News

Developer proposes to replace Creekside Inn with apartments

City Council to consider zone change for 382-dwelling application

Two six-story buildings with 382 apartments would replace Creekside Inn under a plan submitted by the property owner. Rendering by Studio S Squared Architecture

The Creekside Inn on El Camino Real could be demolished and replaced with two, six-story buildings with a total of 382 apartments under a redevelopment plan that the property owner submitted to the city last month.

If approved, the project known as "The Residences at Matadero Creek," would be the largest to date to take advantage of a new zoning process known as "planned home zoning," which lets residential developers negotiate zoning exceptions in exchange for a provision of housing. The property owner, SF Creekside LLC, is requesting exemptions from Palo Alto's height and density regulations, as well as a reduction or elimination of impact fees that a developer would typically have to pay.

As a "planned home zoning" project that requires a zone change to proceed, the new proposal gives the City Council wide discretion when it comes to requesting revisions or denying the application. The council will hold a pre-screening hearing on the project to offer its initial comments and help the applicant determine whether to submit a formal application.

To date, most of the developers who have requested such a zone change ultimately have opted not to proceed after the initial council hearing. In some cases, such as the 290-apartment complex that a developer had proposed for 3997 Fabian Way, council members argued that the project was too big and did not offer enough below-market-rate units. A much smaller project, which called for 24 apartments in College Terrace, was rejected after the council agreed that the zoning process should never apply in areas zoned for single-family homes.

Ted O'Hanlon, the consultant representing SF Creekside LLC, is hoping for better luck with the new proposal, which would be located at 3390, 3400 and 3490 El Camino Real, the current sites of Cibo Restaurant and Bar, Creekside Inn and the Driftwood Deli and Market. In a letter he submitted last month as part of the application, he argued that the location is perfect for an apartment project, particularly since it involves rezoning a commercial area for residential use — a key strategy that the council is employing to meet a state mandate for new housing. The developer is also proposing to create a meandering path with seating areas that would be open to the public along Matadero Creek, which runs diagonally across the property.

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The development, O'Hanlon wrote, "proposes a unified and coherent design that creates a sense of order and a desirable environment for occupants, visitors and the community."

He also acknowledged in the letter that almost none of the projects that the council had previously considered through the "planned home zoning" process had moved forward.

"The City has learned from and continues to learn from these applications. However, it is time to do more than learn — the Council needs to encourage formal applications to come forward that include the necessary modifications to see the actual development of housing in Palo Alto," O'Hanlon wrote.

In this case, the modifications include exceeding the city's 50-foot height limit to allow the two 64-foot-tall buildings. The city would also need to allow a floor-area-ratio of 2.49 (the ratio of a building's floor area to the land), whereas the current zoning allows zoning between 0.5 and 2.0. And it would have to allow the developer to build at a density of 106 dwellings per acre. Typically, the city allows residential developments at a maximum of 40 dwellings per acre at its most dense multi-family zoning district, RM-40.

Two six-story buildings with 382 apartments would replace Creekside Inn under a plan submitted by the property owner. Rendering by Studio S Squared Architecture

The council has, however, made some exceptions in recent past. O'Hanlon notes that the Wilton Court project at 3703 El Camino Real has a density of 128 dwellings per acre and the Alta Locale project on the corner of El Camino and Page Mill Road was developed at 127 units per acre.

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Unlike Wilton Court, the Creekside Inn project would not be dedicated exclusively to affordable housing. According to the application, 76 of the dwellings would be subject to the city's below-market-rate program and distributed across four income categories, according to O'Hanlon. This means that 5% of the apartments, or 19 apartments, would be available to residents in the "very low" income category. The same share would be dedicated as "low," "moderate" and "workforce housing" units. The 76 units in these four categories would dispersed throughout the two buildings.

The two buildings would have 44 studios, 243 one-bedroom apartments, 86 two-bedroom apartments and nine three-bedroom apartments, according to the application.

The project also includes 4,000 square feet of retail space. O'Hanlon told this news organization that property owners have had discussions with Driftwood Deli & Market, a longtime fixture on the El Camino block, to be the occupants of this retail space.

O'Hanlon had also requested that the city waive some of the impact fees that developers are normally required to pay, including the park impact fee of $42,468 per unit. Given the high number of units in the proposed development, this fee would add up to $16.2 million. (The developer had also initially requested that the city waive the $7 million in housing impact fees, though O'Hanlon said staff later clarified that the developer would not have to pay these fees because it is proposing to provide below-market-rate housing).

