By the Daily Post staff
City Council is scheduled to vote Monday (Nov. 16) on whether to approve 102 apartments on San Antonio Road at Leghorn Street in south Palo Alto.
Plans call for the owner, Yurong Han, to set aside 16 of the apartments as subsidized units at below-markets rental rates. The development at 788-796 San Antonio Road also includes 1,800 square feet for a retail business on the ground floor.
As the development moved through the city approval process, the number of apartments has increased from 48 to 64, and now 102, as city officials looked for places to build new housing and the developer followed their lead.
Pamela Harter, a resident of the Greenhouse II condo development at 765 San Antonio Road, complained to the council about the development in a letter. She is concerned about noise, traffic, water use and said she isn’t confident in the Environmental Impact Report council is expected to approve Monday.
“Many of our residents are impacted severely by constant noise. There has been no peace and quiet,” Harter wrote in a letter included in the council’s agenda.
And she said an increase in traffic particularly worries her too. “I have witnessed frustrated drivers caught in gridlock take a shortcut throughout (the) complex to try to jump the line on five or six cars. This is very dangerous because they are in a hurry.”
She said she has been stuck in traffic for as long as “20 or more minutes” driving a half-mile-distance coming from Highway 101 to her apartment. And when all the new cars arrive, she wonders where they will park when shoppers want to get to the development’s 1,800-square-foot store because the apartment house’s basement parking garage has only 126 spaces.
Palo Alto Forward, a pro-housing advocacy group, supports the project. Former mayor Gail Price, writing as the president of Palo Alto Forward, said the development is needed and its location will “demonstrate the viability of the area for new housing.”
The area, near Hengehold Trucks, has a number of light-industrial businesses in its vicinity such as car repair shops.
“Approval of the project and needed zoning changes will send a signal to regional and state agencies that Palo Alto is taking our increased housing goals seriously and providing zoning and incentives to make such housing feasible,” Price wrote in an Aug. 11 memo to the Planning and Transportation Commission.
The property at 788 San Antonio was once home to a business led by Japanese Americans who had been interned during World War II and is eligible for the state’s register of historic resources, according to a previous report from Planning Director Jonathan Lait. Founded in Redwood City in the 1930s, the California Chrysanthemum Growers Association was made up of Japanese immigrants who brought the flower to the area. In 1953, the group bought the property at 788 San Antonio Road. Until at least the 1990s, the California Chrysanthemum Growers Association used the San Antonio Road location as its headquarters until merging with the California Flower Market around 2002.
The development also includes the building at 796 San Antonio, where the martial arts school Studio Kicks Palo Alto is located.
To participate in tonight’s council meeting via Zoom, call 1 (669) 900-6833 or go to https://zoom.us/join. The meeting ID is 362 027 238. The meeting will also air on cable Channel 26 and on the city’s YouTube channel.