Attendees: Kirsten, Gary, Alberta, Janet, Martin, Chris, David, Ann, Frank, Penny, Susan, Ken, Magdalena, Angela , Neera, Sha, Vaibhav, Becky, Linsday, Bill, Rangu, Scott
Crowd-sourced topics of discussion:
1. Construction: NVCAP, quality of life and transportation with ongoing construction, air quality
2. Community Fabric: Movie Series, Block Parties, Outreach, Informational avenues; community volunteers taking on areas of interest
3. Emergency Preparedness: Data Base of people with special needs; need for BPCs
4. Retail: Keeping El Camino vibrant, Shaping growth, Creating inviting public space
5. Transportation: Bike safety, Pedestrian safety, Parking, cut-through traffic, speed bumps/tables
Welcome to all – special welcome to our newcomers
Becky: We want to get more people actively involved in solving issues in our neighborhood. We are a very new neighborhood association, and rather casual. We have not held any elections yet; we have a very loose agenda; we do not yet use Roberts’ Rules of Order.
Purpose for today: fun, new members, focus goals for 2018, what we have accomplished in 2017. Our next next meeting will be Sunday, Jan 7, 1:30-3 at Ventura Community Center. (construction may force us to meet elsewhere).
We do have a Ventura Neighborhood website, venturapaloalto.org, on which you can find much information, dates and location of upcoming meetings and events, and the minutes of our meetings and other neighborhood information. Please give Becky contact information if you’d like to be on an email list.
2017 Achievements – “Back-patting” moment
- Becky has been somewhat successful in speaking up at city council meetings to influence decisions regarding our neighborhood, which would otherwise be suffering from more office space, parking lots, etc which intrude on residential quality of life (viz. recent decision not to waive the retail requirement for warehouse on Portage).
- Successful Social Ice Cream and Dog Show;
- Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinator has found more generous volunteers to be BCPs;
- City council members have been coming to our meetings;
- The city council has approved a Working Group for the NVCAP including residents from the neighborhood ;
- We’ve been the poorest area in Palo Alto – recently we’ve had no voice; now we have a voice. Maybe soon we’ll get representation on the city council.
- Counting parked cars.
- No overnight parking now at Boulware park;
- Jonathan Brown has lead the way in informing the city about the vacant area behind ATT building which could be incorporated in the NVCAP.
OUTLINE OF TOPICS – discussed in detail below
- Emergency Prep
- NVCAP – North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan
- General Discussion about impacts and pressures of development
- Railroad Grade Separation
- Stanford General Use Permit
- Improving communication in the neighborhood
- Airplane Noise
Emergency Preparedness Report: Ken – Emergency Prep is part of City of PA office of emergency services:
1. Neighborhood PCs (Ken is this for us)
2. BPCs get training and then meet neighbors on their block and identify who to check on after emergency. We have quite a few, but not enough to cover all blocks. The blocks that still need BPCs are listed on the neighborhood website. They include: Pepper Olive Lambert, Orinda, Park needs more, Wilton, Curtner, 2nd, El Camino Way
Ann would like flyer or questionnaire to give and acquire information for BPCs to use to collect info on their neighbors. This could be used to gather information about special needs neighbors. That flyer exists, and could be distributed by your BPC.
At the socials, we encourage people just to introduce themselves to their neighbors so we know who lives there and who might need help.
NVCAP – Please contact Angela regarding any thoughts or opinions you have about the development of the Fry’s site and/or about the Questionnaire Draft that she passed around. The questionnaire can be found at this link. Or you can email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
CoPA (City of Palo Alto) will organize the Working Group comprising residents from our neighborhood and other neighborhoods to work with developer and city. The city was pretty clear that this group will consider not just the official NVCAP, but also the context of the surrounding development on El Camino, etc.
If anyone is interested in being part of the Working Group, you may want to contact the head of Palo Alto planning department, Hilary.Gitelman@cityofpaloalto.org. Becky notes: Please be aware that it is a big time commitment and responsibility. Will require hours of reading, acquiring knowledge of zoning, policy, etc. If you don’t have that kind of time, do give support to Angela and Ken.
Ann – We do not want it to be like new development in Mtn View, which blocks out the sky. We will be in competition with young demographic. Don’t want a multiplex like that, built only for the people who live right in the condos.
Becky – We want our neighborhood to support younger people as well as the older generation. And we want to gauge the interests of all people. Young people who have small children. We want our neighborhood to be a place where everyone will want to live. We don’t want to be pitted against one another. How can we solve the retail crisis that makes it too expensive for neighborhood-serving retail to thrive here?
Kirsten – We don’t want to create an oppositional attitude towards city council either. (One solution to retail crisis: retail can own the space instead of renting).
Frank: We want to avoid retail that ONLY serves offices, but also retail that only serves residents.
Neera – We want diversity – ethnic diversity, age diversity, renters and owners,
Kirsten: Adopt an apartment building – if we adopted an apartment building to reach out to, maybe we could get more input from renters
Alberta – This is like deja vu. Advice: be patient, persevere,
This used to be one of the only areas in Palo Alto where people of color could live.
Becky: Would be great to gather stories of the history of this neighborhood: Ventura Story Project and/or Newsletter written by kids. Stories of the neighborhood. Getting younger people into our meetings will help us understand what young people would like in the neighborhood. A desirable but a bit of a reach goal!
Ongoing Construction: It’s going to be going on for many years. Let’s make sure the city knows what kind of mitigation we need. For instance: When will the bike paths and sidewalks along Park return?
David – The city should be overseeing this. 311.org.
Kirsten – Take a photo and send it directly to 311.org. Or online.
