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Atherton residents demand town fight state housing mandate

Original post made on May 4, 2022

With potential changes, like a zoning overlay for townhouses, Atherton residents are feeling distressed about their town changing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 11:56 AM

Comments (88)

Posted by Susan
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2022 at 4:10 pm

Susan is a registered user.

The mayor and mayors and city council members around the Bay Area are being bullied by the state and the threat of "dire consequences" for not complying with outrageous, unreliable housing quotas. But the public should be calling for "dire consequences" directed at HCD (Housing and Community Development) for their flawed work. The CA Audit Dept., after receiving legislator complaints, audited HCD. The auditor writes in a letter to the Governor (3/17/22), "Overall, our audit determined that HCD does not ensure that its needs assessments are accurate and adequately supported." He goes on, "This insufficient oversight . . . risks eroding public confidence that HCD is informing local governments of the appropriate amount of housing they will need." How can we fight this kind of thing? By standing together to shed light on the flawed RHNA process.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 4, 2022 at 4:26 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Time for local control is over. Enough with the NIMBYs.

The state needs to completely take over zoning from these NIMBY cities.

And prop13 repeal has to be in the mix.

Any town that does not meet the housing goals, not just zoning but actual built homes within the timeframe specified, immediate prop 13 repeal for that entire town.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment]


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 4, 2022 at 9:38 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

My guess is you haven't read the bills, and until you read and Understand the restrictions/complications associated with them. You really shouldn't make such claims and demands.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 4, 2022 at 10:04 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Welcome to the Socialist Republic of California. Every neighborhood must have all socioeconomic backgrounds. Consequences of the free market, and toiling in it, be damned. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Since Atherton now reliably votes Democratic, it "should" want all of this, right?

The person suggesting the $1.2M/year fine should be paid is extreme? No, it's very sensible, actually, as this will have a far greater downward effect on property values than $1.2M/year.

Outsource the do-nothing, don't pursue criminals by policy, police department, save the money, and start using these funds to protect what's important here: the enormous investment people have made in their homes.


Posted by frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 4, 2022 at 10:32 pm

frugal is a registered user.

Why not limit job growth and the problem will solve itself.


Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 5, 2022 at 6:10 am

David Roise is a registered user.

@Thoughtful: Please read Richard Rothstein's "The Color of Law" (Web Link ) and then talk to us again about "the free market".

How sad that some of the service people who work in Atherton might actually be allowed to live in Atherton.


Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2022 at 7:05 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.

David:

Service people being able to live in Atherton is a myth. The numbers simply don't work when you look at the cost of land and construction. Nothing can be built that service people can actually afford to live in. But you keep believing the democratic myth that it's possible for poor people to live in wealthy cities and towns. The taxpayers will continue paying money for lawsuits and even if they lose and "affordable" housing gets built in these towns, "service people" won't occupy any of it.

Much of the new construction going into Atherton includes ADU's. Do you honestly think the owners are going to rent those out? They're building them as guest houses and calling them ADUs because that gets them around some zoning requirements.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 8:12 am

Parent is a registered user.

"They're building them as guest houses and calling them ADUs because that gets them around some zoning requirements."

Precisely correct, for at least two reasons. Homeowners choose Atherton for the parcel size, and the privacy. Having a renter in the backyard negates the privacy. The second consideration is economics. There is very little chance an ADU ever generates enough rent to offset the investment of several hundred thousand dollars in building cost. Thus the ADU is a vanity project.

Regarding affordability, the average service workers needs approximately 2,000 per month in order to rent a studio apartment (24,000 per year). However that same service worker earns about 30,000 per year. So how to get a service worker to live in "your town" wherever that town may be?

It would be far more economically efficient to do two things: increase the service workers salary to 45,000 per year via a local ordinance. How does the retailer pay for this? By increasing the price to the consumer. The average household in Atherton or Menlo Park can easily afford a price hike at The Left Bank restaurant, where a glass of wine regularly goes for $15. The second part of this issue would be implemented by the State ... allow an income tax credit for rent paid, even if it results in a tax refund to the modestly paid service worker.

Mandating "housing" will accomplish nothing more than providing a potential living space to a Facebook programmer who wants a short commute.

Neither an increase in wages nor an income tax credit will ever occur. What will occur is a small group of decision makers within the State government will forever alter the landscape of small towns like Atherton and Menlo Park.

Atherton has some sharp minds, especially of the legal variety. Perhaps there is a way to handle this "forced building" in the courts. I'd be looking at environmental issues, infrastructure issues, and the capacity of services such as schools/public safety/sewer.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 5, 2022 at 8:50 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Instead of simply opposing SB 9 why not come up with a better idea?

How about using carbon offsets as a model and allow communities to purchase land in nearby and less expensive communities to be used at zero cost for low income housing.
If the land is made available at zero cost then the cost basis for the housing is only the construction cost.

Such a "low income housing land grant" would become the donor community's contribution to low income housing.



Communities donating land for low income housing under the "low income housing land grant" program would retain title to the land and extend a zero cost long term lease to developers who would build and rent/sell the homes with an underlying long term land lease.

This way the donor community's contribution would be an ongoing commitment and recognized as such in future years.


Posted by Woodside Lifer
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on May 5, 2022 at 9:29 am

Woodside Lifer is a registered user.

The last thing California needs is a housing accommodation for more people. The best thing happening to California is the wholesale departure of employers and their staff. RHNA bean-counters in Sacramento are working with incomplete/outdated stats. Their outrageous "housing need" forecasts are based on bad science, using outdated data, in a state with a population outflow.

According to a NYT article, California lost 117,552 residents last year, following a slightly bigger decline in 2020, when the state lost 182,083 residents — the first time in more than a century that California got smaller. Officials recorded about 275,000 people leaving California last year, up from about 180,000 in the years before the pandemic.

Web Link

The last thing California needs is a RHNA cabal of Sacramento bureaucrats trying to make this state more affordable. It simply can't sustain the population already here and certainly can't sustain further population growth. Build it and they will come.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 9:31 am

Parent is a registered user.

"allow communities to purchase land in nearby and less expensive communities to be used at zero cost for low income housing."

So the obvious question, how does a community such as Atherton pay for these purchases?

