https://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2022/08/17/residents-push-back-against-housing-project-at-creekside-inn-site


Town Square

Residents push back against housing project at Creekside Inn site

Original post made on Aug 17, 2022

A developer's plan to replace Creekside Inn with 382-apartments received a scathing review from Barron Park residents on Tuesday, with many arguing the project is too massive for the neighborhood.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 9:34 AM

Comments

Posted by Claudette
a resident of Woodside
on Aug 17, 2022 at 10:12 am

Claudette is a registered user.

Developers are loving it. All standards ignored, they make money and neighborhoods disappear. And, this is NOT low cost housing...a few units for show.


Posted by Jarrod Taylor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2022 at 10:47 am

Jarrod Taylor is a registered user.

Creekside Inn is one of the FEW decent motor lodges along the ECR corridor.

Why not demolish ALL of the other mundane and non-descript motels on ECR for development considerations?


Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 17, 2022 at 10:48 am

Paly Parent is a registered user.

So is the new approach for the city to allow developers to build housing units for people not yet here, regardless of zoning restrictions, congestion, etc., while destroying neighborhoods of current residents?


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2022 at 11:19 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Does it occur to anyone that we will still need reasonably priced motel style accommodation in Palo Alto?

Many Stanford hospital patients coming here for treatment stay or have family that need to stay here for several weeks, many Stanford students coming here for tours or parents coming for events need affordable accommodation. Many of us who have family visiting from out of town and we can't accommodate them all in our homes, think graduations, weddings, memorials, etc.

This Inn is needed here.


Posted by Heath Carlton
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2022 at 11:34 am

Heath Carlton is a registered user.

> Does it occur to anyone that we will still need reasonably priced motel style accommodation in Palo Alto?

'Reasonably priced' is subject to debate as motel proprietors in Palo Alto jack-up their rates depending on demand.

A typical weekend $99.00 per night room rate can easily become a $225.00 per night expenditure whenever there is a Stanford football game, Stanford graduation ceremony, or an Apple conference.

Unlike most resort areas, motel rates in PA are higher during midweek than on weekends because nobody comes to Palo Alto for a vacation getaway.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 17, 2022 at 11:45 am

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Reminds me of Captain Renault in "Casablanca". We are all too familiar with the tactics and rhetorics of NIMBYs, whose basic idea is very simple: we got here first, so you newcomers, get lost; we are not going to allow any new housings which will increase the number of residents.


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2022 at 12:09 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

@Anonymous,

Your comment about resisting number of residents doesn’t make sense. There’s residents that have left or are leaving, homes that are only ghost houses, and some of these apartments will probably also be investments only for the rich.


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2022 at 12:52 pm

felix is a registered user.

Having been at the meeting last night, I can report it was attended by neighbors asking reasonable questions. So park the very tiresome, not-constructive nimby-baiting.

This is not just another largish proposed housing development. It is gargantuan - the biggest by far to date. The tin ear of its Chicago Developer is gobsmacking if you actually know some details.

A 2-level underground garage immediately adjacent to natural winding Matadero Creek is heart-stopping for neighbors. The Creek, home to a broad range of wildlife, has been much abused, a serious toxic spill was just last year. The garage seems just another threat.

An ingress and egress to the garage is from the 17-foot wide Matadero Ave., a Safe Bike Route for multi-schools where even little kids will have to ride through cars going in and out.

That nearly 75% of the units are studios or 1-bedrooms would preclude nearly all families isn't a good mix by a long shot.

And yes, Creekside Inn is a wonder - walk back through it and you will be amazed. The Driftwood Market and sandwich shop is a neighborhood jewel where Buena Vista residents work. We would hate to lose either.

Yet housing could work here, but not this proposal.



Posted by DMP
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 17, 2022 at 12:56 pm

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The Driftwood Deli and CIBO are local gems! My family and I have been frequenting both for years and it's a delight to be greeted by name at both businesses. Driftwood is always busy serving the neighborhood, Gunn high school students, workers from businesses in the Stanford research park and out of town visitors. CIBO has a list of longtime regular customers including many older/elderly local residents. It would be a huge loss to the community and Barron Park in specific if these businesses are forced out. While I understand the need for housing, housing without local business means nothing. So, from my perspective, no building without somehow including those two businesses, better yet, build around them and keep them as they are. Until further notice, I will have my usual, Swiss cheese, bacon and avocado on sourdough toast, plain. And when you order your sandwiches, make sure to say hello to Steve, Roberto, Jacob and the others.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Anonymous,

Your comment is the usual silly stereotypical slam that ignores the fact that many "NIMBYs" want more than 5% true affordable housing, not the mostly market rate and above housing units pushed by the "YIMBY's" deep-pocketed backers who want dense housing for THEIR workers.

It ignores the huge contributions made by rich VCs like Marc Andreesen and his wife, daughter of one of the biggest developersjust got caught opposing multi-family hhiusing in THEIR Atherton backyard, the corporate contributions pushing high-density housing are in the BILLIONS, Google $1,000,000,000, Meta $1,000,000,000 and Apple $2.5,000,000.000 -- to name but a few.


