Feb 052017

Palo Alto City Council Meeting – Monday, Feb 13, 2017  6PM

Barron Square Owners and Residents are urged to attend or write to the Council to oppose the upzoning of the adjacent property at 4146 El Camino Real from RM-15 to RM-30.

Most, if not all, residents of Barron Square have received notices from the City of Palo Alto that the City Council will hold a Preliminary Review to Rezone the Vacant Property at 4146 El Camino Real, adjacent to Barron Square. As of this time, the plans submitted to the City are for 21 condominiums to be built on the 3/4 acre parcel with access from El Camino Real and under the building parking, essentially the same as was submitted to the Architectural Review Board in 2014.

Many of our current residents are new to Barron Square and may not be familiar with the history of the adjacent property, but clearly the upzoning of this property and the construction of a three-story block of houses could have a significant impact on Barron Square. An article describing the proposed project appeared here in 2014. The “Adjacent Property Committee” appointed by the Board has been monitoring the situation and one of the members, Ruth Lowy, has provided an excellent write-up on the history of the property and the problems we envision for the new development. Additonal documents are available:

Staff Report for February 13, 2017 City Council meeting.
Submitted Plan set for 4146 El Camino Real (very large document)

There are several basic questions which need to be considered:

Ingress/Egress to the property – The current design clearly indicates that access to the property will be via El Camino Real and NOT via Thain Way. Thain Way ENDS at the cul-de-sac adjacent to buildings 7 and 10 and the only point of connection which could be made is the 10′ section of fence which abuts the cul-de-sac. The current designs shows that at that point the adjacent property would be 10′ below ground level for under the building parking. So, in spite of the desire by the former head of the ARB for ‘connectivity between the communities’ and a bike path for the kids going to school, unless the laws of gravity are repealed, such a connection is not feasible. Both the fire lane from the cul-de-sac to the gate at El Camino and the parking area along building 10 are the PRIVATE property of Barron Square and not available for access.  

Privacy and Security – A number of residents have expressed concerns regarding access from El Camino Real to Thain Way via the new property.  Before the fire lane was gated and locked we experienced a considerable amount of vandalism and petty crime and recently there have been a number of autos vandalized and an attempted break in at one of the condominiums. Again, if the current design is maintained, the vertical separation of the properties will serve as a deterrent. We are also planning additional deterrents to entry from the El Camino side of the Barron Square property.

Zoning and Compatibility – Palo Alto Code, chapter 18.13.060 establishes “Multiple Family Context-Based Design Criteria” It states that “development in a multiple-family residential district shall be responsible to its context and compatible with adjacent development.” “Context” used in this section is intended to indicate relationships between the site’s development to adjacent street types, surrounding land uses, and on-site or nearby natural features, such as creeks or trees. Effective transitions to these adjacent uses and features are strongly reinforced by Comprehensive Plan policies…” “Compatibility” is achieved when the apparent scale and mass of new buildings share general characteristics and establishes design linkages with the overall buildings to maintain visual unity of the neighborhood or street.

The developer is currently asking for rezoning of the El Camino parcel from RM-15 (15 residential units per acre) to RM-30 to allow building 21 units. This would be a continuation of the disproportionate amount of high density development in the South Palo Alto area. 

The three-story buildings present a significant visual impact and encroachment on the daylight plane. One Barron Square owner has requested that a ‘daylight plane’ study be required to determine if there would be a detrimental effect on the residents in the nearby Barron Square buildings.

We urge all owners and residents at Barron Square review the facts here and express their opinions to the City Council.

The Adjacent Property committee is urging that we oppose the upzoning to RM-30 by writing to the City Council and/or attending the Council meeting on February 13th at 6PM. Council Chambers are located in the Civic Center at 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, CA. Carpooling is recommended if you plan to attend. 



 Posted by at 10:27 PM
Jan 242017

Amy Andonian, AvenidasPresident & CEO,
Paula Wolfson, LCSW, Director of AvenidasCare Partners,
Cindy Hofen, Managing Moves & MoreA BPA Meet and Learn Event

A Meet and Learn Event presented by Catherine Hendricks and the BPA

6.30PM TO 8.45PM

Barron Square Club House
4111 Thain Way, Palo Alto, CA 94306 (map)


6:30-6:50pm:  Amy Andonian, Avenidas President & CEO, will present an overview of the resources available at Avenidas, and tell you about the organization’s exciting plans for future growth. The nonprofit’s innovative programs and compassionate staff—paid and volunteer—help enrich the lives of more than 8,500 mature adults and their families each year.
6:50-7:00pm: Q&A

7:00-7:30pm: Resources for Aging in Place (Paula Wolfson, LCSW, Director of AvenidasCare Partners)

  • Proactive Planning Starts Now: Organizing Important Documents
  • Do Not Go It Alone: Building Your Networks of Support: Family, Friends, Medical Providers
  • Hiring and Evaluating Professional Help in the Home: Skilled vs. Non-Skilled Care
  • Navigating Hospital Stays: How to Appeal an Unsafe Discharge

7:30-7:45pm: Q&A

7:45-8:15pm: How to Downsize/Move Out of Your Home (Cindy Hofen, Managing Moves & More)

Often times, even though you want to move,the thought of organizing and downsizing can stop your progress. Don’t become paralyzed by your belongings! Minimizing brings freedom and the items that are left are those you truly love.Whether you have plans to move in the near future or simply looking for inspiration to downsize, declutter, and organize your home, this session is for you. We’ll present tips to get you motivated and easy places to start in your home.

