Zoning and Land Use
We do not currently have an official Chair for our Zoning and Land Use Committee. However, these are important issues for a neighborhood association and the Board has discussed these issues at previous meetings and we are open to requests to discuss them at Board meetings in the future.
There are currently (October 2012) two major housing proposals for sites in Barron Park. One is the proposed redevelopment of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park with higher density housing [http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=26776] .Reports are the developer will request a zoning change. When (or if – as the sale of the property has not been confirmed) the developer has a concrete proposal to present to the City, the Board will hold a neighborhood–wide Community meeting, and follow up with discussions with residents and with City officials on the merits and consequences of the project. The second is a proposal for construction by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation of a low income senior apartment building along with some single-family houses at the corner of Clemo and Maybell. [http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=26843]
In April 2012, group from OTO Development presented their plans to the Board for a new four story Hilton Garden Hotel on El Camino just beyond the intersection with Arastradero. This project conforms to the current Palo Alto zoning requirements for the site, and so the only issues discussed were traffic. Similarly, traffic issues were the main topic when several Board members met with VMware in November 2011 to learn about the reconstruction and addition of buildings on their site in the Research Park. Environmental concerns were the issue when one of our Board members met with the Planning Department and the Architectural Review Board in December of 2011. Varian had proposed constructing a new building on a site in the Research Park where water in the subsurface remained contaminated by volatile organic compounds that had leaked from underground storage containers but the staff report on the proposed construction plan had not included proper verification and approval from the State agencies overseeing the site cleanup.
Several Board members routinely monitor City Council and Planning and Transportation Commission agendas and track policy changes that could affect our neighborhood, including revision to the Comprehensive Plan and the State-mandated Housing Element. In October 2010, we held a meeting open to the community at which Planning Director Curtis Williams and Senior Planner Ron Babiera presented their draft of Housing Element the City was crafting at the time and that has now been approved by the Council, with a particular emphasis on potential multi-family housing sites on El Camino Real in and near Barron Park.
In addition, former BPA Board Member and citizen activist Bob Moss has offered his insight and knowledge on these topics to the BPA Board and to the Barron Park community.