LAH needs board for architectural review
I appreciated the Town Crier’s article on the Los Altos Hills planning process (“LAH planning permits anything but fast track,” July 25).
I am one of the neighbors who objected to the structure on Sunset Drive and would like to offer a neighbor’s viewpoint that is different from what was communicated in the article. The article said the applicant’s design fulfilled town ordinances; these are the numerical and mathematical formulas needed to gain approval.
However, the clarification that should really be in the article is the following. The city council on the night of the hearing indicated that this project would probably not have been approved if there had been an architectural review board. This house does not fit the spirit and intent of any of the Los Altos Hills planning guidelines regarding size, placement of structures and following the natural grade of the lot. But the council approved it anyway because the members felt bad for the applicant.
This is really a terrible situation. The neighbors were correct in their objection to the project as it pertains to the spirit and intent of guidelines, yet the council approved it anyway. Why did the council not feel bad for the neighbors who have lived there for many years? They felt bad for the applicant who spent 18 months there, but not for the longtime residents of the neighborhood.
So, in effect, the applicant gets away with building something that does not merit being built in the neighborhood. And the neighborhood will be permanently left with a structure that didn’t make sense to build.
I certainly appreciate Councilman Jean Mordo’s recommendation to consider establishing an architectural review board. I am very hopeful that something like this is implemented. It’s too late for our neighborhood, but maybe it will help make for a better process for all involved in future developments.
Los Altos Hills
How would 50-year plan for Los Altos look?
A comprehensive 50-year plan for Los Altos would avoid the risk of solving one problem and adversely affecting others. If you start with the primary focus that dual-income families with school-age children and the 50+ individuals are two primary constituencies, then what follows is one alternative.
Schools: Top-performing schools is a core value for Los Altos and what attracts young families. The city needs to work aggressively with the school district to turn Hillview into a school.
50+: A 50+ Center/Campus should be built that incorporates social, intellectual and educational opportunities for a more vibrant aging sector.
Library: Build a new library downtown (e.g., Third Street between Main and State streets). There is a lot of energy right now to make Los Altos a town people want to go to shop, eat and hang out. More than 500,000 people enter the library each year.
Parking: The city should issue municipal bonds to build two parking structures between Main and State. A downtown library solves the library parking issue, and as developers expand properties, payments for additional required parking could eventually eliminate this low-cost debt.
Packard Foundation sorry for wrong info
In a July 11 Letter to the Editor (“Public turned away from Packard open house”), Lou Wolner expressed his concern about not being given access to The David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s new building when he arrived the afternoon of June 29.
Wolner was apparently given incorrect information from someone at the foundation, and we regret that error.
However, all other promotion efforts for the community tours contained correct information.
The correct information: We offered tours to the community 9-10:30 a.m. June 29, and we hosted more than 100 people who preregistered for those tours. On the afternoon of June 29, the foundation hosted a private ribbon-cutting ceremony primarily for foundation leadership and our employees. Wolner unfortunately appeared for the ribbon-cutting ceremony instead of registering for the tours.
We are delighted by the interest in our new building shown by individuals like Wolner, and we are making our best efforts to accommodate the demand and interest from the community in touring the inside.
In the meantime, we appreciate people’s patience and understanding as we continue to focus on this and on supporting our many grantees both near and far.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation