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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replacing 4 next-door Palo Alto homes

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Manuel Darcangelo
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An artist's rendering of how the home at 1459 Hamilton Avenue will look from... Grace Mathieson

PALO ALTO -- Four houses surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's home in Palo Alto will be demolished and replaced by smaller ones, according to an application filed with city planners Tuesday.

Zuckerberg bought the homes on Hamilton Avenue and Edgewood Drive in 2013 after he learned of a developer's plan to build a house next door tall enough to have a view of Zuckerberg's master bedroom.Concerned about privacy, Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million total for the properties at 1462 Edgewood Drive and 1451, 1457 and 1459 Hamilton in the Crescent Park neighborhood.One of those sales led real estate developer Mircea Voskerician to sue the Facebook co-founder in 2014, alleging a breach in the terms of their property deal.

Voskerician settled the fraud lawsuit in March without getting any money from the settlement.

Voskerician claimed in the lawsuit that he sold to Zuckerberg at a discounted price the right to buy the adjacent property in exchange for an introduction to Silicon Valley movers and shakers who might want to buy homes, but Zuckerberg did not keep his end of the deal.A request submitted Tuesday to the city's Planning and Community Environment Department seeks the demolition of two single-story houses and two two-story houses.The houses would be replaced by three single-story houses and one two-story house.A letter from property managers Kimberley Darlington and Alistair Shearer dated May 16 was distributed to neighbors informing them of the application.

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"The plans will reduce overall square footage relative to the existing homes and aim to ensure the new structures and surrounding gardens blend seamlessly with the neighborhood," the letter said.

The new homes will take up about 20 percent less space than the existing footprint, according to the application.

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