News

New plan calls for housing on Compadres site

Planning and Transportation Commission to review proposal to replace former restaurant with mixed-use project

Nestled between a Starbucks and Nine Minute Oil & Lube, the aged and long-empty building in south Palo Alto's Ventura neighborhood offers few hints today of its former glory.

The sole exception is the sign on the red-tile roof, which still says "COMPADRES," the name of a beloved Mexican restaurant that routinely topped readers' polls and that closed its doors for the last time September of 2008.

Now, plans are afoot to redevelop the L-shaped lot on El Camino Real and Curtner Avenue. Under the proposal that the city's Planning and Transportation Commission will consider Wednesday night, the vacant restaurant would be demolished and replaced with a three-story building featuring 4,035 square feet of commercial area and six residential units. Behind that building, there would be 11 residential two-story townhouses. An underground garage would include 62 parking spaces, enough to accommodate each residential unit, the commercial component and guests.

Even though the area around the site is predominantly commercial (there are no other mixed-use projects around) the site at 3877 El Camino Real includes two zoning designations: commercial and residential. According to planning staff, the project meets with all the relevant requirements and development standards, with one exception. The applicant, Zinj, LLC, is seeking a "design enhancement exception" that would allow the company to provide a smaller setback between the rear of the basement garage and the property line than the code normally allows (zoning rules require a 10-foot setback; Zinj is proposing a setback of 6 feet 2 inches).

Project architects Stuart Welte and Mark Wommack, both from the local firm Environmental Innovation in Design Architects, wrote in their project description that the proposed design will "transform this blighted parcel into a vibrant and sustainable mixed-use community." The project, they said, will "complement and support the existing urban fabric, and will be harmonious with the new developments underway in close to proximity to our site."

In making a case for the design-enhancement exception, the architects point to the parcel's unusual L-shape and argue that its narrow width "affords few options for resolving vehicular parking and circulation while balancing the need to create an attractive pedestrian environment." The 6-foot setback, they wrote, would only apply to the below-ground parking structure and would be "completely invisible to all neighbors."

That deviance from requirements notwithstanding, the city's planning staff believe the project is generally consistent with the area, which is populated mostly by two- and three-story buildings, and are recommending approval. It's also consistent with zoning, which allows 22 units on the site -- five more than is being proposed.

A report from Planning Director Hillary Gitelman notes that the mixed-use building proposes a mass and scale that is larger than the surrounding structures. However, she wrote, "the project transitions well from the El Camino Real frontage to the rear and toward Curtner Avenue."

"The project supports the goals of a well-designed, compact city that provides a place to live, work and shop with open spaces," the report states. "The comprehensive plan supports the development of mixed-use."

The 17-unit project would provide two units at below market rate. The project also qualifies for California's "density bonus," which allows the applicant to seek a development concession from the city. In this case, the applicant has requested a density bonus that would add 2,596 square feet of area to the project.

If the planning commission approves the project, along with the sought design-enhancement exception, the application will then to to the city's Architectural Review Board for further evaluation.

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Comments

28 people like this
Posted by Grumpy Old Guy
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 7, 2017 at 1:36 pm

It's great so see something go there. But the article doesn't answer the million dollar question - is the housing project going to provide sufficient parking under the code for all of its units?


34 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Here we go...let's hear [portion removed] all the ways in which this project will reduce their quality of life and negatively impact the community more than a vacant, shuttered building has for the past 7 years.


8 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

*Correction. For the past 9 years.


24 people like this
Posted by Blitzed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

I happen to think this is s great location for some condos. The parking can be underground!


20 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 7, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Questions is a registered user.

I think most folks who live in Palo Alto are in agreement that our city needs more affordable housing, especially for people who work in the city in lower paying jobs, and more retail. I believe there is considerably less agreement that we need more market-rate housing, and more commercial space.

In that vein, what is this proposal exactly? I think it is more focused on market-rate housing and on commercial space, and less on lower-priced housing and retail. Is that right?

If so, I'm happy to stand up and object/obstruct. We need to make the most of the opportunities that come our way.


