NIMBY’s Summer in Silicon Valley’s Poshest Town

“If you have to do something, ask the neighborhood what they want,” he said.

Mr. Draper, Mr. Johnson and representatives for Mr. Andreessen, Mr. Arora and Mr. Wilson of Electronic Arts declined to comment. The other authors of the letter did not respond to requests for comment.

The volume of responses led Atherton City Council to drop the townhouse portion of its plan in July. On Aug. 2, he instead proposed a program to encourage residents to rent secondary suites on their properties, to allow people to subdivide properties and potentially build teacher housing on school property.

“Atherton is indeed different,” the proposal stated. Despite the “perceived affluent nature” of the town, the plan says it is a “cash-poor” town with few people considered to be at risk for housing.

Rick DeGolia, the mayor of Atherton, said the problem with the townhouses was that they would not have met the state’s definition of affordable housing because land in Atherton costs $8 million l ‘acre. A developer told him that the units could cost at least $4 million each.

“Everyone who buys from Atherton has spent a huge amount of money getting in,” he said. “They are very concerned about their privacy, that’s for sure. But there’s a different goal to getting affordable housing, and that’s what I’m focusing on.

Atherton’s new plan must be approved by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Cities that fail to comply with state requirements for new housing to accommodate community growth risk fines, or California could usurp the local land use authority.

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