Changes for Downtown – zoning & more

Posted on February 12, 2010 by  
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Over the past six years, we have seen at least three cycles run through our core Downtown business. However, one thing has remained rather stagnant: the look and feel of Downtown. It appears that changes are afoot.

During the last couple of years, the City has been striving towards a common goal of incentivizing investments in Downtown. Yes, there were some constraints inhibiting progress. However, the City has been working towards identifying opportunities, and is ready to invest in a number of projects itself.

Below are highlights from a recent article, which covered the changes …

Downtown zoning underwent significant changes following a Feb. 9 Los Altos City Council action. The changes will pave the way for taller buildings with mixed uses along the downtown perimeter.

The bulk of the rezoning changes, unanimously approved after a lengthy public hearing, apply to First Street. Although the Safeway and Draeger’s Market properties and the city-owned plot at First and Main streets will retain a Commercial Retail Sales (CRS) zoning, most of the street is rezoned to permit office and residential uses. CRS zoning, with its two-story, 30-foot maximum, remains prevalent throughout the retail core of Main and State streets.

Coupled with last week’s approval of streetscape plans for First Street and San Antonio Road, the changes have the clear intent to attract more development – and people – to downtown.

The streetscape project, which addresses improvements to sidewalks and landscaping, also includes undergrounding utilities through a partnership with PG&E. The utility is scheduled to work on First between Edith and Main this summer.

The changes, a combination of recommendations from the Downtown Development Committee and the city’s planning commission, become effective 30 days after the second reading of the zoning amendment.

The committee’s recommendations for First included extending the commercial/retail zone along First between Safeway and Draeger’s, allowing residential units on first floors from Main to San Antonio and raising the building height limit to 45 feet.

Approximately 30 people, including downtown property and business owners, members of the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, members of the Los Altos Village Association and residents, attended the hearing, primarily offering their support for the zoning changes.



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