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​​Housing plan stretches Palo Alto's height limit

Original post made on Jun 30, 2022

For decades, developers looking to build in Palo Alto faced a formidable restriction: a 50-foot height ceiling that limited most new buildings to four stories. The city's proposed plan for adding housing will test this limit.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 11:20 PM

Comments (8)

Posted by Eva_PA
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 30, 2022 at 11:00 am

Eva_PA is a registered user.

I'm really confused. The photo shows a "crows nest" attached to some condos/apartments. Why approve that design? It's not attractive, but also doesn't serve any purpose for increased housing if that is the point at all.


Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 30, 2022 at 12:20 pm

mjh is a registered user.

Some might find the varied roof line helps break up what would otherwise look like a shoe box. Perhaps it holds the stairwell or an elevator which I’ve noticed often have to go a bit higher than the residential units themselves


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2022 at 9:15 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

“It's culturally backward and frankly is embarrassingly ignorant," Dellenbach said. "Should our city do such a thing, architects, preservationists and educated people all over California and nationally will be appalled by Palo Alto's desecration." I find this quote offensive. Dellenbach, if I’m not mistaken, is a private property mogul. Plenty of historic landmark blds are moved many times over (look at Redwood City). Also why not incorporate the “history” into design and development of the property. Like the cannery at Fry’s site. could certainly use a face lift w a historic look like a McArthur bldg. Move it there. What we do not want is a city like Wash DC. Everything is 50 ft. All the poor people live within 17 blocks of the Capital, squeezed, overcrowded, delapitated, unsavory housing “ghettoizing” our most vulnerable. What is tragic is ascetics of “look” is overpowering half dead unhoused falling out on our streets. Folks — is this humane? Is this sane planning? We no longer take the higher road with care and as Cormack said a “thoughtful” approach to planning for the future. Instead because some gross monstrosity “home” is approved and built in North Ventura area, the whole of the tiny historic “cannery” homes skyrocket in property values. That’s the crime. Not height or desiring. The density is happening. Just w McMansions being approved and built in inappropriate places and ways that nix multi family cluster cottage housing. Shame on the Planning & Development Dept. Take the dollars for SFH R1Development and forget the 48% of the rest of us renters and or first time home buyers. Mixed use, denser, higher, infill multi family homes are the only way. Widening freeways for low-wage labor stopped working. The cog is caught in its own hype.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 1, 2022 at 1:55 am

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

@Eva not only was 1979 boondoggle Prop 13 a Wnfall for Palo Alto it was double insured by 1979’s prop 4, AKA “the Gann Limit”. Essentially dead bolting the Palo Alto door (City Limits) to building multi family homes yet essentially freezing single family property taxes to 1979 levels. Theses propositions cut a productive housing lifeline to a growing population in the Bay Area and specifically to the Peninsula on the cusp of locally based Apple, HP etc. This heinous proposition safeguarded single family home ownership while proliferating commercial builds for the coming tech revolution in the area. I would not mind residing in the “Crows nest”. At least I could see what is next coming down the road. Web Link
The sad fact is, that “Gann Affect” has provided California w an enormous tax based surplus. Yet instead of giving this back to the have nots ( who are suffering so under Prop 13 & 4) the state’s behemoth bureaucracy will spend years incrementally dolling out small dollars to the unfortunate while cooperations like Chevron, Apple, Facebook etc will squash any hope of humanness moving forward. Californians, like Alaskans are due their fair share of the billions and billions of dollars it’s accumulated and now reaping from these draconian props of a former Century! You know when a family just owned one home and before shopping malls, the Internet and app like Door Dash. :(((((


Posted by Chris
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2022 at 1:53 pm

Chris is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by I can't breathe pollution
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 5, 2022 at 10:42 am

I can't breathe pollution is a registered user.

I would like anyone who is in favor of crushing our wise building limits to admit that they are not an environmentalist.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

@I can't breathe: "buildings" are not homes for humans and the amount of crushing the land, filling landfills, and pouring concrete which goes into local commercial builds is indeed pollution. when a City Governance ignores the needs of its very population and skews numbers to make it look like problems are being actively addressed is a shame. Yet like perhaps you, @Chris I am here because I am a third generation Palo Altan. Just because I have strong opinions, history, experience, blood, bones, brains, and a caring thumping heart. Palo Alto's made plenty of high rise bld mistakes: Palo Alto Square, City Hall to name a couple. Many HUGE single family houses -- which are the size of apartment complexes -- in Old Palo Alto and alike, suck up city blocks, precious oxygen & water for the many. When a few are resisting cluster cottages, compact, economical neighborhood multi-family dwellings because of the fear of a drop in the bucket, private property values, parking their four cars. @Filseth "doesn't pencil out" is another term for NIMBY. Certainly massive SFH builds are an economic boon for PA. What is a disgrace is the loss of connection when a City ignores the growing will of the people. From data points avail: Most of Palo Alto knows, understands, wants to address and solve the local unhousing mess. A City who can't collectively work together to make a definitive move to better of all here now. Stumbling over half alive, unhoused humans everywhere is the obvious sign that we are in trouble as a humanity. It's as real as it get yet ignored because of entitled attitudes, "just move" or "it doesn't pencil out" . Talk about ruining the "character of the neighborhood" are the idiotic, architectural bland, cookie cutter McDonald, prefabricated, stucco & glued together single family houses slip in by the hundreds decimating quaint, historic, former work force areas like North Ventura. Mindful community planning, yes.


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 10, 2022 at 10:59 am

Annette is a registered user.

Palo Alto has lots of geniuses. Surely one can develop a program for determining REAL housing need so that communities add housing inventory that will actually be occupied. And another that determines how much of an environment can be built out within the parameters of existing infrastructure.

Balance is important; arguably critical. We all know that Palo Alto's built environment is heavy on commercial development and light on housing. I'm not sure we can correct that imbalance without converting some of the commercial space to housing. Whether commercial or residential, all development impacts the environment. At the very least whatever is built should be unquestionably needed so that we aren't hurting the environment and stressing our infrastructure for development that is speculative.

Geniuses: SOS!


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