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City Council Minutes


Special Meeting
April 30, 2001

1. Rosenthal Service for Green Business Recognition 624

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 6:56 p.m. 624

1. Final Report on Buena Vista Mobile Home Park: Request for Approval of Park Conversion Ordinance and Long-Term Preservation Strategies 625

2. Resolution 8048 entitled "Resolution of the Council of the City of Palo Alto Amending Utility Rate Schedule C-4 of the City of Palo Alto Utilities Rates and Charges Pertaining to the Residential Rate Assistance\ 631

3. PUBLIC HEARING: The City Council will consider an appeal of the Director of Planning and Community Environment's approval, after review and recommendation by the Architectural Review Board/Historic Review Board, of an application by SummerHill Homes to allow construction of a 36-unit, three-story condominium complex, subterranean parking garage, and related site improvements located at 325 Channing Avenue. 635

ORAL COMMUNICATIONS 644

4. Resolution 8049 entitled "Resolution of the Council of the City of Palo Alto Authorizing Submission to the State of California a Grant Application for Renovation of the Junior Museum and Zoo and Construction of Segments of the Bay-to-Ridge Trail\ 645

5. Amendment of Contract No. C6084045 Between the City of Palo Alto and the City of Inglewood to Extend the Contract through July 30, 2001, for Parking Citation Services 645

6. Approval of a Change Order No. 1 to Contract No. C1129753 Between the City of Palo Alto and Bragato Construction Company in the Amount of $66,527 to Provide Unforeseen Stabilization of the Subgrade Surface of the Duck Pond Parking Lots 645

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 10:52 p.m. 645

The City Council of the City of Palo Alto met on this date in the Council Chambers at 6:50 p.m.

PRESENT: Beecham, Burch, Lytle (arrived at 6:55 p.m.), Mossar, Ojakian

ABSENT: Eakins, Fazzino, Kleinberg, Wheeler

SPECIAL ORDERS OF THE DAY

1. Rosenthal Service for Green Business Recognition

No action required.

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 6:56 p.m.

The City Council of the City of Palo Alto met on this date in the Council Chambers at 7:05 p.m.

PRESENT: Beecham, Burch, Eakins (arrived at 7:10 p.m.), Fazzino (arrived at 7:15 p.m.), Kleinberg, Lytle, Mossar, Ojakian

ABSENT: Wheeler

REPORT OF OFFICIALS

1. Final Report on Buena Vista Mobile Home Park: Request for Approval of Park Conversion Ordinance and Long-Term Preservation Strategies

Ordinance 1st Reading entitled "Ordinance of the Council of the City of Palo Alto Amending Title 9 of the Palo Alto Municipal Code to Add Chapter 9.76 Relating to Mobilehome Park Conversion"

Vice Mayor Ojakian said the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park (the Park) issue began in December 2000 when the steep rent increase was brought to the Council's attention. Following discussion at that time, the Council expressed an interest in having a negotiated agreement rather than getting involved in rent control action. The Mayor had appointed a special committee to address the issue. The two main issues at the current meeting were Park Conversion Ordinance and the Long-Term Preservation Strategy Deal Points.

City Attorney Ariel Calonne recommended the Council combine Item No. 2 on the agenda with Agenda Item No. 1.

BY A CONSENSUS OF THE COUNCIL Item No. 2 would be combined with Item No. 1.

