June 12, 2021

Palo Alto Online: North Ventura Planning Area Alternatives (Invest & Innovate Blog)


SV@Home supports the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission’s recommended Alternative 3B for the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan. Close to services, jobs, and transit, North Ventura offers one of Palo Alto’s best opportunities to build enough homes for residents and fulfil its housing obligations in the region. Of the available alternatives, 3B plans for the most homes, the most affordable homes, the most open space, and is financially feasible without public subsidy. Steve Levy is a prominent local economist and friend of SV@Home.

BY: Steve Levy┃Palo Alto Online
PUBLISHED:  June 12, 2021

Dear Mayor DuBois and council members,

The North Ventura planning area checks all the boxes as a great site for housing.

  • close to services, shopping and restaurants
  • close to thousands of jobs
  • close to CalTrain and VTA ECR routes
  • Provides multiple opportunities for reducing car use including for residents who own cars

Our PTC has recommended alternative 3B for your approval. Among the alternatives considered

  • 3B has the most housing
  • 3B has the most units reserved for low/moderate income residents
  • 3B has the most open space
  • And 3B is financially feasible without public subsidy

Even if council is successful in a RHNA appeal, we will still face 5,000+ units as a goal when have been unable to meet our current 2,000 unit goal. Alternative 3B would be one giant step forward. If I were voting, I would vote to make modest increases in height and density and add other incentives to increase the number of units even more but I am glad to the support the PTC recommendation.

Alternative 3B follows the example of successful efforts to expand housing and housing affordability in neighboring cities and has been applied with great success by SV@Home, our leading advocate for housing affordability. Projects that bring hundreds and thousands of units for low and moderate income residents have been approved as part of large feasible mixed use projects that include commercial development in Mountain View, San Jose and Redwood City. It is a practical and effective model.

My understanding under our state housing laws is that local control means that Palo Alto gets to choose the best way to meet our housing goals and does not mean we get to ignore them without serious consequences. Donald Trump has excited many of his voters by telling them what they want to hear and believe despite that it is in conflict with reality and the law.

I hope council does not follow that example with regard to housing in Palo Alto.

Stephen Levy