800 High Street (Peninsula Creamery) - referendum


Article (Archived-Article)

     A group of residents and small business owners are mounting an all-out effort to overturn the recent decision by the Palo Alto City Council to approve a housing development project at 800 High St.

      The project was approved by a 6-3 City Council vote Feb. 3, reflecting divisions on the council, too. And with four seats up in the Nov. 4 City Council election, the attempted referendum could play into that race. The 800 High St. project, by developers Doug Ross and Kurt Peterson, would construct a 96,000-square foot building on the block of High Street between Homer and Channing avenues. The building would have 61 housing units, 1,900 square feet of retail space, and two levels of underground parking, including 57 public parking spaces.

     Its critics believe the project is too big, while its defenders say it will add badly needed housing and public parking to the area. Larry Hassett, the owner of Palo Alto Hardware, located just across an alley from the project site, is helping lead the referendum effort. He believes the development will hurt the neighborhood and its small businesses, and contends a half-dozen adjacent small-business owners agree with him, including those of Watercourse Way and several small auto repair shops.

... (See weekly article Friday, February 21, 2003 for more)



Note: What I'd like on this issue is:




Pro Referendum letter from PAN

Wednesday, February 19, 2003 4:20 PM

Dear Friends,

As you may have read in today's (Wednesday Feb. 19) Daily News (page 4, "Creamery site plan official; counter movement in gear"), the Palo Alto City Council voted 6-3 last night to approve the 800 High Street (Peninsula Creamery) project. Since the project involved a rezone to PC Planned Community, Council was required to pass an ordinance to rezone 800 High Street to PC Planned Community and to approve a height variance for the project.

A group of residents and local business owners have joined together to support a petition drive to collect the signatures required in order to qualify for a referendum that would place the ordinance on the ballot for Palo Alto voters to decide. Approximately 2,200 valid signatures of registered Palo Alto voters must be collected and filed with the City within the next 29 days in order to qualify the referendum. The signatures must be of registered Palo Alto voters, and must also be collected by registered Palo Alto voters.

If you are interested in helping with the signature-gathering effort, please contact:

Dorothy Bender, e-mail: dbender@cwnet.com
phone: 650 494-2227


Janet Dafoe, e-mail: janetLD@aol.com
phone: 650 208-1224


I have pasted below a copy of the Notice of Intent to Circulate Referendum Petition, the required Public Notice that is scheduled for publication in Friday's Palo Alto Weekly. In brief, we are concerned about the scale and mass of the development in the context of the surrounding neighborhood, the impact it will have on local businesses, the loss of the historic Creamery building, and the dysfunctional process that lead to the approval of the PC rezone.

In addition, based on information made available only yesterday, the project is now proposed to have a decreased BMR contribution of 10 units instead of 11 units. This is odd because the maker of the motion on February 3 to approve the ordinance specifically cited his preference for 11 BMR vs. 10 BMR units as a reason for approving the larger version of the project. Some residents are concerned that the BMR contribution does not meet the BMR requirements set out in the Comprehensive Plan because of the small proportion of floor area allotted to the BMR units (only 11% of the total residential unit floor area in the latest proposal, when it should be 15%) and the clustered and less desirable locations of the BMR units in the proposed building.

While we generally support the building of new housing in the South of Forest Area, especially affordable housing, we feel that the negative impacts of this particular project greatly outweigh its supposed (and questionable)benefits. It is time for Palo Alto voters to have an opportunity to weigh in on the PC Planned Community zone process and its outcome, and to let City Hall know how to properly balance our priorities, values and concerns.


Joy Ogawa

For persons interested in helping with the signature gathering effort, please contact:

Dorothy Bender, e-mail:dbender@cwnet.com
phone: 650 494-2227


Janet Dafoe, e-mail:janetLD@aol.com
phone: 650 208-1224

Petition draft --

For final petition, please go to
Palo Alto Hardware
875 Alma St
Palo Alto, CA , or

Janet Dafoe's,
433 Kingsley Ave.,
7:30 pm on
Monday, March 3rd, or
Tuesday, March 4th, or
Thursday, March 6th.

For all the above reasons, THE PEOPLE OF PALO ALTO intend to place THE ORDINANCE before the electorate on the public ballot to be read and voted upon by every registered Palo Alto voter in order to protect our local businesses, to preserve our historic heritage, to promote appropriate development, and to ensure a fair and equitable process for the development of the South of Forest Area.


Ian Irwin Janet L. Dafoe Martin Stone Elaine Meyer
Joy M. Ogawa Ronald W. Davis Harold S. Luft Gerald Brett
John A. Murden Dorothy Bender George Gioumousis Carol Kiparsky