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.

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.

Cato Community Meeting: April 1 at 6pm

No, it’s not an April Fool’s Joke. Cato Investments, the developer behind the proposed apartments at the corner of College and Wellesley, will be holding their community meeting to discuss the project via Zoom on Thursday, April 1st at 6pm. We don’t have a link yet, but you can RSVP on their website. It is expected that the City Council’s pre-screening of this project will happen sometime later in April.

In unrelated news, you can also now register for the Zoom for the CTRA annual meeting, to be held on Saturday, March 20 at 10am. Mayor Tom DuBois will address the meeting and answer questions. You can also vote in the 2021-2022 CTRA board election here.

CTRA Letter re: Wellesley Project

The CTRA board recently sent a letter to the City Council to voice its opposition to the development proposed by Cato Investments at the corner of Wellesley and College. You can read the board’s letter here. Thanks to James Cook for working with the board on the initial draft.

We encourage neighbors to send their own letters to the City Council at We anticipate that the City Council will have its pre-screening of the project either at the end of this month or in early April. As of yet, the developer has still not set a date for its own community meeting, but we expect that to be sometime before the pre-screening.