News

Santa Clara County supervisors back plan to preserve Buena Vista

Board votes 5-0 to partner with Palo Alto, Housing Authority to purchase mobile-home park

A proposal to buy and save Palo Alto's sole mobile-home park scored its first victory Tuesday when the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a proposal to enter a partnership with the city and the Housing Authority of Santa Clara County for the preservation effort.

Under the terms of the partnership, the county and the city would each contribute $14.5 million for a potential purchase of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park from the Jisser family, which has been trying to shut down the park since fall 2012. The Housing Authority would pay the balance of the price and conduct the needed feasibility study to make the purchase possible.

In addition, the Housing Authority has expressed a willingness to use the power of eminent domain to compel the sale of Buena Vista and avert to potential displacement of about 400 low-income residents.

The agreement still has to be approved by the Palo Alto City Council and the Housing Authority's board of commissioners, which will be considering the agreement on June 27 and June 28, respectively.

The agreement effectively caps the funding that both the County and the City had already committed for the preservation effort. In each case, the $14.5 million would be drawn from fees specifically devoted for affordable housing, with the goal of maintaining Buena Vista as an affordable mobile-home park (or equivalent housing resources) for the foreseeable future and avoiding the displacement of current residents. The Housing Authority would also invest at last $10 million in needed infrastructure improvements at the mobile-home park.

Supervisor Joe Simitian, who has been spearheading the preservation effort, advocated for the agreement, noting that it both caps the County's contributions and ensures that the County will not be in the business of owning or maintaining a mobile-home park. Rather, the park would owned by the Housing Authority, a public agency that he noted exists "for the exclusive purpose" of owning, operating and providing services for affordable housing.

"It just makes all the sense in the world," Simitian said.

The supervisors also heard from several speakers, including Buena Vista residents and their supporters. Erika Escalante, president of the Buena Vista Residents Association, thanks the supervisors for their support and told them that life has been very difficult for the residents over the past four years, since the effort to close the park was launched.

"Please vote yes to save Buena Vista and preserve 117 units of affordable housing," Escalante told the board.

Every other speaker made the same point, with each citing the impact of displacement on Buena Vista's families. Erwin Morton, member of the Sixth District PTA board of directors (which advocates on behalf of PTAs throughout the region), focused on the students in making his case.

"More than 100 of our children are in danger of losing their homes, their friends, their very special community and their schools," Morton said. "They are very much our kids."

Winter Dellenbach, founder of the group Friends of Buena Vista, submitted to the board a petition with 1,420 signatures, urging the county to approve the agreement. Her group, she said, is working to preserve the park to avoid "the tragedy of dispossession and displacement in which many ae certain to become homeless."

Amado Padilla, a Stanford professor who has been researching the impact of the closure process on Buena Vista's children, said that if the mobile-home park closes, there will be "another 400 adults and children on our streets or nearby on our streets, including infants of all age ... and senior citizens who are disabled in various ways."

"All 400 of these people will probably be on the streets if Buena Vista closes," Padilla said.

Related content:

At Buena Vista, new hope cheers stressed families

The Weekly has compiled an archive of news coverage capturing the many voices of the people involved in the fight over Buena Vista.

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Comments

135 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

There goes $55M of tax payer dollars to save less than 100 homes plus another $10M to remodel the park.

Unless Joe plans on using a below market offer to steal the land. Then this will go on for years in yet another court case.

Either way we need start looking for fiscally more responsible elected officials to stop wasting money.

They should also do a study on the cost of electing incompetent supervisors.


19 people like this
Posted by Harriet
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:17 pm

It should not be to hard to do a study of electing incompetent supervisors Washington DC is loaded with them.


41 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Thank you, Supervisor Simitian, for your thoughtful leadership on this issue.

The Buena Vista students enrich our Palo Alto school community, and their families are our valued neighbors, and hard working, vital, contributors to our local economy and community.


40 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:36 pm

These government officials live in a self-enclosed world. They believe that their opinions represent the majority. In fact, it's just the opposite, based on people's comments to these news. The problem now is: if the fair market price is eventually offered, even the property owner will not have the motivation to fight back. Then the question is, how are the true majority's voices can be heard? What mechanism can really help protect the general public's fund?


