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Town panel nixes Ford Field site for affordable housing

Original post made on Sep 26, 2019

The long-running saga of Portola Valley's quest to identify land that could be used for affordable housing took a further step when the committee in charge of town-owned property eliminated one of four plots.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 5:34 PM

Comments (8)

Posted by Bill D Wall
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Sep 26, 2019 at 10:07 am

I know how important it is to virtue signal but affordable housing is not an issue for residents in our town. Donate all your excess cash to a food bank or other charity.

How about a homeless navigation center at town center?

I thought not.

Posted by affordable homes for the middle
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 26, 2019 at 11:40 am

Affordable housing is a regional issue.

Posted by Kris Moriarty
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Sep 26, 2019 at 2:11 pm

I believe that the Los Trancos parcel is 11 acres, not 3.1 acres. This is one of many reasons that makes it a more suitable site for affordable housing than any of the other properties that (were) under consideration. I felt, and feel, that any development should be done with long sightedness and great care, such that the homes blend into the natural terrain, and are situated in a harmonious manner. We have plenty of time to plan for the housing, as any mandates that PV might currently be under to provide affordable housing have already been fulfilled for the next two years. Doing what Mr. Toben vehemently advocated—building whatever we can with the money the Town currently has—-is the exact opposite of what we should do, in my opinion. For example, when the cost of the proposed (sketched) townhomes at the Town Center was raised, 6+ million dollars, it became clear that each unit built would cost about $899,000 apiece. As such, only 3 units could be built to stay within the 3 +/- million dollars that the Town has. And these units would be in a difficult area to develop, with limited parking. In my opinion, this would be an enormous mistake.

First and foremost, I and others feel it is extremely important to identify and nail down exactly who the housing is for (it was news to me in the meeting in which I was quoited that the committee feels that all needs for Seniors have already been met by accessory dwelling units) and how it will be fairly allocated and maintained. For lack of a better phrase, the committee needs to identify the specific market for these homes—-including the number of homes allocated to each “category” —-and then they can be built to suit each category in the numbers specified. To me, it makes little sense to do all the work of drawings without knowing exactly who the market is for the homes.

Once identified, a really lovely and well-planned community could be created; one which is pleasant and safe to live in, and a pleasure to look at as well. The comment by myself that reporter Radin referenced was was in keeping with this idea.

Posted by Angela Hey
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Sep 26, 2019 at 2:54 pm

When I was in high school in the UK we had a discussion one geography lesson as to whether it was best to have urban sprawl or taller buildings. After much discussion and debate we thought taller buildings were better. In the Whitsunday Islands in Australia on Hamilton Island it was decided to build 2 14-storey buildings for tourists rather than spoiling the islands with many small buildings. If Oracle can build tall buildings on landfill then how about a 10-storey or higher building with magnificent views at the end of the town center field. Putting one large building would reduce the need for many smaller buildings. If there were 4 apartments per floor that would be 40 units in a relatively small footprint.
There’s a tall building in Palo Alto near Sand Hill & El Camino, another on Charleston near El Camino. So a single tall building could be a solution.
Also having lived in London where there are high rents people share flats and housing if they cannot afford to live alone. There are houses on Westridge where you could park 10 cars and have a shared house for low income people and there would be no scenic changes. Allowing multi-unit dwellings that look like single family homes also could be considered.

a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Sep 26, 2019 at 5:06 pm

There should absolutely be ZERO new housing developed on LTR. First of all there is EXTREME fire hazard, and only ONE evacuation route which is Los Trancos. In event of fire, going down upper alpine would be impossible with fire vehicles coming up. There would be a bottleneck at the proposed housing site with Blue Oaks neighborhood also exiting from there. Everyone here is completely opposed to this and I cant believe the town just decides to designate that space as a potential site when it is OPEN SPACE and not buildable land. Lets see what Woodside fire, Los Trancos, Vista Verde, and Blue Oaks have to say about this but I make it clear there will be NO housing built on LTR.

a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Sep 26, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Not to mention NO public transportation to the site, which low income people use. How else will they get places. This is the dumbest idea I've heard of yet.

Town needs to look at other options!! Perhaps town center!

Posted by Wally
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 27, 2019 at 8:15 am

Redevelop and convert the two commercial areas (Alpine and Portola Roads) to mixed use. You can combine retail, small businesses, restaurants and residential apartment living into low story buildings with underground parking. Easy access to transportation, essential services are there, minimal impact on rural neighborhoods. Public and Private entities would just just have to collaborate. Imagine that....

Posted by pvrez
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 27, 2019 at 8:46 am

@Wally - spot on.

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