Stanford was invited by the Portola Valley Town Council several years ago to a series of discussions about the local impacts of the ongoing regional housing crisis, including the challenges faced by employees of town businesses driving long distances to reach their jobs and talented educational professionals moving away because they cannot afford to live nearby.
The town encouraged the university to propose a plan for housing on its property as part of a community engagement process to help find solutions that were appropriate to the community.
In response, Portola Terrace is an integrated community of affordable housing for town employees and Stanford faculty homes. The town of Portola Valley will decide on income qualifications for the 12 workforce units, which could provide homes for teachers, first responders, essential workers and those town employees who cannot afford to live in the area.
The 12 affordable workforce apartments comprise 31 percent of the total housing units and are grouped in three buildings. Each is a two-story quad-plex with studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The 27 single-family faculty homes are all two stories, with three and four bedrooms.
The housing is organized around a centrally located picnic and play area to create a family-friendly neighborhood with easy access to new and existing trails. Siegel & Strain have created a rural design aesthetic to reflect and reinforce the character of the town.
Housing development for 39 units
Portola Terrace will help make Portola Valley more inclusive as a special place to live and work
Portola Terrace is intentionally configured as a cluster development, utilizing the State Density Bonus Law to occupy only six of the 75 acres (8 percent of the property) and, thereby, safeguarding the large oak woodland as open space. The law was created to produce more affordable housing through incentives and waivers that make the housing economically and physically feasible to build. It applies when more affordable units are provided than are required by local ordinances.
The State Density Bonus Law requires that Portola Terrace include six affordable units based on the number of faculty housing units. The project, however, includes twice the number of affordable housing units required. They will be funded, constructed and operated by the university, and all housing units will be built at the same time.