Posted by Shirley 'Mac'
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 17, 2022 at 1:03 pm

Shirley 'Mac' is a registered user.

There are only 2 safe exits with traffic lights for almost 7,000 Barron Park residents entering El Camino Real. The new development's 382 apartments would cause major problems for new residents exiting this proposed housing development site. At present, an auto driver exiting from Driftwood or motel site must wait 2 or 3 light cycles to enter Matadero Avenue to exit on El Camino. Most times during day or night there is a backup of 5-8 cars at the light. Occasionally a Barron Park resident driver will allow exiting from driveway from motel/Driftwood to enter wait line for traffic light, thus causing delays to drivers at end of line. As a long time resident of BP, only if the developer would provide direct exit onto El Camino Real, and lower the height and number of units would I think it would be acceptable. For years, the front parking lot at the corner of Hansen Way and El Camino of Stanford Industrial Park has been vacant. Negotiate with Stanford to lease ground for developer to have a larger footprint for 382 apartments with exits onto Hansen Way and El Camino Real.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 17, 2022 at 2:15 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

@ resident3: Please show us some evidence that Palo Alto is plagued by "ghost houses" and apartments.

@Online Name: Billionaires such as Marc Andreessen are indeed hypocritical. But that does not mean that the lack of housing in this area is not a real issue. There are many "normal" people who would like to live here.


Posted by ArtL
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 17, 2022 at 2:52 pm

ArtL is a registered user.

This is not a housing or no housing issue. Reasonable housing that current zoning allows would be acceptable to most. The issue is about this particular development plan. For example, the plan has a driveway entrance/exit onto the narrow section of Matadero from a two level underground parking garage for the 382 units. Matadero is on the Walk and Roll map for Barron Elementary school and so this would create an especially dangerous/hazardous situation for children from Ventura biking to school, and also for older youths biking to Gunn and Fletcher and for adults biking to the Research Park.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Online Name: Billionaires such as Marc Andreessen are indeed hypocritical. But that does not mean that the lack of housing in this area is not a real issue. There are many "normal" people who would like to live here.

Lack of housing for the ever-expanding big tech companies may have been a real issue up until now when they've cut back hiring and started some layoffs. But since 90% id ==of the housing required under the deceptively labeled housing bills are market rate and ABOVE market rate, I'm not sure I should be the one paying for it.

Many people would like to live here but we're facing an historic drought, present residents are being told to cut back water use etc etc with housing targets based on outdated,. pre-pandemic jobs numbers in offices that are now empty.

How about housing people in the empty offices instead of building more and straining our infrastructure, our roads, our patience, etc. etc.

I'd like to live in the Dakotah Apartments where John Lennon did, in certain $20,000,000 houses but it ain't gonna happen.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

PS: Our "planners" seem unable to consider fairly or accurately the common sense implications of the big projects they approve -- like this one and like the Casti construction which anyone who's been on Embarcadero lately can see the traffic backed up from past Casti all the way to El Camino.

And years of Casti construction hasn't even started yet!

Some common sense and looking at reality rather than nonsensical "no net new car trips" promises for huge projects would be special.


Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 17, 2022 at 4:28 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Keep it at 50 feet and built the complex.


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2022 at 5:16 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

@Anonymous,

@ resident3: Please show us some evidence that Palo Alto is plagued by "ghost houses" and apartments.

We could both use evidence of how many residents have left Palo Alto, and if your comment that remaining residents are against increasing the number of residents holds water. Over the years I’ve seen houses left empty for long periods of time. I’ll post an address next time I see one.

But you don’t speak for me when you suggest that I don’t want new residents and this story headline doesn’t speak for me either that I don’t want housing. It’s less simplistic than that. You can see my posts on support for a renter’s coalition on that thread.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2022 at 5:58 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Here's some anecdotal evidence re ghost houses: during the pandemic, a friend and I regularly dropped things off for each other, leaving them on each other's doorsteps to avoid contact. She *Always* insisted on knowing exactly when she could drop things off for me and when I'd be dropping things off for her.

I told her exact times didn't matter to me but asked why she was so particular. She explained that robberies were so very common on her secluded street because patrolling thieves knew 1/3 of the houses there were empty and that even their BIG concrete animals flanking the front door had been stolen as well as packages left for more than a few minutes.

A few days after our conversation, her car was broken into.


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2022 at 1:56 am

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Thanks to Gennady for this thorough and balanced article on a topic I wholly missed.

Question: has Jonathan Lait left? The article says that is Jodie Gerhardt is "Palo Alto's current planning manager." Is manager below director? I wonder if Lait will start working at Thoits, Sobrato, or Peery-Arrillaga some time soon, given Palo Alto CC's refusal to consider a ban on revolving door, so that staff cannot use their short times working for us as a full-time interview for higher-paying work with a billionaire commercial developer.

