Interested in Palo Alto Housing Issues?

We know many neighbors are interested in housing and zoning issues, not just here in College Terrace, but throughout the city. Fortunately, the city is currently looking for people who can make a difference by helping shape housing policy in Palo Alto.

The City Council recently approved the establishment of a Housing Element Working Group to help the City update its Housing Element.  The Housing Element is the City’s strategic plan to meet the housing needs of the City’s current and future residents and the Working Group will be responsible for helping the City select housing sites, preparing housing policies and programs and other duties as part of the update process.

The City is looking for volunteers who are interested in housing in the the City, bring energy and passion to the group and a willingness to meet on a monthly basis. If you are interested in participating in the Working Group, please fill out the online application. Applications are due by 5pm on March 5, 2021.

The City is also currently recruiting for one position on the Planning and Transportation Commission. The Planning and Transportation Commission advises the City Council on the City of Palo Alto’s Comprehensive Plan, land use, zoning, subdivision and other related policy matters. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, February 23, at 4:30pm. Click here for the application and more information.

PA Weekly Article on Wellesley Project

The lead story in today’s Palo Alto Weekly – Housing plan stirs opposition in Palo Alto’s College Terrace – centers on the apartments proposed for the corner of Wellesley Street and College Avenue. The article quotes neighbors in opposition to the project, as well as a representative for the developer, Cato Investment Company, who says Cato is “undertaking a robust community outreach effort and will be holding a community meeting.” As of yet, no date has been set for that meeting, although it is supposed to happen prior to the City Council’s pre-screening of the project (tentatively scheduled for March 25).

The article also summarizes the “battle brewing over R-1 zoning” citywide. It describes Palo Alto’s planned-housing zone (PHZ) process, the projects that have been proposed under PHZ so far, and quotes a pair of city council members (Pat Burt and Mayor Tom DuBois) who believe the PHZ should not apply in single-family neighborhoods.

Wellesley Housing Project Plans Submitted

Thanks to everyone who attended last week’s CTRA board meeting! We had over fifty neighbors in attendance, weighing in with their opinions on the proposed apartments at Wellesley and College. Three neighbors spoke in favor of the project, while 25-30 spoke in opposition.

The project developers, Cato Investment Company LLC, own at least nine properties in College Terrace (including the two on Wellesley) as well as a few others elsewhere in the city. This Monday, the developers submitted their request for a City Council pre-screening to consider their plan to change the zoning at 2239 and 2241 Wellesley from R-1 to PHZ (Planned Housing Zone) in order to accommodate a 24-unit apartment building. View their application and plans here. (Pro tip: visit to see all current planning and building applications in the city. You can also sign up for email alerts.)

We encourage neighbors to review the plans and send their feedback to the City Council at We don’t yet know when the City Council will pre-screen this project (most likely in March or April), but we will notify the neighborhood as soon as we do so neighbors can attend and share their feedback in person.

New Apartments Proposed at Wellesley and College

An article in Friday’s Palo Alto Weekly describes a new apartment building proposed for the corner of Wellesley and College Avenue in College Terrace. The project by San Francisco-based Cato Investments would house 24 units in a three-story apartment building on two side-by-side lots at 2239 and 2241 Wellesley St. Today, both lots contain single-family homes.

The developer is applying under Palo Alto’s Planned Home Zoning (PHZ) designation, which allows developers providing affordable housing to request exceptions to development standards. Eligible developments must offer at least 20% of the project to below-market-rate units. The project would also require exemptions for parking, height, and setback requirements.

A project website – – lays out the developer’s vision to provide missing middle housing in a walkable neighborhood close to public transit, in a part of College Terrace that already contains multi-family housing. The developers plan to hold a community meeting before the City’s formal pre-screening of the project, although there is no date set for that community meeting yet. There is also a link on the website for a community survey, but it isn’t active yet either.

We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available. In the meantime, we recommend reading the articles in the Weekly and San Jose Inside, as well as the project website.

CTRA Meeting on Teacher Housing Proposal at 231 Grant Ave.

On Wednesday, December 2nd at 7pm, the CTRA is hosting a community information meeting on the proposed development of teacher and school employee housing at 231 Grant Avenue. This is across the street from the county courthouse, just a couple blocks off California Avenue.

Micaela Hellman-Tincher from Supervisor Joe Simitian’s office and Sarah Chaffin from the Mercy Housing and Abode Communities Team are excited to share details about this development and answer any questions. They’re looking for community feedback as the development process begins.

The meeting will be held via Zoom. To RSVP, email You’ll receive a link to join the event before it begins on Wednesday, December 2nd at 7pm.

231 Grant Avenue Proposal: An Overview

Mercy Housing California and Abode Communities are working in conjunction with the County of Santa Clara, represented by County Supervisor Joe Simitian, Facebook, the City of Palo Alto, and participating school districts in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties to develop new housing on a county-owned site. The property, located at 231 Grant Avenue in Palo Alto, offers an exciting opportunity to create new high-quality, and much needed, rental housing affordable for teachers, school employees, and their families. This new community will include approximately 110 units of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, amenity spaces, and landscaped gardens.

Commitment to Community Involvement

231 Grant is in the initial phase of engaging the surrounding community. Mercy Housing California and Abode Communities are committed to incorporating the local community into the development process through meetings with neighbors, neighborhood associations, and local leaders, as well as public meetings and regular written and electronic communications. In addition, they are collaborating with local teachers and school employees from San Mateo and Santa Clara County School Districts, including Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View Whisman, Mountain View Los Altos, and the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. In observance of health guidelines related to COVID-19, Mercy Housing and Abode will solicit community input through virtual meetings, email, regular mail, and the 231 Grant website (in development).