Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Report proposes changes to downtown triangle block


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

The Contiguous Retail Committee’s final report recommends that the city consider selling or leasing Parking Plaza 6.

A final report by the ad hoc Contiguous Retail Committee recommends that the city consider selling or leasing a portion of a downtown public parking plaza for future retail development.

The Los Altos City Council meeting was scheduled to receive the report at its Tuesday meeting, after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

The recommendation is one of a handful listed in the report by the committee, headed by councilmembers Ron Packard and Jarrett Fishpaw.

Specifically, the recommendation calls for the city to consider selling or leasing Parking Plaza 6 – surrounded by Main, State and Third streets – to be developed into future retail. Proceeds from a sale, the report recommends, could be used for a parking replacement solution.

In addition, the report noted that the triangle block – part of the city’s commercial retail sales (CRS) zone – experienced the highest number of nonconforming uses in the downtown area and was “the least attractive from a shopper’s point of view.”

To that end, the report recommends that the triangle area be used as a “test” for possible collaboration with various land and business owners in an effort to improve the area for shoppers. To do so, the report calls for the city to engage the services of an experienced consultant to work with various parties and develop ideas.

A separate recommendation in the report suggests that the city encourage the Masonic Lodge at 146 Main St. to explore “possible cosmetic improvements” to the exterior of the building.

“The city has a very odd-shaped plaza here,” Packard told the Town Crier in explaining the committee’s recommendations for the triangle. “The thinking is, what can be done with that?”

As for downtown banks, the report proposes that the city collaborate with Bank of the West at 176 Main St. and its landlord to discuss possible pop-up retail uses for the site’s empty drive-thru area. Suggested alternate uses listed in the report include an open space or gathering area for residents and an area for outdoor vending.

Packard said one possibility involves the city’s leasing the drive-thru area for an alternate use, calling a city-landowner collaboration a “win-win for everyone.”

Additionally, the committee recommends that the city amend its zoning code to allow nonconforming banks on large downtown plots to relocate legally to smaller nonconforming locations in the CRS zone.

Packard said the recommendation is a contrast from initial ideas floated during the committee’s formation in April, such as placing amortization periods on nonconforming bank buildings in the CRS zone.

“We ended up giving them more rights, not taking them away,” Packard said of the recommendation for downtown banks.

One final recommendation suggests that the city take measures to limit the number of beauty salons within the CRS zone.

Noting the recent conversion of a nonconforming salon to a retail use downtown, the report calls for the city to ensure that after 120 days of new retail use, “a salon cannot be reinstated” in an effort to encourage a “conversion trend.”

Should that trend fail to take hold, however, the committee’s report recommends that the city consider some form of a phased amortization period for nonconforming salons.

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