Alas, if only our city moved beyond its failed strategy of relying on commercial developers as the sole method of increasing housing, especially affordable housing, when so many alternative tools are at their disposal. While other cities enact large landlord taxes (e.g. East Palo Alto) and business taxes that focus almost entirely on the very largest employers and most profitable companies (EPA & Mountain View, eg) to fund housing & transit, Palo Alto continues to trust the same folks who created the problem to fix the problem. And while other cities put in place common-sense measures like taxing ghost houses and enforcing the (actually existing) prohibitions on combining lots to take homes off the market, as well as banning knocking down small affordable homes to build monster mac-mansions, PA does not.

What we are left with is a jumble of non-centrally planned large development projects up and down El Camino, where parents can live with worry that their kids will get hit by the increasing amount of single-occupancy vehicle traffic, without any overdue safety and sustainability measures to replace car traffic with SAFE bike lanes, pedestrian bridges, and a robust electric shuttle system, kinda like the great shuttle system paid in part with Google taxes in Mountain View.

This proposed development may ultimately shake out to be a good thing. But IMHO it is very rare that a bad process produces a good result.


Posted by Colin Rivers
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 18, 2022 at 7:23 am

Colin Rivers is a registered user.

Whoever owns a property is entitled to do whatever they wish providing it does not conflict with criminal laws, municipal planning zone designations, and/or building codes.

The adjacent neighbors are entitled to complain but they have ultimately no say in the matter.

This is similar to the proposed Mayer project in Palo Alto as it can only be derailed by a higher authority.


Posted by Concerned
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 18, 2022 at 11:19 am

Concerned is a registered user.

Admittedly I am a dreamer, but I lament that our system is to let those with money develop land resources to make themselves more money - Instead of the city having power to allow development to benefit residents of the city (and money could still be made).

I live on Matadero Avenue and know how much traffic is at that intersection without this project. Other routes in and out of Barron Park MUST be part of this plan.

Personally, if we need to get rid of Creekside Inn, it makes sense to repurpose the existing Creekside building and convert the units into low income apartments. Not much money would be made, but the community would be served by saving the restaurants and providing affordable housing for our essential work force. And no damage the hydrology of water in that area.


Posted by Sport
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Sport is a registered user.

Local media often reports on our impending water shortage in the face of continuing drought. Such articles can be in the same issue as those describing ambitious new housing plans. Even national papers cover both of these issues, but never how they intersect. How can people not grasp this insanity?

Like most Californians, I was asleep at the wheel when Scott Weiner pushed his bills through state government. And with no affordable housing mandates, no utilities upgrades or updated infrastructure requirements?

Then there is the alleged flawed methodology used to generate the RHNA figures. This could be easily verified. And it should be.

Increasing our population as projected when we don't have sufficient water as is? How could we let this occur?


Posted by mxhr
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 18, 2022 at 2:41 pm

mxhr is a registered user.

I'm a resident and I support the idea of building so many units on this site. We have a housing shortage. We need more housing. Build more housing. Those who oppose projects like this one are exclusionists who feign empathy for those who can't afford to live in the bay area but in fact have no interest in improving the housing crisis. [Portion removed.] This community needs to dig deep and build tall. We need housing. We need less conspiracy theorists. We need less drama. We need less PASZ disinformation and we need less PASZ candidates running for these important city council seats.


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2022 at 6:17 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Frankly, I think it is unfair to demonize everyone who protests a proposed housing project. Some projects are objectively inequitable, esp the one-room micro-studios that CC approved for the corner of El Camino and Oregon Expressway. With their only exterior wall comprised almost entirely of windows, you can see in yourself. These tiny $350 sq ft "apts," the size of a typical dorm room, would rent (if occupied) for $5000/month, with the few "affordable" units listed at approx $3500/month. This also was the plan proposed by Cato in College Terrace. Reducing housing to the size of postage stamps does not make it affordable. These projects are worthy of criticism.

I also think that city leadership seems confused about affordability. One often hears some of them complain that "affordable housing" is not defined. They are wrong. CA publishes clear income categories eg here: Web Link . Halfway down is a chart of median income percentiles that define "very low income," "low income," "moderate," or "above moderate" for housing. In Palo Alto, the greatest need is very low income housing, given that for each 7 very low income workers in PA, there is only one unit of housing they can afford.

I hope that community members (and the press) can work together to discard the counterproductive categories of "pro-growth" and "no-growth"/NiMBY. If one takes comments made to Council and posted here as a loose guide, a large number of Palo Altans strongly favor affordable housing so that the lowest income workers here need not commute 2 hours each way, or, worse, live in their cars. Similarly, many Palo Altans simultaneously hold the view that we need far less commercial office space, including potentially converting office to housing. These common views defy the binary categories.

As such, I fundamentally believe that our views overlap much more than what some would have us believe. So let's work together.



Posted by Fritzie Blue
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 19, 2022 at 12:06 am

Fritzie Blue is a registered user.

Driving past the Creekside Inn, I am always struck at how pleasant it looks compared with many of the surrounding buildings up and down the street. I strolled around one night after having dinner at Cibo and felt transported. Just a small, peaceful little oasis.

