There is no justification for Palo Alto to allow the five-story building proposed for 335-355 Alma St. At 64-feet tall plus 15 feet for utilities, the resulting 79-foot concrete edifice would loom over all surrounding buildings on its tiny little lot. Hundreds more cars will clog up the streets and neighborhood. We hardly need yet another cafe in the downtown area. And our local schools, fields and infrastructure are already overtaxed from the more than 3,800 housing units that have been built or approved in Palo Alto over the past decade, so we hardly need five more.
This building is designed to maximize developer profits and elicit support from special interests. They have added housing to appease those advocates, even throwing in one below-market-rate unit. They add retail to appease those who want tax revenue. And the starting size of this project is so huge that even if the developer cuts it in half, it will still be too big and they will still make huge profits.
Palo Alto talks about wanting to be a sustainable city and then proceeds to overtax its infrastructure and deplete natural resources with huge energy using and environmentally destructive developments that are turning the city into a cement and asphalt centered society. These huge urban developments are not what most residents in Palo Alto want. Any use for this site should be based on its previous use and size. In this case it should be a neighborhood oriented business of appropriate size and scope.
This proposed monstrosity is not wanted or needed.
Palo Alto Avenue
Past issues of the Weekly noted PAUSD school enrollment is increasing by numbers that were not predicted by the usual and customary housing turnover and population data as previously projected.
An article on page 3 and the editorial in the March 11 Weekly indicated the district "must be prepared for as many as 568 new students in the next five years."
Camille Townsend asked, "Could it be as simple" as "seeing all the new houses, or seeing all the new developments by the JCC?"
Does Ms. Townsend really know how many school-age children live in the new JCC apartments? Could it be there are more senior citizens living in those apartments than school-age families? Has she done a survey of the JCC apartments?
Could it be Ms. Townsend the enrollment is increasing in south Palo Alto because students attend PAUSD schools that do not actually live in the city of Palo Alto? Address given may actually be business, for example restaurants.
Despite the district's registration policy, I ask if the district knows how many students who attend Palo Alto schools (in the south part of town) actually live in Palo Alto? Does a teacher or counselor try to reach a parent by phone only to find the phone has been disconnected, is out of service and/or the parent is unknown by the person answering the phone? How many attendance officers actually go to addresses to confirm students live in the address that is indicated on the registration?
While I didn't know Bill Alhouse well, I knew who he was. He was the man who helped create Palo Alto Little League when I was 11 years old. All these years later, I know he helped to make my life better.
In 1951 he joined Howard Bertelsen, Frank Pfyl and Ed and Bernie Hoffaker to create Palo Alto Little League. To do the homework, file the papers, create the concept, raise the money, build the new Little League park, and then coach the kids.
I played for Palo Alto Sport Shop. Bill Alhouse's team, sponsored by Floyd Lowe Realty, was the enemy. But I always knew that he was our friend, too.
The first official season was played in 1951 at El Camino Park, just north of the Palo Alto train station, and across from the current Stanford Shopping Center. Our team, Palo Alto Sport Shop, won most of the time but he was respectful and he was fair.
Some of the best-known first-year players included 12-year-olds Noel Barnes and Dennis Brewick, both of whom later starred at the University of California; Bob Wendell, who captained Cal's national-championship basketball team; Frank Farmer, who played at Paly before signing a professional baseball contract; and 11-year-old Ted Tollner, who played football and baseball at Cal Poly and became a successful head football coach at USC and San Diego State, and professional coach with the Bills, Forty-Niners and Raiders.
The next year we played at the brand-new Little League park on Middlefield road that was patterned after Stanford's famed sunken diamond and is still used today, nearly 60 years later.
Thanks to Bill Alhouse, for his generous gift to so many people. Thanks for these memories.
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