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.

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.