Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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