Why do the nice places have to be destroyed?


Posted by Noelle Carter
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 19, 2022 at 7:12 am

Noelle Carter is a registered user.

The Creekside Inn issue concerns only those who reside in the immediate area as any major changes in the locale will directly impact them.

The pro-con debaters from other Palo Alto neighborhoods are merely adding their 2¢ worth of opinion...which is immaterial.




Posted by Dolores Campo
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 19, 2022 at 9:47 am

Dolores Campo is a registered user.

Palo Alto has reached a saturation point in terms of population which is why we are having this debate.

And so the question remains...do we try to accommodate everyone and anyone who wants to reside here regardless of income OR establish a citywide moratorium on further housing options and developments?

Unless the typical/average rent for a 2BR/1B unit is below $2500/month, very few low income wage earners can afford to live here.

And the bottom line is that most Palo Alto residents could care less as long as their creature comforts are met by those working for substandard wages and forced to live elsewhere.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 19, 2022 at 11:48 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"The pro-con debaters from other Palo Alto neighborhoods are merely adding their 2¢ worth of opinion...which is immaterial."

@Noelle Carter -- Hardly immaterial. It matters to those commuting to jobs around there. shopping around there and everyone stuck in gridlocked traffic and everyone likely to be injured by impatient drivers forming their own lanes as they regularly do at other major gridlocked intersections around town.


Posted by Rebecca Price
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2022 at 1:15 pm

Rebecca Price is a registered user.

Best option is to simply avoid the El Camino Real section of south Palo Alto if possible.

We never go there anymore because there is nothing there worth going to.


Posted by mxhr
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2022 at 2:32 pm

mxhr is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 19, 2022 at 3:16 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"Even national papers cover both of these issues, but never how they intersect. How can people not grasp this insanity? "

Yup. It's incredible reading all the articles about Newsom's trillion-dollar plans re the drought without a single reference to his no-appeals, outdated housing targets.

@mxhr, your personal attacks on people, candidates etc. make you instantly recognizable to many of us who've read your comments over the years. And it's particularly rich for you to call people out for demonizing others.


Posted by Carol
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2022 at 12:55 am

Carol is a registered user.

When I visited my brother who was stationed in Rota, Spain in 1968 this city along with surrounding ones were only turning on their water supply to the residents just long enough for workers to shower each morning. This left a lasting impression. It is worrisome to me to see the scale of proposed buildings such as this given our short supply of water. This isn't Chicago.

A sibling left this state moving to the mountains of Colorado, and I hear from her the rafting season ended a month early this year. My gut naggingly asks me if high elevation mountains are short of water, how are they going to fill reservoirs which supply our taps?


Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2022 at 11:24 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

I've lived in Barron Park for 35 years. I have housed friends and family at the Creekside and have stayed there myself. I consider it a real asset to the neighborhood.

But Palo Alto is under a state mandate to create more than 6,000 new housing units in less than 10 years so I think everyone's nostalgia is going to take a hit and sooner than later.

I'm also sure more high-density housing will be coming nearby. I'm not thrilled about that, either, but 6,000 housing units...


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 20, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

6,000 housing units based on old and now certainly inaccurate jobs-based numbers now that workers are working remotely rather than within our borders.

It is beyond absurd that Newsom plans to spend LITERALLY trillions of dollars on new water projects during this historic drought while refusing to consider current water shortages and fire risks in those outdated housing requirements.


Posted by Cal Devers
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2022 at 8:39 pm

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"Palo Alto is under a state mandate to create more than 6,000 new housing units in less than 10 years..."

What section of PA is best suited towards accommodating this goal?

If it's Barron Park, we will be moving.


Posted by Chelsea Hammond
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 21, 2022 at 8:55 am

Chelsea Hammond is a registered user.

6,000 new housing units times the number of occupants residing there = a substantial growth in Palo Alto population.

Do Palo Alto residents as a whole want or encourage more Palo Alto residents?

Personally speaking...NO.


Posted by Neil
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Aug 21, 2022 at 9:25 am

Neil is a registered user.

It's worth noting that Mircea Voskerician was the original developer who wanted to install a 5-story hotel on a postage stamp at 4256 El Camino immediately adjacent to our community, peering into our bedrooms and blocking our sunlight.

Curious how his sentiment has shifted now that the project is next door to his own home.


Posted by Tyler Mann
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 21, 2022 at 12:50 pm

Tyler Mann is a registered user.

"Curious how his sentiment has shifted now that the project is next door to his own home."

Though this is an Atherton issue, the one that really takes the cake is Atherton venture capitalist Marc Andreeson who in 2020 declared it is "Time to Build" as long as it's not in his backyard.

Now Andreeson and his wife Laura Arrillaga-Andreeson are protesting development in their own hometown of Atherton.

Talk about NIMBY hypocracy.


Posted by Grant Thompson
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 21, 2022 at 2:55 pm

Grant Thompson is a registered user.

