Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

County Has 'Smart Growth' Plan for Stanford's Campus

KCBS Radio Afternoon News
September 06, 2018 - 2:26 pm

PALO ALTO — Stanford University's expansion plans have raised concerns from Santa Clara County officials about disturbing the undeveloped foothills around the campus. But a new study concluded that the prestigious research university could nearly triple in size without building on the sensitive land.

That finding will likely be a factor as the county's Board of Supervisors reviews Stanford's application to enlarge its footprint by more than 2 million square feet with 550 additional housing units and 3,150 beds by 2035.

The plan is the largest development application in the county’s history, even larger than Apple’s “spaceship” campus, said Supervisor Joe Simitian, president of the Board of Supervisors. 

The plans have fueled public concerns over just where the campus is going to grow. Stanford owns 8,000 acres, half of which is in the county's unincorporated areas. 

“Stanford is clearly the exception to the rule when it comes to large scale development in the unincorporated county,” says Simitian.

The nearby foothills have some protections against development, said Simitian, but they expire in just seven years.

The county-funded study concluded that the campus can expand from to 15 million to 44 million square feet entirely on university-owned property in the flatlands. 

Simitian welcomed the news, and said that Stanford’s expansion could be an example of “smart growth" — denser development that contains the kind of sprawl common to suburban areas.

Responding to the study, the university issued a statement contending it has no way of knowing what its needs will be beyond the year 2035. Stanford’s campus has expanded by an average of 210,000 square feet a year.

Reported by Jennifer Hodges.

Written by Jordan Bowen.