12 people like this
Posted by Low-Income Housing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm

We need more than just 2 Below -Market Rentals. How about accepting section 8 Certificates. Below Market Rate units usually work best for the moderate end low income population . What measures is Palo Alto taking to ensure the low low income population doesn't get pushed ?


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 7, 2017 at 3:47 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 7, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Wow, I didn't realize the Compadres building dates back to 1938.

And documentation says the applicant is Zijin, LLC, not Zinj, Inc.

Groundwater depth looks like between 15 and 20 feet.

Woohoo, more customers for Starbucks, Happy Donuts, and Ernie's Liquor.

I still miss Compadre's, but Celia's has been my friendly replacement.


27 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Some of us old folks will fondly remember the location as the "Iron Works".


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 7, 2017 at 6:19 pm

"what is this proposal exactly? I think it is more focused on market-rate housing and on commercial space, and less on lower-priced housing and retail. Is that right?"

That's the usual arrangement for these developments, but the propaganda may imply differently.


20 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2017 at 7:50 pm

@Questions - I disagree. We do not need any housing, whether it is BMR or market rate. We have a bad enough problem with traffic and parking already.

Very few PA residents live in PA. They commute elsewhere to work. In a similar vein, those who work in PA can commute from outside. Neighboring towns like East Palo Alto are more affordable, if cost is the issue. Why should they be so entitled to feel that they deserve govt help to live close to work, when most of Bay Area folks commute long distances to work?


5 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2017 at 8:16 pm

@AB

"Why should they be so entitled"... honestly it's kind of shocking that someone would consider a private citizen purchasing a home from a private builder as an "entitlement"


12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 7, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Happy to see new building on El Camino in the area between Oregon and Charleston. That whole area needs a uplift.


22 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2017 at 8:28 pm

@Robert - I was referring to those that are asking for BMRs or other forms of below market pricing homes, to be able to live in the city they work in. Yes they do indeed have an unjustifiable sense of entitlement. Why should they expect govt to make below market housing available to them, just because they don't want to commute into PA from a different city. Buy a house in East Palo Alto and commute into PA to work, if PA prices are too high for you. Long commutes to work is just the norm in the Bay Area.


12 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 7, 2017 at 9:21 pm

Questions is a registered user.

@AB -- I think you ask questions that lots of people ask. Should we let market prices dictate who lives here, or should we have some policies in place that help us (for example) create affordable housing for local workers, and/or increase the diversity (income or ethnicity or nationality or ...) of our city?

Reasonable people may disagree on that, just as reasonable people may be either conservative or liberal.

I'm a fan of diversity, and a fan of finding ways for at least a subset of critical local workers (teachers, policemen, etc) to be a part of the community in which they work. I think having local city/school employees and a more diverse population builds a stronger, more tolerant, and more cohesive community.


17 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:25 pm

@Questions - I think it is OK to dd housing as long as it does not make a noticeable impact on traffic or parking. So for example, adding it in Palo Alto Hills area, where there is open land and low traffic, is probably OK. Adding near Arastadero or downtown, where traffic is already a mess, is not OK.

Similarly, while I think it is good to have diversity, it should be more about providing equal opportunity for everyone to succeed. So I am a total supporter of the program that buses kids from East Palo Alto to PAUSD. Kids need to be given the proper tools to succeed in life. But, I am not a fan of subsidizing housing and trying to use taxpayer money to get someone that probably didn't work as hard and did not end up with a good enough job, to afford PA.

At least from the couple of examples I know, I see BMR units being occupied by folks that dont even work in PA. And I just can't buy into the concept that the city should spend tax money to facilitate workers to live in the city they work, when every single neighbor I know commutes long distances away from PA to work. Others I know elsewhere do the same too. Why try to find housing in PA just for PA workers, when it is not the norm in Silicon Valley (or anywhere else I have lived in, for that matter)?


11 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:39 pm

I'm against BMR housing only because in our current housing climate it's a band-aid over the real problem, which is a severe shortage of market-rate housing resulting in sky-high housing costs, which causes people to want subsidized/BMR housing in the first place.

