Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


Rendering courtesy of city of Los Altos
The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. Red lines indicate vehicle access points, and yellow lines represent pedestri...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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Plan for three-story building on Main heads to city council


Photo By: Rendering Courtesy of Ted Sorensen
Photo Rendering Courtesy Of Ted Sorensen

Plans for the Sorensen project at 40 Main St., marked by the arrow, were slated for review at the Los Altos City Council meeting Tuesday, past press deadline.

Developers Ted and Jerry Sorensen – and their project at 40 Main St. – will have their day before the Los Altos City Council.

A revised version of their three-story mixed-use project was scheduled for review by the city council at Tuesday’s meeting, held after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

According to Ted Sorensen, the revised project features a multiple-story building totaling approximately 15,400 square feet. It includes a paseo (a storefront promenade) and a 4,000-square-foot mezzanine between the ground floor and the upper level.

The upper level, designated as Class A office space, is set back and features a balcony overlooking Main Street. The previous plan proposed a building totaling 17,500 square feet.

Sorensen said he believes the updated plans are in compliance with changes the Los Altos Planning Commission recommended in its January approval.

“Jerry and I have worked hard on this project for over five years,” Sorensen wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “We have listened to the staff, the planning commissioners and the councilmembers at every opportunity. We believe that this building meets or exceeds the expectations of all who have reviewed it.”

In addition to reducing the bulk and floor space of the building, Sorensen said they are offering an additional $300,000 to rebuild parking Plaza 10 in whatever way the city deems fit. Among the recommendations from the Planning Commission was finding a way to reduce the bulk of the building, thereby decreasing the project’s parking requirements.

If approved, Sorensen said a reworking of Plaza 10 potentially could include upgraded landscaping, restriped parking spaces and the undergrounding of utilities, as well new lighting, new bicycle racks and an enhanced circulation plan. He estimated that a reconfiguration of the plaza could yield up to 20 additional parking spaces.

“Whether an improved circulation plan is adopted, which could add 16-20 stalls or not, this reconstruction of Plaza 10 will be a model for an improved plaza parking experience,” Sorensen said.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce planned to submit a letter in support of the project, calling it “an enhancement to downtown Los Altos, both economically and visually.”

The project, however, is not without its detractors.

Von Packard, who with his brother, Councilman Ron Packard, owns the 4 Main St. property next to the proposed project, has submitted a letter to the city urging the council to reject it.

Von Packard stated in his letter that the new project, at approximately seven times the size of the current 2,100-square-foot building at 40 Main, would make finding a parking spot even more difficult in Plaza 10. Packard noted that a parking study conducted by Pang Engineers Inc. in 2008 concluded that Plaza 10 already has a higher occupancy rate than the downtown’s other nine plazas.

In addition, Packard noted in his letter that the 40 Main building exceeds the city’s 30-foot height limit by approximately 5 feet and would create “a precedent for additional similar-height buildings in the Main corridor.”

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