Shouldn't the privilege of wealth and influence allow rich people to have a choice when it comes to the outlay of their respective neighborhoods?

Even the Queen of England has separate estates that are not open to the public for development.

If residential equality via zip codes is now the key focal point, all new residential developments should be restricted to El Camino Real.

This measure will pacify both NIMBYs and zip code progressives.


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Aug 21, 2022 at 4:47 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Carol asked a very relevant question "My gut naggingly asks me if high elevation mountains are short of water, how are they going to fill reservoirs which supply our taps?" Our water supply comes from runoff in the Sierra mountains. Currently, South Lake Tahoe is about to hit the low water mark, indicating worsening drought conditions. We don't get our water from Tahoe but the lake is fed from the towering peaks that surround it. It is currently at or below the natural rim, and going lower. Web Link shows water levels there and just about every other fact about water sources that we need to know, as humans, to gauge our water use. Common sense rules should prevail. Building new facilities to house people isn't necessary with the MILLIONS of office spaces currently unoccupied since COVID. With minimal investment of turning those offices into living spaces, with converting water facilities in those offices to low-flow and other water-saving apparatuses, I keep asking why aren't we doing that? Why are billions of people living on the streets, worldwide, when there are empty buildings in every country? Palo Alto is not the place to ask that, however. The prevalence of affluence in our city and county turns people into uncaring creatures. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm gonna get castigated for saying that. Don't shoot the messenger.


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2022 at 5:05 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Folks, the reason that Palo Alto needs to build 6000 units of housing is to house all the people who work here, who currently either commute from long distances (therefore creating traffic, parking, and pollution problems) or, in the case unfortunately of a growing number of them, they sometimes live in their cars.

Our current and former City Councils have continued to approve more and more office space -- even today, e.g. Sobrato's plans for North Ventura, Castilleja's expansion which includes more teachers and staff, and the forthcoming commercial development in the middle of a high-end condo development at 123 Sherman. Each one of these developments will increase the number of people working here, and that will lead to Palo Alto legal, practical, and environmental need to house them, to avoid commutes and the necessity of car dwellers.

What to do?

1. SAY NO to further commercial development approved by the City govt! There is supposed to be a cap of 50,000 sq feet/year, but that cap seems to be ignored. For example, 123 Sherman alone has 60,000+ sq ft w/o any city objection. Vote only for candidates who will vote against commercial development. Doria Summa has a great record on the Planning Comm.

2. Recognize the importance of housing near jobs to further our natural environment and alleviate traffic and parking problems. Approximately 3/4s of our town's daytime population (approx - IIRC) is/was comprised of commuting workers, which creates traffic, parking, and pollution problems. The Sierra Club & other environmental groups support infill housing.

3. Understand that this issue impacts all neighborhoods. If housing doesn't go up in your neighborhood, it will in someone else's. Let's welcome higher density projects when they adequately house families and are priced affordably for workers of all income levels. It would be wonderful to have more children on our streets again.

Affordable & livable housing truly is win-win. Thanks for considering.


Posted by Leland J.
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 21, 2022 at 6:54 pm

Leland J. is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Here's a couple of things to consider.

There are empty office spaces all over town! Many offices have hybrid/remote working and need less space. Many have moved out of town, but many of those who are still here are using less space. Unless things change dramatically, this office space is not going to be filled by office workers any time soon. There are small offices spaces all over town with for lease signs. I see no sign of any of them being leased. This is office space and also space in places like Charleston Plaza (near Piazzas) and Midtown, as well as nearby in Mountain View where Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. were.

People who live in Palo Alto often work outside of Palo Alto, and in the case of multi-working households there may be one person who works here and others who work out of town. Looking at Caltrain stations and ramps to highways, there are as many going out of town as are getting off Caltrain and highways every morning. Additionally, people are changing jobs much more often than they change their home address. Even if housing goes to a Palo Alto worker, there is no guarantee that worker will be working in Palo Alto in 5 years' time.

The state as a whole is losing population. Many people are leaving the state for many reasons. Those who are working remotely are looking to live where they can afford single family housing even if they have to commute into this area a couple of times a week. People are moving to Napa, to the Coast, to Tracy, to Hollister.

The question has to be asked if the housing being built at present is getting lived in or is there empty space in some of these new developments in say San Antonio area or Redwood City? I don't know the answer, but I see plenty of for lease signs on some of these development.


Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2022 at 7:47 pm

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

An idea generated by Rebecca Eisenberg's post:

A ballot measure that would halt all commercial development not formally approved by the date it qualified for a vote until PA meets its state-mandated new housing goals

Passage wouldn't eliminate all the angst we feel about the inevitable changes we face but any pain would benefit people seeking homes rather than commercial landlords.


Posted by Todd Carter
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 22, 2022 at 8:45 am

Todd Carter is a registered user.

"Why are billions of people living on the streets, worldwide, when there are empty buildings in every country?"

^ Because the people are impoverished and/or the buildings are unsafe to reside in due to war or natural disasters?

"Palo Alto is not the place to ask that, however. The prevalence of affluence in our city and county turns people into uncaring creatures."

