Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Council approves PAMF building: Project receives thumbs-up despite size, impact


Photo By: Courtesy of PAMF
Photo Courtesy Of PAMF The Los Altos City Council approved plans for a Palo Alto Medical Foundation building on Altos Oaks Drive, despite objections from neighborhood residents.
By Diego Abeloos

The Los Altos City Council Dec. 11 unanimously approved the proposal to build a two-story Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) building on Altos Oaks Drive, despite some public reservations about its size.

The project at 715 Altos Oaks Drive calls for the construction of a 25-foot-tall, two-story structure totaling 8,785 square feet. The building would replace two existing single-story medical buildings. According to PAMF officials, the new building will serve as a plastic and cosmetic surgery center.

The project calls for setbacks ranging from 20 to 55 feet, 8-foot-tall standards with directional lighting in the building’s parking area and 37 parking spaces – eight more than required by city code.

A handful of nearby residents expressed concerns about the project, specifically that the proposed building was out of scale with the surrounding residential area. One resident told the council PAMF’s efforts to create a buffer for nearby neighborhood homes with its 20- to 55-foot setbacks was “like moving an elephant in a bathtub.”

“This building does not look anything like any of the other buildings in that area,” nearby resident Teresa Morris said. “It doesn’t look like any of the other buildings on Altos Oaks, it doesn’t look like any of the residential buildings that are behind it, and it doesn’t look like the houses on Golden (Way).”

Others had privacy concerns and pointed to the expected increase in traffic the building’s occupants and patients would have on city streets.

Linda Slattery, a Brentwood Place resident, told the council she feared the project would set a precedent for other property owners in the neighborhood to build bigger structures in the future.

“As buildings age in that area, there’s going to be the likelihood that (property owners) are going to want to have megabuildings like this built into that area,” she said.

Prior to casting her vote, Councilwoman Val Carpenter said that while she recognized the residents’ concerns, she found no reason to vote against the project, noting that it met the city’s Office-Administrative (OA-1) district zoning code requirements.

City staff noted during the council discussion that the building was subject to the same floor-area ratio – 35 percent – as residential structures in the OA-1 district.

“There’s no question this is a much larger building in terms of its mass than what existed there before,” Carpenter said. “This does set a new trend. It’s much larger and much taller than any of the other buildings currently in that area, although it is (designed) to code.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper later added that she was “a little bothered by the scale (of the building), too.”

“If it meets our zoning requirements, how can we deny it, other than to say, ‘Well, it’s too big,’” Pepper said. “But that’s what we allow.”

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, however, said she was inclined to support the proposal, noting that reactions to the project reminded her of public concerns over the new Packard Foundation building at 343 Second St.

“There was a similar type of reaction to some of it, and I think we all agree that it’s a beautiful building that’s out there,” Bruins said of the Packard headquarters. “I have a similar inclination that this will be that as well.”

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