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Planning commissioners slam City Council for 'artificial' deadline

Original post made on Jun 15, 2017

The Palo Alto City Council rejected the Planning and Transportation Commission's request for more time in reviewing the city's land-use constitution, the Comprehensive Plan.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 15, 2017, 4:56 PM

Comments (7)

Posted by Good job Mike
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 15, 2017 at 5:56 pm

So glad Mike is moving this along. We just spend way too much time rehashing the same stuff. Just finish the process and let's get the new regulations in place already! We are years overdue on this.

Posted by Another Rush Job from the CC
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Shame on those members of the City Council who keep rushing us into unsupportable growth without adequately or sensibly considering what they're actually doing and what it will cost.

More gridlock, more underparked buildings, more erroneous traffic studies conducted at the lightest times, more parking wars, more cars stuck in the intersections, more rushed plans for ADUs with no occupancy limits or rent control...

Posted by a bit of a deceptive lede
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm

the fact that 2 commissioners-- Waldfogel and Gardias-- claimed that they couldn't do the review in 90 days is weak. They're planning and transportation commissioners. They should be well informed on the comprehensive plan process throughout the last couple of years. There shouldn't be much that is unfamiliar to them. They can certainly comment on the work in the next 3 months.

Furthermore, the super-majority of the commission disagreed with them.

I'm glad to see the commissioners step up to do their job for the city.

Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Send the #%& mess back to the drawing board. Our starstruck planning staff let it languish while they played footsie in private with John Arriaga over 27 University. A couple months more won't matter. City hall will ignore its inconvenient provisions either way.

Posted by Przemek Gardias
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

Allow me to offer more comprehensive perspective to this topic. Discussion
related to the review of Comprehensive plan hinges on two different legal
options for Comprehensive plan update: Council or PTC led. First one
governed with Government Code sections 65511 through 65513, second one with
Government Code sections 65501 through 65510. While both options are viable
in the PAMC, it also includes provision stating that "The planning
commission shall have the primary duty to prepare, adopt and recommend to
the city council for their adoption, a long-range, comprehensive general
plan" (Section 19.04.010 of PAMC), to my understanding enacted by Palo Alto

Fulfillment of the above obligation and desire to provide best advice on any
matter pertaining to land use planning and transportation systems affecting
the city, as requested by the city council, are the true drivers behind the
worries to meet this responsibility within 90 days. It needs to be mentioned
that 90 days period is an artificial one, and is not related to any
assessment of the scope of work. Council's preference to lead the
Comprehensive plan, to my understanding, limits the PTC's primary duty to
prepare the plan. However, the PTC remains Palo Alto expertise center on
city planning and transportation. and if it was for this reason only, it
should be granted sufficient time to provide quality advise.

PA Council's preference for 90 days review has been communicated to the PTC
just recently, after long separation from the Comprehensive Plan process.
Giving 10 years in the making, 18 months of Citizen's Advisory Committee
detailed work, Council's reviews, PTC is simply not up to date on the
content of Comprehensive plan.

There is also risk of using the review process to force agenda of influence
groups over planning and transportation considerations. Recent hearings on
Accessory Dwelling Units and Ground Floor Retail are examples, where PTC
rescinded professional discussion only to advance shallowly discussed
topics. As I pointed out in my letter to the Council and to my PTC
colleagues, it is the Council, an elected body, where such agendas should be
advanced, leaving PTC free of such discussions and to focus on planning and
transportation related arguments. Hoping for professional discussion, we
need time to prepare, think through our arguments, exchange them and find
common ground. Such discussion needs to be respectful to the consensus
achieved by the CAC and City Council. It may take more than 90 days to
embrace all programs and policies in the Comprehensive plan.

In my opinion those are the true professional reasons to grant PTC sufficient time.
Despite sustained 90 day restriction, I am deeply convinced that all the
commissioners will contribute their best to this process.

Posted by Snarky chairman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2017 at 10:23 am

"There's seven of us," Alcheck said. "As long as we have four (present), we can proceed." The time includes vacation periods so it is much shorter than it appears.

Grammatical mistakes aside, Mr Alcheck prefers a smaller group so he can push it in his big-development direction. With Kniss and Scharff supporting him, he has become more vocally aggressive.

I miss some of his snarky, unprofessional remarks because he often does not speak into the microphone. He doesn't care that the public doesn't hear, in fact, it's probably intentional.

Posted by Los Altos & Alcheck
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Remind me again why this Los Altos hyper-developer is a PA commissioner!

Web Link

Los Altos official blasts Palo Alto planning commissioner
Original post made by My Nguyen, Old Palo Alto, on Dec 9, 2014

Palo Alto planning Commissioner Michael Alcheck is perhaps the city's most strident advocate of growth, but his pro-development message proved to be a hard sell at the Dec. 4 meeting of the Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission, which was reviewing a mixed-use development in the Loyola Corners area where he works. After more than a dozen speakers criticized the proposal, Alcheck said the opposition "is exaggerating every angle here because they oppose change." "They hear the word 'developer' and they start picketing,'" Alcheck said. In response, Commissioner Ken Lorell said it was "really amusing to me that a member of the Palo Alto planning commission would come here and lecture us on how we should build our buildings when the stuff that has been going on in Palo Alto is absolutely amazing." The commission ultimately turned the project down.

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