"These are preliminary fee estimates, but they illustrate the magnitude of fees that are likely to be imposed on a project of this scale and that would make the provision of housing on-site infeasible," O'Hanlon wrote.

Referring to the Oxford Capital Group, which owns the Creekside Inn, he continued: "Therefore, as part of the PHZ rezoning ordinance, Oxford is proposing the Council support reducing or eliminating certain fees based on project considerations such as the provision of affordable housing or publicly accessible open space."

Editor's note: The story was updated to reflect the project's modified proposal for affordable housing and the developer's withdrawal of its request that housing impact fees be waived.

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Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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Developer proposes to replace Creekside Inn with apartments

City Council to consider zone change for 382-dwelling application

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 9:54 am

The Creekside Inn on El Camino Real could be demolished and replaced with two, six-story buildings with a total of 382 apartments under a redevelopment plan that the property owner submitted to the city last month.

If approved, the project known as "The Residences at Matadero Creek," would be the largest to date to take advantage of a new zoning process known as "planned home zoning," which lets residential developers negotiate zoning exceptions in exchange for a provision of housing. The property owner, SF Creekside LLC, is requesting exemptions from Palo Alto's height and density regulations, as well as a reduction or elimination of impact fees that a developer would typically have to pay.

As a "planned home zoning" project that requires a zone change to proceed, the new proposal gives the City Council wide discretion when it comes to requesting revisions or denying the application. The council will hold a pre-screening hearing on the project to offer its initial comments and help the applicant determine whether to submit a formal application.

To date, most of the developers who have requested such a zone change ultimately have opted not to proceed after the initial council hearing. In some cases, such as the 290-apartment complex that a developer had proposed for 3997 Fabian Way, council members argued that the project was too big and did not offer enough below-market-rate units. A much smaller project, which called for 24 apartments in College Terrace, was rejected after the council agreed that the zoning process should never apply in areas zoned for single-family homes.

Ted O'Hanlon, the consultant representing SF Creekside LLC, is hoping for better luck with the new proposal, which would be located at 3390, 3400 and 3490 El Camino Real, the current sites of Cibo Restaurant and Bar, Creekside Inn and the Driftwood Deli and Market. In a letter he submitted last month as part of the application, he argued that the location is perfect for an apartment project, particularly since it involves rezoning a commercial area for residential use — a key strategy that the council is employing to meet a state mandate for new housing. The developer is also proposing to create a meandering path with seating areas that would be open to the public along Matadero Creek, which runs diagonally across the property.

The development, O'Hanlon wrote, "proposes a unified and coherent design that creates a sense of order and a desirable environment for occupants, visitors and the community."

He also acknowledged in the letter that almost none of the projects that the council had previously considered through the "planned home zoning" process had moved forward.

"The City has learned from and continues to learn from these applications. However, it is time to do more than learn — the Council needs to encourage formal applications to come forward that include the necessary modifications to see the actual development of housing in Palo Alto," O'Hanlon wrote.

In this case, the modifications include exceeding the city's 50-foot height limit to allow the two 64-foot-tall buildings. The city would also need to allow a floor-area-ratio of 2.49 (the ratio of a building's floor area to the land), whereas the current zoning allows zoning between 0.5 and 2.0. And it would have to allow the developer to build at a density of 106 dwellings per acre. Typically, the city allows residential developments at a maximum of 40 dwellings per acre at its most dense multi-family zoning district, RM-40.

The council has, however, made some exceptions in recent past. O'Hanlon notes that the Wilton Court project at 3703 El Camino Real has a density of 128 dwellings per acre and the Alta Locale project on the corner of El Camino and Page Mill Road was developed at 127 units per acre.

Unlike Wilton Court, the Creekside Inn project would not be dedicated exclusively to affordable housing. According to the application, 76 of the dwellings would be subject to the city's below-market-rate program and distributed across four income categories, according to O'Hanlon. This means that 5% of the apartments, or 19 apartments, would be available to residents in the "very low" income category. The same share would be dedicated as "low," "moderate" and "workforce housing" units. The 76 units in these four categories would dispersed throughout the two buildings.

