TO: PLANNING & TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD
HISTORIC RESOURCES BOARD
FROM: Curtis Williams
Chief Planning and Transportation Official
DATE: August 3, 2006
SUBJECT: Planning and Transportation Issues of Interest
The following list outlines recent actions and the current status of planning and transportation
projects and issues that may be of interest to boards and commissions, staff and the community:
801/841 Alma Street: The Council reviewed preliminary plans for an affordable housing
project by Eden Housing and Community Housing Alliance (CHA) on the current electric
substation and Ole’s automotive repair shop sites in the SOFA II Coordinated Plan Area.
Conceptual plans include 53 affordable units, with vehicle access via the garage for 800
High Street. The Council will be considering a 3-party predevelopment agreement
between the City, Eden, and CHA for the housing project on September 18th. If the
predevelopment agreement is approved, the project will be submitted for Planned
Community zoning with subsequent review by the ARB, the Planning and Transportation
Commission, and the City Council.
Pedestrian and Transit Oriented Development (PTOD) Combining District: The Council
adopted a new Chapter 18.66 of the Zoning Ordinance to provide for a PTOD overlay in
the California Avenue area. The zoning provides standards for residential and mixed use
development and a “form-based code” to illustrate design criteria. The Council revised
the boundaries of the PTOD area to exclude the Fry’s Electronics site and other sites
south of Olive Ave.
2825-2865 El Camino Real: The Council approved proposed plans for a 13,998 square
foot mixed use project in the CS zone.
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Municipal Service Center Site for Relocation of Auto Dealers: The Council conducted a
study session to review the potential to relocate Palo Alto auto dealers to the Municipal
Service Center site. Council was concerned about the costs of the relocation effort and
directed staff to explore other sites and evaluate other means to expand opportunities for
existing dealers to remain.
P&TC Appointments: The Council appointed Samir Tuma and Arthur Keller to the
Planning and Transportation Commission terms vacated by Annette Bialson and Phyllis
Cassel. The first P&TC meeting with the new commissioners is scheduled for August
Revenue Generation and Cost Reduction: The City Manager presented a number of
options to the Council to enhance the City’s revenue generation and to reduce budget
expenditures. Some of the planning-related approaches explored include roadway impact
fees and facilitating retention and expansion of auto dealerships, hotels, and large-scale
retail (e.g., Stanford Shopping Center, Fry’s Electronics). Subsequent presentations will
be made to the Finance Committee and initiating some of the efforts, and the programs
will then be incorporated into the next budget.
135 Hamilton Ave.: Chop Keenan presented to Council a preliminary plan for
development of a 4-story building (2 stories of office over 2 stories of retail) at the now
vacant corner of Hamilton and High Street. The project would also include construction
of a new parking structure on the current City Parking Lot P on High Street. Some of the
spaces would be reserved for office users during weekday hours, but all would be
available for the public at night and on weekends. The owner is assessing whether to
proceed with a Planned Community zoning for the project or to reduce the scale to 2-3
stories and submit for ARB review.
Regional Transit and Transportation Trends and Issues for Palo Alto: On August 7, 2006,
the Council will conduct a study session regarding transit and transportation trends and
issues. The session will provide an overview of the City’s transportation efforts and
coordination with other transportation agencies, including sources of funding.
Strategies for Restricting the Conversion of Commercial Uses to Residential: On August
7, 2006, staff will report to the Council regarding potential strategies for limiting the
conversion of commercial uses to residential, for both commercially-zoned and
residentially-zoned land. Subsequent to Council direction, staff will prepare ordinance
revisions, rezonings, or other documents to implement those objectives.
901 San Antonio Projects: The Council will consider the BUILD and TKCJL Planned
Community applications and EIR at its September 11, 2006 meeting.
Planning and Transportation Commission
901 San Antonio Projects: On July 26, 2006, the P&TC recommended certification of
the EIR and approval of both the BUILD and TKCJL projects. Additional conditions
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and/or direction were included for the TKCJL project to further address noise from and
parking for special events, and enhanced transit service and bicycle access.
3412 Hillview (SAP): A Site and Design Review application for construction of a 74,000
square foot research/office building and a two-level parking garage was recommended
for approval by the P&TC. The ARB recommended approval of the application on
August 3, 2006, and the City Council tentative hearing date is September 25th.
Channing House (850 Webster): The ARB recommended approval on August 3, 2006,
and the P&TC will consider a Planned Community application for a new, two-story
assisted living and skilled nursing facility building on the Channing House site on August
Zoning Ordinance Update – Commercial/Mixed Use/Performance Criteria: The P&TC
will conduct a study session on August 30, 2006, to review revisions to the commercial
zone districts, mixed use criteria, and performance criteria (lighting, noise, etc.). The
zoning amendments will return to the Commission for recommendation in late
Staff Recruitments: Several positions remain vacant, but are in the process of being
filled. The Department has hired Chitra Moitra as a Planner in the Advance Planning
section, and she will start work on September 5th. Interviews for the Planning Technician
position will occur on August 10th, and interviews for two Transportation Engineer
positions will follow shortly thereafter. The Associate Transportation Engineer position
will be posted next week.
Staff Liaisons: Some of the staff liaison duties have changed. Beth Bourne is now the
liaison to the ARB (replacing Chris Riordan). Chris is now the planner in charge at the
Development Center (replacing Beth). Paul Mennega is the liaison for Subdivision
review (replacing Steven Turner), and Steven will be focusing on upcoming special
projects at Stanford (as well as finalizing permit approvals for the Arbor Real and 901
San Antonio projects). Gina LaTorra remains the Development Review Committee
Planning Districts: Current Planners are assigned to seven planning districts, acting as a
contact for neighborhood associations and as a resource for other staff. As of August 1st,
Chris Riordan is now the planner for District 1 (downtown and Professorville) and Steven
Turner is now the planner for District 2 (Stanford Shopping Center and Medical Center,
California Avenue and nearby residential areas), while other planners have retained their
districts as originally assigned.
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