Town Square

Post a New Topic

Approving office space increases housing demand.

Original post made by Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks, on Aug 12, 2022

I had a long discussion with a former colleague recently.

The irony is that if you want to ameliorate (that's a 25 cent word; I get paid to use words like that) housing 'crises', Menlo Park should stop approving office space, which increases housing demand. It's that simple.
Otherwise, the 'housing crisis' is a perpetual moving target.

But this isn't only a Menlo Park issue: It's a regional issue. Our cities, work and housing are spread out around the Bay Area.

Going back to Flood School / Ravenswood housing. If they want to be in the housing biz, an exercise they should take a blank sheet of paper and write down criteria for evictions. Because they will also be in the eviction business occasionally.





Comments (5)

Posted by Iris
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 20, 2022 at 8:10 am

Iris is a registered user.

@Stuart "Menlo Park should stop approving office space, which increases housing demand. It's that simple.
Otherwise, the 'housing crisis' is a perpetual moving target.
But this isn't only a Menlo Park issue: It's a regional issue."

You said it! Menlo Park has to stop approving additional office space yet is about to do that with Willow Village, SRI, USGS and more. It will take guts to say "No" to unmitigated new housing demand.
And it will take guts to act as leaders for the same at the regional level.


Posted by Private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Aug 23, 2022 at 1:58 pm

Private citizen is a registered user.


RWCSD is supposed to be in the education business. Why are they in the landlord business? How is that helping end home insecurity for their employees? Is it even legal?
If RWCSD and their supporters on our city council were even vaguely interested in being helpful, they would be offering school employees who qualify for housing assistance a clear path to ownership of these units, rather than becoming their landlord.
Does anyone in charge at RWCSD have an estimate of how many school district employees actually meet the stringent qualifications for affordable housing? Don’t most teachers make too much money to qualify? Positioning this as a relief project for teachers seems disingenuous at best.

What is the basis for the claim that a 90 unit complex is required? Has RWCSD identified 90 school district employee families who qualify to occupy the units? It should be easy to figure that out now.

So what’s the driving need to put a grossly outsized project in the middle of a group of small, residential neighborhoods? —Not to mention potentially disturbing the residents of Haven House to provide more access to the residents of the development. Does anyone see the irony here?

And how long will it be before said affordable housing will be converted into housing for highly paid workers and office space?

But most of all, why is our city council pushing for this, or throwing up their hands in submission rather than actively proposing right-sizing this hulk of development while they still can?

The absence of negotiation and discussion from all sides is alarming.

Personally, I’m not certain about the initiative that will be added to the ballot by my neighbors. I’m not confident that it will have the intended impact. But if our council cannot or will not do the work it takes to make the development a ‘go’ both for the school district and the existing residents of our neighborhoods, I will support the initiative.


Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 23, 2022 at 7:15 pm

PH is a registered user.

@PrivateCitizen "... But if our council cannot or will not do the work it takes to make the development a ‘go’ both for the school district and the existing residents of our neighborhoods, I will support the initiative"

That is precisely why the Initiative is needed. To check council.

I support both the Initiative and the Flood Project if negotiated and populated as advertised. I'm a NIMBY, but I'm not mean, and I'm not dumb.

The major reason for the Initiative is the State of California puts pressure on cities to build "affordable" housing in all neighborhoods by forcing them to zone at up to 30 du/acre FOR MARKET RATE HOUSING. There is no zoning category for "affordable." The State HCD guarantees it will accept Housing Elements with such 30du/acre zoning as "acceptable for very low income housing" even when it gets built out as luxury housing which is what happens in Menlo Park, (and PV, and Atherton, and ....)

Zone for "affordable". Build dense luxury. Look the other way.

Bait and switch. Luxury (tech) housing is built under the pretense of building "affordable" housing.

*That* I do NOT support. Tech workers, most of whom now make much more than I ever made, can do what I did. Save your money and buy in at market.

YIMBYs? Not so smart.

Unfortunately, your local government of "Menlo Together" YIMBY's has drunk the policy kool-aid and either cannot see through it or will not see through it.

The Initiative gives final zoning power back to voters who are tethered to reality and can distinguish between true BMR projects and luxury projects produced under the bait and switch State pressure.

You sound like one of those voters.


Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 4, 2022 at 11:19 am

PH is a registered user.

Here's the problem in one picture: Web Link

The big blue circle on Bayfront shows a job density of > 10,000 sq mile.

-Only about %5 of those employees live in Menlo Park.
-The State now pressures cities to build housing proportionate with its job densities.

If Menlo Park continues to create housing demand it must swallow housing supply.


Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 4, 2022 at 2:58 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.



Underlying the template was the establishment of 5 council districts east to west. Each district has one council member, but not all districts are equal in terms of vision of "quality of life". I'd guess that each district has its own image of what the concept of affordable housing entails, quality of life, location, density and proximity.

While this guaranteed each district could elect a local council member, this weakens any one district's representative to do anything.

The best effect of all this 'housing' is the French saying, "Hoisted by their own petard." Go look it up.

I have other language I could use, but I won't.


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

Email:


Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

James Beard Award winning chef Traci Des Jardins' restaurant el Alto abruptly closes its doors in Los Altos months after highly anticipated opening
By The Peninsula Foodist | 14 comments | 9,051 views

Palo Alto's bold proposal to jumpstart home electrification
By Sherry Listgarten | 21 comments | 5,243 views

San Bruno Wins Food Trend Craze with First Plant-Based Gas Mart
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 2,795 views

How Much Time do You Spend Outdoors?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,141 views

Is Palo Alto Utilities ready for our increasing demand for more electricity?
By Diana Diamond | 8 comments | 2,047 views