The two buildings would have 44 studios, 243 one-bedroom apartments, 86 two-bedroom apartments and nine three-bedroom apartments, according to the application.

The project also includes 4,000 square feet of retail space. O'Hanlon told this news organization that property owners have had discussions with Driftwood Deli & Market, a longtime fixture on the El Camino block, to be the occupants of this retail space.

O'Hanlon had also requested that the city waive some of the impact fees that developers are normally required to pay, including the park impact fee of $42,468 per unit. Given the high number of units in the proposed development, this fee would add up to $16.2 million. (The developer had also initially requested that the city waive the $7 million in housing impact fees, though O'Hanlon said staff later clarified that the developer would not have to pay these fees because it is proposing to provide below-market-rate housing).

"These are preliminary fee estimates, but they illustrate the magnitude of fees that are likely to be imposed on a project of this scale and that would make the provision of housing on-site infeasible," O'Hanlon wrote.

Referring to the Oxford Capital Group, which owns the Creekside Inn, he continued: "Therefore, as part of the PHZ rezoning ordinance, Oxford is proposing the Council support reducing or eliminating certain fees based on project considerations such as the provision of affordable housing or publicly accessible open space."

Editor's note: The story was updated to reflect the project's modified proposal for affordable housing and the developer's withdrawal of its request that housing impact fees be waived.

Comments

Chris S
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:14 am
Chris S, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:14 am

That is way too many units for such a small area. Matadero Ave is already impacted on school days and where are all the children living in these new apartments going to go to school?
If the city doesn't allow such huge projects in other parts of Palo Alto, they certainly shouldn't accept one this big in Barron Park.


Chris S
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:15 am
Chris S, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:15 am

What about Driftwood Market? Are you going to throw that way too?


AdjunctProfessorville
Registered user
Professorville
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:25 am
AdjunctProfessorville, Professorville
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:25 am

As long as Driftwood can find a way to survive, be a part of it.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:45 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 10:45 am

Another ugly building with no charm that's mostly market rate just in time for big tech's hiring freezes. Instead of getting a density fee exemption, they should quadruple the fees.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:05 am
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:05 am

It’s hard to support this project since no affordable housing is included. I see nothing about parking for this many people. Are the developers assuming that people will walk to the train station, use the buses that run along El Camino Real, use Uber, or use Marguerite if they work at Stanford? I hope they pay for our parks, even if less than the normal fee. Our parks need financing.


Anne
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:21 am
Anne, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:21 am

No exceptions to existing height limitations please. Do we want to be like Mountain View where tall buildings block the view of our beloved Santa Cruz Mountains so that the name "Mountain View" has no meaning any more?


JonnyK
Registered user
Ventura
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:54 am
JonnyK, Ventura
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:54 am

The property now has beautiful landscaping and gardens.... sure, go ahead and ruin it like everything else.


William Hitchens
Registered user
Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:59 am
William Hitchens, Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 11:59 am

"As a "planned home zoning" project that requires a zone change to proceed, the new proposal gives the City Council wide discretion when it comes to requesting revisions or denying the application. The council will hold a pre-screening hearing on the project to offer its initial comments and help the applicant determine whether to submit a formal application.

"To date, most of the developers who have requested such a zone change ultimately have opted not to proceed after the initial council hearing."

Oops! Given the "too many cooks" planning paralysis going on in Palo Alto, this does NOT sound like a highly auspicious start to such a huge and contentious project as this.


Judith Wasserman
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 11, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Judith Wasserman, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 12:00 pm

I have no great love for the height limit, but this project really has no excuse for breaking it. The design has no redeeming qualities and there are NO BMR units, just "moderate income". They should go back to the drawing board, literally.


kludged
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 12:31 pm
kludged, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 12:31 pm

64 Foot tall buildings abutting a residential neighborhood??? Reduced impact fees for developers??? Let's just say NO!


Book Em
Registered user
Palo Verde School
on Jul 11, 2022 at 1:25 pm
Book Em, Palo Verde School
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Project is an overeach.

Too tall.
Too close to the street.
Too dense.
Insufficent parking.
Not in keeping with the neighborhood aesthetic.
Insufficent green space.
Looks like an industrial building...not residential.

The answer is not "no" to housing...but this project is not appropriate as presented.

Council should provide constructive feedback and send the developer back to the architect for a more suitable design.