42 people like this
Posted by Duveneck mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Thank you to the county, city and housing authority for taking steps to preserve this very needed affordable housing. I agree with Nancy that the Buena Vista residents strengthen our community and are citizens devoted to making a positive contribution to Palo Alto.


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 21, 2016 at 9:04 pm

At this rate the county will be needing more $$$. The new proposed $950 Bond measure they plan to put one the ballot will provide some of it.

Web Link


105 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2016 at 9:12 pm

I can not imagine how badly a government run low income housing mobile home park will turn out. Money pit full of entitled siphoning away our tax dollars.


49 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2016 at 12:01 am

How many more mobile park that our government can seize from the people? It sounds more like robbing to me. Remember those are renters (of a space). our government has set a very bad example to help the needed. They should relocate the renters to an affordable housing within the county, not using taxpayers monies to buy up the land. Then, inherit the maintanence and more headachEs in the future.


62 people like this
Posted by Winter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 8:54 am

Several things -
The City and County funds for BV, totaling $29 million, are from affordable housing funds required from developers, not taxpayers, that can be used only for affordable housing development. This is the maximum amount the City and County will contribute. The $14.5 from Stanford can only be used within 6 miles of campus for which BV qualifies.

The third partner, the Housing Authority, buys, develops and manages below market rate housing, though likely a mobile home park manager will be brought in from BV. Housing Authority will own Buena Vista, buying it at fair market value. BV will then remain affordable and be upgraded.

One reason this new progress for BV is happening after nearly 4 years of hard effort is because we elect competent, smart, experienced representatives such as Supervisor Simitian.

The City of Palo Alto and the County decided at some point that we can't lose Buena Vista residents and affordable housing. For our city it would betray our vision of who we are. We don't throw each other out of our community life raft. Our children are not expendable. We take care of each other.

Thank you County Supervisors for propelling Buena Vista forward toward survival.


60 people like this
Posted by Stoidi
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2016 at 9:09 am

We're not preserving Buena Vista, the entire park needs to be rebuilt. At best we're trying not to lose 117 affordable housing units. Since we're essentially rebuilding, there is no logical or sane reason this housing needs to be provided in trailer form, and given our ability to build buildings, the city doesn't need a 4.5 acre site to "preserve" 117 housing units. 801 Alma put 50 units on .6 acres and Stanford housing puts 70 units on under 2 acres and includes retail. Since it's highly unnecessary to have 4.5 acres for 117 affordable units, there is no reason the city needs this particular piece of land. Didn't we just conclude a debate about which unused, city-owned land we should use for a police station? Stop torturing the Jisser family and go be insane on your own property. I think you're legally obligated to do that before you can use eminent domain on someone else's.


57 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 9:13 am

All this money being discussed is all public funding that is being used to subsidize a few, regardless of what bucket it is in.




33 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 9:43 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

This vote was a tribute to the tenacity of the residents of Buena Vista and its supporters and the enduring values of a Palo Alto that wants to continue a tradition of inclusiveness in the face of pressure to pursue real estate market-driven exclusivity. Congratulations to all involved.

The hearing came later in the afternoon than expected, but the many BV families that brought their children to witness this historic moment met the challenge with patience and love (and timely snacks, I expect.) Those kids will be able to tell their own children years from now that they saw the vote that opened their future and ended the terrible uncertainty their families have lived with for years.


200 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 22, 2016 at 9:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF a reasonable person was given $50 million of public money and told to use it in whatever way possible to maximize the amount of low income housing in Palo Alto buying a 4.5 acre site which is forever committed to being a single story development and which can legally only permit about 100 of its current 117 trailer units to remain would not even be in the top ten best investments for that public money.


27 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

People
Why the need for all this negativity-there is a great need for affordable housing not only in Palo Alto but in the entire bay area. Buena Vista will not benefit a few it will help future generations.
Life is unpredictable and you never know when one of us or a family member will be in need for affordable housing, and may need to live at Buena Vista!!

I am glad we have elected officials like Supervisor Simitian, who care about the people in our community.


