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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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