Note to developer...Creekside Deli is beloved by many in Palo Alto...please respect this.


Gabriel Klein
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 1:31 pm
Gabriel Klein, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 1:31 pm

The residents of Barron Park and Ventura should have a say in this proposed development but Palo Alto residents in other neighborhoods should stay out of it and mind their own business as this project is absolutely none of their business nor will it directly impact their daily lives geographically

Barron Park could use a facelift as the area along ECR is deplorable and reminiscent of ECR in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.


Resident
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 11, 2022 at 1:51 pm
Resident, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 1:51 pm

A very necessary project. All these hotels on El Camino are usually empty and are obsolete with significantly reduced business travel.
There are many complaints about parking, but I don't see it listed. Are people just assuming that parking will be insufficient? Enough parking must be provided.
As far as height is concerned, El Camino already has 65-70ft buildings on the Mountain View, the difference is not noticeable.


Allen Akin
Registered user
Professorville
on Jul 11, 2022 at 2:41 pm
Allen Akin, Professorville
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 2:41 pm

It takes more effort than it should, but you can find these proposals online. Start at Web Link . Enter the address. Click the marker that appears on the map. Click the "More Details" button on the "Planning" sidebar that appears. Click the "Record Info" dropdown menu, then on the "Attachments" menu item. A bunch of PDF files will be listed in a dialog box, and you select one to download it. I don't see any way to generate a direct link to the PDF files or I'd post it here.

For this project, the info page is Web Link and the summary plan is in the file "C1_3400 El Camino_PLAN.pdf".

It looks to me like there's enough parking to meet the standard zoning requirements, so that particular issue should be OK.


Book Em
Registered user
Palo Verde School
on Jul 11, 2022 at 3:21 pm
Book Em, Palo Verde School
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 3:21 pm

@ Gabe Klein. With regard to your comment:

"Palo Alto residents in other neighborhoods should stay out of it and mind their own business as this project is absolutely none of their business nor will it directly impact their daily lives geographically"

You may not understand that what happens in one Palo Alto neighborhood can be rubberstamped into another Palo Alto neighborhood.

Historically the Palo Alto City Council leans heavily on precedent when making decisions. For this reason it is absolutely necessary to comment on projects that do not fit a particular neighborhood so that the same mistakes are not made closer to home.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2022 at 3:25 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 3:25 pm

Response to Gabriel Klein: it makes sense to me that Palo Altans from neighborhoods other than Barron Park and Ventura have an interest in this project. What happens in one Palo Alto neighborhood may not immediately or directly impact other neighborhoods, but what is allowed sets a precedent and that can be very impactful.

For instance, Castilleja recently won approval for a significant variance. Signal to developers: ask and ye may receive. This particular project will likely be scrutinized by people all over town. My question about it is this: is the housing inventory that it promises the inventory that is needed? It doesn't make much sense to build BIG dwellings that are likely to suffer high vacancy rates for a long period of time. That hurts more than it helps.


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 11, 2022 at 3:46 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Moderate priced apartments are greatly needed. Makes sense to be on El Camino Real.
Everything in Palo Alto doesn’t need to be taxpayer subsidized! Why should certain people get subsidized housing? Who picks, manages the bureaucracy. Then it becomes an incentive for people to limit their income to qualify. There are numerous locations one can reside. One is not entitled to live in Palo Alto.
City should invite comments from residential neighborhoods behind the project, of course.


CEQA Required
Registered user
Monroe Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 4:05 pm
CEQA Required, Monroe Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 4:05 pm

The article’s interactive map showing proposed projects seems to be missing the 75-unit condo proposal for 800 San Antonio.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 11, 2022 at 4:11 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 4:11 pm

"Moderate priced apartments are greatly needed"

What makes you think these will be moderately priced when most are market rate?


William Hitchens
Registered user
Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2022 at 5:19 pm
William Hitchens, Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 5:19 pm

To be highly critical and disrespectful as usual, I'll make a Most Humble comment on "The Residences at Matadero Creek". It is neither a "residence" nor "residences". That is public relations lies spouted from bottom feeding, money grubbing developers and real estate agents, whose ethics --- well, I can't be honest without being being vile and obscene.

When I was in grad school at UIUC in Illinois, I had a brief girlfriend whose father was a prison guard at Stateville Prison in Joliet, IL. Stateville was Illinois' prison for "the worst of the worst" prisoners, just like Pelican Bay in CA.