^ Concurring as many Palo Altans cannot even agree on allowing four cars to park overnight at a church lot.

In Palo Alto one must pay to play and most outsiders are considered persona non grata because they detract from the much ballyhooed 'Palo Alto Way' of life which is based on outside appearances.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2022 at 11:21 am

Citizen is a registered user.

This is irresponsible.Covid changed the way people work. The most impacted cities--SF, NY--suddenly lost the most workers in a way that left them with all the ills of hyper-urbanization that all this growth for growth's sake had wrought, but also a sudden loss of income to deal with it.

They lost workers because the growth for growth's sake denigrated and ignored quality of life. When people had a chance, they left en masse to find better quality of life.
"Many workers in urban areas [moved to]... ‘get more for their money’ and experience a different standard of living on their same paycheck"
Web Link

This exodus still did not make SF affordable. Affordability cannot be dealt with as either a pipe dream or a side effect of growth for growth's sake. It could happen when this place becomes so undesirable from unfettered growth, it's the next Detroit, but we are so much better off taking a new holistic look at quality of life, safety, economics, & the future of our region.

As remote work revolution continues, local companies wanting local workers will have a harder time attracting them here, not because it's horribly expensive--that's been the case for numerous booms--but because unfettered and idiotic over-growth well beyond what the infrastructure can reasonably sustain ruins the quality of life in ways that will be difficult to undo.

El Camino is heavily impacted as a transportation corridor. Serious loss of circulation even under ideal conditions is a safety issue. Our region is disaster prone--if we let developers continue to destroy quality of life/safety/any reasonable community (incl loss of retail), the next big jolt, likely a natural disaster, will be even harder to recover from.

In a world of remote work, companies should want cities to care about QoL. Unfettered growth HURTS affordability and QoL, that's the evidence. We must rethink this kind of growth.


Posted by Taylor Parkins
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 22, 2022 at 11:28 am

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The Palo Alto residents living in the immediate vicinity of this development have a rightful say in the matter.

Others don't.


Posted by Katie Lange
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2022 at 1:44 pm

Katie Lange is a registered user.

"The Palo Alto residents living in the immediate vicinity of this development have a rightful say in the matter."

"Others don't."

^ When we resided in Professorville, our family could care less what transpired in South Palo Alto/Barron Park.

Two different worlds.


Posted by Shirley 'Mac'
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 22, 2022 at 3:42 pm

Shirley 'Mac' is a registered user.

Thank you, Taylor Perkins.


Posted by Bette Young
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 23, 2022 at 6:40 am

Bette Young is a registered user.

The Creekside Inn is a nice motor lodge and its exterior surroundings are very pleasant.

Couldn’t new residential developments be targeted towards one (or some) of those more hideous and mundane-looking motels along El Camino Real?


Posted by Biff Langely
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2022 at 8:49 am

Biff Langely is a registered user.

"Couldn’t new residential developments be targeted towards one (or some) of those more hideous and mundane-looking motels along El Camino Real?"

^ Our friends from out of town always use The Glass Slipper Motel on ECR as a visual landmark to remind them that they have arrived in Barron Park.


Posted by William Streeter
a resident of Woodside
on Aug 23, 2022 at 9:59 am

William Streeter is a registered user.

Barron Park residents have every right to scrutinize, challenge, and reject this development proposal.

It is far too easy for others who do not reside nearby the Creekside Inn to welcome and endorse this measure because they have nothing at stake in the matter + the eventual congestion will not directly impact them.

Most do-gooders and progressive humanists do not reside in the same areas they are advocating for developmental change.

In other words, talk is cheap.


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 24, 2022 at 5:23 am

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Barron Park Residents: I love Barron Park. We would have loved to buy there but couldn't afford it. Would have loved to have rented there, but no rentals were available. We love the park with the animals. Oh well. It is very hard to live in Barron Park if you or your parents didn't buy there decades ago. Is first-come-first-served the most equitable policy for housing?

Also, many people in Barron Park, as in most other neighborhoods in Palo Alto and elsewhere in California, inherited or received their homes from their parents. These lucky people have among the lowest effective property tax rates in the world, simply due to luck (or privilege). CA is the only state in the country that has this kind of regressive tax scheme; and no developed nation has anything similar either. Only in CA can property owners pay taxes on the price their grandparents paid 50 years ago. Every other place on earth has figured out how to protect seniors on fixed incomes without giving the same subsidies to every chateau and mansion owned by a robber baron billionaire.

What this means is that there are many people in Barron Park, as in the rest of California, who are -- legally -- not coming close to paying their fair share. Even though their homes are worth $5 million, they pay tax as if it's still worth $100K. Newcomers to their block - to the extent there are any -- sometimes pay as much as 100 times the amount of property tax for homes that are the same value. This is how Prop 13 redistributes money from those lucky to get in early, to those struggling to enter now. It means newcomers pay more than their share of tax while old-timers pay far less. Given that new families pay for your public services, why would you want to keep them out?

