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.

Opinion: Are any of California’s housing laws actually working?


A slew of ambitious housing legislation has emerged recently in states as varied as Maine, Utah and Washington. Many of the proposals aim to loosen zoning restrictions with the goal of addressing housing shortages. Perhaps not surprisingly, California is mentioned in many of the resulting conversations and debates, and not in a positive light.

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New housing laws vs. renewable energy mandates

By Thomas Elias

California has a bunch of new housing laws, several taking effect in each of the last few years. But the most important reality ignored by the housing density enthusiasts who now populate the Legislature and governor’s office may be this: Some of what they’re enabling can conflict directly with other state mandates, notably one that insists California run almost exclusively on carbon-free renewable energy by 2045, just 22 years from now.

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California is cracking down on NIMBY cities.

By Emily Hoeven

Faced with a statewide housing crisis, California has increasingly moved to muscle NIMBY local governments into building against their will. But when it comes to building desperately needed housing, California’s government isn’t just the arbiter of state laws — it’s also a vast landholder.

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If the state really wants more housing

By Michael Brownrigg and Donna Colsson

We recently critiqued the state housing element process, noting that Sacramento’s reporting requirements result in many hypothetical housing units but few real ones. Here we outline how the state could get more affordable housing actually built in cities.

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Housing Unaffordability: How We Got There and What to Do About It


From the end of World War II until 1970, owner-occupied housing was broadly affordable across the entire country. The standard measure for measuring affordability —the price-to-income ratio— was at about 2.8 in 1950, 2.5 in 1960, 2.6 in 1970, 3.4 in 1980, and 4.2 in 2020. This meant that, to a large extent, factors other than housing, such as climate, amenities, and job and economic opportunities, drove migration, which builders were in a position to respond to.

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Marin Voice: In fight against excessive housing numbers, our hands are far from tied

April 21, 2023 at 3:43 p.m.

The threats of a “strike force” coming from Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office; intimidating letters from the Housing and Community Development Department chastising communities for what department considers inadequate housing elements; and well-funded, corporate-serving agencies like the pro-housing group Yes In My Back Yard, as well as it’s legal arm YIMBY Law, are having a stifling impact.

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Wiener, the Yimbys, and the 50-story tower

By Zelda Bronstein
April 20, 2023

Up to now, when it comes to development, Scott Wiener and the Yimbys have always agreed that bigger is better. So it’s notable that they’re at odds about the 50-story skyscraper being proposed for 2700 Sloat Boulevard. The Yimbys love it. “It’s so beautiful,” tweeted California Yimby CEO Brian Hanlon over a rendering of the tower. “We think the project is very exciting,”
Wiener is opposed.

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