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Palo Alto City Street Width Initiative, 2009

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The Palo Alto City Street Width Initiative may appear on a ballot in Santa Clara County for voters in the City of Palo Alto.[1]

The initiative, if it is approved, will require developers to make private streets at least 32 feet wide unless their proposed project got an exemption allowing narrower streets in the permitting process.

Bob Moss initiated the measure after the Palo Alto City Council approved plans for the Alma Plaza in January 2009. Over 2,000 registered voters in Palo Alto signed the petition to put the question on the ballot. Moss said that in addition to his concern about street widths in the Alma Plaza development, he has also been concerned about street widths in other recently approved developments including the Arbor Real development on El Camino Real.

City Attorney Gary Baum said in late July 2009 that although the initiative's supporters intended it to apply to the Alma Plaza development, it will not in fact affect that development because the Alma Plaza development has already been approved by the City Council and even if a ballot initiative on the November ballot is approved, it can't apply retroactively. Baum said, "This already passed. The (initiative) will have no effect on this development, whether it's passed by the electorate or the council."[1]

Alma Plaza

Alma Plaza is a proposed development that, if built, would include a grocery store, 37 houses, 14 units of affordable housing, commercial space, a park and a community room on the 3400 block of Alma Street, near East Meadow Drive.

The project is being developed by John McNellis. Plans for the project include 20- and 22-foot-wide private streets.