Mr. Calonne said in December 2000, the City reached an agreement with the property owners. The agreement called upon the City and the Jissers to identify long-term preservation strategies to retain the Park as affordable housing. The Council did not express interest in rent control at that time. The agreement had three parts: (1) limitation on rent increases until May 1, 2001; (2) call to the City and Park owners to try to see whether there was a long-term preservation strategy for the park; and (3) formation of a special committee for community participation. The agreement was called a cooperative agreement. The first choice of means of action for the Council was to try to work out something cooperatively with the property owners. The process involved the special committee meeting several times during the prior months to review the Park Conversion-closure Ordinance and the deal point strategies. The committee included representation from the park residents. City staff surveyed the park residents to obtain demographic information. At the initial special committee meeting, defining long-term preservation was found to depend on some of the demographic information about the Park residents. The Council had directed the staff to prepare a Park Conversion-closure Ordinance. That was done following an attempt to get preliminary policy feedback from the special committee. The current zoning was RM-15 on approximately 5 acres with 104 mobile home spaces and 13 cottage units which resulted in 117 relatively affordable units. Under current City law, the park could be closed at any time and the replacement product developed would be at 15 units per acre. The theoretical maximum density was approximately 75 units. The existing Park was nonconforming under City zoning. The economic status of the residents at the Park was at the lower end of the continuum in Palo Alto. The majority of the residents at the park met low-income housing guidelines. Two approaches were recommended: (1) regulate with the Park Conversion-closure Ordinance and (2) try to cooperate with the preservation agreement. The deal points in the report were agreed upon, but the Council might have flexibility to address the deal points. The owners needed to agree to the changes to the deal points. The Council had the power to enact the ordinance with or without the support of the owners or public. The Park Conversion-closure Ordinance was not rent control. Public comment was made about the rent increase threshold in the ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance was to protect the rights that existed under State Law. When a park was converted by the owner, the residents were entitled to financial relocation assistance as a condition. The conversion ordinance and State Law worked indirectly to discourage conversion because that imposed a financial burden on the owner. The Park Conversion-closure Ordinance included a City-based protection against end runs around the State Law by an oppositional owner. The sample ordinances looked at by staff generally had a means of preventing arbitrarily high rent increases from being used as a way of driving residents out without paying relocation assistance. The ordinance allowed rent increases to be reviewed to prevent arbitrary economic eviction. A major policy issue in the ordinance was how would the review of rent increases be initiated. If the Park were closed, the owner of the Park would file an application with the City with an investigatory report on relocation costs and other matters. Another issue was how would the review of dramatic rent increases be initiated. The proposal was that the review would be initiated by 25 percent or more of the park residents petitioning the City. The City of Monrovia's Ordinance, included in a Council packet earlier in the year, had a 51 percent threshold. Placing an undue organizing burden on the Park residents was not appropriate. The 25 percent threshold was relatively low. The ordinance indicated that if rent increased, in any twelve-month period, exceeding the sum of the consumer price index plus 6 percent, then 25 percent of the residents could petition for review. Staff opted to have decisions made by a private hearing officer selected jointly by the residents and owner and, if they could not agree, the City would make a decision. A mediation effort was required prior to that happening, and the cost of the hearing would be borne by the Park owner as opposed to the Park residents. The preservation agreement was an effort to provide stability that was current lacking. Using a development agreement format under State Law was recommended. A development agreement under State Law exchanged development rights to a property owner for some extraordinary type of benefit. The first principal benefit of the preservation agreement was that it compelled the Park owners to maintain the Park in its current condition for at least ten years. Under current laws, subject to relocation, the Park could close at any time. One of the policy questions that the special committee spent much time on was how long was long term. Ten years seemed to be an achievable number. The Park owners said they did not have much visibility after three to five years, which meant they were highly unwilling to speculate on what they might do with the park after three to five years. The second piece of the owner's obligation was to offer 15 percent of the existing spaces to very low-income people, and the threshold would be computed using a $520 per month base. The rent increases on those spaces would be capped at CPI over the ten-year period. There was nothing in the Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) to compel the owners to convert some of the spaces into ultra-affordable spaces. The threshold for rent increases in the ordinance was duplicated in the agreement, and the owners agreed to abide by that. The Park owners promised not to charge more for utility service than what the cost was. The owners would cooperate with the City to allow the Utility Ratepayer Assistance program. The owners would maintain the park in a safe and livable condition. The owners agreed to offer a right of first refusal to the existing residents to re-enter any housing that was built at the Park to replace what existed. While the development agreement attempted to vest rights to build and while the Jissers had an RM-15 zoning, there was nothing to stop the City from changing that in the future. It would be in the Jisser's best interest to get an enforceable promise from the City not to change the zoning. The City would be obliged to maintain the zoning for the same ten-year period that the owners maintained the Park, plus a 24-month transition period that would allow the owners to go through a conversion process. Rather than RM-15 zoning which might yield a maximum of 75 units, the owners agreed to build 104 units, and instead of the 15 percent below market inclusionary zoning that the City currently had, there would be a 20 percent inclusionary requirement. The special committee asked how the existing situation of 117 affordable units could be improved. The Council had a task at the current meeting to make choices in a balancing context. The 104 units represented staff's best guess of what the site could accommodate without impacting any of the zoning policies in the current RM-15 zoning. The owners currently had a nonconforming use which meant some of the 13 cottages in disrepair could not be demolished and replaced but would have to be repaired without removing more than 50 percent of the structure. The development agreement would relax the nonconforming regulations to allow the owners to scrape and replace the 13 cottage units with like units. Recognizing that 104 units might not be the right answer, the agreement allowed the City and owners to reach a conclusion to close the Park sooner than the ten years if agreement on a different housing project was reached. While the Park might close sooner than ten years, the existing residents had to be provided for by way of relocation assistance and some right of first refusal to get back into the project.

Pam Davis, 3980 El Camino Real, #88, said the committee and residents were promised to see the ordinance and hold a meeting regarding the ordinance prior to it going to the Council. Most of the residents did not receive the ordinance prior to the meeting.

Ellen Gold, Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, asked the Council to postpone its decision on the ordinance because the residents had not had an opportunity for review. The property owners were not maintaining the property as promised.

Rose Rocha, 3980 El Camino Real #51, found that many residents could not afford an increase in rent when they had to pay for medication and proper food. A rent increase was a hardship on the residents.

Bobby Munoz, 3980 El Camino Real #51, said residents had differences with the owners over the years. Most of the residents could not afford to relocate and commute to their jobs in the Palo Alto area. The residents pleaded with the Council to help out in the situation.

