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.

Key Community Input Meetings Next Week

Two projects with potentially huge impacts on our city and neighborhood are having community input meetings in the coming week. These are excellent opportunities to share your ideas and voice your concerns.

Rail Crossing Grade Separation
Wednesday, November 28 at 6pm (Mitchell Park, El Palo Alto Room)
The city is hosting a community meeting to discuss ideas for separating the street from the railroad at Palo Alto’s four existing railroad crossings. This particular meeting will focus on the Charleston Road and Meadow Drive crossings; another meeting on January 23 will cover the Churchill Avenue and Palo Alto Avenue crossings.

For more information on the Palo Alto rail corridor, visit cityofpaloalto.org/ConnectingPaloAlto.

Stanford GUP Community Benefits
Thursday, November 29 at 6:30pm (City Hall)
Santa Clara County Supervisors Simitian and Chavez will host a Community Listening Meeting to hear from the public about community benefits the county should consider in a negotiated Development Agreement regarding Stanford’s application for a General Use Permit for its proposed 2.3 million square foot academic expansion.

For more information on the Stanford GUP Development Agreement, visit www.countystanfordda.org.

And one more thing… on the City Council’s agenda for Monday, November 26, is a series of revisions to the zoning code intended to make it easier for residential developers to get their projects approved. These revisions, which range from new density bonuses to reduced parking requirements for residential projects, are likely to generate a spirited debate. Read the proposal (or at least the Weekly’s summary) and then decide if you want to add one more meeting to your civic/social calendar.

Local News Roundup: November 5, 2018

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

Guest Opinion: Stanford Is Quietly Buying Up Houses
CTRA’s Stanford observer, Pria Graves, wrote an op-ed in the Daily Post covering the issues surrounding Stanford’s recent home purchases (30, at last count) in College Terrace.

JPMorgan Chase Opening Campus at Research Park
Following its acquisition of WePay, a Redwood City startup, JPMorgan Chase announced it will build a 195,000-square-foot “fintech” campus at the Stanford Research Park that will house up to 1,000 employees.

First Hydrogen Fuel Station in Palo Alto Opening Soon
The Shell station on El Camino in Barron Park will be the first hydrogen fuel station between Mountain View and South San Francisco.

And, finally, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday! If you’re still figuring out your ballot, check out the Palo Alto Weekly’s voter guide (including interviews with all city council and school board candidates), Palo Alto Neighborhood’s City Council Candidates Questionnaire and the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto’s election guide (including pros/cons for all of the state propositions).