INFRASTRUCTURE

Stanford ordered to include more housing in campus masterplan

SOURCE: jejim / Shutterstock
A housing crisis in the Bay Area is forcing Stanford to expand its accommodation for staff and students.


By U2B Staff 

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Stanford University has been told it must build four times the number of housing units it had planned for in its massive campus expansion after the council accuses the university of not taking responsibility for accommodation.

Reviewing the biggest development application it has ever received, Santa Clara County told the university it must supply 2,600 beds for students, and an additional 2,172 housing units for faculty and staff in order for the expansion to be approved.

Stanford, however, isn’t happy with the County’s ruling and is pushing back on the decision, saying the process appeared to be “headed in a direction that will lead to a permit that Stanford cannot accept.”

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“The County’s final (environmental impact report) clearly demonstrates that the county administration’s alternative to build thousands more housing units than Stanford proposed would create more significant, adverse environmental impacts than the balanced plan that the university submitted for approval,” the university’s Associate Vice President, Catherine Palter wrote in a May 9 letter to the County, as reported by The Mercury News.

The development is part of Stanford’s huge campus development masterplan that is expected to take almost two decades to complete. In it’s earlier November 2016 application, the university reportedly requested to build an additional 2.3 million sq feet of academic facilities, 40,000 sq feet of transportation and child care facilities, 2,600 beds for students and 550 housing units for faculty and staff.

The request for additional on-campus accommodation comes amid a housing crisis in the San Fransisco Bay Area where the university is located. With skyrocketing rents and a lack of affordable housing, many students and faculty have been forced further away from the campus and endure extra long commutes – in turn adding to the city’s traffic congestion issues.

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On Wednesday, the California Assembly narrowly passed a statewide rent-cap proposal as a result of mounting pressure for lawmakers to protect renters from the steepest of increases in a hot rental market.

Of the 2,172 new faculty and staff housing units proposed by the county, 1,239 would be offered at market rate and the remaining 933 units at a below-market rate.

At least 70 percent of the housing units would have to be built on campus, and the remaining units would need to be constructed within six miles of it, according to the proposed conditions.

Officials in the county of Palo Alto have accused the university of passing all the responsibility of housing on to surrounding cities and communities.

According to Palo Alto Planning Director Jonathan Lait, “the university has the land and resources to mitigate housing-related impacts.”