Saturday, September 28, 2013

Another View and Update on Butcher’s Corner

Here is how Butcher’s Corner might look if an eight story building were built next to the condo’s on Fremont Ave.  This photo was shown at City Council on Sept 10th.  You can see the difference in mass.

Ed Cramer's slide:

Holly Lofgren, from the Butcher’s Corner group says that while the developer proposed a structure that is ‘up in the clouds’, the neighbors want something ‘subterranean’.  She says there is no way that 6-7 stories will ever come close to fitting the area.

The group is proposing strongly that annexation be delayed.  The reason is that the audience learned in the Sept 10th hearing that if the property were annexed at this time, there is a state law that prohibits changes to its zoning for two years.  The property will require a number of zoning and planning ‘reconciliations’ so this would tie the hands of the council to act on our behalf – not good!

Update – Next year’s council will decide on the details of the use permit for this property.  It won’t be brought forward until then.  So, consider whom you want to make these decisions.

Butcher's corner with 10 story apt

(Update: 9/28/2013 - For another view of what this might look like, see: )

What would Butcher's Corner look like with a 10 story apt. on it?  I don't know of a 10 story apt. complex in Sunnyvale but there is one in Cupertino on Steven's Creek off of De Anza Blvd. so I photographed it and tried to superimpose it on the current Butcher's corner.

Current Butcher's Corner from the 7-11 across the street:

Butcher's Corner with the Cupertino 10 story apt. building superimposed:

Obviously this isn't a professional editing job but gives you an idea of scale.  If anything, I think the apt. is a little smaller scale than it should be since it is next to a 2 story townhouse, and if you measure 5 of those townhouses on top of each other to get a 10-story building, you go above the superimposed apt. picture.

Many I've talked to think the 10-story apt. building is just an opening bid, so that if it gets scaled back to "merely" 6-7 stories, everyone will think it was a great victory for community action.

Some are afraid that if the whole project is postponed until after the election, a pro-development city council will pass it right on through without question.  Eleanor Hansen has framed this election as a referendum on building density at her web site here:

Jeni Pfieffer has characterized candidate Larson as uninvolved in community action against higher density contrary to a local editorial:

Sunnyvale Political Web Sites

The Sunnyvale branch of the Palo Alto Medical Facility (PAMF) was a controversial building project that neighbors felt was too big.  It got scaled back after much work by neighborhood volunteers and Gustav Larson apparently is trying to claim credit.  Jeni Pfieffer has done a nice job in refuting his assertion of involvement here:

Gustav Larson is consistent in his advocacy of building more, building higher, and building more densely.  In this he is associated with Candidate (incumbent) James Griffith.

Eleanor Hansen has characterized this election as a referendum on growth policies with a number of articles on her web site here:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Butcher's Corner Shadows Pt 2 - Winter

The Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun in Winter so shadows are longer and days are shorter.  The previous shadow analysis was done for Summer. (edit 9/22/2013 : corrected time zone error)

This one is for Winter, 12/21/2013, Sunrise 7:19 AM, Sunset 4:54 PM: (if you click on a photo you should get a bigger picture in a slide show.  You can right click and "save" it to your own computer as well.)

8 AM Dec 21, 2013 - 919 Ft Shadow of 100 ft Building
Sun's Elevation 6 Degrees, Azimuth 126 degrees
10 AM Dec 21, 2013 - 243 Ft Shadow of 100 ft Building
Sun's Elevation 22 Degrees, Azimuth 149 degrees

12 PM Dec 21, 2013 179 ft Shadow, Sun's elevation 29 deg., azimuth 178 deg.
It would appear that some neighbors would not see the sun until around 12 PM.
See data from Spreadsheet using data from US Govt. agency, NOAA's web site:

Time (PST) Angle of Elevation Tan (Elevation) Shadow of  75 ft Bldg Shadow of  100 ft Bldg Azimuth
8:00 AM 6.2 0.11 689 919 125.8
9:00 AM 15.1 0.27 278 371 136.4
10:00 AM 22.4 0.41 182 243 148.7
11:00 AM 27.3 0.52 145 194 162.9
12:00 PM 29.2 0.56 134 179 178.3
1:00 PM 28.0 0.53 141 188 193.9
2:00 PM 23.6 0.44 172 229 208.4
3:00 PM 16.8 0.30 248 331 221.2
4:00 PM 8.2 0.14 519 692 232.1

Shadows of Butcher's Corner Development

(Edit 9/22/2013:  This is for Summer shadows.  The Winter shadow analysis is here:
Time zone error is corrected.)

The sun's elevation above the horizon in degrees and it's
azimuth (degrees clockwise from North = 0 degrees) for any location are available at:

Based on this, using June 20, 2013 (Pacific Daylight Time) for Butcher's Corner and using the following trigonometric method I calculated the shadow cast by a building of 75 ft and 100 ft

The results from a spread-sheet are:

Time (PDT) Angle of Elevation Tan (Elevation) Shadow of  75 ft Bldg Shadow of  100 ft Bldg Azimuth
6:00 AM 1.7 0.03 2604 3472 61.1
7:00 AM 12.2 0.22 347 463 69.7
8:00 AM 23.6 0.44 172 229 77.7
9:00 AM 35.4 0.71 106 141 85.9
10:00 AM 47.3 1.08 69 92 95.1
11:00 AM 59.0 1.66 45 60 107.4
12:00 PM 69.6 2.69 28 37 128.0
1:00 PM 75.9 3.98 19 25 170.8
2:00 PM 72.4 3.15 24 32 221.3
3:00 PM 65.6 2.20 34 45 247.3
4:00 PM 51.1 1.24 61 81 261.4
5:00 PM 39.3 0.82 92 122 271.3
6:00 PM 27.4 0.52 145 193 279.7
7:00 PM 15.9 0.28 263 351 287.7
8:00 PM 4.9 0.09 875 1166 296.0

Selected results overlayed on a photo-map of the area are seen below:
(edit 9/21/13: the earth tilts on its axis of rotation so during the Summer when it is tilting towards the Sun, the Sun appears to rise East of North East and set West of North West.  So the early shadow will be a bit South as well as mostly West.)

