Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 4, 2014

Around Town

FOR THE BIRDS ... Architecture is always a hot topic in Palo Alto, but it's rarely framed as a matter of life and death. Unless, of course, you're a bird lover. Shani Kleinhaus, an environmental advocate with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, says buildings with too much glass pose a danger for birds, particularly ones that are young or in the midst of migration. To that end, she is trying to encourage Palo Alto officials to adopt bird-friendly design guidelines for new buildings (she was set to give a presentation on the topic to the Architectural Review Board on July 3. Kleinhaus said recent research shows that while glass buildings are generally thought to be energy efficient, the optimal proportion of glass wall is between 25 and 40 percent. Going beyond 50 or 60 percent becomes both wasteful, she said, and hazardous for birds. The danger is particularly severe when the glass is reflective or when it's placed around an attractive destination such as a green roof or a passageway. From that perspective, the city's new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center (which features both glass walls and a green roof) "looks like a model example of what not to do," Kleinhaus told the Weekly. Some cities and companies have already taken actions to deal with the problem. San Francisco and Oakland have ordinances for bird-friendly building designs, Kleinhaus said, and companies such as Apple and Google have been working with the Audubon Society to reduce the threat posed by their glassy buildings. She noted that the new developments on San Antonio Road will have ceramic outlines around glass panels, which will serve as a warning to birds.

BOOSTED BENTLEY ... "It was the best of times: He found a parking space for his Bentley. It was the worst of times: His Bentley vanished." One Town Square poster on PaloAltoOnline.com adeptly described this case of a missing six-figure Bentley that was reported stolen from the 800 block of Stanford Avenue in Palo Alto last Friday. Police located this week the blue 2013 two-door Bentley Continental GT convertible — which has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of just under $177,000 — far away from Palo Alto, in Los Angeles. Palo Alto Det. Sgt. Brian Philip said an initial report stated the car had been parked for a "significant amount of time, six weeks or something," on Stanford Avenue though he didn't yet know if the owner had reparked it in the same area or if it hadn't been moved during that time. Residential Palo Alto streets generally have a 72-hour limit on continuous parking. The car was noticed missing when the owner went to retrieve it just after 8 p.m. on Friday, June 27, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The car registration had a Menlo Park address, Philip said. He said the Bentley was found unoccupied in Los Angeles, is being recovered and will be returned to its owner. "There are a lot of things we still have questions about," he added. "We will be continuing the investigation to determine how exactly it ended up down there."

NO SPILT MILK PAIL ... Fans of Mountain View's Milk Pail Market, the European-style grocer on California Street near San Antonio Road, are rejoicing this week with the announcement that an agreement with developer Merlone Geier is allowing the business to stay put. Threatened with not having enough parking as redevelopment of the San Antonio Shopping Center moves ahead, Milk Pail Market owner Steve Rasmussen said Tuesday he had reached a last-minute deal with Merlone Geier that grants Milk Pail customers access to 11 parking spaces in a new parking garage, enough to meet city requirements for the store to stay in business past 2016, when its current parking agreement expires. According to the Mountain View Voice, Rasmussen said the length of the agreement term is "substantial" — giving people plenty of years to enjoy the imported cheeses, fresh produce and imported food stuffs the Milk Pail specializes in. Merlone Geier's second phase of development at the center is slated to replace Ross and BevMo with a 167-room hotel, a large public square, 109,000 square feet of retail space, two six-story office buildings, a 50,000-square-foot movie theater and six-level parking garage with more than 1,300 parking spaces, and an office garage with 1,174 spaces.

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