New citizens group to steer Ventura plan

City Council appoints 11 residents, property owners

Palo Alto took an important step in its plan to redesign a 39-acre portion of the Ventura neighborhood early Tuesday morning when it appointed a new working group that will help the city with the planning exercise.

The group will ultimately include 14 members, though three will be determined by the Planning and Transportation Commission, the Architectural Review Board and the Parks and Recreation Commission, each of which will choose one representative from their respective panels.

The remaining 11 were selected Monday night and early Tuesday morning through a byzantine process that featured a long debate about appointment procedures, a series of secret ballots and — once council members were too exhausted to fill out ballots — by spoken motions.

The council had previously specified that the group include members from the Ventura, Barron Park and Mayfield neighborhoods, as well as business owners and property owners. Because of the complex procedures, the appointment process that began shortly after 7 p.m. Monday night wasn't concluded until about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The group will help the city create the North Ventura Area Concept Plan, a document that will evaluate new land uses for the North Ventura area, which is comprised of a mix of residential and commercial uses, as well as a 12.5-acre commercial campus including Fry's Electronics. The exercise is expected to take about 18 months. It is funded by a $648,000 grant from the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority and $250,000 from The Sobrato Organization, owner of the Fry's site.

The working group will include Ventura residents Angela Dellaporta, a former English teacher at Gunn High School; Kirsten Flynn, an interior designer; Yunan Song, who in addition to living in the neighborhood works at SAP Labs LLC in the Ventura area; Rebecca Parker Mankey, an accountant and self-described "well-read amateur" with political ambitions; Heather Rosen, an attorney and community volunteer; and Siyi Zhang, an environmental consultant who lives a block away from the project area.

Representing Barron Park will be Carolyn "Cari" Templeton, who works near the Fry's site, and former Councilwoman Gail Price, a housing advocate who lives in Barron Park and who has a background in urban and transportation planning. Terry Holzemer will serve as the sole representative of the Mayfield neighborhood, just north of Ventura.

In addition to area residents, the list includes two prominent Ventura property owners: Tim Steele of Sobrato and developer Lund Smith of WSJ Properties.

The two alternates will be residents Lakiba Pittman and Waldemar Kaczmarski.

The group is expected to start meeting in June and to meet on a monthly basis until December 2019.

Related content:

Neighborhood Snapshot: Ventura braces for big changes

As redevelopment looms, one homeowner stands firm

Webcast: New vision for Ventura, housing proposals


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17 people like this
Posted by Group of Growthers!
a resident of Downtown North
on May 2, 2018 at 11:49 pm

The 5-4 split city council approved a bunch of pro-growth representatives who will deliver a Manhattanized development that will be a developers dream. The rest of the city will have to suffer from a massive influx of residents who will overwhelm streets, schools, parks and facilities and from huge office developments that will bring in even more commuters.

There is no city wide representation to speak up for the wants of the overcrowded current resident of this city. No one to demand that the city deliver on the inadequate amount of park space for current residents. No one to fight for a development that is sustainable and doesn't make overpopulation and pollution in the area worse. This is going to be yet another growth disaster.

12 people like this
Posted by bikermom
a resident of Mayfield
on May 3, 2018 at 8:51 pm

Um, has anyone seen how backed up Park Blvd gets getting on Oregon Expressway every late afternoon/early evening? And this is before the 2 giant developments along Park have even finished. It's a mess, with people crossing over into the bike lane, and so many near misses. I feel sorry for Ventura. I think they should just make it into one big park. Seriously, our parks are already packed with kids. We do need some more green space for kids to play and dogs to roam.

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