'Optimism' proves theme of upcoming budget cycle in Los Altos

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The city of Los Altos’ largest expenditure for the 2019-2020 fiscal year is the overhaul of Hillview Community Center, a project with a price tag of nearly $35 million. The facility currently shows signs of wear, including the canopies covering empty bocce balls courts.

Administrative Services Director Sharif Etman expressed confidence in the city budgets he is set to present at the June 11 Los Altos City Council meeting.

“The city’s finances continue to be strong,” he said. “We (will subsequently be) addressing the needs of the community.”

Recent accessory dwelling unit forum in Los Altos provides homeowners with options

Los Altos affordable housing advocates aim to show there are options beyond cities requiring developers to provide the occasional low-income unit.

In addition to renting rooms in established homes, supporters hosted a May 15 forum that promoted transforming accessory structures into living spaces.

Past, present, future: 'Orderly' housing takes on new meaning

Nancy Ellickson/Special to the Town Crier
The owner of a lot with a single house on Arroyo Road in the Montebello Acres neighborhood of Los Altos wants to subdivide his property, but after neighbors protested, the city council rejected his request May 14.

The Los Altos City Council voted May 14 to preserve the neighborhood character of Montebello Acres based on past standards and authorized the mayor to send a letter of opposition to local legislators to discourage extreme changes around housing in the future.

The past & present

The council directed city staff to draft a resolution denying the proposed lot subdivision at 831 Arroyo Road in the Montebello Acres neighborhood, a request that has appeared in front of the council three times over the past two months.

Friends of Library search for new home amid renovation

Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Friends of the Library of Los Altos volunteers are responsible for carting boxes of books back and forth between a storage facility and designated classroom space at Hillview Community Center, as well as sorting books for their periodic sales. Supporters of the nonprofit group asked the Los Altos City Council May 14 for dedicated space in the wake of Hillview’s imminent overhaul.

The Los Altos City Council May 14 voted unanimously to continue a plea for help from the Friends of the Library of Los Altos in the form of a request for a no-cost lease agreement to help the group transition out of Hillview Community Center prior to its upcoming demolition.

The Friends were notified a year ago that the design for the new Hillview Community Center did not include space for them, according to City Manager Chris Jordan. Jordan plans to meet with the volunteer organization’s board as early as this week to identify a solution prior to their eviction at the end of the month.

Subsidy to soften sting of Los Altos Hills rubbish rate hikes

Jay Shideler likes to joke that he experienced cardiac arrest when he first learned about GreenWaste Recovery’s financial demands for continuing waste collection service in Los Altos Hills after the company’s current contract expires June 30.

“I knew the costs had gone up, but (the shock) was before we really looked into just where the costs were coming from,” said Shideler, an Environmental Initiatives Committee associate member who has assisted town staff in negotiating a new, 15-year franchise agreement with GreenWaste the city council considered last month and refined last week.

Doing more with less: Limited staff resources dominate Los Altos council, commissions conversation

The Los Altos City Council discussed several projects in the works with five of its commissions May 7, but discourse invariably circled back to each commission’s frustration with limitations caused by the city’s shrinking staff.

Transferring Manny Hernandez from his role as Recreation and Community Services director to serve as Municipal Services director removes him from his staff liaison position with the Parks and Recreation Commission, lamented members of that commission. In addition, two seats on the commission must be filled as soon as possible to support their workload, according to chairman Jonathan Weinberg.

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