News

Despite Stanford objections, county calls for more housing in campus expansion

New conditions of approval call for nearly quadrupling the housing units as part of Stanford's growth plan

Stanford University would have to build more than 2,000 housing units for staff and faculty, and to offer nearly half of them at below market rate, to secure permission for its ambitious campus-expansion plan under conditions that Santa Clara County released Wednesday afternoon and that Stanford is vigorously challenging.

The conditions, which will be reviewed by the county's Planning Commission over the next month, are a critical component of the county's environmental-review process for Stanford University's growth plan. In its application for a general-use permit, Stanford had requested the county's permission to build 2.275 million square feet of academic space, 3,150 housing units (which includes 2,600 student beds), and 40,000 square feet of support space, including child care facilities and trip-reducing facilities, by 2035.

If the county Board of Supervisors approves the conditions, Stanford would have to construct roughly four times as many housing units (not including student beds) than the 550 it had proposed. In addition to the 2,600 student beds, the university would also have to construct at least 2,172 units, of which 1,239 would be offered at market rates. Stanford would be required to offer the remaining 933 units at below-market rate, with a set amount for each income category.

Furthermore, at least 70 percent of the new housing units would have to be built on campus. The rest would have to go up within 6 miles of the campus, unless the county Planning Commission deems this requirement "infeasible" and agrees to grant Stanford an exception.

These housing units would have to be constructed concurrently with new classrooms, labs and other academic facilities. The conditions call for Stanford academic development to be split into four phases, each consisting of 25 percent of the 2.275 million square foot maximum. In each phase, Stanford would be required to build the required proportion of housing in each category, such that a quarter of the required housing would have to completed before Stanford can move into the second phase of construction of its academic buildings.

The vast majority of the 933 below-market-rate units would be devoted to moderate- and low-income households (347 and 381 units, respectively). Stanford would also be required to build 133 units in the "very low income" category and 72 in "extremely low income" category.

The county would also allow Stanford to avoid constructing some of these units by paying housing impact fees and earning "credits" from the county to satisfy the affordable-housing requirements.

The county's newly released conditions also call for some changes to the "no net new commute trips" program that was introduced in the 2000 general-use permit and that has driven Stanford to greatly reduce the rate of solo commuters arriving and leaving campus during peak hours. In addition to considering trips during the peak hour in the morning and afternoon, the new proposed program would also consider Stanford's traffic impacts during a three-hour "peak period."

Under the county's proposed program, a violation would occur if the average annual traffic counts for the peak hour – or the peak period – exceed the baseline level by 1% or greater during any year. If this happens, the county would immediately suspend approval of any new development projects until Stanford demonstrates compliance for at least a year.

The county also plans to impose a new standard for reverse commutes. Stanford will be required to implement "all feasible measures" to achieve no net increase in reverse commute trips during peak commute times. And Stanford would get penalized if commute trips exceed the baseline by 2% or more in the second phase of the development plan.

Another condition focuses on average daily trips to and from the Stanford campus. During and after the second phase of the campus expansion, Stanford would have to ensure that its average daily trips do not increase by 3% or greater in any two consecutive years. If the standard is violated, the county would not approve the next development phase.

The proposed conditions would also require Stanford to make contributions to surrounding communities for transportation and recreation improvements. This includes $450,000 for Clark Avenue and Newell Road connections in East Palo Alto; $250,000 for bicycle improvements at Bol Park in Palo Alto; $250,000 for the Oak Grove Avenue connection in Menlo Park; and $250,000 for improvements at Santa Cruz Avenue and Alameda de Las Pulgas in unincorporated San Mateo County.

Under the proposed conditions, Stanford would also contribute $375,000 for park improvements in Palo Alto, including tennis court upgrades at Terman Park and Weisshaar Park and playground improvements in Cameron Park. And if it goes beyond the minimum requirements and builds more than 4,425 housing units, Stanford would be required to pay for the replacement of turfs at Heritage Park in Palo Alto and at Stanford Hills Park in Menlo Park.

