Our Mission and Vision for Our Community

Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ)

Who We Are:

We are a Citywide organization of residents concerned for our City’s future. We are actively involved in issues that are in agreement with our Principles and Goals as we strive to keep Palo Alto a unique place for raising families and fostering business innovation.

Our Mission:

Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ) is a grass roots, political action committee dedicated to a high quality of life for Palo Alto residents and the innovative spirit that has made Palo Alto unique.  We are for sensible land use planning and development and will continue to be advocates for mitigating the negative impacts of excessive development.

Our Vision:

We envision a dynamic Palo Alto that remains a family-oriented community with excellent schools, infrastructure and community services. Technology and business innovation are part of Palo Alto’s heritage and should be fostered.  We envision a City that is not overwhelmed by excessive development. We value diversity, our historic resources, our neighborhoods, parks and open spaces, and support projects that enhance our quality of life

Our Principles:

  • Moderate the rate of non-residential development recognizing that the crisis caused by excessive development, with its major byproducts of congestion, traffic and intrusive parking, is overwhelming the City.
  • Work to improve existing problems of excessive traffic, neighborhood parking, pollution, and safety.
  • Require the City to thoroughly evaluate and take into consideration the overall impacts of any proposed new developments and encourage the adoption of appropriate mitigation.
  • Require the City to (a) institute measurement systems that gather valid, real-time, ongoing data to help make informed decisions and (b) monitor the impacts of those decisions over time.
  • Require transparent and objective processes from City government.  Require decisions at all levels of City government to effectively take into account residents’ concerns.
  • Emphasize moderate and below market rate housing for those who serve our community.
  • Support decisions that improve and protect our excellent schools at all levels.
  • Preserve and expand our tree canopy, gardens, parks, and open spaces.
  • Stop development giveaways, including up-zoning and “public benefits” that turn out not to be “public benefits” at all.
  • Ensure that businesses pay their fair share of the cost of maintaining Palo Alto’s infrastructure and City services.
  • Support other like-minded citizen groups.
  • Endorse and support candidates for public office who share our Principles and Goals.

Our Goals:

1.Ensure that the pace of development does not outstrip our infrastructure, schools and City services, or compromise the beauty and character of our City.

  • Zoning limits should be viewed as the maximum attainable; not as a starting point for developers to negotiate with the City.
  • Sensible long-term choices should be made that balance the intense demand for Palo Alto real estate with its finite supply.
  • New developments should be compatible with existing neighborhoods.
  • New developments must take into consideration the cumulative effects of previously approved projects as well as projects under consideration or in the pipeline at the same time, including with respect to congestion, traffic, parking (particularly in adjacent neighborhoods), aesthetics, and the effects on Palo Alto’s schools
  • Technology should be used to gather continuous and ongoing traffic and parking data to manage and facilitate decision-making
  • Developments must not drive out community-serving retail and personal services.
  • New developments should be fully parked
  • The fifty-foot height limit must be maintained.

2.Encourage Housing that Allows for a Diverse Economic Population

  • Encourage zoning/building regulations to increase below market rate housing required for a diverse and healthy socio-economic mix of residents.
  • Support measures that prevent displacement of existing moderate and low income residents/families.
  • Encourage development of housing that provides for a higher proportion of people who serve our community, for example teachers, City staff, first responders, service workers.
  • Housing fees must be imposed on new commercial development in amounts substantially higher than housing fees imposed on new housing development.  Such fees, when aggregated with housing fees from other commercial and residential projects, should enable the acquisition or development of a significant number of below market rate housing units as soon as possible to more effectively supplement Palo Alto’s stock of below market rate housing units.
  • Encourage the enforcement of all zoning regulations and design guidelines in a consistent and predictable manner.

3.Maintain our Community as a Great Place to Live

  • Improve existing problems of traffic, neighborhood parking, pollution and safety to the fullest extent possible.
  • Implement Residential Parking Permit Programs (RPPP) as requested by neighborhoods. Neighborhoods should never be viewed as a parking lot for new commercial development.
  • Protect our community-serving retail and personal services.
  • Expand amenities and services to reflect the growing percentage of seniors in our population.
  • Protect and expand our tree canopy, gardens, parks, and open spaces.
  • Protect existing parkland, including protecting the Baylands from development, and seek to have more dedicated open space.
  • Ensure that new residential developments provide adequate open space commensurate with the increased number and category of residents.