenced previous post.]


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Resident, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood

I don't often argue with engineers. They usually have facts to back their conclusions.

I agree that the current standard for traffic impact measurement was not used when Hexagon traffic did their study. The Hexagon employee who briefed us at the Arastradero Apartments informational session told us as much. She said some states and communities were using new standards that caught more of the kind of information we were asking of her but they had not yet been adopted by Palo Alto.

If you were at that meeting, do you recall her saying that? If not, I should check to see if I heard right at the meeting.

Why would I argue with a city policy requiring heightened scrutiny on school commute routes? Let's make the best of this opportunity to get the city, schools, and community committed to make "bicycle boulevard" more than a catchy phrase.

I was impressed by what they did get done on Maybell. They made significant improvements in a tricky area, but not enough was done to protect bicyclists. There should be no cars parked on the west-bound side of Maybell that students use in getting to school. The project restricted parking along much of the route but left several parking spaces available. Every time the students go past those cars they have to veer dangerously out into the traffic.

And who's responsible for trimming the base of the large redwood tree at Pena court, where they did a crushed rock path to get around the tree? The undergrowth sticks out over the bicycle path at that point, again endangering students.

All of this needs to be addressed even if there is no change to the current status of the Maybell Orchard property. You believe that defeating the rezone will result in less traffic once the property is in fact developed. I'm concerned that Plan B, whatever it is, will result in more traffic. I think we both have some research to do into the facts of the matter.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm

> "Where downtown? I want to know where there is as big a property as maybell to finance and build 60 bmr units? name it. You can't cause it does not exist - so stop saying it as though it was is an alternative."

27 University. Plenty of room there. That's where John Arrillaga proposed building 10-, 9-, 7- and 6-story office buildings. Web Link


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Posted by palymom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Stop building in Palo Alto. Period. If I see one more wooden bungalow torn down to be replaced by stucco Spanish, I'll puke. Keep Palo Alto Palo Alto. Why make it into San Jose????


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Your signature on the petition means that you agree that the decision to rezone residential property should go to the voters.

This is NOT a fight against senior housing. It's about rezoning residential neighborhoods to allow stack & pack housing. Go to Google maps and take a look at the satellite view of Maybell & Clemo. You'll see Juane Briones Park right next to the site. You'll see a sea of single-family homes. It is not the place to put a 4-story 60-unit apartment block plus 12 single-family homes.

PC "planned community" is zoning that has no density limits, no setback limits, no height limits, no daylight plane limits. Under PC zoning, the developer does not have to follow all the rules that you and I as homeowners have to follow.

Your neighborhood could be the next target for rezoning. This project sets a dangerous precedent

Signing the petition puts the decision in the hands of the voters, thus providing a check on the city council.

TRAFFIC & PARKING

Maybell is a "safe route to school" for Juana Briones Elementary, Terman Jr. High, Bowman International and Gunn. Yet the City Council voted to approve the high density PC rezone without a comprehensive traffic study taking into account bicycles and pedestrians.

Traffic is already a disaster. The Arastradero "road diet" caused huge problems.

The traffic count at Maybell and Pena rose significantly from 2,700 vehicles to 3,348 daily since the Arastradero road changes, according to a city study. That's a 24% increase!

Daily Post 7-5-13: 2 council members said early on that traffic would be a problem. Back in September 2012, Councilman Espinosa said, "I suspect that my colleagues will have concerns … about the continuity with the neighborhood and with the street's traffic in particular. We really need to think about kids and pedestrians …"

Councilwoman Price said, "There's a lot of sensitivity to the current traffic conditions on Maybell now."

Yet the council still voted for the project.

The city says most seniors won't drive, so traffic impact will be minimal. PAHC accepts people into senior housing if they are 62 or older, and they can have younger family members living with them. How many 62-year-olds do not have cars?

