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on Aug 9, 2019
HAZY VISION ... Last March, more than 100 residents and city leaders packed into Ventura Community Center to present ideas for revitalizing a large chunk of the Ventura neighborhood. Some talked about the need to build more housing, while others raised the prospect of adding park space or removing the channel at Matadero Creek to restore the creek's natural flow. All of these improvements are now under consideration as part of the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan, a vision document that the city has been compiling with a group of area residents, business owners and developers known as the Working Group. Now, however, there is trouble on the horizon. Since the March meeting, Palo Alto officials learned that the most promising site in the planning area, the former cannery at 340 Portage Ave. that houses Fry's Electronics and various small businesses, is in fact a historic structure and that the site's owner, Sobrato Organization, wants to retain the building. One Working Group member abruptly resigned after an incident in which she berated a man in a MAGA hat at a local Starbucks made national news. Five of the group's 14 members have expressed concern about the current process and proposed a different approach that involves multiple subcommittees and the goal of reaching a full consensus on a preferred alternative (a goal that staff believes may not be possible). The planning process was initially slated to stretch for two years, but is now estimated to take 35 months, with the deadline currently set for December 2021, according to a new report from the Department of Planning and Community Environment. The additional work is projected to cost the city $367,112. The City Council, which enthusiastically endorsed the new planning process, will consider these issues on Aug. 19, at which point it also will discuss whether the new vision should include the preservation of Thomas Foon Chew's old cannery or its redevelopment to accommodate housing.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 9, 2019, 12:00 AM