Palo Alto's rule changes for new El Camino buildings met with skepticism

Property owners irked by city's plan to scrap 'build-to line,' allow flexibility

After faltering in their first effort to promote wider sidewalks on El Camino Real, Palo Alto officials did little better Wednesday with a far more modest proposal, which was greeted with a wave of confusion and criticism by property owners.

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Posted by Susan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2014 at 10:23 am

El Camino through Palo Alto is getting mighty crowded with all the new construction right up to the street. Wider setbacks are indeed attractive and reduce the "driving through a slot" feeling. I don't know who came up with the "missing teeth" analogy but staggered setbacks alleviate the crowded feeling and can be made very attractive.

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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:14 am

I lump this in with the unnecessary and possibly illegal noise ordinance at Lytton Plaza in that it looks like someone powerful led staff to lead commission towards messing with what is probably best left alone. It's very hard to believe anything at face value coming out of 250 Hamilton. It will be interesting how we officially respond to the Grand Jury Report of June 16, 2014.

What else could we or would we be doing, as a community, as a civilization, if we weren't under constant pressure to appease not the squeakiest wheel but this irresistible grinder of purported progress. What is the will of the people? Anybody out there?

There is a lungfish somewhere wishing he had never jumped out of the water.

Meanwhile I am pushing for: 12 acre park, called Ventura Park or maybe Fazzino Park.

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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:17 am

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:23 am

[Post removed.]

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Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm

"missing teeth" - How stupid is that?!! It's called character and individuality. NOT a huge wall we drive through. It's so nice to drive in downtown Mtn View.
You have such a variety to see. Southbound on Alma after leaving downtown and excluding the Meadow Jailtown, it's a beautiful drive. El Camino heading North after S. PA all the way to the City is so beautiful.
Why do these council people in PA feel we need to look like a "hurry and drive through it" and not a "welcome to our town, stop and shop"?!!?
Listen when you hear something that makes sense...Keller was making sense! Geeez!

Like this comment
Posted by A
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2014 at 9:22 pm

The requirement for buildings to come out to the sidewalk only makes sense if most traffic arrives by foot and the main entrance is in front. In reality, most of El Camino and Alma patrons arrive by car and the main entrance then naturally opens to the back or side. This is the reason why we end up with these ugly fortress-like buildings that offer nothing for the street front.

The "missing teeth" aesthetic principle also makes no sense. A walled canyon is far, far worse.

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Posted by Q
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

What comes across in the article is that the property owners are upset that the "helpful" change forces them to have to endure the Palo Alto process of ad hoc reviews, which become dependent on personal preferences within the department and the commissions, and not on a standard methodology and set of requirements. That the Planning Department doesn't realize how much any sane person would want to be as far removed from it as possible is not surprising.

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