The proposed changes, released in a 125-page document, are not entirely unexpected. In March, county staff released a one-page summary of its proposed conditions, which included the new number of housing units. County officials see the additional housing as a needed mitigation for the additional 9,610 people that Stanford's expansion would attract. Last summer, county staff released an environmental analysis of two housing alternatives to the university's application, each of which included far more units than Stanford had proposed.

Supervisor Joe Simitian noted during a March 14 meeting that Stanford's proposal falls well short of what's needed to house the growing Stanford population. The math, he said, is "pretty simple."

"I don't think 550 units of housing (proposed by Stanford) is sufficient to address the housing need of those 7,010 folks who are left over, after we remove the (student) beds," Simitian said. "That has been a source of discussion from almost day one with respect to the proposal."

Stanford, for its part, has vociferously opposed the change and requested earlier this month that the Planning Commission delay its review. Catherine Palter, Stanford's associate vice president, cited the summary in her May 9 letter to the county, in which she suggested that the conditions are steering the planning process toward "a permit that Stanford cannot accept."

Palter also suggested that the additional housing demanded by the county would result in "significant detrimental environmental impacts to our neighbors and would impair Stanford's use of its academic space."

The summary of conditions, she wrote, "calls for transforming a college campus into an urban apartment complex."

"At the end of the day, a permit will be valid and effective only if the applicant views the comprehensive project as feasible and accepts the permit," Palter wrote. "An applicant will not elect to build a project under conditions that the applicant considers to be unworkable. Stanford is no different from other applicants in this respect."

Stanford is also still hoping to reach a development agreement with county – a negotiated contract that would allow each party to go beyond state requirements and propose further community benefits and development conditions. Earlier this month, the university published a "frequently asked questions" page stating that an agreement would "provide certainty over the long term about the total package of community benefits that will be provided as development occurs on the Stanford campus."

Jessica von Brock, Stanford's director for land use and planning, made a similar point on May 9, during a study session of the county's Planning Commission.

"With a development agreement, Stanford can safely guarantee its financial commitments to schools, to housing development and transportation projects and promise contributions to partners that are not otherwise under the county's direct control," von Brock said.

Von Brock was responding to the suspension of development agreement talks by the county on April 15 after Stanford and the Palo Alto Unified School District had announced they'd struck a deal in which Stanford would provide about $138 million in benefits to the school system. That deal, however, was contingent on the county approving its development agreement – a condition that Simitian told the Weekly he found unacceptable because of the pressure it put on the county.

On Wednesday, Stanford issued a statement reasserting its position that the county's proposed conditions of approval are not sufficient in providing the kinds of community benefits that neighboring jurisdictions and the Palo Alto school district have requested from Stanford.

"A development agreement is the appropriate tool for providing these benefits, and we believe Santa Clara County should delay taking action on the Conditions of Approval and engage with Stanford in comprehensive development agreement discussions," the statement reads. "The regulatory certainty provided through a development agreement will enable the university to provide additional community benefits. Stanford is ready and willing to engage in talks with the County."

Despite Stanford's request that the planning commission delay its review of the conditions of approval until it has a development agreement at hand, county officials the next day decided that the hearings on the conditions of approval should proceed as planned.

The first of these will be held at 6 p.m. on May 30 in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The second and third will be held at 1:30 p.m. on June 13 and June 27 in Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium at County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose.

