All he wanted was a little privacy. Alas, it is not to be. According to CBS 5, the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board rejected Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's plans to demolish the four homes that surround his primary residence in Palo Alto. We first learned of his intention to do away with the houses in May — apparently, Zuckerberg decided they must go when he learned that planned remodeling in one would leave a neighbor with a view right into his bedroom.
He wanted to tear them down and build four smaller buildings, although what, exactly, he intended to build in their stead seemed to be the major point of contention. "Is he just developing it or is he creating some sort of compound which will have a constant turnover of visitors and employees?" neighborhood resident Norm Beamer asked The Mercury News. "It's a question of whether it's a normal residential development or some unusual use that might create traffic and security issues and so forth."
Zuckerberg bought the four houses for $30 million back in 2013.
Whatever it was that he wanted to build, the Architectural Review Board apparently decided it wasn't up to their exacting standards — with CBS 5 reporting board members claimed his proposal wasn't intended for families. According to The Mercury News, the review board voted 3-to-1 against the plans, noting the residences only made sense in the context of a larger compound — not as individual units.
“If these things were put on the market individually, you’d have a hard time selling, because some of them are very unusual,” board member Robert Gooyer told the paper. “In the context, if you take all four of them, they make sense.”
But all is not lost for Zuck — Palo Alto Planning Director Hillary Gitelman could choose to ignore the board's recommendation and allow the Facebook CEO's plans. As such, he might score that much sought after privacy after all. If only we could all be so lucky.