In the land of the Eichler, a growing real estate battle

First in Palo Alto and now in Sunnyvale, owners have waged zoning battles in City Hall to prevent newcomers from knocking down Eichlers. Their goal: to protect and preserve their all-Eichler neighborhoods. In Sunnyvale alone, there are six petitions pending to bar the construction of McMansions amid the Eichlers.

Some neighbors feared for their privacy: Would second-story windows offer unimpeded views into the glass-lined living rooms and master bedrooms of the Eichlers below? Would the razing of one Eichler lead to more of the same — blow after blow to the Eichler neighborhood’s historic lifestyle and look?

“We told them, ‘We hope you understand we don’t want a lot of two-story houses around here,’ ” Vilma Buck said.

“We don’t want any,” said her husband, Don.

After Eliashberg and Govberg announced their project, a complicated permitting process began with the city. There were public hearings at which neighbors voiced their suggestions and complaints, sometimes angrily. One day, standing with her daughter outside their house, Govberg was confronted by one neighbor who told her to move.

“It got personal,” her husband said.

So much for property right. If your neighbors don’t like how your house looks, you can’t build it.

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Watch the video.

Personally, I think the law should require all Eichlers be torn down…Eyesores since day one…Just a garage facing the street with no front windows, burn to the ground in 90 seconds, collapse in quakes, have no insulation, cracked slabs on grade, broken radiant heat pipes, flat leaky roofs, single pane windows, sliding doors that stick, dark cheap wood panelling, no anchor bolts…total pieces of shit…


I like Eichlers. Functional, open floor plan, bright; these are rare for older homes.

My wife doesn’t like it, because she prefers privacy. That’s fine, because there are maintenance issues with Eichlers. Radiant heating in slab foundation. Very difficult to repair. Rolled roof and no insulation. Need to install foam roof for insulation.

As for new building in established neighborhood, I believe there should be rules on keeping some consistent character. If all houses are single story, new construction should be single story. However, builder should be able to choose a style that matches: contemporary in Eichler neighborhood but doesn’t have to be exactly like Eichler.

Single story restrictions in an urban area are asinine. .In fact established BA urban areas like Berkeley Oakland and SF have three story limits…The zoning rules on the Peninsula written in the 1950s are one of the main causes of the housing shortage. .The BA has a long tradition of high density housing from the 19th century…Peninsula cities need to get their shit together. …

The solution to the housing crisis is so obvious. .Just allow SF height limits and density…Or even Berkeley /Oakland density. …Cities on the peninsula with their arrogant head in the sand attitude make me sick…Preserve what? A bunch of substandard crap shacks and Eichlers…Hidden code for bare nimbyism…

Eichler was a cynical bastard who built as fast and cheap as he could…He had no intention that they would last more than 30 years… .It is hilarious that people want to preserve these jokes…

These people need something else to keep them busy, besides petitioning for local zoning rules.

Imagine if the restaurants already in a neighborhood get to decide if and which new restaurants get to open there. Maybe even using the same argument? “We are a bunch of fancy Italian restaurants how can we let this lowly burrito joint come in?” We won’t accept that. And yet we let people already living there set rules to exclude new people coming in.

Zoning law is inherently exclusive. It has been used to exclude blacks in the past. Keeping houses single story means keeping out: 1) people who need more space, typically young families; and 2) people who can’t afford such inefficient use of land. They are keeping people out.

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We should have state level zoning law.

Heck, Japan has a nation-wide zoning law. I don’t see them tearing down century old temples.

PA is full of racist xenophobic nimby assholes…and yet foreigners line up in droves to live there…go figure. …Save our Eichlers means we don’t want you living here…Same with Woodside zoning that makes you build a house that looks like a barn…A horsey town full of horseshit…Btw the number of horses is half of what it was…