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Critique: Palo Alto’s Housing Element and RHNA wrestling

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  • steveraneyc21
    The main insights in this critique come from an anonymous source. The fact that staff got Council to adopt RHNA numbers (and avoid a lawsuit for an
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 21, 2012
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      The main insights in this critique come from an anonymous source.

      The fact that staff got Council to adopt RHNA numbers (and avoid a lawsuit for an out-of-compliance housing element) deserves an A.

      Features of the plan: Targets major transportation hubs for growth. Protects single-family residential neighborhoods. Probably break the 50' limit. Smaller units and senior housing will yield fewer kids resulting in a larger positive fiscal new housing impact from high property taxes with low service draw. Compatible with SB375 SCS.

      Council is majority slow-growth and is infamous for factually-challenged anti-RHNA and anti-ABAG comments. Staff fought an uphill battle that seemed doomed, but eventually reversed Council's anti-climate and "I've got mine, you can't have yours" proclivities. During the process, it appeared that haphazard growth would occur, as there did not seem to be a coherent, overarching vision. It now seems as though staff may have had a vision the entire time, they just couldn't air it out in public.

      The process deserves an F for tardiness, although staff might have cleverly employed some schedule brinksmanship to win the day. The adoption of a Housing Element where the total housing opportunities identified do not add up to the RHNA goal, with the instigation of an additional study to find new housing sites is appallingly slow.

      Overall, a much, much better-than-expected outcome, although still nothing to brag about.

      See July 13 Weakly: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=17193

      What do you think?
    • Irvin Dawid
      Steve, The article is dated - July 13 I m not sure the official housing element has been submitted. The fact that we may be the only city not to submit a
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 21, 2012
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        Steve,
        The article is dated - July  13
        I'm not sure the official housing element has been submitted.
        The fact that we may be the only city not to submit a housing element to Housing and Community Development speaks for itself.

        Jeff, do you know if the official element has been submitted?

        I think the 'highrise' by the train station, having no housing, also speaks for itself.
        Irv

        Regards,

        Irvin Dawid
        irvindawid@...
        753 Alma St., #126, Palo Alto, CA  94301
        650-283-6534


        On Sep 21, 2012, at 12:53 PM, steveraneyc21 wrote:

         

        The main insights in this critique come from an anonymous source.

        The fact that staff got Council to adopt RHNA numbers (and avoid a lawsuit for an out-of-compliance housing element) deserves an A.

        Features of the plan: Targets major transportation hubs for growth. Protects single-family residential neighborhoods. Probably break the 50' limit. Smaller units and senior housing will yield fewer kids resulting in a larger positive fiscal new housing impact from high property taxes with low service draw. Compatible with SB375 SCS.

        Council is majority slow-growth and is infamous for factually-challenged anti-RHNA and anti-ABAG comments. Staff fought an uphill battle that seemed doomed, but eventually reversed Council's anti-climate and "I've got mine, you can't have yours" proclivities. During the process, it appeared that haphazard growth would occur, as there did not seem to be a coherent, overarching vision. It now seems as though staff may have had a vision the entire time, they just couldn't air it out in public.

        The process deserves an F for tardiness, although staff might have cleverly employed some schedule brinksmanship to win the day. The adoption of a Housing Element where the total housing opportunities identified do not add up to the RHNA goal, with the instigation of an additional study to find new housing sites is appallingly slow.

        Overall, a much, much better-than-expected outcome, although still nothing to brag about.

        See July 13 Weakly: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=17193

        What do you think?


      • steveraneyc21
        Just to attempt to (hopefully accurately) relay some off-line communications between Irvin and myself on this topic: 1. Recent approvals for new office towers
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 22, 2012
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          Just to attempt to (hopefully accurately) relay some off-line communications between Irvin and myself on this topic:

          1. Recent approvals for new office towers near train stations represent lost opportunities to maximize dense, walkable housing near train stations to meet RHNA. A more prudent RHNA-focused course of action is for the city to proactively up-zone ripe-for-redevelopment TOD parcels for dense residential.

          2. The 2007-2014 Housing Element has been submitted to the state for adoption. See July 13 Weakly, "The council's decision to forward the Housing Element to the state will now prompt a dialogue between city and state officials about the policies in the document. Once the state signs off, the council can adopt it and integrate it into its Comprehensive Plan, the city's official land-use bible."

