Sat09202014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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San Antonio area growth prompts residents to ask city to slow down


Photo By: Courtesy of Merlone Geier Partners
Photo Courtesy Of Merlone Geier Partners Plans for Phase 2 of Merlone Geier Partners’ Village at San Antonio Center development feature a six-story hotel, above, and an eight-screen movie theater complex.

Residents near the massive new development at San Antonio Road and El Camino Real are circulating a petition urging the Mountain View City Council to hold off on further construction until a better plan is in place to accommodate the growth.

The Greater San Antonio Community Association, formed last October, posted an online petition on its website, asking the council to “postpone approval of any current development proposals … for the San Antonio Change Area, until the San Antonio Precise Plan is complete. Carefully and fully completing this process first is the only way to find the creative solutions needed for traffic, open space and pedestrian safety issues and will ensure the success of this unprecedented neighborhoodwide redevelopment project.”

Members have some advice for city officials.

“Avert a traffic disaster and ensure the success of this new village center for years to come by first completing a comprehensive plan,” member Anthony Shortland wrote in a post. “You wouldn’t build a house without a detailed plan. Why build a new neighborhood without one?”

“We’re willing to possibly compromise,” said Paul Edwards, association vice president. “But judging from this and a number of other developments, it seems to us the city council wants to go full steam ahead.”

 

An influx of new residents

Association neighbors are concerned about growth of the overall San Antonio area, which allows for an estimated 4,000 new residents, with homes for 2,000 new residents either under construction or proposed. Developer Merlone Geier Partners of San Francisco recently announced Phase 2 plans, which include more retail, office space, restaurants, an eight-screen cinema complex and a six-story hotel. Phase 1, nearly complete, includes 330 housing units, retail outlets and a new Safeway market, scheduled to open next month.

“Without an adequate plan to encourage and require transit use, the local streets will be gridlocked,” association members said in a statement. “The area is also lacking adequate park space for even the current number of residents, and the local school district is already experiencing crowding. The Mountain View City Council must be accountable for finding solutions to these serious problems before approving individual development proposals.”

The petition effort comes as Mountain View City Council members prepare to hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss “public benefits” the council could require of the developer to gain approval for its Phase 2 redevelopment project. Phase 2 covers the Ross and BevMo shopping center sites. Members said they plan to present the petition to councilmembers at the meeting, scheduled to begin 4:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall, 500 Castro St.

Edwards said he is concerned about “complete and utter gridlock.”

“We want them to slow down and figure out how these things are going to be mitigated,” he said.

Member Nancy Morimoto indicated that the city and developer have been responsive to neighbors’ concerns.

The council agreed to the precise plan after hearing from residents, and the developer has scaled back on some of its initial plans for Phase 2. But she said more needs to be done.

“(Residents) have major concerns about traffic impacts, blocked views, demise of current local businesses, lack of park space for new residents and other issues,” Morimoto said. “The concerns are not just for this development, but this one combined with the many more already waiting to be evaluated next.”

Morimoto said more than 250 people signed the petition as of last week, and organizers hope to get at least 1,000 signatures to bring before the council. She said Los Altos residents are signing on as well. The association supports a new school site in Mountain View to accommodate the expected rise in enrollment.

 

The consequences of delay

Mayor John Inks did not respond to an email seeking comment. But Councilman Mike Kasperzak noted that the amount of time involved in devising a precise plan for the area – which the city intends to do – would likely conflict with the developer’s schedule. Kasperzak said such a plan could take 18-24 months to enact.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable waiting two years and putting a moratorium on development,” he said.

Noting that the city has already been working with Merlone Geier representatives for the past four years, Kasperzak intimated that the city could risk losing out on desirable projects, such as Merlone Geier’s plans for the luxury hotel for Phase 2, if the developer has to wait and risk construction costs going up.

“We’ve already missed four hotel opportunities because we went too slow,” he said.

Kasperzak said the council would not rubberstamp Phase 2, either.

“They don’t get to build what they want to build,” he said, adding that the council would consider impacts and needs of nearby residents in asking the developer to make changes.

For more information on the Greater San Antonio Community Association, visit www.greater-san-antonio.org.

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