The sky’s the limit. Over the years these words have been spoken millions, if not billions, of times to illustrate the point that there is no cap on what an individual can achieve. For Palo Altans, however, the limit is 50 feet.
Since the early 1970s, Palo Altans have been forced to keep all office buildings under the capita of 50 feet, in order to keep the aesthetic qualities that Palo Alto holds so dear to their heart.
An increase in the height ceiling could facilitate the growth of retail market as well as the availability of housing in Palo Alto.
Revising the current restrictions and allowing developers to build above fifty feet could be one way to encourage building mixed-use projects. Mixed-use projects would be able to incorporate retail and shops on the ground floor and housing on upper floors.
These suggestions to build housing at various local retail hubs, such as the Stanford Shopping Center and Town & Country Village, were met with mixed reviews by city council members. Council members will continue the land use talk in early 2017 after recently elected council members take their seats.
City Planning Commissioner and Councilman-elect Adrian Fine, who will begin his term in January, has previously called the building ceiling “arbitrary,” in a planning and transportation committee meeting. However, during his campaign, he stopped calling for the abolition of the ceiling limit.
Greg Tanaka, another planning commissioner who was elected to the council, has not taken any strong stances for or against the current height limit. He has, however, demonstrated strong support for the building of more micro units and senior apartments.