Council finalizes new housing policies | February 1, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 1, 2019

Council finalizes new housing policies

California Avenue area, El Camino Real targeted for denser housing

by Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto's effort to spur the construction of much-needed housing, launched by the City Council more than a year ago, concluded Monday night with the adoption of a slew of zoning revisions that speed up the approval process and grant density bonuses to certain residential projects around California Avenue and along El Camino Real.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.

Comments

89 people like this
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 29, 2019 at 10:04 am

Neal is a registered user.

Once again, developers win and residents lose.


73 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 29, 2019 at 11:01 am

Annette is a registered user.

I watched from home and was struck by this consistency: in the process of approving the various changes, CC also increased the discretion of the Planning Director. If, on top of that, Staff's recommendation regarding a waiver process for the Grandfathered Facilities Ordinance is approved, the Planning Director will, in many instances, have largely unfettered discretion. Said differently, one need only curry favor with a single person rather than convince a majority on City Council. The waiver circumvents the public. We can all appreciate that there's some appeal to that since the Palo Alto process often protracts the planning and approval process, but there are safeties built into that process. I think these are safeties that we do not want to forfeit to a single person or department. Even if there is an appeal process, a decision once made is difficult to reverse. If this is of concern to you, read Staff's recommendation to the PTC, write the PTC, and attend tomorrow night's meeting.


10 people like this
Posted by @Neal
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2019 at 11:14 am

You're sitting in a house valued at well over a million dollars paying taxes well below the market rate while everyone else is lucky to find a garage to live in. [Portion removed.]


96 people like this
Posted by ABAG owns PA
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2019 at 11:15 am

You guys haven't gotten it yet. ABAG owns PA, the ECR corridor will be a bastion of development and high rises. You worry about ADU's and traffic? Just wait till all this development gets going!

But hey, California has unlimited resources! No worries about drought here, keep 'em coming!


14 people like this
Posted by Homeowner
a resident of University South
on Jan 29, 2019 at 11:54 am

This is great news for residents! It's a shame it took the stick of SB35 to make City Council act on this.


66 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2019 at 12:44 pm

We left 2 years ago.
So glad we did.
We were in town last weekend to see friends and were so sad to see how much the town and area has gone downhill. Our friends want to leave too but home prices have really fallen and they feel they can’t sell right now. they believe home prices will recover in the spring. I hope for their sakes that home prices stop declining, but after what I saw, I think Palo Alto is in store for a steep drop. It’s a horrible place to visit, and I’d hate to try to live there now.

When we got home to our small country town, I felt so bad about what I’d seen in PA, so I came back to this site because I felt that I needed to say something. I hope residents can halt the development and out of control business office expansion. I sure hope for my friends sake that they can get out this spring.


60 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2019 at 1:27 pm

Welcome to the Sardine Can.

No infrastructure, but plenty of bedrooms pack and stack with nothing to do but work and sleep.

The new Palo Alto!


56 people like this
Posted by Control before Growth
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 29, 2019 at 3:34 pm

We live on Lincoln Avenue,. Today I dropped my purse crossing the street to get in my car. Before I could even pause to pick it up I had to scoot out of the way for a speeding car that turned from Cowper onto Lincoln and drove right over my handbag. We were a block away from Addison Elementary. Traffic has gotten so out of control that everyone uses Lincoln as a cut through but the police never monitor for speeding. We don't need growth until we get what we have under control.


55 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 29, 2019 at 3:53 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@Control before Growth: I made a similar comment to a Council member yesterday. There have been several accidents at Lincoln and Middlefield over the past year, and traffic on Lincoln is up 85% over the past five years. Most of this appears to be cut-through.

I'm under the impression that much of the Council doesn't believe traffic is a significant problem, or doesn't believe that it's going to get worse as housing density increases without a corresponding improvement in transportation.


48 people like this
Posted by ABAG owns PA
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2019 at 4:16 pm

@Allen, don’t kid yourself, they absolutely know...... THEY DONT CARE. Again, when is everyone going to realize you can elect whomever you want, it isn’t going to make a difference. The politicians are beholden to the realtors/developers and they’ve sold their souls in the name of “progress”.

ABAG. Look it up, see who’s involved and connect the dots. You can debate all you want on these message boards but it’s DONE and no going back.


62 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2019 at 5:02 pm

ABAGexit?

This all seems an awful lot like the European Union model applied on a smaller scale. Shift governance into un-elected bodies stuffed with ideologues that do not have to answer to the voters.

This is all so profoundly un-democratic. When did the Democratic party stop believing in democracy?


