Mon09222014

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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Council seeks changes to Third Street development


Photo By: Rendering Courtesy of City of Los Altos
Photo Rendering Courtesy Of City Of Los Altos

The proposal for a mixed-use development at 86 Third St. in Los Altos is headed back to the Planning and Transportation Commission for additional revisions.

Developer David Luedtke’s proposal for a three-story condominium and office space development at 86 Third St. is headed back to a familiar place – the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC).

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimously to return the nearly 36-foot-tall project – which entails constructing 20 condominiums and 5,500 square feet of first-floor office space – to the PTC for further refinement. A few councilmembers cited concerns with the building’s parking management plan and its below-market-rate (BMR) unit offerings, among other items.

In rendering its 5-0 vote, the council opted to give the PTC final approval on the project, provided that some specific outlined changes were incorporated.

The council’s decision comes after the PTC originally approved the project by a 4-2 vote in early April.

The cited items most in need of change include parking management, which currently calls for a gated underground 52-space parking garage and seven additional street-level spaces adjacent to Parking Plaza 8. Some councilmembers, including Megan Satterlee, sought a more defined plan to accommodate residential, employee and customer parking onsite only.

“This particular building – its location lends itself to (have parking) spill over to the plaza, and that’s not advantageous to the city since it’s supposed to be a self-parked building,” Satterlee said.

Councilmembers offered suggestions such as the use of a key-code system for the underground parking area or simply leaving the garage open for access during daytime hours for customers and employees.

Below-market-rate units

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw was among those who sought the inclusion of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom BMR unit and a two-bedroom, one-bathroom BMR unit.

Luedtke and his group of project investors initially offered the inclusion of one two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit and the aforementioned two-and-one unit.

Fishpaw noted that offering a three-bedroom condo would provide a better option for lower-income families seeking a home.

“(Even) if it is a small three-bedroom unit, I think that still provides more possibilities for different-size families to occupy that unit,” he said.

Luedtke, however, countered that the council’s insistence on the larger offering would require some redesign of the project pending approval from its 30-plus investors first.

Luedtke said the change could result in a “$1-million swing” in terms of lost profit and would discourage future development of smaller mixed-use housing projects in the city.

“If you enforce the two- and three-bedroom (BMR units), you’re probably not going to get any condo projects in town anymore until they’re up to 32, 34 units (in overall size),” he said.

The council sought several changes to the mixed-use project in addition to the parking and BMR condo issues. The council denied Luedtke’s request to waive its 12-foot-high commercial-space ceiling requirement to allow for potential Class A office space. Instead, Luedtke offered an 11-foot ceiling height design.

“I think we need to have the ceiling heights there at 12 feet,” Councilwoman Jan Pepper said, “so that we preserve flexibility for the use of that space in the future.”

The council altered a condition of approval for the project to retain a 70-foot Canary Island Pine tree nestled between the city parking plaza and Luedtke’s property line.

Other changes recommended for the final project include the addition of pre-wiring to accommodate the installation of an electric-vehicle charging station in the future. The council also sought a re-examination by the PTC of some proposed exterior building materials.

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