North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan (NVCAP)

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The North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan (NVCAP) represents a significant opportunity to plan for a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. The NVCAP process is set forth in Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) Section 19.10. The planning process is intended to include a comprehensive community outreach program to provide opportunities for meaningful input throughout the planning process. Consistent with PAMC Section 19.10.030, a Working Group was appointed by the City Council as an advisory group for the staff, the Planning and Transportation Commission and City Council. Community engagement, including the Working Group, is key to the success of the NVCAP process. 

The NVCAP site is roughly bounded by Page Mill Road, El Camino Real, Lambert Avenue and the Caltrain tracks in Palo Alto and represents a rare opportunity within the City to plan proactively for a transit‐oriented, mixed‐use neighborhood. The project area includes one of the City’s largest housing opportunity sites, which was formerly occupied by Fry’s Electronics, as well as a mix of small and large businesses and single-family residences.

About

The North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan (NVCAP) is intended to create enhanced opportunities for building a sense of community through public involvement in the planning process. Residents, businesses and property owners will help shape the physical elements of their neighborhoods through early and meaningful participation. The NVCAP will provide planning policies, development regulations and design guidelines for the project area. The North Ventura area is intended to be a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood with multifamily housing, commercial services, and well-defined connections to transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The plan will also include urban design strategies and guidelines to strengthen and support the neighborhood fabric and connections to transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

The NVCAP process is an effort led by the City of Palo Alto with the goal to set an integrated direction for the future of the planning area. The plan requires the coordination of the City, the Working Group, members of the community, decision-makers, and a team of specialized consultants led by Perkins Will.

The NVCAP site is roughly bounded by Page Mill Road, El Camino Real, Lambert Avenue and the Caltrain tracks in Palo Alto and represents a rare opportunity within the City to plan proactively for a transit‐oriented, mixed‐use neighborhood. The project area includes one of the City’s largest housing opportunity sites, which was formerly occupied by Fry’s Electronics, as well as a mix of small and large businesses and single-family residences. The purpose of the NVCAP is to provide a vision for the future of this area. The plan will address areas including policies, development standards, and design guidelines. The NVCAP should strengthen the neighborhood fabric and consider infrastructure needs, providing for a mix of land uses that take advantage of the proximity to the Caltrain station, the California Avenue Business District, and El Camino Real.

NVCAP Goals

Goals and Objectives were approved by City Council on March 5, 2018

Housing and Land Use

Add to the City’s supply of multifamily housing, including market rate, affordable, “missing middle,” and senior housing in a walkable, mixed use, transit‐accessible neighborhood, with retail and commercial services and possibly start up space, open space, and possibly arts and entertainment uses.

Transit, Pedestrian and Bicycle Connections

Create and enhance well‐defined connections to transit, pedestrian, and bicycle facilities, including connections to the Caltrain station, Park Boulevard and El Camino Real.

Connected Street Grid

Create a connected street grid, filling in sidewalk gaps and street connections to California Avenue, the Caltrain Station, and El Camino Real where appropriate.

Community Facilities and Infrastructure

Carefully align and integrate development of new community facilities and infrastructure with private development, recognizing both the community’s needs and that such investments can increase the cost of housing.

Balance of Community Interests

Balance community‐wide objectives with the interests of neighborhood residents and minimize displacement of existing residents and small businesses.

Urban Design, Design Guidelines and Neighborhood Fabric

Develop human‐scale urban design strategies, and design guidelines that strengthen and support the neighborhood fabric. Infill development will respect the scale and character of the surrounding residential neighborhood. Include transition zones to surrounding neighborhoods.

Sustainability and the Environment

Protect and enhance the environment, while addressing the principles of sustainability.

NVCAP Objectives

Data Driven Approach

Employ a data-driven approach that considers community desires, market conditions and forecasts, financial feasibility, existing uses and development patterns, development capacity, traffic and travel patterns, historic/cultural and natural resources, need for community facilities (e.g., schools), and other relevant data to inform plan policies.

Comprehensive User Friendly Document and Implementation

Create a comprehensive but user-friendly document that identifies the distribution, location and extent of land uses, planning policies, development regulations and design guidelines to enable development and needed infrastructure investments in the project area.

Guide and Strategy for Staff and Decision Makers

Provide a guide and strategy for staff and decision-makers to bridge the gap between the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan and individual development projects in order to streamline future land use and transportation decisions.

