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San Carlos proposes widening Holly Street…

December 23, 2008 Holly Street Widening 6 Comments

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Widening Holly Street

In what will certainly be a contentious and highly-charged issue, The City of San Carlos today released preliminary details on its proposal to widen Holly Street at Industrial Road.   As it exists today, the stretch of Holly Street leading west from Industrial Road already has 115 feet of widened, 3-lane traffic.   The Holly Street Widening Project calls for that 3-lane configuration to be extended another 205 feet, for a total of 320 feet.   The diagram for impacted areas is at the right –>

While the widening will fit within the 60 foot wide public right-of-way, there will be a direct impact to 9 residential units on this stretch as some landscaping will be lost and sidewalks will need to be re-configured.

Why is the City proposing this?   The Environmental Impact Report that came from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation project recommends widening Holly Street to mitigate gridlock from the increased traffic they’ll be expecting once the facility opens for business.

The City has the details of the project, as well as planned dates for community hearings on their website — here’s the link:  Holly Street Widening Project.    There’s also another picture of the impacted area:

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I hate to be pessimistic, but I’m not convinced the benefits of this work will outweigh the inconvenience to the impacted residences.   If you’ve traveled Holly Street during the morning or afternoon commute hours, you’ll know that it’s often completely jammed from El Camino all the way to Industrial Road — sometimes in both directions.  So simply widening another 200+ feet of the road may not make a noticeable difference, especially when the PAMF traffic kicks in.   I think Holly’s traffic woes are much bigger than this.

 What are your thoughts on this proposal?

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Hummmm says:

    The 9 residents are being bent over and HARD.

    PAMF project is over 1/2 billion dollars.

    The 9 homes affected will lose maybe 15% in value.

    Plus it will cost them about $45,000 in moving costs just to buy a home of the same value.. Broker fees, loan fees, moving expenses.

    AND their new taxes will be $ 5,000 per year more for a new purchase.

    Net loss for them is $ 145,000 each.

    What will that add to a 30 year mortgage?

    $ 800 per month for 30 years??

    Unbelievable..

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  2. Michael says:

    Why are there any homes on Holly Street??? Why would anyone want to live on Holly Street?? As a major artery into and out of San Carlos, it is a mystery why this has not become a large boulevard, lined with palm trees leading into our village. Yes, I know this represents a look into the past of San Carlos, but why are we, as San Carlos residents, so quick to defend the homeowners? With growth comes change (and in many cases REQUIRED change). This street needs to be made more accessible for those traveling into and out of this town. I would say the same for East Hillsdale in San Mateo.

    What about emergency vehicles? With a hospital at this location, we should require that the hospital pay to FAIRLY buy these people out of their homes and make this area ONLY for traffic. I am sure it would not eliminate the traffic completely, but it would give the police department something else to do besides enforcing the street parking ban during 4 and 6pm (oh wait, they don’t do that now).

    Seriously, the time has come to make this a non-residential thoroughfare.

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  3. Hummmm says:

    Michael,

    I am not asking to be defended at all. I agree that change is required.

    I only ask to be treated fairly. Right now I am totally ignored.

    I 100% agree that a hospital needs a good road for access.
    Keep in mind that PAMF is a HUGH profit center in that over 760 physicians are employed. They are not charity workers in any sence of the term.

    They have decided to hang out their shingle and I do not have any problem with this. But before another 1/2 billion dollar profit center is built.
    Hard working people should be fairly treated not left hanging.

    To date nothing has been mentioned at all as to how bad we will be hurt.

    I would like to have the math figured out so that I can move on in life.
    Even if I have to make consessions.

    Now I cannot sell, nobody is buying except a few shark speculators
    offering 50 cents on the dollar. These sharks are more brazen and
    savy than I in creating a profit from this mess. Who is behind
    these offers?

    The city offered to noise insulate our homes aftet the street widening.

    That would require complete gutting the inside of a 1940’s home.
    What a waste of time and effort. Come on…Be serious…

    Do you realise that further devaluation caused by the street widening
    will force 44 -55% of the homes into forclosure.

    It plays out perfectly in favor of big business and steals on average about 8% of a lifetime in savings. Very hard pill to swollow.

    I agree that time has come for a non-residential thoroughfare.
    I vote the same as you.

    For me I feel that I have been notified that the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.

