Zuckerberg scales back plans for home renovation

After being criticized for proposed 'compound,' Facebook founder looks to replace two of his four Crescent Park homes

One year after Palo Alto officials gave the thumbs down to Mark Zuckerberg's plan to rebuild his four homes in the Crescent Park neighborhood, the Facebook founder is moving ahead with a less ambitious renovation plan.

Zuckerberg, who owns three properties on Hamilton Avenue and one on Edgewood Road, withdrew his plans to demolish the four homes on these properties and to build three single-story homes and one two-story homes after the Architectural Review Board voted to oppose the project last September.

Now, instead of rebuilding all four homes, Zuckerberg is only replacing two: the one on Edgewood and the one at 1457 Hamilton Ave., according to the city's building records. In addition, Zuckerberg is pursuing an assortment of other renovations, including the demolition of a detached garage at one of the existing homes and the conversion of a living room in that home to a garage (which is how it was in the original design). He is also removing a swimming pool at one of his Hamilton Avenue homes and replacing the roof at another one, according to building records.

Because Zuckerberg's two new homes will both be single-story structures, he will not need to go through the city's "individual review" process, which only applies to homes with two or more stories. He also will not be required to go through the Architectural Review Board, which last year characterized his proposed project as a creation of a "compound."

The board ruled in September 2016 that the four-home development is inconsistent with the neighborhood's zoning, which requires each home to be a stand-alone unit.

"A residence is something where a family lives," board member Peter Baltay said at the time. "These are not residences. They are part of a larger compound."

The revised plan appears to address these comments, as well concerns from board members that Zuckerberg is looking to demolish "four perfectly fine homes," as Baltay put it.

Palo Alto's Assistant Planning Director Jonathan Lait said the applicant had "listened to the board's comments and decided they didn't need to redevelop all four parcels."

"They are being responsive and respecting the existing neighborhood character," Lait said.

He said Zuckerberg has already received the building permit for one of the new homes, while the other permit is still pending.


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56 people like this
Posted by pa246
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 10, 2017 at 5:40 pm

only in palo alto, can some bureaucratic losers who never achieved anything in their own lives tell what an entrepreneur who built a 500Billion company providing employment to thousands, paying billions in taxes and donating 100's millions to charity can and cannot do on his private property. welcome to communist california

106 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 10, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Not only in Palo Alto do zoning laws and architectural review boards apply rules and standards to everyone, whether they are rich or not. Any person who does not want to follow zoning regulations is free to live in an area (such as the unincorporated county) which does not have such regulations.

34 people like this
Posted by Onlinr Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 11, 2017 at 12:33 am

The rules seem to be applied arbitrarily and capriciously. A case in point is the 11- or 14-bedroom "single-family "home" at Newell & Embarcadero that has no parking that's seems to be proceeding despite huge neighborhood objections.

Wasn't Zuck's first plan rejected by the City Council?

87 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 11, 2017 at 7:07 am

I am no fan of bureaucrats but Facebook is a totally overrated cancer and a blight on humanity.

I wonder how many "Likes" this post will get...! Can't wait!!!

20 people like this
Posted by Old Gas Passer
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 11, 2017 at 9:02 am

"I am no fan of bureaucrats but Facebook is a totally overrated cancer and a blight on humanity."

What is this "Facebook" you speak of?

6 people like this
Posted by Emily Renzel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2017 at 11:14 am

Isn't the Edgewood Home on our Historic Inventory?

40 people like this
Posted by hypocritical comments from the City
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 11, 2017 at 11:19 am

hypocritical comments from the City is a registered user.

If our City truly believed that "A residence is something where a family lives," board member Peter Baltay, we would not all "ghost houses" to be purchased as part of an investment portfolio by foreign nationals. And the City allows the demoition of "perfectly fine homes" (Baltay) all the time.

18 people like this
Posted by Nothing historic here
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 11, 2017 at 11:44 am

He is rebuilding the house at 1462 edgewood. The houses At 1414,1450,1456 and 1490 are " historic ". Sfo Unfortunately, he will not be tearing down an eyesore that passes as historic in palo alto.

16 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm

I'd rather see Zuckerberg get his house plans OK'ed than the mindless
automatic rubber-stamping of all the office space and under-parked projects
automatically that affects the city much more. And I am no fan of Zuckerberg,
especially after Facebook's part in allowing social media to get hijecked in
order to install Orange Julius Caesar as our Corrupt Incompetent in Chief.
The sheen is wearing off these high-tech companies fairly fast now that we
realize how much money they have and how little of it they use for actual
improvement or security of their products. SHAME!

As far as historical structures, the Edgewood Market fiasco shows that Palo Alto
used this classification mostly for political reasons, not in a sensible way. Who
ever sees anything or can appreciate the historical value of something adjacent to
Zuckerberg's property? Probably no one, like there is probably no one who can
see any reason to preserve the Lucky/Alberstons on Edgewood so that the retail
space is "almost" useless for what Palo Alto really needed.

7 people like this
Posted by SoPA
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 12, 2017 at 1:00 am

I think the staff are harrassing Zuck so he'll move sonewhere else. He had the nerve to move his company out of Palo Alto so it could grow, rather than helping to decimate quality of life and accelerate the degradation of safety and infrastructure here so developers can cash in and certain corpoations can take over. I think they are afraid he will like living here and realize he has the power to restore a balance and livea ility to life here if he likes living here. So far, only Los Altis's billionaires have shown an interest in saving quality of life, but Zuckerberg with his moving his company away to where it could expand and showing that is the easier way to balance worker/housing imbalances, could be a game changer.

Or he coukd move to the South side of town where City Hall will let you build anything, especially if it iolates residents privacy.

7 people like this
Posted by Arthur
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 12, 2017 at 11:31 am

I'm no fan of bureaucrats but people that want to build massive homes and want to be close to everything need to move to Atherton. They'll be surrounded by like-minded neighbors, conform with their surroundings and it's just as close to all SV. FB Billionaires, try Lindenwood.

8 people like this
Posted by Onlinr Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 12, 2017 at 11:48 am

Is there an Atherton Forward? I know there's an Imagine Menlo but never heard of a similar group in Atherton.

11 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 12, 2017 at 10:39 pm

There is nothing anyone can do that makes our Palo Alto neighbors happy! They don't want trains, they don't want planes, they don't want hospitals, they don't want high rises or even low rises, they don't want to make room for young people to afford a place to live; they just like to complain a lot!

I am very glad that we have Zuck and his family as neighbors. They are very sensible people who use their wealth and influence in many good causes that positively impacts lives of many people far and near. Because of FB, I am now able to keep in touch with many old and new friends that enhances my quality of life. I would vote for the city staff to work with them and help them create a living environment that works for them.

15 people like this
Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 13, 2017 at 12:01 am

Just because a building is old, doesn't make it historic. No one cares - let Zuck rip them down and rebuild.

8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park School
on Sep 13, 2017 at 7:29 am

I am sure if Baltay's construction company would have received the contract to build the " Zuck compound" it would have been perfectly OK to move forward.

3 people like this
Posted by Long gone
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 13, 2017 at 9:23 am

Zuck should do what Markala did in woodside years ago, buy a new city concil

4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 13, 2017 at 10:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you love by the zoning and building code then you will also die by it.

There are no requirements in Palo Alto to have fences between properties and there is no prohibition against walkways connecting different properties.

Go for it!

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

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