Council welcomes monsters in South Paly
Council cited property rights and current perhaps flawed rule of law to rationalize the denial of a long-time resident’s appeal of a 4,000 square foot two-story house on Corina, dwarfing the Brown Kaufman modest homes already there. Council voted 5-2 to approve the plan, with Dubois and Scharff absent. [Actually, it was 6-1 with Schmid dissenting]

Somewhere between beacon and bat-signal for the big houses.

Some call these “Monster homes”.

Reminds me of Allen Ginsberg “Howl” and his reaction to “Moloch”.

See Eric Drooker’s illustrated version of the classic wail.

I think there is also an element of staff believing they work for the building industry and not the residents. Here is staff report.

Speaking eloquently for the appeal included former commish Art Keller, Rita Virshaw, Cheryl Lilienstein, Ken Ingle (calling out 808 Richardson, same problem) and Shani Kleinhau, who pointd out a blue heron.

On staff tonight: Cara Silver, Molly Stump, Jim Keane, Hilary Gitelman, Amy French. Christy Fong, a relative newby, popped into the house for about a half hour of this then left around 9.

I also think of Robert Frost “good fences make good neighbors” which I am misquoting. From “Mending Wall” 1914, but doubtful that it applies here. Also, that we took more than 90 minutes of council and staff time here is a bad sign.

Leading the charge for property rights are: Burt, Berman, Filseth, Wolbach and Kniss. monsterhouseposter

People referenced a comp plan guideline on neighborhood integrity.

This fits a corner lot

This fits a corner lot

Ginsberg mentions Moloch 39 times but here is a briefer section, of 9:
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!

I actually thought it queer that the Weekly in their Feb. 3 coverage of this issue fixated on the Brown Act and too many council members discussing the need to review this publicly rather than the aspects of the case or its significance.

Actually I am also reminded of talking to Otto Slater on Byrd Lane about some of the monster homes going in there — LAH — and his anecdote about moving there in 1950s when he and Stegner and Collins were the only ones out there and when the fourth house went in it was “there goes the neighborhood”. (Now there is about 12).

The other question is: will the applicant end up being a good neighbor? Cynics seem to be saying that this is an investment only, and the house will be flipped. Not all the cards have been dealt, as they say.

at 9:45 Cory Wolbach moved to approve the project and reject the appeal. Kniss seconded. He in effect said “I’m satisfied, aren’t you? Let’s move on, and get pizza”. (I’m paraphrasing). He also, at the retreat, wanted a chess-clock in deliberations.

Strictly metaphorically I am tempted by either Six Mix-alot 1992 or Queen 1978. (Plastic Alto is first and foremost a music column; and as I type this, Amy French, at 9:57 just said, if you excuse the Mike Judgeism, “abuts”).

edit to add: I’m going with Six Mix A Lot because of his lot size:

next day: to Eric Filseth’s logic, I would just say we are lucky that he is not on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: we’ve fried innocent men before, Rodney Reed, so take your punishment like a man! According to Jason Green, it actually went down more like this:
Filseth noted that there are other large two-story homes in the neighborhood, including one built in the Mediterranean style across the street.

“In my mind,” Filseth said, “the presence of that house … it considerably weakens the argument that the applicant’s house conflicts with the prevailing style in the neighborhood.”

further: These issue reminds me of something attributed to commercial developer Jim Baer, in a comments board, about dissent:

the Planning Department is mistakenly diagnosed as encouraging of and supporting inappropriate development. This is an uniformed and angry point of view that may become over the top during periods of internet and social networking methods of organizing. [Portion removed.] Thee are some self-promoting community leaders, none of whom would win support by making personal presentations because their anger and misinformation would be apparent to observers These same statements and positions distributed by 1000s of emails do not well filter the wild ones who presume their animus towards the development community is a highest form of leadership.

Meanwhile in SF, a supe is trying to slow monster homes in one neighborhood, according to the Chron.

I am not denying that I am oversubscribed here in expressionistic cultural references, but this also has me sussing around Disney’s “Monster House” and “Up”. The point is that our little problems, not amounting to a hill of beans, are not occurring in a vacuum either. And I always push the point that the arts can guide us in policy, the type of flexible “outside the box” thinking. There’s a mono-culture of thought, a group-think, in our discourse; the industry breeds for it.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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