21 people like this
Posted by Ike
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

The City of Palo Alto with Joe is doing what is right rather then by looking
at the $$$ signs. Something that is so rare these days, to help your fellow humans...I applaud this action to keep families together!!!


43 people like this
Posted by Barron Park Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 10:28 am

Useless waste of government subsidy. Once the housing authority lets you in to low income housing, you've hit the jackpot for life. They can't kick you out, even if you start another google...

All of my neighbors think this is bad!


50 people like this
Posted by Demosthenes
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 10:32 am

It looks to me as if someone has put out a directive to political operatives to say "Thank you, Supervisor Simitian" as a response to the reasoned criticisms of said Supervisor on this and other threads here. These posts do seem to contain a lot of the same content and language.

None of them seem to respond to the criticisms here, the general gist of which is NOT that Palo Alto does not or should not care about low income people in our community or affordable housing for them. On the contrary, the complaint is that Simitian proposes to use a whole LOT of public money to assist relatively few targeted low income people. If Palo Alto has the needs for assisting low income people with housing that the Simitian acolytes here agree that it does, they should be as appalled as the rest of us that Simitian is proposing to use it in such an inefficient manner.

And why? Well, the most apparent reason is that this is a chance for Simitian to grandstand and burnish his public image on a high profile issue. I voted for Simitian for PA Council and for Supervisor, but he's changed: He's now nothing more than an attention seeking politician who cares more about promoting himself than about serving his constituents. Never again, Joe.


9 people like this
Posted by Sandy miranda
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 22, 2016 at 11:02 am

Damn, Winter! You guys did it!!!


23 people like this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

I've been enthralled by this situation with BV for years now.
It seems to me that what we need to do is make this a referendum on the November ballot to see if the people of PA a/o the tax payers of Santa Clara Co want to spend this vast sum of money to save a mobile home park in a huge state of disrepair for what 400 people?


72 people like this
Posted by Jane Johnson
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 11:55 am

One thing that Winter and the gang keep reiterating is that the funds must be used for affordable housing. But what they will not tell the public (trust me watch the video with winter and joe) is that fair market value of the land just going off the sale of Maybel which has the same zoning as BV was $10-$11M per acre. That equates to approx $48M ($10.5 x 4.5acres). Plus throw in per Joe himself about $10M to revamp BV. That is almost $58M to save 104 trailers. They keep using the figure 117, but their are 13 studios that are not part of the park.

This is a waste of money (regardless if is tax or fees).

What a well played strategy by the owners. Maximum dollar for the land, no relocation fees and headaches.

They really should do a study about the cost of incompetent officials and further with all joking aside how about a study to see if $58M cant be used to build more newer affordable housing for more people rather than the few living at the park that will receive eighty thousand dollars to relocate per the citys final decision.


21 people like this
Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2016 at 12:10 pm

To Demosthenes and others who are perhaps, in my opinion, missing a very important point, I would like to suggest that sometimes people are motivated by more than self-serving ambition. This is about caring what happens to our neighbors and fellow human beings. That is the main issue here.


39 people like this
Posted by casey
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2016 at 12:31 pm

casey is a registered user.

The issue isn't whether the Buena Vista families enrich our community, but whether our elected government should seize land from the Jissers for this purpose. Affordable housing is an admirable goal, but every single one of us would fight tooth-and-nail if the county and city tried to seize our individual homes for affordable housing.

Maybe the city can allocate 5 acres from the municipal golf course to build a mobile home park. The BV residents would have a place to move to and the Jissers can keep their property. That would be a win-win solution.


14 people like this
Posted by we can be heroes just for one day
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

It is unlikely that the price for land within Palo Alto, which is the only place the city's affordable housing fund can be spent, is going to be significantly lower anywhere else within the city limits. At the same time, buying Buena Vista preserves the homes, community and livelihood for 400 plus residents many who are Palo Alto natives and preserves affordable housing in perpetuity. Once the park has been upgraded the rents will sustain the park unlike in the past where they were banked with little being reinvested to improve or maintain the infrastructure. The current property owner gets a double bonus in not having to pay $8 million to resettle the Buena Vista residents plus deferred capital gain on the sale that they can reinvest in something more profitable.


Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm

To Jack and all those others who still think it's taxpayer's money. Get it straight, at least on PA's contribution. Ours is not taxpayer's money. Not sure about the county, but I have a hunch that might be taxpayer's money. Would like to hear a response from Joe himself, his supporters, or anyone who really knows...really knows.

Also, did you vote, Jack? I did too, and I voted for Simitian, along with many others for an overwhelming win. He's doing all he can with tools available to save BV. His tool box might be too small to save it but at least he's making an effort, and I think he's sincere in doing it.

@Ed..It sounds like most of the silent majority voted for Simitian, so what's your point/response? I do agree that most of our elected officials, now speaking only of PACC members, press on with their own ideas and agendas of what's good for us, w/o really knowing what we think is good for us. Lots of cases could be cited, but I think the mind set is...once we're elected into office we feel those who voted for us are like minded on every issue and will support us on any and all issues we come down on. Bad and dangerous thinking! You will get tested again when you're up for re-election. Then you'll get to see how well you did.

I've commented before on the problems I foresee in the effort to save BV so won't repeat them here.


56 people like this
Posted by jack
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Dear Gale Johnson, Only time will tell if Simitian is making a sincere effort. the land is worth at the bottom end around $48M. If and when the offer is made to the owner will we know if Simitian is sincere or a thug trying to steal the land from the owners.

It isnt the actions that define the man, its the logic behind the actions. IF simitian wants to buy the land with a sincere market offer and the owner accepts then the issue is at rest and Simitian will be the hero he wants be.

However, more likely than not he will make a low ball offer that will create yet another legal battle wasting tax payer dollars.


47 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 22, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"he will make a low ball offer that will create yet another legal battle wasting tax payer dollars. "

That is not the way that imminent domain works:

Actually if the Jisser's refuse the new offer the eminent domain laws require a new and independent appraisal of the current value of the property and then and only then can the court compel the sale. In no case can a sale be compelled at less than the full fair market value.

"Just compensation is the fair market value of the property being acquired by the agency. California Law defines fair market value as "the highest price on the date of valuation that would be agreed to by a seller, being willing to sell but under no particular or urgent necessity for so doing, nor obliged to sell, and a buyer, being ready, willing, and able to buy but under no particular necessity for so doing, each dealing with the other with full knowledge of all the uses and purposes for which the property is reasonably adaptable and available."

"Contesting The Condemning Agency's Acquisition Of The Property
Provided there has been no withdrawal of the amount deposited, anyone with an interest in the property can challenge in court the agency's right to acquire or condemn the property. However the right to challenge the acquisition must have been preserved at the hearing on the Resolution of Necessity.
The agency's right to acquire the property by eminent domain will be decided by the judge, not a jury."

"The Eminent Domain Trial
Typically, the purpose of an eminent domain trial is to determine the fair market value of the property, including compensable interests such as lost business goodwill caused by the taking or severance damages. The trial is usually conducted before a judge and jury. Anyone with an interest in the property and the agency will have the opportunity to present evidence of value, and the jury will determine the property's fair market value. In cases where the parties choose not to have a jury, the judge will decide the property's fair market value. Value testimony is almost universally presented by expert testimony. Generally, each party to the litigation must disclose its respective appraisals to the other parties prior to trial.
If the owner challenges the agency's right to acquire the property, the eminent domain trial will also determine whether or not the agency has the legal right to acquire the property. In such cases, the judge (not the jury) will make this determination before any evidence is presented concerning the property's fair market value."


7 people like this
Posted by jack
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm

@ Peter Carpenter

your comment is by far the most practical and most liked and yet my comment of electing fiscally responsible official is being written off as a joke. Yet I was sincere. The supervisors often vote on public policy without detailed studies of the cost. constantly wasting our money

I'm by far not a trump supporter, but there is some logic to our officials reaching out the home builders for help on affordable housing.

For example, when Obama launched the affordable care act website (that failed terribly) ,why on earth did he sub the work out to a Canadian company nobody has heard of when Apple and Google are right here in the US!

Same with the BV story, where is the $250,000 gonna go when they do this study? I wold recommend that they reach out to local builders.