7 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2019 at 8:05 pm

So glad to see the housing crisis being addressed. Keep the construction coming! If the situation doesn't improve, my wife and I may move to LA, where the base rent is less than half of what it is here.


47 people like this
Posted by YIMBY Narrative wrong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 29, 2019 at 9:27 pm

It turns out that the NIMBY narrative that higher density housing leads to lower housing costs is WRONG: upzoning for higher density housing actually leads to INCREASED housing costs according to a recent study in Chicago:
Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by YIMBY Narrative wrong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 29, 2019 at 9:28 pm

Meant YIMBY (not NIMBY) narrative in post above


7 people like this
Posted by Seattle Begs To Differ
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2019 at 2:30 am

Amid building boom, 1 in 10 Seattle apartments are empty, and rents are dropping

Web Link


11 people like this
Posted by Seattle Begs To Differ
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2019 at 2:39 am

That study is ridiculous. Of course the brand new housing in upzoned areas is expensive. It's new housing! Adding new housing supply puts downward pressure on rents regionally as demand is soaked up by new constructions and fewer people compete for housing further away, making that housing cheaper.


11 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2019 at 6:30 am

Annette is a registered user.

@ControlBeforeGrowth - I cannot stop thinking about what you wrote because the "what ifs" are wholly bad. Thank goodness it was *only* your purse that the speeding driver ran over and he or she did not cause you bodily harm. If you are so inclined, I think the PAPD and the CC should hear about your experience because it illustrates the inherent perils of not adequately addressing the infrastructure side of growth.

Palo Alto needs motorcycle cops.


29 people like this
Posted by Giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2019 at 10:03 am

Giraffe is a registered user.

Can someone explain how all the commercial development helps Palo Alto? I have lived here 30 years and it seems to me that it was a better place to live then than it is now. Back then, WAY less traffic. Fewer cars parked on the streets. Parking available downtown. Seems like the streets were in better shape. No campers parked on El Camino. Etc.

What am I missing??


10 people like this
Posted by @Giraffe
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2019 at 10:17 am

Retired Senior Citizens Questions Usefulness Of Job Growth After Exiting Job Market


19 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 30, 2019 at 4:10 pm

Living in Palo Alto has deteriorated to unacceptable over the last 30 years. Residents want less traffic, safety downtown at night, fewer break ins, fewer hotels and new condos and aparartments.
Life is horrible here in Palo Alto, especially with City Council constantly harping and promoting more "affordable housing" and "subsidized housing" and increased density and higher buildings. not to mention City Council using Barron Park as a dumping ground for unacceptable apartments, condominiums and trailer park always in Barron Park to support horrible traffic and out of control crime.
Like many residents I am stuck with a house that has increased in selling price, but if I sold I would have to pay 20% Federal Capital Gains Tax, 3.8% Obamacare Tax, and 12% CA tax (thanks to Jerry Brown) so after taxes I could not afford to buy a condo or townhouse in Campbell or Los Gatos. So I am like many "House Poor" residents with virtually most potential home value appreciation going to taxes so someone could buy a townhose in Palo Alto. Just pathetic.


10 people like this
Posted by @Jerry
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2019 at 5:03 pm

"Like many residents I am stuck with a house that has increased in selling price, but if I sold I would have to pay 20% Federal Capital Gains Tax, 3.8% Obamacare Tax, and 12% CA tax (thanks to Jerry Brown) so after taxes I could not afford to buy a condo or townhouse in Campbell or Los Gatos."

What a rough life.


15 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 31, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Just disgusted with our CC. I think they learned about city management by playing FarmVille.


10 people like this
Posted by sunshine
a resident of University South
on Feb 1, 2019 at 7:49 am

At present, there is only one good person on City Council, and she is about fed up with all the bickering. Watch the vote tallies and you will know who she is.
Per usual, ever since I have lived in Palo Alto (1964) residents of Old Palo Alto and Professorville are dumping on Barron Park. This is one of the few areas of Palo Alto where one can be within a mile or two of town with a nearby good grocery store that has not succumbed to "Palo Alto perfect" syndrome to look down on other parts of town and any school not associated with Stanford.
We do not need more development, especially any related to offices, exercise parlors, or overpriced restaurants that feature a sound level close to a din. The quiet, romantic places that featured excellent food and quiet dining are gone. I taught an evening class downtown for many years. The class let out at 9:30-10:00 pm and I parked in an alley. I would never do that now as it is unsafe. You could walk in most neighborhoods in the evening and be perfectly safe.
No more over development until the next ones are right next door to most of the Council members or in Professorville or Old Palo Alto.


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

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