Planning Commission backs Stanford's campus expansion | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

Town Square

Post a New Topic

Planning Commission backs Stanford's campus expansion

Original post made on Jun 27, 2019

Stanford University's bid to massively expand its campus received the Santa Clara County Planning Commission's endorsement Thursday with a 7-0 recommendation of a new general use permit to govern Stanford's growth over two decades.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 27, 2019, 9:45 PM

Comments (24)

25 people like this
Posted by Mostly Good
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2019 at 11:29 pm

Thank you County Planning Commissioners. Your marathon meeting produced a mostly good result. You hung in there on the housing, refusing to fall for Stanford's ruse that it was magnanimously offering to spend big on housing.
I was disappointed by the lack of resolve for greater long term protection of the foothills now.
Next stop - Board of Supervisors!
Maybe now we can be relieved of Stanford's daily propaganda bombardments - or is it only going to get worse until the Board of Super has its say?


7 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 28, 2019 at 9:07 am

Stand fast Stanford. With vast land banks not being developed in Santa Clara county there should be no problem building more housing. The San Jose Planning commission by the way was for rent control the biggest no no in the science of economics. Stanford has no moral or rational reason to change it's position.

Geroge Drysdale land economist


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of St. Claire Gardens

on Jun 28, 2019 at 11:15 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Jun 28, 2019 at 11:20 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Midtown

on Jun 28, 2019 at 11:22 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


18 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 28, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Just say no Stanford. Building more housing on campus will add more traffic, and negatively impact our schools.


1 person likes this
Posted by Eileen Wright
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 28, 2019 at 12:40 pm

"With vast land banks not being developed in Santa Clara county there should be no problem building more housing."

Truer words were never written. There are huge tracts of land being underused and frankly wasted as parks and open space that could be built up very profitably by savvy developers.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2019 at 1:17 pm

Posted by Eileen Wright, a resident of Crescent Park

>> >> "With vast land banks not being developed in Santa Clara county there should be no problem building more housing."

>> Truer words were never written. There are huge tracts of land being underused and frankly wasted as parks and open space that could be built up very profitably by savvy developers.

Funny you should say that. I've been thinking that Crescent Park is long overdue for redevelopment. Let's just condemn all those wasteful giant lots, some of the ginormous ones recently created out of 3-5 adjacent giant lots, and build RM-40-density condos. Not the apartment types. Really nice 4-story townhouses. And all that space wasted at Eleanor Pardee Park-- that whole thing could be RM-100 mid-rise. All told, Crescent Park could be, what-- 15,000 units easily. Who cares what the people who live there think! Helping savvy developers make money is what life is all about, isn't it?


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 28, 2019 at 1:46 pm

"Who cares what the people who live there think! Helping savvy developers make money is what life is all about, isn't it?"

@Anon - is that an imitation of Scott Weiner or Adrian Fine? Or maybe this IS Adrian Fine!


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Posted by Resident, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> @Anon - is that an imitation of Scott Weiner or Adrian Fine? Or maybe this IS Adrian Fine!

Would you believe that there are people who think The Onion is not a real news source?


12 people like this
Posted by Bg
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 28, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Simitian is a disaster - can we please get rid of him?


2 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 29, 2019 at 10:30 am

Silicon Valley is perhaps the greatest concentration of math minded economics types every assembled in history. This will be enjoyable. Stand fast Stanford. Now for you people wanting subsidized housing, how many actually win the lottery. Full disclosure. Those who don't win the lottery must pay for the handful of people who win the lottery. Because of the baby boomer tsunami funds for housing are increasingly being diverted to the truly stressed out: the caretakers (Boston). Do we favor economic refugees over the truly needy? Pay more to the low income workers or use an alternative. People need to exercise more should perform their own tasks as only 20% of Americans get enough exercise.


12 people like this
Posted by You are allowed to say that
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 29, 2019 at 2:05 pm

This pro-development posting from the public library is pushing the notion that restaurant/hotel/cleaning people will be able to afford to live in Palo Alto if only we develop more here.

