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Lambert Avenue housing project wins support in Palo Alto

Original post made on Aug 16, 2021

Despite concerns about affordability and density, the Palo Alto City Council gave generally positive reviews Monday to the latest housing proposal in Ventura, which would bring 49 condominiums to a Lambert Avenue site.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 16, 2021, 8:12 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2021 at 9:29 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Maybe they should say the darn things are for sale and leave it at that.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2021 at 11:48 am

Resident is a registered user.

"Planned zoning" is just another developer give away like "Planned community" used to be. It allows developers to up-zone their property and make more money at the expense of the community. It doesn't fix the current problems of too many cars on the road, overcrowded schools, lack of park space, lack of water and lack of community parks and amenities.

Lydia Kou is the only council member who seems to care about residents and fights to protect our community. It was nice to hear Ventura resident Becky Sanders, voice resident opinions that this large market-rate developments would set a "terrible precedent." "Why do we underwrite and give away our zoning to a for-profit developer?"

And this project is exactly that - a give away to a developer. If we want to build affordable housing we need to SAVE the up-zoning from 0.6 floor-area-ration as currently zoned to the requested 2.66 floor-area-ratio and height increases to 55 feet to truly affordable projects - not developer giveaways.

Projects like these will show for-profit developers what they can get away with here and will make it impossible to actually build affordable housing. Why would developers take a loss on affordable projects when they can present market rate housing projects and get "growthy" city council concessions that hurt Palo Alto residents and make them millions while providing nothing of real value to anyone but themselves?

Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 17, 2021 at 12:35 pm

Becky Sanders is a registered user.

Our municipal code states:

"The maximum height within one hundred fifty feet of any RE, R-1, R-2, RM, or applicable PC district shall be thirty-five feet; provided, however, that for a use where the gross floor area excluding any area used exclusively for parking purposes, is at least sixty percent residential, the maximum height within one hundred fifty feet of an RM-4 or RM-5 district shall be fifty feet"

It does NOT say... "... EXCEPT IN VENTURA..where all zoning protection is hereby summarily canceled.

And after Ventura? Well they are coming for some other neighborhood next. That's how it works.

More affordable because they are smaller is not true affordable. We need below market rate, not small market rate units. If this were an all below market rate housing, I promise you, it would be a different story. This pretty much kills chances that non-profits like Alta Housing and Eden Housing have for acquiring land and building the housing we desperately need in Palo Alto.

Why are you guys in City Hall so hell bent on currying favor with developers and the moneyed interests? I'm baffled by it. Makes so sense to me.

Web Link

Interpreting the law to suit your goals, no matter how "lofty" or "nefarious" is still subversion. And picking on the most modest neighborhood is the best place to start. We don't have deep pockets here to hire a lawyer to help City staff polish their lenses.

Other neighborhoods have successfully dug into their pockets to fund lawyers to preserve their neighborhood... Crescent Park, College Terrace, Southgate, Barron Park, University North. We have no such benefactors here. I suppose we could start by having a bake sale. Or maybe we do have some pockets here, but they've just got picked by staff and Council last night.

Palo Altans, please don't forget about us. Please rally around Ventura. We need your support.

Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 17, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

So is it apartments or condos/townhouses? Let's see the money for those rarest commodities, affordable housing, up front. It sounds like another scam, a sham, like the work force housing, and it's predecessor, PC. Those attempts at adding housing eliminated from consideration our home care workers, gardeners, restaurant employees, teachers, librarians, retail clerks, and only focused on the six figure income tech employees. Let's not leave out the biggest part of our work force. PACC, go back to work, you can do better, and I'm speaking to some members that I supported financially during their campaigns. They should remember my name.

Posted by Cmore Butz
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 17, 2021 at 6:04 pm

Cmore Butz is a registered user.

Bravo PA you have sunk to a new low...this town has lost its way and At this point its simply a money grab on the way to the bottom.

I don't recognize this town now and you all won't in 10 years

Posted by Chris K
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 17, 2021 at 8:59 pm

Chris K is a registered user.

Were you listening to the same meeting as I was? That didn't sound like support. It sounded like a fancy way of not saying no.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2021 at 11:12 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

What a sham. We need to have a conversation in this town about how we can have a mix of truly affordable housing. I agree with Lydia and Becky Sanders, where’s the affordable housing? Condos usually also have association fees that are burdensome, will those be reduced?

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2021 at 11:54 am

Me 2 is a registered user.

Mandating "affordable housing" is bad policy. It screws the middle class.

Insisting on BMRs is just a nice way of saying don't build. Why don't you just come out and be transparent about it?

Posted by Catalina Moreno
a resident of University South
on Aug 18, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Catalina Moreno is a registered user.

The State of California is pushing all this high density housing without caring about what Cities, Counties, or Residents want. They want to turn the whole state into high density urban centers like San Fran and LA. Don't blame the City of Palo Alto for having to "approve" these projects, especially in traditional single-family neighborhoods and stop voting for these same liberals into office in Sacramento.

Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 19, 2021 at 8:42 am

Becky Sanders is a registered user.

Hey I'm only asking for parity for Ventura vis a vis other neighborhoods. And BMR around here IS for the middle class -- which has been pushed out. We CAN build the housing we need to meet our RHNA goals. We've met our goals for at market and above every RNHA cycle. What we need is to take that business tax we've been talking about, a tax that other cities in the Bay Area already have, and get into the housing business. Work with Eden Housing like the County is at the old Abilities United site at Mitchell Park and with Alta Housing that's building Wilton Court here in Ventura. We come up with some funding options and they do the work and manage the properties. Other municipalities have done it. That's the vision. Or at least one vision that I and many people who supported Alternative M over at NVCAP believe in. Business as usual is not getting us anywhere. And turning our town into a "Manhattan" for the rich is where our current policies are taking us.

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 19, 2021 at 12:28 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"And BMR around here IS for the middle class -- which has been pushed out."

Who gets to define what "middle class" is? Anytime you try to define things from a regulatory standpoint, the special interests groups and advocates come barreling in and screw things up. Just look at the blow back when we tried to define middle class as a household annual income of around $100K. Political pressure and media derision would push that number way down to where the middle class still gets screwed.

And who really pays for BMRs? Not the developers. As long as their project pencils out, they'll build in their margins. What will end up happing is that "market rate" units ultimately pay the price. The so-called "luxury" units.

The collective experience of doing BMRs across the Bay Area has been terrible. San Francisco is the poster child of bad housing policy. Housing for the rich and their help, while the middle class gets pushed to Manteca and Mountain House.

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