And this does absolutely nothing to solve the created-out-of-thin-air "crisis" which says that the equitable way to solve the "crisis" is to build housing in the town of Atherton, regardless of whatever disruption it may cause, regardless of how it will create a burden on certain neighbors, regardless of how it will strain an infrastructure.

And when Atherton builds 300+ new housing units, how does the service worker afford the rent? If an Atherton resident builds an ADU in his or her backyard, will that resident be forced to rent the unit at an artificially low rate? Will the resident be forced to rent the unit, at any price?

Here is the harsh reality: someone, or some entity, will suffer if the state prevails. Therefore the town leaders and residents will need to determine where to inflict the suffering. And being as virtually anything is on the table, is the Menlo Atherton High School football field really the "highest and best use" of a piece of land? The same question applies to Holbrook Palmer Park.

Would losing the football field for the sake of condominiums impact anyone other than the handful of students who play football and some unfortunate neighbors ?

At any given time, how many people are actually using Holbrook Palmer Park? Maybe 20?

If the state really wants to cram in housing, from a pure land use analysis, parks and playing fields are expendable. If anyone doubts this, count the number of public parks and football fields in midtown Manhattan. Somehow Manhattan survived.

Do I advocate paving over a football field or a public park? No I do not. But the state of CA is using its power to force this issue. So whereas losing a park or a sports field is not desirable, neither is cramming 10 townhomes on a residential street.


Posted by frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 5, 2022 at 9:47 am

frugal is a registered user.

Hey everyone, please re-read Woodside Lifer". The posting makes sooo much sense!

" The best thing happening to California is the wholesale departure of employers and their staff."


Posted by Liesel
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 5, 2022 at 10:13 am

Liesel is a registered user.

You get what you vote for. I encourage everyone to get educated about what candidates stand for before voting in the upcoming fall elections. Gone are the days when you can assume you know what the person with a D or an R by their name stands for. If you are unhappy with the way things are going, get engaged in the process.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 10:23 am

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Dictatorial anti-free market sprawl loving climate destroying NIMBYs who dictate to me what I can or cannot do with my land calling folks like me socialist. LMAO.

We should build dense climate responsible communities where walking, biking and public transit pencils out.

That is what's coming. You can sell and move to the boondocks if you don't like it but we will not let the NIMBYs destroy our planet, our economy and everyone's quality of life.

No more free parking on the streets. Public streets belong to all of us. Park your cars in your sprawling garages.

And a prop 13 repeal is coming. Someone has to pay for all that sprawl and it will come out of the pockets of the NIMBYs.

Wait and watch.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 10:30 am

Janet Chen is a registered user.

We are not going to allow the NIMBYs destroy our innovation economy. Silicon Valley does not just happen.

It took a lot of risks and life's work of the entrepreneurs to create this magical place. And this will continue happening. For that we need talent and people and we will vote to build a million more more homes across this valley.

We are not going to let the land squatting tax leeching (prop 13) NIMBYs destroy our innovation economy.

You want to keep your sprawl? Fine.

We'll vote to repeal prop 13 and replace that with a land value tax. And reduce other taxes that actually hurt the poor.

Land squatting will cost. We'll make it cost.

You can always sell and move to the boondocks but more people, more homes and more people and more homes will keep on coming.

We'll vote to gut the cost of shelter where even a barista can afford a decent 1-bed apt of her own.

Segregation time is over.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 10:34 am

Parent is a registered user.

"No more free parking on the streets. Public streets belong to all of us. Park your cars in your sprawling garages."

Janet, you do realize this will displace the people who live in motorhomes parked on El Camino Real, right?

"will not let the NIMBYs destroy our planet, our economy and everyone's quality of life."

Care to define "everyone" ? Who is it you speak for? I noticed the use of the word "we".

If you so passionately desire high density living, and the health risks associated with bicycle accidents (hip replacement surgery can be a real downer), is there any reason why you don't live in downtown San Francisco? I hear it's really dense there.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 10:38 am

Parent is a registered user.

"We'll vote to gut the cost of shelter where even a barista can afford a decent 1-bed apt of her own."

Ah, it took me a while (I'm getting up there in years), but I now see the tongue in cheek approach. Well played.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 10:51 am

Janet Chen is a registered user.

"Janet, you do realize this will displace the people who live in motorhomes parked on El Camino Real, right?"

So benevolent of you that the NIMBYs who have made it so difficult to build dense climate responsible and plentiful homes are now proud that they allow people to live in their cars on the streets. Wow, just wow.

And to say that as if that's a badge of honor for this godforsaken city? And you claim to be a "parent". Wait till your family is on the verge of homelessness and we will personally NIMBY to make sure they remain homeless.

This right there is why NIMBY towns like this cannot be allowed to dictate housing policies.

And you need to come out of that NIMBY cocoon and find that the world does not stop at the edges of that city. The WE is everyone. Those that are here and those will come in the future. And those that are not even born.

We are going to vote to have modern plentiful housing everywhere, especially in areas with hotbeds of innovation.

If you don't like people and especially people of the "wrong" kind living around you, you are free to sell and move to the boondocks but cities will evolve and change and grow.

And I suggest you stick to your land and don't tell me what I can or cannot do with my land. You know free markets, private property rights etc. etc.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 11:26 am

Janet Chen is a registered user.

"If you so passionately desire high density living, and the health risks associated with bicycle accidents (hip replacement surgery can be a real downer), is there any reason why you don't live in downtown San Francisco? I hear it's really dense there."

Oh I missed this response from the concerned "parent".

10,000 people die in road accidents each year in this country alone with a million more maimed for life.

And your problem is biking? I bet you go to Europe with that prop 13 tax subsidy we give you and marvel at how the rest of the civilized world live, right?

I dread the day my son has to drive and worry if he might come home intact or not. We are not going to risk our lives so that you can squat on sprawl inducing land.

Cars are not the future. Bikes, trains, walkable streets are. As I said, you don't have to live here but that is the future.

And we'll make it happen.

And I knew you'll bring up San Francisco. That's what we want all across Silicon Valley. The state of the city and the widespread homelessness is because of the NIMBYs who have dictated housing policies for far too long.

No more. NIMBY time is over. Segregationists will be sent back to the 1950s.

