The Los Altos City Council took the following actions at the July 24 meeting.
Council approves streetscape contract
The council unanimously approved a construction contract of approximately $1 million to Granite Rock Company for the San Antonio Road streetscape project.
The project calls for widening of the sidewalk on the west side of San Antonio Road near Parking Plaza 3 to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, construction of a 4-foot green living wall to shield the plaza from street traffic and construction of a bus shelter, among other things.
The project would eliminate a left-turn pocket on northbound San Antonio Road near the new David and Lucile Packard Foundation building.
Construction is expected to take 90 days, according to a city staff report, and includes penalty provisions of $200 per day if Granite Rock fails to the meet the deadline.
Assistant City Manager James Walgren told the Town Crier he expects the project to commence in early 2013 to avoid traffic and business impacts during the holiday season.
Council reforms Downtown Zoning Committee
The Los Altos City Council voted 4-0 in favor of reforming the city’s Downtown Zoning Committee. Councilman Ron Packard recused himself from the discussion and vote because he owns property downtown.
Mayor Val Carpenter said she sought the reconstitution of the committee to more clearly define how building heights are measured throughout Los Altos’ commercial districts and to better identify allowable development incentives for future building projects.
Building heights are currently measured to the interior ceiling height of a project’s top floor or at the midpoint of a sloped roof, she noted. Carpenter added that the committee will also review defining development incentives more clearly so that developers understand expectations when presenting projects to the city for evaluation.
“When they’re too open for interpretation, it makes for an unclear process,” she said. “We need to be more specific about what’s OK and what’s not OK.”
The reformed committee will include Carpenter as chairwoman and Councilwoman Megan Satterlee as vice chairwoman.
Other participants include former Councilman Lou Becker, City Manager Marcia Somers, Assistant City Manager James Walgren, Planning and Transportation Commissioners Phoebe Bressack and Jon Baer, downtown property owners Abby Ahrens and Taylor Robinson, Le Boulanger owner Dan Brunello, commercial real estate broker Ron Labetich and a yet-to-be-named Los Altos resident.
Carpenter noted that City Attorney Jolie Houston will examine the legality of having Somers and Walgren as voting members of the committee, because both are city staffers.
“These folks not only have expertise but represent a wide range of stakeholders,” Carpenter said, adding that the committee is expected to return to the council with recommendations on the issues sometime this fall.
– Diego Abeloos