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City approves Barron Park housing project

Photo by Albert Jung

With little opposition from residents, The Palo Alto City Council approved The Residences at Matadero Creek proposal, now the largest planned construction project in Palo Alto. 

In addition to the Creekside Inn, the project will replace the Cibo Restaurant & Bar and the Driftwood Market with an apartment complex along 3400 El Camino Real.

City council member Greg Tanaka said the city council approved the proposal to meet the California Housing Act, a plan to build 6,086 housing units in Palo Alto by 2031.

“This is one of those things that is trying to streamline development projects so that local cities like Palo Alto cannot be restrictive on how we zone in terms of preventing projects from happening,” Tanaka said. “The idea behind it is to create more housing.” 

Representatives of Cibo Restaurant, Creekside Inn and Driftwood Deli all didn’t respond to interview requests for this story.

The Creekside Inn project would create 382 apartment units, and 19 of the apartments would be offered to residents classified in the “very low” income category.

While some critics of the project have said that number is too small, Tanaka said the project will help create additional accessible housing by allowing more people to move to the city.

“In general, we want professionals (in) our city,” Tanaka said. “By having more housing available, more younger professionals can move into Palo Alto because one thing that’s happening to Palo Alto is (it tends) to be very expensive.”

However, Tanaka said the large construction project can potentially create transportation inconveniences for residents, but he also said the city has developed plans for mitigating some of these challenges.

“We’ve had several projects that were pretty big and have been built, (but there have been) transportation plans put in place for the construction to mitigate the disruptions that we have,” Tanaka said. 

Ernest Lee, a resident who lives near the proposed project, said even though construction creates inconveniences, it is necessary.

“It’s understandable that there’s going to be construction for a while,” Lee said. “In terms of the basics of building more housing, even it’s relatively high density at that kind of location, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad idea.”

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