Time to build dense, time to build tall, time to build to a point where shelter becomes a commodity that it should be and not a retirement plan.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 11:56 am

Parent is a registered user.

"10,000 people die in road accidents each year in this country alone with a million more maimed for life."

Hmmmm, citing statistics without actually bothering to check the data as reported by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

"Cars are not the future."

OK, so can you give CalTrans a call and tell them to stop replacing the freeway on/off ramps, such as they did at Willow Road, and will soon do at University Avenue? And can you alert them to stop constructing the FasTrak metering devices on the 101 freeway? And last, but only if you have time. Tesla. This one is tough, but Tesla (and Ford, and Rivian, and essentially every other car maker on the planet) needs to immediately cease all development and production of electric passenger vehicles. Because cars are not the future, according to you.

"I dread the day my son has to drive and worry if he might come home intact or not. We are not going to risk our lives so that you can squat on sprawl inducing land."

According to the National Safety Council, the odds of someone dying of an opioid overdose is significantly higher than the odds of someone dying in an auto accident, thus your worrying might be focused in the wrong area of risk.

I am beginning to realize this housing issue is so complex, and you have introduced a variety of related issues. I will call Tesla and request that they return my deposit. Cars are bad.




Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 12:59 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

To the "concerned" parent,

I was way under-reporting the actual death count from car accidents. Looks like you don't care for the facts. Did you check? Of course not.

"Cars killed 42,060 people in 2020, up from 39,107 in 2019, according to a preliminary estimate from the National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit that focuses on eliminating preventable deaths."

And you are going to let businesses in the business of making profits decide our public policies? That's the dumbest thing I have ever heard. That's like letting cigarette companies market to our kids that smoking is good.

The NIMBYs are just wow. Greedy, selfish, don't care for anyone but me, me, me.

And we subsidize that behavior through the prop 13 tax scam and mortgage interest deduction.

That gravy train is fortunately going to stop. Prop 13 repeal is coming. You can continue to demand sprawl but we'll make you pay. Free-loading time is over.

And more homes are coming. Now that I think about it, I am personally going to turn my home into a 4-plex. Try to fight me if you can.

In fact, I might get into the business of climate responsible homebuilding and build, build, build modern, dense communities all across this valley.

Atherton sounds like a nice place. Capital is plenty and state laws to build apartments are very accommodating.

I am getting so many ideas to make money by doing good - good for the planet, good for the economy and great for everyone's quality of life.


Posted by frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 5, 2022 at 1:32 pm

frugal is a registered user.

"I am personally going to turn my home into a 4-plex. Try to fight me if you can." This post sounds to me like it came from an angry person who might benefit from some anger management therapy.


Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2022 at 1:48 pm

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

Janet Chen, Menlo Park Downtown wrote: "We'll vote to repeal prop 13 and replace that with a land value tax. And reduce other taxes that actually hurt the poor."

'reduce other taxes' is a bad lie. I challenge Janet to cite EVEN ONE example of a state Senate or Assembly bill that attempted to 'reduce other taxes' while also attempting to 'repeal prop 13'.

Janet won't find an example, because one doesn't exist. The current makeup of the state legislature is unlikely to ever allow for a reduction in 'taxes that actually hurt the poor'. The state has had almost 45 years to produce a bill that can do what Janet claims...yet has never done so.

The truth is, the state LOVES the current tax environment: the state gets MASSIVE tax revenue from property taxes (outpacing inflation and GDP), gets STABLE tax revenue from property taxes, gets high state income tax rates and high sales tax rates...while falsely implying it is starved for revenue due to Prop 13.

The 'reduce other taxes' gambit is used by pro-tax sycophants like Janet as a nonexistent 'carrot' to entice some voters to vote for a repeal, with the implication that they'll get some tax relief that is never, EVER actually in any legislation or Proposition. A classic 'bait and switch'.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Prop 13 is a reverse wealth transfer from the young and the middle class families to the old and the rich.

And it incentives NIMBYism that will be crushed.

Keep the NIMBYism going because a repeal will come faster than you can wink.

And a ballot measure would be designed to keep that revenue neutral.

Don't worry but NIMBYs will pay for all the misery they caused.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

To frugal,

Not angry, not socialist, not a NIMBY.

Just a pro free market pro economy pro climate that will utilize all the opportunities to make life better for all of us.

Excluding the segregattionist NiMBYs of course.


Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

Janet spewed: "We'll vote to repeal prop 13 and ... reduce other taxes that actually hurt the poor."

I replied: "I challenge Janet to cite EVEN ONE example of a state Senate or Assembly bill that attempted to 'reduce other taxes' while also attempting to 'repeal prop 13'."

Janet responded: (gibberish)

We're still waiting for JUST ONE EXAMPLE from you, of any legislative bill or proposition that proposes to do what you claim: reducing other taxes as part of repealing prop 13.

With 45 years of legislative bills and propositions at your disposal, you'd think you could find just ONE EXAMPLE that proposes what you claim.

Let us know your findings. I love reading fiction.


Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2022 at 2:33 pm

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

Janet wrote: "And a ballot measure would be designed to keep that revenue neutral."

Citation please. Otherwise you're just lying or writing pure fiction.


Posted by frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 5, 2022 at 2:50 pm

frugal is a registered user.

Janet, using all the money those NIMBYs have you'd better hope your socialist ideas don't make it to this Supreme Court.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Parent is a registered user.

In an attempt to get this conversation back on track, we are in the early innings here. I expect there will be legal challenges and political pushback.

Unlike some of the rhetoric being spewed, and I honestly cannot tell if it's someone seeking attention, providing entertainment, or portraying an exaggerated character for the purpose of illustrating an extreme position, calm and calculated voices will respond to the state's demands. There are dozens of cities in CA that are seeking an appropriate and effective response to the state mandate. Some city will find the correct strategy, and it will be copied. In the meantime, contact your representative and explain the simple math. Affordable housing is a "maybe" in a city with a low cost of living, and lots of open land. But the Peninsula is more or less built out, and the cost of whatever dirt that is available immediately disqualifies any resulting housing unit from being affordable. By any metric, any housing built will not be affordable, it will not be within reach of anyone earning less than 250,000 per year. That said, what is the point of adding density other than expanding a tax base.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 3:36 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Not-Jeff is asking whether any taxes were ever reduced while simultaneously leeching off of the biggest tax heist the boomer NIMBYs ever pulled off and that is prop 13.