Parking will also be a problem. The project only has 47 parking spots for 60 units, staff, and visitors.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the video of Maybell traffic must be worth a million: Web Link

BACWARD PROCESS/CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The city gave the Palo Alto Housing Corporation (PAHC) $5.8 million in loans to help buy the property and approved a "planned community" zoning change to enable it to build 72 units on a site that was zoned for 34 units.

THEN the city then approved the project of 60-unit apartment complex and 12 single-family homes, some 3-stories.

Putting that dense project in a quiet residential neighborhood would completely change its character.

Palo Alto Weekly editorial: "The appropriateness and legality of the council making a financial commitment to the project, which needed the zoning change to be viable, before it had approved the zoning change raised serious questions about the council's bias and ability to impartially hear concerns of the neighborhood."


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm

>By the way - over and over it is said that the BMR Sr. Housing should go downtown (ie - not where I live) Where downtown? I want to know where there is as big a property as maybell to finance and build 60 bmr units? name it. You can't cause it does not exist - so stop saying it as though it was is an alternative.

Ellie, you ask the wrong question. The proper question is whether or not Palo Alto should be building welfare housing for seniors. I don't think we should be in the welfare housing business, but if we decide to do it, as you appear to desire, then cost should not be the deciding factor...if it is a good thing, then it is also a good thing in the relatively rich neighborhoods. Eminent domain can be used to buy up a few mansions, scrape them, then build welfare housing. It is time to stop dumping on the relatively non-wealthy neighborhoods.

There are a number of rich people on the Boards of PAHC and Inn Vision...they can use their own deep pockets (and their friends) to fund welfare housing in their own neighborhoods. If they are not willing to do so, then just shut them down.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Pat-- the city council has told us that the arastedero road diet is a smashing success. They would never lie or Mislead us. They do not have any personal agendas . They do not ignore the will f the people. You would think that they ignore what their constituents want and focus on self-serving issues (fancy bike bridges, public health, getting rid of term limits) .


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Getting harder to find suitable sites for any kind of below top of the market sale price. When I say this I mean final sale price, 16 million dollars for this property is a jaw dropping say that again. Even those 4 ranch homes will not your ROI.

If I was going to build on property, will build 4 really top of the,line homes with all the goodies. You would need to hire a cleaner, gardener and most likely a nanny. The homes won't be a ugly post war gravel flat top single story. Classic old world design carefully placed on site with very pleasing color, landscaping and ringtones.

I would use the money to build senior housing some place else.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

@Not an issue. I am SO relieved to hear that the council and staff are on the side of the people. As Rick said in Casablanca, กงI was misinformed.กจ :-)ƒบ


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm

And, pat, the council constantly tells us-- I.e. we were recently told by kniss that the council is the guardian of public health. Plus I am sure the council religiously reads this forum to gauge the feelings of the people. Plus you would never see the council try to stop the public from expressing displeasure with the city manager by ordering them to,stop speaking at a council meeting and calling the police. Not in palo alto. When they are running for,office they all tell us ow much they love the city ( its just the residents they disdain)


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Larry Klein thinks the posts on this forum are too "vitriolic."

I vividly remember the council meeting you reference. Jim Burch was mayor. He shut down the speaker because he was "criticizing the city manager" (Frank Benest). Can't remember if Burch called the police into the council chambers or just threatened to. Unthinkable that we the people should criticize our elected officials or the employees whose salaries we pay.

I like your distinction between the city and the residents. Too true.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Pat-- it was another of the stellar councilmembers that called the police-- the man the council did not trust to be mayor and barely elected him vice mayor- jack Morton.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Resident, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood

"The Tan Apartments is a sore point, please don't bring it up as an excuse to densify the neighborhood. It was zoned under county rules …."

I brought it up because it's what I see when I look up Abel toward Maybell.

As for who zoned it, Bob Moss explained in an email some time back that it was done by the city, not the county. I don't think this is particularly germaine to the question of where we go now, but since you raise it as an issue I think we should honor the fact in our discussion.