Meaningful Community Engagement

Enable a process with meaningful opportunities for community engagement, within the defined timeline, and an outcome (the CAP document) that reflects the community’s priorities.

Economic Feasibility

A determination of the economic and fiscal feasibility of the plan with specific analysis of market place factors and incentives and disincentives, as well as a cost-benefit analysis of public infrastructure investments and projected economic benefits to the City and community.

Environmental: NVCAP Community Process

A plan that is protective of public health and a process that complies with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.

NVCAP Community Process

Community engagement and outreach is an integral part of the planning process. The anticipated community engagement activities include:

  • NVCAP Working Group Meetings
  • Community Workshops
  • Pop-Up Workshops
  • Public Hearings
  • Stakeholder Meetings
  • Self-Guided Walking Tours

Please visit the Engagement  tab below to learn more about the community engagement process and upcoming and past events.

NVCAP Working Group

The City Council appointed a committee of representatives to work as a Working Group to help guide the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan process. More information about the group and other community engagement activities can be found on the Engagement tab below.  

Working Group Booklet from the October 17, 2018 meeting(PDF, 7MB)

NVCAP Timeline

The North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan planning process includes community engagement activities, assessment of existing conditions, environmental and technical analyses, and preparation of draft concepts and a planning document. The planning process is anticipated to continue through 2022 and be completed by late 2023.  Community engagement activities will be conducted throughout the duration of the NVCAP project. 

timeline graphic.png  

Upcoming Public Hearings

City Council Meeting: Monday, October 24, 2022
Agenda and Staff Report


Engagement

The NVCAP planning process included a comprehensive community outreach program to provide opportunities for meaningful input through the planning process. Examples of activities included:

  • A Working Group to review and provide feedback on existing conditions, planning alternatives, and other information related to the planning area. The NVCAP Working Group is made up of residents, business owners, community representatives and property owners of the NVCAP planning area.
  • Meetings with stakeholder groups including property owners, commercial tenants, area residents, and affinity groups/advocates (affordable housing representatives, bicycle groups, environmental representatives, etc.) to solicit input early on in the process.
  • Community workshops to share ideas, respond to study results and weigh in on the vision and emerging policies of the plan. These meetings may include walking tours, formal workshops, and/or other community events.
  • Study sessions/public hearings with decision-makers at key milestones, including at least one Working Group meeting jointly with the City Council.

If you would like to participate in upcoming public hearings and meetings about the NVCAP please see above for upcoming public hearings.

Previous Council, Commissions and Boards Meetings

Date  Agenda Video Supplemental Documents
January 10, 2022
Council Meeting 
Agenda  Video (Action Item #10) Staff Report
September 20, 2021
Council Meeting

Agenda Video (Action Item #8) Staff Report
At Places Memo
Public Comments Received
Staff Presentation
June 14, 2021
Council Meeting
Agenda Video (Action Item #9) Staff Report
Public Comments Received
Staff and Consultants Presentation
 March 10, 2021
PTC Meeting
Agenda  N/A Staff Report
Public Comments Received
 January 13, 2021
PTC Meeting
Agenda  N/A Staff Report
Staff Responses
 December 9, 2020
PTC Meeting
Agenda  N/A  Staff Report
Public Comments Received #1
Public Comments Received #2
 April 29, 2020 
PTC Meeting
Agenda  N/A Staff Report
Discussion Summary
Minutes
 August 19, 2019
Council Meeting
Agenda  N/A Staff Report
 July 25, 2019
HRB Meeting
Agenda  N/A Staff Report
Public Emails Received


Previous Working Group, Community Workshop Meetings and Surveys

Date Agenda Video Supplemental Documents
 December 8, 2020
Working Group Meeting #17
 Agenda  N/A  N/A
 November 5, 2020
Working Group Meeting #16
Agenda Video Matadero Creek Renaturalization Report
WRA Meeting Presentation
Public Emails Received
Minutes
Community Survey Responses
 October 8, 2020
Working Group Meeting #15
Agenda Video Packet
Public Comments Received
Minutes
 August 18, 2020
Working Group Meeting #14
Agenda Video Packet
Public Emails Received
Speaker Biographies for Housing Discussion
Speaker Presentation (Housing Coops)
Minutes
 July 28, 2020
Working Group Meeting #13b
Agenda Video Packet
Minutes
 July 21, 2020
Working Group Meeting #13a
Agenda Video Packet
Minutes
 June 30, 2020
Working Group Meeting #12b
Agenda Video Packet
Public Emails Received
Minutes
NVCAP Consensus Building Handbook Responses (Raw Data)
NVCAP Consensus Building Handbook Responses (Excel)
 June 25, 2020
Working Group Meeting #12a
Agenda Video Packet
Public Emails Received
Minutes
NVCAP Consensus Building Handbook Responses (Raw Data)
NVCAP Consensus Building Handbook Responses (Excel)
 May 26, 2020
Working Group #11
Agenda
Revised Agenda
Video

