The City Council unanimously voted to study potential changes to the city's general plan on Tuesday, including the possibility of allowing 1,500 homes in the neighborhood near Google headquarters.
Council members had expressed reservations about allowing homes among the office buildings of North Bayshore, as new residents there could protest. Google's workplace services director Dan Hoffman said he supported studying the idea.
"If you don't study the options, you won't have any options," said City Manager Kevin Duggan.
Potential changes city-wide include doubling the density allowed along portions of El Camino Real and office buildings in the Whisman and North Bay Shore areas, and encouraging the revamp of the city's neighborhood shopping centers.
Resident Joan MacDonald said she was concerned that new general plan policies did not do enough to encourage subsidized affordable housing.
The council decided not to label the Francia family's orchard on Whisman Road as a community facility after concerns were expressed that it would look like a "taking," despite the neighborhood support for a park there.