6 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Casey.....the Jissers will be paid a fair market value for the land. Their land is not being taken it is being bought.

After all is said and done, knowing that the Jissers intention was to sell the land, why would they turn done a fair market offer?


8 people like this
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Joe Simitian's work on the Buena Vista issue represents to me confirmation of the votes I have given him over the years and for several offices he's held. Joe is a decent, hardworking public servant and we are lucky to have him. I'm thrilled that the people living at Buena Vista have the opportunity to remain in their homes.


2 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm

If you live in the trailer park then one would feel that we are luck to have him.

However if someone that lives in the park is waiting for $80,000 to leave then Joe would more likely be frowned upon

Further if you are the jissers then depending on the fair market value or how its calculated then Joe would be either your best friend or your worst enemy

Point being people have different feeling about this issue depending on their position.

That being said if Joe was trying to take your land for the poor then I can see his likability drop quickly


26 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm

@Gale Johnson, based on the comments to the news and the number of "likes", the silent majority is not on Simitian's side. Maybe as one of the poster mentioned about, we should put this issue on November ballot and really understand what's the true public opinion. I am supportive of Maybell low income housing project, but spending 60+ Mil on such a low efficient project only for the selected few, whether or not having sound legal base, strikes me as utterly irresponsible and defies people's common sense.


22 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Should this actually come to fruition the city and county will screw it up royally, as usual and it'll cost millions more than we're being told/sold. Designate some city land, build new affordable housing and let the Jisser family sell their land to whomever they want.


Like this comment
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Should this actually come to fruition the city and county will screw it up royally, as usual and it'll cost millions more than we're being told/sold. Designate some city land, build new affordable housing and let the Jisser family sell their land to whomever they want.


21 people like this
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 22, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Be Positive is a registered user.

@anon - the Jisser's have publicly stated that BV is NOT for sale. They just want to close the park (and I assume develop it).


6 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2016 at 4:05 pm

"That is almost $58M to save 104 trailers."

That works out to $558k per dwelling unit, a small fraction of current local real estate selling prices. Looks like a great bargain in any objective reckoning.

"This is a waste of money (regardless if is tax or fees)."

No, a bargain. See above. If you are worried about tax waste, the US government has burned well over a trillion bucks of tax money on its worse than useless war in Iraq. Look there. If fees are your concern, (a) if you didn't buy real estate from a developer who paid fees then your money is not involved, (b) if you did buy such, march directly into the developer's office and demand your money back if the fee wasn't specifically itemized in your contract.


25 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Looks like a great bargain in any objective reckoning."

Not when compared to the cost and resulting value of building high density housing with the same amount of money.


23 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Curmudgeon, $556k for a dwelling unit would be a great deal. Here is the flaw and hurdle that Simitian will have. And why this eminent domain threat will go nowhere

1. These are trailers not dwelling units. Many are at a uninhabitable stage. They must be replaced

2. The current park does not meet state code requirements. Thus after the remodel you will
Have 80 units max. Even then the rm15 zoning will need to be modified

3. The owner will and most likely prevail in this case. Public use will be very difficult to prove being that the existing tenants are the only beneficial


Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 22, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Ed, please understand what silent majority means. Yes, you haven't seen them posting because they are who they are...the 'silent' majority. [Portion removed.] Put your candidates for supervisor and PACC forward and let's hear it from them, what they have to say. Who do you have in mind? Names please. Let's have our chance to elect them. Or better yet, why don't you run for office? That would make for a very interesting campaign I'm sure.

@Jack, thanks for calling out Double double, even tho you don't agree with me on many of my positions. The language some people use. If it makes them feel good, have at it. It just reveals who they are. Wouldn't want to count them as friends.

@ Sandy Miranda...can it be, are you the one and same Sandy that I knew from Life Stories classes at Avenidas? Can there be two Sandy Miranda's in this town? Low probability. Call me.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm

""Looks like a great bargain in any objective reckoning."

Not when compared to the cost and resulting value of building high density housing with the same amount of money."

Stick with the scenario we have. No fair imagining customized strawman scenarios.

But, as a thought experiment, how much could you sell your current home property for if it only had a small trailer on it. If not more than $558k, you should have stayed in Palo Alto.


