Sun05012016

News

Loyola Corners economics, traffic rise to top of planning concerns

Loyola Corners economics, traffic rise to top of planning concerns

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Loyola Bridge construction parallel to the Fremont Avenue frontage may lead officials to alter circulation plans for the area.

Loyola Corners stakeholders last week mulled the issues that will likely shape the area&rsquo...

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Schools

LAHS Green Team commemorates Earth Week

LAHS Green Team commemorates Earth Week


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Los Altos High School Green Team members, above, quiz their classmates about water conservation. The club distributed plants as prizes during the club’s Earth Week activities.

Members of the Los Altos High School Green...

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Community

Local pianist, 11, slated to perform Saturday at statewide competition

Local pianist, 11, slated to perform Saturday at statewide competition


Courtesy of the Cha family
Spencer Cha plays piano at a Santa Clara University recital. The sixth-grader also enjoys soccer, tennis, golf and skiing.

Spencer Cha has come a long way since he first sat down at the piano at age 2.

“I remem...

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Sports

Spartans net second place, eye top prize next season

Spartans net second place, eye top prize next season


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Jeremy Hsu, Mountain View High’s top singles player, competes against Pinewood Thursday. The Spartans won the match 7-0.

With freshmen playing the top three spots in singles, the future of the Mountain View High boy...

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Comment

Los Altos at a leadership crossroads: Editorial

Don’t look now, but there could be some major changes ahead regarding how the Los Altos city government is run.

The current city council has the opportunity to hire a new city manager in the wake of Marcia Somers’ recent resignation. Fur...

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Special Sections

How to personalize the wedding bar

How to personalize the wedding bar


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
A seasonal signature cocktail adds interest beyond the standard wedding bar’s spirits and mixers. Focus on one set of fresh ingredients, such as blueberries, blackberries and mint for a dose of budget...

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Business

Farmers prepare to market season's bounty

Farmers prepare to market season's bounty


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Journeyman farmer Jen Friedlander waters Hidden Villa’s greenhouse plants, which will grow stronger in the controlled indoor environment before being transferred to the field outdoors.

Around Hidden Villa, the gree...

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People

BUOL JOANNE DOUGHERTY

BUOL JOANNE DOUGHERTY

1930-2016

Heaven gained a beautiful angel today. Our beloved mother’s blessed life ended in her Los Altos home surrounded by her loving family on April 18, 2016.

Buol Joanne Dougherty was born Sept. 28, 1930 in Chicago. At the age of two, M...

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Stepping Out

'Catch' comes to conclusion LA Stage Co. comedy  ends run this weekend

'Catch' comes to conclusion LA Stage Co. comedy ends run this weekend


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
Bryan Moriarty, left, stars as Yossarian and John Stephen King plays the Psychiatrist in Los Altos Stage Company’s “Catch-22.”

Los Altos Stage Company’s presentation of “Catch...

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Spiritual Life

Fremont Hills Country Club rallies for night lights at tennis courts


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos Hills Planning Commission is considering a Fremont Hills Country Club proposal to add night lights to its tennis courts.

When dusk sets in on winter evenings in Los Altos, the lights above the tennis courts at Marymeade, McKenzie and Montclaire parks switch on for night games. Just around the corner in Los Altos Hills, however, game time concludes when natural light disappears – a 1985 town Outdoor Lighting Ordinance bans artificial light for tennis and other recreational courts.

At the request of Fremont Hills Country Club – a private club in Los Altos Hills with 430 member families – the Los Altos Hills Planning Commission last week reviewed a proposal to amend the town’s municipal code and/or modify the club’s conditional-use permit to allow outdoor tennis-court lighting.

“We really in essence want to expand recreational opportunities to members and the community overall,” said Fremont Hills representative Bart Carey. “Fremont Hills is a bit behind when compared to other clubs. … They all have tennis-court lights.”

Nearby clubs with lighted tennis courts include Los Altos Golf & Country Club, Foothills Tennis & Swimming Club and the University Club of Palo Alto.

Fremont Hills’ application seeks approval to illuminate five of the club’s 10 courts with fully shielded, metal halide luminaires until 10 p.m. To mitigate anticipated concerns from neighbors, the club submitted environmental reports estimating the impact of the added light and noise.

According to the report, there will be “no direct viewing of the light sources from any residence,” as all homes in the vicinity of the club are located above the height of the proposed 22-foot lights. The surfaces of the courts and the dark perimeter screening are expected to absorb light and reduce scattering of light upward.

Hits and misses

The proposal drew a variety of opinions at the study session.

Advocates claimed that the lack of lights limits tennis-court access in Los Altos Hills, particularly for residents who can’t play during the day because of school or work commitments. Some residents said the lack of lights put the club, players and town at a competitive disadvantage when compared to Los Altos and Saratoga, where lighted courts are available.

“I’m playing kids that are top in the nation, and I think we should have courts that are lighted so that kids like me can train,” said Jehan Godrej, a local high school student who plays tennis competitively.

Opponents cited concerns about increased traffic, light pollution and the precedent an updated municipal code could set.

“Allowing (outdoor lights) on a private recreational facility immediately begs the question of why we don’t allow it on a public facility,” said Planning Commissioner Susan Mandle.

Mandle and other commissioners feared that a change to town code could open the door to night lights at the ball fields at Purissima Park, the riding rings at Westwind Community Barn or the outdoor facilities at Pinewood and Gardner Bullis schools.

“It’s not our job to be setting policy,” said Planning Commissioner Richard Partridge. “This is more of a decision for council to make.”

The Planning Commission requested more information from town staff before issuing a recommendation to the council. Staff will research the outdoor lighting policies of similar communities, draft a proposal for a trial light demonstration at Fremont Hills Country Club, hire an environmental consultant to review the club’s reports and conduct a survey of residents to determine the community’s opinion on adding lights to recreational courts in town.

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