The proposed project is the redistribution of 115,000 square feet (sq. ft.) from the East Campus District to the Quarry District of the Stanford 2000 GUP, for the purpose of constructing a Center for Academic Medicine (CAM) facility, a new approximately 155,000 sq. ft. (153,821 sq. ft. per Stanford GUP calculations) 4 story building with 3 levels of underground parking (approximately 290,000 sq. ft.). This building will predominantly be an office and administrative building to house School of Medicine faculty and their associated administrative staff; with ancillary café and fitness center. The proposed underground parking will include 585 new parking spaces.
The height of building is proposed to be approximately 62 feet tall and includes two wings, a north wing and a south wing, which are connected at the upper two stories with a third wing, surrounding a large courtyard space facing the Arboretum ( a historic botanical garden on Stanford campus). The primary wing of the building faces Quarry Road and proposes a roof assembly similar to the roofs of surrounding School of Medicine buildings. The structure will be primarily limestone with a matching precase and terra cotta cladding built-in at the entry commons and along a portion of the building base to fit in with the surrounding historic Stanford architecture. The courtyard facades are designed to provide views to the Stanford Arboretum.
Nine native trees (non-oaks), and seventeen non-native trees (non-oaks) 12 inches or more in diameter are proposed for removal. The native trees include 2 California bay trees and 7 California sycamore trees. Nineteen oak trees are proposed to be relocated on-site. Landscape plans show twenty-seven non oak trees to be planted on-site (See tree removal and landscape plans - Attachment D).
The project includes grading of 950 cubic yards of cut, and 1,810 cubic yards of fill for landscaping, surface parking and driveway access improvements. 203,350 cubic yards of grading is associated with the building pad (3 levels of underground parking).
The building area currently is an existing flat surface parking lot that contains 245 parking spaces. There will be a net increase of 585 parking spaces due to the replacement of this surface parking with the proposed underground parking capacity of 830 parking spaces.
The project site is adjacent to a historical resource – Stanford Arboretum, which is a botanical garden on campus. Adjacent land uses include the Psychiatry Building with a parking lot to the north of the site, a surface parking lot immediately adjacent to the south, Quarry Road and parking lots for Stanford Barn, Stanford Hospital and Stanford Shopping Center to the west, and Stanford Arboretum to the east.
REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION
California Environmental Quality Act, Addendum to 2000 General Use Permit (GUP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
The proposed project is in conformance with both the 2000 Stanford Community Plan and General Use Permit (2000 GUP), and has no new environmental impacts beyond those analyzed in the 2000 GUP Program EIR, certified by the Board of Supervisors in December 2000. The project would not have any new traffic impacts. The Stanford GUP requires reallocation of floor area to be evaluated in an environmental assessment. Pursuant to this, an Addendum to CEQA has been prepared (See Attachment A) for approval by the Planning Commission.
1. Stanford Community Plan and GUP.
The project conforms to applicable Community Plan goals, strategies and policies.
However, the project requires a GUP amendment to meet the square footage allocations of the 2000 GUP. The existing Quarry District, which is the smallest of all the Stanford districts at 25 acres, has a 2000 GUP square footage allocation of 50,000 square feet. The proposed building can be constructed only with a reallocation of 115,000 academic square footage to Quarry District, from the East Campus District.
To reallocate square footage above a certain threshold as identified in the 2000 GUP condition E.2.a., conditions D.5.a. and D.6 require an evaluation of certain environmental resources. These conditions are identified below.
E.2.a. Deviation from the distribution described in Table 1 is permitted as follows: a. In the West Campus, Lagunita, Campus Center, Quarry, DAPER & Administrative, East Campus, and San Juan districts, development may be increased by 20% over the amount proposed for the district or by 20,000 square feet, whichever is greater. Greater deviation will require environmental assessment as specified in Condition D.6 and approval by the County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission’s decision may be appealed to the County Board of Supervisors by any interested person. Any proposed increase in development in a district shall be accompanied by an identified corresponding proposed decrease equivalent in building area in the other districts.
D. 5. Specific proposed building projects under the General Use Permit shall require environmental assessment of potential impact areas specified in Condition D.6.a below. Proposed building projects which shall be subject to such environmental assessment are cited throughout the conditions of the General Use Permit and include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Projects which will result in distribution of academic building area which deviates from that identified in this General Use Permit to the degree specified in Condition E.2.a.
