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County planners approve Stanford study

Original post made on Nov 21, 2008

The Santa Clara County Planning Commission, in a rare Palo Alto meeting Thursday night, unanimously recommended approval of a Stanford growth sustainability study – but not without dissent from Palo Alto City Council members.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 20, 2008, 10:38 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Cathie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

How many times have we seen Stanford and the County do this little dance? It's time for Palo Alto representatives to have some sort of veto power when the effect is here and the support is from South County.

Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 21, 2008 at 3:00 pm

It is time that Palo Alto get out of the way of Stanford expansion. PA owes it very existence to Stanford. Our future economic well being will be due to Stanford expansion.

The county looks like it has a more mature perspective about Stanford expansion, compared to PA. This is good. I hope the county will ignore any blocking efforts by PA.

Posted by Stanford researcher
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 21, 2008 at 3:14 pm

No surprise that Drekmeier is leading the charge on this one--he has been bashing Stanford for years and if you watch the council meetings he thinks that Stanford is some sort of ATM machine that PA can get money from anytime it wants.
It seems to me that some of our council members do not understand the nature and/or role of a world class university like Stanford. In order to maintain it's place in the world and be relevant, a university needs to change and grow with the times. John, above, hit the nail on the head regarding Stanford.

Posted by do things actually get done around here?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Drekmeier says: "We need more time to weigh in"

How long? Palo Alto process long? In that case Palo Alto needs 7+ years to review the Stanford plan... and it still won't reach a conclusion.

If the original Stanford campus plan encountered the Palo Alto process back in 1885 there wouldn't even be a campus today.

Posted by Stanford researcher
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 22, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Well, do things actually get done around here?, in today's PA Daily News there is an article about this--looks like Liz Kniss will move for a delay in approving this. She says " “I don’t believe we’re going to see it at a board of supervisors meeting anytime very soon.”
At the end of the story she says " “Just as Palo Alto follows a process that sometimes people find is cumbersome, I come from Palo Alto, and I believe in following the same process in the county,” she said. “We need to allow plenty of time for the public to have a say.”
Kniss is afraid to take a stand and ruffle feathers--like when she was Mayor and the eruv issue came up.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 24, 2008 at 11:11 pm

It's unfortunate that Stanford can't incorporate like a city.

It's interesting that the council members and others don't "Meddle" in Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley affairs. They appear to support development on small lots in those citys. They probably plan on moving there when Palo Alto becomes "Unlivable" with it massive development and blocks and blocks of backed up traffic that is even occurring now.

Stanford should build thousands of affordable housing for it lower paid workers. This would really cut down on C02 and traffic jams. They could build modular housing that could eventually be moved or relocated as the land is needed for other purposes.

The obvious reason our council and the developers don't want housing on Stanford lands is that they won't make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in profit if Stanford builds it.

Isn't it weird that Stanford Open Space is important, but Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley can develop to their hearts desire with no mention of it from Green Foothills, etc so called enviromentalists,but actually developers (Green Belt Alliance Development Corp) A for max. profits Corp.

The massive development in Portola Valley and Woodside are the primary reason for the flooding in Palo Alto when the heavy rains come, but no one mentions that.

Posted by Committee for Green Foothills
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm

We at CGF, together with Supervisor Kniss, asked Stanford to begin the study in 2001. Instead they began it in June this year and refused to allow public involvement until releasing it on Nov. 5th, asking that it be approved by County Supervisors on Dec. 9th.

A process that allows some public involvement would actually create a useful document.

By the way, Committee for Green Foothills has supported restricting development and monster mansions in the Palo Alto Foothills, which would have some usefulness for flood control along San Francisquito Creek. We are closely following the long range plans proposed by the Water District to deal with that flooding, as well.

