By Barbara Wood | Special to the Almanac
A topic that has caused a bit of controversy in recent months, an update of the Town Center Area Plan, will be back on the agenda for the Woodside Town Council when it meets Tuesday night, Feb. 11, at 7:30 pm in Independence Hall, 2995 Woodside Road.
Also on the agenda is the appointment of two Planning Commission members and two items prompted by recent drought conditions the formation of an emergency preparedness committee and a doubling of the amount of a matching grant the town will give residents for clearing their property of flammable vegetation.
The council is scheduled to discuss upcoming community meetings regarding the town center plan and to review what has gone on since the town formed a special task force last February to work on an update of the plan. The Town Center Area Plan is a document guiding the use of the commercial area of Woodside between Whiskey Hill Road and Canada Road. The document was created in 1970 and last updated in 1988.
The Town Center Area Task Force, made up of 30 Woodside residents including representatives of all the town's committees and commissions, met four times before May when it presented the town council with its first report, which included a list of all the ideas committee members had brainstormed.
Woodside residents took exception to some of the ideas in the committee's report and demanded the Town Council exclude some of them from any future consideration. In November, at a meeting attended by more than 75 residents, the council voted to take several topics out of consideration, including: constructing a multi-story parking garage; making major changes to the road configuration; including residential properties in the town center plan; allowing housing in the town center area; and changing Measure J, which forbids commercial developments on public property in the town center (and had been interpreted as ruling out a farmers' market in the town center parking lot.)
The staff report for the Feb. 11 meeting proposes public meetings to discuss the town center plan on two Saturdays, April 26 and May 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The report, from Town Manager Kevin Bryant and Planning Director Jackie Young, proposes the meetings would include small group walking tours, lunch, presentations and feedback exercises, and would be led by town employees and local residents.
Also on the Feb. 11 agenda is the creation of a new town Emergency Preparedness Committee. Town Manager Bryant proposed the committee's duties include educating the town about emergency preparedness and natural hazards, working with the local Citizens' Emergency Response and Preparedness Program, and training volunteers who could assist in an emergency operations center when needed.
The council will also c0nsider increasing the amount of a matching grant given to residents to help clear flammable materials on their properties from the current $1,000 maximum to a maximum of $2,000. Applicants work with the Woodside Fire Protection District to plan the work.
In the report recommending the increase in grant size, Mr. Bryant says on Jan. 25, before the recent rains, the town recorded its driest winter since 1917, when the district began keeping records. "The Fire Chief is concerned that due to a lack of rain, fire risk will be at extraordinary levels during the upcoming year," he reported.
Planning Commission applicants
There are three applicants for two open Planning Commission seats: two incumbents, Adolph Rosekrans and Grant Huberty, and non-incumbent Frank Rosenblum.
Woodside's planning commissioners represent districts of the town, but if there are no candidates from a district the planning commissioner for the district can live elsewhere in the town.
Mr. Rosekrans lives in District 4, which he represents, but neither Mr. Huberty nor Mr. Rosenblum live in District 3, which is in the southwest area of town between Woodside and Manzanita roads.