This was a revolt. Palo Alto residents stood up to their city council's decision to inflict a high-density senior housing project on one of their neighborhoods. They launched a referendum and won it handily, despite being greatly outspent by the subsidized housing advocates.
Similar aggressive zoning policies are plaguing many Peninsula cities. San Carlos residents are up in arms over a planned, high-density "transit village." Another case in point: the looming megaliths sprouting up in Redwood City. Menlo Park adopted this sort of "anything goes" zoning in its hotly contested, badly flawed Downtown Specific Plan. The best thing the council could do for Menlo Park would be to repeal it.
Local government officials and city staff members, who by and large seem to favor maximum density urbanized, stack-and-pack housing projects and out-of-scale office parks, take note: the residents in our towns do not want this unseemly overcrowding and despoiling of our suburban tranquility. Any city council member who wants to be re-elected or seeks higher office, be advised: Protect our towns from over-development or be ousted in disgrace.
This is no legacy to leave for our children, nor is it tolerable for us. And residents, take heart! Follow Palo Alto's lead. Together, we can take back our cities.
Cherie Zaslawsky, Menlo Park downtown