When I look at "The Residences at Matadero Creek", the monstrous complex reminds me of one of the prison blocks at Joliet's brutally ugly Stateville Prison. Sure, it has softer kinder corners and large plate glass windows. But the intent is still the same. Confine as many ignorant people into as small an area as possible. The only thing missing are the guards, the prison bars, the vicious dogs, and the three-layered barbed wire electrified fences.

Don't things like that belong in Chico or Pelican Bay?


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Jul 11, 2022 at 6:17 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 6:17 pm

If you read the attachments that Allen Akin linked to (thanks Alan) you note

1) that the project includes 76 BMR units affordable to residents earning between 80% and 120% of the county median income

2) that moderate income BMR units had the poorest success rate during the past 7 years

3) that Palo Alto has a very large market-rate housing goal in the coming years (it is over 2,600 units

This project follows the example of the 2850 W Bayshore project that was approved 7-0 by the current council in

a) providing 20% BMR units for the missing middle and

b) replacing a commercial use with housing

The project would supply roughly 1/8 of our entire market rate allocation in a single project.

I hope the project is approved


Paly02
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 6:36 pm
Paly02, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 6:36 pm

I think dense housing along El Camino makes tons of sense. We need more housing. People need to propose feasible projects instead of just shooting down every project that ever gets proposed.


resident17
Registered user
Monroe Park
on Jul 11, 2022 at 6:47 pm
resident17, Monroe Park
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2022 at 6:47 pm

The interactive map doesn't include two recent proposals

4345 El Camino, currently the Country Inn motel
to be replaced by a 55 unit, five story condo

4333, 4335 El Camino
currently the piano store and a spa
to be replaced by a combination of six townhouses and six ADUs

The proposed plans were submitted the end of June with a request for prescreening by the City Council


felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2022 at 8:51 am
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 8:51 am

Steve Levy's thinks we should be thrilled that this one huge development nearly accounts for an eighth of the market-rate units Palo Alto is being forced to build by the State. No matter that the Chicago developers assert they deserve a $23 million waiver of City Impact Fees that go for parks and, ironically, to our affordable housing fund (all cities have such fees to mitigate impacts of development), thinking somehow we don't know they will make a zillion dollars on this deal. No - we are not thrilled because we can think critically.

Building this market rate housing is the low hanging fruit to get built because it's all about money and here is where the profit is.

To eek out even more profit by not building adequate parking and charging money for the parking it does build, parking is "unbundled", meaning tenants will have to pay for a space on top of their rent. At the only other such project in town that does this, the price is $140 a month for one parking space. Predictably a lot of these tenants park on neighboring streets instead of paying, or all spaces are taken, as they will in Barron Park.

287 of the 382 units are studios or 1 bedrooms - also the least desirable size. As the Council has noted, the City is in greatest need for 2 and 3 bedroom units.

What is hard to get build is all affordable, below market rate housing projects, which is done by non-profit developers such as Alta Housing. Wilton Court, Oak Court, etc. Wonderful high quality housing for extremely, low, and very low income PA people who live or work. But funding is hard to come by. Supposedly nearly 3,000 units will have to be built in the next 10 years, mainly by these non-profits. Where will they get funding when they must compete for land against billionarires developers and outfits from Chicago?






Ronnie Jackson
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:15 am
Ronnie Jackson, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:15 am

Having highrise mixed-use apartment/condos all along ECR in Barron Park would be a vast improvement over what currently exists there (e.g. nondescript strip malls, mundane motels, automotive garages, and what not).

In a perfect world, this area would gradually take on the appearance of San Antonio Road where redevelopment worked wonders.


Paly02
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:34 am
Paly02, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:34 am

"Where will they get funding when they must compete for land against billionarires developers and outfits from Chicago?"

This comment makes no sense. If they get funding through some kind of a grant they can draw up their own proposal. What a different developer draws up and gets funding for has no bearing on this.

If we're serious about building below market rate housing then we should be helping the non-profits to secure funding. Otherwise we're just pretending that we care about low-income housing as a shield for rejecting other housing projects.


felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:53 am
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:53 am

Don’t even know where to start on affordable housing funding when so little understood by paly02.

