|September 1996 Newsletter|
|MRA, Property Owners, and Merchants Agree on Framework for Flexible Zoning to Encourage Midtown Revitalization|
|Midtown Neighbors Online Project Update|
|Second Story Additions May Violate Neighbor’s Backyard Privacy|
|Come to a Midtown Community Gathering!|
In July, as the result of the City-sponsored Midtown Revitalization Process which began last fall, representatives of the Midtown Residents Association, Midtown commercial property owners and Midtown merchants came to an agreement that recommended changes to the current zoning law to the City Council. These changes, while still protecting neighborhood interests, will make it possible for commercial property owners to make investments which will lead to new shops coming into the Midtown center.
The new zoning, for example, will allow sharing of parking and buildable square footage between all the parcels in the area between Colorado and Moreno, rather than applying the requirements to each individual parcel. This increased flexibility will make the area more attractive for remodeling and new businesses.
Other main points of the agreement include:
The full text of the consensus document is as follows:
We support the development of a Conceptual Master Plan which will allow the owners of commercial property in the northeast quadrant of the Midtown area to proceed with revitalization as quickly as possible
We encourage the City Council to establish a zoning mechanism that would allow the northeast quadrant of Midtown to be developed in totality as a neighborhood commercial shopping center with shared parking and other requirements, rather than applying current zoning standards to each individual property within the center.
The goal of this revitalization would be to create a dynamic, profitable retail area that is compatible with the neighborhood and addresses neighborhood concerns.
To accomplish this goal, representatives of the commercial property owners and the Midtown Residents Association came to agreement on the following specific points at a meeting at Council member Ron Andersen's home on Friday, June 21:
Finally, recognizing that the commercial property owners have expressed willingness to assess themselves approximately 15 cents per square foot toward landscaping and other amenities for the center, the Midtown Residents Association and the property owners are ready to work together to find a source of low-cost loans which will stretch these funds even further. We encourage the City Council to join with us in an effort to develop such low-cost financing.
We appreciate the Council's financial support for and involvement in the Midtown revitalization process. We look forward to working together to address the interests of all the stakeholders as the next steps of the process unfold.
Yes, there is interest! We received more than a 5% return on the survey. Nearly every respondent indicated a desire for such a network. 50% of the respondents are already online, and 52% indicated that they would pay $15-25 annually to support a neighborhood network.
We are on our way! A general meeting of interested participants is planned for:
October 1st Cubberley Community Center Room H1 7:30--9:30 PM.
Room H1 is located on the Charleston Shopping Center side of Cubberley. Drive south on Middlefield, pass the Charleston shopping center, and make the first right into the driveway. We will post signs to direct you to the room.
Palo Alto Mayor Lanie Wheeler will kick off the meeting, followed by keynote speaker Steve Cisler, who will discuss community networking. Steve is a senior scientist at Apple Computers, where they affectionately call him a "library evangelist" due to his background as a librarian and his international reputation in the establishment, development, and support of community networks. We will talk about the next steps for the project and break into special interest groups.
|Topics of Interest||Responses||Topics of Interest||Responses|
|Revitalizing Midtown||158||Homes for Sales||74|
|Crime Watch||115||Places to Go||74|
|Emergency Preparedness||111||Block Parties||70|
|Gardening||92||Items for Sale||68|
|Home Repairs||89||Store Specials||62|
|Yard Sales||79||Social Services Information||49|
|Local Restaurant Menus||78||Welcome New Neighbors||47|
|Housing and Rent Costs||76|
An Opinion by Betty Land, 856-6282
The Palo Alto municipal code regulation, Ch.16.48.010, pp 1693-94, declaration of goals and purposes, reads:
One Midtown permit, issued February 20, 1996, in an established neighborhood along Colorado, ignores that municipal code goal: an approved second-story 9x5-foot picture window looks directly down into the adjoining neighbor’s property twenty feet from the lot line.
The Palo Alto Planning Department signed off on this site, saying it is all legal. Irrespective of Comprehensive Plan goals, contractors can and will continue to build whatever they want within square footage requirements, even in established neighborhoods. Is there any recourse against this "violation"? And please don't say, "Plant trees."
[Editor’s note: If you have similar concerns about remodels along your street, please call Betty Land at the number above.]
Come meet your neighbors and talk about what's on your mind! Share your ideas with members of the Midtown Residents Association and City officials and sign up for neighborhood projects:
Bring the kids, balls, and frisbees
--- and any extra tomatoes, squash, apples, etc. for a neighborhood produce exchange!
MRA will provide cold drinks --- you provide the conversation and the fun!
Food is optional, but bring something if you'd like; there are several BBQ stoves.
(Seale Park has a nice skating bowl and a basketball court as well.)
More WWW Sites for your surfing pleasure. If you'd like to contribute to the list, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sheri at 856-0869.
|Palo Alto Business Directory||http://www.mediacity.com/Business/|
|California Ave. Business
|Job Search Guides||http://jobsmart.org/
|Virtual Tourist - California||http://www.research.digital.com/SRC/
|Master Gardener Information||http://leviathan.tamu.edu:70/Oh/mg/|
|World Wide Waiter||http://www.waiter.com/|
|Send an Online Postcard||http://persona.www.media.mit.edu/
|Palo Alto Jewish Community||http://www.jewish.org/|
For online information about various local churches, use one of the following search engines:
then search on "Palo Alto churches" (include the quotes)
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