PALO ALTO (KCBS) – A Bay Area developer is making Palo Alto an offer the city may not be able to refuse. It involves footing the bill for construction of a new, $65 million police headquarters.
Initially enticing, perhaps, but there are some strings attached.
Namely, Jay Paul told the Palo Alto City Council this week that he was prepared to pay for the police officers’ new digs, on the 300 block of Page Mill Rd., if the city would allow him to double the size of his entire proposed office complex plan.
Paul’s expansion plans exceed current zoning regulations, which is why he needs to win favor with the City Council. The city may, at its discretion, approve buildings beyond the scope of zoning limits if they provide some sort of public benefit to counterbalance any potential negative impact of the building.
“We would have to go through much more detailed analysis and look at the impacts that the project would have and whether it’s really the deal for the city that we want,” Palo Alto City Councilman Pat Burt reasoned. “But certainly…it is of interest to the council.”
KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:
One issue that was all but settled, in Burt’s opinion, is that the Palo Alto Police Department’s nearly 50-year-old headquarters needs attention.
“The space that they have today…they need almost double that space to have what is a proper police building size,” he said.
“They had outgrown their space many years ago and, on top of that, there are additional legal requirements for things like separation of juveniles from adults and issues around evidence storage,” explained Burt.
The current police headquarters also doesn’t meet today’s seismic safety standards.
In addition to Paul’s proposal, the city is also considering putting an infrastructure bond measure on the 2014 ballot to help fund construction on a new police headquarters.
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