By Steve Levy
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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ... (More)
About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved downtown in 2006 and enjoy being able to walk to activities. I do not drive and being downtown where I work and close to the CalTrain station and downtown amenities makes my life more independent. I have worked all my life as an economist focusing on the California economy. My work centers around two main activities. The first is helping regional planning agencies such as ABAG understand their long-term growth outlook. I do this for several regional planning agencies in northern, southern and central coast California. My other main activity is studying workforce trends and policy implications both as a professional and as a volunteer member of the NOVA (Silicon Valley) and state workforce boards. The title of the blog is Invest and Innovate and that is what I believe is the imperative for our local area, region, state and nation. That includes investing in people, in infrastructure and in making our communities great places to live and work. I served on the recent Palo Alto Infrastructure Commission. I also believe that our local and state economy benefits from being a welcoming community, which mostly we are a leader in, for people of all religions, sexual preferences and places of birth. (Hide)
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Continuation of Office Cap Discussion
Uploaded: Mar 22, 2015
On Monday night the city council will consider direction to staff with regard to an office cap proposal for Palo Alto. I think this is a bad idea as I have written previously. The best reason not to go forward is that council now understands that a cap will at absolute best leave nearly all concerns about traffic and parking unresolved and lead to even more resentment. There will also as council has been told be the likelihood of unintended and negative economic consequences.
And finally resident anger is not a good basis for determining the short and long term growth planning for our city that will not only affect the people who are angry but countless others as well.
But council may decide to explore a cap. Readers should be clear that no one can adopt a cap tomorrow or any time quickly. Tomorrow is about setting direction for study.
If council goes ahead I favor the cautious and careful exploration recommended by council member Burt combined with some questions for staff.
1) An exploration of an office cap would take place in the context of Comp Plan study where the fiscal, economic and other impacts can be studied. That need not mean that a cap if desired would wait until the final Comp Plan is adopted,. That issue can be faced when more information is available.
2) Staff would be directed to bring council some alternatives.
--With regard to different cap limits
--with regard to whether the cap applied only to downtown or the research park or Welch Road or the who;e city
--how projects in the pipeline would be treated and how many there are as well as how applications received during the study period would be treated.
--how and when the cap would end
3) Legal staff would be asked about
--legal limitations on council scope for action
--what are the precise steps and timing for adopting a cap in terms of public meetings, staff time, etc.
4) Planning staff would be asked
--how this work interferes or not with Comp Plan activities and how it might be included in post summit citizen workshops
--what information resources about cap implications can be developed and when with regard to the economy, traffic and parking.
I look forward to the council discussion tomorrow night.
What is it worth to you?
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