And NIMBYs love to talk about affordability knowing perfectly well that if they scream "but are they affordable", nothing gets built.

Nope. We are not going to fall for the NIMBY scam. You can demand affordability only if you are willing to sell your home at the price you bought it at plus inflation.

More homes are coming - of dense climate responsible kind.

Time for local control and NIMBYism is over. We'll let the market decide what gets built where in what form.

The NIMBYs should stick to their land and not interfere with other people's private property rights.

Oh and a prop 13 repeal soon. Prop 19 was just a primer. Keep NIMBYism alive and it'll come sooner than you can wink.

Sprawl does not come cheap. You want to maintain that sprawl, pay up. Or shut up.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 3:44 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

And stop calling folks who are for free-market with housing socialists. That makes you sound like a fool because the dictatorial NIMBYs are the true socialists who use and abuse government power to block housing.

But semantics aside, more homes are coming. Cities will evolve like cities. We are not going to risk a thriving ecosystem and an economy to placate the segregationists.

If you don't like people, sell and go where there won't be any people. Land squatting and opportunity hoarding will not stand.

It will not be allowed to stand. As much as I hate it, we have tried and failed at local control. The state needs to and will completely take over zoning decisions from these NIMBY cities.

Bankrupt a few of them and the rest will fall in line.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Now I have to go back to work to pay the NIMBY portion of the property tax. You know that prop 13 tax heist the boomer NIMBYs pulled off. Yup, that one.

I have to produce and toil to pay your tax unfortunately while the NIMBYs continue with their climate arson, land squatting, segregation all the while, undermining our economy.

But that gravy train will end. The more you NIMBY, the sooner it'll end.

Good bye for now.


Posted by been there
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 4:00 pm

been there is a registered user.

I don't think people know what this will do to all suburban residential communities. I hope that Janet Chen's neighbors, back yard neighbor, and all neighbors on her street are the first properties to be developed. She should be the first to try to drive down her street. The noise, increased crime, crammed properties, and all the trapping of New York City.
Janet, you would really enjoy and feel more at home in a highrise in NY City.

To the other readers, what is the reason there has not been a grassroots effort to repeal this at the voting polls? I know a half-baked attempt was launched in the south. I, for one, will donate to any well-run campaign to repeal this overbearing law.


Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

Janet spewed: "Not-Jeff is asking whether any taxes were ever reduced"

I never asked such a thing. I asked you to back up your claims that other taxes would be lowered as part of repealing Prop 13.

And we're STILL waiting for JUST ONE EXAMPLE from you, of any legislative bill or proposition in the last 45 years that proposes to do what you claim: reducing other taxes as part of repealing prop 13.


Janet spewed: "Not-Jeff is...leeching off of the biggest tax heist the boomer NIMBYs ever pulled off"

As usual, you don't know what you're talking about:

1: I'm not a boomer;
2: I'm very confident that it is statistically likely that I pay way more in taxes than you do, both in absolute dollars and as a percentage of income and/or property taxes.
3: I SUPPORT regional public transportation improvements and regional increases in housing stock.

What I don't support is your unsubstantiated rhetoric, and I thoroughly enjoy exposing your lack of experience, lack of knowledge and...most importantly...'karen'-like rants.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 4:06 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Drive down the street? All the NIMBYs think off is driving. And parking.

Instead of designing cities that don't need either. That will come.

Enough listening to the climate arsonists. We will vote to build cities that our kids will be proud and able to inherit, not the car infested sprawl.

And Silicon valley's future is cities. If you don't like people, move but we are not going to allow you to throttle our economy and everyone's quality of life just so that you can drive your pick-up truck.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 4:33 pm

Parent is a registered user.

"Drive down the street? All the NIMBYs think off is driving. And parking.

Instead of designing cities that don't need either. That will come."

This is just getting ridiculous, and I am trying to be compassionate in limiting it to that.

I have a serious question for those that may be in the know ...

one of the proposed sites for 10 units are the parcels within Lindenwood which have a Bay Road frontage. Assuming the owners of those parcels do not wish to sell their homes (for any number of reasons) how did the town arrive at selecting those particular parcels, and how valid is the calculation of potential housing units if none of those owners wish to sell.

On the same topic, the town is assuming a certain amount of ADUs will be constructed, but how likely is that to occur?

It seems to me that the town is proposing to the state a theoretical plan, and one which cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. So if only half of the number of ADUs are actually built. and if none of the parcels with Bay Road frontage wish to sell, then the town ultimately falls short of the mandate.

Is there a penalty for making an incorrect guess about the future?


Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2022 at 4:55 pm

Jon is a registered user.

Prop 13 works like an annuity. All people pay a bigger share when they first acquire the property and then it goes down. This applies to Janet too and Karen.

But it shows a complete lack of history to say it was created by Baby Boomers. When Prop 13 was passed Baby Boomers age ranged from about 14 to 30. Yeah right, those under 30 determined tax policy. Same in every period of time. Not.

The truth is all the Baby Boomers who then bought a house paid an outsize share of property tax. Then that share stepped down as their property increased in value. There's the prepayment system at work. People like Karen thing that this was the effect of Prop 13. No, it was secondary. The real effect of Prop 13 was to LIMIT property taxes to 1% of valuation. This is helping to keep Karen's rent low. Consider that today 25% of rent in a newly built apartment goes to pay property tax. As rents increase, the share decreases. But without Prop 13 capping the tax at 1%, the portion of the rent going to property tax recovery for the owner of the building would be higher, and so would rents. And less apartments would be built. Prop 13 helps Karen too even though she only rents.


Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2022 at 4:59 pm

Jon is a registered user.

While Karen hijacks the comments to talk about taxes, as if that had anything to do with RHNA mandates, there are other recent developments about RHNA. This department "HCD" seems to have really messed up in figuring out the RHNA numbers. The state auditor released this report: Web Link Maybe Atherton can file a lawsuit using this audit. The numbers were arbitrary and capricious. That's bad, constitutionally. RHNA is a weird sort of effort to tax cities. There are problems with that too. The penalties are unconstitutional in their own right, not just because they are based on made up numbers of need.

