Acclaim Companies has filed an alternative application for what is now a builder’s remedy-assisted plan to develop 3150 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County. The seven-story project, initially filed this June, aims to build 380 new homes on the 2.55-acre site. Communications with the city’s planning department show the developer is filing the second application in response to the department’s signal of disapproval for the increased housing.
The following passage provides a timeline of communications from Acclaim’s legal representative, Holland & Knight, with the city of Palo Alto:
Yesterday [July 31st], the City sent a further letter regarding the Project’s density and State Density Bonus Law requests, asserting that the Project is not permitted at its proposed density even with use of the State Density Bonus Law. Acclaim’s legal counsel is reviewing and will discuss that letter with the City Attorney’s office. Given the uncertainty about City support for the Project as proposed and in order to safeguard its ability to construct an economically feasible project, Acclaim hereby submits a preliminary SB 330 application for a “Builder’s Remedy Alternative” without abandoning its pending application for the Project or any of its arguments about its ability to pursue such Project under State Density Bonus Law.
… Ordinarily, a jurisdiction is permitted to disapprove a project for being noncompliant with local General Plan or zoning requirements. However, “[i]f a locality has not adopted a housing element in substantial compliance with state law, developers may propose eligible housing development projects that do not comply with either the zoning or the general plan.” This is informally known as the “Builder’s Remedy.”
We look forward to working further with City officials to promptly advance the consideration of both the Project and the Builder’s Remedy Alternative in a manner consistent with state law.
Details for the 84-foot structure remain unchanged from our June coverage. The mid-rise block will yield 636,900 square feet, with 451,500 square feet for housing and 184,580 square feet for the two-story basement garage. Unit sizes will vary, with 14 studios, 58 junior one-bedrooms, 194 one-bedrooms, 95 two-bedrooms, and 19 three-bedrooms. The property will have a capacity for 477 cars and 422 bicycles. Residents can enter from two pedestrian lobbies and a garage driveway along El Camino Real. The lounges will connect with the club room, co-working space, fitness center, and bicycle parking room.
Of the 380 units, 38 will be designated as affordable housing as per guidelines for the Builder’s Remedy.
The June-published renderings show off the design by Studio T Square. The articulated exterior breaks apart the overall massing, expressive of a human scale. The facade will be wrapped with plaster and fiber cement. At ground-level, the pedestrian and resident experience will be elevated with natural stone veneer.
Guzzardo Partnership is responsible for the landscape architecture. The project will introduce new trees, a few public plazas, greenery, and outdoor furniture to the public realm. For residents, two conjoined courtyards will offer a pool deck on one side and a multi-function plaza with a fitness court, zen garden, plus spa on the other side, connected by a single-story breezeway.
Residents will be just under a mile from the California Avenue Caltrain Station, accessible on foot, ten minutes by bus, or five minutes by bicycle. Dome nearby proposals include new offices at 3300 El Camino Real by Sand Hill, and the housing-hotel complex dubbed the Residences at Matadero by Oxford Capital Group.
Talus Engineering is consulting on civil engineering, and Emerald City is the electrical engineer. The Board of Trustees of Stanford University is listed as the property owner. In a written response shared with YIMBY yesterday afternoon, the city’s Planning Department maintains that Acclaim’s interpretation of the zoning code and density bonus is inaccurate.