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Palo Alto Addresses Gaps in Stanford’s GUP & Community Plan Amendment

Palo Alto Addresses Gaps in Stanford’s GUP & Community Plan Amendment

The City of Palo Alto is responding to the letter Stanford submitted on Monday, June 24 to Santa Clara County regarding the Stanford General Use Permit (GUP) and the Stanford Community Plan (SCP) Amendment. On Monday, Stanford proposed a $4.7 billion package of amendments surrounding its long-term land use permit known as the General Use Permit or GUP.

On June 27, Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada sent a letter in response to the Santa Clara County Planning Commission to address some of the gaps in the Stanford Community Plan Amendment. The most significant gap, at least in terms of financial impact, is related to the regional transportation improvements needed to support Stanford and Off Campus Trip Reduction Efforts.

“The City of Palo Alto has a long and symbiotic relationship with Stanford that is unique in Santa Clara County. As the University’s closest neighbor, Palo Alto is acutely impacted by development at the campus,” said Shikada. “Our priority is to ensure full mitigation for impacts caused by development by Stanford in order to maintain a vibrant city, a strong region, and exceptional quality of life that are the bedrock of Silicon Valley.”

Shikada’s letter looks at the requirement that Stanford provide more housing on campus, but points out that the implementation plan does not include requirements that Stanford work with surrounding jurisdictions to provide its fair share support of improvements. As such, there are no policies or implementation plans that address Stanford’s responsibility related to off-setting Stanford impacts on Caltrain’s capacity or service. 

Palo Alto believes that given the size of the proposed project, the additional housing being required on campus, and the expansion of No Net New Commute Trips model to include compliance with reverse commute trips and ADT baselines, more Stanford affiliates will have to use Caltrain and other mass transit services.

“Stanford should be ‘required’ to work with lead agencies and contribute to increasing the accessibility, capacity, and efficiency of local access for Stanford affiliates to Caltrain and other local and regional mass transit services,” Shikada stated.

The letter also looks at areas of the Community Plan that require further clarifications in order to ensure it aligns with the GUP and intentions of all parties to fully mitigate Stanford’s impact on Palo Alto and Santa Clara County.  Those areas include:

-Protection of the Foothills and Lands Outside the Academic Growth Boundary

-Update/Clarify the No Net New Commute Trips requirements

-Require Stanford to participate in off-campus trip reduction efforts

Shikada adds, “While Palo Alto’s interests may be different from those of the County and Stanford, we share a common goal to see that the proposed development—including additional housing— does not compromise the vitality of the area.”

You can find a link to Palo Alto’s full letter to the Santa Clara County Planning Commission on this issue by clicking here.

Last Updated: June 27, 2019