Tue05052015

News

Water district reps address LAH concerns over project taxation

Water district reps address LAH concerns over project taxation

 Gary Kremen

Los Altos Hills residents, city councilmembers and even the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board chairman have protested taxes for water the district doesn't deliver.

"We're getting taxed for something we're not receiving, ...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer appro...

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Community

Slideshow: Los Altos Live!

More than 20 acts performed to a soldout crowd April 25 at Los Altos High School's Eagle Theater for the seventh annual "Los Altos Live!" talent show. The show featured an eclectic range of acts, including rock bands, singers, dancers and the Broad...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographers guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographers guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of you to spen...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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Commission says try again


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The island at Loyola Corners, across from Tom’s Depot, is being considered for retail and condominium development.

A proposal for a three-story, mixed use project at Loyola Corners may be headed back to the drawing board.

During a Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) study session last week, some commissioners suggested that the proposed project’s plan – which calls for approximately 1,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and six condominiums at the former Photo Drive-up site – should be scrapped and redone because the bulky design doesn’t fit the area.

“I don’t think there’s a way to fix this design,” said Commissioner Ken Lorell, who noted that the project was “completely out of character” for Loyola Corners and suggested project applicant Gregg Bunker rethink his design.

According to a city staff report, the study session was scheduled to provide “early design input” for Bunker, who has owned the triangular property for more than 20 years.

Bunker presented the PTC with two alternative building designs to consider – including one that called for a 30-foot tall building with 9-foot wall plates.

A second design called for a 33-foot tall structure – 3 feet above the city’s height limit for the area – with a roof deck for tenants living in the building’s six condominium units on the second and third levels.

Bunker told the commission that the building would be “simply unique” with “all-glass” condo units located at the corners.

“I think it’ll be a delightful place for residents to live,” he said.

Bunker’s proposal includes 15 parking spaces – two short of the 17 required by city code. However, Bunker told the PTC that he would consider using parking lifts and vowed to exceed the amount of parking required by the city.

Still, the project drew criticism from a handful of neighbors who said both proposed building designs would be too large for the area. One Fremont Avenue resident told the PTC that the building’s look and size was “inconsistent” with the rest of the Loyola Corners area, while another neighborhood resident called the proposal “extreme.”

“It just feels to me like a lot of square footage for the lot size,” added a second Fremont Avenue resident.

Some PTC members agreed with the assessments offered by the residents in attendance. Commissioner Jon Baer said that the building was too big for the neighborhood and called on Bunker to “rethink the project from scratch.”

Commissioner Phoebe Bressack termed the volume of the structure “huge for the area,” adding that the designs appeared to try to fill “every possible square inch” of the property.

“If it wasn’t end-to-end-to-end-to-end everywhere, it would be better for the town,” she said.

Commissioner Jerry Moison, however, offered a different take on the project. He said adding setbacks on the small property site would make the building “look like a pencil.”

Moison added that the project was needed to help revitalize the area.

“I think Loyola Corners is in desperate need of something just like this,” he said.

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