-Brian Schmidt, Committee for Green Foothills

Posted by Stanford researcher
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 25, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Brian--does it matter at all to the CGF that the foothills are private property? I think you also fail to understand the nature of a university and how it would impossible to say today how much building will be needed 50-100 years in the future.
It seems to me that CGF is intent, using their pawn Liz Kniss, to try to usurp the property rights of the foothills from Stanford---in other words, a land grab.

Posted by Ellie Gioumousis
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 29, 2008 at 3:27 pm

The voters of both Santa Clara county and San Mateo county have voted over and over again to tax themselves to reserve open space in the form of regional preserves, open to everyone, including Stanford residents who are not taxed for it. This land preserves land for wild life, plants and trees that help purify the air and absorb carbon dioxide. The trees also maintain the integrity of the soil and absorb the rain water to prevent out of control flooding. Stanford has contributed no permanent land towards these important efforts to help control global warming and reduce flooding. East Bay residents have an extensive regional park system which is also supported by their residents.

As the largest landowner in the peninsula area Stanford enjoys all these benefits plus access to the open space parks without contributing any permanently preserved land itself. The last round of negotiations was supposed to provide trails open to the public for hiking access to Arastradero Preserve, which was paid for and is maintained by the city of Palo Alto. It too is available to all, including Stanford residents. Instead there were delays, totally unsuitable plans, including paths along Page Mill Road and a paved path, actually almost a road, built along Alpine Road and damaging the banks of Alpine Creek. The end result has been no paths, despite an existing tunnel under Hwy 280 that would give direct access to Arastradero Preserve for everyone. This abject welshing on the agreement that allows 30 million square feet of development by Stanford in exchange for the paths is shameful and selfish. It is perfectly reasonable for Palo Alto to insist on meaningful and significant permanently dedicated open space contributed by Stanford before the last million square feet of development can be built. They do not need to develop the entire hillsides and should contribute to the trust of permanent open space that has been provided by the tax payers of the peninsula area.

Stanford is a leading institution that has many brilliant and informed residents, faculty and researchers. I am sure that many, if not most, of these residents would support contributing to permanent open space. It is time for Stanford to pay attention to the concerns of global warming, excess carbon dioxide in the air, the need for permeable soil to absorb and control rainfall and the need to preserve some part of our stunningly beautiful landscape in the hills. I completely support and admire Supervisor Liz Kniss in her stand to require significant permanently dedicated open space before the last one million square feet of development can be built.

Posted by Jason, Regional Planner
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2008 at 9:24 am

I think Ellie brings up excellent points about open space and the need for preservation. I also believe that Palo Alto has a right to weigh in on the issue. That said, in the end Palo Alto has as much decision making authority in this matter as Menlo Park or Mountain View might have in Palo Alto matters. It is up to the County to make a decision - good, bad or otherwise. We can only do what we can to continue to educate and influence those decisions.

Posted by bikes2work
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Hey Ellie,

What about the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve? Isn't that owned by Stanford?

I don't think Stanford is the biggest landowner either. I would guess the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District is really the biggest landowner. I could be wrong. I don't like seeing such rhetoric flung around as fact.

Posted by Palo Alto High School Grad & Stanford Alum
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 7, 2008 at 11:27 am

I find this all fantastically absurd and the hypocrisy is amazing.

* Increased businesses and housing in Mountain View, Palo Alto etc... are great, but
* New research buildings, and a bigger, safer hospital @ Stanford is bad... (according to Drekmeier and PA city council)

* Stanford has to let outside residents into its open space.
* Palo Alto DOESN'T let outside residents into foothill park.

* Stanford was responsible and HASN'T built everywhere.
* Neighboring communities, Los Altos Hills etc... HAVE built everywhere.

To me, this is just short sighted, ungrateful Palo Alto city council members trying to extort whatever they can from Stanford for these council members' own petty political projects. This kind of attitude hurts Stanford, but it also hurts Palo Alto.

The better Stanford is, the better Stanford does, the more Palo Alto benefits. I think must Palo Alto residents understand this, but unfortunately Drekmeier and the Palo Alto City Council don't.

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