Jim Forthoffer, Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, said a private meeting was held with the property owners and not the homeowners to develop the proposal for 6 percent plus CPI. If the homeowners were included in the meeting, some insight as to the numbers might have occurred. Approximately 50 percent of the Park residents were in the low-income category.

Ann Greaves, 3980 El Camino Real #112, said there were no other locations in the area to move her home to. The trailers were singlewide, and no other trailer park in the Bay Area would take a singlewide trailer. If the rents increased, the residents would be unable to stay and sell their trailers because other people would not be able to afford to live there.

Veneita Gale, 3980 El Camino Real, #15, said the Council had the opportunity to save a small piece of Palo Alto for families who were desperate for a place to live. The site was historic and was originally a cabin court. The court predated all Palo Alto historic homes in Professorville.

Jeff Rensch, member of Peninsula Interface Action (PIA), 741 Chimalus Drive, said PIA supported the Park owners. The low-income housing needed to be maintained. The committee, in the beginning, agreed to find a win-win solution in which all parties would be consulted and negotiated with. During the third and final meeting of the committee, it became clear that the City Attorney was negotiating with the Park owner and not with the Park homeowners. As a result, parts of the ordinance strongly favored the Park owners and disfavored the homeowners. An example was the allowable rent increase of CPI plus 6 percent, which was too high for many of the residents to sustain. The ordinance was not drawn up in consultation with the Park residents. The Council needed to delay voting on the ordinance until it met with a large sample of the Park residents to discuss the ordinance in detail and remedy the defects.

Julie Cockroft, 930 Colorado Avenue, said the residents of the Park were homeowners and many were on limited incomes. The Council, City Attorney, and committee were commended for their efforts to find a solution to the problem. There had not been a meeting for the residents who should have an opportunity to indicate how the allowable rent increases in the ordinance would diminish the amount of affordable housing. The Council was urged to delay any further action on the ordinance until the Park residents were brought into the discussion.

Andrea Sutherland, 1143 Webster Street, said, despite the City Attorney's comment about the issue not being rent control, putting a rent cap on privately owned property was rent control and set a precedent. Cities were penalized if not enough low-income housing were provided. The City was involved because it wanted to take credit for the low-income units without having to buy, operate, or take care of the Park. A precedent was set for developments where rent caps were implied despite the promise of a development program. The ordinance should not be passed because it was a de facto rent cap, which was a way to manipulate private property to solve social problems.

Stephanie Munoz, 101 Alma Street, said losing the Park would be a loss for Palo Alto. The City should buy the Park with development rights. The City should keep the mobile homes permanently and rent them to teachers and young people moving into Palo Alto.

Howard Kutzly, 219 Ramona Street, #8, sympathized with the homeowners at the Park but asked the Council to take a hard look at a bigger issue. He was a victim of soaring rent increases, with his rent increasing 29 percent. Other people in his building faced rent increases of 40 and 50 percent. The City Attorney and City Council should reconsider the ordinance and do research to endorse rent control for all residents.

Herb Borock, P.O. Box 632, said the Council enacted a condominium conversion ordinance with a rent control provision that set the annual increase at 75 percent of the CPI which courts upheld as a fair rate of return. One of the deal points referred to the type of redevelopment which was already required by Housing Program 16 in the Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) for any redevelopment that required a subdivision. The City was required to provide a development of 104 units of which 20 percent were Below-Market Rate (BMR). The only way to get around the requirement was to have a housing development that was rental housing with no underlying subdivision map. The City Attorney's report included a memo from Community Services Administrator Kathy Espinoza-Howard with a table that showed the income levels of various park tenants. Fifty-nine tenants were in the very low-income group category, of which 34 were in the extremely low-income group. The deal would protect 15 percent of 104, which was 12 units. People in the extremely low-income category of 30 percent and less of the median income would be protected. The number of people protected was very small.

Bob Moss, 4010 Orme Street, said the staff proposal was bad public policy. The Council was asked to increase the potential for redevelopment. When the original zoning was placed on the property 20 years prior. It was RM-10 specifically to discourage conversion to any other use. The RM-10 zone was eliminated and converted to RM-15. The Council should consider reestablishing a RM-10 zone and apply it to the Park. The property owner rented out 300-400 square yards of vacant asphalt which he did not bother to sweep. He questioned the property owner's expenses and why a 6 percent increase over the CPA was needed. He asked the Council to reconsider the ordinance and return with something more rational and in keeping with good public policy.

Human Relations Commission Chair Andrew Pierce, 363 Ely Street, said the Park Conversion-closure Ordinance was designed to prevent economic eviction and was not meant to be rent control. The State Legislature recognized there was a special circumstance with mobile home parks where the value invested by the homeowners could be taken away by the park owner. Without income data, explaining the difference between rent control and the prevention of economic eviction was difficult. Ms. Espinoza-Howard's data confirmed that many residents could not afford any increase. Many people had salaries between $600 and $876. The CPI plus 6 percent would result in economic eviction in a relatively short period of time. The preferred solution was to lower the 6 percent or take a longer-term point of view. The development agreement needed to be decoupled from the Park Conversion-closure Ordinance. The development agreement did not work well, was divisive, and made closing the Park more economical. The Council was urged to pass the Park Conversion-closure Ordinance with a lowered threshold for the rent increase and defer or rethink the development agreement entirely.