This is not only absurd, it is immoral because it is dishonest and attempts to leverage healthy human human sympathy for profit at the cost of severe damage to the city’s future.

We already have too much development for our infrastructure. We already are asked to cut back on water use and car use. We already have too many students per class and too many students per school based on our own decisions. Too much crime for the police to handle.

And attempting to leverage sympathy and empathy for more development adds to sympathy fatigue. It is attacking and weakening normal processes for humanitarian instincts, by pitting natural concerns against common sense.


7 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 29, 2019 at 11:31 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@you are allowed to say that. Hotel, restaurant employees will be able to live in Palo Alto if the city requires these employers to do what the county is requiring Stanford to do: house employees on site. For example, to allow the 36 room motel on El Camino to expand to a 99 room hotel, the city should have mandated that the hotel set aside space in the hotel to house the additional employees they will hire when they expand to 99 rooms. No, not allowed to pay housing mitigation fee, they must house employees on site. If people aren’t okay with that being the new way things are to be done in the county, then you really can’t be okay with what the county is requiring Stanford to do.


2 people like this
Posted by You are allowed to say thati
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 30, 2019 at 1:47 pm

I’m not OK with a requirement that Employers house their employees. But i’m OK with the city enforcing its zoning per its well-considered plan, and not allowing employers to build beyond that zoning or pay for ad how changes.

Stanford is a special case in many dimensions. It’s not in Palo Alto, it’s the key driver of the valley’s economic success, it’s not-for-profit, it has an employee count that dwarves other employers, it’s a school, it’s a tourist and sports fan destination, it includes a museum, a hospital, retail.


1 person likes this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Real cities have juggled these growth issues for at least a century. City hall should not be deciding where the workers are to live. The peninsula, and especially PA still thinks of itself as a village so it keeps asking village questions to city problems - like, maintaining suburban homes as extraordinary growth presses in from all sides.
Transportation is a really big need and no longer a matter of local design. Missing is a solid grand plan that enables growth for the next one or two decades. Transit should be foundational to additional business growth and housing. How people will move around should be in place before, not after the fact. Housing vision should include height, go tall, not wide. There is a lot of bold new, tall, mixed use housing going up around the world that have supermarkets, schools, meeting spaces, living spaces, workspaces, etc included to reduce the need for so many short trips in too many cars. Stanford should think bigger. Stanford has a legitimate urge to grow but the county and city should not be further burdened as a result - expansion should be limited to Stanford land and not - not - include consumption of more green space. Likewise, PA, should begin building up like other cities do.


4 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@ George. All of Stanford’s development is, and will be, on the core campus. There is no proposed development outside of the academic growth boundary which doesn’t extend beyond Sandhill Road to the north; Stanford Avenue to the south; El Camino to the east; Juniper Serra to the West.


4 people like this
Posted by Mary O
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Mary O is a registered user.

@ You are allowed to say that! The Research Park, hospital and mall all lie within the City of Palo - they are separate from the University. The City oversees and controls all development on those lands. The lands were annexed. In the early 1950’s, Stanford and the City worked together to create the Research Park. The land was annexed to the City and then the City received (and continues to receive) the property, wage and sales taxes associated with everything that lies within it’s boundaries. The academic growth is limited to the core campus.

Every entity is a “special case” in some way. The foundation of good law and policy is that it is specific in its application, but broad and flexible enough to apply to all similar entities. The state’s school lunch meal mandate applies to all schools - not just “special cases”

I have enormous concerns that the County is over reaching their authority. I want confirmation from them - in the form of statute, case law, another example, etc. - that they are not. I don’t think there’s one taxpayer in the County who wants to pay to find out if it is, or isn’t.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 30, 2019 at 3:37 pm

It would be great to see Santa Clara County become a less car-centric place, but the quote from Geoff Bradley in the article sums up the hypocrisy of the restrictions imposed on Stanford: "This is one of the few places in the county where you can do this, where all these pieces come together. The goal really is to create a dense, compact comfortable environment and not repeat the auto-centric environment where everyone does have to get into their car."