Related content:

Stanford, county supervisors give conflicting accounts of talks to restart negotiations

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Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 22, 2019 at 7:33 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

While I support the development of both more housing and more affordable housing throughout the Silicon Valley, I can not support the County requested housing requirement for numerous reasons. First, Stanford is requesting to build 550 more housing units - that's already a lot. But, having them build an additional 2,100+ units - with 1500+ on campus for employees is absurd. Ms. Palter is correct, that requirement would change the core campus into an "urban apartment complex". To put 1,500 units in perspective, consider that Channing House - which comprises two buildings (one of which is 11 stories) has as of "05/2017, ... 191 living units, 27 assisted-living beds (in 24 rooms) and 26 skilled-nursing beds." Now envision ten "Channing Houses" squished into the core campus. Yes, Stanford owns a lot of land, but most of it is "open-space" or "agricultural." They are not to build outside of their core campus.

1. Someone correct me on this, but I believe there are less than 1000 faculty -employee homes on Stanford campus now including the single family homes and the homes at Olmsted, Ryan Court, Peter Coutts, Pierce Mitchell, Mears Court, etc. They are to triple that amount?
2. Where's the public transportation to get these people to and from jobs? Only one person in the apartment will be working at Stanford and for only 35-40 hours a week - unlike the professors and grad students and post-docs who work there almost 24/7 (or at least are "on call" for that time).
3. No property taxes. And, for those of you who want to complain about that, take it up with the State. It's a State law, not a County law. I support property tax exemption for all non-profits (educational, religious, museums, etc.).

Does the County have an RHNA? If so, it seems like having Stanford build this much housing is a fast way to meet its RHNA goal. And, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton will bear the brunt of the traffic and impacts from that housing.


28 people like this
Posted by makes sense
a resident of College Terrace
on May 22, 2019 at 8:48 pm

Now Simitian's scuttling of the Stanford-PAUSD agreement makes more sense IMO. It seems that he wants to squeeze them to build more housing units, rather than contribute to PAUSD to mitigate the cost of educating the faculty/student/staff kids in the new on-campus housing units. Ironically, if Stanford needs to build 2000 more units of on-campus housing, the number of additional PAUSD students will likely to be much higher than in the original plan.


18 people like this
Posted by Mary O@
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 22, 2019 at 10:16 pm

Mary O@ is a registered user.

@ common sense. It’s not “likely” that the number of students will increase, it’s absolutely certain. 550 units were predicted to yield up to 275 students. The multiplier for that type of housing is .5. So, take 1500 and multiply it by .5. That’s an additional 750 students from on-campus.


13 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 10:32 pm

If we are serious about this jobs/housing imbalance thing, then, yes, Stanford is very "city-like" and should house as many people as work there, as should Palo Alto, Atherton, Los Altos Hills, etc. Not to mention the Googleplex, the Facebook campus, the Cisco campus, and the SRP. As far as I can see, the same logic that says Palo Alto jobs and housing have to balance also says Stanford jobs and housing have to balance. Did I mention that I actually don't see the logic? But, I don't see why some entities get beat up all the time over jobs/housing and others don't ...


5 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 22, 2019 at 11:04 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@anon. First, I have commented to the Board of Supervisors that housing impact fees should be levied at the county district level so that the “field” is leveled. Cities are more like neighborhoods now given our density so I believe that district level fees make sense. I think the RHNA should be at the district level as well. However, there is s huge difference between the three entities you name. All three were formed for different purposes, have different governing bodies, have different responsibilities and obligations, and have very different legal obligations. Corporations are for profit and answer to their stockholders. Generally, their Articles of Incorporation state that they can operate for “any lawful purpose.” Obligations to ees and community are those imposed by federal, State and local governments. A university’s mission is for education and research; non-profit. Just compare Stanford’s “work” to Facebook’s. R&D in everything from cancer research to climate change compared to....more creative ways to get people to click on ads? Yet, the County is asking more from a university than any city has from any of these near trillion (yes, trillion - not billion) dollar neighboring corporations. Why not Santa Clara University or Foothill next? In fact we ARE asking Foothill to open their parking lots to allow students to sleep in their cars! Why not ask Facebook to open its lot for these students!!?? Cities’ governing bodies are to provide for the welfare of the community. It is not Stanford versus Palo Alto. When will residents figure that out?