Edie Keating, 3511 Waverley Street, said the Park was a profitable business over the years. The Council was not going to make it an unprofitable business but rather limit the profits available to the owner from the business. The Council would do that for the citizens who lived there and the diversity of the community. The 6 percent was too high. Ten years was a short period of time and should be longer or indefinite. The ordinance needed to be stronger.

Mr. Calonne apologized for not putting out an explanatory handout for the residents.

Council Member Kleinberg suggested to take the matters in the following order separately: rate schedule ordinance, Park Conversion-closure Ordinance second, and proposal with park owners third

Vice Mayor Ojakian said pressure was placed on the City Attorney to bring the matter back to the Council before the end of April.

2. Resolution 8048 entitled "Resolution of the Council of the City of Palo Alto Amending Utility Rate Schedule C-4 of the City of Palo Alto Utilities Rates and Charges Pertaining to the Residential Rate Assistance"

MOTION: Council Member Kleinberg moved, seconded by Mossar, to approve the staff recommendation to adopt the Park-adapted Utilities Ratepayer Assistance Program Resolution.

Council Member Kleinberg said the step for the Council to provide important assistance to the residents of the Parks was reasonable and overdue.

MOTION PASSED: 8-0, Wheeler absent.

Council Member Lytle asked if staff knew when the current property owners purchased the property, what was the status of the property in terms of PAMC compliance and whether there was progress or degeneration since that time.

Mr. Calonne said the owners acquired the property in 1986. He recalled a serious PAMC issue approximately two years prior.
Director of Planning and Community Environment Ed Gawf was unaware of any noticeable deterioration in the Park during the last several years. A code enforcement complaint was made approximately two years prior on one of the structures.

Council Member Lytle asked whether it would be possible for the Jissers to have brought the independent units up to health and safety code without some type of relaxation on the part of the City to health and safety standards.

Mr. Gawf said the housing code was used in terms of application to the rental units. The provisions were different for existing structures. He had not heard any indication that the owners were not able to meet the housing code.

Council Member Mossar asked whether there was any additional information about a property tax increase on the parcel.

Mr. Calonne said no.

Council Member Mossar asked whether such information was being pursued.

Mr. Calonne said the special committee discussed the issue which was found to be a political matter. The owners felt there was no chance of relief.

MOTION: Council Member Kleinberg moved, seconded by Eakins, to approve the staff recommendation to introduce for first reading of the Park Conversion-closure Ordinance amending Title 9 of the Palo Alto Municipal Code to add Chapter 9.76 to Mobile Home Park Conversion.
Council Member Kleinberg said there were State protections for mobile home owners, but the provisions recommended for Council adoption gave greater protection for mobile home owners. Mobile homes owners were in an unusual situation in that there equity was tied symbiotically to someone else's property.

Mayor Eakins realized the ordinance was not satisfactory to everyone, but there were reasonable compromises.

Council Member Lytle supported the motion. The ordinance went beyond the State requirements, particularly in relocation benefits for the mobile home owners. The Council needed to keep in mind that it was laying out a blueprint for its eventual reuse. The land rights of the property owner as well as the owners of the mobile homes, needed to be considered. Much burden was placed on a single property owner for the preservation of the units.

Council Member Mossar understood the ordinance was not a ten-year sunseting ordinance but was an ordinance on the books, and the ten years applied to the long-term preservation strategy.

Mr. Calonne said that was correct. Ten years was a reasonable definition of long term, and that was a policy call. The ordinance did not sunset.

Council Member Mossar said the increase was too steep, and the Council could not protect the Park residents from economic eviction.

Council Member Beecham said the lifetime of the Park was reasonably short. The economic pressures were to change the ten-year period. The limit in the ordinance was high and would be a burden. The burden was shared by many people living in the community. The main benefit of the ordinance was if and when the park closed, there were some reasonable benefits that would be paid out to the residents as well as assistance to them to find other suitable sites or be given a financial sum.

Vice Mayor Ojakian understood the ceiling on potential rent increase, which was CPI plus 6 percent, was in both the ordinance and long-term strategies.

Mr. Calonne said the CPI plus 6 percent was in the ordinance.

Council Member Burch said the Council had a responsibility to hold the increase to a reasonable level.

Vice Mayor Ojakian said the CPI plus 6 percent was a ceiling and not necessarily what the rent would end up being. The possibility existed that rents would not go near the upper end of the rental amount. The City Attorney did what the Council asked him to do and that was to find a middle ground that worked for both sides involved.

MOTION PASSED 6-2, Burch, Mossar "no," Wheeler absent.

Council Member Kleinberg said the third matter before the Council was approval of the long-term preservation strategy deal points.

