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.

Inadequate Building Boom as ‘Housing Shortage’ Persists

By Thomas Elias
December 11, 2023

California’s top officials and the bureaucrats who back them up persist in telling us there’s a massive housing shortage in this state, amounting to something between 1.8 million and 3 million units (over five years, they’ve used varying figures within that range).
Even in the midst of the building boom, not enough units are going up to satisfy the shortage, while prices and rents remain too high for most of those who would like to move to new quarters, even for many so-called affordable units.

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Are nimbys weaponizing historic preservation?

By Kate Talerico
December 3, 2023

For years, neighborhoods like Baywood — took their lower-density character for granted. That has changed in recent years as state lawmakers passed measures like Senate Bill 9. These state housing laws, though, carve out one notable exception: historic properties. Last month, the San Mateo Heritage Alliance applied to the State Historic Preservation Office to designate Baywood as a historic district, raising the eyebrows of housing advocates.

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‘Great urban design’ or ‘Affront to democracy’? High-rise project ignites debate over city growth

by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly
Uploaded: Thu, Nov 30, 2023

Depending on whom you ask, the proposed high-rise development near the California Avenue Caltrain station pitched last week is either an exemplar of smart urban planning or an affront to democracy.
Whatever one’s position, the project that Redco Development has proposed, which includes a 17-story tower, has the potential to transform Palo Alto’s low-key “second downtown.”

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Letters: Does California have a coherent plan to build the millions of units of housing it needs?

By Pat Marriott
November 24, 2023

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed over 50 housing bills this year, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Our representatives compete to pass the most housing laws without any analysis to gauge their effectiveness. Chris Elmendorf’s Open Forum points out the unintended consequences.
It’s the Winchester Mystery House school of planning and it’s not working.

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Marin Forum: California’s hidden agenda

NOVEMBER 22, 2023
Marin Forum/Teliha Draheim

There is a shortage of affordable housing in California, but there is no shortage of expensive homes. In their flawed assessment of how to solve housing needs, the State manufactured a crisis. Cities were blamed for not producing enough housing. Yet, California towns and cities don’t build housing, developers do.

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