D. 6. Environmental assessment for projects identified in Condition D.5, above, shall consider but not be limited to the following impact areas. The environmental document which contains this analysis may take the form of either an Initial Study, a (Mitigated) Negative Declaration, Supplemental Environmental Impact Report or an Addendum to the EIR .
a. Transportation and circulation
c. Visual impacts
d. Public services and utilities
e. Recreational resources and open space
f. Biological resources
g. Historic and archaeological resources
The proposed reallocation of 115,000 square feet is more than 150% the existing square footage allocation in the Quarry District, and therefore is subject to Condition E.2.a. above. The proposed reallocation includes a corresponding decrease in building area in the East Campus District. Staff has determined that the Addendum to the 2000 GUP EIR is adequate for the resource areas identified in Condition D.6 above for the following reasons:
1. Transportation and Circulation:
By reallocating 115,000 academic floor area from the East Campus Development District to the Quarry Development District, there will be no significant traffic impacts, as determined by the traffic studies and the peer-reviews (“Center for Academic Medicine Project Local Access and Circulation Study,” by Fehr & Peers dated March 2017; “Center for Academic Medicine Project GUP EIR Intersection Evaluation,” by Fehr & Peers dated March 2017; “Peer Review of Center for Academic Medicine Project GUP EIR Intersection Evaluation Report” by AECOM, dated October 5, 2017, and “Peer Review of Center for Academic Medicine Project Local Access and Circulation Study” by AECOM, dated October 5, 2017, (Attachment E). The project will result in increased traffic levels on Quarry Road and surrounding streets as documented in the traffic study. While the project will result in new traffic affecting the roads and intersections adjacent to the building; it will not result in any new significant traffic impacts that were not previously disclosed in the 2000 GUP EIR. To ensure safety of vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, the driveway access will also be appropriately designed as recommended in the traffic study (See Attachment E – Center for Academic Medicine Project Local Access and Circulation Study).
2. Hydrology: The project will not significantly change hydrology conditions on-site due to the following reasons: There are no major creeks on site. Stormwater and erosion control best management practices are incorporated to prevent sediment and erosion problems.
3. Visual Impacts: The project will not have significant visual impacts. There are no scenic roads surrounding the property and the property is not located within a County design review district. The existing site is a surface parking lot. The four-story design of proposed building is in keeping with the context of the surrounding buildings and campus area setting, as demonstrated in Attachment F. The proposed CAM building meets the minimum 30 feet setback requirement. Stanford Barn directly across the street is approximately 135 feet away from the road right of way, the Children’s hospital is 50 feet away from road right-of-way, and new Hoover Pavillion is 40 feet away from road right-of-way. The building will blend in with surrounding campus buildings that are similarly situated and have the same or higher elevations . The heights of neighboring buildings includes the Children’s Hospital at 85 feet, Adult hospital at 130 feet, Psychiatry Building at 51 feet, Stanford Barn at 49 feet, the Hoover Pavilion at 96 feet, and the Beckman Building at 94 feet tall. It does not have any potential to adversely impact adjoining uses on the Stanford campus. (See Exhibit F – Neighborhood Map).. Landscaping of trees will surround the building to better blend in with the Arboretum.
4. Public Services and utilities: Stanford utilities has access to Stanford sewer and water services from the campus utilities. . Reallocating square footage to a different district will have no new impacts.
5. Recreational Resources and Open Space: The project would replace an existing surface parking lot. There is no existing open or recreation resource space on-site.
6. Biological Resources: The project site has no sensitive biological resources; and no Stanford Habitat Conservation Plan conditions would apply for this property. The native and oak trees proposed to be removed/relocated will be replaced with an adequate amount of native trees, consistent with the mitigation measures and conditions of approval within the GUP and 2000 GUP EIR. Hence, there would be no biological impacts.
7. Historic and Archaeological Resources: The project site may have the possibility of uncovering artifacts due to its proximity to the Arboretum, which is considered a historical resource ; however there would be no significant archaeological impacts per conditions of the Stanford GUP and conditions of approval, due to the archaeological resource monitoring that is required during construction. No new mitigation measures would be necessary, and any potential impacts would be less than significant.
Based on the analysis above, Staff recommends reallocation of 115,000 square feet of the 2000 GUP academic area from the East Campus District to the Quarry District to accommodate the project. The proposed academic building is a permitted use within the Academic Campus designation, would not result in any additional impacts, and as conditioned will satisfy the requirements of the GUP.
The Planning Commission may grant an Architecture & Site Approval if able to make all of the following findings listed in §5.40.040 of the County Zoning Ordinance. Listed below are the individual findings together with a discussion relating to how the proposed project conforms to the respective finding.