"The current park does not meet state code requirements."

Easy legislative fix there. The state made the state code and the state can tweak the state code. This thing has momentum, pal.

Meantime, do you really think the PA Code Enforcement will scurry over there to inspect on its own initiative? Hah! Do you think BV-ites are dumb enough to turn themselves in to Code Enforcement? Hmmm?


134 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Many of us who are opposed to the expenditure of public funds to preserve BV are opposed because we believe that would be an inefficient use of scarce public funds not because we don't understand and appreciate the plight of the BV residents.


63 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Stick with the scenario we have"

Only a very foolish person would not consider alternatives before spending more than $50 million.


9 people like this
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:36 pm

John lists above how different people look at this deal with different perspectives. What should we do?
The answer is go by principle. The principle is property rights.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:52 pm

"Only a very foolish person would not consider alternatives before spending more than $50 million."

[Portion removed.]

Check out what CPA is obliging itself for at the PA airport, for the benefit of a wealthy few. The big difference here is the BV residents are economically disadvantaged.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


44 people like this
Posted by Ignorance is bliss
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm

What I would like to see is an in depth article to address the many issues that may arise if this sale goes. Obviously simitian, the council and FOBV are ignoring these questions. And of course, the weekly would never write an unbiased real article on this subject.
The questions that need to be answered ate:
1 how much will it cost to get the park up to code
2 since the park currently does not meet density requirements, how will they get rid of about 17 units. Who will actually tell the residents they have to leave
3 most likely some of the residents wilmake more money than is allowed to live in this park. Who will tell these resdients they have to move.
4 what will happen if the owner chooses to fight this in court? How long will this drag on.

The above are some of the issues that the supporters of this land grab are choosing to ignore.


11 people like this
Posted by casey
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

casey is a registered user.

@anon. It remains to be seen whether the Jissers will receive fair market value for their property. They have a fairly unique piece of property in terms of location and size. Real estate is already tight in Palo Alto. Try cobbling together a 4.5 acre lot without driving up the price of land.

How is the Housing Authority coming up with its share of the bill? Here are their financials. Do they have the cash on hand? Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by kh
a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2016 at 11:20 am

Wouldn't it be cool if one of the billionaires in PA took Buena Vista on as their special project? Would literally be a drop in their financial bucket and would do so much good close to home. Idealistic I know, but why not? The sixth-richest man on the planet (Zuckerberg)with a net worth of $50.7 billion, bought the four houses surrounding his Palo Alto neighborhood home at 1462 Edgewood Drive to stop real estate developer Mircea Voskerician from building an imposing house next door. Zuckerberg paid top dollar -- more than $30 million in total -- for the four residential properties located next door and behind his own home. and he is tearing them down and rebuilding presumably to a scale that suits his need for privacy. Meanwhile at Buena Visa.... and, yes, I now he has donated money to hospitals, education etc, this is not as lofty as those causes but no less worthy.


2 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Palo Alto City Council - we are watching how you vote. Will make it very clear who will get my vote in the next election.


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 23, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Any billionaire is smart enough to know that the best way to preserve or increase low income housing would be to convert this property into high density housing with the qualifying BV tenants being given a guaranteed space in the new housing. This is exactly what the Housing Authority did with the Clarendon Street Apartments.

"Clarendon Street Apartments (formerly known as Villa Garcia Apartments) is projected to complete a 100% renovation of the property by the end of 2013. All apartments have been refurbished with new carpet, vinyl, cabinets, bathrooms, A/C, and solar heating. Clarendon Street Apartments is located in the very popular Cupertino School District. Clarendon Street is located just east of DeAnza Blvd and within minutes of Hwy 85."


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2016 at 3:40 pm

"Wouldn't it be cool if one of the billionaires in PA took Buena Vista on as their special project?"

Have you approached the Jobs Foundation about this?


10 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm

They are billionaires, not idiots to acquire a massive headache. Hopefully Joe and the gang learn this with the quarter million dollars they are going to blow on their study.

I'm willing To bet that the owner is dying for a FMV from the housing authority!!