Also, on the tax front, current belligerent YIMBY's saying things like "tax the land" are depriving current owners of what they have earned by paying so much tax during their early years of ownership.



Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 5, 2022 at 5:32 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Prop 13 works like an annuity? Really? An annuity is a tool used to spread life expectancy risks across all participants who pay equally into that system.

Prop 13 on the other hand is pure theft from the young families, a reverse wealth transfer to the old and the rich.

How could anyone get on that gravy train? Oh just be born in the 1960s and buy a home in the 1980s.

And not only that, once you've got yours, make sure you don't allow any more homes to be built.

And the NIMBY segregationists calling a pro-housing, pro-climate, anti-segregation "Karen" is so laughable that they themselves don't believe.

And they think that this Ponzi-scheme of unloading their tax obligation is going to continue?

Not a chance.

Fortunately the NIMBYs are going to be increasingly marginalized and the more they NIMBY, the more they will be marginalized.

We have tried local control enough. About time we take that control away for the sake of our planet, our economy and everyone's quality of life.


Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on May 5, 2022 at 6:22 pm

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

Janet Chen wrote: "Good bye for now."

Good bye.


Janet Chen wrote: "Drive down the street?"

Hey, Janet's back!


"I have to go back to work to pay the NIMBY portion of the property tax."

And there it is, Janet's REAL motivation. Not anti-'NIMBY-ism', or some altruistic view of housing, or 'anti-free market sprawl', or reductions in sales or income taxes. She's jealous of people that have paid more into the property-tax system for over 7-to-12-to-20+ years longer than her, and is unwilling to invest to get to that point.

Got it.


"Oh just be born in the 1960s and buy a home in the 1980s."

Wait...so...you think your property taxes are high because of the (possibly negligible) number of people that have held onto their homes since the 80s?

Since you appear in your rantings to want to present yourself as an expert, then let me ask you this, 'expert'... What percentage of homes have gone unsold for over 22 years? Because that's the crux of your argument:

1: that there's this vast inventory of homes purchased in the 70s and 80s that contribute so little to our tax base that it starves government entities of revenue;

2: that your property taxes would go down if these homes purchased in the 80s were sold, resulting in a reassessment.

I eagerly await your knowledgeable insights (with references, of course) showing the percentage of homes unsold for over 22 years.

Oh, and by the way...

And we're STILL waiting for JUST ONE EXAMPLE from you, of any legislative bill or proposition in the last 45 years that proposes to do what you claim: reducing other taxes as part of repealing prop 13.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 5, 2022 at 6:25 pm

Parent is a registered user.

"And they think that this Ponzi-scheme of unloading their tax obligation is going to continue?

Not a chance."

Then why is it Atherton homes sell so quickly, and often receive multiple offers? Are you suggesting the new generation of owners hasn't identified what you deem to be a ponzi scheme?

I think you're all alone on this Janet. Your rhetoric is mirroring all of the screaming and shouting that's so popular nowadays amongst those "demanding change". Problem is, people are getting tired of the saber rattling.

Let me guess ... next up will be a chant: "hey hey, ho ho, Atherton lots have got to go!"

Maybe a group chant of in front of City Hall? This hey-hey ho-ho stuff is so impactful.



Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Janet:

I suggest you do a little reading on the how, why and history of Prop 13. If you think for one minute that property owners in this state are going to vote to raise their property taxes, think again. Don't forget, some of the largest property owners in the state are business that benefited even more than homeowners. You don't think they'll be throwing millions to defeat any measure put on the ballot to repeal prop 13? And it will have to be a proposition necessary to get it repealed as repeal of prop 13 has been and will continue to be a political third rail. But you keep on believing what you think no matter how unrealistic it is and the rest of us will go on living in reality.


Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2022 at 8:16 pm

Jon is a registered user.

The situation is that the effects of Prop 13 benefit first from the 1% limit on annual taxation. Then the limited rise in property valuations adds different benefits--stability being the chief addition.

Those buying today have the same benefit. They pay more now but in 5, 10, 15 years they will pay a LOT LESS than if this stability was not designed into the system--but still they do pay more each year overall.

The main wrench in the works is the appreciation that has happened due to speculation in various forms. This is driving up housing costs all over the country. Prop 13 is protecting Californians from one danger of this speculation.

Karen is obviously not a financial expert. One other kind of annuity is in a lottery payout annuity. The individual gets a lot more adding up all the years than in the option of the lump sum payout. Time is money. Present value depends on future timing. Etc.


Posted by editoratlarge
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2022 at 9:00 pm

editoratlarge is a registered user.

So you're OK with the new housing being built in adjacent towns, but Atherton should be exempt? Why should Atherton get special treatment? I live in San Carlos and we're dealing with this too, albeit with a bit less drama and outrage. I don't think anybody is excited by it, but excusing your town passes the burden someplace else.


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 5, 2022 at 10:00 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.


As for property taxes and new taxes constantly being proposed, Can we get an audit from the County as to how much new revenue the County/Cities have received with the increases in home prices in many cases having doubled/tripled and quadrupled, in the last 10 years.

As to "low-income housing" It's an easy fix,

All good ideas Peter Carpenter,

Why won't our elected leaders "Lead on this"?


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 5, 2022 at 10:01 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

As for property taxes and new taxes constantly being proposed, Can we get an audit from the County as to how much new revenue the County/Cities have received with the increases in home prices in many cases having doubled/tripled and quadrupled, in the last 10 years.

As to "low-income housing" It's an easy fix,

All good ideas Peter Carpenter,

Why won't our elected leaders "Lead on this"?


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 5, 2022 at 10:05 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

Pardon the repeat, My first attempt said there was a problem loading, so tried again,
But then again maybe it was worth repeating so our leaders whom I'm guessing read this thread, do the right thing.


Posted by MenloVoter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 6, 2022 at 7:07 am

MenloVoter. is a registered user.

"... maybe it was worth repeating so our leaders whom I'm guessing read this thread, do the right thing."

hah!

All our "leaders" want to do is appear to be "doing something" without actually doing anything.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 6, 2022 at 7:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why doesn't the Town float a $10 million tax exempt bond and use the proceeds to buy lower cost, high development density land in nearby communities that could then be leased at zero cost to developers of low incoming housing with first priority going to tenants who work in Atherton.