More importantly, why do you think that the people who serve your food, clean up after you, handle your medical waste, and teach your children can serve your needs but not live on your block?

Open your minds and hearts. These are people like you and me.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2022 at 7:40 am

Bystander is a registered user.

@ Rebecca

Something wrong with your analysis.

Most parents want to leave their children something as a legacy. Those parents worked hard to earn the money to save and buy their possessions, so why can't they leave them to their children? It seems very wrong to tax the children for an inheritance paid for by their parents' sweat and hard work, so much so the children can't afford to keep their inheritance.

What is wrong with first come, first served? This happens everywhere which is why people camp out overnight to be the first to buy the latest high tech gadget, or get the best deal. People have lined up for everything from buses which take the passengers who have been waiting the longest, to bags of food in time of hunger. People in line for vaccines have been evident in the past couple of years. First come, first served is a system that does seem fair.

People of all types of backgrounds live in our neighborhoods. I would suggest you get to know your neighbors and fellow Palo Altans. Our background stories might be enlightening. Most of us have not inherited our homes or the money to pay for them. We have spent time in the past working in non prestigious or high paying jobs. Some still do.


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2022 at 8:19 am

resident3 is a registered user.

@Rebecca,

“More importantly, why do you think that the people who serve your food, clean up after you, handle your medical waste, and teach your children can serve your needs but not live on your block?”

Please let’s spare ourselves the embarrassment of lecturing in 2022 on anything about social planning when City Hall even in Palo Alto fears what business lobbyists will do and gives regular people 3 minutes to speak and told to not expect a response.

Equity issues like Prop 13, were political compromises of the time. The recent business tax is a political “compromise” of our time. Chamber of Commerce think “business” at all costs have been and continue to be religion for those making compromises on our behalf.

Another religion is no transportation options or imagination beyond bicycles. No grocery stores or coffee shops nearby enough to walk to. In other countries, I notice most every neighborhood has a walkable grocery outpost and a place to stop and have a glass of water, or coffee.

In a system of many past “compromises” and new ones it seems unnecessary to pit the“first in first served” with “future in, future served.” Push back from human beings, any and all who can also read the fine print should be welcome. I have more trust in compromises that welcome push back.




Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2022 at 8:24 am

resident3 is a registered user.

@Rebecca,

“More importantly, why do you think that the people who serve your food, clean up after you, handle your medical waste, and teach your children can serve your needs but not live on your block?”

Please let’s spare ourselves the embarrassment of lecturing in 2022 on anything about social planning when City Hall even in Palo Alto fears what business lobbyists will do and gives regular people 3 minutes to speak and no expectation of receiving a response.

Equity issues like Prop 13, were political compromises of the time. The recent business tax is a political “compromise” of our time. Chamber of Commerce think… “business” at all costs have been and continue to be religion for those making compromises on our behalf.

Another religion is no transportation options or imagination beyond bicycles. No grocery stores or coffee shops nearby enough to walk to. In other countries, I notice most every neighborhood has a walkable grocery outpost and a place to stop and have a glass of water, or coffee.

In a system of many past “compromises” and new ones it seems unnecessary to pit the“first in first served” with “future in, future served.” Push back from human beings, any and all who can also read the fine print should be welcome. I have more trust in compromises that welcome push back.




Posted by Hal Roberts
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 24, 2022 at 8:25 am

Hal Roberts is a registered user.

@Rebecca Rosenberg

America is not a socialist state and as a whole, American citizens are not ready to embrace a progressive social agenda that levels the economic playing field for everyone.

There will always be 'haves and have nots' regardless of one's economic, religious, political, and/or ethnic background....just look around the world and at human history.


Posted by Shirley 'Mac'
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 24, 2022 at 1:36 pm

Shirley 'Mac' is a registered user.

We bought our home in Barron Park in 1972, we were both mid-managers in Silicon Valley until we retired in the mid-1990s. Without Proposition 13, we would have had to move out of state if our taxes were increased to the current level. We love living in Barron Park as senior citizens, my husband is able to take a safe walk daily. Our modest single store home serves us well with a small yard, it was a perfect property when we were both working due to minimal garden maintenance, and perfect now as my mobility decreases. Through the years due to our location we have greatly enriched our lives due to the taking advantage of music, art and sports venues in the Bay Area. Yes, I say I was fortunate to be in my generation and came to CA in the late 60s. When we pass and our house is up for sale, no one will benefit from Proposition 13. And new tax dollars will add to the City/County/State/Federal coffers. With the new state laws, instead of a single family home it can scrapped and rebuilt to accommodate I believe 4 to 8 dwellings in 4 story building. How would you like to live next door to that property on a street with single story homes. I am not against development at Matadero/El Camino--but the current proposed development has many, many flaws that need to be corrected before throwing in 2 high-rise buildings and underground parking for 382 apartments and the destruction of 50 trees that our 21" or more in diameter, that keep our air clean.


Posted by scott
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 25, 2022 at 10:47 am

scott is a registered user.

