- Steph and Ayesha Curry penned a letter opposing a townhouse development near their home in Atherton, California.
- The move comes as California regulators attempt to bolster the state’s stock of much-needed affordable homes.
- Other wealthy individuals, such as Marc Andressen to Dave Chappelle, have also voiced opposition to similar proposals.
Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry has joined a cadre of other wealthy individuals in opposing multifamily housing developments in one of the most expensive cities in the US.
Curry and his wife Ayesha sent a letter to Atherton, California’s town council on January 18 indicating that they oppose a plan to upzone a piece of land to develop 16 townhouses near their $30 million mansion. Upzoning refers to a process of obtaining approval for higher density or taller building height on a plot of land that a builder plans to redevelop.
Atherton’s 94027 zip code is one of the richest in America, according to Bloomberg’s 2020 Richest Places Index. The town has about 7,000 residents and is located in San Mateo County just outside of Menlo Park, which is home to Silicon Valley behemoth Meta Platforms. Redfin estimates that the median home price in Atherton is just above $8.2 million as of December 2022, which represents a staggering 17% increase year-over-year.
“Safety and privacy for us and our kids continues to be our top priority and one of the biggest reasons we chose Atherton as home,” the letter reads in part. “With the density being proposed at 23 Oakwood, there are major concerns in terms of privacy and safety with three-story townhomes looming directly behind us.”
The Currys are just the latest high-profile family to oppose more density near their home. In February 2022, comedian Dave Chappelle helped kill an ordinance that would have allowed the town of Yellow Springs, Ohio to build a mix of single-family homes, duplexes, and apartments on a recently annexed 55-acre site, according to Reason Magazine.
Then in August 2022, Billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and his neighbors successfully thwarted a proposal to amend Atherton’s zoning code to allow multifamily apartments units within the town’s borders, Bloomberg reported.
Despite the pushback from the Currys and other local families, Atherton’s city council approved the plan to redevelop 23 Oakwood on January 31, NBC Bay Area reported. The Currys had also asked the city council to invest in “considerably taller fencing and landscaping” to block the sightline onto their property.
“This is a tough thing for a community like Atherton to change,” Atherton City Manager George Rodericks told NBC. “It’s a sea change. We’ve never had multi-family zoning.”
The move to upzone a lot in Atherton comes amid a renewed state-mandated push to ensure all cities and towns in California provide sufficient housing for their residents.
Since 1969, California law has required cities to update their housing and land use needs, known as “Housing Elements,” every eight years to ensure enough affordable housing is available to residents. State lawmakers updated this law in 2021 to add more stringent reporting requirements for local jurisdictions and set a deadline for cities to develop their next eight-year plan by January 31, 2023. Cities who fail to comply with the deadline could lose grant funding and face lawsuits from the state Attorney General.
Cities spanning from San Francisco to Los Angeles have had their plans approved by state regulators, with many plans including efforts to increase density on developable land.