Wed05042016

News

MV council adopts rent dispute ordinance, despite reservations

Despite criticism that it lacked teeth, the Mountain View City Council approved last week a second reading and adoption of a controversial program aimed at resolving rental-housing disputes between tenants and landlords.

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alwa...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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