MOTION: Council Member Kleinberg moved, seconded by Burch, to continue for two weeks (to May 14, 2001) the approval of the Long-Term Preservation Strategy Deal Points and further, to direct staff to prepare and process an implementing development agreement in order for staff to review the Long-Term Preservation Strategy Deal Points with the Buena Vista MobileHome Park residents and explain the ramifications of what is before Council.

Mr. Calonne said bringing the residents into a discussion where they were not being asked to make a concession was impossible. The staff would facilitate a discussion between the residents and owners. He had no power to compel the Jissers to participate in a discussion with the residents.

Council Member Fazzino said his support of the motion was to have staff meet with the residents and explain the ramifications of the proposals before the Council.

Council Member Kleinberg said the motivation for her motion was that she had major concerns about the way in which action was taken. The minutes and directions to staff were of concern. More staff conversation with the owners was needed.

Council Member Beecham said a Council committee was assigned to work on the issue. The issue was to give the residents a fair chance to understand what was proposed.

Council Member Mossar said the Council needed to be plain with the public and residents about goals. The policy issues were difficult to deal with. The purpose of continuing the item was not stated clearly.

Mayor Eakins supported the motion for a two-week period for education and information only and not for massaging the points.

Council Member Kleinberg said the proposal that the City Attorney brought to the committee was not before the Council with the unanimous approval of the committee. She did not waive her right to disagree with some of the points in the proposal.

Council Member Lytle said the idea of the continuance was to continue the matter for information purposes to the residents who did not have a chance to see the proposal.

MOTION PASSED 8-0, Wheeler absent.

RECESS: 9:03 P.M. to 9:10 P.M.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

*3. PUBLIC HEARING: The City Council will consider an appeal of the Director of Planning and Community Environment's approval, after review and recommendation by the Architectural Review Board/Historic Review Board, of an application by SummerHill Homes to allow construction of a 36-unit, three-story condominium complex, subterranean parking garage, and related site improvements located at 325 Channing Avenue.

PUBLIC HEARING: The City Council will consider an appeal of the Director of Planning and Community Environment's approval, after review and recommendation by the Architectural Review Board/Historic Review Board, of an application by SummerHill Homes to allow construction of a 30-unit, four-story condominium complex, subterranean parking garage, and related site improvements located at 777 Bryant Street.

PUBLIC HEARING: The City Council will consider an appeal of the Director of Planning and Community Environment's approval, after review and recommendation by the Architectural Review Board/Historic Review Board, of an application by SummerHill Homes to allow construction of 10 detached single family homes and 10 accessory units, surface parking, and related site improvements located at 300 Homer Avenue.

(Public testimony is closed) (Continued from 4/02/01)

*This item is quasi-judicial and subject to Council's Disclosure Policy

Vice Mayor Ojakian stated he would not participate in the item due to a conflict of interest because his wife was employed by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Director of Planning and Community Environment Ed Gawf said three properties were involved in the application, including one project on Block A and two projects on Block B. At the April 2, 2001, the issue was divided into three main categories: process, policies, and designs. At that time, the Council extensively discussed the process and policies issues. The Council directed staff to return with clarification and alternatives for the design issues, especially the development exceptions. Seven exceptions were involved in the three projects. Staff looked at each of the exceptions and developed alternatives that would negate the need for exceptions.