Here developer doesn’t want to pay into the very fund the city has to do what you want and what City does - supports affordable housing projects with $ and Alta Housing with other $. This Council raised housing Impact Fees to have more $ to give. But City is limited by budget shortfalls and need to see all city services funded.

We need to pass a good Business Tax which would raise much more for affordable housing.

Land prices here are so high it is unusually hard to compete for same land. You can deny but it’s how it is.

There are many more disparities but no time to cover.


Me 2
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2022 at 10:06 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 10:06 am

"If we're serious about building below market rate housing then we should be helping the non-profits to secure funding."

No to BMRs. We need market rate housing, period. A BMR-oriented policy just hollows out the middle class. It will be like SF, where the rich can always get housing, and the BMRs go to their help. Meanwhile the middle class moves to Manteca.

BMRs are just another feel-good policy with bad unintended consequences. And let's not get into the fact that BMRs are just a vehicle for obstructionists to halt any new housing. Just look at what the unholy alliance of housing activists and self-proclaimed progressive NIMBY's have done to San Francisco. The SF NIMBY's get to pretend they are for the working class while screwing the middle class.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Jul 12, 2022 at 11:13 am
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 11:13 am

The proposed project will add 76 BMR units--17 more than the Wilton Court project. Hopefully the project can be approved in less than the six years Wilton took and and the city will not be on the hook for the $millions (I think $20) we helped support Wilton with.

Yes these are BNR units just like the ones council just approved 7-0 on W Bayshore.

Yes they are for the missing middle just like W Bayshore and the Simitian sponsored County project for teacher housing near Cal Ave.

BMR housing for middle income residents is still BMR housing with income limitations.

Like Me 2, I worry about the loss of diversity and opportunity when we only support housing for low income and high income residents.

This project meets city goals of replacing underutilized commercial uses with housing and getting 20% BMR units.

I hope the feds, state and region can find big $ for low-income housing but we should try to do both low and middle income affordable housing

I am hoping the fee waiver request is negotiable and the city does get some fee revenues.


Paly02
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2022 at 11:15 am
Paly02, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 11:15 am

@Me 2 - I agree completely. I think adding market rate housing is a great idea and I think that people asking for below market rate housing are not actually arguing for that in good faith. That's why I'm asking them to put their money where their mouth is and actually fund BMR housing. I don't think they actually want to.


PA lifer
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 12, 2022 at 6:24 pm
PA lifer, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 6:24 pm

Has there been an assessment on the environmental impact of stirring up the land next to Varian? Speaking from experience living in both BP & CT.


Resident
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:11 pm
Resident, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Jul 12, 2022 at 9:11 pm

Contrary to what felix said, studios and 1 bedroom apartments are extremely necessary. Many young people are forced to live in houses in single family neighborhoods with roommates due to the complete lack of studios and 1BR apartments all over Palo Alto.
Giving young people a separate unit with privacy and within walking distance of restaurants and such is actually a great idea that will free up more family oriented houses for actual families.


D. Smith
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2022 at 9:47 am
D. Smith, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2022 at 9:47 am

When is the City Council scheduled to meet concerning this proposal? The residents of Barron Park and our surrounding neighbors need to unite!


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Jul 14, 2022 at 11:01 am
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2022 at 11:01 am

The article has been updated to reflect changes in the proposal

Please read the updated article

The BMR units are now split evenly between very low income, low income, moderate income and workforce housing (120-150% of area median income

And the owner is in discussion to keep Driftwood market.

The 76 BMR units are more than the 59 units in the Wilton Court project that 9 years to completion and included a pledge of up to $20 million in city funds.

The proposal shows the strong impact that market rate housing can have on increasing our below market rate units thru the 20% requirement that this project meets.


Paly02
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2022 at 4:25 pm
Paly02, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2022 at 4:25 pm

Thanks for the update, Stephen, this sounds even better!


Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2022 at 4:35 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2022 at 4:35 pm

I was pleased by the developer’s declared intention to create “a meandering path with seating areas open to the public along Matadero Creek, which runs diagonally across the property.”Whatever the final details are in number and mix of units, building height, parking provisions and the like, I hope this feature will survive. It will nicely complement the vision in the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan of a natural, path-lined creek in place of a concrete channel that has been the continuation on the other side of ECR of lovely Matadero Creek.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 14, 2022 at 4:43 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2022 at 4:43 pm

A few weeks ago I responded to the article about the Fry site's future project plans for housing. My comment was felt to be worthy of publishing in the Palo Alto Weekly. In it I described my neighborhood as it was in 1963 when we bought our house in the Adobe Meadow area down here in South Palo Alto. I described the diversity of our neighborhood and the fact that people from all walks of life and careers, from hourly wage earners to high income professionals, could afford to buy single family homes here, and they did. We had a sense of community. I expressed that as a dream for Palo Alto's future, although I'm not naive, and I know that dream will never come true. After reading all the posts to this article I get the feeling that there is not much offered that can make it come true. Either the movers and shakers in Palo Alto don't care about getting my type of neighborhood and community back, or they're so focused on housing for the lucky ones at the top of the financially successful food chain. If the highest goal is to get the maximum market rate housing built, I have to say to you, Steve Levy, that is not a noble goal... low fruit as one commenter said. That basically says we are forever giving up on getting our house cleaning ladies, gardeners, barbers, secretaries, store clerks, et al, back in our town and local communities as our neighbors. It's obvious that Palo Alto is not a friendly and affordable place to live for so many of the people who serve us. There have been many feeble attempts made at making it seem possible but they usually show up during campaigning time when City Council candidates announce that they're running for office. Then, after the election is over, and a new council is sworn in, it's back to the same worn out discussions on providing affordable housing, with the various definitions of that. I have a request...rather than referring to incomes as percentages, please do the math and give it to us in USA dollars. Thanks!


Sybil
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Jul 15, 2022 at 11:21 am
Sybil, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2022 at 11:21 am

Will CIBO's RESTAURANT Remain? What about the DRIFTWOOD. Why are we sacrificing so many community spaces for apartments?

Palo Alto Bowl is gone! Along with other facilities that families would enjoy or get food from. Why continue to destroy the charm of Palo Alto?

Is there No Other place this developer can build?


jerry Tinney
Registered user
Monroe Park
on Jul 15, 2022 at 11:25 am
jerry Tinney, Monroe Park
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2022 at 11:25 am

I can not think of a more inappropriate project as the gateway to the charming, quaint Barron Park. I think most people have chosen to live in Barron Park to avoid living next to such a statement as the proposed 6 story apartment complex.


PalyJim
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2022 at 4:25 pm
PalyJim, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2022 at 4:25 pm

I presume from the article that the property owner, SF Creekside LLC, is committed to tearing down the existing Inn and surrounding businesses? The Creekside Inn is one of just a few remaining places for visitors to Palo Alto and Stanford to stay in clean, relaxing and "affordable" lodgings. I think people have learned by now that "developers" favor garish, businesslike designs with no regard for the area's traditions or aesthetic. The proposed building's drawing is hideous, and sorry to say this, are 382 more apartments needed right on El Camino? Height limits are not the root cause of the problem, only another disgusting by-product of greed.


Leland J.
Registered user
Professorville
on Jul 18, 2022 at 1:08 pm
Leland J. , Professorville
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 1:08 pm

CLASSIC Palo Alto here. Complain and whine that "we need more affordable housing!"... then complain and whine some more when someone wants to build it.

Everyone mocks towns like Woodside for wanting to maintain their character and independence, but then they use the exact same reasoning when the development comes to Palo.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2022 at 2:20 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Criticism is more often directed to the size of the proposal exceeding what is permitted and the proposed exemptions being asked for rather than opposition to building housing.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2022 at 2:21 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 2:21 pm

Criticism is more often directed to the size of the proposal exceeding what is permitted and the proposed exemptions being asked for rather than opposition to building housing.
From the applicants point of view it is a good negotiating position.


MyFeelz
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Jul 19, 2022 at 10:12 pm
MyFeelz, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2022 at 10:12 pm

We have a national housing shortage resulting in a crisis. Whatever the base rent on a new apartment will cost initially will go up at whatever rate the landlord is allowed to raise it -- in some counties and cities in CA, there's no cap other than the statewide 5%+CPI up to 10% every 12 months. That means there can be a 100% increase over a 10 year period. Imagine a $3500 rental built in 2023, being worth $7000 a month 10 years later. Ridiculous. I'm glad I am too old to see how this will play out. We have become a soulless society with no empathy for young people starting their lives with hope of improving their lot. This is not how my grandparents lived, their generation wanted to give hope for a brighter future to their children. Now that generation they reared wants to gouge, gouge, gouge. They have no conscience, and they sleep fine at night. Ambien, Trazadone, Jack Daniels, whatever. Then wake up refreshed to keep sticking it to the working class, and there's always a fresh batch of them to take their money and laugh all the way to the bank. For every eviction, there's 10 people standing in line wanting to pay the inflated rent for a roof over their head.


