City to appeal court’s decision allowing 40 Main St. development

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A public notice for the development on 40 Main Street posted last year.

The city of Los Altos will appeal a court’s decision that would allow the construction of a five-story building on Main Street, with the city council voting unanimously Tuesday (July 7) during a closed session.

The proposed downtown project, spurred by developers Ted and Jerry Sorensen, is nearly 30,000 square feet and contains 15 apartment units – of which two are low-income affordable. After the city denied the Sorensen brothers’ project application in 2019, the California Renters Legal Advocacy & Education Fund – a pro-housing group – sued the city. In April, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the developers and ordered the city to issue a permit. The appeal, however, puts the enforcement on hold.

In a press release, city council members said the proposed project doesn’t comply with downtown zoning requirements. The council criticized the development as “particularly inappropriate” due to its “narrow lot,” as well as posing “significant public safety concerns” regarding entering and exiting its two-level underground parking garage. The council indicated it would be willing to work with the developers on an alternative project.

The council’s statement admitted the risks of continuing litigation and supported an increase in supply of housing, but council members said that appealing was the “only prudent option to preserve and enforce the City’s zoning ordinances on behalf of our residents.”

City officials declined additional comment beyond the issued press release due to the pending litigation.

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