Around Town | March 30, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 30, 2012

Around Town

GRAND PLANS ... A prominent section of downtown Palo Alto would see a major transformation if billionaire philanthropist John Arrillaga proceeds with his ambitious plan to build an office building and a theater on University Avenue, next to the Caltrain station. But even if the plan stalls, it has already impacted the city's land-use process. Daniel Garber, an architect and past chair of the city's Planning and Transportation Commission, stepped down from the commission earlier this month to avoid a potential conflict of interest relating to the proposal. Garber is on the board of directors of TheatreWorks, the company that would move into the proposed downtown theater. His architecture firm, Fergus Garber Young architects, is also working with the city on analyzing the new development's impacts. He isn't the only city official who is stepping down because of the project. Heather Young, a member of the Architectural Review Board, was also advised by the city attorney's office to step down, Planning Director Curtis Williams told the Weekly. Young, who chaired the board last year, is a partner in Garber's firm. The ambitious proposal surfaced last month and received a warm reception from the City Council, which directed staff to proceed with an environmental analysis for the project. If approved, the proposal would require the city to relocate the historic MacArthur Park restaurant near the Caltrain station. Residents who are interested in taking over a spot on either of the two commissions are asked to submit their applications to the City Clerk's Office by 5 p.m. on April 20.

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