If the land is made available at zero cost then the cost basis for the housing is only the construction cost.

Such a "low income housing land grant" would become Atherton's contribution to low income housing.

By holding title to the land Atherton's contribution would be an ongoing commitment and recognized as such in future years.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2022 at 7:45 am

Parent is a registered user.

"Why doesn't the Town float a $10 million tax exempt bond and use the proceeds to buy lower cost, high development density land in nearby communities that could then be leased at zero cost to developers of low incoming housing with first priority going to tenants who work in Atherton."

Because this is not in compliance with SB9 ?

So basically you are suggesting your own individual solution? Can I apply the same method to tax law?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 6, 2022 at 7:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am confident that SB 9 could be modified to permit this option. It is a win-win situation.


Posted by ReginaR
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 6, 2022 at 8:42 am

ReginaR is a registered user.

This is hilarious. Atherton deserves this. I am a fifty year resident. Yes, FIFTY. I am truly disgusted each and every day with what the town currently allows in the way of construction. The town has never looked worse. Day Workers, Taco Trucks, Heavy Equipment Dumped for weeks on end (which violates town ordinances) all to satisfy some gross desire to generate revenue while punishing the existing resident with lack of concern or code enforcement? I’m sure a lot of these same “outraged” people have paid for projects that have ruined the quality of life for their neighbors, torn up town streets, created traffic hazards for children, animals and the elderly, and stressed our infrastructure. Now they want to complain? Boo-hoo. I have no sympathy. TOA doesn’t, and never has cared for it’s residents.


Posted by editoratlarge
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2022 at 11:07 am

editoratlarge is a registered user.

“Why doesn't the Town float a $10 million tax exempt bond and use the proceeds to buy lower cost, high development density land in nearby communities …”
Yes because people in Atherton deserve special treatment and people in other communities will gratefully lap up this generous idea because we do not care about open space.
The entitlement and arrogance is profound.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 6, 2022 at 11:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What is the problem?

Atherton and the developer would simply be using land that is already zoned for high density housing and benefiting the community in which the housing is located with property taxes from the new homes as well as adding to their housing stock. Lots of housing agencies do exactly the same thing.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Parent is a registered user.

"I am confident that SB 9 could be modified to permit this option. It is a win-win situation."

Comical.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 6, 2022 at 4:32 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Peter's idea is a good example of out-of-the-box thinking that is required here. If for whatever reason it doesn't work, Atherton should resort to building on Holbrook-Palmer park.


Posted by editoratlarge
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2022 at 5:17 pm

editoratlarge is a registered user.

Just curious - Where are these towns on the Peninsula with land “already designated for high-density housing” just waiting to be developed? This is so myopic. EVERY community on the Peninsula is struggling with this same problem of how to accommodate the state’s new housing requirements; it is not unique to Atherton.


Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 6, 2022 at 5:49 pm

Fed Up is a registered user.

Kudos to Atherton residents for pushing back on state mandates that are based on outdated data. Maybe all ideas aren’t possible but your creativity is inspiring. Menlo Park city council has just rolled over and approved housing at an alarming rate without any plan for increased access to highways. The latest development at SRI is being planned before the effects of the 2 massive developments on El Camino have even been seen. Not one city council member will even entertain the fact that the state mandates are unreasonable. I hope Atherton can show MP the way!


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 6, 2022 at 6:35 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

Okay, I was away working so that I can earn enough money to pay your portion of the property tax a la the prop 13 tax scam the boomers foisted on the young families and then they NIMBYed against new housing to artificially prop up their home values.

And you know what, we would rather have businesses be exempt from prop 13 than the homeowning, land squatting gentry. Because a business never showed up to these zoning board meetings to protest against dense climate responsible housing but the grandmas show up in droves without fail every time that is proposed.

That is going to change. Grandmas have done enough damage. NIMBYism will cost. Prop 13 repeal will happen. Grandmas can afford to pay their share of the tax from the multi-million dollar in equity they gained squatting on land and NIMBYing against new housing.

And grandmas do fine in the other 49 states without this tax scam.

A ballot measure that repeals prop 13 over time while using those tax savings to offer tax credits to homebuilders that build climate responsible communities would be nice. And that day is not far when that will become a reality.

The NIMBYs have caused enough misery, homelessness and segregation. We are not going to stand for that anymore.

SB-9 and SB-10 are a great start but they don't go far enough. A million more dense climate responsible homes all over the bay area soon. And then a million more after that until a barista can afford a decent 1-bed apartment of her own.

Don't like it? Sell and move. Cities will evolve like cities have done throughout history.


Posted by Janet Chen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 6, 2022 at 6:39 pm

Janet Chen is a registered user.

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2022 at 12:36 am

Jon is a registered user.

Geeze. Add 1 million people to the Bay Area? Let's not. It's 7000 square miles in size, so that wouldn't lead to dense housing by any measure. Karens need to be more specific. No sense of scale. Atherton is 5 out of those 7000 square miles, so that would be about double what the RHNA number currently is.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 7, 2022 at 6:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Having lived in Lindenwood for almost 40 years before downsizing to a townhouse in Park Forest I suggest that if every tenth current single family parcel in Atherton were to be converted to a four townhouse cluster that the new housing requirement would be easily met, that most Athertonians would see little difference in their day to day life and that the level of community involvement would dramatically increase. The current large lot sizes, walls and gates do not facilitate neighborly interaction and/or community involvement. A four townhouse cluster would have a smaller footprint than the footprint of most new single family construction in Atherton. And the land acquisition cost per individual townhome would be 1/4 that of the land acquisition cost of a single family home. For comparison over 30 Park Forest townhomes sit on about 2 acres of land of which one acre is shared open space - or about 4 times the density of the proposed 4 townhouse per acre Atherton clusters.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 7, 2022 at 8:16 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Janet Chen says: "And grandmas do fine in the other 49 states without this tax scam."

But the other 49 states don't have the highest income tax rate in the United States, like California does.

