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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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