Around Town | November 19, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 19, 2010

Around Town

EARLY DEADLINES ... Palo Alto's land-use watchdogs and neighborhood groups cringe every time a developer tries to slip a note to a city official at a public hearing or shows up with last-minute revisions. That infamous practice may soon come to an end. The City Council will consider on Monday changing the city's policies to require developers to submit all application materials well in advance of council meetings. The policy would require these materials to be released at least five working days before the release of the City Council's pre-meeting packets. The policy change is one of many proposed by the council's Policy and Services Committee, which has been poring over the council's rule procedure over five recent meetings. Councilwoman Karen Holman, a former planning commissioner, has been a leading proponent of the policy change. At a recent meeting, she pointed to instances in which application materials were delivered to the homes of council members — a practice that she said undermines the transparency of the development process. The committee also agreed that council members shouldn't talk to applicants about their projects until after the city's Architectural Review Board and Planning and Transportation Commission had issued their recommendations. The change was prompted by arguments from some planning commissioners that their work is being disregarded by applicants who choose to go over the commission's head and appeal directly to council members.

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