Palo Alto shortens Development Center hours

Center will be closed on Wednesday mornings while staff mulls reforms to development process

Palo Alto will reduce hours at its Development Center on Wednesdays while staff brainstorms ways to reform the city's notoriously cumbersome application process.

Starting today (Dec. 1), the Development Center at 285 Hamilton Ave. will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. The center previously opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and at 8 a.m. on other weekdays.

The hours will be shortened to give staff a chance to work on the ambitious effort to overhaul the city's development process -- a project dubbed by City Manager James Keene the "Development Center Customer Services Blueprint Initiative." The goal is to improve customer service, increase efficiency and promote economic development in the city.

Palo Alto has recently hired consultants and appointed a customer advisory group composed of local developers, architects, community activists and other frequent users of the Development Center to work with the city on taming what is derisively known as the "Palo Alto Process." Keene expects the initiative to be implemented next year.

Keene said in a statement that the new hours were vetted and approved by the advisory group.

"It is part of our overall strategy to make changes to the way we do business in Palo Alto and make the development process more predictable and responsible," Keene said.

Gennady Sheyner

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Like this comment
Posted by pecuniac
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2010 at 11:06 am

The City Council will have to stop giving a pass to big developers who run roughshod over the development process while individual homeowners must run through a nightmarish "process" to get the simplest project done. There is a glaring disconnect between the rules for larger developments and single family developments. Look at Gaspar Court off of Colorado, for example. The setbacks and lot sizes dont fit the SFR rules.

If you think that excess self-interest is limited to the fire fighters, look at the job security built in to the building and planning processes in Palo Alto. At least the firefighters had to be public with their request for job security.

For people in the building business, There is much more efficiency in other communities, Fremont, for example. Hopefully, the gold plated consultants that the Planning Dept has hired for improving the department look at other more efficient operations.

Like this comment
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Who are you kidding? Alma Plaza, Edgewood Plaza, just to name a couple. Big projects take years to go through a very risky, scary and subjective process. Others spend so way too much time and money only to be shot down in the name of politics. The single family home process needs help for sure but to claim the process for large developments is easier is disingenuous.

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Posted by who cares
a resident of Triple El
on Dec 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Too Funny! City Manager Keene reduces Development Center hours to increase efficiency. He than hires consultants and an advisory committee made up of local developers, architects, and community activists to find ways to bypass city zoning and building regulations. Tell me again how this dysfuntional group will help the community other than creating a system to bypass the Planning and Building Departments and sending all projects to elected city council members. Maybe that was the orginal intent of Keene and Klein from the start. Maybe its time to hire a competent city manager who has experience and understands what public service is about instead of one who cowtows to special interests.

Like this comment
Posted by Sonny
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Why not hire a contractor to prune the trees on California Avenue?
Just saying.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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