A. Adequate traffic safety, on-site circulation, parking and loading areas, and insignificant effect of the development on traffic movement in the area;
The proposed CAM project would serve the Stanford University population. The traffic to the project site will be Stanford University employees, staff, students and faculty. There is adequate parking provided for on-site and surrounding area. AECOM’s peer review of the traffic analysis concludes that the cumulative full build out of the project will not significantly impact operational levels of traffic in the area. Therefore, the traffic would be consistent with that analyzed in the prior 2000 GUP EIR.
The proposed CAM Project will include a driveway leading to the parking structure with two driveways for outbound traffic with stop signs. Pedestrian and bicycle access to the building includes a pedestrian entry at the corner of Quarry and Welch Road, a sidewalk along the Quarry Road frontage, and bike paths and bike storage facilities incorporated into the design of the project. The proposed driveway has been designed to be the minimum width necessary to reduce interface between pedestrians, bicyclists, and traffic. As such, the project would be safe for pedestrian, bicyclists, and vehicles.
Short-term construction traffic
The project has been conditioned to require all truck travel to use only approved area truck routes under the 2000 GUP, and all truck travel, either for hauling materials off-site or for transporting construction materials to the site, would use these routes. Furthermore, the project has been conditioned to restrict construction material deliveries to non-peak hours. Compliance with the Attachment B conditions of approval shall ensure that the short-term construction traffic associated with the project does not have a significant effect on traffic movement in the area.
The new building will remove 245 existing surface parking spaces, and replace it with a 3-story, 830 parking spaces, underground parking garage, resulting in an increase of 585 parking spaces.
The Stanford 2000 General Use Permit (GUP) set a maximum of 2,300 net additional parking spaces pursuant to Condition H.1. As of Annual Report 16, Stanford has 858 parking stalls available under the GUP requirements for the Quarry District. To the north and south of the project site, existing surface parking with 295 spaces is proposed to remain. Other parking is available in the area including street parking on Quarry Road and parking lots for the Stanford Hospital, Stanford Shopping Center, and Stanford Barn west of the site, and Stanford Arboretum east of the site, and Psychiatry building parking lot north of the site. With the support of existing parking lots, shuttles, and support for bike use and pedestrians, there would be no additional impact to parking in the area.
On-site circulation and loading
The project includes adequate truck loading areas connected to the parking facility, and on site circulation is designed for both inbound and outbound traffic with adequate driveway access to the facility and parking structure.
B. Appearance of proposed site development and structures, including signs will not be detrimental to the character of the surrounding neighborhood or zoning district;
The proposed exterior materials will match the existing buildings in the vicinity with an architectural style that complements the surrounding Stanford School of Medicine buildings. Limestone material with matching precast, and terra cota cladding will be used which is consistent with the surrounding School of Medicine buildings. Therefore, the project will not be detrimental to the surrounding area or neighborhood.
C. Appearance and continued maintenance of proposed landscaping will not be detrimental to the character of the surrounding neighborhood or zoning district;
Landscape plans show trees surrounding the new project (see Attachment D). These are considered adequate for blending the project with the existing neighborhood character.
D. No significant, unmitigated adverse public health, safety and environmental effects of proposed development;
The prior CEQA analysis (Attachment A) concluded that the project would not result in any significant environmental impacts. The project has been reviewed with respect to all applicable regulations relating to public health and safety, and is deemed to be consistent with this finding.
E. No adverse effect of the development on flood control, storm drainage, and surface water drainage;
The project site does not contain any creeks or streams. The project site is not located within a 100-year flood zone. The project has been reviewed with respect to all applicable regulations relating to drainage and flood control. The project complies with the C3 requirements of the NPDES permit.
F. Adequate existing and proposed fire protection improvements to serve the development;
The Fire Marshal’s Office has reviewed and conditioned the project to ensure existing and proposed fire protection access and water supply are in conformance with applicable regulations. Compliance with the preliminary conditions outlined in Attachment B shall ensure that the project will have adequate fire protection improvements.
G. No significant increase in noise levels;
The new building is an administrative office building for CAM staff with an underground parking structure, in an area zoned for academic uses. Due to the nature of the use proposed and its location within the Stanford Campus area, the project is not anticipated to cause any significant increases in noise levels.
The project may create temporary noise impacts due to construction activities and construction traffic. The project has been conditioned (Attachment B) to submit a traffic and construction management plan. Further, construction activities shall be limited to the hours of 7AM and 7PM, Monday through Saturday, with no construction activity occurring after 7PM or on Sundays.
No outdoor amplified noise is proposed.
H. Conformance with zoning standards, unless such standards are expressly eligible for modification by the Zoning Administrator as specified in the Zoning Ordinance.