It's a bit like arguing "bring income tax rates up to what they were in the 1950s! 91%! People did fine then!" but not mentioning that today's deduction scheme is FAR more restrictive than what it was then, resulting in the same average effective tax rate of about 42%.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 7, 2022 at 8:56 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Janet:

I'm sorry, but you are clueless to the realities of what you are suggesting. Increase the density 10 fold. Where is the water for those folks going to come from? Where is the power for an already overtaxed electric grid going to come from? How is the added power going to be generated and where? Current power levels are provided at a minimum of 35% by burning natural gas, sometimes up to 45% depending on time of year and weather. Who is going to pay for these densities to be built? The cost of building high rises is very expensive. The densities you are suggesting will require them. If the land cost and construction costs remain as they are nothing you build will be "affordable". Affordability in this area is a myth and a lie. It is not obtainable without government subsidies. The only way those subsidies get provided is by raising taxes in a state that already has one of the highest tax rates in the nation. Not going to happen.

And the reason businesses are not appearing at council meetings and other places to speak against prop 13 repeal is that they don't have to. They have large amounts of money they give to politicians to get their concerns across.

You go on angrily believing everything you think and the rest of us will go on living in reality.


Posted by Betsy Roble
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 7, 2022 at 9:20 am

Betsy Roble is a registered user.

Janet,

Comrade, please...

Your 'arguments' are rather childish (at best) and do not offer any other alternative proposal beyond 'burn-it-to-the-ground' protest chants which are scoffed at - publicly.

"bankrupt a few of these cities..." Have you thought through the impact to said cities and the ability to deliver basic services/operations - let alone the employees who work for the cities?

"We are not going to subsidize your sprawl". I am fairly confident in saying that the urban sprawl in Atherton/MP/PA has already been completed, so I'm not sure how your rhetorical 'we' are subsidizing anything.

"...economy destroying NIMBYs". The economy in the local are is doing quite well and it doesn't take much more than simple research to understand this, but perhaps not to the mind of an anarchist/socialist/communist - but there are many opportunities to live in those countries if one so chooses; but we choose to live in this country.

The NIMBY's which you vilify employ more people and pay/contribute more to local, state, and federal taxes, than any other segment of the population.

Das vadanya comrade. See you in Venezuela where everything is paradise - or perhaps Ukraine, where I understand that there is a need for high density housing and your concerns are at the forefront of importance.


Posted by Carol Scheufele
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2022 at 10:32 am

Carol Scheufele is a registered user.

When I was a student in Irvine I remember driving past these huge estate houses (courtesy of the Irvine Company), but if you looked closely you would see that in actuality they were multi-unit housing under one roof. If you had any place to build something along this line, I think it would not look out of place, but price as always is the big sticking point.


Posted by Retired Realtor
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 7, 2022 at 11:25 am

Retired Realtor is a registered user.

Is Janet Chen a bot??


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 7, 2022 at 11:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Imagine that the Town buys a Atherton parcel that has an older home that would surely be torn down and replaced by a much larger home.

The Town then rezones the parcel under a new townhouse cluster zone and resells the parcel - probably for more than it cost the Town to buy it.

Having been directly involved in the purchase by the Fire District of the Atherton property next to Station 3 I know that there are long term Atherton residents who would prefer to see something else happen to their property rather than having it become a big mansion.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 7, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Parent is a registered user.

"The current large lot sizes, walls and gates do not facilitate neighborly interaction and/or community involvement."

Have you considered the concept that not everyone wants "neighborly interaction and/or community involvement." Certain people who buy or build in Atherton put up walls and gates for a reason. Who are you to judge?

If someone wants a gate or a wall I have no problem with it, they bought the parcel, they have the right to develop it however they wish, within the constraints of the building code. I bought my house for myself and my family, period. If I want community involvement there are plenty of places to go to meet that need, assuming such a need exists.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 7, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Parent is a registered user.

"Is Janet Chen a bot??"

I think she is some type of actor, designed to get a response. It's noise, she/he is just one voice, assuming the voice is real.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 7, 2022 at 2:10 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Peter says: "I know that there are long term Atherton residents who would prefer to see something else happen to their property rather than having it become a big mansion."

And what about their neighbors, who bought expensive parcels/homes with the reasonable expectation that a townhome cluster wouldn't be built next to it, decimating its value?

Parent says: "I think she is some type of actor, designed to get a response." Probably a Lindenwood resident who is trying (too hard) to call other neighbors into action.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 7, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"And what about their neighbors, who bought expensive parcels/homes with the reasonable expectation that a townhome cluster wouldn't be built next to it, decimating its value?"

As long as any zoning changes are made in accordance with State law such reasonable expectations will be disappointed. Zoning changes happen all the time - some people benefit and some people suffer. That is just the way the law works. Otherwise your concept of "reasonable expectations" would dictate that zoning never is allowed to change.


Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 7, 2022 at 2:48 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

You're confusing what's legally possible with what's in the best interests for Atherton and its residents. Re-zoning parcels just because it's legally possible will have a very significant impact on everyone's property values. Who's going to be next?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 7, 2022 at 2:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" what's in the best interests for Atherton and its residents"

Complying with the State laws that require Atherton to provide more housing would be a good start.


Posted by Carol Scheufele
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2022 at 3:53 pm

Carol Scheufele is a registered user.

Janet Chen essential says the same things in response to Vice Mayor Julie Testa’s Jun 23, 2021 online opinion piece in Pleasanton Weekly (Guest Opinion: State Legislature may soon destroy California as we ...). She dittos her remarks here, perhaps she is a bot.


Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Jon is a registered user.

There are properties in Atherton which are 5 acres in size yet only worth $12 M. Obviously the zoning is keeping the land values down. The trick of rezoning after the town purchases a property could work, but not in the other order. Rezone it for 20 units per acre and that 5 acre property would be worth $75 MIllion.

But if the trick was used and the land was acquired by a non profit in advance of a rezone, then there could be 100 units of housing just on one residential lot. The problem is that some funds have to be found to built the actual housing, to the tune of $100 MIllion for the construction.... and then they would need to be BMR units for low income residents. But this is way more feasible than if the land went for its true value of $75 MIllion.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 7, 2022 at 9:48 pm

Parent is a registered user.

"There are properties in Atherton which are 5 acres in size yet only worth $12 M."

Only is the land is on a severe slope.

A flat acre in Atherton at anything below 6M is a steal. 1.5-2 acre parcels on Atherton Avenue are going for 15M, and the houses are being demolished.

