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February 27, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, February 27, 2004

City, neighbors pleased so far with Emporium plans City, neighbors pleased so far with Emporium plans (February 27, 2004)

Council will consider proposal later this year

By Grace Rauh

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation won a warm welcome from Mountain View City Council members and their prospective neighbors earlier this week, when architectural plans for the foundation's proposed facility were presented at a study session on Tuesday.

The foundation is looking to build a medical facility on the old Emporium site on El Camino Real. However, it requires council approval because it is not currently zoned for medical offices.

On Tuesday, council members expressed approval for the architectural plans of the new building, but added they would not be making any official decisions on the project in the near future.

The proposed facility is currently two stories tall, but several council members said they would be open to adding an additional story to the building.

"This really is an island," said Council member Rosemary Stasek of the old Emporium site. She would have opposed adding additional stories if the facility were closer to residential housing or other buildings, she said.

Neighbors of the Emporium site, who previously campaigned against Home Depot moving in, were also supportive of the foundation's plans.

Myrna Goldman, who has lived behind the old Emporium site for 16 years, called the vacant department store an eyesore. Goldman believes the foundation's new clinic would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

"They have been a cornerstone of medical care going back decades," she said to the council. "I urge you to consider their proposal seriously."

Plans to place the facility near the busy road were well received by the city staff and architectural consultants. The 9.14-acre property the foundation is hoping to develop is bounded by El Camino Real, The Americana Way, Continental Circle and Highway 85. Before breaking ground on the project, the city will have to amend its zoning, which is currently retail and office buildings only.

A more thorough environmental report will be conducted. Then the Environmental Planning Commission will review the proposal in August, and the city council will consider it in November.

E-mail Grace Rauh at grauh@mv-voice.com


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