Initiative to stop sale of city land without a vote will appear on November ballot

Los Altos officials wanted to give city property to Los Altos Community Investments to build this 77,000-square-foot office building on First Street last year. The development company, headed by Anne Wojcicki, pulled the proposal last October. But a citizens initiative that has qualified for the November ballot will require all similar sales of city land to receive voter approval. Illustration by EHDD Architecture of San Francisco.
Los Altos officials wanted to give city property to Los Altos Community Investments to build this 77,000-square-foot office building on First Street last year. The development company, headed by Anne Wojcicki, pulled the proposal last October. But a citizens initiative that has qualified for the November ballot will require all similar sales of city land to receive voter approval. Illustration by EHDD Architecture of San Francisco.

By the Daily Post staff

A group of Los Altos residents have collected more than the necessary number of signatures to put an item on the November ballot that would stop the city from selling more than 7,500 square feet of public land without voter approval.

The group Pro Parks Los Altos said it collected more than 2,900 signatures on initiative petitions, though only 1,943 signatures — 10% of the registered voters in Los Altos — were required. The county Registrar of Voters has certified the initiative, which paves the way to the November ballot.

“We are overwhelmed by the response of local citizens,” said Jim Jolly, a retired businessman and leader of Pro Parks. “We are not professional politicians and we did this with volunteers in just 19 days. We found overwhelming support. Many people signed and then asked if they too could volunteer to help.”

The initiative follows an attempt by Anne Wojcicki’s development company, Los Altos Community Investments, to build a 77,000-square-foot office building at 101-151 First St. and on a 14,200-portion of a city-owned parking plaza. The project was called First Street Green.

Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe and wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, pulled the proposal on Oct. 11 after strong public opposition.

The Pro Parks initiative would prevent the use of city land in development projects without a vote of residents.

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