Packet
Proposed Alternatives
NVCAP Homework: Review Sheet for Proposed Alternatives
Public Emails Received
Minutes
Survey Questions
Responses #1
Responses #2
Survey Monkey Raw Data (Excel File)
Community Emails Received

 February 27, 2020
Community Workshop #2 &
Open House
 Agenda N/A  Flyer
Revised Draft Alternatives
Public Emails Received
Community Feedback
 January 21, 2020
Working Group Meeting #9b
Agenda Video Packet
Palo Alto Multi-Family Housing Tour

Presentation
Public Emails Received
Minutes

 January 7, 2020 
Working Group Meeting #10
Planning 101

N/A Video Packet

Presentation
Public Emails Received
Minutes

 December 5, 2019
Working Group Meeting #9a
 N/A Video Packet

Public Emails Received
Presentation (WRA)
Presentation (P W)
Summary
Minutes

 October 29, 2019
Working Group Meeting #8
 N/A

Video

 

Packet
Public Emails Received
Presentations
Minutes

 September 24, 2019
Working Group Meeting #7
 N/A  Video

Packet
Public Emails Received
Minutes

 August 21, 2019
Working Group Meeting #6
 N/A  N/A  Packet

 April 17, 2019
Working Group Meeting #5

Agenda  N/A Cover Memo
Plan Alternatives Development Presentation
Preliminary Historic Resource Evaluation
Brown Act FAQ

NVCAP Working Group Emails
Working Group Proposals (Part 1)
Working Group Proposals (Part 2)
Break Out Session Materials
Member of the Public Emails
Public Correspondence
Historic Resource Evaluation Draft for 340 Portage Ave
Minutes

 March 11, 2019
Working Group Meeting #4
 Agenda

Video

 
Event Flyer

Staff Report
Historic Study Memo
NVCAP Neighborhood Association Documents
Mayview Community Health Center Letter
Minutes

 February 5, 2019
Community Workshop #1

Agenda

 
 N/A Flyer

Summary
Presentation
Display Boards

 January 16, 219
Working Group Meeting #3
Agenda

Video

 
Packet

Working Group Email
Working Group #3 - Group Exercise
Pre-Meeting Public Comments
Summary
Minutes

 November 15, 2018
Working Group Meeting #2

Agenda


Video Packet

Document A - Ross 11.15.2018
Document B - Barr 11.15.2018
Presentation
Summary
Minutes

 October 17, 2018
Working Group Meeting #1
Agenda

Video

 
Packet

Booklet
Presentation
Summary
Minutes

Resources

The NVCAP project team has assembled a comprehensive list of resources about the background, the planning process, zoning, and other subjects related to the project. These resource are listed in no particular order and linked to external sites and/or documents. New resources and materials will may be updated to this page during the duration of the NVCAP project, and highlighted on the Home page of this website.

NVCAP Meeting Resources

NVCAP Working Group Packet(PDF, 2MB)
NVCAP Working Group Booklet(PDF, 7MB)
Planning and Development Services Department page

Comprehensive Plan

Zoning Code

Palo Alto Municipal Code (see Section 18 for Zoning Code)
Palo Alto Municipal Code - Section 19. Coordinated Area Plans
Zoning Code Map

Citywide Planning Documents and Area Plans

South of Forest Area: Coordinated Area Plan Phase 1 (SOFA 1)
South of Forest Area: Coordinated Area Plan Phase 2 (SOFA 2)
Urban Forestry Master Plan
Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

El Camino Design Guidelines

Transportation Plans

Bicycle Pedestrian Plan
Rail Corridor Study
Connecting Palo Alto

Housing

Housing Element (2015-2023) 
Housing Work Plan 

Related Ordinances

Annual Office Limit Ordinance (Ordinance # 5439)
Citywide Office and R&D Development Cap (Ordinance # 5446)

Technical Resources

BuildingEye (Planning Applications)