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637My letter in Sat's WSJ where I mention a Palo Alto housing decision

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  • Irvin Dawid
    Apr 14, 2012
      My letter is in response to:

      Also available at: 
      "Planners Driving Californians Out Of State"

      Letters in response published Sat., April 14: 
      "Demographics Limit Suburbs More Than Planning Does"
      (Three excellent letters were published, mine is the second. Below it is a letter from an urban studies undergrad' at Stanford!)

      "According to data from the U.S. Census, for the first time urban America is growing faster that exurban areas. Demographers provide many reasons for the new-found preference for a more urban setting, from high gas prices to a walkable downtown.

      That said, it is clear that Californians are flocking out of state in search of more affordable housing. To understand why there is a shortage of housing, I invite Mr. Cox to attend city council meetings where residential developments are regularly downsized or eliminated because of current residents concerns about parking, traffic or crowded schools.

      Four blocks from my apartment a developer proposed a five-story mixed-use building opposite the Caltrain station, the second busiest on the San Jose to San Francisco commuter line. Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a business group, and the Sierra Club both supported the zoning that allowed the denser development. But after hearing from neighbors who were concerned about overflow parking, the Palo Alto City Council eliminated the top residential floor and asked the developer to subsidize more free parking for the downtown.

      So don't blame regional planners who are trying to accommodate the additional growth. And certainly don't attribute out-migration to a preference for large homes with picket fences. Just attend a city council meeting and see how good projects are downsized because of local politics.

      Irvin Dawid

      Here's an article refuting Cox's piece that appeared in The New Republic:
      "Low-Density Suburbs Are Not Free-Market Capitalism"
      Jonathan Rothwell
      April 10, 2012 |