That said, to say that people who want BMR housing in order to live near where they work are "entitled" overlooks that this whole problem is caused by entitled homeowners who prevent dense housing developments from going up in their city, contributing to the housing shortage and pricing people out far away all because growth would change the "character of the neighborhood". And of course, as housing costs continue to rise as a result of no new supply going onto the market to satiate demand, Prop 13 shields them from paying the true cost of their ever-inflating property values.


23 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:48 pm

YIMBY - can you please stop bringing up Prop 13 in every discussion in this forum, when it is CA wide and not PA specific? This is a PA forum, please focus on PA issues. You might have valid points about looking into repealing Prop 13, but that needs to be done in a different forum.

And yes, homeowners here have every right to try to reduce the maddening congestion and parking issues. It is about maintaining a liveable quality of life. None of us wants to keep people out in areas where there is space and low traffic. For example, Palo Alto Hills - I am totally OK with construction in that area. It should not make the traffic noticeably worse there. But doing so in congested areas such as Arastadero or downtown (neither of which areas I live in btw) is not cool.


12 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 7, 2017 at 11:12 pm

I'll continue to bring it up because it's entirely relevant to the discussion.

This is what I mean when I say "entitled". You think you're entitled to a congestion-free city, so much so that it's worth contributing to a housing shortage that has people renting bedrooms for $1500 and creating an ever-growing permanent renting class who can't afford any form of property ownership. It's the same mindset that has homeowners in SF throwing up roadblocks for a senior living center because it will block their views. It's the same mindset that had Peninsula residents vote against having BART run down the peninsula back in the 70s, preventing early mass transit investment which would have directly helped the congestion problem that you refer to.

So many wrenches have been thrown into development plans which would have smartly grown the region all because that growth would have changed the character of the neighborhood, aka "quality of life", so to hear people say that we can't build high-density developments downtown because it's going to cause congestion, I say "tough". So many attempts have been made, and so many attempts continue to be made, to improve transit on the Peninsula despite lawsuits from Atherton or residents of a certain Peninsula city complaining about "the wall" with grade separated rail, that "what about the congestion?" isn't an excuse to block development anymore. Especially not with the housing shortage we have now.


19 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2017 at 4:47 am

@YIMBY - you can keep on bringing up Prop 13 but we all know that it is not PA specific and hence irrelevant to a PA discussion.

Yes after we pay $2M+ on a house and $25K+/yr in property taxes, it is ok for us to assume that we expect PA to have a reasonable quality of life. City authorities have an obligation to take care of the property owners and real estate tax payers first. We understand that people like you that don't pay PA taxes want to move in at any cost (including damaging PA quality of life), but you have less say in this than PA property tax payers.

Most PA homeowners I know are ok with building in areas that are not congested. For example, some of the areas around Foothill or PA Hills. We just don't want new high density construction in areas that are already congested. I know this is a reasonable ask.

I do not pay taxes to MV and hence do not comment on MV matters. It would be best if you minded your own business and limited your feedback to MV forums (assuming you pay MV property taxes).


31 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 8, 2017 at 7:35 am

The Bay area does not have a "severe housing shortage" problem, but a severe overpopulation problem. This is mostly the fault of tech companies who refuse to create tech hubs in areas of the country that badly need them and have available and affordable housing for their employees, choosing instead to expand and move into the most expensive real estate market in the country, which due to its unique geography would always have limited space housing supply.

Livability is much more important that corporate profits. Residents should not give up their quality of life to accommodate corporations. There should be intense pressure on tech companies to move some operations elsewhere, and to discourage start ups from moving in, as we ran out of space and their presence threatens not just our way of life, but the entire Bay area's eco-system.


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2017 at 8:14 am

Yimby is trolling which is a nuisance.

Prop 13 benefits all homeowners and is actually something that attracts people to buying property. If a potential homeowner knows that their assessment is based on present values and not a value that will change 5, 10 or more years into the future, it makes the home ownership more attractive, not less. It means that they can work out what their mortgage, property taxes, etc. are going to be over the lifetime of their ownership. Families on a tight budget are reaping the benefits of Prop 13 as much as homeowners are remaining in their homes long after their children have flown the nest.

