http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2012/09/21/around-town


Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 21, 2012

Around Town

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD ... While cities across the nation continue to bear economic pain and sluggish job growth, Palo Alto is bracing for an influx of dense new office developments at some of its most prominent locations. Downtown alone is preparing to welcome the four-story Lytton Gateway project, which the City Council approved earlier this year, and a massive, four-tower office complex recently proposed by philanthropist John Arrillaga. But one planned downtown development ran into a speed bump Thursday morning. Charles "Chop" Keenan, who is one of the city's most prominent and prolific developers, faced some opposition this week from the Architectural Review Board, which was reviewing his newest downtown proposal. Keenan is looking to build a four-story building, most of which would be office space, at 135 Hamilton Ave., a site currently used as a parking lot. But at its first public hearing on the project, the board panned the proposed building design and sent the project back to the architects for major revisions. Members generally agreed that the proposed building is too blocky and that it doesn't really fit with the structures around it. Board member Lee Lippert said the project needs "something that respects the adjacent buildings in terms of height," while his colleague Clare Malone Prichard advocated for more pedestrian amenities. Board member Randy Popp was most vehement in his criticism, calling the proposed building "very flat," and describing the project as "severe and boxy." "If this is truly an iconic corner and a 'gateway' building, it really needs to be designed as such," Popp said. The board did not vote on the proposed development but agreed unanimously to hold another hearing on it once the applicant returns with a revised design.

PREPPING FOR THE BIG ONE ... As one of 13 students chosen nationally to serve on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Youth Council, Gunn High School junior Divya Saini is already deeply immersed in emergency preparedness. But Saini says Palo Alto could be doing a lot more. With the lure of fun fake injuries she's urging teens to come out for this weekend's simulated-emergency "Quakeville" campout at Cubberley Community Center. "Teens will get decked out in fake injuries and we still have spots for victims," Saini told the school board Tuesday. On a serious note, she asked that schools incorporate emergency-preparedness education into the required high-school Living Skills class and even offered to help create the curriculum.

OUR FRIENDS IN CHINA ... Palo Alto already has more siblings than the Partridge Family, but that's not stopping the city from looking for more partners abroad. Weeks after celebrating the 25th anniversary of its sister-city relationship with the Swedish city of Linkoping (one of six sister cities in Palo Alto's municipal family), Palo Alto is now looking even further east. The City Council will on Monday consider a formal partnership with the Yangpu District of Shanghai, China, an area known for a dynamic high-tech sector and the prominent Fudan University. The Palo Alto-based cloud-computing giant VMWare also enjoys a presence in Yangpu. Under a staff proposal, Yangpu wouldn't be a "sister city" but rather a "partnership city" focusing on economics and technology. The "intention agreement" between Palo Alto and Yangpu would commit the cities "to explore mutual economic interactions to, among other things, enhance the economic health and betterment" of the two communities and "keep each other informed on important economic and civic issues." Officials from the two municipalities are scheduled to formalize their agreement at a signing ceremony Thursday.

FOLLOW THE MONEY ... Palo Alto residents now have a new tool at their disposal for tracking city expenditures. The City of Palo Alto has just partnered with local company Delphi Solutions in launching an "open government" platform that uses graphics, charts and spreadsheets to lay out the city's budgets over the past five years. The new tool was unveiled last week and heralded as the latest effort in the city's push to promote "open government." "It translates to a deeper relationship with our community," City Manager James Keene said in a statement. "We're removing barriers and supporting a more informed and engaged citizenry here in Palo Alto." The new tool can be found at http://data.cityofpaloalto.org/openbudget .

Comments

Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Correct URL is

Web Link


Posted by Sky is the limit?, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm



from another Around Town post,

a developer proposes a 4 story building on Hamilton, but the Architectural board says

the proposed building is "very flat,"

Is the Architectural board elected? appointed? how do you get rid of them?

"BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD ... While cities across the nation continue to bear economic pain and sluggish job growth, Palo Alto is bracing for an influx of dense new office developments at some of its most prominent locations. Downtown alone is preparing to welcome the four-story Lytton Gateway project, which the City Council approved earlier this year, and a massive, four-tower office complex recently proposed by philanthropist John Arrillaga. But one planned downtown development ran into a speed bump Thursday morning. Charles "Chop" Keenan, who is one of the city's most prominent and prolific developers, faced some opposition this week from the Architectural Review Board, which was reviewing his newest downtown proposal. Keenan is looking to build a four-story building, most of which would be office space, at 135 Hamilton Ave., a site currently used as a parking lot. But at its first public hearing on the project, the board panned the proposed building design and sent the project back to the architects for major revisions. Members generally agreed that the proposed building is too blocky and that it doesn't really fit with the structures around it. Board member Lee Lippert said the project needs "something that respects the adjacent buildings in terms of height," while his colleague Clare Malone Prichard advocated for more pedestrian amenities. Board member Randy Popp was most vehement in his criticism, calling the proposed building "very flat," and describing the project as "severe and boxy." "If this is truly an iconic corner and a 'gateway' building, it really needs to be designed as such," Popp said. The board did not vote on the proposed development but agreed unanimously to hold another hearing on it once the applicant returns with a revised design."


Posted by Sky is the limit?, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm

meant to reference the Architectural board wanting to eliminate the 50 foot heigh limit for buildings in Palo Alto


Web Link

"SKY'S THE LIMIT ... How high is too high? That is the central question these days for Palo Alto officials awash in building proposals. Normally, the city's 50-foot height limit — a long-standing sacred cow of local zoning regulations — offers a simple answer to this question. But with developers looking to place four giant office towers at 27 University Ave. and two huge office buildings on Page Mill Road, these aren't normal times. Faced with these proposals, a hot real estate market and heavy demand for affordable housing, city officials are now considering ways to loosen the height limit and encourage more growth. The Architectural Review Board tackled this subject Thursday morning, with several members expressing support for allowing exceptions to the 50-foot height limit or, as one member suggested, scrapping it entirely. Most board members were open to taller buildings, particularly in downtown and along El Camino Real. "I'm really in favor of us trying to find a different way to manage this and to create opportunities for different heights, where mass and scale can be balanced appropriately in recognition of neighborhood concerns," said board member Randy Popp, who works downtown. But any solution, he said, should carefully consider the parking impacts of the taller buildings. Board member Alex Lew said there are plenty of examples of seven-to-10-story buildings in neighboring communities and advocated surveying other areas for examples that work well in downtown locations. Board member Clare Malone Prichard was particularly enthusiastic about changing the height regulations. "I'm of a mind to not have a height limit anymore," she said, noting that the city's density regulations already limit building sizes. But she acknowledged that making the change would be a tall task. "There's a big fear in this town of tall buildings so that's not going to fly," she said."