10 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 11:20 pm

Posted by Mary O, a resident of Crescent Park:

>> However, there is s huge difference between the three entities you name.

Please re-read my post. We probably agree more than you think. Except for one not-so-small thing:

>> A university’s mission is for education and research; non-profit. Just compare Stanford’s “work” to Facebook’s. R&D in everything from cancer research to climate change compared to....more creative ways to get people to click on ads?

For better or for worse, Stanford is much more business-like than the kinds of universities that you and I grew up with. Proudly so, in fact; and, a real pioneer, which others have emulated. And, I disagree with that-- I think Stanford is too business-like and needs to be more university-like. "IMHO".

Regardless, though, Stanford can't expect to grow the number of jobs without providing more housing and better transportation connections. In that regard, Joe Simitian is doing Stanford a favor.

Regarding Facebook - Facebook could do what it does if it moved its headquarters to Bentonville, AR. Being here is some kind of status thing for its employees.


3 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2019 at 2:11 am

Mary O is a registered user.

@anon. Do I hear a sense of resolve (giving up?) in your comment? That we can/should label Stanford as “city-like”, and, therefore, require them to meet “city” standards re: housing (because our cities (I.e., Palo Alto) are not??? Oh my. I hope we’re smarter than this. Yes, of course Stanford - just like every other large employer in the Valley - should pay into a housing fund and should also provide housing. But, the County is requiring that 70% of those houses should be on campus and the remaining should be built within six miles of Stanford. So, by this logic, every company should be required to build housing on their property or within six miles? Do you really want all/most Google ees to live within six miles of Google? and Apple ees to live within six miles of Apple? Really? Think about this. Seriously. Remember, what the County approves sets a PRECEDENT that others (Santa Clara, Foothill, etc.) will have to follow. Let’s be smart - not reactionary about this. Let’s think about the policies we are setting into place; let’s think beyond a 10-15 year window.


3 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on May 23, 2019 at 11:12 am

Replace the turf at Heritage Park? That is ridiculous.


14 people like this
Posted by SJW
a resident of College Terrace
on May 23, 2019 at 11:22 am

SJW is a registered user.

Take a look at what Stanford can count as below income housing—DORM ROOMS! It's crazy. So this great sacrifice that Stanford is being asked to meet is not much.


5 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2019 at 12:11 pm

I don't see these kinds of housing requirements placed on the mega-corporations in the county - until that happens, this is just a cash-grab by the county.


21 people like this
Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on May 23, 2019 at 12:15 pm

Why do the pro-growth advocates state that Palo Alto should densify to look like Hong Kong, but let Stanford with their surplus of land remain rural?

Why should residents of Palo Alto and the county allow Stanford to burden the surrounding communities with more housing.

Is Stanford going to leave the area? Why do we tolerate any of their demands?


28 people like this
Posted by Simitian's power grab hurts kids
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Joe Simitian is using the district and Palo Alto kids to get this housing deal for the county. He's the one who is not to be trusted. The rest of the county is not as nearly impacted by Stanford as Palo Alto and Palo Alto kids. He killed the PAUSD agreement with Stanford because he wanted to hold us hostage for his housing deal. He couldn't get Stanford to do what he wanted so he is not going to let Stanford give PAUSD a very nice deal until he gets what he wants for the county. Palo Alto elected officials need to stand up to him. He's selling out Palo Alto so he can help other cities in the county


7 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@BP. I haven’t heard anyone mention density on the level of Hong Kong. I’ve been vocal about not losing housing in Palo Alto. In my neighborhood we’re watching 2, 3 & 4 unit lots being torn down and replaced with one single family home. That doesn’t make any sense! I support housing at Stanford - just not tripling the housing. But there needs to be equity in how we share the burden of all the tech development. I don’t think Apple paid a dime or built one house to build their spaceship campus. I hope I’m wrong. I hope someone provides a link to an article that details “full mitigation” for Apple’s spaceship. Maybe Stanford will go elsewhere someday; they might have to.


