Ventura Neighborhood Association Meeting – April 2, 2017

Dorothy Bender
Pearlin Yang
Susan Kemp
Ken Joye
Bill Moss
Gary Mahany
Brendan Vining
Lisa Talbot
Rangu Ranganath
Rebecca Sanders

Rebecca Sanders: Thank you to Pearlin for taking notes last time. Welcome to Dorothy Bender, who is a member of the Barron Park Neighborhood Association and who knows the Compadres issue inside out. Tom Du Bois is coming in May

Items of interest from group:
Bouleware Park
Emergency drill
Cal Ave and Frys
Buena Vista
Curtner Project/Compadres – architectural drawings

I. Curtner Project/ Compadres
Dorothy: (Summary) The Iron Works Restaurant , owned by the Silvestre family, became the Compadres restaurant in 1982 or so. In 2013, the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board discussed redevelopment of site.
Loss of ground floor retail has been a long term issue for Dorothy, and she enjoyed Compadres as a nearby place to relax. If she had her wish, Compadres would return, with a park behind it. Mr. Silvestre’s wish was to have a plaque commemorating the existence of his family’s ironworks. After the 2013 hearing, there were no decisions or changes until March 7 of this year, when Planning Commission discussed the plans of the current owner/developer of the property. Dorothy shared with us (and with the Barron Park Neighborhood Association) the plans, which can be found in full at tinyurl.com/elcaminocurtner. The developers are asking for a design enhancement exception – they want to enlarge the underground space to make room for all the parking. Dorothy also shared a spreadsheet on which she has recorded numbers that could be important because of what they might reveal.

Is the Compadres building considered a historic building? No. Although some of the adobe bricks were handmade, most of them were not. It is a culturally significant site, but not historically significant.  And it is in such disrepair and has been added onto so much and changed that any historic significance has been diluted.

Issues enumerated by Dorothy and by our meeting:
1.Traffic (specifically cars exiting Starbucks just before cars will want to enter new project) ,
2. Possible toxic chemicals brought to surface in excavation
3. Room for emergency vehicles to enter development;
4. What kind of retail? Would we have any influence? There are some we are interested in, and some we are not interested in (We feel positive about: a stationary store, small restaurants, a hardware store) Also, would the kind of community-serving retail that we want be able to afford to be there?
5. We are concerned about the people who live on Curtner now and how this kind of development will affect them and their homes. (Ken: Perhaps we can articulate a statement about how we feel about how the development could affect the people on Curtner.
6. Will the city be watching/inspecting the excavation to check for emissions or artifacts of historical significance?
7. Garbage – receptacles will be located in basement; how will they be brought up and where will they sit on garbage day?
8. Increase in traffic in general.
9. Noise and de-watering of the site during construction
10. effects on neighborhood’s trees

Becky: Possibly we could get some people who live on Curtner to band together and make a statement about what the development(s) will do to their streets. (Including 405 Curtner, the newly-built apartment building).

Letters/comments on this project are due Friday April 7 to
SheldonS Ah Sing sahsing@m-group.us
Jonathan Lait, Jonathan.Lait@cityofpaloalto.org

Refer to: Application No: 14PLN-00464
Assessor’s Parcel Numbers 132-41-091
Applicant: Stu Welte, EID Architects
Owner: Zijin, LLC

Or go to the Architectural Review Board Meeting, Thursday, April 6 at 8:30 am

Ken: Thanks to Dorothy and to those who went to the meeting on Friday.

Becky: Even if you are comfortable with the project, do let the ARB know that we are paying attention.

II. Bouleware Park – possible addition
Becky: Jonathan is doing all the legwork regarding property owned by ATT next to Bouleware. ATT needs permission to divide the parcel to sell part to the city to add to the park. Zoning does not have to be changed. We want it to continue to be zoned as a public facility, to add to the park.  We could all go to city meeting tomorrow night and say what we want, or send emails to city council. Because the city does not necessarily have the funds to buy the property, it would require private and public partnership – probably some fund-raising. There are many people who are supportive of open space supportive and who might get behind the project. If anyone can, please come to the open comment period at the beginning of the City Council meeting tomorrow; meeting begins at 7:25.

NOTE FROM BECKY – Becky talked to Jonathan after the meeting.  He’ll be away on a business trip.  He thinks it would be a good idea to let Council know our wishes, but there is no rush.  So it might make sense to wait until Jonathan gets back to coordinate our communications…

III. Emergency drill last Saturday – Ken: Ventura was one neighborhood taking part. Our neighborhood needs better training. Will reach out to those who have been trained to improve our skills. If there is a big earthquake, afterwards, Ken will need support, help. House numbers should be very visible. We could meet neighborhood people by offering that service – painting house numbers on curb.

IV. Cal Ave and Frys development: Cal Ave action plan. Ken plans to form a study group to look at the document and to look at the South of Forest plans. Anyone interested in this, talk with Ken.

V. Walkability. We first brought up to the city the telephone poles and boxes that block sidewalks in our neighborhood about a year ago. Nothing has changed. Becky: Word is that these items were grandfathered in, and the city does not have to change anything unless some changes are made or work is done.

Currently, some bicycle lanes are blocked by construction work at 2525 Park

VI. Coupa Cafe: Manager says they are a customer and community-serving business, that the items in the warehouse are available for rent by customers. However, they actually do not seem to make these items available for rent and they do seem to be using it as a warehouse. They are only open 2 days per week for 2 hours each time. Is there any enforcement?
Code Enforcement Contact
Code enforcement complaints can be submitted and  tracked through PaloAlto311. Code Enforcement officers can also be contacted using the information below, for inquires about the division’s purview and follow up on existing cases.

Code Enforcement Contact
Phone:  (650) 646-1855
planning.enforcement@cityofpaloalto.org

Minutes – April 2, 2017

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