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Posted by don't drink the koolaid
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Don't sign a petition based on the inaccurate information that supporters like Pat from Midtown and resident of Greenacres keep repeating!

Pat, a couple questions for you:
* When describing what's surrounding the 567 Maybell project, was there a reason you did not mention that none of this parcel was zoned R-1? Or that the immediate neighbors (sharing the south and east borders of the property) are the Tan Plaza (8 stories, I believe), and the large parcel of multistory low income apartments?

Yes, the neighbors across the street on Maybell are zoned R-1, but your hyperbole is very misleading. Nor do you even mention the City Council action to reduce the number of units fronting Maybell to 7, along with other setback and lot width and compatibility requirements. Also missing is mention that review of the final design for the units on Maybell would be required -- something that would not happen if housing on this site were built under the previous zoning on the site. These are all important safeguards built into the approved project by Council action as far as ensuring that what is built on the street frontage will be compatible. Your "trouble right here in River City" insinuations about what could happen with a PC in other areas currently zoned R-1 are not supported by the facts of the actual situation.

* Question: Why did you not mention that the affordable senior housing units would be 600 square feet each -- nowhere near the image that a reader would derive from the inflammatory "60 unit apartment block" language you keep using. Or that data was presented in the documents and at the hearings about similar PAHC projects in Palo Alto demonstrate unequivocally that the vehicle trips generated by this type of housing, and the parking demand, will be lower than the standard ITE estimates regardless of which edition is used? This includes counting any deliveries, vans provided by the PAHC to take seniors to medical appts or other errands, etc.

And, since you shared the video of what Maybell looks like during the school commute, and implied that this was somehow caused by changes on Arastradero, here's a video made by one of the council members at the same time of day after school was out.
Web Link

The point is: let's deal with recent increases in peak period traffic during the school year by working on solutions with the PAUSD and the immediate schools. The PAHC project did not create the existing conditions and it would have very minimal traffic impact than the alternative to this project that could built without need of _any_ approvals from anyone under current zoning.

Ellie's perceptive comment is right on in reference to the people organizing this referendum: "To first be accurately informed, understand the process, and at least the basics of how our city works is fundamental to taking an appropriate position or action. These basics clearly are missing for maybell bmr opponents as shown in nearly every email's inaccuracies. You give activists a bad name."


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Posted by Maybell Referendum
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Dear Fellow Palo Altan:

I am involved in a community effort to qualify two referendums to be put on a ballot for voting by the citizens of Palo Alto. I care about these referendums because they go to the heart of over-development in Palo Alto, leading to traffic congestion, lack of parking, densification of neighborhoods, downgrade of quality of life in Palo Alto, and other symptoms of poor land use planning.

PLEASE HELP US PASS THIS REFERENDUM BY DOING THE FOLLOWING:

1. Download the referendum packet Here: Web Link

2. Sign the petition, and gather any signatures from your friends and neighbors who are registered voters in Palo Alto.

3. Sign the circulator declaration at the bottom of each page.

4. Mail right away or drop off to:

Diane Lee

4132 Willmar Drive

Palo Alto, CA 94306

OR email

maybellclemo@gmail.com and request that a signature gatherer come pick up your packet.

Thank you very much for your support. This referendum will be the first step in stopping the wave of overdevelopment that the city council is forcing on Palo Alto!


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@don't drink the koolaid, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

Thanks for injecting some different factual claims into the discussion. If others can refute them, with evidence, I hope they'll do so. That way we'll all have a chance to reason better.

@Pat, resident of the Midtown neighborhood

Google maps has important uses. But in addition to the view from the sky it's good to check out the entire view up close on the ground. Then you see the 8-story apartment building, the multi-story apartment complex, and the properties across Maybell as well as beautiful Briones Park across the street. If the new homes on Maybell stand out it will be because they're among the most attractive houses in the neighborhood, not because they are "stack and pack" housing thrown up to degrade the neighborhood while reaping big profits.

