Council members lauded its eco-friendly design, its addition of a bike path and the tax revenues that the city would receive from the new development.
The proposed development differs markedly from the last Mercedes dealership that the council approved for the site in 2019 and another one it had considered in 2016. While those buildings were each slated to be more than 50,000 square feet in area and four stories in height, the new one is mostly a one-story building with a section that goes up to two stories and a total of 35,195 square feet of development.
Its horizontal layout, plus features such as a living wall and bird-safe windows, all nod to the building's location near the Baylands.
The dealership also would include a bike path that would run across its property, offering an improved passage into the Baylands. The city required the bike path in recognition of the fact that the dealership, as an inherently auto-oriented development, would be unable to meet the city's transportation-demand-management targets.
Council member Greer Stone cited the long history of proposed dealerships at this site. The new development, he said, is proof that the process can sometimes lead to superior projects.
City seeks greater say in Stanford growth plan
As Santa Clara County prepares to adopt a new plan to govern Stanford University's growth, Palo Alto officials are pushing for more housing, expanded shuttle services and a seat at the table in the coming negotiations.
The county Board of Supervisors is scheduled to start reviewing next week the proposed update to the existing Stanford Community Plan. The 2000 document, which aims to encourage compact development, created a "housing linkage" policy that requires Stanford to construct housing concurrent to or prior to academic development.
The updated version would significantly firm up this requirement by requiring that most of the new housing be built on Stanford's campus or on contiguous Stanford-owned lands in Palo Alto. The requirement was prompted by concerns from surrounding cities about the university buying up properties that are then rented exclusively to Stanford affiliates.
On Monday, as the City Council heard a presentation from county consultants about the ongoing update, the issue of where Stanford would be required to build the housing and who would be allowed to live there loomed large in the discussion.
Geoff Bradley, principal at M-Group, which is leading the update, noted that the university has only built 60 housing units for faculty and staff since the current Stanford Community Plan was adopted 22 years ago, even as it added about 4,400 student beds over that span.
The county Board of Supervisors is set to discuss the proposed changes to the Stanford Community Plan on Dec. 13.
Bill looks to transform parking lots into energy generators
Seeking to transform parking lots across the state into generators of clean energy, state Sen. Josh Becker introduced a bill this week that would offer tax incentives for companies to build solar canopies on their properties.
Known as Senate Bill 49, the bill targets stores like Walmart, whose spacious parking lots Becker sees as potential sites for solar canopies. By driving solar projects into these types of areas, Becker said, the state can lessen the need to construct solar farms in rural areas.
Meanwhile, commercial parking lots today are among some of the most inefficient examples of land use in the state, Becker said. SB 49 would both allow these lots to generate clean energy. And because the lots are already in urban and suburban areas, the installations would obviate the need to construct.
In his announcement, Becker touted the potential of parking lots to help the state reach its goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045. He cited a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that found that pavement makes up between 35% and 50% of total surface areas in cities and that 40% of that pavement is parking lots.
He noted that if half of the state's parking lots were covered with solar canopies, that would provide 13 gigawatts of power, or more than 10% of the 110 gigawatts that the city needs to meet its 2045 target.
The bill is set to go through the Legislature's hearing process in early 2023.
This story contains 730 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a member, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Membership start at $12 per month and may be cancelled at any time.