Sat04192014

News

Civic center plan snags on parking

The advisory committee shepherding the plan for a new civic center in Los Altos is scheduled to reconvene this month after falling just shy of sending a final master-plan recommendation to the city council.

The committee voted 9-8 to delay moving forward with the existing plan May 22 and has scheduled a workshop June 13 at Grant Park. After the city council added a renovated theater to its list of plans for the project, planners Anderson Brulé Architects brought the committee three parking structure alternatives, two underground and one above-ground, that could potentially accommodate the increased traffic a theater would bring to the site.

"The real issue here is not how can you get enough parking spots, the real issue is how many need to go underground and how many above-ground," said City Councilman Lou Becker.

Becker said the council could potentially adopt a final master plan as soon as its June 23 meeting. He noted that if the council wanted to view the theater as sharing parking with daytime-use facilities like the swimming pool, less additional parking would be required than if it were viewed as drawing all-day traffic.

"A few of the committee members were interested in underground parking, but that could raise the cost (of the project) by $5 million to $10 million," said Assistant City Manager James Walgren, who is also the project manager for the civic center plan.

The chosen master plan, based on months of public input, has an estimated cost of more than $100 million. Current economic conditions have city officials reconsidering a 2010 election to put a bond measure or parcel tax before voters to help pay for the project.

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