Around the Terrace: April 10, 2019

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

2019 Best Places to Live in California
Niche.com recently published a list of the best places to live in America based on crime rates, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities. Their #1 neighborhood in all of California? College Terrace, of course!

Expect Delays at Page Mill Road and Junipero Serra Boulevard
From now until June 22nd, PG&E will be closing lanes intermittently for gas pipeline upgrades. This article contains the full schedule of lane closures, as well as maps of the affected areas.

Upcoming Stanford GUP Meetings
The County of Santa Clara is holding a few meetings this month related to the ongoing Stanford GUP process, including meetings of the Historical Heritage Commission on the 10th and 18th and a Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee Meeting on the 18th.

Planning for Rising Waters Event
Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater and the City of Palo Alto are hosting a talk on how cities can adapt to sea level and groundwater level rise in a seismic zone. The event is April 24th at 7pm at Mitchell Park’s El Palo Alto Room.

How Stanford’s Desire for a Booze-Free Town Gave Birth to Palo Alto
For history buffs, KQED’s “Bay Curious” answers the question of why Palo Alto has two downtown districts (University Ave and California Ave) with this short piece about the history of Palo Alto and Mayfield. College Terrace was part of Mayfield up until Mayfield’s annexation by Palo Alto in 1925.

Stanford GUP Town Hall Thursday

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian is hosting a Town Hall this Thursday, March 14 about Stanford University’s General Use Permit application. The meeting is from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in Palo Alto City Council Chambers (250 Hamilton Avenue). 

The event is co-hosted by the Palo Alto Weekly and will provide an update on where things stand in the review process, including a high-level overview of the staff-proposed conditions of approval. After brief welcoming and introductory comments, the staff of the Palo Alto Weekly will interview Supervisor Simitian and then turn to the audience for questions they have for the Supervisor. Supervisor Simitian and his staff hope this format will ensure they get to the information of most interest to the public.

If you can’t attend the meeting, it will be taped and available on Supervisor Simitian’s website. It will also be broadcast live by Midpen Media on Channel 26.

Before the meeting, the PTA Council of Palo Alto will be holding a “Stanford Share the Cost” rally in the plaza in front of City Hall. The council is urging Stanford to fully mitigate the impacts of any new development on Palo Alto schools, including providing lands and funds for building a new elementary school. On that note, Stanford and PAUSD announced this week that they’re restarting discussions on the GUP and its impacts.

Statewide Housing Legislation Gains Steam

While Palo Alto’s City Council grapples with ways to address the current housing crisis, legislators in Sacramento are proposing a wide range of bills aimed at spurring development, some of which restrict cities’ abilities to limit or block housing development.

Senate Bill 50 (SB-50), for example, aims to bolster housing development near major transit stops and bus routes, as well as “job-rich” areas, by exempting projects in these areas from local limits on density and parking requirements.

The Embarcadero Institute recently published an analysis of SB-50’s impacts on Palo Alto. It’s worth reviewing the potential impacts on our neighborhood, as parts of College Terrace are within a quarter mile of a “high quality bus corridor” (VTA Routes 22/522) and nearly all of Palo Alto will likely be deemed “job-rich.”

Given Governor Newsom’s aggressive goal to build 3.5 million new homes in California by 2025, it’s worth watching these bills as they progress through the Legislature. The future of Palo Alto housing may be decided in Sacramento and not City Hall.