19 people like this
Posted by Joe says
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2019 at 1:45 pm

Bet you tomorrow’s editorial will be singing the praises of this plan. Like the previous editorial on this subject, it will most likely be dictated by joe, himself.


5 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@BP. For the 2000 GUP, Palo Alto pushed hard to have the foothills on Stanford campus set aside as conservation land. And, leaving the “surplus of land” rural is what the State wants to preserve biodiversity and agricultural lands.


72 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 23, 2019 at 2:34 pm

"Joe Simitian is using the district and Palo Alto kids to get this housing deal for the county. "

Great point. Simitian tanking the deal by the schools makes sense now - he wants to trade that money away for thousands of units of new housing. Who wants the new housing? Labor unions and housing advocates, which is who Joe hopes will send him to Congress. So Simitian is basically trading off our kids for future campaign support for San Jose and state interest groups.

Shame on him! Palo Alto needs to stand up for its schools.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on May 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm

The other Weekly article from yesterday was about the dispute between Stanford and Simitian/Chavez about what Stanford said in their meeting. Stanford has now twice stated in public that they will abide by the deal they made with PAUSD, even without it being contingent on a Development Agreement to their liking. Sounds like they are now committed to that so I’m not sure what is the basis for claiming Simitian cost the district their deal despite still negotiating for other key impact mitigations that matter to the community from their massive expansion; housing, transportation, flood control, environmental.


8 people like this
Posted by Easy fix
a resident of Southgate
on May 23, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Stanford can easily fix the housing dilemma easily: reduce the size of the development. It is obscenely huge.
Maybe they plan to offer a small reduction at the end, as a pretend-offer of good will.


8 people like this
Posted by Easy fix
a resident of Southgate
on May 23, 2019 at 4:05 pm

They are promising goodies for the Development Agreement. Why wait? Why not now?

The public may not realize what goes on in a Development Agreement.

It is where the developer's lawyers get to change and subtract language in a long complex document. That Stanford wants to keep it Private, without the public knowing what is going on, it a sure sign of bad faith and confidence in secret manipulation.


9 people like this
Posted by Build on the dish
a resident of Community Center
on May 23, 2019 at 4:27 pm

I know of two places that Stanford should consider building housing— the dish area and the Stanford shopping center ( which will be decommissioned as a shopping center). Very amusing that palo,alto, which has been lax in meeting their housing obligations, is pushing Stanford to build build build.


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 23, 2019 at 5:56 pm

"Very amusing that palo,alto, which has been lax in meeting their housing obligations, is pushing Stanford to build build build."

Amusing, that.

Trace "Palo Alto's housing obligations," and you'll find their roots in the Stanford Research Park.


11 people like this
Posted by Cover-up Culture
a resident of Community Center
on May 23, 2019 at 10:22 pm

Hope that Stanford will refuse to accept the county's "terms" and say forget it. If so, so much for everyone trying to gouge Stanford, especially Joe, schilling for the SEIU and the Teacher's Union, and so on, etc.

Just another gravy train money grab.

There aren't "public benefits" by trying to ruin our commuunity and it's environment, Joe.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 24, 2019 at 8:14 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

While Santa Clara County is squabbling with SU over building requirements there is a huge project going up in Redwood City which will be part of the SU building in that city. San Mateo County appears to be upgrading in it's cities in a very beautiful and tasteful manner. The building is consistent with commercial areas that will be upgraded and does not at this time go into the hills. SU in RWC is on the commercial area next to the 101 freeway. However SU in Palo Alto is on the 280 side in the hills area. Big difference in the type of property. Overshadowing SU on the 280 side you have a large lake and smaller water containment features. Different type of property with different type of fire prevention requirements. SU is making better choices on how to use their property. From where I am sitting you have RV parking on El Camino right where SU built new housing next to Stanford Avenue - very unsightly and a giant negative to PA on how the city is managing the use of city streets. You do not see RV parking on Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City El Camino street.