Assistant Planning Official John Lusardi said staff presented the SummerHill Homes exceptions at the April 2, 2001, meeting. The exceptions were to achieve better design and private open space and not to increase floor area or intrude into the public space. The exceptions were design driven. Prior to the current meeting, staff met with Bob Peterson, Chair of the Architectural Review Board (ARB)/Historic Resources Board (HRB), and reviewed the exceptions and alternatives. On Block A, staff asked the Council to uphold the ARB/HRB recommendation and Director's decision with one exception. When the Council reviewed the development agreement the prior year, four fourth floor units were proposed. The proposed building at the current time was 48 feet where 45 feet in the Attached Multiple Family (AMF) development standards was required. The developer asked for a building height along the peak of 48 feet where 45 feet was required. There were two ways to reduce the 48 feet to the required 45 feet. One way was to address it at the peak, and the other way to address it at the base. The pitch would flatten out to reduce the height at the top, and the base would be reduced to lower the height of the building. Staff felt the design warranted the 48-foot height. The developer and staff met with respect to the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and identified there was an overage in the FAR and square footage. Ways to reduce the square footage were identified. The developer recommended and identified a sequence of events to reduce the FAR. Less than one foot off the back of the building would be removed and the size of the courtyards would be increased by less than one foot. That would not entail a redesign of the building but was a revision of the existing design. On Block B, staff recommended the Council uphold the ARB/HRB recommendation and the Director's decisions. There were no exceptions asked for with respect to Block B. The developer came forward with a revision or alternative that would remove the one set of exceptions that were being asked for on Block B. The exception originally proposed along the park was for dormer spaces that intruded into the daylight plane. The dormer spaces were greater than 40 percent of the frontage of the area. The developer pulled the building back in order to reduce the square footage of the building and to remove the intrusion into the daylight plane. The percentage was reduced to less than 20 percent which was acceptable in the AMF standards. There was no easement required for the development on the park. The only access point that the developer asked the City to honor was through a gate into the park. There was no physical easement on the park. The Council asked staff to address the issue of the mews. The mews was completely contained within the AMF or condominium project and was dedicated for public access but was owned by the condominium project. The developer proposed two porches on residential units to extend into the mews approximately seven feet. The width of the Mews was 40 feet and would be reduced to 34 feet. Three heritage redwood trees would be retained and screening would be provided for the porch area. Staff asked the Council to uphold the ARB recommendations and the Director's decision with exceptions for the setbacks and daylight planes with respect to the single-family detached homes and to approve the exception for the below-grade patios. The first exception was for the daylight plane with respect to the main house. With respect to eliminating exceptions, the developer agreed to reduce areas to what was acceptable within the development standards. With respect to the front yard setback along the mews, the developer proposed to extend the houses into the front setback for the purposes of creating greater private open space at the rear of the houses. The ARB/HRB felt that was a strong enough design trade off to support the extension of the houses into the front setback. The developer asked for an exception to extend two structures into the street side setback for the purposes of creating a two-car garage, a one-car uncovered parking space, and allowing for the accessory structures to be built. If the exception were removed and the setback required to be met, the ability for the two-car garage would be removed. The issue was whether the extension into the setback was greater than losing the two accessory structures. Staff supported the exception for the reduction of the street sites for accessory structures. The Detached Single Family (DHS) standards said that an accessory structure could sit on the property line, but that all structures "shall have a daylight plane." If the zero setback were respected, an accessory structure with two covered parking spaces, an uncovered parking space, and an accessory unit would be allowed. Using the daylight plane, each accessory unit had to be adjusted. The below-grade patios arranged in size from 350 square feet to approximately 600 square feet and were located in the interior side yards of the houses. The below-grade patios would not be seen from the street. If the exception for the below grade patios was not granted, any space in the basement required daylighting which would mean light wells or patio elements of 70 square feet to 100 square feet.
Bob Peterson, ARB/HRB representative, said the below-grade patios were the most effective things the ARB/HRB was able to do. With the cooperation of the applicant and ARB/HRB's suggestions, a way was found to make the below-grade patios useable. All the patios faced south and southeast and would get lots of sun. There was no impact on the neighbors and would enhance the quality of the units. The intrusion on the front setback bought the enhancement and enlargement of the open space between the houses and garages. The minor intrusion into the setback at the mews was important. The applicant suggested moving several porches into the mews which made an improvement in terms of the feeling of integration of the park. The ARB/HRB attempted to make the units feel together with the park and mews areas.

City Manager Frank Benest suggested the Council take each exception separately and vote on each separately.

Mayor Eakins said the Council would start with 777 Bryant Street, Block A.

Council Member Burch noted that the reduction in building height would not affect the floor area of the building; however, the building needed to be reduced in size to meet the City's floor area restriction. He clarified the building was reduced in size.

Mr. Peterson said that was his understanding.

Mr. Gawf said Mr. Lusardi's description was to move the building inward one foot on the rear and expand the patios on the interior. The building would be reduced in size.

Council Member Burch asked about the reduction in feet while leaving the podium and reducing the roofline.

Mr. Peterson said that would reduce the height from 48 feet to 46 feet.

Council Member Lytle asked how much over the minimum floor to ceiling height were the residential units in terms of their luxuriousness.

Rick Wurlezelbacher, SummerHill Homes, said the floor-to-floor height was 10 feet, including the structure between floors. The structure between floors varied. At the kitchens, bathrooms, and high noise areas, one and a half to two feet of structure thickness for sound attenuation was proposed. At the primary living areas and bedrooms, the floor thickness was approximately one foot. The ceilings in the kitchens and bathrooms were eight feet high, and the ceilings in the primary living rooms were approximately nine feet.
Council Member Lytle asked how the height compared to minimum code requirements.

Mr. Wurlezelbacher said the minimum code requirements would be approximately seven and one half feet.

MOTION: Council Member Burch moved that the roof be reduced, the pitch changed, and the podium left as proposed and approve the exception of the roof to be lowered to the lower pitch which was from a 5:12 to 3:12.

MOTION DIED FOR LACK OF A SECOND.

MOTION: Council Member Mossar moved, seconded by Beecham, to uphold the Director of Planning and Community Environment's decision to approve the project at 777 Bryant Street: Block A - AMF with the increased building height from 45 to 48 feet.

Council Member Mossar said the additional height was in the central portion of the building. She heard nothing that indicated the additional height at the roofline would cause visual or negative impacts on the surrounding area. Maintaining the pedestrian scale and porch characteristics of the first floor were supported. The building was larger than many had hoped, but there were many other large residential buildings in the area.

Council Member Beecham said the proposed slope of the roof was a more attractive result.

Council Member Burch did not support the exception. The building could have been designed to be in conformance with the height requirement.
Council Member Lytle said the roof pitch reduction did not make a substantial visual impact and would affect the shadow pattern on public space, specifically the sidewalk in front of the building. The property did not have to be as luxurious as proposed. The effect on public property could be reduced with a more considerate design.