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  4. Michael says:

    As I said in my post, the homeowners should be fairly compensated by the hospital and I hope that is the end result. If the plan moves through, make sure you are the squeaky wheel and you will indeed be heard. Don’t give up.

    However, homes go into foreclosure when the mortgage is not being paid. Is this problem now somehow the bank’s fault and you and your neighbors want to stop making your mortgage payments? Bad idea…

    My home along with every other home in San Carlos has gone down in value. I chose to live in a less populated part of San Carlos and have probably realized a lesser slide in my property value in recent months (although I know I paid a higher price for that benefit). The chances of my street dealing with a similar circumstance as Holly is slim to none because I do not live in an area with any major traffic flow, current or anticipated in the future.

    But you must admit that in this market and by virtue of your location, even if this hospital was not being built, a home on Holly street has got to be tied with a home on Old County Road with respect to its desirability. The value will go down and it will take longer to sell.

    As you are asking the hospital to treat you fairly, you must also treat your mortgage company and your fellow residents fairly by continuing to pay your mortgage (as long as you are able), upholding your end of the bargain. Even though the owners are still gainfully employed, some homes have gone into foreclosure because they become disillusioned with their home, it’s location, etc. That is no reason to stop paying the mortgage. They made a commitment to pay the bank back the money they asked them for when they wanted it.

    About 10 years ago, I purchased a home that faced the Hillsdale Mall parking structure. I quickly learned that in spite of the peace I felt entitled to (as well as the home appreciation my neighbors were enjoying), I chose that location and with it, it’s potential ills (ie parking, noise, traffic, etc).

    In a slightly busier market, I chose to find another home and sell mine for what the market would bear. I fully disclosed my experience to the seller and they freely chose to buy it from me. I did not sell for anywhere near a house around the corner would have sold for. I just made a decision to change my situation.

    There are homes that sell on Holly Street (I believe one is currently pending)and I am sure if you put your’s on the market for a fair price, you will sell as well. You will also benefit from a down market when you go to buy another home.

    I learned my lesson and hope you do as well. Owning real estate can be a joy but can also make you wish you were renting again. There are constant lessons to be learned.

    Remember, make your voice heard to the right people and you will be treated fairly in the end.

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  5. Hummmm says:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence…I don’t plan to give up.

    I am not making my payments because I paid my house off years ago. :-)
    I am in the 45% that are old enough to be stable. The other 55% need help.

    The problem is losses on losses for others who have seen over $110,000 drop in value from since a recent purchase.

    Then ON TOP of those losses we now have a (subjective) 15% market devaluation from the road widening or possible condemnation.

    Newlyweds with 25% down.

    I agree that they made an agreement with the bank. But when this one, two combo happens and simple math shows that they have -20% equity. Attempting to climb while the hole deepens.

    I have done the math but haven’t shown them yet.
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

    Oddly this may end up being my 2nd house lost to condemnation.
    Last time I was on a tree lined country road and the state decided to
    connect 2 highways that were 11 miles apart for a beltway around a city.

    12 years of uncertainty. Unbelievable nightmare for a young family who may not have the finances to run to higher ground.

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  6. Michael says:

    I put my faith in our city to do the right thing and help those who need it to get through this “negotiation” with the hospital. I certainly don’t want to see people who chose San Carlos for their first real estate investment regret their decision.

    For your own interest and that of your 8 neighbors (perhaps the entire stretch of homeowners), get together and make your concerns known. A group has more credibility.

    I did a similar thing when at our San Mateo home. I got the neighbors together for a meeting at our house. Along with the police chief and mall management, we began a dialogue discussing our concerns. it took a while, but measures were taken to minimize the effects of the mall on the homeowners. They did install a stop sign on the block to slow traffic and added security and closed the parking structure’s entry at 8.

    Seems like small things, but at least we tried.

    The unfortunate part of your situation is the real estate market is down everywhere. The people who bought recently are experiencing the same thing everywhere. It is so important to remember location, location, location to minimize effects of markets such as these.

    If these people stay long enough, the market will return and they will see profit. They do have history on their side. I rememeber buying in San Mateo in 2000 and you could still buy a home on Holly for under $400,000. That still represents a profit if you stayed in that same house today, even in this market.

    Get together, get organized and the circumstances should improve.

    Best of luck and hope that the homeowners on Holly street will prevail.

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