Jarrod Young
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2022 at 9:01 am
Jarrod Young, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2022 at 9:01 am

@MyFeelz…

Yes…you are referring to the self-serving Baby Boomer yuppies who act as though and believe that they are going to live forever (as in forever young).

On the other hand, I was once homeless (for five months on the streets) and during that time, no one cared or came to my assistance. I had to improve matters on my own.

And I did not rely on begging, food stamps, General Assistance, or MediCal. I stood on the corners alongside countless illegal immigrants and did day work when available.

This is one reason I could care less about LGBTQ, pro-life/choice, Ukraine, BLM, and other advocacies. These groups never acknowledged or assisted in relieving my unfortunate plight and consequently, I could care less about their issues or problems as it doesn’t involve or concern me directly.

The American way is to work hard, save, invest and then indulge in personal luxuries.

You are correct in your assessment. America relies on the working class and the working class always gets screwed by having to foot the bill for most of our nation’s governmental expenditures.

Life in America is a jungle…a plastic jungle. And what goes on in backwards 3rd world countries is immaterial (to me).

Unfortunately many American Boomers and their spoiled children believe they are entitled to the good life and all of the material trinkets that go with it.

This mindset also explains the current rash of store lootings by the underclasses.


MyFeelz
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Jul 20, 2022 at 7:49 pm
MyFeelz, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2022 at 7:49 pm

Jarrod,

Many people have been in your shoes, and tell a similar story. My brother in law has been homeless for years. Any of us would take him in but he won't go -- his mental illness makes him think that anyone who tries to help him secretly wants to kill him. Yet, he feels shunned by people's inability to help him. This isn't your gig but every homeless person could be housed "if only" this or that. Your way out was being able to do day work. Not everyone has that capacity. There aren't enough services or building materials to house everyone. That's the bottom line. Yet we have millions of building nationwide (actually, worldwide) that stand empty. Could they be converted to house the people who are living on the sidewalks in front of empty buildings? Sure, they could be. I don't blame you for not being interested in anybody else's cause. YOU are your best cause, and you are the most important thing in your life. It all comes down to basics. Some people have extra, and could give extra to those who need help. But they would rather take a Caribbean Cruise. Or whatever indulgence they want to fulfill. People are strange, Jarrod. You are taking care of you, so nobody else has to. That's commendable. But the looters ... that's basic math: X number of crooks, Y number of security. More X than Y = looting works. I am rooting for your continued success in self-sufficiency. You can look at yourself in the mirror knowing you take better care of yourself than the government can.


Kellie Stafford
Registered user
Barron Park
on Sep 7, 2022 at 8:02 pm
Kellie Stafford, Barron Park
Registered user
on Sep 7, 2022 at 8:02 pm

PLEASE, EVERYONE~ Write our city council members, mayor and planning commission by Sept. 9th. The City Council meeting is Sept. 19th. Show up if you can or hop on their zoom link. We need everyone's participation on this.
Planning: [email protected]
City Council: [email protected]
Mayor: [email protected]
Thank you!!!!


Sunshine
Registered user
Barron Park
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:25 am
Sunshine, Barron Park
Registered user
on Sep 9, 2022 at 8:25 am

This proposed development is far too large for the site. First: it is placed right up against a busy street that is a main access to the neighborhood. Second: it appears to eliminate the small market and butcher shop which are important to the neighborhood. Third: it will degrade the overall neighborhood by obstructing present residents from a main collector street in the area. It changes the character of the neighborhood from small residential buildings to a huge housing complex that does not appear to have sufficient parking. A motel/hotel must have space to accommodate individual cars. People who will use this are very unlikely to arrive by bus or to walk from the closest train station.
The original motel is placed back from Matadero allowing room for parking associated with the shops and restaurant in the area.
Overall the proposed motel is too large for the site, does not provide needed amenities for the neighborhood, will block ingress and egress to/from the residential part of the neighborhood.
I vote NO! on this proposal.


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