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New 'planned home' zone could be put to the test with 119-unit project

Original post made on Sep 17, 2020

With Palo Alto's plan to add housing in the Ventura neighborhood mired in uncertainty, a developer has put forward a plan that would add 119 new residences, as well as office space and retail.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 17, 2020, 11:27 AM

Comments (8)

17 people like this
Posted by Amy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2020 at 11:40 pm

Amy is a registered user.

I am wondering if more office space is a good idea in our transitioning world of work from home. Even post Covid I wonder if there will be as high a demand for office space. Right now in downtown Palo Alto it’s incredible how many offices are for rent.

22 people like this
Posted by jc
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2020 at 2:56 pm

jc is a registered user.

There is a strong push on council to waive the retail requirement for retail properties outside the core shopping areas (or what is let of it) on University and Cal Avenues. Proposing 1,000 sq ft of retail is a subterfuge to get approval and then convert that space to office, for a total of 6,000 sq ft of office not 5,000 sq ft.

Also, if a building of this height containing offices is approved, it will set a standard for future mixed use developments that may contain only a token amount of housing but which the city will be hard pressed to deny if they set this precedent.

6 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 21, 2020 at 10:44 am

Chris is a registered user.

City Council will nitpick this to death. Vote out Kou.

3 people like this
Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Vote for a progressive slate Palo Alto council, school board and propositions. that will get the job done. Vote yes on Prop 15. 11th hour conceptional plans are out of whack with our housing climate and health crisis. Kou, Tanaka must go! Vote in Lee, Stone, Eisenberg!

20 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2020 at 2:25 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Kudos to Kou, and keep her!

I like her definition of affordable housing, and it's not that contrived formula for getting the VTA site project approved. The Work Force they were talking about was for primarily tech workers making $150K and up per year. And the term, BMR, is a sham, a farce, and the high end of that is touching close to market rate. It's thrown out as bait in developers' proposals but it doesn't serve the needs of people on the low end of the economic/ income ladder. If we will ever make it possible for our gardeners, house cleaners, caregivers, et al, to live in our community where they serve us, then we can rightfully say we were successful in getting affordable housing for all income levels, in our town. Until then, ignore any candidate for CC who says they have the answer.

I'm not totally naive. I know this would have to be publicly funded, i.e, with tax dollars from all sources available, including our property taxes. Developers have sharpened their pencils and they have a bottom line profit in meet. Their business plans/models don't include altruistic deeds like building affordable housing at low profit margins without concessions on many codes/ordinances. I would like to hear one candidate, a brave one (but with probably a short political career), step forward and offer public funding as a solution.

19 people like this
Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 21, 2020 at 3:44 pm

Becky Sanders is a registered user.

Hold the phone! The applicant only appears to own two of the five parcels for which it's applying for the upzoning. That's a new one. Wow, plus some of the parcels are zoned R-1 single family. Sure, the 470 Olive Property is in violation of its zoning since it's obvious some kind of business has been operating out of there. The violation has been discussed in council meetings but the City has failed to enforce the zoning on that property. The city staff's lack of will to enforce the law of the city, including upholding laws governing developer failures at Edgewood and College Terrace, laws our Councils put in place for our protection, show which way the wind blows for them. The developers own City Hall. They dictate staff reports on their projects and they tell staff which laws to enforce. It's that egregious, people. It's that bad. This City Council election is nothing short of crucial. Do you want a government of the people or a government of developers?

11 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Sep 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm

Rose is a registered user.

This proposal is only about 20% below market rate housing. That doesn't help enough.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 22, 2020 at 9:13 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Kou is in the Real Estate business. Part of getting accreditation in that business you have to understand all of the elements of land use, including available transportation links, existing infrastructure - good or bad, sewage hook-ups, and ability of the city to provide all of the essential elements for new housing.

If you are looking at an area of the city which has not had any new development in recent years then there are many known and unknown problems with aging infrastructure elements. On my street the city sewage people have been out to a number of homes which have collapsing sewer systems and hook-ups. That is due to tree roots, soil type which expands and shrinks, underground rivers which are not observable at street level. The amount of bay fill changes the dynamics of any area for building. What was a good idea 50 years ago has now been yanked and twisted.

We need a good assessment of that type of infrastructure upgrades are required to support the housing. That is a city cost over the whole of the city. Plunking a house on a piece of property addresses one issue but of notoriety - housing - but we still need to address all of the elements that support the housing. Right now that is a big ticket issue.

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