On Tuesday morning, May 22nd, members of Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ) submitted petitions with over 3000 signatures to the Palo Alto City Clerk, Beth Minor. This was the culmination of a 4 week volunteer effort across the city to gather signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. The petition signatures will be verified by the Santa Clara Registrar of Voters and then the petition will go to the Palo Alto City Council on June 11, 2018.
The initiative, drafted by former Palo Alto councilman Greg Schmid, with the help of other members of PASZ, would reduce the amount of new office/R&D space which could be built under the new comprehensive plan. The current Comp Plan allows for 1.7 million sq. ft. of new office space over the 15 year life of the plan (2015-2030). That’s over 113,000 square feet a year, as opposed to the long-term historic growth rate of 58,000 sq ft/yr, which has already created congestion, traffic and a 3 to 1 jobs to housing imbalance.
The PASZ initiative –
• Would cut office/R&D growth in half, bringing it back to its long term historic growth rate.
• Would apply CITY-WIDE – including Stanford Research Park, Stanford Shopping Center, San Antonio, East Meadow, West Bayshore and East Embarcadero.
• Would be PERMANENT – it would require a vote of the residents to increase the cap and could NOT be changed by the Council.
In a recent editorial, The Palo Alto Weekly stated:
“There is no constituency other than commercial development interests supporting new office development in Palo Alto, and every square foot of new office development approved in the city makes our housing shortage and road congestion worse.”