8 people like this
Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2016 at 11:08 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2016 at 6:46 am

Value of a property is appraised at the current zoning allowed, not the imaginary value of what would be if the owner
could have the property zoned for his best purposes. The 50 million value that's been given as certain is a wishful appraisal. Let us wait for the valuation that will be not the speculation that it is at the moment.


8 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2016 at 7:34 am

@ndn. That is exactly the point. Must be appraised at the current RM15. Maybell is about half the size and sold by the Palo Alto housing Corp for $22M a year ago. That puts a base of $44M plus assuming land has gone up last year.

If they move forward with eminent domain actions the price will have to reflect highest best use at FMV. If the city low balls it (assuming the study shows it feasible) then we the tax payers are back in court. If the city pays market value then they will have to compete with the developers.

I'm sure the owners have received offers for the land over the past few years. Thus regardless of the appraisal the housing authority will have to fork out more than you may think

This is assuming that affordable housing is cause for eminent domain. Very easy to see this going for many years in court. Thus costing taxpayers even more


34 people like this
Posted by Turner
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 25, 2016 at 7:54 am

Eminent domain is the best possible outcome for the owners. Highest price without the costs and time to develop.

Government use of eminent domain here is more than unlikely. This is a false threat or the official really need to spend a quarter million of tax dollars to learn the project is not feasible

Regardless, the law is loose about the term "public use" but case after case the "highest best use" has been on the land owners side

This could very well be a "be careful what you ask for" situation for the officials moving this forward.

Just my two cents


42 people like this
Posted by Just a friend
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2016 at 8:02 am

this was so good I really think it needs to be restated (in case you missed it)

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 22, 2016 at 9:51 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF a reasonable person was given $50 million of public money and told to use it in whatever way possible to maximize the amount of low income housing in Palo Alto buying a 4.5 acre site which is forever committed to being a single story development and which can legally only permit about 100 of its current 117 trailer units to remain would not even be in the top ten best investments for that public money.


27 people like this
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 25, 2016 at 9:46 am

Be Positive is a registered user.

Mountain View is set to build 67 BRAND NEW units of housing for $28 million. Palo Alto wants to pay $50-60 million for old RV's. Anyone else see the irony?


41 people like this
Posted by Demosthenes
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2016 at 10:22 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"buying a 4.5 acre site which is forever committed to being a single story development and which can legally only permit about 100 of its current 117 trailer units to remain would not even be in the top ten best investments for that public money."

True enough if one accepts the strawman argument it rests on. For those who do, I have a proposition regarding a limited partnership ownership of a landmark bridge to somewhere.


52 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 25, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"if one accepts the strawman argument it rests on.."

Please explain the alleged strawman argument.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

"Please explain the alleged strawman argument."

Wholly cow, it's YOUR own argument. Have you forgotten it ALREADY?


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 25, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I did not make a strawman argument:

"A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent.[1]"

However you did.


4 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

"IF a reasonable person was given $50 million of public money and told to use it in whatever way possible to maximize the amount of low income housing in Palo Alto . . . "

I think your hypothetical would be more apt if you used the figure of $14.5M, because that's the extent of Palo Alto's commitment in this agreement. Ask yourself where else Palo Alto could get at least 100 units of affordable housing for that amount of money. Money obtained from fees, not taxes, that can only be used for affordable housing.

It's unclear to me whether your observations about the advantage of higher density apartments represent a proposal you would support.

BPA and PASZ have been clear in their objections to higher density development in Barron Park. An advantage of the mobile home park plan, even for BP residents who don't support affordable housing, is that it would block fundamental change to the look and feel of the Los Robles entry into Barron Park. An apartment complex would face a lot of hurdles and wouldn't likely draw the amount of support the county and the county Housing Authority are offering.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 25, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed due to inaccurate information.]


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

It's still unclear whether you'd rather kill affordable housing at this location, a la Maybell, or have the rest of the city push for a high density affordable housing project that gave priority to current residents of BV.


30 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 25, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It's still unclear whether you'd rather kill affordable housing at this location, a la Maybell, or have the rest of the city push for a high density affordable housing project that gave priority to current residents of BV."


