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PALO ALTO, CA-Stanford University’s first-ever land use plan, which proposes to increase campus density on its 8,000 acres by one-third, won preliminary approval this week from Santa Clara County officials. The plan goes for an official vote before the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 12.

With 8,000 acres to its name, Stanford University is the largest landowner in Palo Alto, Calif. It is planning to build as many as 3,018 housing units for staff, faculty and students as well as 2 million sf of academic space. The construction would take place over the next decade.

One hotly debated aspect of the land-use proposal has been protection of 2,200 acres the university owns in the surrounding foothills. One county supervisor’s proposal for a 99-year ban on half of those foothills was struck down last week. The plan as it stands today would protect the acreage from development for 25 years. Stanford’s initial plan proposed a 10-year ban on foothill development, but neighbors and environmentalists protested that the university-owned land should be protected for at least 25 years.

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