Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Palo Alto Stalls on Controversial Measure to Cap Commercial Development

In some places, it might be hard to imagine even considering a cap on the development of commercial development. Palo Alto, home to Stanford University and a hot bed of California's tech industry, did just that in City Council earlier this week.
March 4, 2015, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"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."

The Peninsula Transportation Alternatives blog and Nathan Donato-Weinstein also provided coverage of the proposal in the days leading up to Monday's hearing.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in Palo Alto Weekly
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email