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.

Imagine a Renters’ Utopia.

By Francesca Mari
Photographs by Luca Locatelli

It Might Look Like Vienna.
When Eva Schachinger married at 22, she applied for public housing. Luckily, she lived in Vienna, which has some of the best public housing in the world. She grew up in a public-housing complex in the center of the city, where her grandmother lived in one of five buildings arranged around a courtyard. Eva played all day with friends from the complex.

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Is the housing shortage overblown? This California analyst thinks so

Southern California News Group

John Burns’ real estate research shop has become one of the housing industry’s top analytical firms by taking a more holistic view of what drives homebuying.
For two-plus decades, his eponymous Orange County-based company has become a critical cog in homebuilding thinking because its research looks far beyond real estate basics to encompass broader economic and demographic changes

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Dick Spotswood: Support for 50-story apartment building in Sunset District should concern Marin

By Dick Spotswood

No matter the issue, there are always those who push ideas to their logical extreme. That’s happening now in the ever-controversial topic of housing.

Beleaguered San Francisco is facing attempts to build a 50-story, 712-unit apartment tower in the city’s Sunset District. The behemoth would be erected in a neighborhood with mostly single-family homes near Ocean Beach across Sloat Boulevard from the San Francisco Zoo.

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Power Players’ Problematic Playbook For Housing

by: Sharon Rushton

Since 2008 and accelerating in 2016, State lawmakers have been following the same playbook, which has been largely written by the lobbying efforts of Big Real Estate, Big Tech, and Big Wall Street Investment Firms in order to augment their investments in residential properties.

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The state housing secrecy just keeps getting worse and worse


Ben Metcalf directed the California Department of Housing and Community Development from November 2015 to September 2019. In February 2021, Metcalf, now managing director of the Terner Center of Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, said that the state’s new housing laws had given his former employer “the potential to be moving like the CIA. Most of the time, HCD’s work is done below the waterline.”
He meant that as a tribute to HCD’s effectiveness.

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Is OC’s Most Progressive City Set to Challenge State Housing Goals? 


Officials in one of Orange County’s most progressive cities might be poised to exempt themselves from state housing mandates.
While neighboring towns like Huntington Beach have lambasted state homebuilding quotas – calling for more local control over the distant authority of Sacramento – Santa Ana has long touted being one of the few OC cities to be in compliance.
Yet even they might want out of the state’s directives.

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Cities raise concerns about bill that extends streamlined approval for housing

by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly
Fri, May 12, 2023,

Palo Alto considers joining opposition to Senate Bill 423, which would eliminate sunset date for SB 35.
With California’s legislative season entering a critical juncture, cities are keeping a particularly close eye on Senate Bill 423, a bill that would indefinitely extend an existing law that creates a streamlined approval process for residential projects in cities that fail to meet their housing quotas.

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