CTRA Observer Reports for January

The College Terrace Residents Association has a group of board members known as “observers” who monitor relevant public meetings and news in their assigned area and then report back to the entire board on pertinent local actions and issues of interest to College Terrace. These four observers cover Stanford, the City of Palo Alto, the California Avenue Business District, and the Research Park.

The observers typically deliver their reports at the CTRA’s monthly meetings but, going forward, we’re also going to publish those reports on the website so that they’re more readily accessible to the neighborhood. This month, we have updates from our Stanford and California Avenue observers.


Stanford

Things with the Stanford GUP/Development Agreement have slowed way down over the holidays. No further meetings have been announced. And there have been no updates to the development agreement process website.

Meanwhile, the Historic Resources section of the GUP Application is going to the County Historical Heritage Commission for a second study session on Thursday evening, January 17: http://sccgov.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=11167

Over the past few weeks the commissioners have been touring the campus to view some of the historic and no-longer-historic buildings.

One other new development on campus: the Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing regarding a zoning amendment in the San Juan Hills area of the campus.  They plan to change the land use designation of the area from Academic Campus to Campus Residential-Low Density and to redistribute five housing units from “Campus Center” to “San Juan Hills” under the 2000 GUP. They are also applying for a ten-lot subdivision. The residents in that area generally seem to be furious about it. There’s not a lot of information about it yet but the Supervisors meeting is scheduled for January 29th.

–Pria Graves


California Avenue Business District

Public Safety Building and Parking Garage

The City of Palo Alto is constructing a new public safety building at Sherman Avenue (Park Blvd.) and a new parking garage at Sherman (Ash Street). CTRA board member, Ann Lafargue Balin, (CAL Avenue observer) attended the walk-through with city staff and neighbors on Friday, January 18th. The project will be completed in 2020. Many people asked about the tree removal aspect of these projects. The trees will likely start to be removed during the week of January 22nd and according to the urban forester will be completed prior to the seasonal nesting season.

The city notified the public of the tree removal in mid-November 2018. There were several public, community meetings and hearings at the Architectural Review Board over the past two years of the project’s planning. The city sent out 2000 postcards to nearby businesses and residents to notify them of the September community meeting. Although the trees that are targeted for removal are healthy they will be removed because they would not survive the trauma of construction. The city’s urban forester and the EIR are requiring mitigation for the removal of the trees. There will be 21 new trees planted on the parking garage parcel and thirty five new trees planted on the Public Safety Building parcel. It will take 15 years for the canopy to mature. The urban forester said that native species will be emphasized in the design. They are suitable for our climate and are drought tolerant.

When the trees were removed on California Avenue in 2009 the residents and many merchants were stunned to find the street without the Holly Oaks. The city had neglected to notify the public. Citizens invited the esteemed landscape designer, Barrie Coate, for the Getty Museum to speak on what kind of species would enhance California Avenue. Dave Muffly, now Apple’s chief landscape designer was engaged to create the design for California Avenue. We now have a variety of species that make Palo Alto’s second downtown attractive. 

The scale of the parking garage is six hundred and thirty six parking places. The city staff had recommended a smaller amount, approximately four hundred, but the council voted for the larger quantity of parking spaces.

Go to project page with links to documents including the arborist’s report, Environmental Impact Report and other resources at www.cityofpaloalto.org/psb.

Other California Avenue News

Khoury’s Market has had their soft opening. The dumpsters from the Stanford Hotel have been removed from Oxford Street.

Pastis is now owned by the restauranteur who owns Cafe Brioche.

Barbeques Galore is closing.

Palo Alto Baking Company has closed as of December 31st.

–Ann Balin

Around the Terrace: December 5, 2018

Here are some recent announcements and news stories of interest to College Terrace and the surrounding area.

Escondido Elementary School Community Meeting
Palo Alto Unified School District will host a meeting to review and receive input on the Schematic Plan for a new Multi-Purpose Building and plan for the Escondido Elementary School Campus. The meeting will be conducted by Gelfland Partners Architects (who worked on similar projects at Duveneck, Fairmeadow, and Ohlone) and take place this Friday, December 7, at 8:15am in the Escondido Multi-Purpose Room.

Residents Seek School Funds From Stanford’s Expansion
The Palo Alto Weekly recaps the community listening meeting on the Stanford GUP development agreement led by Santa Clara County Supervisors Joe Simitian and Cindy Chavez. Schools, housing, and traffic concerns were top discussion topics.

Palo Alto Home Repair Program
Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley is administering the City of Palo Alto’s Home Repair program.  Lower-income Palo Alto homeowners in need of assistance with a broad range of health, safety, and accessibility improvements may be eligible for $10,000 grants.  The program is especially helpful for seniors on a fixed income and those with disabilities who might need adjustments made to continue living in their home. 