          3. For the much larger 2014-2021 RHNA allocation, Council formed a Regional Housing Mandate Committee to caterwaul.


          --- In ALPA_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Irvin Dawid <irvindawid@...> wrote:
          >
          > Steve,
          > The article is dated - July 13
          > I'm not sure the official housing element has been submitted.
          > The fact that we may be the only city not to submit a housing element to Housing and Community Development speaks for itself.
          >
          > Jeff, do you know if the official element has been submitted?
          >
          > I think the 'highrise' by the train station, having no housing, also speaks for itself.
          > Irv
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Irvin Dawid
          > irvindawid@...
          > 753 Alma St., #126, Palo Alto, CA 94301
          > 650-283-6534
          >
          >
          > On Sep 21, 2012, at 12:53 PM, steveraneyc21 wrote:
          >
          > > The main insights in this critique come from an anonymous source.
          > >
          > > The fact that staff got Council to adopt RHNA numbers (and avoid a lawsuit for an out-of-compliance housing element) deserves an A.
          > >
          > > Features of the plan: Targets major transportation hubs for growth. Protects single-family residential neighborhoods. Probably break the 50' limit. Smaller units and senior housing will yield fewer kids resulting in a larger positive fiscal new housing impact from high property taxes with low service draw. Compatible with SB375 SCS.
          > >
          > > Council is majority slow-growth and is infamous for factually-challenged anti-RHNA and anti-ABAG comments. Staff fought an uphill battle that seemed doomed, but eventually reversed Council's anti-climate and "I've got mine, you can't have yours" proclivities. During the process, it appeared that haphazard growth would occur, as there did not seem to be a coherent, overarching vision. It now seems as though staff may have had a vision the entire time, they just couldn't air it out in public.
          > >
          > > The process deserves an F for tardiness, although staff might have cleverly employed some schedule brinksmanship to win the day. The adoption of a Housing Element where the total housing opportunities identified do not add up to the RHNA goal, with the instigation of an additional study to find new housing sites is appallingly slow.
          > >
          > > Overall, a much, much better-than-expected outcome, although still nothing to brag about.
          > >
          > > See July 13 Weakly: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=17193
          > >
          > > What do you think?
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Irvin Dawid
          Steve, The fact that the highrise has no housing, is a TOD sans housing depending on design, also goes to the jobs-housing ratio that proves, from a
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 22, 2012
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            Steve,
            The fact that the 'highrise' has no housing, is a TOD sans housing depending on design, also goes to the "jobs-housing" ratio that proves, from a certain perspective, that ABAG was right - PA goes all out for commercial but neglects its housing responsibility.
            I see from today's Daily News that we may vote on it - without the housing component I believe this development is unsupportable.

            What do others think?

            Irvin Dawid
            753 Alma St., #126, Palo Alto, CA  94301
            650-283-6534 (cell)



            On Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM, steveraneyc21 <cities21@...> wrote:
             

            Just to attempt to (hopefully accurately) relay some off-line communications between Irvin and myself on this topic:

            1. Recent approvals for new office towers near train stations represent lost opportunities to maximize dense, walkable housing near train stations to meet RHNA. A more prudent RHNA-focused course of action is for the city to proactively up-zone ripe-for-redevelopment TOD parcels for dense residential.

            2. The 2007-2014 Housing Element has been submitted to the state for adoption. See July 13 Weakly, "The council's decision to forward the Housing Element to the state will now prompt a dialogue between city and state officials about the policies in the document. Once the state signs off, the council can adopt it and integrate it into its Comprehensive Plan, the city's official land-use bible."

