City commissions examine community center site planning

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
City commissioners convened last week to discuss site plans to replace the aging Hillview Community Center.

Members of five Los Altos commissions collaborated last week to determine how and where to fit the various elements of a new community center within the civic center campus.

According to Erica Ray, Los Altos public information coordinator, approximately 20 members representing the city’s Planning and Transportation (PTC), Historical, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory (BPAC), Library and Environmental commissions convened April 16 to discuss placing a new 55,600-square-foot structure within the same general area occupied by the aging Hillview Community Center. The meeting preceded the public-input session scheduled 7 p.m. today at Los Altos Youth Center, 1 N. San Antonio Rd. to discuss placement of a new community center with preselected residents, groups and business owners.


City considers familiar spot for summer's State St. Green

Town Crier File Photo
Last years’s State Street Green may return after Safeway officials asked the city to close the intersection at First and State streets.

State Street may go green again – and soon. The State Street Green, the temporary urban park set up downtown last summer, could return as early as next month, according to city officials.

Erica Ray, Los Altos public information coordinator, told the Town Crier that the city is in discussions with merchants along State Street between First and Second streets to bring back the green to their block for a three-week period starting in late May. A final decision is expected sometime this week, she said. If approved, the park would be open to the public May 27 through June 13.


LAH council discusses recording committee meetings


Before John Harpootlian became a member of the Los Altos Hills City Council, he videotaped many council and committee meetings to share with the public. His efforts eventually led the town to initiate recording council meetings on video as a public service.

“Sometimes it’s just easier to be on the tower looking for icebergs than rearranging deck chairs,” said Harpootlian, explaining how recording meetings supplements the traditional publication of minutes on the town’s website.


City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation

Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council earmarked $7,000 for the purchase of Chris Johanson’s artwork.

The city of Los Altos will contribute $7,000 toward the purchase of a $28,000 art installation featured in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley” exhibition.

The Los Altos City Council voted 4-0 at last week’s meeting – with Councilman Jarrett Fishpaw absent – to partially fund the permanent installation of “Door Sculpture to Talk About the Idea of Different Possibilities You May Have to Process Your Life” at Lincoln Park.


Council rejects $88,000 request for additional wayfinding signs

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos councilmembers last week rejected additional funding to replace some of the city’s older directional signs.

The Los Altos City Council last week declined to sign off on $88,000 in additional funding for the first phase of the city’s Wayfinding Sign Program.

The request came after the council originally approved the first portion of the two-phase project last summer with a slimmer $165,000 budget – cutting nearly $300,000 from its proposal. The project calls for the replacement and, in several cases, the addition of more streamlined-looking signs that direct motorists to the downtown triangle and other business districts.


Los Altos Hills boosts fees for building permits

Residents will have a little less spare change after Los Altos Hills raises fees for building permits and other town services and staff time May 21.

The first fee increases since 2008 are necessary to ensure that fees reflect the rising costs of doing business, according to an analysis conducted by an outside consulting firm. Currently, the town recovers only 60 percent of its expenses.


Group reiterates requests for community center

A city-sponsored user-group meeting last week resulted in familiar feedback when it listed the public’s suggestions for inclusion in a new Los Altos community center.

Thursday’s meeting at Hillview Community Center, which the city aims to include in the update of its 2009 Civic Center Master Plan, featured a mix of Los Altos residents. Current users, nonusers and potential users of community-center services and facilities attended to contribute to the discussion. City officials have scheduled a public workshop on the community center Tuesday.


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