Ken has also spoken to the construction company themselves – to the foreman onsite. Build a relationship with them.
Tell us what you want – contact us regarding what you want to happen/see with all the construction that will be happening.
Railroad Grade Separation – Gary: Many seem to want to put everything underground which will be very expensive, esp because of creeks. Simitian’s website has information about this. County, state and fed money could be obtained, but it requires a plan and there is no clear plan yet. Stanford’s General Use Permit (proposed construction in the coming years, including 3100 new housing units as well as a million sq feet of office space) will have an effect on all of this, including traffic. You can find out more here: http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/pln/transit/railways.asp
Becky: Comments on Stanford’s GUP can be accepted for the next 60 days. Does anyone have time to read it, and report on it? Anyone willing to report back in January?
Lindsay is trying to read up on the documents also, esp from the council’s subcommittee on the grade separation.
Frank: In years to come, it is predicted that there will be a train every 5 minutes.
Linsday: Electrification will clean the air and rider capacity will increase. However, wait time at crossings will get worse. Huge need for more trains. Traffic will get worse if we don’t separate our grades.
Frank: PA is a major stop – it’s not just south bay toSF.
High Speed Rail: Gary- We are leasing the tracks from the train company.
Alberta – Santa Clara had the chance to have BART.
Gary – Southern Pacific didn’t want to share their tracks. That’s why no Bart in San Mateo and Santa Clara.
Santa Clara County Planning has extended the comment period for the Stanford University application for a General Use Permit (GUP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The comment period has been extended to February 2, 2018. https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2017/11/30/county-extends-comment-period-for-stanford-expansion
A summary of the proposed 2018 GUP would authorize Stanford campus growth and land use development, anticipated to take place over a period extending from approximately 2018 through 2035:
• 2,275,000 net new square feet of academic and academic support facilities;
• 3,150 net new housing units/beds
• 40,000 square feet of childcare and support facilities; and
• Stanford University proposes that the 2018 GUP include an option to allow Stanford to construct a 2,000-space parking supply reserve, subject to Santa Clara County Planning Commission review and approval, if anyone of the following conditions apply:
1. Stanford is achieving its No Net New Commute Trip goal;
2. Such parking would not result in a substantial increase in peak-hour commute trips; or
3. unforeseen circumstances occur due to changes in background conditions would require provision of additional parking.
The Draft EIR and referenced documents are available for review at the following locations:
• County website https://www.sccgov.org/sites/dpd/Programs/Stanford/Pages/GUP2018_CEQA.aspx
• Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
• Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
FYI, the Draft EIR has identified “significant and unavoidable” impacts in the areas of:
• Noise and Vibration
• Cultural Resources
Your written comments on the Draft EIR should be addressed to:
County of Santa Clara
Department of Planning & Development
Attn: David Rader
County Government Center
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-5779
Improving Communication Lindsay: We need a better way to contact one another, especially if we do not want to put our personal emails on the neighborhood website. Perhaps some kind of a listserve, members Ventura, Perhaps a google group. Perhaps Memberhub (only members can access) Becky will look into this.
Airplanes – Has the noise been reduced? Or is the construction noise just worse? Magdalena – Quiet Skies people report that in 2018 FAA has said there will be some changes coming up – will be a new path at Big Sur. Mid-pen u-turn is what affects us. Info from the Quiet Skies people: http://us13.forward-to-friend.com/forward/show?u=1448324607840124218b6a760&id=fd163c5914 .
Penny also suggests: Skyposse.com
New Members Go-‘Round
Martin – Interested in the NVCAP. Getting involved in that. Will affect us for years to come. Wants to get up to speed on Comprehensive plan, guidelines for density in different areas. Also wants to understand to what extent the businesses drive the plans and how much we can have an effect. It’s also not clear what will happen with High Speed Rail.
Alberta – Very concerned about new construction.
Becky – A goal – safe, walkable routes even during construction.
Lindsay – Tool for visualizing – Some 3-d renderings. Could make a movie of current construction with cell phone, to show what we want to avoid as construction continues.
Chris – Hopes that the traffic does not get as crazy as Sunnyvale’s traffic.
David – Useful to meet up with people in neighborhood – many challenges city-wide. The next development on Park is right opposite Olive, at old car dealership. They’ve been measuring sound levels recently because EIR is due out soon (J Paul who owns the property has to make it) Not sure if it’s gone through the Architectural Review process yet. NVCAP is important. J Paul tried to put large development on Page Mill at one point. Do we have contacts in the other neighborhood associations?
Becky has met some of them and wants to talk with them – has been sitting on PAN, so there are avenues and connections.
We can have an influence on art that is chosen by city. (No one seems to like the naked lady statue on Park. Parents have to field questions from their kids about the statue.)
Ann – Supposedly, there should be a public area built into any development, but currently they are no longer public – see Cafe Riacce. Narrow streets, with bike lanes. Who makes these decisions? I’m not against bicyclists, but it’s not well-thought-out.
Angela – I want not only to make public space accessible, but to make it inviting to our neighborhoods, strengthening the fabric of the community.
Ken – At our January meeting let’s talk about traffic, bike, pedestrian committee.
Magdalena – Lack of affordability. What can we do? Anything?
Ann – But don’t tear down single-family homes in the name of development! There needs to be a balance.
Vaibhav – Before this meeting, we were not aware of the issues, the Fry’s development.
Sha – We are young people, but we are not fans of the development on San Antonio, nor the one on Matilda. There are some developments in Santa Monica that are much better, including libraries proportioned, balanced building sizes, balanced retail. Nice meeting all of you.
Please contact Angela Dellaporta or Becky Sanders with any corrections to the minutes.