Residents who live in Los Gatos' Charter Oaks community have begun a petition drive to get town officials to make the developer of the future Netflix location at Albright Way and Winchester Boulevard to install so-called "story poles" to better assess the height of the proposed four buildings.
The project went before the Los Gatos Planning Commission this week and Charter Oaks resident Anne Robinson spoke before the body to express concerns about the inability of neighbors to evaluate the project's impact.
Robinson specifically wants story poles installed on the east side of what she calls building four, at the southeast corner of building three, which borders the Charter Oaks community and on the south side of the parking structure where it also borders the Charter Oaks community.
The project proposes to build up to 550,000 square feet of office/research and development space and one parking garage where currently 10 buildings are located at what's been commonly called the Los Gatos Business Park at 90-160 Albright Way and 14600 Winchester Blvd.
Developer John Shenk said in December Netflix had signed a 10-year lease for the project's first building to accommodate the giant Internet streaming company's growth needs.
The company, which has been headquartered in Los Gatos since March 1999, is hoping to expand from its current campus at 100 Winchester Circle, into the future development.
"Without story poles we cannot fully understand how the project will affect our privacy and our vistas including the occupants of the buildings ability to look into our homes, patios, and property. I don’t know how to evaluate the lighting that will emanate from the buildings at night," she told the Commission.
Los Gatos Town Manager Greg Larson said staff has not approved any exception to the story pole policy related to the development. However, staff notified the Los Gatos Town Council that the developer wanted an exeption. The Council heard the matter on Nov. 5.
The Council approved the developer's exception with modifications to ensure adequate public notice and visualization of the project, Larson said.
By a 4-0 vote, the Council voted to allow the use of a cherry picker, or crane-with-mesh, proposal as the developer had suggested and exploration of photo and video simulation.
Robinson said more than 40 people in her neighborhood have signed the petition asking for the story poles. The buildings' proposed height is 65 feet.
Daughter Kaitlin Eastland and friend Bryan Maghribi folded bright orange fliers this week at Los Gatos Boulevard Coffee to distribute to town residents so they could sign the petition asking town officials to install the story poles.
The petition form is located in the Charter Oaks pool house, she said. "Right now these buildings are supposed to be four stories and the only other building like that in Los Gatos is the Netflix building. It doesn't match the other structures in town," Eastland said.
"We'd like to get these buildings down to two stories, if possible, at least for building four ... My mom doesn't want me to be around the fumes and the toxic stuff that will come from the construction."
Maghribi, 24, said he was also worried about the "continuing development of Los Gatos."
"I just wish it would stop. We're just going to increase the density, the traffic in town and it's not going to seem as appealing anymore," Maghribi.
The project's draft environmental impact report is available for public review until 5 p.m. March 14.
Just weeks before the legal challenge was filed, a divided Council voted 3-2 in favor of the development.