CTRA Observer Reports for May

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. This month, we have an update from our Stanford observer.


Stanford

GUP/Development Agreement

On goes the continuing saga!

At the May 9 Planning Commission study session, Stanford submitted a letter requesting that the upcoming Planning Commission hearings be postponed until after the development agreement has been negotiated. It appears that they would rather negotiate everything behind closed doors rather than in public and feel that the summary of proposed Conditions of Approval released in March are heading in a direction that is “unworkable and infeasible.”

The full Conditions of Approval have just been released and are available on the County’s new website covering the GUP: CountyStanford.info. The site also has lots more good information about the process.

Last fall when the Board agreed that the Development Agreement discussion could begin concurrently with the GUP process, they were very clear that it would not take precedence over the GUP itself. The conditions of approval are things that the County can require by law. Anything negotiated in the development agreement would be an addition to that.

The current County Planning Commission meeting schedule is set as:

  • May 23 – Conditions of Approval Released
  • May 30 – 1st Public Hearing, 6:00 p.m. Palo Alto City Council Chambers
  • June 13 – 2nd Public Hearing, 1:30 p.m., County Building, San Jose
  • June 27 – 3rd Public Hearing, 1:30 p.m., County Building, San Jose

It is crucial that as many of us as possible attend the May 30th meeting. Supervisor Simitian is pushing for full mitigation of all impacts and it seems likely that Stanford will not be pleased by that. Since most of the Commissioners are from other areas of the county, it’s important that we have a good attendance so they understand that we care about this issue. If we aren’t there, they may be swayed by whatever Stanford says.

There will be “full mitigation” stickers for folks to wear at the meeting. Please be there, and pick up a sticker, even if you don’t wish to speak.

The Board of Supervisors discussions are expected to begin in September.

As I anticipated last month, the Historic Heritage Commission did take action to advise that the Environmental Impact Report be certified (with respect to protections of historic structures) with the inclusion of the recommended condition of approval to require ongoing evaluations of resources over 50 years old.

As regards the San Juan neighborhood, the HLUET (Housing Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee) requested that the County Staff report back in June with next steps, a timeline, and a public input process for conducting a zoning study and historic review study of the faculty subdivision. The committee concluded that the CRG was not the appropriate way to provide public input but perhaps that a limited-term group of residents could serve that need.

Stanford Development in College Terrace

It appears that the code enforcement request to the City regarding the use of 757/739 College Ave as a storage yard (mentioned last month) has had some effect… There is some progress being made: excavation and forms for the foundations have been done.

–Pria Graves

CTRA Observer Reports for April

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. This month, we have an update from our Stanford observer.


Stanford

GUP/Development Agreement

The big news this month is that the Development Agreement negotiations between the County and Stanford have been suspended indefinitely. This is in response to the announcement of a “school funding and mitigation agreement” arranged separately but contingent on the eventual approval of the Development Agreement.

Meanwhile, the GUP process continues to be a moving target, with meetings constantly being scheduled/cancelled/rescheduled/etc. The current County Planning Commission meeting schedule is tentatively set as:

  • May 9 – 2nd study session
  • May 23 – 1st Public Hearing (Palo Alto)
  • June 13 – 2nd Public Hearing
  • June 27 – 3rd Public Hearing

The Board of Supervisors discussions will begin after that.

With regard to the Historic Resources section of the GUP, I was unable to attend the April 10th special session of the Historic Heritage Commission due to a Caltrain meltdown. As far as I can understand, however, the staff is recommending that the GUP EIR be approved but with the inclusion of a recommended condition of approval to require ongoing evaluation of all resources over 50 years old. This would provide some protection for the buildings excluded from the Historic Resource Report as written without requiring too much finely detailed discussion at this point. They’re scheduled to vote on it Thursday evening. I can’t be there but expect that it will be a good result and I will share my thoughts on it with the County Board (including Supervisor Simitian) and with the County Planning Commission.

The San Juan neighborhood continues to be very contentious, with discussion of requiring a full historical analysis of the neighborhood and a request for legislative tools to ensure that the board can protect the character of the neighborhood. The next meeting to discuss this is the HLUET (Housing Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee) on Thursday morning. One item under discussion is the possibility of forming a special advisory committee for development of the area.

Fireworks

A reminder that Stanford has both a baseball game and a softball game scheduled for Saturday, April 27th. The games are to be followed by a fireworks show. I have not been able to verify but I anticipate that a County Fire Marshall will be on hand with the authority to cancel the fireworks if we’re experiencing high winds as we have recently.

Please note that the Stanford University noise hotline can be reached at (650) 724-4900. This hotline was implemented as a condition of approval under the 2000 GUP but unfortunately has not had much effect, largely because folks don’t know about it, can’t be bothered to report noise, or have given up. It can be used to report any annoying noises emanating from Stanford such as the never-ending sports announcements or loud music.

Stanford Development in College Terrace

I have submitted a code enforcement request to the City regarding the use of 757/739 College Ave as a storage yard. They have inspected it and have notified Stanford that it needs to be cleaned up.

–Pria Graves

Around the Terrace: April 10, 2019

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

2019 Best Places to Live in California
Niche.com recently published a list of the best places to live in America based on crime rates, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities. Their #1 neighborhood in all of California? College Terrace, of course!

Expect Delays at Page Mill Road and Junipero Serra Boulevard
From now until June 22nd, PG&E will be closing lanes intermittently for gas pipeline upgrades. This article contains the full schedule of lane closures, as well as maps of the affected areas.

Upcoming Stanford GUP Meetings
The County of Santa Clara is holding a few meetings this month related to the ongoing Stanford GUP process, including meetings of the Historical Heritage Commission on the 10th and 18th and a Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee Meeting on the 18th.

Planning for Rising Waters Event
Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater and the City of Palo Alto are hosting a talk on how cities can adapt to sea level and groundwater level rise in a seismic zone. The event is April 24th at 7pm at Mitchell Park’s El Palo Alto Room.

How Stanford’s Desire for a Booze-Free Town Gave Birth to Palo Alto
For history buffs, KQED’s “Bay Curious” answers the question of why Palo Alto has two downtown districts (University Ave and California Ave) with this short piece about the history of Palo Alto and Mayfield. College Terrace was part of Mayfield up until Mayfield’s annexation by Palo Alto in 1925.