For a 100 ft building at 7 AM
Shadow of 100 ft building at 7 AM PDT, Sun at 12 deg. elevation, 70 deg azimuth

For a 100 ft building at 9 AM

For 100 ft building at 10 AM

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Butcher's Corner 5 - Traffic

The 7-8 story building at the Corner of Wolfe and Fremont will not improve the traffic situation.  The following pictures were taken by Steve Sarette.  The captions are his:
El Camino in front of Butcher’s, looking east. Red arrow is property corner. Driveway is for the Cascades.

Wolfe in front of Butcher’s, looking north

Wolfe, looking south to El Camino

Wolfe & Fremont, looking at east-bound Fremont traffic

East-bound Fremont, looking at Wolfe. Turn bay is for Butcher’s.

North-bound Wolfe, looking at Fremont Ave. Southern-most driveway for Wendy’s 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Butcher's Corner Developer's Plan

Below are photos of the 8 pages of the developer's preliminary plans for Butcher's Corner.  (If you click on a drawing it should come up in a "slide show").  You can also download the images by right-clicking and selecting "Save Image As..."

The "Shadow Analysis" drawing seems misleading.  An hourly shadow analysis should be done.  There is a Sunnyvale City Ordinance:

This limits the shadow buildings can cast to enable rooftop solar installations.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Butcher's Corner - 3.

From Holly Lofgren on "NextDoor" - edited for length:

How each Council member helped out or didn’t seem to help out: 

Councilmember Meyering: Made it clear that there is no reason we ‘have’ to annex the property. If it is left under the County, it likely won’t be built. 

Councilmember Whittum: Made it clear that the cost to annex after January 1st is ~$5k-$10k if the county even charges the City of Sunnyvale anything. He later made the motion to ask for a study session to specifically consider down-zoning to R2. 

Councilmember Griffith: Made it clear that once annexed, things do change as a pre-zoned property becomes zoned and that we would want to make our changes prior to annexation. 

Mayor Spitaleri: Was reluctant to study down-zoning to R2 until the process with the developer/neighbor meetings occurred. 

Councilmember Moylan: Thought we should annex and then deal with trying to down-zoning (even though it was made clear that this would be far more difficult to achieve.) 

Councilmember Martin-Milius: Was reluctant to consider down-zoning to R2 until the process with the developer/neighbor meetings occurred. 

Councilmember Davis: Made it clear that R3, the preliminary plans and the ECPP have differences the council would have to rectify. Thought we should annex and then deal with trying to down-zone (even though it was made clear that this would be far more difficult to achieve.) 

In the end, the vote was 3 to 4 to study down-zoning to R2 at this time. The motion failed. 

Meyering, Whittum, Griffith AYE 

Spitaleri, Moylan, Martin-Milius, Davis NAY 

Butcher's Corner 2

From Holly Lofgren (on "NextDoor"): (edited for length)

As you are probably aware, the 5.3 acre property on the corner of El Camino and Fremont known as Butcher’s Corner, has been sold to a real estate developer, De Anza Properties.

We have seen a proposed development package, have heard about 196 housing units plus 45,000 square feet of retail space and have all heard many rumors about 7 and 10 story buildings. See one plan submittal

and the SV Business Journal article

Here is what I believe was learned/accomplished (at the study session).
a) Council and residents heard a staff report that explained a lot of the technical information. Some highlights were that the El Camino Precise Plan allows up to 75 feet. The El Camino Precise Plan calls for a required FAR of 20% commercial space which is what is driving the 45,000 square feet of retail. 

b) Staff said that the El Camino Plan does not actually call out density, but its vision calls for a) a mixed-use corridor, b) a transit corridor, c) a handsome street, d) the importance of the interfaces between lower density and higher density groups. 

c) Staff said an EIR would be required 
d) Staff said that the Tapadera condo’s do not qualify for the ‘no more than 30’ in height for a distance of 75’ from the property line’ requirement that is made for single family residential since they are multi-family residential. 
e) R3 supports 125 units. The preliminary plans are way above that, so an up-zone to R4 would be required. R3 is not automatically consistent with the vision laid out in the ECPP, and council would have to rectify the policy differences. 
f) Staff said that the options for lowering the zoning were to initiate a study and perhaps revise the zoning and/or the El Camino Precise Plan now, down-zone with the annexation or down-zone after annexation. However, after annexation, state law says that you may not change zoning for two years after annexation unless substantial changes are found. Substantial changes could be an EIR finding. 
g) The applicant submitted a pre-application and staff produced a PRC, Project Review Committee report which was circulated yesterday that the council members obviously were not aware of. Hhhmmm. 

People spoke about a general dissatisfaction with the developments going into Sunnyvale and residents not being heard. Some people asked for down-zoning to R2 prior to annexation.

Mr. John Vidovich appeared and spoke. He said the R4 and mixed-use is a challenge, he said the site has difficult El Camino access, he said he really wanted to work with the Kingfisher Terrace residents on a solution and even offered an orchard buffer zone as a possible solution, he said he preferred not to do an EIR, he said he wanted to do a quality development. 

Butcher's Corner - 1.

The Following are from Holly Lofgren's presentation to the City Planning Commission