A Vision for Downtown Los Altos

Posted on November 14, 2009 by  
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main-streetIt’s quaint. It’s has something for everyone. More importantly, it is treasured by the whole community. From the restaurants, to the retail stores, to the many personal services available, there are a number of wonderful experiences to be had.

So how do you improve upon a treasured asset?  By being careful, inclusive, and strategic.

There were a variety of community outreach meetings, between July and September, which resulted in a diversity of participants providing consistent comments about the need to allow the Downtown to become more vibrant and active with a mix of uses. There was an expressed desire for higher buildings of three or four stories, and more density of use. Below is a summary of the points made, which provides a pulse of the community’s desired improvements:

• Include more residential development in Downtown
• Keep the strength of the retail and restaurant mix
• Provide other amenities, especially open space and plazas
• Address activities for adults and families in the evenings
• Allow increased building height in downtown
• Generally increase Downtown vitality
• Expect that the Downtown Los Altos customer would be family-oriented, and
• Create a vision for the entire Downtown to guide the future decisions

The idea of creating and confirming a Downtown vision in the context of current economic, environmental and development realities is a useful foundation for planning processes, specific feasibility studies, and future proposals. The repeated comments favoring growth and increased height and density in Downtown were a marked departure from public comments in meetings over the last two decades, where residents have specifically asked that the Downtown remain unchanged and that building height not be increased.

This change in attitude and direction which was consistent throughout the outreach meetings indicates that the interests of Los Altos residents may have shifted, and growth and increased vitality are valued where they may not have been in the past. In an effort to confirm whether this shift in thinking is widely held and this livelier Downtown experience is broadly supported, the City will conduct Downtown visioning workshops beginning in January.

A Vision for DowntownThe visioning workshops will focus particularly on the experience people want to have Downtown and whether that includes increased density, and increased building height that would support vitality and an economically healthy Downtown. Clearly, the workshops are not being set up to develop specific detailed plans, but to determine the community’s interest in Downtown’s growth and evolution based on the vitality and the experience our community wants for the future.

I will post the dates for the upcoming community forums, just in case you are interested in hearing the voice of the community directly. If you are not able to attend in person, I will follow-up this blog posting with a summary of the community’s Vision for Downtown.

If you are looking to move into Los Altos, feel free to contact us for a private tour of some of the best real estate in the Bay Area. Whether you are thinking about moving into Downtown Los Altos, or simply across town, we are confident that we can help you find that perfect home just for you.

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