Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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