We're in a dire housing shortage. If residents think they have a better vision for the site, maybe they should put an offer in on it.


Posted by Lucinda Jackson
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 25, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Lucinda Jackson is a registered user.

It is not the responsibility of Palo Altans (moral or otherwise) to provide housing opportunities for anyone/everyone who wants to reside here.

And the commenters from other PA communities clamoring for more housing in neighborhoods other than their own should stay out of the conversation.


Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 25, 2022 at 3:05 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

It is Palo Alto's responsibility as a member of ABAG, to work toward allowing the housing units allocated by ABAG. Belonging to an umbrella organization without supporting mutually agreed upon goals when the details are bothersome is poor leadership. If we want high end, high tech jobs, we also need housing nearby. Commuting is bad for our climate, besides, not everyone wants 4+ 2.5 in Brentwood or Oakley.


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2022 at 3:51 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

@Old Steve,

"If we want high end, high tech jobs, we also need housing nearby."

I miss the point of high end high tech jobs in Palo Alto when these don't want to carry any burden for their footprint. It's not a "crisis" to subsidize companies or their workers.

What is a crisis is the lack of below market housing for regular people. Another crisis is the lack of public or mass transportation. For every human, count one car...


Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 25, 2022 at 4:37 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Two-thirds of employed Palo Altans commute to jobs in other cities, even though there are roughly enough jobs in town for every working resident to have two. I haven't seen any evidence to support the idea that new residents would behave differently (especially tech employees, who tend to change jobs much more often than they change homes).

Even residents who don't own cars generate traffic -- from service providers, visits by friends, carpools, deliveries, Uber/Lyft, and so on. It's crucial to plan for the fact that adding people unavoidably adds traffic, whether those people live here or work here and whether or not they own a car.

To reduce traffic, you need to build regional transit. Competent planning would at least design that transit and develop an equitable funding plan before adding more people. Thanks to the State mandates, that is not the path we're on.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 25, 2022 at 5:47 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Allen Akin, there you go being sensible again. The way some of the planners and politicians talk, you'd think people were going to quit their jobs, lose their stock options and jump at any local job just so they could bike to work -- to justify spending our tax dollars and enriching their favorite traffic consultants by building more bike lanes while reducing the number of lanes and throwing "road furniture" obstacles into to road.

Remember when our planners claimed that Uber/Lyft would CUT traffic when in fact it increased traffic exponentially? Remember when San Francisco bragged about "car free" buildings and neighborhoods? Notice how fast they stopped when all the nearby neighbors complained about overflow parking!


Posted by Ferdinand
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 29, 2022 at 5:18 pm

Ferdinand is a registered user.

Planning:
Please come up with a first draft comprehensive housing plan with rough estimates of the #units per site and associated traffic routes. This large Creekside development feels like an attack on what little remains of our PA middle class (albeit land but not $$ rich) who cannot afford the large lots with buffers that exist in north PA. Many here may live in upscaled remodels, but some of us live in modest homes and we have children navigating already heavily trafficked streets around el Camino. As a contrary example, one can’t help but wonder why the high rise TenCent site with its very large parking lot footprint (Park Blvd x Page Mill) wasn’t identified for housing so close to CalTrain and Cal Ave? Surely you knew? Maybe you can still buy the parking lot since most people are working from home?

Opportunities:
There are already many in-works/potential housing sites in south PA: 3700 block of el Camino (x Barron Ave), the Fry’s acreage, Ventura Park, the empty Thain lot (near Maybell), talk of redeveloping The Comfort Inn site, the vacant lot near FukiSushi, and of course the San Antonio section (between Middlefield and Bayshore). Let’s have a thoughtful look at the environmental impacts, traffic flow, safety for peds/cyclists/drivers, consideration for neighborhood culture, maximizing affordable housing, and preserving some small business areas.

Many people in Barron Park may not be opposed to a new housing project at the Creekside spot if it were scaled back a bit, not situated right next to the side walk, protected the river and trees, preserved the Driftwood Deli, and routed traffic to el Camino (or even to Hanover) not Matadero.

Affordable Housing:
The statement, that “BMR rents will be 80-120% of local income” does not bode well for affordability!

Another idea:
How about a modest residential plan, some small shops, and a teen and community center for gatherings?










Posted by Stepheny
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2022 at 6:34 pm

Stepheny is a registered user.

Palo Alto does not have the room, nor the resources for 6000 more residents. Be careful whom you support in November for City Council and other races. Creekside is just one of many examples of increasing, cramping density which detracts from our quality of life here.

There's more room to expand for housing and jobs to the east -- and housing is more affordable and certainly more livable than the cramped, dense quarters being proposed here.


Posted by Concerned Neightbor
a resident of Triple El
on Aug 29, 2022 at 10:01 pm

Concerned Neightbor is a registered user.

It is hilarious that some of the posters here who oppose this project were the same ones who were lecturing us how great it is that the First Congo Church bulldozed over the rights of their neighbors to impose a homeless car camping on them. I guess it is different when it is in YOUR back yard…