Vote "No" to More Urban Sprawl at Page Mill/El Camino
A for-profit developer has petitioned the City of Palo Alto to allow yet another large “Planned Community” development, this time squarely at the already too-congested and dangerous Page Mill/El Camino intersection. The request, a large commercial and retail building in the midst of a wave of a dozen other such requests within a one mile radius, would severely impact the traffic and livability in the area’s quiet residential community. (See map.)
There are many opportunities to use development to enhance Palo Alto’s unique character, including potential buildings on the land in question. This just isn’t one of them.
The commercial developer, Pollock Group, has requested that the City rezone 2755 El Camino Real, located at the intersection with Page Mill Road, from a “Commercial Service” zone to a “Planned Community” zone. (See Palo Alto’s City Planning Commission website.)
The application is for a four-story, 33,500-square-foot building at the site, for mixed office and retail banking use. This is almost 4 times the size of a building that would conform to the “Commercial Service” zoning.
The large commercial building would abut the quiet residential communities on either side, obstructing their views and subjecting them to noise pollution as vehicles entered and exited the complex.
Although the developer has failed to conduct any formal traffic study as of this writing, it is certain that the project would worsen Palo Alto’s already-increasing traffic woes. The vehicles of workers and retail customers would add to the congestion at the failing Page Mill/El Camino intersection.
Worse yet, the added traffic would create significant hazards, noise, and delays on the surrounding residential surface streets, as vehicles looped through the community in order to return to Page Mill Road and El Camino or simply in order to avoid the intersection.
Please Join Us & Act Now:
This is too large a building, generating too many more traffic problems for local residents, too close to an intersection that is already a major bottleneck. Other development of that land which would create a real gateway to Palo Alto and which would actually comply with Palo Alto’s official Comprehensive Plan is entirely feasible. Please join us in petitioning the City Council to refuse to initiate this project by signing the petition below online or in writing.
The harms that this application would cause include, but are not limited to:
• Increases in traffic hazards on the surrounding residential surface streets. Every day, parents and residents witness dangerous driving and the lives of children and bicyclists put in jeopardy as cars and trucks take short cuts through residential streets to avoid the busy El Camino/Page Mill intersection. The proposed development would significantly increase that problem, as office workers and retail customers seek the quickest way back to the 101 and 280. As of this writing the developer has admitted that no formal traffic study has been performed.
• Loss of views and daylight for the adjoining residential community. The proposed height of the new building is 57 feet, which exceeds the PF and even the CS Zoning limit. The set-backs are very narrow at 10ft in the rear yard and 10-13 feet side yard. Residents of both of the adjoining residential buildings would have their views obstructed by a building out of compliance with Palo Alto’s character and zoning rules.
• Noise and carbon-monoxide pollution. The application is for 3 stories of underground parking with a capacity of 100+ cars. All of the traffic in and out of the large commercial building would be funneled to a driveway directly adjacent to the neighboring residences.
• Lack of clear public benefits. The City has already retained a consultant to evaluate the monetary value of the alleged Public Goods put forward by the developer. We urge the Commission and Council to also consider whether the developer’s list of items are “Public Goods” at all. Some, such the creation of an all-electric building or offering Caltrain passes to the new employees, are simply the cost of doing business or inadequate mitigations of the large problems the building itself will create.
Let’s develop our community in a way that enhances the qualities which made it the pinnacle of Silicon Valley industry, education, and quality of life. Other development of that land which would create a real gateway to Palo Alto, and which would comply with Palo Alto’s Official Comprehensive Plan, would be welcome. This just isn’t it.
Please vote “no” to this proposal.