Reduce the Office Cap 16

Are you fed up with
Traffic Congestion?  Lack of Parking?
Rising Housing Costs?  Increased Taxes?

In a recent editorial, The Palo Alto Weekly stated:
There is no constituency other than commercial development interests supporting new office development in Palo Alto, and every square foot of new office development approved in the city makes our housing shortage and road congestion worse.”

We agree!
The current Comp Plan allows for 1.7 million sq. ft. of new office space over the 15 year life of the plan (2015-2030). That’s over 113,000 square feet a year, as opposed to the long-term historic growth rate of 58,000 sq ft/yr, which has already handed us congestion, traffic and a 3 to1 jobs to housing imbalance.
The current rate of growth has produced huge problems of congestion, more traffic, limited parking and lack of affordable housing. The National Citizens Survey for Palo Alto shows that more than two thirds of Palo Alto residents rate traffic, parking and affordable housing as a major problem and that share has jumped by a substantial amount over the last five years.
• Rapid business expansion is the main cause of rising land prices and the cost of housing.
• Palo Alto already has more than three jobs for every employed resident. This is the highest ratio in California and the fourth highest in the nation. The rate of growth allowed in the Comp Plan would increase that ratio.
• Recent traffic studies for projects in Palo Alto and the Stanford General Use Permit clearly state that the impacts of any additional growth on the intersections around the city “would remain significant and unavoidable”.
• Residents, not businesses, pay for local government. Despite their rapid expansion, businesses only pay 25% of local taxes.

At a recent session, the City Council “cemented” its temporary office cap. BUT there was a lot of sand in the cement.
• The cap only applies to three designated areas (Downtown, Cal Ave, and South El Camino).
• The council added a “rollover” provision so that allotments not used in one year could be added to the following year, and
• The projects would be awarded on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Worst of all, the cap could be changed at any time on a whim of the Council.

Our initiative –
Would cut citywide office/R&D growth in half, bringing it back to its long term historic growth rate.
Would apply CITY-WIDE – including Stanford Research Park, Stanford Shopping Center, San Antonio, East Meadow, West Bayshore and East Embarcadero.
it would require a vote of the residents to increase the cap and could NOT be changed by the Council.

We need your help in getting this initiative on the ballot in November so that the residents can decide what they want.
We need to collect 3000 signatures before May 21, 2018.


Sign the PASZ Initiative

If you are a registered voter and Palo Alto resident, please sign the petition

We will have volunteers at the following locations:
Cal Ave Farmer’s Market, Sundays, 9AM to 1PM
Downtown Farmer’s Market, Sat. May 12, 8AM to 12PM
Bol Park, Sun, May 20, 12PM to 4PM (May Fete Celebration)
Midtown Safeway
Mitchell Park library

OR you may contact any of the PASZ volunteer coordinators who have petition packets to sign, can answer your questions and can come to you for your signatures:

Bring your neighbors and friends.

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16 thoughts on “Reduce the Office Cap

    • Kevin Kiningham
      Kevin Kiningham

      Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning The solution to “too much” office space is infrastructure improvements and more housing by reducing restrictions on building. Artificial caps are not the answer.

      You’re fighting gravity. It’s time to embrace the fact that Palo Alto is one of the most economically productive places on earth and support new development instead of desperately clinging to a nostalgic vision of a town that no longer exists.

  • Aleksandar Milivojević
    Aleksandar Milivojević

    Looking at your website, seems you dudes are simply the voice of keeping status quo. No residential development. No business either. Since there’s nothing preventing other cities from developing, and they are developing office space at way higher pace (e.g. take a drive down CA-237, with all brand new mega-offices and many more being constructed), you’ll simply turn Palo Alto into traffic nightmare (because everybody has to commute long distance to those offices), and increasingly a town where not even the rich can afford to live anymore (this is already starting to be true today). I.e. your plan of action and your stated goals are in dissonance.

    • Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning
      Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning

      We have never said we are against RESIDENTIAL development. In fact, we strongly believe that we need TRULY AFFORDABLE housing for all the people who have moderate income jobs, like in retail stores, medical offices, restaurants, supermarkets…Have you noticed how many have banners advertising for workers, because at the wages they pay, no one can afford to live in Palo Alto and they don’t want to commute for two hours each way to get to work. We have THREE times as many jobs as employed residents, the HIGHEST in the state of California and FOURTH HIGHEST in the nation. All we are asking is that the City Council not make it worse. WHEN YOU ARE IN A HOLE, STOP DIGGING.

    • Aleksandar Milivojević
      Aleksandar Milivojević

      The disconnect between jobs and housing is the result of too little of latter, not too much of former. You basically advertise that Palo Alto should freeze job growth in addition to existing freeze on housing. As if the city exists in isolation from the rest of the county. It doesn’t work that way. Offices will start opening in the cities literally next door, more people will have to commute longer distances, the pressure on housing will continue to build up, and prices will keep skyrocketing. Your approach is naive at best, and hurtful at worst.

      • daniel

        Any city has a right and obligation to its citizens to define how much business the city wants. Ideally, all who work here should be able to live here. The entire Bay Area is not an ideal situation and will never be. This city has a 3:1 ratio office to housing, as of now. It is ridiculous to try and satisfy the demand (build twice as much as there is in PA now?) while the office growth is allowed with the doubled rate. Where does that end? Long before the housing demand is satisfied this city will be completely gridlocked. It is already gridlocked. True that it is hard to make men understand when their salary depends on not understanding.
        If businesses want to go elsewhere – fine. We might be screwed by the transit traffic anyway but the other way is insanity. We have natural boundaries – the Bay and the hills.

    • Aleksandar Milivojević
      Aleksandar Milivojević

      They say one thing, but their policies will result in the opposite. AFAICT from their website, they are simply catering to incumbent landowners, while paying lip service to those who are in need of affordable housing. No more, no less. And as for business, people need a place to work as much as they need a place to live. So what are you going to do? Starve both large corporations and startups of office space? Drive them out of the area by making it impossible to do business and/or grow here? These provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of people; either directly or indirectly. Most Palo Altans paid their mortgages, or are currently paying their mortgages, by creating and working for those very same companies.