July 11, 2017

The City Council approved re-consideration of public Parking Plaza 10 as part of private development at 40 Main Street, provided the design complies with the city’s standards for parking space. It is understood that providing a design does not assure final approval of the private development project.

Note that a similar proposal was denied in 2014, but the advantages of reconfiguration for this project allows for additional parking stalls at no cost to the city and facilitates private development that can contribute to the overall vitality of the community. For example, the landowners’ architect, Bill Maston, suggested that more electric-charging stations and bike racks may be added to the space. Also, if City Council does not allow private developers to propose a re-configuration, any project that doesn’t meet permitted city code could result in the city’s loss of positive development applications.

The City Council discussed potential fundraising efforts to support the new Hillview Community Center and the Downtown Vision, including a theater for plays, affordable senior housing and other affordable housing on city-owned land. Also, expand parking at Plaza 7 with underground parking. After pro and con discussion from the public, Council members Lynette Lee Eng and Jean Mordo, the lead on putting forth these ideas, were selected to form a subcommittee to recommend fundraising policies. Staff was directed to look into the cost of expanding Parking Plaza 7 with underground parking. The City Council approved that the Downtown Vision project consultants consider placement of a theater and affordable housing on city property downtown.

August 22, 2017

Los Altos City Council, 4 to 1, authorized Chris Jordan, City Manager, to execute a professional services agreement with Noll & Tam Architects and Planners in an amount not to exceed $2, 804, 597 for design services to begin redevelopment of the Hillview Community Center. Janet Tam, the principal architect for the project, expects to confirm the goals of the center, recommend a space design that meets the budget, and present the plan by the end of the year. There is a concern about space for Children’s Corner. Mr. Jordan said the design project includes space allocation for services for young children, but doesn’t specify who and how the services of a particular organization are to be determined. Agreements would be contracted when the project is completed.

Jon Biggs, Community Development Project Director, urged the City Council and community to look at the Downtown Vision project as a tool to assist the community in the design of a renovated downtown. The City Council heard and provided feedback for three future scenarios designed after surveys and twenty-two community and pop-up meetings provided feedback and information for Debbie Rudd, rrmDesign Group, who presented the scenarios. Additional information came from Bill Lee, economic consultant for the project. The three scenarios show, from least to most change, Green Plazas, connection to the Civic Center, entry elements to downtown, parking structures, live theater, movie theater, and evaluation of residential over commercial and office over commercial development. Also, a public citizen presentation focused on parking problems for every vision and offered possible solutions.

— Claire Noonan, Observer