Atherton mayor eyes annexing the neighbors

Bigger borders could bring town sales tax, housing, he says

Atherton mayor Jim Janz is serious about exploring the possibility of annexing unincorporated neighborhoods between the town and Redwood City.

Mr. Janz made his pitch for the potential benefits of expanding Atherton's borders at the annual meeting of the Atherton Civic Interest League on May 15. Annexation could bring the town two things it needs, according to Mr. Janz -- sales tax revenues and multi-family housing.

Atherton is under pressure from the state to plan for new housing affordable to a variety of income levels, he said. Town officials are also looking for a steady source of revenue that might replace the town's parcel tax, which expires in June 2010. Atherton has no commercially zoned property, so it can't rely on sales tax revenue to fund town services.

"We're going to have to have multi-family housing, and we don't want to subdivide our lots," Mr. Janz said. "Multi-family housing and commercial (properties) are there already in the surrounding areas."

In particular, Mr. Janz said he was looking at the area along Middlefield Road, up to 5th Avenue, east of El Camino Real. The area is controlled by San Mateo County and is considered to be part of Redwood City's sphere of influence. Mr. Janz said Redwood City council members are "quite interested" in the idea, and that the two county supervisors he spoken with told him that annexation is worth pursuing.

"I came up with the idea 10 or 15 years ago, but I never thought it would get any traction," Mr. Janz said.

There are several potential pitfalls to the annexation idea. In the first place, it usually costs more to serve an annexed area than a town could expect to receive in increased revenues, Mr. Janz said. Atherton first would need to do a cost-benefit study, and if the numbers work out, get political buy-in from the residents of Atherton and the unincorporated area.

Annexation would also require approval by the Board of Supervisors and Redwood City's City Council, as well as the Local Agency Formation Committee, he said.


Posted by An Athertonian Wannabe, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm

How about annexing Felton Gables and Park Forest? We are ready to leave Menlo Park and join you in Atherton. If you look at a map, you will see how gerrymandered our areas are, and how we properly should be a part of Atherton, not Menlo Park. It looks like a great fit.

Posted by Woody, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on May 30, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Next, perhaps Atherton can annex Woodside Hills, since that neighborhood is on the wrong side of the freeway to be part of Woodside.

Posted by fed up with councils, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 31, 2008 at 8:23 am

Please annex Linfield Oaks also. It would be a pleasure to be part of a community that protects residents.

Posted by Athertonian Wannabe, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 31, 2008 at 9:48 am

Lindfield Oaks, I appreciate your plight. However, Atherton is not big enough for both of us. Try getting annexed by Palo Alto. It's not quite the same as Atherton but should be a considerable improvement nonetheless. Woodside Hills, you are on your own so you would have to get in line behind us. (Actually, we wouldn't mind being annexed by Woodside Hills.) Atherton, where does the line form and where are the application forms? Remember, women and children first.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Atherton please rid us of those spoiled old rich people and annex all of the aforementioned.

Posted by hand me that silver spoon, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 31, 2008 at 8:34 pm

I don't want to be annexed to Palo Alto. Their council is even more pathetic than ours. I'd be okay with Atherton though, since they somehow manage to have sold their "we need to protect our community" line to everyone, including developers and ABAG. Plus we now have plenty of high density housing in our neck of the woods, so the household staffs of the (original) Atherton estates might be able to live closer to work.

Posted by Appreciative Annexation Advocate, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 1, 2008 at 10:22 am

This is turning out to be the best thread ever. . . Even if I do say so myself. All those in Menlo Park who want to be annexed by Atherton, raise your hand. If you send me $10 dollars, I'll be sure to get your name on the list. Be sure to include your social security number.

Posted by sel wobevts, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 14, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Also, please take in the selby district!

Posted by J, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 14, 2008 at 10:34 pm

We are two blocks from Atherton on two sides of our home. No one owns us...address is MP, but we are county...take us too! I'll pay whatever taxes you would like in trade for good schools!

Posted by Ritchie Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2008 at 11:47 am

I hate to tell you this, but about half of Atherton is in the Redwood City school district. Living on a $4 million Atherton estate doesn't guarantee access to good public schools.

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