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Study says Facebook probably won't displace East Palo Alto residents

Consultant expects "minimal impact" on housing

A consultant's study of whether Facebook's hiring expansion will push East Palo Alto residents from their homes came to the common sense conclusion that it simply depends on how many employees decide to live in East Palo Alto.

The city of East Palo Alto sent a letter to Menlo Park in May expressing concern that Facebook's hires, attracted by the relatively lower housing prices, would want to live in East Palo Alto, leaving low-income residents -- an estimated 79 percent of the city's population -- struggling to afford new homes elsewhere.

The environmental impact report for Facebook's campus development did not examine this scenario since it's a matter of socioeconomics, not physical environmental change.

So an additional analysis, conducted by Keyser Marston Associates, came out Dec. 21. The report stated: "Impacts will be minimal if a very limited number of workers seek housing in East Palo Alto; conversely, if East Palo Alto is viewed as an attractive option by a large share of Facebook's workforce, impacts would be greater."

Right now, despite East Palo Alto's relative affordability and proximity, the largest number of Facebook employees -- 26 percent -- live in San Francisco, compared with 0.2 percent in East Palo Alto, according to the report. Free bus and shuttle service helps ease the pain of the commute.

Nevertheless, Keyser Marston Associates assumed that 3 to 5 percent of future Facebook workers may choose to live in East Palo Alto. The expected net gain of 5,800 new hires by 2018 then leaves 100 to 160 homes needed in East Palo Alto, or 16 to 26 additional units a year -- a maximum of about 2 percent of the city's total housing.

"These percentages suggest a minimal to very minor impact," the report concluded.

With such a low percentage of employees expected to live there, Facebook hires aren't projected to influence rental costs or the overcrowding that the report stated already exists in East Palo Alto. Also factoring into the analysis is the construction of new housing, such as the planned 835-unit Ravenswood/Four Corners development in East Palo Alto, that could absorb some of the demand if the timing is right.

Click here to review the study.

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Comments

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The law requires that such studies evaluate the PROBABLE impact of a proposed project. Instead Facebook has paid good money for a consultant to simply speculate on the the range of impacts that this project might have. Hopefully, but unlikely, the City of Menlo park, as the so-called Lead Agency, and the City of East Palo Alto will reject this worthless speculation.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

The only way to get the answers some seem to need would be to ask each and every FB employee if they plan to buy a house in EPA in the next 5 years. I would imagine the resulting answer would be "Not many at all"
People work very hard to get hired by FB and they aren't going to celebrate their new found income stream by buying a house in EPA...that's simply not part of the dream.

I'd say the result of the study makes complete sense...common sense to those that can recognize it.


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Posted by pragmatic
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm

EPA has been on the verge of gentrification for 20 years. Don't assume all FB employees will be rich enough to buy a house in PA or MP -- I'll bet that more than a few would want to invest in a startup city with great potential. FB + Bohannon = a lot of people who will want to live close to their work. Good for the neighboring cities too.

Losers: anyone who needs affordable housing, and everyone who uses badly paid service help (housecleaners, etc) as those people will have to commute farther to polish your silver and mop your floors.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I'd say the result of the study makes complete sense...common sense to those that can recognize it."

The law is concerned with probable impact not simply describing the possible range of impacts. It is impossible to mitigate a range of impacts but it is legally necessary to mitigate the most probable impact.


Like this comment
Posted by pragmatic
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm

See the parallel thread on the Palo Alto TS site: Web Link

They are terribly miffed that we in MP might not be properly concerned with Palo Alto's needs. Just like they considered the impact on our city when they approved the hospital project...and pocketed all the cash!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 6:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"See the parallel thread on the Palo Alto TS site: Web Link

They are terribly miffed that we in MP might not be properly concerned with Palo Alto's needs"

Wrong - read the thread; the very valid concern is that the City of Menlo Park is totally neglecting the impacts of the proposed Facebook expansion project on EAST Palo Alto - and the school districts and the Fire District.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Sep 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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

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