Essentially, the County expects Stanford to create a city on the edge of Palo Alto's suburbia, with all the facilities (and jobs!) needed for students, faculty, staff, their spouses and their children to almost never have to leave campus or its immediate vicinity. Meanwhile, the people making these decisions can continue to drive their SUVs everywhere, indulge in the epic sprawl and NIMBYism of their neighborhoods, with their house prices and quality of life still benefiting from the proximity of Stanford.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Posted by Mary O, a resident of Crescent Park

>>Hotel, restaurant employees will be able to live in Palo Alto if the city requires these employers to do what the county is requiring Stanford to do: house employees on site. [...] If people aren’t okay with that being the new way things are to be done in the county, then you really can’t be okay with what the county is requiring Stanford to do.

I think the next step you outline above will probably will happen. Company towns were a couple of steps beyond Medieval serfdom, and, we are sliding back in that direction. It makes sense for the lords to provide "downstairs" housing for the servants. After the Great Depression and WWII, a great leveling had taken place, and things stayed much more equal than they are now until ca. 1980. I won't bore you with all the graphs and charts. But, housing was still affordable in Palo Alto, I can assure you from personal experience, in the late 1970's. Something happened, here and nationwide, ca. 1980. Some people -like- the massive inequality that we have today, but, unaffordable housing for the working class is one of the outcomes, like it or not.

What to do? In the short run, it makes sense for cash-rich entities, who want to expand right here right now, to provision much of their own housing. I'm not sure why that is so offensive to you. They've got the money, and, their employees don't.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Oops. Apologies for the mis-attribution in the last post.


6 people like this
Posted by yasukono
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 1, 2019 at 12:41 pm

yasukono is a registered user.

Thank you Supervisor Simitian for making sure that we are all informed, and that all negotiations and discussions take place in public. The fact that different groups and individuals are able to express their views is helpful and will hopefully lead to a better outcome than if this negotiation had been done in private. The issues are complex and there are many different interests groups. There is no villain here ... just people trying to come up with a solution for the growing need for housing, better traffic options, and education. Compromise will be required, but we have all benefitted from the transparency in the process and the expression of different points of view.


2 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 2, 2019 at 9:27 am

The math of building housing: the cost of rents must be the same or greater than the cost of new construction. Think of it, nobody is going to build a new apartment house unless the local rents are at least the same of the cost of new production. This is the same for the production of bananas or rentals. Subsidies to be had: few and fewer. Government already on paper is bankrupt. The crushing national debt and California state government with at least a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. The Santa Clara county planning commission does not get this or they seek to ignore the issue (third world thinking). The Santa Clara county planning commission is a political body not an actual planning commission. Remember the San Jose planning commission is all for rent control thereby flunking themselves out the high school economics classes a required subject. "Affordable housing" is unaffordable as outgoing governor Brown recognizes.


3 people like this
Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 4, 2019 at 12:56 am

One correction for "George" - the foothills may be green space now, but they are Stanford lands, not public ones. The reason they are still open is unlike the people who owned the land in the rest of the hills (e.g. Los Altos Hills), Stanford did not develop its hills. Some may even recall, that Stanford stirred up much conservative ire when it decided not to off land in the foothills for the Reagan Library.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

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

Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

Palo Alto's Mayfield Bakery & Cafe permanently closes after 11-year run
By Elena Kadvany | 18 comments | 14,964 views

City staff is running Palo Alto
By Diana Diamond | 24 comments | 3,131 views

Foothills Park: City does NOT want to hear from most of you
By Douglas Moran | 19 comments | 2,592 views

Couples: Are you Committed to your Vows or Dysfunction?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,349 views

Kids and sugar: A cautionary tale
By Sherry Listgarten | 8 comments | 1,282 views