            3. For the much larger 2014-2021 RHNA allocation, Council formed a Regional Housing Mandate Committee to caterwaul.

            --- In ALPA_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Irvin Dawid <irvindawid@...> wrote:
            >
            > Steve,
            > The article is dated - July 13
            > I'm not sure the official housing element has been submitted.
            > The fact that we may be the only city not to submit a housing element to Housing and Community Development speaks for itself.
            >
            > Jeff, do you know if the official element has been submitted?
            >
            > I think the 'highrise' by the train station, having no housing, also speaks for itself.
            > Irv
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Irvin Dawid
            > irvindawid@...
            > 753 Alma St., #126, Palo Alto, CA 94301
            > 650-283-6534
            >
            >
            > On Sep 21, 2012, at 12:53 PM, steveraneyc21 wrote:
            >
            > > The main insights in this critique come from an anonymous source.
            > >
            > > The fact that staff got Council to adopt RHNA numbers (and avoid a lawsuit for an out-of-compliance housing element) deserves an A.
            > >
            > > Features of the plan: Targets major transportation hubs for growth. Protects single-family residential neighborhoods. Probably break the 50' limit. Smaller units and senior housing will yield fewer kids resulting in a larger positive fiscal new housing impact from high property taxes with low service draw. Compatible with SB375 SCS.
            > >
            > > Council is majority slow-growth and is infamous for factually-challenged anti-RHNA and anti-ABAG comments. Staff fought an uphill battle that seemed doomed, but eventually reversed Council's anti-climate and "I've got mine, you can't have yours" proclivities. During the process, it appeared that haphazard growth would occur, as there did not seem to be a coherent, overarching vision. It now seems as though staff may have had a vision the entire time, they just couldn't air it out in public.
            > >
            > > The process deserves an F for tardiness, although staff might have cleverly employed some schedule brinksmanship to win the day. The adoption of a Housing Element where the total housing opportunities identified do not add up to the RHNA goal, with the instigation of an additional study to find new housing sites is appallingly slow.
            > >
            > > Overall, a much, much better-than-expected outcome, although still nothing to brag about.
            > >
            > > See July 13 Weakly: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=17193
            > >
            > > What do you think?
            > >
            > >
            >


          • Jeffrey Rensch
            Irv - if this gets approved, the 50 ft height limit is history, which would ultimately be good news for housing. Jeff
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 22, 2012
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              Irv - if this gets approved, the 50 ft height limit is history, which would ultimately be good news for housing.
               Jeff

              On Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM, Irvin Dawid <irvindawid@...> wrote:
              Steve,
              The fact that the 'highrise' has no housing, is a TOD sans housing depending on design, also goes to the "jobs-housing" ratio that proves, from a certain perspective, that ABAG was right - PA goes all out for commercial but neglects its housing responsibility.
              I see from today's Daily News that we may vote on it - without the housing component I believe this development is unsupportable.

              What do others think?

              Irvin Dawid

              753 Alma St., #126, Palo Alto, CA  94301
              650-283-6534 (cell)



              On Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM, steveraneyc21 <cities21@...> wrote:
               

              Just to attempt to (hopefully accurately) relay some off-line communications between Irvin and myself on this topic:

              1. Recent approvals for new office towers near train stations represent lost opportunities to maximize dense, walkable housing near train stations to meet RHNA. A more prudent RHNA-focused course of action is for the city to proactively up-zone ripe-for-redevelopment TOD parcels for dense residential.

              2. The 2007-2014 Housing Element has been submitted to the state for adoption. See July 13 Weakly, "The council's decision to forward the Housing Element to the state will now prompt a dialogue between city and state officials about the policies in the document. Once the state signs off, the council can adopt it and integrate it into its Comprehensive Plan, the city's official land-use bible."

              3. For the much larger 2014-2021 RHNA allocation, Council formed a Regional Housing Mandate Committee to caterwaul.

              --- In ALPA_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Irvin Dawid <irvindawid@...> wrote:
              >
              > Steve,
              > The article is dated - July 13
              > I'm not sure the official housing element has been submitted.
              > The fact that we may be the only city not to submit a housing element to Housing and Community Development speaks for itself.
              >
              > Jeff, do you know if the official element has been submitted?
              >
              > I think the 'highrise' by the train station, having no housing, also speaks for itself.
              > Irv
              >
              > Regards,
              >
              > Irvin Dawid
              > irvindawid@...
              > 753 Alma St., #126, Palo Alto, CA 94301
              > 650-283-6534
              >
              >
              > On Sep 21, 2012, at 12:53 PM, steveraneyc21 wrote:
              >
              > > The main insights in this critique come from an anonymous source.
              > >
              > > The fact that staff got Council to adopt RHNA numbers (and avoid a lawsuit for an out-of-compliance housing element) deserves an A.
              > >
              > > Features of the plan: Targets major transportation hubs for growth. Protects single-family residential neighborhoods. Probably break the 50' limit. Smaller units and senior housing will yield fewer kids resulting in a larger positive fiscal new housing impact from high property taxes with low service draw. Compatible with SB375 SCS.
              > >
              > > Council is majority slow-growth and is infamous for factually-challenged anti-RHNA and anti-ABAG comments. Staff fought an uphill battle that seemed doomed, but eventually reversed Council's anti-climate and "I've got mine, you can't have yours" proclivities. During the process, it appeared that haphazard growth would occur, as there did not seem to be a coherent, overarching vision. It now seems as though staff may have had a vision the entire time, they just couldn't air it out in public.
              > >
              > > The process deserves an F for tardiness, although staff might have cleverly employed some schedule brinksmanship to win the day. The adoption of a Housing Element where the total housing opportunities identified do not add up to the RHNA goal, with the instigation of an additional study to find new housing sites is appallingly slow.
              > >
              > > Overall, a much, much better-than-expected outcome, although still nothing to brag about.
              > >
              > > See July 13 Weakly: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=17193
              > >
              > > What do you think?
              > >
              > >
              >



