Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ)
Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ) is a political action committee dedicated to a sensible evolution for all of Palo Alto. We advocate for education of the public on land use and transportation issues; and for thoughtful and deliberate city planning focused on the Long Term.
We envision a dynamic Palo Alto that remains a family-oriented town with excellent schools, parks, and infrastructure. Technology and business innovation is part of Palo Alto’s heritage, yet Development must not overwhelm our community’s ability to keep up; Palo Alto should not try to become New York or San Francisco. We value diversity, innovation, respect for historic resources, neighborhoods, and aesthetics, and we support projects that improve quality of life and align with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Design Guidelines.
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. Make sensible long-term choices that balance the intense demand for Palo Alto real estate with the finite supply of it.
- Zoning limits should be viewed as the MAXIMUM attainable; not as a starting point for Developers to negotiate with the City.
- Development must be taken in consideration of its cumulative effects over the long term
- Traffic, parking, aesthetics, classroom crowding
- Use technology to gather continuous and ongoing traffic data to guide management and decision-making
- Adopt Menlo Park’s tighter standards for traffic measurement. Too many Palo Alto development studies have returned “No Traffic Impact” when there really was impact.
- The Comprehensive Plan for citywide development should be compatible with existing neighborhoods, and should specifically include consideration for school impacts.
- Extend current limits on the rate of new office space development. Job growth should slow while the City catches up with its impacts: traffic, parking, and demand for housing. And corporate expansion must not drive out community-serving retail and personal services.
- Maintain the fifty-foot height limit. We have enough room for sensible growth without exceeding it.
- Embrace transportation innovation – and make sure it works.
2. Moderate Housing Growth that Emphasizes Affordability
- Generally follow the City’s long-term population growth rate of .5-.7% per year. Don’t repeat the spurt of the 2000’s which helped create the current bottleneck in our middle and high schools.
- Craft zoning/building regulations to increase affordability required for a diverse and healthy socio-economic mix. Do not displace existing low income families.
- Change to a model of housing development that provides for a higher proportion of people who serve our community: teachers, city staff, first responders, service workers.
- Increase inclusion rates and development fees, and use some of the increase to support these middle-and lower income workers
- Enforce all design guidelines and zoning regulations in a consistent and predictable manner so both developers and residents know what to expect.
3. Improve our Community as a Great Place to Live
- Work to fix existing problems of traffic, parking, pollution and safety
- Embrace transportation innovation first to address existing problems, not as an excuse to generate new problems
- Implement Residential Parking Permit Programs (RPPP) quickly in neighborhoods which want them.
- RPPPs have unfortunately become necessary because uncontrolled commercial expansion has been allowed to drive commuter vehicles into neighborhoods.
- In the future the City must PLAN BETTER.
- Zone to protect our community-serving retail and personal services.
- Expand amenities and services to reflect the growing percentage of seniors in our population
- Protect and improve our tree canopy, gardens, parks, and open spaces.
- Acquire new neighborhood park space to keep up with housing growth
- Protect and expand existing parkland by dedicating the Winter Garden, Community Gardens, Gamble Gardens as permanent park sites.
- Protect the Baylands from development