The change comes at a time when the city is facing increasing pressures from the state to build more housing. The city has consistently fallen well short in meeting regional mandates for below-market-rate housing and its recent efforts to encourage more projects have failed to generate the type of building boom that city leaders had hoped for. The new "affordable housing" (AH) zone that the council created in 2018, which loosens development standards for below-market-rate developments, has so far netted just one project: the 59-apartment complex known as Wilton Court that the city approved in 2019 and is now being completed at 3705 El Camino Real.
A key goal is to give developers of affordable housing more certainty that the project they want to get built would actually come to fruition, Assistant Planning Director Rachael Tanner said.
Removing the legislative process for these projects, she noted, increases certainty and creates a faster route to approval, she said.
The change was part of a broad suite of code revisions that the council approved on Wednesday. The vast majority of these changes were implemented to give the city more control over the design of new housing developments.
— Gennady Sheyner
Man exposes himself to teen girl
Palo Alto police are looking for a man who exposed himself to a high school-aged girl as she walked past his parked pickup truck on Arastradero Road last week.
Around 9 a.m. May 24, police dispatchers received a call about an indecent exposure incident in the 600 block of Arastradero Road, which is located near Briones Park. Officers responded immediately, but they could not locate the suspect.
Police said the girl was walking on the north sidewalk of Arastradero Road when she saw a man standing near the sidewalk next to his parked truck with his arm on its open window ledge. She then noticed that the man's pants were unbuckled and that he was masturbating.
The man made eye contact with the girl and said something to her in Spanish. She continued to walk past him and later notified police.
The man is described as Hispanic and about 25 years old. He was wearing a light blue T-shirt and gray pants. The girl said he had a shaved head and was clean-shaven. He stood about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds.
The man's vehicle was described as a white, older model pickup truck, possibly a Ford model, with gardening equipment in the back of the truck.
There have been no similar cases reported recently to Palo Alto police.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Palo Alto police at 650-329-2413.
— Bay City News Service
Fire season 'well underway'
State firefighters have responded to nearly 2,300 wildfires so far in 2022, burning nearly 11,000 acres, state and federal officials said Wednesday.
This year's fire season is "well underway," said Fire Chief Daniel Berlant, Cal Fire's deputy director of community wildfire preparedness and mitigation, during a virtual discussion Wednesday, which also included U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, California Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman and California Air Resources Board Deputy Executive Officer Chanell Fletcher.
Berlant noted that the state has seen fire weather mostly year-round in recent years due to rising seasonal temperatures and the west coast's ongoing drought.
As a result, the state is allocating hundreds of millions of dollars toward fire prevention projects and support for local governments in parts of the state that are most at risk of wildfires. On Wednesday, Cal Fire announced it would direct some $118 million toward 144 local wildfire prevention projects.
Padilla said federal legislators are also taking steps to prepare for future wildfires.
His FEMA Improvement, Reform and Efficiency (FIRE) Act would update the legislation governing the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to include wildfires alongside disasters the agency has always focused on like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.
The bill would also allow FEMA to pre-deploy resources in areas that are under red flag warnings.
According to Padilla, the U.S. Senate is currently considering the bill.
— Eli Walsh / Bay City News Foundation
This story contains 757 words.
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