Council Member Fazzino said the issues should have been resolved at the staff level. Making exceptions on the height was a concern since the issue was a major policy direction for the City. A citywide debate was needed about height limits. The Council might have to look at changing the height limit to allow additional density in some parts of the community.

Council Member Kleinberg was concerned about making height exceptions without a more detailed policy conversation about heights. In keeping with the credibility with the neighborhood, the project could be redrawn to meet the existing standards.

MOTION FAILED 4-3, Burch, Fazzino, Kleinberg, Lytle "no," Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

MOTION: Council Member Lytle moved, seconded by Burch, to uphold the appeal regarding 777 Bryant Street: Block A - AMF (CMR:213:01) to deny the exception for any increased height, and to approve the building at the allowable 45 feet.

MOTION PASSED 4-3, Beecham, Eakins, Mossar "no," Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

Mr. Gawf clarified that the building at 777 Bryant Street was approved at 45 feet.

Council Member Fazzino said that was correct.

Council Member Kleinberg clarified the project would not intrude into the daylight plane of the public park.

Mr. Gawf said there would be intrusions into the daylight plane but within the tolerance allowed by the zoning code of 20 percent.

Mayor Eakins asked whether retaining porch extensions into the mews would require an exception.

Mr. Gawf said an exception would not be required.

Council Member Lytle was puzzled as to why staff did not support the traditional straight alignment of structures down the mews as opposed to the suburban concept of varying the alignment of structures.

Mr. Gawf said the idea was to bring the porch out in order for the condominium residents to have an entry onto the mews. The scale of the building on the Mews side was reduced from a full three-story to a one-story element and a setback of a three-story element.

Mr. Lusardi said when the Council reviewed the South of Forest Areas (SOFA) Development Agreement, Block A received the most attention as far as design development by interacting with the community and Council. The result was a design for a craftsman style building, and porch elements were an important design of the craftsman style.

Mayor Eakins stated the Council would discuss Block B - DHS, 300 Homer Avenue. A development exception was requested for the reduction of front yard setback along the mews which was the five houses that faced the mews.

Council Member Lytle asked about the "samba" pattern when the traditional idea was to line up buildings in traditional neighborhoods.

Mr. Gawf said staff allowed the individual single-family adjacent to the mews to encroach into the front yard setbacks. The purpose was to enhance the private open space in the rear between the house and the garage area.

Mayor Eakins asked whether Council Member Lytle reacted to the curved shape of the pavement and grass.

Council Member Lytle said that was correct and the concept was suburban.

Mayor Eakins asked whether the house setbacks were uniform with respect to the mews or whether they were staggered.

Mr. Gawf said the houses were staggered.

Council Member Burch said the compelling reason was what it did to the "motor court." The meandering was allowed because of the front yard setbacks which made the meandering of the back section compelling.

Mr. Lusardi said the meandering allowed for the articulation of the motor court and provided for spaces for the trees which softened the edge while increasing the private open space in the rear of the structures.

MOTION: Council Member Burch moved, seconded by Beecham, to uphold the Director of Planning and Community Environment's decision regarding the 300 Homer Avenue Block B - DHS (CMR:213:01) development exceptions for the reduction of front yard setback along the mews (five houses).

Council Member Mossar said her concern was with the size of the units but understood that was a decision not before the Council. Given the fact the houses were of a size that was permitted in the established zoning, the exceptions improved the development.

Council Member Lytle said the development improved the private space at the expense of the public mews.

MOTION PASSED 6-1, Lytle "no," Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

MOTION: Council Member Kleinberg moved, seconded by Fazzino, to uphold the Director of Planning and Community Environment's decision regarding the 300 Homer Avenue Block B - DHS project, to reduce the main house dormer widths to the permitted 15 feet.

MOTION PASSED 7-0, Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

MOTION: Council Member Mossar, seconded by Burch to uphold the Director of Planning and Community Environment's decision regarding 300 Homer Avenue Block B - DHS for the development exceptions for street yard set back for two accessory structures.

MOTION PASSED 7-0, Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

MOTION: Council Member Mossar moved, seconded by Beecham, to uphold the Director of Planning and Community Environment's decision regarding 300 Homer Avenue Block B - DHS for development exceptions for side yard daylight plane for ten accessory units (ten accessory structures).

MOTION PASSED 7-0, Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

Council Member Lytle said when the Council adopted the R-1 regulations that allowed light wells around basement square footage, the Public Works Department was concerned about the size of the below-grade patios because the light wells became receptacles for flood water that required electrical pumping and back up mechanisms in flood situations. She asked whether there was feedback from Public Works staff about the substantial size increase recommended by the ARB on the below-grade facilities.

Project Planner Chandler Lee, said Public Works staff provided a comment on the single-family homes and specifically mentioned the issue. A condition was included that stated pervious pavers where possible would be used and a layer of sand would be placed beneath the pavers in order for the patio areas to drain properly.

