North Ventura Planning Area Alternatives | Invest & Innovate | Steve Levy | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

Invest & Innovate

By Steve Levy

E-mail Steve Levy

About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ...  (More)

View all posts from Steve Levy

North Ventura Planning Area Alternatives

Uploaded: Jun 12, 2021
Dear Mayor DuBois and council members,

The North Ventura planning area checks all the boxes as a great site for housing.

--close to services, shopping and restaurants

--close to thousands of jobs

--close to CalTrain and VTA ECR routes

--Provides multiple opportunities for reducing car use including for residents who own cars

Our PTC has recommended alternative 3B for your approval. Among the alternatives considered

--3B has the most housing

--3B has the most units reserved for low/moderate income residents

--3B has the most open space\

--And 3B is financially feasible without public subsidy

Even if council is successful in a RHNA appeal, we will still face 5,000+ units as a goal when have been unable to meet our current 2,000 unit goal. Alternative 3B would be one giant step forward. If I were voting, I would vote to make modest increases in height and density and add other incentives to increase the number of units even more but I am glad to the support the PTC recommendation.

Alternative 3B follows the example of successful efforts to expand housing and housing affordability in neighboring cities and has been applied with great success by SV@Home, our leading advocate for housing affordability. Projects that bring hundreds and thousands of units for low and moderate income residents have been approved as part of large feasible mixed use projects that include commercial development in Mountain View, San Jose and Redwood City. It is a practical and effective model.

My understanding under our state housing laws is that local control means that Palo Alto gets to choose the best way to meet our housing goals and does not mean we get to ignore them without serious consequences. Donald Trump has excited many of his voters by telling them what they want to hear and believe despite that it is in conflict with reality and the law.

I hope council does not follow that example with regard to housing in Palo Alto.

Stephen Levy
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Palo Alto Green, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jun 13, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Palo Alto Green is a registered user.

The problem with 3B is that it also adds a lot more office, which is the underlying driver for high housing costs. Until we lower the jobs to housing ratio, housing prices will not stabilize. I don't buy claims that the project cannot be done without adding a lot of office. Moreover, it's pointless to add new office because that counters the benefits of added housing.

Posted by WilliamR, a resident of another community,
on Jun 13, 2021 at 9:47 pm

WilliamR is a registered user.

I think the only way for Palo Alto to get the quantity and mix of housing, especially BMR units, that they want at Ventura is to buy the property and develop it themselves. That way, they can design in the neighborhood-serving retail space, open space and other amenities, with no office buildings, and tell a developer/contractor "Build it this way".

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 22, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

Process kabuki can be fun. But in the end Sobrato will get what it wants.

You heard it first here.

Posted by marc665, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 27, 2021 at 9:30 am

marc665 is a registered user.


Why is the attitude in Palo Alto that "I can tell you what to do with your property but no one can tell me what to do with my property"

Can I come up with a plan for your property (and that of your neighbor's) and force you to do what I want? Let's get rid of all the single family homes near downtown and put up large apartments.

If people want these things, then the "people" should buy the property (at the fair market value) and then they can spend their money to do what they want.


Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Boichik Bagels is opening its newest – and largest – location in Santa Clara this week
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,407 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Ch. 1, page 1
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,493 views

By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 678 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Almanac readers and foundations contributed over $300,000.