8:15-8:30pm: Q&A

Please RSVP if you plan to attend. REGISTER HERE


 Posted by at 8:48 PM
Dec 022016

It looks like our contractors, AC Enterprises, are going to finish their work on schedule. The dry rot repairs, except for the decks that need to be replaced, are finished and the painters should wrap up their work in the next 2 weeks. Combined with the lighting replacement project, Barron Square should have a fresh new look for the holidays.

Now is the time we need your help…

Please look around your unit and let us know if there is anything which seems to have been missed or improperly done. Please note that some dry rot problems were deemed to be insignificant AT THIS TIME and could be deferred until the next painting cycle in 7 years. If you see something which you feel needs attention, please fill out the inspection form and send it to PML as soon as possible so we can notify the contractor.

Fence painting

The contract specifies that the contractor will paint the EXTERIOR side of all fences AND the DIVIDING fences between adjacent patios. According to the CC&Rs:

Each Owner shall maintain and keep in repair everything in his Unit and shall have the…right to paint or decorate the interior surface of the backyard fence, subject to the prior written approval of color by the Board.

If you have painted or stained your side of the dividing fence and wish to maintain it that way or if you have plantings which you can not remove for painting, please notify PML and/or the contractor as soon as possible. Otherwise, please move all obstructions so that the painters can access the dividing fences for painting.

The Board thanks you for your cooperation and patience during this project.

 Posted by at 11:21 PM
Mar 022016

The 2016 Annual Meeting and Potluck of the Barron Park Association will be held on Sunday, March 6, 2016 from 2PM to 4PM in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Barron Park Elementary School. All residents of Barron Park are welcome to attend. Feel free to bring cookies and snacks to share, the BPA will bring coffee and tea, and we’ll make a potluck out of it! (If you bring a dish to share, please label the ingredients to help people with allergies.)
There will be free babysitting available in an adjacent room, if there is demand. If you are interested, please let us know how many children you will be dropping off by sending an email to GLuce@cbnorcal.com.
The featured topic of this year’s meeting will be a panel discussion on Sustainability and Climate Change in Palo Alto. Following the discussion there will an added Q&A session on Neighborhood Safety.

Palo Alto’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan

Gil Friend, M.S., Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Palo Alto

Gil will talk about the city’s emerging Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, and how Palo Alto can continue to lead the state—and the country—on climate strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), and improve quality of life, prosperity and resilience.

Gil FriendGil is a pioneer in the field of sustainability, and has extensive experience leading and developing strategic sustainability practices for cities and companies across the globe. Friend is founder and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc., a leading strategy firm helping companies build value at the intersection of business and sustainability. For the past 22 years, Friend has developed sustainability strategies and roadmaps for companies in the technology, food, energy, retail, apparel and other sectors. He developed green product rating systems for two large retail companies, led integrated eco-audits for more than 100 diverse manufacturing companies, and developed and delivered sustainability training for leadership teams associated with large public sector organizations.

Adapting to San Francisco Bay’s Shoreline to Sea Level Rise

Matt Brennan, PhD, PE, Environmental Science Associates

After a brief primer on sea level rise causes, projections, and Bay-area vulnerabilities, Matt will discuss adaption measures that integrate traditional flood protection with natural measures such as managed retreat and ‘horizontal’ levees. He’ll also outline the goals and objectives of the Strategy to Advance Flood protection, Ecosystems and Recreation along the Bay (SAFER Bay) Project, which is developing shoreline protection for Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park.

Matt Brennan PhD PEMatt Brennan, PhD, PE, is an engineering hydrologist who focuses on understanding and managing estuaries and coasts for habitat, flood control, and water quality. Matt assists natural resource managers and public agencies resolve current issues and improve resiliency in the face of ongoing sea level rise.


Matt’s projects include:

  • assessing coastal flood hazard and integrating habitat restoration into Palo Alto’s, East Palo Alto’s, and Menlo Park’s Bay shoreline flood protection
  • adaptively managing the mouth of the Russian River for steelhead habitat
  • developing sea level rise design guidance for Redwood City’s Inner Harbor
  • assessing sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation strategies for the City of Mountain View

Adaptive Response to Rising Tides – Palo Alto Flood Basin

Chuck Anderson, PE, Schaaf & Wheeler

The majority of Palo Alto’s stormwater flows through the Palo Alto Flood Basin on its way to the Bay. Chuck will summarize a recent study he conducted for the Santa Clara Valley Water District which assessed storm surge and sea level rise impacts on the Flood Basin. The study considers and recommends adaptive responses to the growing vulnerabilities of the Flood Basin to sea level rise.

Charles Anderson PECharles D. Anderson, PE has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of groundwater and surface water hydrology, flood control and drainage, water supply and distribution, and wastewater collection and pumping. He is involved in all the phases of project management and implementation from project feasibility through to design development, construction document preparation, and construction support. On behalf of public and private clients he has completed numerous FEMA flood insurance studies and letters of map change. Mr. Anderson is familiar with the Adobe Creek, Barron Creek, Matadero Creek and San Francisqito Creek watersheds and has designed two major storm water pump stations for the City of Palo Alto.

Special Q&A Session – Neighborhood Safety

Dennis Burns, Chief of Police, City of Palo Alto

10254_fullBurns, a 33-year veteran of the Palo Alto Police Department, started his career in the Palo Alto in 1982. He has worked all patrol shifts and served as a Field Training Officer, a detective, a detective supervisor and a crime-prevention officer. He was promoted assistant police chief in 2007 and became interim police chief in 2008 and was appointed chief in 2009. Burns holds a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from San Jose State and a master’s degree in Public Administration from University of San Francisco


 Posted by at 9:32 PM