17 people like this
Posted by Cardinal Red
a resident of Stanford
on May 24, 2019 at 9:41 am

Outside of properly remunerating the PAUSD for public school expenditures, Stanford University owes Palo Alto absolutely nothing!

Stanford University & its esteemed graduates put Palo Alto on the map...not the other way around.

And as far as housing goes, as long as any new residential developments ON STANFORD LAND are not allocated to non-Stanford people or newcomers wishing to settle in Palo Alto, I have no problem with it providing the concept is done with moderation.

Stanford is essentially a city of its own and should not have to answer to either Palo Alto or some county supervisor formerly from Palo Alto.

Secession from both jurisdictions is probably the best alternative.


8 people like this
Posted by Ms. Palter's Spin Is Not Persuasive
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 24, 2019 at 9:59 am

Ms. Palter's Spin Is Not Persuasive is a registered user.

Ms. Palter (Stanford's rep) says, this would be like "...transforming a college campus into an urban apartment complex." That is, rather than transforming a college campus into an unhoused, untaxed high tech incubator/R&D revenue generator as Stanford would prefer.

This is not a persuasive argument to people who will be left to foot the bill to mitigate Stanford's impacts, Ms. Palter.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 24, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Posted by Cardinal Red, a resident of Stanford

>> Outside of properly remunerating the PAUSD for public school expenditures, Stanford University owes Palo Alto absolutely nothing!

What is "Palo Alto" demanding from Stanford? What are you referring to?

>> Stanford University & its esteemed graduates put Palo Alto on the map...not the other way around.

The area was pretty nice, all were agreed, before Stanford discovered it.

The Ohlone were here first, then the Spanish, and eventually, the town of -Mayfield- (1855). A little history:

"The township of Mayfield was formed in 1855, [...] intersection of El Camino Real and today's California Avenue in what is now southern Palo Alto. In October 1863 the San Francisco to San Jose railroad had been built as far as Mayfield and service started between San Francisco and Mayfield [...] to San Jose started in January 1864. El Camino became Main Street; the northeast–southwest cross streets were named for Civil War heroes, with California Avenue originally being Lincoln Street. The town had its own newspaper by 1869 (the Mayfield Enterprise, in English and Spanish), [...] Web Link

Stanford was a newcomer, first acquiring property here in 1876. "Whatever."

>> Stanford is essentially a city of its own and should not have to answer to either Palo Alto or some county supervisor formerly from Palo Alto.

Stanford has long been playing it both ways, as its own city when convenient, and as part of Palo Alto when convenient. So what? Facebook, Google, and Cisco do the same thing. That is what is so dumb about telling me/us that "Palo Alto" is to blame for all the traffic congestion and housing shortage. These big entities do whatever they want and let residents pick up the pieces. And we are supposed to be grateful because "they put us on the map"? What they all have in common is an appreciation for a large, flexible pool of subservient labor.

>> Secession from both jurisdictions is probably the best alternative.

Stanford did long ago. But, I certainly wouldn't object if Stanford City incorporated and the boundaries were re-drawn to include SRP and the shopping center. And, as someone above alluded to, if the Shopping Center were turned into housing, I would, frankly, be -delighted-.

It is extremely unlikely that Stanford will become its own county, though.


7 people like this
Posted by PA Grandma
a resident of College Terrace
on May 24, 2019 at 12:53 pm

@ Mary O . . .

Stanford is an educational industrial complex the size of a small city, not just a university. It's not absurd to insist that Stanford provide housing to support its job growth. They are planning to add a LOT of people and will need much more housing than is now available. Stanford has a LOT of open space and could devote some of that to housing. Sorry . . . there is no free lunch, even if Stanford wants to eat ours.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 24, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Posted by Mary O, a resident of Crescent Park

>> That we can/should label Stanford as “city-like”, and, therefore, require them to meet “city” standards re: housing (because our cities (I.e., Palo Alto) are not???

