A neighborhood group is accusing Palo Alto officials of turning a city legislation to aid a prominent designer widen the historic but oversized University Art building.
The law’s purpose is to avoid oversized downtown structures from getting bigger.
Developer Roxy Rapp’s suggestion to expand their four-story commercial building at 261 Hamilton Ave., over the road from City Hall, goes to the City Council on Monday.
Rapp would like to build a three-story addition behind the building and change 6,305 square feet of basement room mainly very useful for storage space to an underground parking space that would accommodate nine automobiles and up to 15 bikes.
He is asking the city to not think about the basement “appropriate flooring location” so he is able to count that area toward the back addition of virtually 6,000 square feet.
The building today features ground-floor offices within the two amounts above, but its back drops to simply one story. Under Rapp’s proposition, the back part would be demolished and changed using the three-story inclusion.
In a memo for Monday’s council conference, city employees states the alteration wouldn’t break the city law that grandfathered in oversized frameworks constructed before zoning alterations in the 1970s and 1980s that reduced the dimensions of downtown structures — as long as the change doesn’t increase the building’s total dimensions.
“The impact associated with the building will never alter,” city spokeswoman Claudia Keith revealed in an e-mail Thursday.
Jeff Levinsky, a member associated with Palo Alto Neighborhoods coalescence of residents which oppose the modification, stated employees are disregarding the city rule to prefer Rapp.
“The legislation is very straight forward. It states when you’ve got a building that’s currently over the limitation you cannot continue to expand it,” Levinsky stated Thursday.
The basement had been useful for space; however, the brand new three-story part are going to be workplaces filled with employees just who are likely to make the city’s “crisis-level” parking situation even worse, Levinsky stated.
Along with workplace structures selling for approximately $1,000 per square foot, the development would basically amount to a city giving away well worth millions of dollars towards the designer, in accordance to Palo Alto Neighborhoods.
The Palo Alto municipal rule that regulates grandfathered facilities says that the structures can be enhanced because extended modifications don’t “result in increased flooring area; will not move the creating impact; will not result in an enhance regarding the level, size, building envelope, or just about any increase in the dimensions of the enhancement; (and) will not boost the amount of noncompliance.”
The employees memo acknowledges that one of the ways to understand the rule is the fact that “the inclusion associated with above-ground square footage is not presently here and therefore may not be allowed.”
But a sustainable understanding could be that the inclusion won’t increase the building’s square footage or impact it because the suggested renovating wouldn’t simply take up any of the site location than the present building.
Next there’s the concern of whether or not the improvements would replace the so-called building envelope. Employees are utilizing a definition according to the “buildable location,” which is not altering, Keith stated.
That evaluation features remaining the neighbor’s team puzzled.
The council additionally is planned to give consideration to Rapp’s demand to accept some rehab focus on the building to update its historic designation. On April 16, 2014, the city’s Historic Resources Board unanimously backed the demand.
The building is the next largest Spanish Colonial Revival building in Palo Alto, following the President resort on University Avenue. It ended up being developed in 1927 by Birge Clark, typically considered Palo Alto’s many important historical designer, based on the employees memo.