Making Stone Soup - Affordable Housing at Buena Vista

Palo Alto Forward's Steering Committee Letter to City of Palo Alto Council

June 29th, 2015

 

Dear Mayor Holman and Palo Alto City Council Members:

Palo Alto Forward is a resident-led, community-based group interested in crafting a vision for the future of Palo Alto that is focused on creating quality, opportunity and choice in housing and transportation.

Like you, we are concerned about the proposed closure of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, potential eviction of 400 residents and the loss of an existing, yet scarce source of affordable housing in our community.

 

In recent weeks and months, we have been encouraged to see community stakeholders come together to offer ways of potentially collaborating to create a win-win solution for both the property owner, the residents and our community in the long run. In particular, we applaud the City of Palo Alto, the County of Santa Clara, and a qualified non-profit, Caritas, for coming to the table with a willingness to make a nourishing stone soup - a market rate offer pulled together using affordable housing funds set aside by the City and County, in combination with the issuance of a Tax Exempt Revenue Bond - thereby creating an enduring site for affordable housing that continues to open opportunities and enhance quality of life for Palo Alto residents.

The challenge of creating housing options for all income levels is sobering and complicated, and we understand that there are many needs to address with limited resources. After considering the existing density of Buena Vista (117 homes) with the allowable density for future affordable housing units (~65 units), we feel NOW is the time for the city to step forward and bring to the table the resources to protect the existing affordable housing.

Furthermore, Palo Alto Forward’s Steering Committee is supportive of exploring reasonable and sufficient density for the site that would allow existing residents to remain and help retain the unique character and social makeup of our community, regardless of the final offer composition.

There is a stone soup coming together in our community - let’s offer the ingredients that will make it the most heart-warming and cost efficient option that nourishes for decades to come.

 

Sincerely,

Palo Alto Forward Steering Committee

 

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Photo by Friends of Buena Vista

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