First Street Green offers ‘sensible growth’
Having had the experience of serving on the Los Altos City Council for approximately 12 years, I have reviewed many requests for approval of major projects. However, I have never witnessed the review of a project with as many community benefits as currently being proposed for the First Street Green.
This project will be located on First Street, replacing a section very much needing to be upgraded. It is being designed to be generously compliant with all boundary setbacks and would have a maximum height of 44 feet, which is in excess of the current height limit and would require a variance. The new building has excellent architectural features and would have 77,000 square feet of high-quality office space. All parking would be underground.
When fully occupied, the proposed project would provide space for approximately 275 office workers, who would bring much-needed vitality to the downtown triangle. In addition to meeting full parking requirements, the project would provide a community benefit of an additional 40 parking spots for public use. The development would include a 22,000-square-foot plaza, fully landscaped for public use and enjoyment. Two public bathrooms accessible from the plaza would be provided. Also, a fully furnished 1,000-square-foot community room would be included in the project for public use.
The design of the project meets all current code requirements except for the height. The impact of this variance is minimized by the large first-floor front setback of approximately 11 feet, with an additional generous setback for the top floor. I believe the required variance is not critical and is more than offset by the generous community benefits being offered.
The First Street Green project represents very sensible growth and will bring more people to our downtown and thus significantly enhance its vitality. As a longtime resident of Los Altos with no interest in anything other than what is best for our downtown, I urge the city and our community to support this very special project.
Louis E. Becker
Let’s work together to save preschool
I’ve been surprised to see residents opposing a place for Children’s Corner preschool in the new Hillview Community Center.
Children’s Corner has been at Hillview for 40 years. It is the most popular program at Hillview – so popular that every child in my daughter’s entering class was a sibling.
The preschool reaches out to the Los Altos Senior Program at Thanksgiving and Halloween, and would love to work together on a cross-generational community garden.
Children’s Corner is truly amazing with the special-needs kids in our community, and I learn something from its talented and experienced staff every time I stop by.
Leasing to Children’s Corner has been a very smart move for our city. Our community center needs a preschool – it’s how you hook young families into our community so that they can be active for decades to come. (Every day, you drop off your kids and take the pulse of the community center, all in one quick trip.) Our busy young families are hard to reach otherwise.
Now, unfortunately, the $25 million the city allocated for the new Hillview will only build 75 percent of the existing space. This is a problem and a test of our town’s character – will this bring us together or divide us?
As a Children’s Corner parent, I too want a bustling senior center, because children thrive when they grow up next to seniors. And when I grow up enough to use the senior center, I hope to hear the happy shouts of preschoolers nearby.
If there’s not enough money for both, let’s work together to raise more. Partner with Los Altos Hills. Put a citizens’ initiative on the ballot. Run a fundraising campaign.
Let’s work together and let our legacy be a new Hillview Community Center that we can be proud of.