Right after attempting, and mainly failing, to lure household developments to its principal downtown districts, Palo Alto’s elected leaders are shifting their sights to a aspect of the metropolis that number of in the previous had envisioned as the excellent housing vacation spot: San Antonio Road.
As opposed to in Mountain Perspective, the place city officials have been swiftly approving housing and professional progress on the outstanding artery, Palo Alto has been mostly unwilling to go after new housing developments on San Antonio, which operates together the border among the two metropolitan areas. The Housing Incentive Program, which the city authorized in 2018 in hopes of stimulating additional housing advancement, used only to downtown, California Avenue and El Camino Serious, locations that are considered additional captivating for housing because of their transit and retail choices.
But as Palo Alto proceeds to drop nicely brief of its objectives, San Antonio is emerging as one of its most promising housing internet sites. On Wednesday evening, the Organizing and Transportation Fee voted to advocate acceptance of a 102-device household advancement on San Antonio and Leghorn Road. The fee also authorized an environmental investigation for the broader, 18-parcel stretch of San Antonio, in between Middlefield and Charleston roadways, which is zoned generally for commercial use. The acceptance paves the way for other residential builders to pitch very similar housing projects along the city’s southern edge.
If permitted by the City Council, the development proposed by Ted O’Hanlon on behalf of 788 SAPA Land LLC would consist of a four-tale setting up with a two-degree underground garage at 788 San Antonio Street, around Leghorn Avenue. The 102 models would incorporate 32 studios, 66 one particular-bed room residences and 4 two-bed room apartments. Sixteen residences would be offered at beneath-current market-fee prices.
The models will initially be provided as rental models, even though O’Hanlon claimed they may be converted to condominiums in the upcoming. The advancement would also contain 1,803 sq. toes of retail house on the floor floor.
The new proposal expands on the enhancement that O’Hanlon experienced presented to the council in May 2019. At that time, the task bundled 64 models. The addition of 38 units displays the willingness that the council expressed at very last year’s assembly for approving zone adjustments to loosen the density policies alongside San Antonio.
The Setting up and Transportation Fee similarly endorsed the planned zone variations, as effectively as the new progress. By a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Doria Summa dissenting, the commission voted to endorse approving the 102-device undertaking and to assistance the environmental effects report for the 18-parcel section of San Antonio.
In presenting the task, O’Hanlon highlighted the location’s proximity to employment, significantly the Google campus and other businesses in the North Bayshore spot of Mountain See. The project, he reported, is inside a mile of 10,000 jobs.
He also emphasised the project’s limited distance to U.S. Freeway 101, as properly as the reality that the web site is in a mile of the Caltrain station on San Antonio Highway. And though the internet sites are primarily zoned for “company professional,” O’Hanlon pointed to other residential communities in the vicinity the web page. These consist of the Eco-friendly Household and Inexperienced Dwelling 2 condominium developments and Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Daily life.
O’Hanlon predicted that the task will motivate “substitute transportation use,” specifically alternatives that join the space to Caltrain’s San Antonio station. He also observed that the job would make a important contribution towards the council’s formal purpose of approving 300 units per 12 months — a objective that the town has constantly failed to satisfy.
“For Palo Alto, it truly is a very good task since it reveals Palo Alto can put into action a thing like the HIP (Housing Incentive System) and create housing, fairly than other jobs that may possibly appear in and try out to utilize the point out density reward regulation or other state regulations to improve housing density,” O’Hanlon reported.
Not anyone, on the other hand, is thrilled about the new proposal. Various citizens from nearby developments pointed to other just lately authorised jobs in the area, including two lodges that Marriott is now making.
Pamela Harter, who lives at Green House 2 and who serves on the household community’s Home-owner Affiliation, said her community currently suffers from “critical gridlock” and that the new housing growth would only exacerbate the area’s targeted visitors and parking problems. She explained it has taken her 20 minutes or more to vacation the quarter mile from Highway 101 to her condominium.
“I am not opposed to a improvement of clever development or very affordable housing,” Harter reported. “I am opposed to a improperly considered advancement when visitors and parking are not regarded, when full growth is not considered.”
The commission agreed that the area’s targeted traffic troubles warrant more examination and proposed that the council commission a review of land use and transportation on San Antonio Road. Commissioner William Riggs proposed that the town transfer forward as soon as doable with transportation improvements alongside Leghorn Road to motivate bicycling and other alternate options to cars and trucks.
Commissioner Ed Lauing agreed and reported it’s “basic that we make some changes now.”
Some others cautioned towards imposing any situations that would sluggish down the acceptance procedure for the 788 San Antonio Street task. Vice Chair Giselle Roohparvar noted that this is the 1st substantial housing task that the fee has observed due to the fact she joined two decades in the past. Commissioner Michael Alcheck disputed the notion that the stretch of San Antonio is not nicely suited to housing and pointed to the modern and pending construction on the Mountain Check out aspect.
Alcheck claimed he thinks the city may possibly have been as well harsh on residential developments in imposing situations for acceptance.
“When you’re dying of thirst, every drop of canteen counts,” Alcheck explained.
As the lone dissenter, Summa reported she experienced considerations about lumping the approval of this unique project with a application for the broader phase of San Antonio. Even so, she stated she is happy to see the project at 788 San Antonio Road advance.
For Palo Alto’s housing advocates, the San Antonio proposal is a uncommon glint of excellent news in what has been a further disappointing yr for household assignments. The new Housing Incentive System, which granted density bonuses and other incentives to builders around downtown, California Avenue and El Camino True, has not led to an influx of proposals, as the metropolis experienced hoped. Prior proposals to incorporate housing at Cubberley Local community Middle and on Portage Avenue that right up until lately was occupied by Fry’s Electronics have been mainly scrapped due to the fact of insufficient political assistance, in the circumstance of the former, and the residence owner’s reluctance to redevelop, in the situation of the latter.
At the exact same time, the city is getting ready to see a substantial increase in the range of housing units it has to program for in the subsequent Regional Housing Requires Allocation cycle, which will stretch from 2023 to 2031. The new mandate will virtually definitely require Palo Alto to designate new areas of the town as possible housing web sites.
The zoning amendment that the setting up fee supported would prolong the housing incentives to all the commercially zoned properties on the east aspect of San Antonio, between Middlefield and East Charleston streets (the incentive zone also incorporates 1 parcel west facet of San Antonio, at 705 San Antonio Road). In addition to allowing for increased density for household projects alongside this stretch, the amendment permits these tasks to use rooftop gardens to satisfy open-area necessities and exempt the initially 1,500 sq. feet of retail location from parking requirements.
Alcheck strongly supported the improve and lamented the simple fact that the city’s politics make it complicated to achieve its official housing goals.
“I go on to imagine our report in adding housing in the previous decade is the ideal proof that the little one techniques tactic to addressing this disaster is just not operating,” Alcheck said.