Mr. Gawf said the applicant proposed backup pumps if required.

Council Member Burch was bothered by the below-grade patios but appreciated what the ARB did to try to make them attractive. The homes were huge and the patios created three-story homes. The sunken patio should be eliminated with a ground floor basement.

MOTION: Council Member Burch, seconded by Lytle, to deny the exception and delete the below-grade sunken patio greater than 200 square feet.

Council Member Lytle did not see any reason to handle the proposed developer different that others were treated.

Council Member Beecham opposed the motion because the appearance of a three-story home was invisible. The benefit to the public of having the patios was that it gave private space for the residents. Putting the patios underground and adjusting the lot line gave the houses private, useable space that was not otherwise available.

Council Member Mossar said the below-grade patio worked best and would not make the houses any bigger.

Council Member Kleinberg opposed the motion. The below-grade patio was an amenity that residents needed for a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle and was a fair tradeoff for the public access to the mews.

Council Member Burch said the patio was a living space and should be counted in the FAR.

Mayor Eakins clarified the DHS rules did not anticipate the sunken patio.

Mr. Lusardi said the DHS standards were silent on sunken patios. The Council adopted definitions in the SOFA plan that addressed basement issues.

MOTION FAILED 2-5, Burch, Lytle "yes," Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

MOTION: Council Member Mossar moved, seconded by Beecham, to uphold the Director of Planning and Community Environment's recommendation regarding 300 Homer Avenue Block B - DHS that the Council make the findings and grant development exceptions for below-grade patios greater than 200 square feet and extension into the interior side yards, without affecting measurement of grade (ten houses).

MOTION PASSED 5-2, Burch, Lytle "no," Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

MOTION: Council Member Beecham moved, seconded by Kleinberg, to uphold the Director of Planning and Community Environment's decision to approve the 325 Channing Avenue Block B - AMF project (CMR:213:01), with the project revised to remove the daylight plane intrusions and reduce the dormer intrusions along the project's north side and retain the porch extensions into the mews.

MOTION PASSED 7-0, Ojakian "not participating," Wheeler absent.

ORAL COMMUNICATIONS

Stephanie Munoz, 101 Alma Street, spoke regarding planning.

Lynn Chiapella, 631 Colorado Avenue, spoke regarding concerns with two signs for Gates Dry Cleaning and the rooftop equipment enclosure.

Council Member Kleinberg asked the City Manager to follow up on Ms. Chiapella's concerns.

City Attorney Ariel Calonne said any sign violations would be reviewed by staff.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Council Member Mossar would not participate in Agenda Item No. 4 due to a conflict of interest because her husband was employed by Stanford University.

Herb Borock, P.O. Box 632, spoke regarding Agenda Item No. 4. There was nothing in the report that dealt with Stanford University. More information was needed to assure the Council that it was not making a decision that would bind the City on a park policy.

City Manager Frank Benest said he and the City Attorney queried the Community Services Director who assured them he looked into the matter. He and the Attorney saw no problem, and the Community Services Director recommended proceeding.

MOTION: Council Member Burch moved, seconded by Beecham, to approve Consent Calendar Item Nos. 4-6.

LEGISLATIVE

4. Resolution 8049 entitled "Resolution of the Council of the City of Palo Alto Authorizing Submission to the State of California a Grant Application for Renovation of the Junior Museum and Zoo and Construction of Segments of the Bay-to-Ridge Trail"
ADMINISTRATIVE

5. Amendment of Contract No. C6084045 Between the City of Palo Alto and the City of Inglewood to Extend the Contract through July 30, 2001, for Parking Citation Services

6. Approval of a Change Order No. 1 to Contract No. C1129753 Between the City of Palo Alto and Bragato Construction Company in the Amount of $66,527 to Provide Unforeseen Stabilization of the Subgrade Surface of the Duck Pond Parking Lots

MOTION PASSED 6-0 for Item No. 4, Mossar "not participating," Ojakian, Wheeler absent.

MOTION PASSED 7-0 for Item Nos. 5-6, Ojakian, Wheeler absent.

COUNCIL COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Council Member Kleinberg asked how a motion made at a previous Council meeting for a resolution of intention to include parkland could come back to the Council.

Mr. Calonne said the item was tabled and could be brought back from the table by the same procedure that Council Members agendized something.

MOTION: Council Member Kleinberg moved, seconded by Burch, to take from the table the resolution of intention for the SOFA parkland and put it on an upcoming agenda.

MOTION PASSED 7-0, Ojakian, Wheeler absent.

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 10:52 p.m.

ATTEST: APPROVED:


City Clerk Mayor

NOTE: Sense minutes (synopsis) are prepared in accordance with Palo Alto Municipal Code Sections 2.04.180(a) and (b). The City Council and Standing Committee meeting tapes are made solely for the purpose of facilitating the preparation of the minutes of the meetings. City Council and Standing Committee meeting tapes are recycled 90 days from the date of the meeting. The tapes are available for members of the public to listen to during regular office hours.

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