Young millenials like Yimby may like the idea of stack and pack housing for their young single lifestyle, but I can guarantee that as Yimby ages, matures, becomes a parent, becomes a parent for the second and third time, becomes the parent of a teenager, that a family style home with a backyard and not sharing a wall with a neighbor will suddenly become more attractive.

We are not a one size suits all community. Making this of us in family homes who still have children at home, or want to be able to house our children and their families for holidays and reunions in the home they grew up in, feel guilty about staying in the area where we have roots and memories, is not a good thing.

If Yimby wants to get a stack and pack home within walking distance of a job and restaurants to eat out along with coffee shops so that very little time is spent in the tiny living space, then that is fine by me. But when Yimby decides that his needs and requirements have changed, when the latest job is 15 miles away with no decent public transportation, and a little more space to hear the birds and smell the roses, his thoughts may change.


19 people like this
Posted by Bambi
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 8, 2017 at 8:28 am

I just want to walk to Compadre's again to have a margarita and chips, salsa and refried beans. I remember the day the restaurant closed and it still makes me sad to think about it.


5 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

Prop 13 is only attractive post-purchase, as it turns your dwelling into an investment that can accrue value with no penalty and later be sold off for a profit. This, of course, exacerbates the housing shortage by incentivizing policies that restrict housing to raise property values, and it reduces housing turnover as people hold on to their investment lest they move and pay a higher tax rate. Obviously, if you're not yet a property owner, a property environment where few are selling and prices are continually rising is not great, and is one of the biggest reasons why California has one of the worst rates of new home ownership in the nation.

Forget living near jobs and restaurants. Seeing prices go down to where a spare bedroom doesn't cost $1500 a month would be amazing.

I'd rather others in my generation have an opportunity to not be permanent renters rather than ensuring that I, personally, get to "smell the roses", but maybe empathy is just another aspect of the generation gap.


4 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2017 at 9:48 am

And I'm going to point out again, just because Palo Alto and Mountain View are separate cities doesn't mean that the actions of each city only have consequences within their bubbles. You're part of the Bay Area region along with all of the other cities around here, and you're under the California umbrella. The cities around you get to have an opinion, and enough consternation over slow progress on housing can result in State authorities coming in to deal with it.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 8, 2017 at 11:53 am

"... can result in State authorities coming in to deal with it."

And what happens when Federal authorities come in to deal with California?


8 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2017 at 12:01 pm

@AB Don't be surprised if the teachers serving PAUSD students don't give a crap because they aren't valued by their community. Yet someone making an app for taking photos of their meals is taking in millions of dollars.

Which person adds more value to your community?

Your community begins with education.


11 people like this
Posted by zones
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 8, 2017 at 12:03 pm

My feeling is we are changing the zone now for housing and taking away the business zone. I love 9 min lube and they are a business that I fear will go by the way side. We still need business in Palo Alto to support the infrastructure. Crazy and no we dont need housing as where will they go to school? Our schools are full!!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 8, 2017 at 12:49 pm

@Bob and anyone else who thinks this notion of teachers commuting to Palo Alto is a new phenomenon. I went to the schools here growing up. I could rattle off the names of many teachers who commuted daily from way further up the Peninsula...and this is decades ago.

This idea that teachers used to come from our community and now they come from somewhere else is just spin. You know what I want in a teacher? Someone who can teach me math, science, english. No parent ever says, "you know what, it's really important to me that this teacher lives right here in Palo Alto" any more than a patient at PAMF says, "You know what, the doctor who sees me today ought to be from Palo Alto".


5 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm

@anonymous
I see what you're saying but being a teacher myself, I know that you are more likely to be invested in your school and it's community if you are also part of that community.

If you feel that the idea of building community is not important then why not just hire robots to teach our children.

It is NOT spin. The idea is very similar to why it is invaluable to have police officers living in your community. This helps build relationships and trust with the people, strengthening every aspect of the community.


