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Palo Alto urged to think bigger as it rezones San Antonio Road for housing

Original post made on Sep 15, 2023

As Palo Alto prepares to transform an industrial area around San Antonio Road into the city's next residential hub, housing advocates and developers are calling for the city to think bigger when it comes to zone changes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 15, 2023, 10:13 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 15, 2023 at 2:13 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Multifamily residential development fees to a per-foot basis:
not such a bad idea from a developer! (Grubb Properties)

A studio or small one-bedroom unit should not have same fees as a much larger/ more bedroom unit. The 'impact' from the larger unit is quite obviously more!

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2023 at 8:50 pm

ivg is a registered user.

It took a density bonus to get to 3 stories on El Camino? What is Palo Alto smoking? That area is ripe for 5 stories, or 8 with bonuses.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2023 at 11:41 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The Acclaim project on El Camino Real was way over 3 stories. The want 84 feet in height. The density bonus came into play to get that height, requiring them to include a lot of affordable housing in the project. What's wrong with that? The base height limit was 50 ft at the time, which is enough for 3 stories. The project was going to go through but now they redid it as Builder's remedy but with the same basic design and density. They only just bounced the current tenant the Fish Market and they will bounce McDonald's next door too, which all takes time. You can bet McDonald's had a long lease. They've been there for decades. The McDonald's lease probably held things up more than the city did.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2023 at 12:33 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Oh look, a lawyer for a developer arguing to lower development impact fees:

“Another barrier that Bradish cited is development fees, particularly those pertaining to parks, community centers and libraries. The council's decision to raise these fees in 2021 has added more than $4 million to the project's costs, according to the letter. But thanks to the council's decision to significantly raise the park fees, the residential project is no longer feasible, Bradish said.”

Not mentioned is that the NEED for expansion of parks, community centers and libraries comes about BECAUSE of the expansion in population, a direct side effect of the developer’s work.

YIMBY leaders argue that these fees are a “tax on housing”, and should be eliminated to make housing more affordable. But when developers don’t pay to expand the infrastructure, what happens? In MV, city staff want to increase taxes on ordinary residents! Net result: cost of living goes up for ordinary residents. Did housing become more affordable? No! Did developers maximize their profits? Yes!

Human beings NEED parks and open spaces. The cost to meet this need is high in cities like Palo Alto and MV because land is so expensive. Once again, the issue is FUNDING. Who should pay to meet the need? The developer who is making a profit by expanding the population? Or ordinary residents? Anyone who answers “ordinary residents” needs to explain how INCREASING TAXES on residents makes housing more affordable for anyone, including newcomers. The truth is: it doesn’t.

Posted by Clarence Rown
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 19, 2023 at 1:31 pm

Clarence Rown is a registered user.

Given the context you provided about the impact fees and their relation to the housing crisis, what do you believe would be an effective solution to the housing crisis in this case? If the costs are significantly high and limiting new housing construction, how would you propose reducing home prices? Additionally, how much financial support should the city provide to subsidize housing production, and where do you think the funding for such subsidies should come from?

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 21, 2023 at 10:58 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@Clarence, I’ve been to this rodeo before. I’ve just provided evidence that YIMBY “solutions” are really nothing more than false promises, something I’ve been saying for 2 years now (“Guest opinion: Housing affordability bills' math doesn't add up”, Web Link ) This is what I wrote back then: “I submit to you that under a banner of “affordable housing,” proposals are being put forward that will do little to lower rents for most people; these schemes will instead generate massive profits for developers and "Big Tech." ”

I am providing evidence that shows that reducing impact fees on developers is resulting in tax increases on ordinary residents. This evidence must be uncomfortable to hear for anyone who believes in the YIMBY movement. MV YIMBY promises that “We drive policy change to increase the supply of housing at all levels and bring down the cost of living in our thriving city.”, which is simply not true. YIMBY advocacy has led to the need for massive tax increases in MV, to generate at least $300 million to “accomplish the bold initiatives under way” Web Link

Advocacy that shifts financial burdens from rich and powerful players to ordinary residents is not very nice, and it DRIVES UP the cost of living for "teachers, service workers, and kids who don't code". So I understand why you would want to change the subject to something else. I’m sorry, but I'm not playing that game. Voters deserve to understand the truth: under a banner of “affordable housing,” proposals have been put forward AND PASSED INTO LAW that will do little to lower rents for most people; these schemes will instead generate massive profits for developers and "Big Tech." Voters should be very, very angry about what has been forced onto us by the state, with the cooperation of local politicians.

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