What is not clear about my June 23 posted statement:

"Any billionaire is smart enough to know that the best way to preserve or increase low income housing would be to convert this property into high density housing with the qualifying BV tenants being given a guaranteed space in the new housing. This is exactly what the Housing Authority did with the Clarendon Street Apartments."


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 25, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is just one of the many constraints that will impact a public entity that acquires the BV property:

"7264.5.
(b) No person shall be required to move from his or her dwelling
because of its acquisition by a public entity, unless comparable
replacement housing is available to the person."


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 26, 2016 at 8:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Great quote in today's Mercury News p B2:

"The only exercise I am going to get is running my mouth and leaping to conclusions" Simititian said.

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

"What is not clear about my June 23 posted statement:"

It wasn't clear until you repeated your opposition to the use of public money whether you were offering a friendly amendment to plans to create affordable housing in Palo Alto. Without that positive intent, your reasonable statement represents just another attempt to derail a process with a fair chance of success that is already in the works.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 26, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jerry - I could not have been clearer:

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF " Overall, affordable housing is a precious resource " then it makes no sense to preserve a 110 unit mobile home park rather than utilizing the same space for 360 low income units. And, like other projects managed by the Housing Authority, eligible current residents could be give vouchers that guaranteed them a unit in the new units that would replace the mobile homes.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Peter,

Totally meaningless in the real world if there is no way a 360 unit project would get built. If that's the case, do you want the imperfect plan to retain the mobile home park to go forward, despite the public money that makes it possible, or do you prefer to see Buena Vista closed. Repeating what you've said isn't working to answer my question about intent. If you don't want to clarify, let's just drop it for now.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 26, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Totally meaningless in the real world if there is no way a 360 unit project would get built."

There is no reason that a 360 unit project could not be built except perhaps for the willingness of a selfish few to preserve their unobstructed view over a one story trailer park.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm

"IF " Overall, affordable housing is a precious resource " then it makes no sense to preserve a 110 unit mobile home park rather than utilizing the same space for 360 low income units."

Get off that logic-sensible thing, will ya. The objective now is to acquire a trailer park to have a trailer park. Pride of possession is primary. We'll work out the rest as we go along, panicking periodically as necessary.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2016 at 5:15 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 26, 2016 at 6:49 pm

@Jerry Underdal,
[Portion removed.] The purpose of the referendum at Maybell was never to "kill affordable housing" Many who spoke against that plan advocated for JUST the affordable housing in order for the project to be able to be built closer to zoning. If proponents of that plan hadn't been so pigheaded and thinking they could just strongarm their way [portion removed] there could have been a possibility of forming a working group - which worked in this same neighborhood, with some of the same people, in an almost identical development battle (that also created affordable housing) when someone wanted to turn Terman School into apartments. Had the nonprofit developer and the City been willing to commit the same resources per unit at Maybell as were committed at 801 Alma, affordable housing would have been built at Maybell.

The residents of Buena Vista were lucky the Maybell referendum happened, it was no accident that Prometheus pulled out almost immediately after the No side won, when it became clear they could never develop the BV property as a grossly overzoned development.

As for the comparisons with other projects - if the public entities purchase the land, it will largely be with funds set aside already for affordable housing. They will be investing in property that will increase in value, not giving the money away. Even if BV is 4 acres (assuming from the above posts), RM-15 is supposed to be lower end of the range, i.e., 8 units per acre, next to R-1 areas, up to the max 15 on El Camino. So, no, you could not build 360 units there or even close to it. The current land use, with the mobile homes, is a more dense use of the land than allowed by zoning if the property is rebuilt.

I think people are also forgetting that low-income residents and "afforable housing" spots are not interchangeable. The existing residents of BV are living in what are substandard housing conditions on their own two feet, most having invested in their housing a relatively large amount relative to their incomes, not in a subsidized program. Thinking of everyone who lives there as some kind of perpetual underclass is insulting. Saving the park will prevent a whole community of Palo Alto residents from suffering serious and possibly unrecoverable economic and personal disruption, and will make it possible for the area to remain affordable into the future. I hope the plan is to allow the residents to retain maximum autonomy.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2016 at 4:28 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 27, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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