The principles will also be considered by the Board of Education as the two bodies contemplate a future of possibly joint use of the 35-acre site at 4000 Middlefield Road, most of which is owned by the school district. Preliminary conceptual plans propose three schools — elementary, middle and high — as well as community nonprofit organizations on the land.
The principles, according to a city staff report, are intended to ensure the deliberation process is fully transparent and publicly accessible. The 15 principles also state that the City of Palo Alto values Cubberley as a "major cultural, educational and nonprofit resource"; planning and analysis costs should be shared by the city and school district; concerns of adjacent neighborhoods should be taken into consideration; and more.
In the decades since Cubberley High School closed in 1979 due to falling enrollment, the school district has rented the campus to the city for use as a community center, garnering about $7 million a year in lease revenue for schools.
That lease is up for renewal in 2014 but, this time, school officials have indicated they may need to take back at least part of the campus because of rising school enrollment, particularly in the southern part of town.
A San Francisco architect drew several conceptual plans for a future Cubberley, several of them showing shared use between the schools and community groups.
Officials stressed those sketches are nothing more than informal concepts to see whether multiple interests could be accommodated.
Nonetheless, council members couldn't resist commenting on them.
Karen Holman said she didn't understand why none of the conceptual plans included the kind of green quad typical on many campuses. After the recent closure of Palo Alto Bowl, planners should consider adding a bowling alley, she said.
Council member Greg Schmid said the site maps are "very exciting because they do give the true notion of a joint use.
"Another striking factor is that everything's new. It's hard to think of that campus without the existing buildings, and this shows us we're completely open and free to do what we could do. I like the notion of exploring shared uses of that site," Schmid said.
Resident Bob Moss cautioned that shared use is problematic because schools generally don't permit unknown adults to enter their grounds during school hours.
He suggested adding an additional principle to the effect that, whatever city facilities are located on the site, they should be publicly accessible at all hours, regardless of school activities.
"I don't want to see a joint use of Cubberley that, over time, significantly reduces public access to the city's land," Moss said.
"I have no problem with sharing, as long as it's thoughtful — a fence or something would be OK."
The guiding principles and concept plans were scheduled to be discussed Friday, April 20, in a meeting of the Cubberley policy advisory committee, consisting of three council members and two school board members. The Cubberley discussion also will be augmented by a community advisory committee consisting of representatives of more than 20 community groups.
In other business Monday, the council voted to revise some of the assumptions used to calculate the city's health-care obligations to retired employees, thereby somewhat reducing the projected liability. The 7-1 approval came over the objections of Schmid, who said the revised estimates amounted to a postponement of "dealing with the structural problem we have."
Other council members said the new assumptions are within allowable practices and always can be altered to reflect new data.
The council voted to revise three of seven actuarial assumptions, resulting in an annual set-aside for retiree medical benefits that will be $12.5 million instead of $13.4 million.
Also Monday, the council voted to appoint civil engineer Garth Hall to an unexpired term on the Utilities Advisory Commission. Hall, a Palo Alto resident, works as a senior civil engineer with the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
Council members also chose three of six applicants for vacancies on Palo Alto's Public Art Commission, including re-appointment of Richard Ambrose, director of the Pacific Art League and a resident of El Cerrito. The other two applicants appointed were arts journalist Vikki Tobak, who lives in Redwood City, and Palo Alto resident Patricia Walsh, who has worked in public art in Massachusetts and, more recently, in San Jose.
For three spots on the Human Relations Commission, the council re-appointed incumbents Ray Bacchetti and Theresa Chen and also appointed a new member, lawyer and mediator Diane Morin, who was raised in Italy and came to the United States at the age of 18 for college.