April 13

The City Council received the Housing Element Annual Progress Report (APR) with amended and now complete data for calendar year 2020. Council authorized staff to submit the report to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

A Housing Element provides an analysis of a community’s housing needs for all income levels, and strategies to provide for those housing needs. The annual APR report also demonstrates housing permit progress toward the City’s part of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). In 2020 the 444-450 First Street development provided three moderate-income and one low-income unit of the 26 total units. In addition, 53 Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are approved by the Planning Commission and 25 ADUs are at final stages by the Building Division. The current numbers are concerning to reach the number of affordable housing units needed by completion of the 8-year Housing Element cycle in 2023 and are fewer than the number of affordable housing units needed by the city for RHNA, due in Summer 2021. Public comments on the APR that signaled ‘no’ came from those who remain attached to single-family housing with spacious yards, oppose increased traffic and infrastructure, want to retain parks and open space, and think that ‘local control’ is being taken over by the State. Those signaling ‘yes’ for the need for more housing density promote affordable housing models like those being developed at 330 Distel Court.

The City Council received and provided feedback on the Los Altos Community Center Phased Opening Plan. The project is scheduled to be finished June 10, 2021, but completion is still affected by Covid restrictions. The phased opening for summer and fall parks and recreation and community use are projected to be limited. Move in and operational training will begin mid-summer 2021. Facility rentals will open in August 2021. A Grand Opening is scheduled for Fall 2021. In-person special events will be permitted in October 2021.

April 27

EAH Housing and its team, the proposed developer of the 330 Distel Circle affordable housing project, were introduced to the City Council. EAH provided the City Council and the community with information about the other affordable housing projects they have developed and shared their concept for the 330 Distel Circle site to meet both the current as well as the emerging housing needs and demands of Los Altos and Santa Clara County’s lower-income and workforce residents. The City has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the County of Santa Clara and the City Council will continue its financial support for this project.

City Council authorized the Interim City Manager to execute contract Amendment No. 3 on behalf of the City with NOVA Partners for additional construction management services on the Los Altos Community Center project through June 30, 2021. This amendment includes essential construction management services needed to complete the construction of the Los Altos Community Center due to the project schedule being extended owing to delays caused by COVID-19 and other unforeseen circumstances. The amendment includes twenty-two items to justify costs. The amount of $120,884 is still underbudget to complete the project.

In addition, City Council authorized the Interim City Manager to execute contract Amendment No. 5 on behalf of the City with Noll & Tam Architects for the Los Altos Community Center Project. The amendment includes unforeseen design updates and consulting services that occurred since October 2020 and an extension to match the current construction schedule. Although originally the project was to be completed by November 2020, the cost of Amendment No.5 at $117,581 is still underbudget to complete the project by June 2021.

Council member Jonathan Weinberg initiated a request for City Council to produce a Safe Firearms Storage Ordinance. In the California Penal Code 25100 “a person commits the crime of ‘criminal storage of a firearm’…unless reasonable action is taken by the person to secure the firearm against access by the child.” The issue is identifying “safe storage”. Of public comments, one was against an ordinance and ten others strongly supported the measure. Council voted 4/1 to direct staff to draft an ordinance to be modelled on the Santa Clara County ordinance that specifies any safely stored firearm in the home be kept unloaded or with a trigger-lock in a locked container.

Claire Noonan, Observer