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FYI: objection to 801 Alma affordable housing - too many kids

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  • steveraneyc21
    ... From: coxbr@aol.com To: Slaurence@pausd.org Cc: planning.commission@cityofpaloalto.org Sent: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 10:43 am Subject: 801 Alma Street - Low Income
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2009
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      -----Original Message-----

       From: coxbr@...

       To: Slaurence@...

       Cc: planning.commission@...

       Sent: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 10:43 am

       Subject: 801 Alma Street - Low Income Family  Housing


       Mr. Laurence,


       I'm not sure if you remember me or not, but I was one of the parents involved in the many discussions with you regarding the addition of the kindergarten bubble class at Addison last year.  However, now I am writing about some concerns I have about a proposed low income housing development at 801 Alma Street.  I understand from Addison's Principal, John Lents, that you are still the contact person on enrollment in the district.  If I don't have that right, please let me know who is the current contact.


      I attended a Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night at City Hall about this project and voiced my concern about the projected 75 children expected to live in the low income housing units.


      My question to you is, are these additional 75 +/- children taken into account as PAUSD discusses the boundary issues related to Garland's opening?  Also, I'm curious about how you collect information about proposed family housing from the City of Palo Alto's Planning Department/Planning Commission and what is the exact communications channel between the City and PAUSD?


      I have tried to bring my concerns about all of the high density housing being built in Palo Alto to the Planning Commission, and its impact on the schools.  However, whenever I bring up the question to the Planning Commissioners or employees at the Planning Department, I tend to get the same kind of answer - - "We don't take school impact into account when we review developments because there are development fees already in place to mitigate the new housing on the schools."


      This, of course concerns me, because money isn't the only issue here.

      It's timing and the degree to which high density family housing impacts our schools.  I'm also concerned about whether the fees for these larger developments are high enough or not, and whether fees alone are the solution to a growing problem.  Lastly, from a policy standpoint, it seems that there is no policy in place in which the City of Palo Alto must communicate and negotiate with PAUSD about how the Housing Element and the city's General Plan take into account the Planning Department's actions on the schools.  As we all know, the schools are the driving force behind why most families with children want to live in Palo Alto, so it would seem a good general practice for the city to work closely with PAUSD.  And, I'm still unclear as to whether that happens or not.


      I've tried to make this rather large issue as brief as possible in this email, but would appreciate an answer to my two specific questions:


      1. Has PAUSD taken this specific low income housing project's 75 children into account when looking at current boundary changes?


      2. What is the usual form of communication between the City of Palo Alto's Planning Department/Planning Commission and PAUSD, and who are the specific people involved in those discussions?


      Thank you very much for your time.




      Rachel Cox


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