If you have any doubts, check what used to be at 210 Atherton Avenue. It sold for 15.5M, 1.8 acres. And it's gone. The house itself wasn't much, unless you're into colonials.


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 7, 2022 at 10:59 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

SB 9 is limited to areas zoned for single-family residential use, whereas SB 10 isn't restricted to any particular zoning types (although there are other qualification requirements). SB 10 authorizes the building of up to ten units per property, while SB 9 caps development at four. SB 9 requires that cities employ a ministerial rather than discretionary approval process for all proposed projects, whereas SB 10 leaves it up to individual cities to decide which approach they want to take. This leads us to one of the most critical distinctions between the two laws: SB 9 is mandatory for all California cities and municipalities, whereas SB 10 is voluntary and requires local governments to pass their own resolutions in order to adopt the plan.

Again I suggest everyone read the bills, This is only a small part of them,
Each City/Town has discretion on whether and what and where to build under SB10,
Meaning residents can give feedback before any decisions are made.
While the SB9 explanation above says 4 units, that's not necessarily correct.



Under SB9, you can only subdivide once, so you can only end up with 2 parcels with one main structure on each lot and one ADU on each lot. No Townhouses, No apt. buildings. +

There are sq. ft. restrictions, height restrictions, occupancy restrictions, setback restrictions, limits on where to build on each lot, building envelope restrictions, Tree restrictions, and more,

Developers and speculators will not be buying up a bunch of properties to build on. They are required to live in one of the new houses for at least 3 years,
Not what builders want to do.
They like to build and go on to the next one.
Please read the bills.


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 7, 2022 at 11:07 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

under SB9 the Cities/Towns have to allow a one-lot to two-lot split, with a lot of restrictions, Contact your Town for details.

under SB10, the Cities and Towns are not required to allow 10 unit per acre developments. Totally discretionary. Contact your Town for details,

or you could just read the bills,


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 7, 2022 at 11:36 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

The bill would also set forth what a local agency can and cannot require in approving the construction of 2 residential units, including, but not limited to, authorizing a local agency to impose objective zoning standards, objective subdivision standards, and objective design standards, as defined, unless those standards would have the effect of physically precluding the construction of up to 2 units or physically precluding either of the 2 units from being at least 800 square feet in floor area, prohibiting the imposition of setback requirements under certain circumstances, and setting maximum setback requirements under all other circumstances.

subdivision, zoning, and design standards are allowed by each jurisdiction as long as secondary units are at least (800) sq. ft. "not very large",
Also, the second lot under SB9 must be at least 40% of the size of the primary lot, and on and on and on .......


Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2022 at 1:48 pm

Jon is a registered user.

SB9 regulates single family home construction even where there is only a single unit. The language used is "up to 2 units" which HCD has ruled covers simple remodels which do not increase the number of units.

Under a lot split situation, the language is also 2 Units on each resultant parcel. There is no requirement that one of them be only an ADU. There can be 4 homes built on one current parcel.

It makes very little sense to require this in Atherton where so many parcels are actually over an acre. The clumsy things is having 2 homes under one ownership, but they can be spaced by quite a bit on a half acre of land. One could imagine some legal structure set up to have separate ownership of each of those homes.

It's not going to help housing affordability--that's what one can say about SB9. Consider how one would value a new home in Atherton built on 1/2 acre of land split off under SB9. I would argue that this home would be worth more than a similar sized older home with its own full acre of land.


Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2022 at 3:30 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

As usual Atherton Atherton excels both at embarrassing itself and not caring. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 8, 2022 at 4:42 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

"It makes very little sense to require this in Atherton where so many parcels are actually over an acre. The clumsy things is having 2 homes under one ownership, but they can be spaced by quite a bit on a half acre of land. One could imagine some legal structure set up to have separate ownership of each of those homes".

No weird ownership plans, The primary and the secondary units must be owned by the same entity.

So while you can build up to 4 structures. "Call them what you want", primary/ADU? whatever,

You will only have 2 parcels, 2 owners

Check with your City for details on what and where you can build, Not as easy as some people are implying,


Posted by Matt
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on May 9, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Matt is a registered user.

There's an interesting article today that SB-9 based permitting applications are starting to come into Atherton planning office. I guess not all Atherton residents want the town to fight.

I gotta say some of the hate filled invicteves about state mandates are laughable. Our state mandates brought about some of the best energy efficiency gains ever. Our state mandates mean that building codes result in earthquake tolerant construction. Our state mandates are what made most fuel efficient cars a reality.

Change is hard. Places like Atherton, or Woodside where I live, have fought change for a very long time. Eventually something has to give.


Posted by Tecsi
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 11, 2022 at 1:27 pm

Tecsi is a registered user.

We get the results we vote for.

As a Democrat, I observe that our near-universal Dem Bay Area representatives are largely part of a CA Democrat cabal, where voting with party leadership is essential for career advancement.

We need independent-thinking representatives, be they Dem, Rep or Ind.


Posted by Tecsi
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 11, 2022 at 3:08 pm

Tecsi is a registered user.

@Janet Chen.
Yes, we could certainly densify to any level we want to. These are choices, not natural laws.

We need to learn what current residents want. How can we best learn this? What about cities surveying their residents I’ve the web?

Our housing challenge is because we have, and continue, to allow tech grow in just one area. We can continue down this path and densify; we could also consider regionalizing beyond just Silicon Valley. 93% of CA is not zoned for housing, so we have a lot of space to build the types of homes people want, at a much more affordable price.


Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 11, 2022 at 6:44 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

Before everyone panics,

Out of over 8,000 single-family properties in Menlo Park there has been a grand total of 1 albeit incomplete SB9 application Citywide in the first 3 1/2 months of this year.

This is probably typical of most Ca. Cities


Posted by Law ‘n Order
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 11, 2022 at 9:00 pm

Law ‘n Order is a registered user.

AirB&B predicting future work forces will not be in ‘centralized locations; the day of the office is dead! Future talent is located everywhere not just in identifiable locales. The Tech Bay Area WILL dissolve. Commercial tech real estate will no longer be viable. Think future folks. The handwriting is ‘on the wall’ … but the wall will not soon be on the Peninsula. And maybe we’ll regain our sense of clam!


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