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Mark Zuckerberg ‘compound’ raises red flags for city board

PALO ALTO — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to rebuild four homes around his own will form a “compound” and reduce the city’s housing stock, which violates zoning codes and ideal land use, a city advisory board decided Thursday in a project review.

The Architectural Review Board voted 3-1 to recommend that city Planning Director Hillary Gitelman not approve Zuckerberg’s application to replace homes at 1451, 1457 and 1459 Hamilton Ave. and 1462 Edgewood Drive.

Concerned about privacy, Zuckerberg bought the homes for $30 million in 2013 after learning that a developer planned to build a house next door tall enough to have a view of Zuckerberg’s master bedroom.

Plans call for removing a pair of two-story homes and two one-story homes.

Replacing those structures would be one two-story home and three single-story homes that are smaller in dimension than the existing homes.

The homes would be 20 percent smaller than what was there and built out to only half of the square footage that is allowed on the lots.

Kathy Scott, of the Walker-Warner Architects firm working with Zuckerberg, said the project seeks to expand her client’s space for “residential functions.”

“The idea is just to expand our client’s capacity to enjoy the property: sharing time with friends and family, having more outdoor space to play,” Scott said. “The current property is quite restricted and so this is just giving them more space for their residential functions.”

The vision of expanding a single homeowner’s “residential functions” is what raised red flags for board members who say that doing so would ruin the single-family home feel of the Crescent Park neighborhood.

Read more at Mercury News

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