Neighborhood News

by Bob Moss, Zoning & Land Use Chairman

In the past few months developments continued along El Camino. Hollywood Video got approval in mid-February for the new landscaping at 3901 El Camino, the former La Cumbre and previously Garfield's. Approval for the new building and lot layout were approved last year. Construction to demolish the old building and replace it with a totally new structure could begin at any time.

A car wash and Chevron gas station were approved by the ARB for the abandoned Co-op gas station at 3897 El Camino. The gas station will be the first new one in Palo Alto in at least 25 years. It will be open up to 24 hours per day, but the automated car wash will operate only during normal daytime hours.

A Maytag appliance store opened at 3636 El Camino, the former Auto Sport which had to close because automotive uses were amortized out on that block of El Camino. The Zebra copy shop is open in the former Polly & Jake's at El Camino and Page Mill Rd.

H-P announced plans to redevelop the site of their original facility on the 10 acre site at 395 Page Mill Rd. Existing buildings will be torn down and replaced by an office complex with 215,000 sq. ft. of space in 2, 3 or 4 buildings with parking for 650 to 860 cars, a partly underground garage, and a landscape buffer at Ash and Olive. The buildings would be 3 stories tall and will have a plaza connecting them. Construction will begin late this year.

Within Barron Park the replacement of quaint old homes with huge houses continues. They often ignore existing patterns of front and side yard setbacks and neighborhood scale. The BPA formally requested the City Council to extend the requirement for design review to more modern houses, not just those built before 1940. There has been no reply. Many other neighborhoods also are complaining about the big new homes and how inappropriate they are. Recently Charleston Meadows convinced the City Council to approve an overlay zone limiting construction to 1 story, consistent with the existing Eichlers.

We requested that the School District repair and raise the footpath on Gunn property from the end of Los Robles to the bike path near Mickey's pasture. An interim patch was put over the area which is wettest as well as low. Preliminary estimates are that the path will cost $30,000 for upgrading, better paving, etc. They will get bids this spring and will make the award and ask them to start in late spring.

Upgrading and improving of El Camino is continuing. We would like to see even more improvements, but not at the cost of shabby design and poor quality construction.

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