Palo Alto advances redevelopment plan for Ventura. Property homeowners produce other concepts. | Information

After greater than two years of planning for change within the dynamic however underserved Ventura neighborhood, Palo Alto officers struggled on Monday to reconcile the neighborhood’s imaginative and prescient for the planning space with the desires of the 2 largest property homeowners.

The Sobrato Group, which owns the campus on Portage Avenue that till just lately housed Fry’s Electronics, and Jay Paul, proprietor of the business property at 395 Web page Mill Highway that homes Cloudera, each submitted to the town final week their very own proposals for his or her respective properties, which in each instances embrace a mixture of residential and business use.

Sobrato is proposing preserving and rehabilitating a serious portion of historic cannery constructing at 340 Portage Highway that previously housed Fry’s Electronics and retaining business use within the constructing, which occupies the biggest parcel within the 60-acre space that’s the focus of the town’s North Ventura Coordinated Space Plan. Sobrato can also be advancing a plan to construct 91 townhouses at 200 Portage Ave., subsequent to the Fry’s website.

Tim Steele, Sobrato’s vice chairman for actual property, emphasised Monday that its plan shares some traits with the proposals that had been developed over the previous two years by metropolis employees, consultants and a working group of neighborhood residents and different stakeholders. This contains housing, a path alongside Matadero Creek and no new workplace area past what’s already there.

“Sobrato, very like the town, takes a long-term view in our actual property possession and funding,” Steele advised the council. “We additionally share the need for initiatives to be of top quality and profitable of their execution and long-term viability.”

Jay Paul’s proposal, which the town acquired final week, goals even greater on the subject of workplace area. The developer has proposed constructing an eight-story workplace improvement with 200,000 sq. ft of workplace area at 395 Web page Mill, in addition to two residential buildings with a complete of 508 residences between them. All three buildings would occupy a block bounded by Web page Mill Highway, Olive Avenue, Park Boulevard and Ash Avenue, which they might share with a small neighborhood park.

The proposal for workplace area is predicated on Jay Paul’s calculations of how a lot it could value to construct 508 housing models, create a park and shift 95% of the positioning’s parking underground, mentioned Maia Harris, director of particular initiatives at Jay Paul. Architect Tom Gilman, representing Jay Paul, advised the council on Monday that beneath the corporate’s proposed idea, 60% of the positioning at 395 Web page Mill Highway would include open area – in comparison with 25% at this time.

“We consider this plan actually embodies a variety of the options and may obtain plenty of the weather that the imaginative and prescient of the NVCAP appears to have,” Gilman mentioned.

However whereas the council lauded some parts of the Sobrato plan — specifically, the proposed enhancements to the preserved cannery constructing — they roundly rejected Jay Paul’s idea.

The largest dispute is over workplace area. When the council launched into the Ventura planning course of in 2018, it adopted an inventory of mission targets that included parts equivalent to housing, a linked avenue grid and new pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities. It conspicuously didn’t point out workplace progress, a pattern that the town has been actively making an attempt to discourage over the previous decade via creation of an annual workplace cap and a discount within the citywide restrict on non-residential improvement. Citing the unique targets of the planning train, Vice Mayor Pat Burt referred to as Jay Paul’s proposal for an workplace tower and residential advanced “non-starters.”

“They do not get to first base in my thoughts,” Burt mentioned. “It is utterly out of the ballpark and, actually, I am type of mystified why the homeowners of that property would come ahead with one thing like that after hopefully taking note of our metropolis’s zoning guidelines and this course of all through.”

Mayor Tom DuBois concurred and urged that the concept of including a big workplace element to the planning space is “means off from what the neighborhood actually needs.” DuBois championed a extra cautious strategy on redeveloping Ventura and advocated for the least intense of the three redevelopment options that employees and consultants introduced to the council. Often called Various 1, the choice requires regularly phasing out workplace use and creating about 500 new housing models. The opposite two choices would add a “lifelike capability” of 1,170 and 1,490 housing models, respectively. Essentially the most bold of the three, referred to as Various 3B, additionally acknowledges the difficult economics of setting up reasonably priced housing and, as an incentive to property homeowners, contains 126,000 sq. ft of recent workplace area.

With DuBois main the best way, the council recognized Various 1 as its most popular choice and directed employees to discover different zoning incentives – most notably a discount in parking necessities – to create an incentive for retail. The path, which superior by a 6-1 vote, additionally requires amortization of some workplace makes use of and sustaining a 50-foot top restrict for brand spanking new developments, with the only real exception of reasonably priced housing initiatives, which might be topic to varied bonuses and exemptions. The council additionally favored “adaptive reuse” — moderately than demolition — of the Fry’s constructing, which was constructed by Thomas Foon Chew within the Twenties and which served as a cannery till 1949.

In selecting probably the most modest path, the council rejected arguments from housing advocates and a few residents who supported Various 3B, which in response to an evaluation from employees and consultants is the one choice on the desk that truly has an opportunity of coming to fruition. However whereas economically possible, the choice can also be comparatively unpopular amongst members of the North Ventura Coordinated Space Plan Working Group. Gail Worth, board president at Palo Alto Ahead and former council member, was the one member of the working group who supported Various 3B.

Having an aspirational imaginative and prescient with out funding sources won’t lead to development of recent properties, she advised the council Monday.

“It’s time to be extra proactive to fulfill our new and altering wants,” Worth mentioned.

Council member Alison Cormack, the lone dissenter within the council vote, equally urged that the choice favored by the council majority falls nicely off the mark and doesn’t present the big selection of housing choices that the neighborhood wants.

“My worry is we’re going to spend so much extra money and a good quantity extra time and we’ll have a plan that is not going to get carried out,” Cormack mentioned. “And it should depart a nasty style locally’s mouth.”

Most members of the working group, together with those that stay in Ventura, roundly rejected the office-heavy proposals submitted by Sobrato and Jay Paul. Kirsten Flynn, who served on the working group, argued that the 2 proposals, if carried out, would make it practically unimaginable to naturalize the creek or add every other neighborhood facilities. She referred to as the planning course of a “as soon as in a lifetime effort” and urged the council to incorporate parks in its plans for Ventura.

“Builders are within the enterprise of being profitable, so they need workplace area as a result of previously it has been terribly worthwhile,” Flynn mentioned. “Residents have the function of asking for facilities – that is our job – that enhance the standard of life.

“We would like parks, we wish entry to nature, faculties, housing for our neighborhood.”

The council’s vote on Monday creates a path ahead for a planning course of that has been caught in limbo because the three options had been launched greater than a 12 months in the past. The place the trail leads, nonetheless, stays unsure. Council member Greg Tanaka, who supported the council majority’s instructions on including housing, voted in opposition to the weather of the movement that pertained to limiting workplace use. He additionally urged {that a} plan that seeks to get rid of workplace area and that, as such, is opposed by the 2 largest property homeowners within the space, is unlikely to succeed.

“Inherently, what we’re making an attempt to do is we’re making an attempt to merge the need of the neighborhood with the need of the property proprietor,” Tanaka mentioned. “If we’re doing one and never the opposite, or vice versa, nothing is absolutely going to occur. We’re all going to must work collectively one way or the other.”

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