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2 COVER STORY Veronica Weber BALANCING Construction crews work on building the first of four stories at Lytton Gateway, an office development at the intersection of Alma Street and Lytton Avenue in Palo Alto. BENEFITS by Gennady Sheyner PALO ALTO TRIES TO TACKLE ITS MOST UNRULY PLANNING PROBLEM R oaring drills and clanging hammers mixed with blaring rock music at Alma Village in Palo Alto on April 1 as workers in hard hats pounded nails and screws into the plywood skeletons of future homes. Once completed, the row of houses will signify the completion of a long-debated development at Alma Street near East Meadow Drive. Across a paved parking lot from these houses, a very different story is unfolding. Miki’s Farm Fresh Market, which last fall signified the revival of the defunct shopping center, was in the last gasp of its short-lived existence. About a dozen customers walked past the half-empty shelves and abandoned aisles inside the grocery store, taking advantage of the going-out-of-business sale. A few workers organized the remaining cans and jars; another one wiped down the empty, movable shelves in the barren Seafood section. The market, which was founded by former Berkeley Bowl manager Michael “Miki” Werness, aspired last year to be a smaller version of the venerable Berkeley grocer. It went out of business in less than six months. Alma Village, formerly known as Alma Plaza, is perhaps Palo Alto’s most famous, or infamous, example of “planned community” zoning, a designation that allows builders to bypass zoning (continued on page 47) ÜÜÜ°*>œÌœ"˜ˆ˜i°Vœ“ÊUÊ*>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞÊUÊÊ«ÀˆÊ£Ó]ÊÓä£ÎU Page 45

Palo Alto Weekly 04.12.2013 - Section 2

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