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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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