Nov 012013
 

Proponents of the development at Maybell have been blowing smoke about how it is all about housing poor Palo Alto seniors.  Actually it is about cramming high density housing into low density residential areas with big impacts on traffic, parking, and a huge push from ABAG to build dense projects here.

Senior occupants can’t be limited to Palo Altans, so many will be from out of town, since there are far more lower income seniors living elsewhere than here. Income levels required are well above the $11,040 poverty level. Single occupants must earn $26,700 to $53,400 based on Census data showing median Santa Clara County income is $89,020/year.

The site is ¼ mile from El Camino zoned for single family and low density housing, exactly the area ABAG identified as ideal for high density housing.  Staff and the Council objected saying they would never allow high density housing to replace single family, but Measure D does it.  If Yes on D wins ABAG will require many thousands of new residences atop the 2860 current requirement since Measure D up-zones low density housing sites.

Claims that current zoning will generate more trips than the project are false.  Professional traffic engineers presented real data showing seniors do drive.  Total trips from the seniors plus the twelve homes can be 18% to 27% more than existing zoning might generate if built to the maximum allowed 41 units.  As for parking where will the teens in the homes park?  Vote Against Measure D!

Oct 272013
 

I live on Georgia Ave. on the Cul de sac that nestles up to the back of Juana Briones school. Some days I have to back out of my driveway during the peak of pedestrian traffic, past the blind spot caused by my neighbor’s illegally high privacy fence. Kids on bikes, kids walking, little kids that break away from mommy’s hands just as I’m backing out, added to my neighbors and their dogs. Lots of possibilities for tragedy here. Luckily there is no parking parking allowed on my street from 8:00-8:30 am (and it is enforced!

Then I turn the corner onto Maybell–up to 20 bikes on the street at one time, biking alongside the drop-off cars headed to Juana Briones, Terman, or even Gunn. Sometimes the sun is at an angle that makes it difficult to see the smaller bikes. But it’s not just the magic hour before and after school that is a concern. The playground and the neighborhood are active, safe places to walk. I see an elderly woman with her arm around a companion walking slowly together. I see a disabled young man and his aide getting their exercise; nannies and grannies with prams and tricycles; teens in meandering groups on foot or wheels; joggers, dogs, soccer teams, play groups, birthday parties.

And already Maybell can be a scary place if you need to find a place to park, bike through at the wrong time (like when the car carrying trucks are there.) I drive here. I worry about kids getting hit as things are. I do not want things to get worse. I have no problem being called an alarmist when it comes to child safety. This is the neighborhood where my kids went to school. Every child I see on a bike I consider as one of my own, and safety must come first. Maybe you should start thinking that way. – (posted by Jean Ebbs Doten on our Facebook page)

Oct 252013
 

I have already voted against Proposition D.

Yes there are many reasons why I did so, many of which have been stated by others.  I am aghast at the amount of building happening not only in Palo Alto but up and down the Peninsula.  We seem to have an addiction to cover up every square foot of space that can make someone some money.

What happened to our community that enjoyed living in Palo Alto the home of so many trees. Do we want to give that up? It is already happening in case you haven’t noticed.  Most of what has been built is to put it simply, totally ugly, no setbacks, right up to the sidewalks, with the effect of feeling penned in.  Are we happy with the amount of traffic we experience?

The PC community envisioned on Maybell will cover the last open area with an orchard in the Palo Alto area. How about making that an extension of Juana Briones  Park, with a small building for showing the history of this valley, which was known as The Valley of the Hearts Delight. We could remember and share with our children the history of this land of beauty and plenty.  We could use more sites for the public in the Barron Park area of Palo Alto.

Palo Alto used to be known as a city that cared about our environment, we had sustainable policies that limited growth. Every city has only a certain amount of space to work with, and perhaps we as a community need to discuss whether or not to limit the amount of business we wish to attract, weighing the effect on our community as we try to provide housing for the people working here.  Do we want to live in a mini Manhattan?

We each receive in our Utility bill each month flyers and information about Zero Waste, with websites and seminars so we can be less wasteful of water, food, etc.  This is a great program, why doesn’t it translate into our Planning Department?  Have we decided that the Bay Area will not experience Global Warming, that we have access to all the water that is, and will be needed for the people and businesses who will populate this increased density?  Would it not be wiser for us as a city and community to plan for such events, to focus on practices that will help create a healthy, sustainable, and livable environment?

Oct 182013
 

Everyone agrees that the Maybell site is an excellent site for senior housing, which could be the start of working toward consensus.  No one wants to see the land sold to a for-profit developer, but an alternative to the rezoning over-development will not emerge unless Measure D fails to pass.

The corporation backing Measure D, the proponent of rezoning, claims that they cannot obtain all of the grants & loans with just a 41-unit apartment building at Maybell.  But they can build the 60-unit building they want to build, without any modifications to to the existing design, through a density transfer from the rest of the land.  They also claim that their budget will not balance without the twelve luxury homes planned for two-thirds of the land.  I have been attempting to obtain evidence which prove or refute this claim since July, 2013; when and if I receive any I’ll get back to you.

If Measure D fails, the financial issues can be put on hold while the neighbors & the corporation negotiate a solution everyone can live with.  Preferably directly, without the City Council playing emperor.  If a compromise is reached, the pending lawsuits will disappear before the next City Council election.  Otherwise the discord will continue to be expensive for all in both time, money, & additional damage to the social fabric of the community.  This much-needed reconciliation will not happen unless Measure D fails, so please

vote NO on Measure D.

Oct 082013
 

The corporation backing Measure D claims that they cannot obtain all of the grants & loans (apparently there is at least one loan other than the sweetheart loan the City of Palo Alto awarded to them) with just a 41-unit apartment building at Maybell.  But they can build the 60-unit building they want to build, without any modifications to to the existing design, through a density transfer from the rest of the land.

They also claim that their budget will not balance without the twelve luxury homes planned for two-thirds of the land.  I have been attempting to obtain evidence which supports this claim since July 22, 2013; when and if I receive any I’ll get back to you.  Until and unless we do, please vote NO on Measure D.