Steph Curry NIMBY? NBA star fighting plan for Atherton townhouses

NBA star Steph Curry has joined neighbors in wealthy Atherton who oppose Bay Area city plans to build multi-family, affordable housing.

The immediate object of concern for Curry and his wife Ayesha is a potential 16 townhouse development on 1.5 acres near their $30 million home. The land is currently occupied by a single dwelling. It is common for homes in the five square mile enclave to occupy at least one acre.

In a Jan. 18 letter to the city obtained by the Almanac, a local newspaper, the Currys wrote that they had “major privacy and safety concerns with three-story townhouses looming directly behind us”.

“We are hesitant to add to the ‘not in our backyard’ rhetoric (literally),” their letter continues, “but we wanted to send a note ahead of today’s meeting. Safety and privacy for us and our children continues to be our top priority and one of the main reasons we chose Atherton as our home.

While urging that the development be rejected, they said that if this is not “good enough for the state, we are asking the city to commit to investing in significantly taller fencing and landscaping to block off lines of sight on our family’s property”.

The Currys are far from the only objectors, the wealthiest or the angst. Among those directing criticism at city officials is billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.

In recent months, city leaders have attempted to address concerns raised by residents, but officials can only go so far as they must meet state requirements by developing an updated housing plan. day. If the state rejects the city plan, Atherton would face legal action and the imposition of rules giving developers freer rule within the city limits.

Beneath the veneer of fame and wealth lies another iteration of a long-running debate over who should share responsibility for solving the state’s housing crisis and how. And part of the debate is whether wealthy neighborhoods and cities — and wealthy people in general — have done their part.

There are state rules in place that attempt to impose liability in some unfamiliar locations, such as Atherton, located just north of the Stanford campus in San Mateo County.

According to census data, the community of about 7,000 people is 73% white and 19% Asian, with a median household income of more than $250,000. Density is about two people per acre, and 86% of the housing stock is single-family homes, averaging just under three people per household.

The city is at the mercy of the state for plans that would make it possible to build 348 homes by 2031.

Some residents have clarified why higher density should not be allowed in their neighborhood. Other objections were more general.

“As a resident of Atherton for 32 years,” Grace Ferrando wrote in comments submitted to the city, “it saddens and sickens me to think of what has been proposed for our beautiful city. In short, I am deeply concerned about the impact on the safety of our residents, including road safety.

“I’m 95,” Mari Korematsu wrote. “This has been my home for many decades and I want to live the rest of my life without all this uncertainty that hangs over me.”

Joseph Laria wrote, “This plan disproportionately places the burden of meeting the state’s moderate-income multifamily requirement on our small community. … It is not economically feasible to build social housing in Atherton. The cost of the land alone is $8 million per acre.

Increasing population density, he added, “restricts our property rights. …I am raising a family in Atherton because I loved the quality of life and the town. … There are other options available which may meet the spirit of the housing element given the uniqueness of Atherton.

“These are complex times,” wrote Nic and Denise Persson. “If you can’t believe your single-family neighborhood isn’t suddenly turning into an apartment complex, how can an American ever dare buy a house for his family? I think we all agree on that.

“Crime and congestion are what you’ll get with this outrageous plan,” wrote David Randolph.

The debate went to a wire – a crowded special city council meeting began at 2 p.m. on July 31, the same day the plan was due to be submitted to the state. The plan was approved with modifications.

The results of a state review are pending.

The Currys and their immediate neighbors have received a partial grant – a stipulation that could result in the property in question being developed at a lower density.

Los Angeles Times

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