Los Altos council discusses business, commercial zoning changes

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The types of businesses permitted to operate in downtown Los Altos will expand after the city council last week amended the Commercial Retail Sales zoning district, the area encompassing Main, above, State and First streets. Established in 2000, the zoning code now includes changes suggested by the downtown business community.

The Los Altos City Council last week reviewed amendments to the city’s residential and commercial district zoning ordinances, Municipal Code regulations that have remained unchanged for nearly 60 years and 20 years, respectively.

The council continued discussion of the proposed R3-4.5 Multiple-Family residential district changes to its next meeting after failing to reach a consenus on elements such as single-story overlays and floor-area ratio percentages.

Mountain View losing its city manager to retirement

Courtesy of City of Mountain View
After eight years on the job, Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich is retiring.

Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich plans to retire in December after serving in the role since 2011.

“When I accepted this position, I knew it was a great opportunity for me, but I did not realize how special the city and organization I was joining was,” Rich said in a letter delivered to the city council last week. “I am proud of the many accomplishments that we have achieved together over the past eight years.”

Bogus awards program remains active

Mike Nelson ran his glass etching business out of Los Altos for 13 years and never had a registered license with the city of Los Altos. Yet last week he received an official-looking email from the so-called Los Altos Award Program notifying him he had won the 2019 Best of Los Altos award for artistic etchings. 

LAH council ponders student homelessness, garbage and 5G

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Audience members at the specially scheduled Aug. 21 Los Altos Hills City Council meeting raise their hands to express intent to speak about 5G wireless technology during the “Presentations from the Floor” portion of the agenda. Mayor Roger Spreen called it “the most concentrated, nonagendized discussion” he’s ever seen.

To voice support for a proposal allowing homeless community college students to sleep in vehicles on campus, the dozen or so young adults who attended last week’s specially scheduled Los Altos Hills City Council meeting would have waited nearly five and a half hours. Many trickled out, however, by 11:30 p.m. Aug. 21, when that discussion commenced.

“I think I have six speaker cards that were all in support of this bill,” said Cody Einfalt, town management analyst. “They unfortunately told me that they had jobs and had to leave.”

Los Altos responds to county report critical of VTA


Los Altos City Council members were scheduled at Tuesday’s meeting, after the Town Crier’s Monday print deadline, to review city responses to a critical Santa Clara County Grand Jury report on the Valley Transportation Authority.

Issued in June, the report cited numerous examples of the agency’s dysfunctional operations and governance. The VTA is responsible for running and maintaining buses and other alternative transit systems throughout the county.

Los Altos neighborhood experiences spell of voltage problems, unknowns

Residents of the South Clark neighborhood, tucked between the Hillview enclave in Los Altos and the Varsity Park community in Mountain View, are breathing a sigh of relief as a string of brief power outages appears to be over.

From July 29 through Aug. 16, an estimated 200 households were affected by the blackouts – from the area of South Clark and El Monte avenues to Covington Road. In the 20-day period, residents reported approximately 76 blackouts, 13 low-voltage incidents and six electrical noise incidents (a consequence of poor power quality, PG&E’s website said), according to South Clark resident Chris Le Tocq.

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