10 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm

@Bob - no other city creates subsidized housing for their teachers. I think we are going down the wrong road if we try to create BMRs. Does not make economic sense, and is hard to administer to ensure that the right employees are in BMR over the long term anyway. I think everyone, regardless of their job, should just be open to commuting into work, just like everyone else in the Bay area.

The better way to attract top talent is by offering high salaries. And I think PAUSD is doing a good job there. Forget the math/tech teachers who make more as they have more demand outside. Even the choir teacher at JLS Middle School makes $125K/yr (I just looked it up, all state salaries are available online). I do think teachers play a key role and support them, and support the fact that PAUSD offers them good salaries. But lets not now try to get into subsidized housing.


10 people like this
Posted by Nelly Leong
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 8, 2017 at 2:16 pm

I suggest that before anyone comments on this, please make sure..
1) you have driven on El Camino from Oregon to San Antonio during rush hours around 5-6pm; Once you have experienced how bad traffic is, you will agree that PA is too congested for a small city.
2) you have researched on what impact dense housing brings to the community and environment; think not just traffic, but public services, etc.

Of the 17-residential units in the proposal, only 2 will be BMR. In this area, even BMR is inflated so a lot of people still cannot afford such rate.

The applicants also asked for a "density bonus" with this project that allows them to build on another 2596 sq ft, which most likely they will turn it into another residential unit...most likely not sold at BMR.

So, potentially 18 units but only 2 are BMR. How is it good for the city? I am all for BMRs if they are actually priced and allotted properly, like for very good teachers whom PAUSD needs to attract...


5 people like this
Posted by Nelly Leong
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm

@Anonymous and @AB, just think, $125K annual salary does not allow too many people to be able to afford to live here. A $1M home (low in this area) will cost you over $10K of property tax alone. Yes, $125K sounds like a lot but it isn't for around here.

True that in the old days, many teachers travelled from afar to PA to teach. However, it did not take them 2 hours each way to commute. I know teachers who wake up at 5am to come to PA to teach and bring their own kids along to attend schools in PA. That is the only way they can make it work. And guess what, once their own kids are through with PA schools, they leave PAUSD, especially good teachers who can find jobs elsewhere.

Essentially, PAUSD has to account for teachers' kids in the classes regardless. Why not have them be part of our community?

I don't think anyone is asking for the city to subsidize but to enforce regulations that developers have to set aside a higher % of units sold at BMR to buyers whose roles benefit the city.


7 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm

@Nelly - $125K is a good salary for a liberal arts teacher. They are not going to find similar salaries in other school districts. So they would still want to work in PAUSD. Plus then they can get their kids into PAUSD. And they can buy a house in East Palo Alto or some such cheaper neighborhood that is closeby. The school district has done its part by offering top pay, they don't need to do subsidized housing too. No other school district does it, it is just not economically viable. I dont think school districts or city govt owes it to its employees to try to find housing within the city.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2017 at 4:50 pm

@AB

It takes 20 years to reach a salary of $125k with PAUSD. Therefore purchasing a home in EPA is NOT possible on a PAUSD teacher salary, UNLESS you somehow have $200k saved up after spending $100k on your masters degree.

Most PAUSD teachers I know who live outside of PA would NEVER send their kids to PAUSD schools. Some of them even laugh at the idea.

I'm sorry but all of the points you just made are completely untrue.


6 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2017 at 10:16 pm

@Bob - no, everything I said was true. In fact you are factually incorrect - the choir teacher does not have 20 years experience.

My key point is that cities should not get into the business of subsidized housing. No one does it that I am aware of, and PA should not need to waste tax dollars by trying to be the first to do it. Pay top dollar for teachers and you will get the talent. In fact PAUSD is doing pretty well on that front, even without offering BMRs. Its schools are routinely ranked very high. The top 12 elementary schools in CA are in PAUSD, per the survey Web Link. Similarly, Gunn is ranked in top 25 and Paly in top 50 of high schools in the nation. Those are stellar performance stats by any measure, and were done without BMR (but with relatively high salaries for the profession). Which means that PAUSD has anyway been able to attract high caliber teachers, no need to offer BMR.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident2
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 8, 2017 at 10:32 pm

I agree with AB. PAUSD schools are among the best in the nation. Which means that they are able to attract top teachers already, without BMRs. Let's not make it seem like PA schools are struggling, and the only way to fix it is by offering BMRs. People go make that argument ignore the fact that PA schools are already great, and probably have other vested interests with BMRs.


14 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2017 at 11:01 pm

@YIMBY neglects to consider how he personally benefits from Prop 13. I wonder what his rent would be if apartment buildings were reassessed for current land values?

So it is false to claim that it dis-proportionally benefits homeowners more than multi-family or commercial properties. They all fall under the same 1% cap.

On the other hand, maybe he prefers to eliminate Prop 13 so people on fixed incomes can be literally taxed out of their houses. What a lovely image to imagine: a yellow tax assessor eviction notice stapled on the front door, a lumbering moving van in the driveway, a county Sheriff with hands on hips and a holstered sidearm gleaming in the sun and heartbroken grandma being escorted away from the house she has occupied for the last 40 years.

Well, if YIMBY can't have one neither should anyone else.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2017 at 11:27 pm

You all fail to favtor in the fact that the majority of PAUSD teachers make more than $100k/ year for part year's work and most homebuyers are two income. We live here in a Palo Alto home on less income than most of our teachers. It is possible to buy, it just takes a level of sacrifice most people aren't willing to contemplate. Today I put off the medical test my dr ordered because I didn't think they were urgent and couldn't really afford it, make similar sacrifices every day. Low income housing should be for lowincome people who need it, not teachers who get paid really well here.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2017 at 4:15 am

@Sanct

You can bet that getting rid of Prop 13 would create a sudden shock in the housing market after tax reassessments, followed by a massive market correction as more homes suddenly go up for sale and homeowner complaints about tall buildings suddenly become demands for it in order to get their property values down to reasonable levels. We might even get to fund our colleges at same levels as we used to back in the 70's when California boomers were taking advantage of one of the most well funded school systems in the nation before Prop 13 gutted it.

The fixed income talking point was used to sell Prop 13 in the begining, and it's still a poor example years later. If you want to protect pensioners from being taxed out of their homes then set up deferments for that specific case.


2 people like this
Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 9, 2017 at 4:53 am

You all should be hanging your heads trying to demolish the historical heart out of South Palo Alto...I have noticed how many developers have built all along the Southern Palo Alto lots on El Camino and more are fenced off, ready for more demolition...IS NOTHING SACRED in our town but being influenced by the all mighty dollar that builders wave under the City's nose in pretense of the betterment of the area????????? This building should remain, not abandoned to an irreversible state...Is not this a USED MIXED area??????????????


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2017 at 7:09 am

@AB 29 years to get to $125k.

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2017 at 7:48 am

Yimby

[Portion removed.]

How on earth do you assess the "true value" of a property - particularly a single family home?

Do you assess it on the sale of a similar home in the neighborhood that sold a couple of years ago? That home may be on a quieter street or have updated kitchen and bathroom.

Do you assess it on the number of bathrooms/bedrooms? Do you define a bedroom the same as a realtor that it needs a closet? What happens if the closet doors are taken off and a built in desk unit replaces it?

Do you assess it on the size of the lot? Do you assess it on the condition of the exterior? Do you get inspectors to come inside and assess it on the condition of the interior?

From all practical purposes, the value of the home is in what a potential buyer will pay for it. How can that value be assessed each year?

My home was built identical to the home next door. Our lot sizes are very different. Both have been remodeled inside very differently with extensions and conversions at the back, but still look very much the same in the front. How can the value of these two homes be assessed?

Apart from being unfair to even think of repealing Prop 13 for private residences, the manner to value in the present market would be an impossible task.


Like this comment
Posted by avoid govt. bureaucracy
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 9, 2017 at 8:51 am

Avoid convoluted government programs, bureaucracy. Propose a clear plan and build it.
What not to do:
Setting up Section 8 housing or other BMR etc. schemes results in layers of bureaucrats taking money off the whole thing. As for PAUSD teachers, like anything else, there are varieties of situations, teachers who live here and those who live elsewhere, all kinds of economic situations.
We need housing, period. El Camino Real needs to be improved in many sections, including in Palo Alto. Why not do this?