SunLife Brings Açaí Bowls, Juice to Cal Ave
A new business has opened on California Ave. Sun Life Organics serves açaí bowls blended with different fruit combinations and topped with ingredients such as nuts, fruit, coconut, honey and bee pollen. They also serve juices, smoothies, coffee and tea.

Khoury’s Market Opening This Month

We had a pair of special guests at this week’s CTRA board meeting: Jason Oberman, representing the ownership of the building at 2100 El Camino that formerly housed the College Terrace Market, and Mark Khoury, whose family is taking over that space to open a new grocery store later this month.

The new market will be called Khoury’s Market and could have a “soft” opening as soon as November 24th. Oberman told the CTRA board about a host of improvements they’re making to the space, including improved signage, lighting, indoor and outdoor seating, painting, and much more. Many of these improvements must be approved by the city first, so they won’t be in place when the store first opens, but will happen piece by piece over the next couple months with the aim of having an official grand opening in January or February.

Khoury emphasized that the store’s initial mix of products is very flexible and he’s depending on input from shoppers to help determine what will be stocked long-term. So, if you visit Khoury’s Market and don’t see what you’re looking for, please let them know! Not only are they open to suggestions, your feedback is essential to the market’s long-term success.

We’re looking forward to welcoming Khoury’s Market to College Terrace!

Return of the College Terrace Market?

When the College Terrace Market closed abruptly in December after just six months in business, many in the neighborhood wondered how long it would be before a new grocery store took its place. Wonder no more for, as reported earlier this week by both the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Daily Post, the former owners of JJ&F market are planning to open a new market in the same space later this year.

Joe Khoury bought JJ&F from the Garcia family in 2011 and ran the market until 2013 when the building was torn down to make way for the College Terrace Centre.  Khoury has returned to run the new grocery store and “is looking forward to re-connecting with old friends here as we open our market with locally sourced produce, meats and, of course, our enduring emphasis on service.” It’s unclear what the new market will be called–the JJ&F name is still owned by the Garcia family–or exactly when it will open, but we’re looking forward to having a neighborhood grocery store again!

Local News Roundup: July 9, 2018

Here are some recent news stories of interest to College Terrace and the surrounding area.

Local Developer Buys College Terrace Center (July 3)
The College Terrace Center has a new owner, Blox Ventures, who will continue the search for a tenant to replace the failed College Terrace Market. In related news, the $2,000 per day fine for the market being vacant (per the original agreement with the city) is set to begin on July 10.

Sun of Wolf Opens on California Ave (July 2)
Combining “Old World Mexican roots and modern Bay Area flavors,” three cousins whose parents own Palo Alto Sol next door have opened a new restaurant on California Avenue.

More Stanford Housing, But Worse Traffic? (June 29)
The Palo Alto City Council discussed the draft environmental analysis of Stanford’s expansion plans and the potential impact of new on-campus housing on the surrounding community.

Local News Roundup: April 23, 2018

This is the first of a (hopefully) regular series highlighting news stories of interest to College Terrace and the surrounding area.

Palo Alto’s Vin Vino Wine Sold to New Owners (April 13)
Vin Vino Wine, which has been on California Avenue for more than thirty years, has been sold to new owners who plan to renovate the space and expand the business.

Supervisors Set Aside $6M For Teacher Housing in Palo Alto (April 17)
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to set aside $6 million in an affordable-housing fund toward the potential construction of a below-market-rate complex on Grant Ave. (near the California Ave. business district) for teachers and school staff.

Worried by Rail Redesign, Residents Seek to Save Their Homes (April 17)
Neighbors in Southgate (just across El Camino from College Terrace) and Old Palo Alto have created an alliance to influence the city’s decision on the railroad reconfiguration at Churchill and Alma. The group is concerned that some of the options the city is considering may involve seizing up to 36 residential properties through eminent domain.

“Workforce Housing” Project Scores a Victory (April 22)
On Thursday morning, Palo Alto’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) endorsed the 57-unit development proposed at 2755 El Camino Real: the corner of El Camino and Page Mill currently used as a VTA parking lot.

Now Open: College Terrace Market

It’s been a long time coming, but the College Terrace Market is finally open! The market had its soft opening this past Wednesday and will have its official grand opening next month.

The new store packs a ton of delicious offerings into a small space, including a full-service meat and seafood counter, deli with sandwiches, salads, and more, bakery, fresh sushi counter, salad bar, ice cream bar, local and organic foods and produce, and much more. The aisles are even named after some of our local neighborhood streets, such as College, Oxford, and Stanford.

The market is open every day starting at 7am, closing at 9pm on weekdays at 8pm on weekends.

Thanks to all current and past CTRA members and neighbors who worked so hard over the past several years to make this store a reality. Read the PA Weekly article on the market’s opening, then head down and support our new local market!