Palo Alto Stalls on Controversial Measure to Cap Commercial Development
"Palo Alto's polarizing debate over office growth hit a stalemate Monday night when a deeply divided City Council agonized over the topic for more than four hours before deciding not to move ahead with any dramatic development restrictions just yet," reports Gennady Sheynar.
The proposal would cap commercial development in the city at an annual limit of 35,000 to 50,000 square feet of new office space every year. The motivation behind the law, naturally, concerns parking and traffic. The cap would be added to an update of the city's Comprehensive Plan.
Opponents of the plan, which include several councilmembers and the city's Chamber of Commerce, "urged the council not to move ahead with a building restriction, which they argued would threaten downtown's vitality without achieving anything useful," according to Sheynar.
"[Palo Alto City Councilmember Marc] Berman ticked off a list of initiatives that the city is already pursuing to address these issues, which include a new downtown Residential Parking Permit Program that would restrict the amount of time employees can park in residential areas; a new Transportation Management Association that would offer businesses incentives to switch from cars to other modes of transportation; and an expansion of the city's shuttle system."