I think trying to balance jobs/housing on a per-entity basis is misguided. However, if "Palo Alto" as an entity has to do it, then, so should "Stanford", "Cisco", "Google", "Facebook", "you-name-it". What is the end-state? Are we all to be confined to working in essentially company towns?

>> So, by this logic, every company should be required to build housing on their property or within six miles? Do you really want all/most Google ees to live within six miles of Google? and Apple ees to live within six miles of Apple? Really? Think about this. Seriously. Remember, what the County approves sets a PRECEDENT that others (Santa Clara, Foothill, etc.) will have to follow. Let’s be smart - not reactionary about this. Let’s think about the policies we are setting into place; let’s think beyond a 10-15 year window.

I agree with you. But, nobody seems to be able to say NO when companies, like Stanford, Cisco, Google, Facebook, want to build more office space here.


2 people like this
Posted by Jiu Jhiang
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 24, 2019 at 2:08 pm

>...as someone above alluded to, if the Shopping Center were turned into housing, I would, frankly, be -delighted-.

Not good idea. Stanford Shopping Center is most important for upper-end shopping needs. Poor people can go to Target or Walmart...everything in one store at discount prices.

Maybe compromise. Make Stanford Shopping Center like Santana Row. That way some people have place to live and people with money have place to shop.

Affluence have its privileges.


4 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 24, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@ PA Grandma. I think it's absurd to hold Stanford to a different standard for mitigation than every other for-profit business around here. In fact, I think it's wrong to hold any educational institution to a higher standard than the tech companies that cram as many people as they can into cubicles. We need to think outside of our immediate neighborhood and outside of this permit. The standard line on all of this is, "well, Google is in Mountain View and we don't have a say," or "Facebook is in Menlo Park." It's time the County imposed a housing impact fee at the district level. If the city's want to charge more, fine. But if you want to develop in the County, you have to pay housing impact fee.

Regarding development. Stanford and the City of Palo Alto worked together to create the Stanford Research Park. Stanford annexed the lands to the city's jurisdiction but retained ownership. That way, the City got the property, wage and sales tax associated with the businesses there and Stanford got the rents. Palo Alto was very happy with the arrangement that began in the early 1950's. Same deal was made for the Stanford mall. So, yes, Palo Alto absolutely has some responsibility here.A great deal of responsibility. Those businesses lie on land that had to be annexed to the City so that the City could get the revenue. That's very, very different than Stanford buying a lot already in Palo Alto's jurisdiction and putting a business there.


6 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 24, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@anon.

"I agree with you. But, nobody seems to be able to say NO when companies, like Stanford, Cisco, Google, Facebook, want to build more office space here"

It's time that we pressured our County Supervisors to impose a Housing Impact Fee on all commercial development across the County. The fees can be set by district so it costs less to develop in Morgan Hill than in Mountain View or Sunnyvale. District 5 is basically the heart of Silicon Valley. And, the fee should be based on the type of development - office space creates greater housing demands than does a grocery store.

The residents have allowed themselves to get lost in the weeds/details on this and we've now labeled Stanford as the "bad guy." Let's get the Board of Supervisors to focus on the LARGER ISSUE.

I will be at the meeting on May 30th requesting that the Board of Supervisors think beyond the Stanford GUP and impose a district wide housing impact fee.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2019 at 9:20 am

Posted by Mary O, a resident of Crescent Park

>> I will be at the meeting on May 30th requesting that the Board of Supervisors think beyond the Stanford GUP and impose a district wide housing impact fee.

I'll be on my way out of town :-) but fees on new office space should address both housing and transportation. People will use public transportation when it is convenient, saves time, and makes their lives easier:

Web Link


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On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

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