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Update on Housing Discussions

Post Date:11/16/2018 9:30 AM


As you know, the Town Council adopted a Housing Strategic Plan that has guided recent conversations on housing issues. Much has been discussed in the last month on housing-related issues and we want to give you a quick update:

1. Second Units/ADU’s - The Planning Commission held a Study Session on Accessory Dwelling Units (second units/ADU’s) on October 3, 2018. There were many topics and a lot of information to consider; material and discussion will be spread over at least two meetings.

On October 3rd, the Planning Commission discussed Section 1, Recommended by Staff, and Section 2, Procedure: Staff Discretionary Review. The Commission will continue with a discussion of Section 3, Policy and Code Changes, at its next meeting on October 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm in the Historic Schoolhouse. Section 3 includes the following topics:

  • ADUs on All Parcel Sizes
  • Floor Area Allowed for ADUs
  • Parking
  • Utility Undergrounding
  • Allow ADUs in All Zones
  • Second Addresses
  • Second Driveways
  • Owner Occupancy

If you have comments, questions or concerns related to any of these topics, please come to the October 17th meeting! We want to hear from you, and hope you can make it. If you are unable to attend, please send your comments to Thank you for your continued participation in our conversations about housing!

2. Affiliated Housing Program - The Town’s Housing Element includes a program called the “Affiliated Housing Program” that allows three institutions in Portola Valley (The Priory, The Sequoias, and Stanford University) to build housing for their employees on their land. To date, the program has only been utilized by the Priory, which has 19 units of multifamily staff housing on their property.

On September 28th, the Town Council heard from these three Affiliated Housing partners as part of a regular update on the program. At the meeting, each partner indicated an interest in meeting with Town Staff to discuss potential options for creating new housing for their employees on each property. The Council directed staff to initiate those discussions.

As part of the September 28 meeting, the Town Council also received expressions of interest for inclusion in the Affiliated Housing Program from other local non-profits and institutions. The Town Council will consider these requests in the near future.

3. Housing on Town-Owned Property - The “Housing on Town-Owned Property Committee” reconvened on October 1st to further discuss the potential for housing for seniors, workforce, and others on property Portola Valley currently owns.

The Committee will be reviewing properties for their appropriateness for housing based on location to services, capacity for small units, access to amenities, and cost to develop. This information will be provided to the Council at a later date.

Should you wish to review the Committee’s initial report to the Town Council, please click here for item 4.


If you have any questions about items 2 and 3, feel free to contact Town Manager Jeremy Dennis at

Additional information on the Town’s housing conversations can be found here.

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