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Stanford Report, June 4, 1997

Palo Alto Council tentatively okays revised Sand Hill Road plans

The Palo Alto City Council has given a preliminary thumbs-up to a scaled-down version of the multi-million-dollar Sand Hill Road development project.

After intense negotiations surrounding the controversial and long-delayed plan, the council on June 2 conceptually agreed to an 80,000-square-foot expansion of Stanford Shopping Center. It also voted to restrict development of a 139-acre piece of land until 2020 that includes part of Stanford's golf course.

University officials had originally requested a 160,000-square-foot expansion of the mall and wanted to hold future development only until 2010. The council's formal approval of the package is set for June 30, but it is expected the deal will be sent to voters in November.

"We find it a very satisfactory package and it resolves an issue that's been on the table for 30 years," says Larry Horton, Stanford's director of government and community relations.

The rest of the project calls for building 628 apartments for university employees along San Francisquito Creek. This development would include a child care center and a convenience store. There are also plans to build housing for seniors and a health care center on a site previously occupied by Children's Hospital.

The project would turn Sand Hill into a four-lane road from Santa Cruz Avenue to Arboretum Drive and build a two-lane extension from Arboretum to El Camino Real. The road now ends in the shopping center's parking lot.

The public has until June 9 to submit written comments on the project. Palo Alto Planning Director Ken Schreiber, who has been involved in the plan for decades, says he hopes the latest compromise will be accepted. "We have come up with a very good package that has a lot of benefits for the community," he says. SR