Atherton adopts housing plan over Stephen Curry complaint

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On Tuesday night, political leaders in Atherton, a Bay Area town near Stamford best known as the richest zip code in the United States, reluctantly adopted a meager housing plan through 2031.

Faced with a January 31st deadline to endorse the housing plan, and after four full hours of deliberations, spurred by a notable sullen desire to get it done in a day, Atherton’s City Council decided that 348 additional housing units would be built. Voted in favor of Cobblestone Vision for. Units within 8 years.

Mayor Bill Widmer said Tuesday’s city council meeting had more attendees than he remembers. The meeting, while downplayed by substantive debates about housing and input to the community, featured tearful pleas, disparaging denunciations, and the ghost of Golden State’s Warriors star Steph Curry. . “Not in my backyard” (NIMBY) crowd.

First reported by the Almanac, the Curry family’s beef centers around a single-family home at 23 Oakwood Boulevard near their property. “I ask that the town adopt new housing. [plan] 23 Not including Oakwood,” Curries wrote in the letter.

23 Oakwood property owner David Arata is Atherton’s persona non grata, if Tuesday’s city council meeting is any indication. I want to develop my land and earn obscene amounts of money. Currys argued in the letter that such a development would greatly disturb their privacy, and that if it went forward (as Atherton City Council debated Tuesday), Atherton would be forced to reclaim the Currys property. Demanded that a fence be built around them to further isolate them from their new neighbors.

Currys is not the only Atherton resident rebelling against the town’s housing plans, which are the result of state mandates. You have to reach your goal. Failure to reach the target will result in penalties such as loss of important funds. Local governments, including Atherton, are to send detailed plans to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development outlining how they will achieve the required housing numbers.To address California’s housing crisis In recent years, states have adopted much stricter requirements than in previous cycles.

With a population of 7,200, Atherton consists of single-family homes with a minimum site requirement of 1 acre. There are no sidewalks or commercial spaces. Affordable housing in California is defined by median income in the area. That is, Atherton’s San Mateo County “Low Income” earner still earns him more than six figures. Despite having just purchased 348 homes, many of which could be deserving of “market prices” in ridiculously expensive neighborhoods, Tuesday’s conference saw relentless traffic on even the most minimal development projects. A number of Atherton residents appeared to protest the method causing the amount. And fundamentally ruin the structure of the town.

Alderman Rick Degoria called the state’s 348-unit requirement “extremely excessive.” Mayor Widmer tried to strike a reconciliatory tone by having angry residents present, stating, “No one wants to do this, OK? No one does.” Afterwards he said:

In a public comment, a resident named Tom described the challenges of living in a town where average home sales are close to $8 million. Not fair. It’s attacking people’s values ​​and lives.”

Tom is one of many attendees wearing a green shirt that reads, “Like a good neighbor, 23 Oakwood is there,” in solidarity with former State Farm spokesperson Stephen Curry. , which is confusing. It’s very quick to convince yourself that you have to do what they say,” presumably referring to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Curry family, who moved to Atherton in 2019, reappeared later in the conference. Pam also said that by being near another building, “we face the terrifying idea of ​​losing our privacy and space.” “Can you shoot three?” she asked, joking about another thing she might have in common with the Warriors’ guard. ” was what it was.

During the meeting, city councilors acknowledged on multiple occasions that they had been marginalized by the state and that some additional housing may not be the worst in the world. , at some point, I thought, ‘I think the need for workers’ housing is very high. Police and fire departments travel hours every day to get to work. “There is a real need for affordable housing. There are very few people working in Atherton who can afford to live in Atherton,” said City Councilman Degoria.

But these seeming concessions were the exception to hours of grumbling. DeGolia argued that, in fact, Atherton residents didn’t get enough credit to change openness, including allowing the construction of her four-story home at her college in Menlo. . “In Atherton he has no more than two storey houses,” he said. “It’s a really big problem, and someone has ignored it and to focus on the fact that it’s very difficult in this community to accommodate multi-family housing in single-family housing lots right now without the infrastructure in place.” It’s a big mistake to think we haven’t really made a big difference if we exist to support multifamily housing.”

Almost without exception, city councilors and speakers expressed their dissatisfaction and disdain for Mr. Arata, whose family owns 23 Oakwood Boulevard. Many of the council’s meetings focused on predicting Arata’s next move and discussing whether anything could be done to stop Arata’s apartment development.In her comments to the public, Stephanie A woman named Arata started crying because she literally begged him not to go ahead with his plans.

“I hope this doesn’t happen to our neighborhood,” Stephanie said. “His mother Evelyn, who died two and a half years ago at the age of 103, I’ve known all my life, never wanted him to do this to our neighborhood — Destroy it the way you planned, go away with lots of money and leave us all in the dust…and yes I’m “NIMBY” everyone wants to call me but it’s over my fence so people can’t see my garden or my bedroom window. ”

Around four hours into the meeting, Widmer admitted that yes, the additional housing “had to be by someone’s backyard. Sorry.” A grand compromise was struck, at least for the weary city councilors. Several other development proposals, none of which contributed significantly to housing construction, were rejected after fierce opposition.there is intention Some of the new residential units at Menlo University. Attached Housing Units (ADUs) are familiar housing units that allow families to “add” housing to their neighborhoods that may be disproportionately used (or may be another source of income for ambitious landlords). Strategy is going to depend heavily. City councilors openly cited a survey they sent to Atherton residents as to whether they would actually rent out potential ADUs to ‘affordable housing’ candidates, but the results were mixed at best.

In particular, Arata’s development won out. The council eventually agreed to an “overlay” plan for 23 Oakwood His Boulevard. This allows for a wide variety of development options. The city council expressed hope that the multi-family development would ultimately not work out for Arata, and he decided to sell the property, leaving the new owners to keep the more socially acceptable single-family homes. It’s wishful thinking and definitely way off track, but considering how often Atherton residents get their way, it might work.

Meanwhile, the housing scheme adopted is unlikely to reassure the Curry family or anyone else in Atherton. They seem to recognize that the chances of the state approving their approach to housing are rather slim.

“I want to point out to everyone that all the comments I heard tonight were ‘no,'” Hawkins Manurian said. “There wasn’t a single ‘yes’ to what people had to say. I also received hundreds of letters and they were all ‘no.'”

She then summed up the spirit that permeated the conference.


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