Like this comment
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

@Resident

You'll have to ask a property assessor how they assess property values, but I'd imagine that this process, as impossible as you seem to claim it should be, would be quite similar if not completely the same pre and post Prop 13, unchanged from how property values are assessed in any market economy.


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 9, 2017 at 11:29 am

@Bob,

Thank you for the important work of teaching that you have done.

I just generally disagree with the premise that in order to care about your students and feel connected that a teacher necessarily needs to live in the community. Teaching requires special characteristics, much like nurses, who are a special breed of empathetic people. I think if teachers need to live in the community they serve in order to care, then maybe your suggestion of robots is not far off.

Palo Alto schools have had excellent teachers for years, so it must be attracting top talent for a reason, despite the fact that teachers cannot necessarily live here.

I think this discussion has veered off course so I'll stop my contribution in that. I don't think that a vacant, shuttered Compadre's restaurant, which contributes nothing but blight in South Palo Alto, is better than anything else that could go up there.

We can all argue about what should go there, but that place has been an eyesore, much like South Palo Alto in general, for years. Even the anti-development / residentialist crowd would have a hard time lobbying for keeping the place in its current state.


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Posted by Leila Kalifa
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 9, 2017 at 1:11 pm

[Portion removed.]

Goes to show that these people want what we have which we all worked hard for and did what we needed to do to get it. That means sacrifice and more sacrifice. We've given up finding ourselves, going on trips to see the world and exotic places, eating at fancy or any restaurants, going to movies and to Broadway shows and any social stuff. All these people want to do is gripe about how they can't have what hard work and sacrifice can get them because they don't want to sacrifice and work hard.
[Portion removed.]


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 9, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Shuttered Compadres restaurant may contribute nothing but blight -- another thing it does not currently contribute is traffic. Now someone will claim that 17 new units will take 17 cars off the Dumbarton bridge. Maybe, maybe not. In any case, there will be 17 new cars on El Camino. Plus all the maintenance activity generated by 17 new residences, and the new retail activity. Still I'd vote for this, because it could be worse.


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Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 10, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Musical : Turn the volume down and get real. Those 17 condos are not just going to be parking one car each...And, as far as contributing to the area, Compadres ~in my opinion~ had a better menu selection and best tasting Mexican food around. AND atmosphere...Blight? Would you call the Great Wall of China decor that is in Chef Chu's blight also ????? Maybe you just don't consider Mexican atmosphere appropriate for a Mexican restaurant? The building could use a little clean up now that it has been sitting empty for so long...to be expected.




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Posted by AB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2017 at 4:36 pm

@Bob, Nelly and others - check the best schools rankings on niche dot com website. Basically PAUSD swept the awards in EVERY category (elem, middle and high schools). So it is arguably one of the best school districts in the country. Whatever they are doing (which is just higher salaries, not subsidized housing) is working just fine. No need to do anything more. Those making the case that without BMRs for teachers you are not going to be able to attract the best teachers are just plain wrong.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 11, 2017 at 6:24 am

@Mayfield : all this Compadres talk is in the past-tense. Face it, the site has sat there a non-entity for nearly a decade. If a restaurant would still work, then we'd have seen one. I'd rather have it turned into an orchard or community garden, but not gonna happen. Better put in the 17 unit complex before we find the 50-foot height limit scrapped and someone pushes through a twelve floor office building. If you think that can't happen, wait another 10 years. What's your vision for the site besides a permanent chain-link fence? What about for the empty Taco Bell across the street?

This stretch of El Camino is a nice open respite to the canyon that Mountain View has become, and the Cal Ave area is becoming. Sad to see such heights right up to sidewalk. Nearby dominoes are falling with all the new construction. At 35 feet, this project will be the highest frontage on the block, and a few feet closer to the street than neighbors to either side, though looks a bit more set-back than the familiar old low-slung building being replaced. A worse outcome could look something like that 3-story mixed-use box past El Camino Way a quarter mile south.


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

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