Concerns over Stanford University expansion plans; Santa Clara County wants additional housing

STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Stanford University's plans to expand its campus could come to a halt if it can't agree with the county over the amount of additional housing that it needs to build to help accommodate that growth.

University officials submitted an application for a general use permit in November 2016. It is one of the largest projects to ever be considered by Santa Clara County.

"If you live anywhere near here, this is going to be affecting your traffic, this is going to be affecting the diversity of our communities," said Shelby Parks, a member of the Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035.

The university wants to add roughly 2.3 million square feet of academic facilities and 2,600 additional beds for students over the next 20 years.

The plan also calls for 550 units to be built for faculty and staff. However, county planners want Stanford to build four times that amount in order for the project to be approved.

"As a really important employer, and an important leader in our region, we're counting on them to respond by fully mitigating their impacts," said County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

On May 9, Stanford sent a letter to the county expressing its concerns about the proposed requirements, saying the process "appears to be headed in a direction that will lead to a permit that Stanford cannot accept."

The university released a statement to ABC7 News on Wednesday afternoon, saying in part: "In our conversations with the county, we are trying to strike the right balance, and we are hopeful that we will reach an effective resolution."

Many lower-wage workers say additional housing units on or near campus could help alleviate some of the concerns about traffic and housing affordability in the area.

"Some co-workers, they're moving to Modesto, or to another city like Tracy," said Doreteo Garcia, an East Palo Alto resident and contracted Stanford employee who spoke to ABC7 News during his break.

"They're driving two or three hours every day coming in here for work."

The county Planning Commission will host a public hearing Thursday night at Palo Alto City Hall at 6 p.m.

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