Los Altos Council Briefs

The Los Altos City Council took the following actions at its April 22 meeting.

The Boardwalk building redevelopment approved

The city council unanimously approved the redevelopment and expansion of 4940 El Camino Real – the longtime home of The Boardwalk restaurant.

According to a city staff report, the project calls for the addition of 3,679 square feet to the mixed-use building, including a 915-foot addition facing El Camino Real “for a new restaurant area.”

The remaining 2,764 square feet will consist of new office space, restrooms, stairways and storage on the first and second floors of the 1960s-era structure, which has served as The Boardwalk’s home since the mid-1970s. Work includes updating the aging structure to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

“We’re very excited,” said Sanjiv Bhandari, an architect representing the building’s ownership group, RKT Group LLC. “We think it will be a big improvement. … We think it’ll be a very fresh face on El Camino Real for Los Altos.”

The council’s approval came with only minor modifications to specifications related to signage, landscaping and a walkway. Prior to casting her vote in favor of the project, Councilwoman Val Carpenter said she was “very pleased to see property owners spiffing up existing properties in town.”

The decision comes after the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) recommended approval of the project in February. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission also recommended approval following a December review. As for The Boardwalk’s future, Vish Agarwal, a member of the building’s ownership group, told the PTC in February that he was continuing discussions on a lease extension with the restaurant’s owners.

Council OKs park-in-lieu fee increases

Purchasing land to develop new housing in Los Altos may get a bit pricier in the near future.

The council gave initial approval – via a unanimous vote – to nearly double park-in-lieu fees for new single-family detached and multiple-family attached housing projects. The council’s vote requires updating Chapter 13 of the city’s municipal code. The city typically charges developers park-in-lieu fees in lieu of providing newly dedicated parkland.

The council’s action calls for a park-in-lieu fee increase of more than $26,000 – to $56,500 – for any new single-family detached homes built in the city. Likewise, the city increased the park-in-lieu fee for multiple-family attached homes to $35,500 per new unit.

The city’s old fee structure – approved in 2008 – required $30,000 per single-family unit and $18,000 per multiple-family unit. The fees apply only to net new units – not to remodeling projects or homes that are torn down and rebuilt. Assistant City Manager James Walgren told the council that the city has approved approximately 400 net new units in the past seven years.

A formula that multiplies the average number of residents per household (2.7 for single-family homes and 1.7 for multiple-family attached units) by a ratio of 3 acres per 1,000 residents determines the new fees. That number is multiplied by a real estate appraisal of $6.97 million per acre in Los Altos to calculate the total amount due.

A second reading and adoption of the ordinance amendment is scheduled for Tuesday’s city council meeting. If approved, the updated development impact fees would take effect in mid-July, according to a city staff report.

Council appoints new commissioners

The council unanimously approved the appointments of Richard Baer and Kishen Bhagavan to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory and Library commissions, respectively. Both residents were appointed to terms set to expire in February 2017.

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