The project conforms with the standards identified in the Stanford GUP. The proposal requires reallocation of 115,000 square feet of academic square footage from the East Campus District to the Quarry District. This reallocation, if approved by the Planning Commission, would provide adequate academic building square footage to accommodate the proposed building.
Base zoning and supplemental use regulations conformance:
The property is zoned A1 which is a “Special Purpose” base zoning district that provides for general purpose uses. The standards applicable to development within this zoning district are listed in Section 2.50.030, Table 2.50-2 of the County Zoning Ordinance, and are 30 feet minimum setback requirement, and a 35 foot maximum height requirement, for the A1 district. Per Section 2.50.030(c), the Zoning Administrator has the authority to determine project specific standards for height and setbacks for non-residential uses. However since the project requires Planning Commission approval, the allowance for a different height and setback standard can therefore be made by the Planning Commission.
The proposed building has a maximum height of 62 feet 2 ½ inches; 27 feet 2 ½ inches greater than the 35 foot standard typically allowed in this zoning district. The proposed setback for the building is 30 feet from road right of way, and meets the minimum requirement. As the project meets the ASA and Grading approval findings (as described in this staff report), the Planning Commission may grant the height variance above the 35 foot maximum height requirements. The approval is also subject to the following limitations
1. Nonresidential uses adjacent to any residentially developed property may be required to provide a minimum front yard setback equal to that of the adjacent residential use; and
2. Non residential uses adjacent to any residentially developed property shall be required to provide a minimum side and rear yard setback equal to one-half the height of the building closest to the setback, or five (5) feet, whichever is greater.
The above limitations however do not apply since it is not situated adjacent to residential uses. All the buildings in the neighboring area are academic campus buildings.
I. Substantial conformance with the adopted “Guidelines for Architecture and Site Approval and other applicable guidelines adopted by the County.
It should be noted that issues addressed generally in the ASA guidelines are addressed in more detail within the Stanford Community Plan and GUP. As such, conformance with the provisions listed in the documents noted above ensures compliance with the ASA Guidelines.
The project complies with the Grading Ordinance findings as discussed below. All Grading Approvals are discretionary approvals subject to findings per Section C12-433 of the County Ordinance. An explanation of how this project meets the required findings is presented in italics. The decision-maker may grant the Grading Approval if it makes all of the following findings:
A. The amount, design, location, and the nature of any proposed grading is necessary to establish or maintain a use presently permitted by law on the property.
The amount, design, location and the nature of proposed grading is related to and necessary to establish the improvements, including the building and underground parking which is a permissible use in the Community Plan and A1 zoning district. A total of 2,760 cubic of yards of grading is associated with the proposed project’s grading approval. Estimated quantities of 950 cubic yards of fill and 1,810 cubic yards of cut for landscaping, and driveway access improvements. An additional 203,350 cubic yards of cut, are associated with the building pad area, due to the three-level underground garage. This is the minimum grading necessary to establish the use on the property.
B. The grading will not endanger public and/or private property, endanger public health and safety, will not result in excessive deposition of debris or soil sediments on any public right-of-way, or impair any spring or existing watercourse.
No excessive material will be deposited onsite. All excess grading will be hauled to a County-approved disposal site. A stormwater pollution prevention plan and erosion and sedimentation control plan will be prepared in compliance with ASA & Grading conditions #30 and 31 (See Attachment B).
C. Grading will minimize impacts to the natural landscape, scenic, biological and aquatic resources, and minimize erosion impacts.
The proposed grading has been designed to minimize impacts to existing landscaping. With the proposed project, nineteen oak trees (over 12 inches in diameter) are being relocated to accommodate the new building. Twenty seven new trees in addition to the relocated oak trees are included within the preliminary landscape plans. Condition #10 per the ASA and Grading conditions of approval requires landscape plans for approval prior to final grading permit issuance (See Attachment B).
D. For grading associated with a new building or development site, the subject site shall be one that minimizes grading in comparison with other available development sites, taking into consideration other development constraints and regulations applicable to the project.
The project site is a relatively flat surface parking lot surrounded by an existing flat surface parking lot. The proposed grading, as conditioned in Attachment B, will be in conformance with all applicable regulations.
E. Grading and associated improvements is proposed to conform with the natural terrain and existing topography of the site as much as possible, and does not create a significant visual scar.
The proposed grading is designed to conform with existing topography to the maximum extent possible, to minimize grading and visual impacts. Trees are incorporated as part of the landscape plans. The proposed grading will blend in with the natural landscaping of the existing site surrounding the building frontage.
