It turns out there are still some things being a billionaire doesn’t automatically get you—such as the right to tear down your neighbors’ homes for your own convenience.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg moved into his $7 million, 5,000-square-foot home in Palo Alto, California, in 2011. Two years later, Zuckerberg also snatched up four nearby homes for $30 million, planning to bulldoze them and rebuild smaller versions into a compound-like space in which friends and family could stay. According to the architecture firm working with Zuckerberg, “the current property is quite restricted and so this is just giving them more space for their residential functions.”
But an advisory board is now urging the city to put a stop to those plans.
Palo Alto’s Architectural Review Board decided this week that Zuckerberg’s property expansion plan violates zoning codes and ideal land use—because it removes four independent homes from the market and cuts into the city’s already limited housing stock. For a single family to use five entire properties would be a breach of the city’s commitment to protecting single-family housing availability, board members told The Mercury News.
Zuckerberg, for all his (and Facebook’s) ambitions to unite the world and reduce economic inequality, has drawn more than a few raised eyebrows for lofty real estate plans. The billionaire was accused of hoarding parking spots around his San Francisco residence in 2014, and he most recently built a controversial six-foot-tall stone wall around his Hawaiian island home.
No wonder Palo Alto isn’t too happy about his latest expansion plans—especially given the dismal state of the Bay Area’s housing market, which was largely caused by Silicon Valley’s mega-explosion in the first place.