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Modernist building on Waverley survives appeal

Original post made on Dec 17, 2013

An eclectic block of Waverley Street is about to get an infusion of glass-and-concrete modernism, a development that has downtown's brick-and-stucco traditionalists fuming.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 12:48 AM

Comments (16)

Posted by I Choose Vision A, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 17, 2013 at 8:49 am

Someone in the public made some really key comments about how an attic was called a "mezzanine" and counted toward square footage in the new building, when it wasn't in the past. This, IMHO is reason to overturn the Council decision. It's too big, and it doesn't provide adequate parking.

I hope the neighbors will fight both of these. I suspect you will get lots of cross-town help. Whether you prevail or not, you will keep people energized through the next Council election.


Posted by Disgraceful, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 17, 2013 at 8:59 am

""The city doesn't mandate architectural styles," Kleiman said. "The appellant here really obviously prefers a style other than the one I prefer. This is my building, not his. I have a right to propose a modern building. I've done that and the ARB likes it."

Kleiman hits the nail on the head. Smith has an agenda-- forcing his (bad) taste in architecture on the whole city. There should be some kind of minimal respect for,private property rights.
Also, in typical shoddy reporting, the writer says that numerous people (11) joined the appeal. It would have been nice to know how many people did not feel an appeal was necessary and/or thought the building was okay. And since when is 11 people considered numerous.


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:23 am

"There should be some kind of minimal respect for,private property rights."

No shuck? Didn't you and your neighbors revolt when PAHC tried to exercise its property rights in your area?

What would you do if Kleiman bought that property and tried to replicate this building on it?


Posted by Disgraceful, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

Curmudgeon--- don't suppose that everyone in the neighborhood opposed thenPAHC plan. If the land is zoned for that kind of building, then he can build it.


Posted by not bad, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

Sure, this is different, but I like it way better than the massive concrete walled buildings that have been going up around town lately (like the JCC and some of the Alma shopping center).


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

"Curmudgeon--- don't suppose that everyone in the neighborhood opposed thenPAHC plan."

True. There are always some who don't get the word. But the message was clear: property rights are not absolute.


Posted by Disgraceful, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

Curmudgeon-- true. But n general as long as you follow the zoning, you are okay. The zoning was changed, so PAHC was in the clear to build. The public objected, had the vet and overturned the council. Democracy in action. I do not suggest that people can build whatever they want


Posted by Anciana, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

I don't think that building looks TOO bad, but it's definitely too close to the sidewalks,which is one of the really bad thing about all those walls on Alma Street. The setback should be wider!


Posted by commonsense, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

Beautiful building. I love it!


Posted by Moderation, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

This discussion is really about moderation, not (for all of us)aesthetics. Several speakers spoke forcefully about not allowing every project to build out to the absolute maximum volume area. This isn't a property right. When you buy the property you are agreeing to ALL of our zoning laws which include setbacks, compatibility, height limits, etc. Whether you like the building or not, it's clear that the CITY is extending into the NEIGHBORHOOD on this buffer street. Small homes are being replaced with 50 foot high cubes, built out to the curb and maximum density. Why can't we find a moderate path and create some true transitions between our downtown and the surrounding residents?


Posted by ARB equals oversized, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I think we have reached a point where the ARB's endorsement is a sure sign that it is an oversized, underparked, zone violating project.
The ARB has always approved some dreadful projects but lately they seem to really be off the rails.


Posted by I Choose Vision A, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm

@curmudgeon,
Do not take the bait and let the trolls turn north against south. We need to focus on the real problem, a City Council that doesn't serve any of us. Disgraceful does not speak for me.


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Spot on, Vision A! City Hall disservice is equal opportunity.

We pay them, but I don't think they're working for us.


Posted by jardins, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Please note that not all of the city council is in favor of the developments at either 646 Waverley or 240 Hamilton--Karen Holman and Greg Schmid have opposed both.

It's not only the style or the height that are objectionable in the buildings at issue--it's their scale. In other words, the height of the doors, the size of the windows, the overall volume of the building.

In my own view, it's time to dispense with the "compatibility" criterion as involving far too subjective reactions. Instead, let's focus on objective facts: the building's height, volume, size of elements (such as doors, windows, balconies), the effect of its use of massive horizontal areas of concrete, its looming over the sidewalk . . .


Posted by Fell out of the Ugly Tree, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Why does the city continue to use the Hayes Group for architects??? Ken Hayes has no eye for art, no taste, no common sense, and apparently, very poor judgment, especially on regards to what the public likes.

Ken Hayes has got to be the WORST architect EVER! His AIA membership and architectural degree should be revoked post-haste.


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

You too can design a Hayes building and make lots of money. No particular design talent needed.

Here's the formula. Draw a straight horizontal line. That's the ground. Then draw a big box on it. That's the building. Draw some random boxes inside that box. Those are the windows. If the result has any aesthetic appeal, correct it by adding vertical scribbles (as at 501 Alma).

Voila!


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