Reminders: Wellesley Project Hearing Tuesday and City Budget Priorities

Just a reminder that the City Council will pre-screen Cato Investments’ proposed development at the corner of Wellesley and College at a special meeting on Tuesday evening, May 18.  The full agenda includes instructions for making a public comment at the meeting. This particular agenda item is scheduled for 6pm.

Also, there are four days left to respond to the City‘s 2022 Budget Priorities Survey. While the City Council last week voted to reverse many of the proposed cuts in the 2022 budget (including cuts to service at the College Terrace library), this survey is still an important way to inform future budget discussions and let the Council know what services should be prioritized.

Wellesley Project at May 18 Council Meeting

Despite voting to restrict the use of PHZ zoning in residential neighborhoods, the City Council will review Cato Investments‘ proposed development at the corner of Wellesley and College. The pre-screening will take place at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 18. Read the full agenda here; this agenda item is scheduled for 6pm. The agenda includes directions for making a public comment at the meeting.

On Thursday, May 13, at 6pm, the Wellesley project developers are hosting an online community conversation entitled “What’s So Scary About Apartments?” The event panel includes economist Steve Levy, housing advocate Josh Kirmsse, representatives from the Wellesley project and others.

Around the Terrace: April 18, 2021

Here are some recent announcements and news stories of interest to College Terrace and the surrounding area.

  • City Limits Use of PHZ Zoning
    The City Council voted at its meeting last Monday to restrict the use of Planned Home Zoning (PHZ) in single-family neighborhoods. The decision essentially kills the proposed apartment complex at the corner of Wellesley and College, which relied on the PHZ program.
  • Recent Power Outages Explained
    In the past few weeks, Palo Alto has experienced a handful of large power outages. In this post, Utilities Director Dean Batchelor outlines what happened and improvements the department is making (particularly regarding public communication around outages) and things customers can do during outages to help.
  • FOPAL Pop-Up Book, Record, CD Sale
    The Friends of the Palo Alto Library (FOPAL) will have a special sale April 24-25 at Cubberley Community Center.  This sale includes used pop-up books (for children and adults), vinyl LPs, and CDs.  FOPAL is a non-profit organization and proceeds are raised exclusively for the support of the Palo Alto Libraries.

PHZ Discussion at April 12 City Council Meeting

At the next Palo Alto City Council meeting on Monday, April 12, the Council will consider updating the City’s Planned Home Zoning (PHZ) designation, which allows developers providing affordable housing to request exceptions to development standards. City staff have published a report with background on the PHZ and recommendations for potential updates, including limiting its application to ”commercial, industrial zoning, and multifamily districts.“

The application for Cato Investments’ proposed apartments at the corner of College and Wellesley uses the PHZ designation. That application is referenced in the staff report:

A pending PHZ application for a property located in College Terrace and zoned R-1 has generated a significant amount of correspondence to the City Council mailbox. As noted earlier, staff is unable to reject or fail to process prescreening applications, but staff did advise the prospective applicant that the proposed PHZ application was not consistent with the intent of this program… The City Council in its discussion may want to clarify its interest in considering PHZ applications for R-1 and low-density zoning.

https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/80844

Neighbors who feel strongly about where and how the PHZ is applied are encouraged to email the City Council and/or comment at Monday’s City Council meeting. Instructions for public comments are at the top of meeting agenda.

Around the Terrace: March 26, 2021

Here are some recent announcements and news stories of interest to College Terrace and the surrounding area.

  • Wellesley Community Meeting Postponed
    If you RSVP’d to Cato’s community meeting about the Wellesley project, you should have received a notification that the meeting has been postponed from its originally scheduled date on April 1. No new date has been set, but we’ll keep you posted.
  • 231 Grant: Neighborhood Community Design Workshops
    There will be a pair of Neighborhood Community Design Workshops to solicit feedback on the proposed teacher housing at 231 Grant. The meetings will on April 6 and April 14, both at 5:30pm via Zoom. Click here for links.
  • Elementary Schools to Reopen Five Days a Week in April
    With elementary schools reopening more widely, just a reminder to pay close attention when driving along Stanford Avenue near Escondido Elementary as more students will be heading to and from school.