News Briefs

Commission approves mixed-use San Antonio Road project

The Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) last week recommended approval of a new mixed-use project on the site of a former gas station.

PTC members voted 4-1 in favor of recommending the construction project, which calls for approximately 2,000 square feet of office space and four second-story residential units at 897 N. San Antonio Road. Commissioner Jon Baer cast the lone dissenting vote. Commissioners Phoebe Bressack and Jerry Moison did not attend the meeting.


League of Women Voters release election forum schedule

The Los Altos-Mountain View League of Women Voters’ has scheduled several forums for the Nov. 4 election. The events are free, except where noted, and open to the public. The schedule follows:

• Lunch with the League – Propositions 1, 45 and 46 and the water bond 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 19 at Ristorante Bella Vita, 376 First St., Los Altos. Cost: $27. Register at


Football season off and running

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Football players from Los Altos (above) and Mountain View high schools prepare for the season, scheduled to kick off later this week.

Both teams are practicing on new turf fields installed over the summer. Season previews for the Eagles and Spartans appear on page 26 of this week's paper and online here.


Loyola bridge renovation delayed until next year

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Work on Loyola Corners bridge is slated to begin in February after several months of delay.

The anticipated renovation of the Loyola bridge, thought earlier this year to wrap up in September, still has yet to launch. The project won’t kick off until a vibrations monitoring consultant renders an assessment, with construction predicted to begin in February.

Vibration monitoring detects vibration-related damage to surrounding structures that could occur during construction.


City rejects parking reconfiguration proposal

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week rejected a policy that would give downtown property owners the ability to expand their parking supply by funding the restriping of public parking plazas.

The Los Altos City Council last week nixed a policy proposal that would allow downtown property owners to redevelop their land to add more public parking – on their own dime.

The council voted 5-0 against the policy, a mechanism for owners to simultaneously redevelop downtown properties and meet the city’s parking mandates by funding the restriping of plazas on a “first come, first served” basis. The council’s vote came after its March directive for city staff to develop the draft policy. The city’s 2013 Downtown Parking Management Plan outlined the cost of reconfiguring plazas at $8.3 million for a gain of 76 spaces – an average of $110,000 per stall. Conversely, the plan noted that a stand-alone parking structure downtown could likely cost $10.3 million and add up to 276 spaces.


Public support at $20 million for community center rebuild

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A recent survey shows that 67.6 percent of residents support a bond measure rate of $8 per $100,000 for a new community center to replace the Hillview Community Center, above.

A report during last week’s Los Altos City Council study session showed that city voters would support up to $20 million in public funding for a new community center.

City consultant Bryan Godbe of Godbe Research told the council that a recently completed survey revealed 67.6 percent support for a bond measure rate of $8 per $100,000 of assessed property value from likely November 2016 voters in Los Altos. The rate, he said, would equate to approximately $20 million in public funding to help replace the aging Hillview Community Center with a new multigenerational facility.

In addition, the survey showed 71.2 percent support from likely 2015 mail-in voters for the same rate. The results come from a telephone poll of Los Altos voters conducted between July 28 and Aug. 5. The survey results were derived from 400 likely November 2016 voters in the city – 275 of whom indicated they were also likely 2015 mail-in ballot voters. The survey was conducted as part of the city’s 10-month process to update its 2009 civic center master plan – with a particular focus on replacing Hillview, which is more than 70 years old.

Councilwoman Val Carpenter said she viewed the results as positive compared to 2012, when the city conducted a similar survey for a $65 million bond measure for a new community center, police station and city hall. The 2012 survey showed less than two-thirds the public support needed to pass it. “To have actually polled and received support at the required level is encouraging to me,” Carpenter said of the 2014 results. “It was the first time we’ve seen some support.”

Among other things, the new survey results showed less than two-thirds voter support for rate levels higher than $8, with 2015 and 2016 likely voters supporting a rate of $14 per $100,000 of assessed property value at 56.2 and 52.8 percent, respectively. Higher rates of $20 and $26 failed to crack 50 percent support. Still, the results also showed as much as 60.9 and 60.6 percent support for a public pool facility among 2015 and 2016 voters, respectively, as part of a new community center. In addition, overall support for a bond measure to replace Hillview topped out at 60.6 and 58.6 percent among likely 2015 and 2016 voters, respectively. Other potential community center features, such as underground parking, ranged as high as 57.1 percent among 2016 likely voters.

Councilwoman Jan Pepper termed this year’s results “generally positive” and added that $20 million in public funding would be one piece to a larger financing puzzle to build a new community center. “I think it’s a good start,” Pepper said of the $20 million estimate. “It depends on what we come up with in terms of our overall (community center) plan.”

During the hour-long study session, a representative of city consultant NHA Financial Advisors outlined other financing strategies available to the city, including issuing a certificate of participation – an internal borrowing mechanism used by some cities – as well as the potential use of some reserve funds. Overall, the consultant noted, the city currently has $7.1 million in facility replacement funds, $5.8 million in park in-lieu funds and slightly more than $10 million in real property funds on hand.

Looking ahead, Pepper said she’s interested in starting talks with Los Altos Hills to potentially form a joint powers authority – another option outlined by NHA – that could collectively pursue public funding options.

“We definitely need to put more emphasis on that and bring them into the conversation,” Pepper said of the Los Altos Hills Town Council.

Carpenter added that the city will likely need to pursue a public information campaign, among a series of next steps, in an attempt to “move the needle” further among city voters.

An email to Mayor Megan Satterlee about the survey results was not returned by the Town Crier’s press deadline.

Council approves BevMo! relocation

Photo Courtesy of City of Los Altos
BevMo! is moving to 4700 El Camino Real, left, after the Los Altos City Council approved its 3,600-square-foot expansion plan.

The Los Altos City Council last week approved a commercial expansion and renovation plan that will bring BevMo! from Mountain View to Los Altos.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the proposal by the West Coast alcohol retailer to add 3,600 square feet of retail space to an existing 4,700 square-foot structure at 4700 El Camino Real at the corner of Sherwood Avenue. The upgraded building will serve as a new home for the Mountain View BevMo! store currently located at 423 San Antonio Road. The project appeared before the city council after receiving a narrow 4-3 vote of approval in July from the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission.


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