A 'swale' solution: Los Altos council amends shoulder policy, requires only permeable materials

Responding to residents who turned up to protest the approval of the proposed Street Shoulder Improvement Policy requiring asphalt or concrete swales, the Los Altos City Council Nov. 27 amended the practice to include only permeable options.

In 2016, the council directed city staff to review the policy – last updated in 2001 – to incorporate green structures and address aesthetic concerns voiced by the city’s Environmental Commission.

Los Altos to seek new grant for revised Miramonte project plans


Courtesy of Susanna Chan
The Valley Transportation Authority approved the original Miramonte Avenue path design, above, as the city of Los Altos secured a grant to fund the project. Scrapping the design, as residents want, would mean sacrificing the grant and starting over.

Los Altos city staff will largely restart their work on the Miramonte Avenue path project after the city council last week voted 3-2 to release the Valley Transportation Authority grant it had secured last year so that city officials could further incorporate residents’ input.

After the council in July directed staff to consult with the VTA on whether revising the plans would make the city ineligible for the $1 million grant, transportation manager Aruna Bodduna reported back Nov. 13 that modifying elements residents had objected to, including raised sidewalks, would mean a complete redesign of the project.

Despite nearly three-year review process, development hits wall with LA council


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A public notice hangs at 4846/4856 El Camino Real, where Altos One developers Mircea Voskerician and Bryan Robertson hope to build their five-story, 50-unit apartment complex. In exchange for incentives, the developers are offering eight affordable units.

The Los Altos City Council last week unanimously moved to continue discussion on the five-story, 50-unit housing development proposed at 4846/4856 El Camino Real, also known as Altos One.

Council members indicated that they need more time to discuss the complex’s below-market-rate (BMR) units, leaving one of the developers disappointed.

Resurfaced town hall plans, misinformation spark LAH council debate

Resident feedback – and complaints – seemed to fuel the fire during last week’s Los Altos Hills City Council meeting, as council members tried to corral misinformation and debate over a town hall expansion plan.

Earlier this month, the Planning Commission held a study session to review conceptual plans for the project, which could include a new multipurpose room, new conference rooms and green space, among other amenities. But at the Nov. 15 council meeting, where council members reviewed study session feedback, Mayor John Radford was particularly interested in quashing any information that residents had about a “Plan A” and a “Plan B.”

After study session, LAH officials to weigh competing proposals for town hall expansion


Courtesy of Duxbury Architects
Mayor John Radford, Councilman Roger Spreen and town staff members worked with architect Peter Duxbury to create the concept, now referred to as “Plan A,” for the expansion of town hall, above.

When Los Altos Hills resident Scott Vanderlip imagines the future of town hall, he envisions classrooms buzzing with activity, dinner functions capable of accommodating 120 people and picnickers lazing on a grassy green lawn. Councilman Roger Spreen’s version includes modestly expanded office space for city staff members, a secure emergency operations center and additional conference rooms. And town hall neighbor Diana Huffman would prefer things remain exactly as they are.

“This isn’t a destination,” Huffman told Planning Commissioners at their Nov. 1 meeting. “You guys do your jobs here and at 5 o’clock, you go home and we enjoy our peace and quiet. I don’t want people here at night having meetings.”

LAH eyes 'granny units' as housing crisis solution

Los Altos Hills residents considering the addition of in-law quarters, converted pool houses or granny units to their properties could eventually see the prospect sweetened as officials begin mulling incentives promoting such construction.


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