Gennady Sheyner | Palo Alto Weekly


The Tower Bridge links Sacramento with West Sacramento. imging / Shutterstock.comWithout a peep of public protest or a single dissenting vote, Palo Alto adopted on Monday night a new vision document aimed at guiding housing development for the next eight years.

The City Council voted 8-0, with Vice Mayor Liz Kniss absent, to adopt a Housing Element for 2015-2023, a strategic document that is mandated by state law, and gets integrated into the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The document lays out the city’s strategies for accommodating its “fair share” of housing, as determined by the Association of Bay Area Governments through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

The assessment requires Palo Alto to plan for 1,988 new housing units in the Housing Element time frame. Many of these can simply be rolled over from the prior Housing Element, leaving city planners with a far less daunting task of finding sites for just 369 units. Of these, 250 units could be accommodated by Stanford University’s housing developments at California Avenue and El Camino Real and another 82 are part of the mixed-use project at 195 Page Mill Road.

The new policies in the Housing Element primarily aim to encourage housing near the city’s two transit hubs downtown and around California Avenue. In these areas, the city would consider “limited exceptions” to the usual 50-foot height limit for new buildings. Read more