            • steveraneyc21
              Updated to fold in comments from 3 sources: Critique: Palo Alto s Housing Element and 2007-2014 RHNA wrestling (The main insights in this critique come from
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 25, 2012
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                Updated to fold in comments from 3 sources:

                Critique: Palo Alto's Housing Element and 2007-2014 RHNA wrestling

                (The main insights in this critique come from anonymous sources.)

                The fact that staff got Council to adopt RHNA numbers (and avoid a lawsuit for an out-of-compliance housing element) deserves an A.
                Menlo Park's rushed lawsuit settlement for their out-of-compliance housing element may have helped to motivate Palo Alto to avoid such embarrassment. (See http://www.almanacnews.com/morguepdf/2012/2012_07_11.alm.section1.pdf, Page 6).

                Features of Palo Alto's new Housing Element:
                * Targets major transportation hubs for growth.
                * Protects single-family residential neighborhoods.
                * Will probably result in the 50' building height limit being modified
                * Encourages smaller units and senior housing. These will yield fewer kids resulting in a larger positive fiscal new housing impact from high property taxes with low service draw.
                * Compatible with SB375 SCS.

                Council is majority slow-growth and is infamous for factually-challenged anti-RHNA and anti-ABAG comments. Staff fought an uphill battle that seemed doomed, but eventually reversed Council's anti-climate and "I've got mine, you can't have yours" proclivities. Local papers reinforce factually-challenged arguments, relaying false statements such as "Palo Alto is built out" as if they were true. During the process, it appeared that haphazard growth would occur, as there did not seem to be a coherent, overarching vision. It now seems as though staff may have had a vision the entire time, they just couldn't air it out in public.

                The process deserves an F for tardiness, although staff might have cleverly employed some schedule brinksmanship to win the day. The adoption of a Housing Element where the total housing opportunities identified do not add up to the RHNA goal, with the instigation of an additional study to find new housing sites is appallingly slow. With this particular Council, it is fair to contemplate conspiracy theories such as, "Council reasoned that it could continue to defer on the actual delivery of housing units by adopting the RHNA goal (while resisting housing at the project level), as opposed to risking a lawsuit that could result in Court Order to deliver a specified number of units in a specified period of time."

                Overall, the outcome avoided the embarrassment of Palo Alto being sued for an out-of-compliance housing element. Hence, a much better-than-expected outcome, although still nothing to brag about.

                Further details:

                See July 13 Weakly, "The council's decision to forward the Housing Element to the state will now prompt a dialogue between city and state officials about the policies in the document. Once the state signs off, the council can adopt it and integrate it into its Comprehensive Plan, the city's official land-use bible."
                http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=17193

                Recent approval of new office towers by Caltrain represents a lost opportunity to maximize dense, walkable housing near train stations to meet RHNA and SB375. A more prudent RHNA-focused course of action is for the city to proactively up-zone ripe-for-redevelopment parcels for denser-than-usual residential.

                For the much larger 2014-2021 RHNA allocation, Council formed a Regional Housing Mandate Committee to further caterwaul against modern regional planning methods.


                --- In ALPA_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Jeffrey Rensch <jrensch@...> wrote:
                >
                > Irv - if this gets approved, the 50 ft height limit is history, which would
                > ultimately be good news for housing.
                > Jeff
                >
                > On Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM, Irvin Dawid <irvindawid@...> wrote:
                >
                > > Steve,
                > > The fact that the 'highrise' has no housing, is a TOD sans housing
                > > depending on design, also goes to the "jobs-housing" ratio that proves,
                > > from a certain perspective, that ABAG was right - PA goes all out for
                > > commercial but neglects its housing responsibility.
                > > I see from today's Daily News that we may vote on it - without the housing
                > > component I believe this development is unsupportable.
                > >
                > > What do others think?
                > >
                > > Irvin Dawid
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