PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — Stanford University’s ambitious plans for growth over the next two decades are coming up short in one area, according to Santa Clara County officials.
“As we create new jobs and new opportunities, we must also create new housing,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
The University has applied to Santa Clara County for a new general use permit, which is a blueprint for future development on campus.
The plan calls for 2,000,000 square feet of new research buildings and just over 3,000 new housing units. But only about 550 of the new units are for non-students.
“This new general use permit is going to bring 7 to 10,000 new people into the area, and if they don’t house those people, it’s going to be a disaster,” said Shelby Parks, a student involved with the campus group SCOPE 35, which is monitoring Stanford’s plan.
Students say campus workers are facing a housing crisis that forces them to often work two jobs and live hours away from campus.
“Workers have to live in Modesto or somewhere across the bay, just to be able to make ends meet,” said Olivia Fu, a Stanford freshman.
Santa Clara County has rejected Stanford’s initial plan, asking for 2,000 housing units for faculty and staff before it can be approved.
“We’re really trying to work with Stanford to make sure that all of the actions that they take really have a net-net positive for our community,” said Chavez. “Positive in that they get to develop and positive in that we all get to benefit from that development.”
No one from Stanford was available for comment, but the university sent KPIX a statement which reads in part: “We are seeking to add a reasonable amount of housing that helps address our region’s housing challenges and minimizes any adverse impacts on our neighbors. In our conversations with the county, we are trying to strike the right balance.”
The county is asking the public to weigh in at a series of public hearings on Stanford’s plans, the first of which takes place Thursday night at Palo Alto City Hall.