The North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan (NVCAP) is intended to create enhanced opportunities for building a sense of community through public involvement in the planning process.  Residents,  businesses and property owners will help shape the physical elements of their neighborhoods through early and meaningful participation.  The NVCAP will provide planning policies, development regulations and design guidelines for the project area.  The North Ventura area is intended to be a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood with multifamily housing, commercial services, and well-defined connections to transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.  The plan will also include urban design strategies and guidelines to strengthen and support the neighborhood fabric and connections to transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities. 

The NVCAP process is an effort led by the City of Palo Alto with the goal to set an integrated  direction for the future of the planning area. The plan will require the coordination of the City, the Working Group, members of the community, decision-makers, and a team of specialized consultants led by Perkins + Will.


Goals and Objectives are approved by City Council on March 5, 2018

Click each subject area below to expand and view content.

+ Housing and Land Use

Add to the City’s supply of multifamily housing, including market rate, affordable, “missing middle,” and senior housing in a walkable, mixed use, transit‐accessible neighborhood, with retail and commercial services and possibly start up space, open space, and possibly arts and entertainment uses.

+ Transit, Pedestrian and Bicycle Connections

Create and enhance well‐defined connections to transit, pedestrian, and bicycle facilities, including connections to the Caltrain station, Park Boulevard and El Camino Real.

+ Connected Street Grid

Create a connected street grid, filling in sidewalk gaps and street connections to California Avenue, the Caltrain Station, and El Camino Real where appropriate.

+ Community Facilities and Infrastructure

Carefully align and integrate development of new community facilities and infrastructure with private development, recognizing both the community’s needs and that such investments can increase the cost of housing.

+ Balance of Community Interests

Balance community‐wide objectives with the interests of neighborhood residents and minimize displacement of existing residents and small businesses.

+ Urban Design, Design Guidelines and Neighborhood Fabric

Develop human‐scale urban design strategies, and design guidelines that strengthen and support the neighborhood fabric. Infill development will respect the scale and character of the surrounding residential neighborhood. Include transition zones to surrounding neighborhoods.

+ Sustainability and the Environment

Protect and enhance the environment, while addressing the principles of sustainability.

NVCAP Objectives

Click each subject area below to expand and view content.

+ Data Driven Approach

Employ a data-driven approach that considers community desires, market conditions and forecasts, financial feasibility, existing uses and development patterns, development capacity, traffic and travel patterns, historic/cultural and natural resources, need for community facilities (e.g., schools), and other relevant data to inform plan policies.

+ Comprehensive User Friendly Document and Implementation

Create a comprehensive but user-friendly document that identifies the distribution, location and extent of land uses, planning policies, development regulations and design guidelines to enable development and needed infrastructure investments in the project area.

+ Guide and Strategy for Staff and Decision Makers

Provide a guide and strategy for staff and decision-makers to bridge the gap between the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan and individual development projects in order to streamline future land use and transportation decisions.

+ Meaningful Community Engagement

Enable a process with meaningful opportunities for community engagement, within the defined timeline, and an outcome (the CAP document) that reflects the community’s priorities.

+ Economic Feasibility

A determination of the economic and fiscal feasibility of the plan with specific analysis of market place factors and incentives and disincentives, as well as a cost-benefit analysis of public infrastructure investments and projected economic benefits to the City and community.

+ Environmental: NVCAP Community Process

A plan that is protective of public health and a process that complies with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.

NVCAP Community Process

Community engagement and outreach is an integral part of the planning process. The anticipated community engagement activities include:

  • NVCAP Working Group Meetings

  • Community Workshops

  • Pop-Up Workshops

  • Public Hearings

  • Stakeholder Meetings

  • Self-Guided Walking Tours

Please visit the Engagement page to learn more about the community engagement process and upcoming and past events.

NVCAP Working Group

The City Council appointed a committee of representatives to work as a Working Group to help guide the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan process. More information about the group and other community engagement activities can be found on the Engagement page. Click here to view the Working Group Booklet from the October 17th, 2018 meeting.

NVCAP Timeline

The North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan planning process includes community engagement activities, assessment of existing conditions, environmental and technical analyses, and preparation of draft concepts and a planning document. The planning process is anticipated to continue through 2019 and be completed in early to mid-2020. Community engagement activities will be conducted throughout the duration of the NVCAP project.

The North Ventura Planning Area

The NVCAP site is roughly bounded by Page Mill Road, El Camino Real, Lambert Avenue and the Caltrain tracks in Palo Alto and represents a rare opportunity within the City to plan proactively for a transit‐oriented, mixed‐use neighborhood. The project area includes one of the City’s largest housing opportunity sites, which is currently occupied by Fry’s Electronics, as well as a mix of small and large businesses and single-family residences. The purpose of the NVCAP is to provide a vision for the future of this area. The group will address areas including policies, development standards, and design guidelines. The NVCAP should strengthen the neighborhood fabric and consider infrastructure needs, providing for a mix of land uses that take advantage of the proximity to the Caltrain station, the California Avenue Business District, and El Camino Real.