F. Grading conforms with any applicable general plan or specific plan policies; and
The proposed grading is in conformance with specific findings and policies identified in the County General Plan and the Stanford Community Plan. The proposed grading is designed to minimize grading and to reduce visual impacts from surrounding uses in keeping with policies. Minimal grading outside of the building pad area is provided for landscaping and constructing driveway access areas. The proposed grading is compatible with the surrounding development in the area.
G. Grading substantially conforms with the adopted "Guidelines for Grading and Hillside Development" and other applicable guidelines adopted by the County.
The project site is in the A1 zone on the academic campus of Stanford University. This finding does not apply to the location.
The County approved the Stanford University Community Plan and GUP governing development projects on the Stanford campus. The GUP allows Stanford to construct up to, 2,035,000 net square feet of academic and academic support uses, and 2,300 net new parking spaces on Stanford lands. The GUP was subsequently amended three times to move permitted academic square footage from one district to another, provide flexibility in type of housing construction, and for additional housing.
The project, as conditioned, complies with the requirements of the GUP and the prior CEQA document, the 2000 GUP EIR. Mitigation measures are incorporated into the project conditions of approval for archaeological review and construction impact mitigation consistent with GUP conditions. The proposed project’s traffic impacts are consistent with the 2000 GUP EIR as documented in the traffic assessment and AECOM’s peer review of the reports. The drop in Level of Service (LOS) standards in some of the intersections will be from A to D, as a result of this increase in traffic will be less than significant as LOS D is an acceptable LOS standard for Stanford and City of Palo Alto (see Attachment A- AECOM peer review analysis of Traffic Study).
The City of Palo Alto (City) provided comments related to concerns of 1) cumulative traffic impacts along Quarry Road, 2) compliance with City Public Art Ordinance, 3) compliance with Stanford University Medical Center Design Guidelines, 4) access to City easement on Quarry Road, 5) compliance with City Design Guidelines, 6) conflict with emergency response times to surrounding medical facilities, 7) connection to Palo Alto electrical services, 8) obtaining city permits for new sidewalks and pathways, 9) groundwater discharge problems, 10) basement shoring 11) work within easement right of way, 12) compliance with City Tree Ordinance and urban forestry guidelines, 13) location of tree #996 oak tree replanting, 14) coordination with Stanford School of Medicine with project. (See Attachment G for full public comment letter with Stanford’s responses).
Staff’s and Stanford’s response to each of these concerns is summarized below:
1) Traffic Impact: Per the traffic analysis submitted by Stanford and peer review conducted by AECOM, it has been demonstrated that the cumulative impacts are within the limits considered in the 2000 GUP EIR. Both the Cumulative Condition analysis of the 2000 GUP EIR as well as the background condition (year 2018) analysis takes into account the full build out of the 2000 GUP allowable developments (except Escondido Village (EV) Housing), which therefore included the proposed CAM project. EV was not included in the cumulative buildout analysis since it will be built by 2020. The 2035 analysis considers EV traffic. The intersections in the CAM vicinity are expected to operate within acceptable LOS levels with the construction of the project.
2), 3), a5), and 12) City Standards and Guidelines: Since the project is located outside the City’s jurisdiction, the project is not required to be consistent with the City’s Public Art Ordinance, Design Guidelines (including the Stanford University Medical Center’s Design Guidelines), or Tree Ordinance/Urban Forestry Guidelines.
However, Stanford has incorporated design elements and features that meet some of these requirements. Stanford encourages public art throughout the university by displaying art outdoors and within lobbies of various buildings. The design of the entrances, courtyard, and other elements for the CAM project are consistent with the City’s design guidelines. In addition, the landscaping of the project incorporates a series of urban gardens and tree plantings.
4), 8), 10), and 11) City’s Right of Way Easement on Quarry Road: Access to City easement will be maintained, as required. An Encroachment Permit from City Public Works will be obtained for any work within the City’s easement.
6) Emergency Response Times: The project will not conflict with emergency response times. A Construction Management and Logistics Plan is required taking into account traffic of pedestrians, bicyclists, and emergency vehicles, and other traffic.
7) Services: The applicant has indicated the project will not connect to Palo Alto electrical services. All utilities will be provided by Stanford .
9) Groundwater Impacts: The project will not impact groundwater. There are no creeks onsite. Best management practices for erosion and sedimentation control are required as conditions of approval. No groundwater discharge or pumping is proposed.
13), and 14) See Stanford responses (Attachment G)
STAFF REPORT REVIEW
Prepared by: Colleen Tsuchimoto, Senior Planner, (408) 299-5797, Colleen.Tsuchimoto@pln.sccgov.org
Reviewed by: Manira Sandhir, Principal Planner, (408) 299-5749,
Approved by: Rob Eastwood, Planning Manager, (408) 299-5792