Community. Affordable housing is a critical element in keeping Palo Alto a welcoming community to all, and supportive of the essential workers that serve our City. Did you know with every worker who works here, there is an essential worker multiplier? It is estimated for each tech worker, there are four other essential workers that are needed. Affordable housing projects must be done right to truly and effectively meet the needs of a diverse community.
An example of a luxury housing project that was City approved as “affordable” is the Alta Locale housing project at the corner of El Camino and Oregon. Alta Locale has only studios and 1-bedroom units — it is not oriented to families. Its rents start at $3,200 for studios and $4,200 for 1-bedrooms … is this development really providing housing for essential working class people? Is it a truly affordable?
Truly affordable housing is a very difficult challenge, but we must make every effort to meet it … and Doria is fully supportive of meeting that challenge. And doing it right!
Commodity. The old VTA lot where Alta Locale was built was a PF (Public Facilities) zone. PF zones are a major community asset … parcels that are set aside for a wide range of public services and uses that serve everyone that lives and works in Palo Alto. These services and uses that are made possible by PF zones include libraries, parks, open space, the airport, transportation, parking facilities, community centers, the golf course, etc. Giving up these irreplaceable public properties for housing should only be done — if at all — for a guaranteed net public benefit and not to the benefit of developers or special interest groups.
Doria Summa was the only one on the Planning & Transportation Committee to oppose upzoning the PF zone ordinance to allow for the Alta Locale project which provided no benefits to the community. This is just one example of her knowledge and understanding of the issues, and courage to do the right thing. Doria has long believed PF zones should be used for greater public benefits and managed sparingly to preserve them for future needs.