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Los Altos Drops Battle Against State Permitting Rules

Mark Potterton
A new development will proceed in Los Altos after the city council decided fighting it would be too big of a financial risk

In what’s seen as a winfor the state’s new streamlined permitting process, the city of Los Altos has decided to allow a controversial new mixed-use building to move forward. 

Los Altos’ city council will green-light a housing and office development Thursday evening — after almost two years of fighting it.

The city had refused to apply permitting standards established by the state in 2018. That law exempts developers from many of the usual mandatory and local reviews.

The developer, 40 Main Street LLC, sued the city in 2018. A state court in Santa Clara County decided in favor of the developers this Spring.

Los Altos appealed the decision and had to put up a $7 million bond, which they would forfeit if they lost.

The council caved over the weekend noting that a costly loss could severely impact the City’s ability to provide even basic municipal services.

Sarah Lai Stirland is a freelance journalist and editor living in the South Bay. Her reporting background is in technology, science writing, law and policy. For the past few years, she's written about issues related to aging.