News Update - 4/4/2017
Following a hearing on February 13 regarding the property owner’s appeal of the City citations for a zoning violation (absence of a grocery store) at Edgewood Plaza, the hearing officer has ruled that the amount of the penalties imposed by the city are justified. The officer ordered the property owner to pay the cumulative penalty of $248,250 and ruled that the penalties imposed by the City are justified and no reduction is necessary. The respondent has 20 days to appeal the ruling.
News Update - 2/1/2017
*IMPORTANT HEARING TIME AND LOCATION CHANGE*
News Update - 12/21/2016
On December 21, 2016, the City received a letter contesting additional citations associated with the zoning violation (absence of a grocery store) at Edgewood Plaza. As noted in the December 1 news update, the property owner’s appeal of the City’s citations will result in a hearing to be conducted by an independent hearing officer. The appeal hearing had been tentatively scheduled for January 10, 2017, but has now been postponed to a later date that has yet to be determined. The City will continue to keep interested stakeholders informed via this web page.
News Update - 12/01/2016
On November 21, 2016 the City received a letter, which contests both the violation of Palo Alto Municipal Code Section 18.38 for which the property owner was cited and the accompanying administrative penalties for that violation. The letter also requests a hearing to appeal those paid penalties, which were $1,000 per day. The City expects to receive additional letter(s) requesting additional hearing(s) following the issuance and payment of increased administrative penalties of $5,000 per day, which will begin this week.
Consistent with provisions of the City’s Municipal Code, the property owner’s request for an appeal will result in a hearing to be conducted by an independent hearing officer. The date of the hearing has tentatively been set for January 10, 2017 in the Community Room at City Hall at a time to be determined. After the hearing, the hearing officer may conclude the hearing or continue it and request additional information. Following the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer must issue a written decision within 30 days. The hearing officer’s decision may not be appealed further, but is subject to judicial review. In other words, either party may pursue the matter further in court. The City Attorney’s office will prepare a written response in advance of the hearing.
News Update - 9/26/2016
There is still no resolution to the long-running zoning violation resulting from the absence of a grocery tenant at Edgewood Plaza. As a result, City Manager Jim Keene recently sent a letter to the developer, Sand Hill Property Company, which is available here, and on October 4, 2016, he will be asking the City Council to increase the daily penalty that is being charged for this violation.
News Update - 6/16/2016 at 9 a.m.
Based on recent conversations with Edgewood Shopping Center property owner representatives, the City has learned that The Fresh Market and Lucky Supermarkets are in negotiations to establish a Lucky grocery store at the center. Longtime residents may recall Lucky once being located at the site.
News Update - 4/20/2016 at 1:22 p.m.
The City learned recently that Andronico’s will not be opening at Edgewood Plaza. What appeared to be a promising agreement between Fresh Market and Andronico’s fell apart at the last minute. This is unfortunate. The City was not involved in the negotiations and does not have access to the specific terms of any agreement. Sand Hill Property Company has informed the City that it is now exploring other possible grocers. Sand Hill Property Company continues to be in breach of its agreement with the City to establish and maintain a grocery store at this location as required by the City Council approved Planned Community ordinance. The grocery store is one of several community benefits provided to the neighborhood in exchange for certain development rights. On September 30, 2015, the City began assessing penalties to the property owner for violating the terms of the Planned Community ordinance. A recent accounting of the fees assessed to the property owner for this violation was $193,250. To date, the City has collected $179,250. Sand Hill Property Company has been responding with timely payments. City staff are exploring options to encourage a resolution to this violation and anticipates making a report to the Council within the next several months.
News Update - 9/30/2015 at 5:30 p.m.
On Sept. 30, the City issued a citation for violation of an ordinance that requires the continued operation of a grocery store at Edgewood Plaza. In March 2015, Fresh Market ceased operation, and no new grocery store has been established since that time. There have been recent news reports about Adronico’s locating at the site, but the City has not received any official notification from the grocer.
News Update - 8/24/2015 at 3:30 p.m.
Starting on September 30, daily fines up to $1,000/day will be assessed against the property owner for its failure to find a suitable replacement market. The fee is set by code and that is the maximum allowed by the code. College Terrace was a different situation, since during discussions about a grocery store to replace JJ&F, there was a restrictive covenant put in place (with the approval of the property owner) that increased the penalty to $2,000/day if the replacement tenant left and another grocery store was not put in place within 6 months. Download the letter from City of Palo to property owner representatives regarding non-compliance.
The recent closure of the Fresh Market at Edgewood Plaza has prompted a number of questions from the community, most particularly about the requirement of the developer (Sand Hill Property Company) to ensure that another grocery story occupies the site. The City’s ordinances that provided Sand Hill Property Company the right to develop their site mandates a series of “public benefits” that includes providing a grocery store in the 20,600 square foot building. The owner is obligated now to find a grocery store to occupy the Edgewood store, and to ensure that the building continues to be used for that purpose.
Although the ordinance itself does not specify a penalty for non-compliance, the City does have a penalty schedule that could be applied if necessary of $500 per day, escalating to $1,000 per day, for zoning violations. The ordinance (5224) does state that that the public benefit outlines that the building be must “primarily used for grocery store uses”.
In terms of timing, the City is following a similar protocol as it did with the College Terrace Center market developer by allowing six months for a new grocery store to be put in place. City staff have sent several letters to Sand Hill Property Company requesting information on their plans for the space with a reminder about potential daily penalties. The six month period will end in September.
It is possible that the owner of the property could propose an alternate use for the building, but would have to apply for a change to the zoning ordinances, which would be a public process and require City Council approval. At a minimum, the City would have to consider whether the new tenant meets the requirements of the current ordinances.
Sign up below to receive an email from the City of Palo Alto on any new information on the status of Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center.
Edgewood Plaza Project Documents
Click here to view project documents.
For additional information, please contact the Code Enforcement Lead, James Stephens at (650) 329-2428 or via email.