LA installs cigarette receptacles in parking plazas after smoking ban

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
After the Los Altos City Council expanded the smoking ban, a crew installed recycling bins for cigarette butts in city-owned parking lots.

When Los Altos banned smoking in public spaces downtown on March 27, it left an exception allowing tobacco use in city parking plazas. A new partnership with TerraCycle to aims to collect and recycle the cigarette butts anticipated in those plazas. City workers installed 12 receptacles in the 10 city-owned parking lots last week. City workers had removed all other ashtrays in the downtown area last month.

“The city’s new smoking restrictions raised concerns about proper disposal of cigarette butts,” Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said. “This new program is a great and innovative way to collect and recycle the waste while ensuring our streets are kept clean.”

Parks & Rec nixes dog park, pursues off-leash hours

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Parks and Recreation Commission rejected a proposal for a dog park in the city, opting instead to explore establishing off-leash hours when dogs can roam free at certain parks, like this pup, playing at Rosita Park Thursday.

Despite a survey showing interest among residents, the Los Altos Parks and Recreation Commission rejected a proposal to establish a dog park in the city, opting instead to explore off-leash hours at existing parks.

At their May 9 meeting the seven-member commission dismissed the fenced-in dog park idea, saying no option met established criteria, including a minimum 10,000-square-foot space, sufficient parking, adequate shade and access to bathrooms. A commission subcommittee presented the dog park and off-leash options, along with the criteria.

Public Arts Commission, council review new plan

The fight for art in Los Altos continued last week as the Public Arts Commission met with the city council to discuss its freshly tuned tactical arts plan.

After the council blasted the commission’s proposed Public Art Master Plan last year, commissioners decided to regroup and craft something more palatable – a tactical plan with events scheduled throughout the year. Events in the final plan included:

LA City Council majority green-lights fees aimed at easing affordable-housing crunch

A new affordable-housing impact fee could be making its way to Los Altos from the pockets of developers in an effort to help solve the Bay Area housing crisis.

At last week’s Los Altos City Council meeting, council members reviewed details of the proposed fee, which would be used to help develop or rehabilitate affordable housing. The fee was last discussed in 2017, a handful of months after a nexus study was conducted to establish the connection between development and the impact it has on affordable housing.

Los Altos parks protection effort challenged

An initiative proposed ostensibly to protect Los Altos parks and open space has left some residents wondering about hidden motivations. Meanwhile, the Los Altos City Council may consider a competing referendum later this month.

At issue is the Los Altos Protect Our Parks and Public Lands Initiative, launched last month. Los Altos resident Jim Jolly, who is leading the effort, said proponents have collected more than 2,900 signatures. They needed 1,943 signatures – 10 percent of registered voters – to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

Los Altos Planning Commission sets secondary unit rules

The Los Altos Planning Commission took another crack at the accessory structure and accessory dwelling unit ordinances last week, making a few additional recommendations before the revised regulations hit the city council.

At their March 13 meeting, council members were set to adopt the ordinances when they made some last-minute decisions. They voted to approve the accessory structure ordinance but send it back to the Planning Commission with a few questions. The council sent the entire ordinance on accessory dwelling units, commonly referred to as ADUs, back to the commission for review.

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