Please correct me if I'm wrong with this scenario: The builder will pay a set price for the land. That goes to PAHC. Then the builder can do whatever fits within the demanding guidelines set by the City Council to build attractive, expensive homes, filled with amenities to get buyers to pay more than they ever expected to live in this desirable location-close to a large park and within walking distance of three award-winning schools.

If they judge the market right, they make a big profit, if they misjudge and don't make much because they loaded on too many expensive extras, the houses are still there as part of the neighborhood housing stock. The risk lies with the developer, not with PAHC.PAHC comes out the same either way, with the money needed to complete the affordable senior housing apartments.


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Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

There may be differing views on the details of this project and everyone is entitled to their perception but I for one am opposed to the high density that the developers are planning all over Palo Alto. This is one of many planned. They voted to make El Camino the focus of high density. There is talk about Fryes to become a PC. Are we to see three story row houses all over Palo Alto? This referendum will allow the people of Palo Alto, by vote, decide whether this high density is right for Palo Alto. I for one hate to lose any more of Palo Alto than we already have.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm

@ don't drink
1. > "was there a reason you did not mention that none of this parcel was zoned R-1?"

The parcel of two houses in the middle of the section on Maybell was zoned R-2 (LIMITED Apartment District) and the rest of site was RM-15 (LOW DENSITY multiple family residences). I don't consider 60 apartments LIMITED or LOW density. You may have a different opinion.

2. > "Or that the immediate neighbors … are the Tan Plaza..."

Tan Plaza is a red herring. Is that an example of how the area should be built out? Tan Plaza approval and construction caused a political uproar in the 1960s and early 1970s resulting in residentialists taking over city council and initiating a 50-foot height limit.

3. > Your "trouble right here in River City" insinuations about what could happen with a PC in other areas currently zoned R-1 are not supported by the facts of the actual situation.

I said, "Your neighborhood could be the next target for rezoning." No mention of R-1.

4. > you shared the video of what Maybell looks like during the school commute, and implied that this was somehow caused by changes on Arastradero,"

It's the city's own data that shows a 24% traffic increase after the Arastradero "road diet" went into effect. And when the county posted signs on El Camino prohibiting right turns onto Arastradero during rush hours, it was an invitation for more traffic to divert to Maybell.

5. > " here's a video made by one of the council members at the same time of day after school was out."

So Councilman Berman is implying that we shouldn't worry about when school is in session, when all the kids are on the street? Seems like that's the most important time to look at traffic.

6. > " let's deal with recent increases in peak period traffic during the school year by working on solutions with the PAUSD and the immediate schools."

Hasn't this already been done? I think Terman and Gunn staggered their start times in 2011 or 2012.

7. > " The PAHC project did not create the existing conditions and it would have very minimal traffic impact"

An independent peer review of the city's traffic study showed that VTA guidelines were not properly analyzed, e.g., some traffic counts were outdated, and bicycle and pedestrian volumes were not counted during peak hours.

In fact, the city is looking at a new traffic model. Staff report ID# 3756 dated 6-24-13 states: "… the City could not continue to justify the use of the existing model for long-term forecasting and planning studies. As a result, a new traffic model was commissioned. The new model was built using the Valley Transportation Authority's Transportation-Land Use model updated with recent land use activities and known demand from specific plan area changes …"

Oh, and when you look at Google maps, be sure to notice Briones Park and Juana Briones School.


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Posted by Just Build It Already!
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Grandma needs a place to live! And she ain't getting any younger!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2013 at 11:59 am

Staff and council did not listen to residents about the very real traffic and safety issues on Maybell. The representatives from Hexagon Traffic Consultants were allowed to speak as long as they liked to Council and staff however, residents with pictures and proof of the traffic and safety issues got two minutes--two stinking minutes!!--to speak before a buzzer went off in their face.

These people are not crazy no-growth fanatics. They see the problems daily, and know that the situation is dangerous.


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