Town Hall on Housing

Hosted by Lydia Kou, former Mayor, Palo Alto. Presentations by Eric Filseth, former Mayor, Palo Alto; Michael Barnes, former Mayor, Albany; Pam Lee, Attorney, Aleshire & Wynder; Anita Enander, former Mayor, Los Altos

PASZ Alert

HCD (the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development mandated more than 6000 new housing units for Palo Alto and is requiring Palo Alto to rezone properties currently used for commercial purposes for tall, high-density housing. Hundreds of jobs and many retail businesses will be lost.

Palo Alto Mayor Assails State Housing Mandates

Palo Alto Mayor Lydia Kou took a swing on Wednesday at state housing mandates during her “State of the City” address and warned that recent laws could render the council helpless to prevent an onrush of large developments.

Four California Cities File Lawsuit to Stop SB-9

Petitioners/Plaintiffs City of Redondo Beach, City of Carson, City of Torrance, and City of Whittier bring this action to uphold the California Constitution and prevent the State of California from usurping a charter city’s land use authority, which …

California State Auditor releases scathing report on RHNA process

Report finds housing goals are not supported by evidence On March 17, Michael S. Tilden, the Acting California State Auditor, issued a blistering critique of the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and its Regional Housing Needs Assessments …

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 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.
  2. Encourage Housing that Allows for a Diverse Economic Population
  3. Maintain our Community as a Great Place to Live



EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed in the news items cited here do not necessarily represent the opinion of Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning. We try to present a balanced picture of the news on the subjects of housing and legislation.

Don’t believe state’s low-growth forecast

by Thomas D. Elias
October 11, 2023

The state Department of Finance in 2013 predicted California would have 52.7 million residents by 2060, but now figures the number will be 39.51 million, just about the same as today.
Two things you can count on when it comes to ballyhooed state forecasts on things like California’s housing and population: They’ll be incompetent and inconsistent. Usually, they will also be outdated even before they’re issued.

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Marin City residents file federal suit over housing project

October 9, 2023 | UPDATED: October 10, 2023 at 5:10 a.m.

A controversial apartment project in Marin City is facing another legal challenge. The Golden Gate Village Resident Council has filed a federal lawsuit asserting that the county, in reviewing the project at 825 Drake Ave., failed to adequately comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. The law defines procedures for environmental analysis for projects that need approval by federal agencies.

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Billionaires file legal brief attacking the unhoused in SF

OCTOBER 8, 2023

While city fails to train staff on sweeps, the people who created this crisis are asking the Supreme Court to blame the victims. San Francisco hasn’t taken any serious steps to train its workforce on the current legal rules for addressing homeless camps, a new filing by the Coalition on Homelessness says. The Oct. 6 filing is the latest in a lawsuit that has been going on for years and has led to an injunction against the city banning most sweeps—an injunction the city continues to defy.

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The state’s local housing goals are nothing more than a farce


In March, the Office of the State Auditor released a report on the implementation of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, the massive planning process that seeks to add 2.5 million housing units to the state over the next eight years.
Most of the major news media in the state ignored the audit, which was pretty scathing: It said, in essence that the Department of Housing and Community Development, which oversees RHNA, bungled the numbers.

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Housing bill that targets San Francisco for extra scrutiny sent to Gavin Newsom

Sophia Bollag
Sep. 11, 2023 Updated: Sep. 12, 2023

California lawmakers on Monday voted to extend a 2017 law that requires cities behind on their state housing goals to streamline approval of some projects, sending the measure to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Developers in San Francisco have used the law to speed up thousands of housing units since it took effect at the start of 2018. The law, which was written by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is set to expire at the end of 2025. The measure lawmakers passed Monday, SB423, would extend them until 2036.

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Save Dominican Valley explains the “Builder’s Remedy”

By Bob Silvestri
The Marin Post

In June of 2023, Dominican Valley LLC submitted five SB 330 Preliminary Application proposals to develop on the 20-acres (approx.) parcel in San Rafael. The developer claimed eligibility for what is known as the “Builder’s Remedy” for 4 of the 5 proposals.
In my opinion, that claim is completely without merit.

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Oceanside council letter objects to state housing laws

by Samantha Nelson
October 3, 2023

The letter, addressed to Gov. Gavin Newsom, states the council members “vehemently object to the litany of legislation passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor that removes control away from local jurisdictions and places land-use decisions solely in the hands of the super-majority in Sacramento.”

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