Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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MV Council: Castro St. plan needs a debulking


City of Mountain View staff report
Plans for 801 W. El Camino Real include 162 apartment units and 10,800 square feet of retail space. This view is from Castro Street with El Camino at right.

The Mountain View City Council last week scrutinized plans for a large apartment and commercial complex at one of the more high-profile locations in the city.

Parking and bulk were the chief concerns of the project, proposed by the Greystar real estate company of San Francisco. Plans call for 164 apartment units in three- and four-story buildings, as well as 10,800 square feet of commercial space, all on a 2.38-acre site at the southwest corner of Castro Street and El Camino Real.

Members of the council and the Environmental Planning Commission shared the same concerns last September at project study sessions. Greystar architects have since scaled back the 801 W. El Camino Real plans – for example, the developers decreased the number of units from 175 to 164. But feedback at the Jan. 21 council study session indicated that the structures are still too big for council approval.

Councilmembers agreed with staff recommendations that called for further scaling back on bulk, with staff suggesting architectural changes to the second and third floors.

Although current plans call for 204 parking spaces for apartments and 78 additional commercial parking stalls, residents continue to worry about overflow parking onto nearby streets.

Responding to a suggestion that the city issue parking permits for surrounding streets, resident Denise Pinto noted, “The burden has been thrust onto us as residents. It’s not up to residents to pay for parking around our homes.”

Neighborhood resident Mary Hodder foresaw traffic issues for the alley running through the project to a city-owned parking lot – a lot the developer proposes to purchase for project use.

“You need metrics and accountability for this particular project,” she said. “I would propose that the developer pay for any permit program.”

Most of the current businesses on the site of the proposed development would be retained as part of the new project, according to the developer. Greystar has provided long-term leases to Rose’s International Market, Tanya’s Hair Design, Le’s Alterations, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Sufi Coffee Shop and Cultural Center. However, tenants would have to wait out two years of construction if plans are approved.

Some residents saw the project as a big improvement and liked it as currently constituted.

“When I compare the mixed-use project with what’s there, this looks like a huge step forward to me,” said Bruce Karney.

Councilmembers concerns ranged from impact on the surrounding neighborhood to reduction in retail space and a shortage of parking.

“I would like to see the fourth floor removed,” said Councilman Jac Siegel. “I think it’s too much for the neighborhood.”

Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga noted significant reductions in space and parking for retail businesses.

“We’re taking away good businesses that are doing well to add housing. That’s troublesome for me,” she said. “Why aren’t we asking for more retail space?”

Vice mayor John McAlister voiced concerns over traffic and restraints on future development in the surrounding area.

While four councilmembers agreed that more retail space would be nice, the council did not require the developer to add any.

Next steps include the start of a design review process next month, followed by an Environmental Impact Report and a return to the planning commission and City Council.

City officials anticipated bringing a final plan before the council by November.

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