News

Affordable housing development proposed along El Camino near Atherton

Within the next couple of years, drivers traversing the North Fair Oaks section of El Camino Real, just north of Atherton, may say goodbye to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car shop and hello to a new affordable housing development.

That's the plan if local nonprofit housing developer Palo Alto Housing gets its way.

The developer has proposed to build a four-story, 68,243-square-foot affordable housing building with 67 apartments at 2821 El Camino Real, where the Enterprise Rent-a-Car is located.

Palo Alto Housing formally acquired the property in October 2017 with funding help from the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART) of San Mateo County, according to Palo Alto Housing President and CEO Candice Gonzalez.

The development would have 61 studio apartments, five one-bedroom apartments, and one two-bedroom manager's unit. About 30 will be reserved for veterans.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Almanac Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

All units will be designated as "affordable" and will be dedicated for tenants with "extremely low, very low or low-income" as defined by the federal government, according to San Mateo County planner Laura Richstone.

At a Nov. 9 meeting to gather public comment, Ms. Richstone said, speakers expressed concern about traffic and parking, how neighboring trees would be affected, and how the project would impact property values.

The most common question, though, according to Ms. Gonzalez, was how to get on the wait list. "North Fair Oaks is being hit hard by the housing crisis and residents are very much aware of the critical need for affordable housing in the community," she said.

According to Ms. Gonzalez, the developer is trying to get project approvals and start construction in 2019 and 2020, with leasing to start in early 2021. The project is currently in a "pre-application" phase with the San Mateo County planning department, Ms. Richstone said.

The development would have 50 parking spots and 36 bike parking spaces. According to Ms. Gonzalez, lower-income tenants means lower rates of vehicle ownership.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

"Affordable housing in general produces a lower need for parking since the cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance is often cost-prohibitive for our lower-income residents," she said, noting that the agency also encourages public transit and biking via free or reduced public transit passes, access to shared cars, and abundant bike parking.

The development complies with new zoning that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved Nov. 21 for the El Camino Real-facing stretch of North Fair Oaks, Ms. Richstone said.

Funding sources so far are HEART of San Mateo County, the Housing Authority of San Mateo County, veteran housing and homeless prevention programs and tax credits, Ms. Gonzalez said.

Follow AlmanacNews.com and The Almanac on Twitter @almanacnews, Facebook and on Instagram @almanacnews for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Affordable housing development proposed along El Camino near Atherton

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 9:36 am

Within the next couple of years, drivers traversing the North Fair Oaks section of El Camino Real, just north of Atherton, may say goodbye to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car shop and hello to a new affordable housing development.

That's the plan if local nonprofit housing developer Palo Alto Housing gets its way.

The developer has proposed to build a four-story, 68,243-square-foot affordable housing building with 67 apartments at 2821 El Camino Real, where the Enterprise Rent-a-Car is located.

Palo Alto Housing formally acquired the property in October 2017 with funding help from the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART) of San Mateo County, according to Palo Alto Housing President and CEO Candice Gonzalez.

The development would have 61 studio apartments, five one-bedroom apartments, and one two-bedroom manager's unit. About 30 will be reserved for veterans.

All units will be designated as "affordable" and will be dedicated for tenants with "extremely low, very low or low-income" as defined by the federal government, according to San Mateo County planner Laura Richstone.

At a Nov. 9 meeting to gather public comment, Ms. Richstone said, speakers expressed concern about traffic and parking, how neighboring trees would be affected, and how the project would impact property values.

The most common question, though, according to Ms. Gonzalez, was how to get on the wait list. "North Fair Oaks is being hit hard by the housing crisis and residents are very much aware of the critical need for affordable housing in the community," she said.

According to Ms. Gonzalez, the developer is trying to get project approvals and start construction in 2019 and 2020, with leasing to start in early 2021. The project is currently in a "pre-application" phase with the San Mateo County planning department, Ms. Richstone said.

The development would have 50 parking spots and 36 bike parking spaces. According to Ms. Gonzalez, lower-income tenants means lower rates of vehicle ownership.

"Affordable housing in general produces a lower need for parking since the cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance is often cost-prohibitive for our lower-income residents," she said, noting that the agency also encourages public transit and biking via free or reduced public transit passes, access to shared cars, and abundant bike parking.

The development complies with new zoning that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved Nov. 21 for the El Camino Real-facing stretch of North Fair Oaks, Ms. Richstone said.

Funding sources so far are HEART of San Mateo County, the Housing Authority of San Mateo County, veteran housing and homeless prevention programs and tax credits, Ms. Gonzalez said.

Comments

johngslater
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:45 pm
johngslater, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:45 pm
16 people like this

I moved to Friendly Acres in Redwood City after living 16 years near what is now Facebook's campus, because my rent went thru the roof. I live in a low income area of Redwood City. The occupancy of houses (and their garages) is high. There are no empty bedrooms for guests on my block. People have parties on their drive ways, not in their homes.

I am not certain if my neighborhood would be considered low income, everyone seems to have a job. But many of these jobs require pickups. Parking is always a problem, to the extent that police don't ticket cars parked at corners.

I would reevaluate the claim that only 50 parking spots are needed for 67 units. Any project approval should require that the occupants of these 67 units, and their guests, don't have more than 50 vehicles.

I wish developers would be honest about traffic and parking impacts. Things in the Bay seem to get worse and worse.


Just the facts
Registered user
Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm
Just the facts, Atherton: West Atherton
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm
3 people like this

There may be a worse place to locate housing for people in the "extremely low, very low or low-income" category, but I cannot think of it right now. Where is the access to shopping, transportation, medical services? Why are any parking spaces planned for people in this economic range? The parking will cost as much or more than housing units. This type of housing should be located in a walkable community that can support a low income population. Perhaps if you cannot afford to live in a particular place it is time to move to a location you can afford. It probably won't be in the San Francisco Bay Area. Is any of this low income housing located in Palo Alto in the University Ave area where it would make the most sense? Maybe Palo Alto should go first and the rest of us can evaluate the result. Before you call me cold hearted know that I once occupied this economic realm.


The Real Issue
another community
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:50 am
The Real Issue, another community
on Dec 1, 2017 at 8:50 am
9 people like this

Sorry, but the entire Bay Area is facing a housing crisis, and the solution is not to push out those who can't afford it and leave housing choice just for the elite who can.

Also, it is well documented that the Extremely-low income populations, and especially veterans / transitional populations, demonstrate a parking need much lower than 1 parking space per unit. This is not just more detached, single-family, Low-income housing, which I agree, DOES put a tremendous strain on local infrastructure and parking. Besides, there is a bus stop right in front of this building.

I do hope they save all the trees affected by this project. And I wish the elites in Palo Alto WOULD allow a project such as this, they are needed everywhere. But they won't. I think this is a great project. Many thanks to the San Mateo County for supporting this much needed project.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

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