Open space district puts $300M bond measure on ballot

Board's vote is unanimous to put measure on June 3 ballot

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday night to put a $300-million bond measure on the June 3 ballot.

The vote was the culmination of a year of public outreach aimed at developing a vision plan for the district and its 62,000 acres of open space.

To pass, the bond measure must be approved by two-thirds of the voters in the district, which includes large parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and a portion of unincorporated Santa Cruz County.

According to the district, the bond measure money would pay for projects to protect local redwood forests; add hiking, biking and equestrian trails; and restore and conserve watersheds and farm land.

The measure would increase local property taxes by $3.18 a year per $100,000 of assessed value.

The district's public affairs manager, Shelly Lewis, said the $300 million amount was chosen after talking to public and partner agencies, environmental groups, bicyclists, walkers, runners and hikers about their visions and desires for local open spaces.

She said there were a total of 24 opportunities in the past year for the public to voice opinions on the topic.

"We've heard from the public," she said. "They want more access. They want us to be able to have the funds to preserve land when it becomes available."

She said that 54 percent of the land the district oversees is open, while 46 percent is not.

"We want to open that land," she said. "We need the funds to do it."

For more information about the bond measure proposal, the visioning plan and the 25 proposed projects, go to


Posted by Timothy Baker, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Increase my property taxes to take away my neighbor's land by eminent domain? How about simply opening up the large percentage that is closed and have the district live within their means? Raise revenue by allowing deer hunting during hunting season. Hunters would pay a premium for the opportunity. Every few can take advantage of equestrian trails.

Posted by Hill Mom, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm

MROSD, a public entity, should quit allowing POST, a private entity, to hand over (sell) land to them to manage and instead focus on managing the land that they already own. If this bond measure passes, it should be used solely for management,accessibility and restoration and not for more acquisitions. How can MROSD budget their funds appropriately when POST is determining their course of action?

Posted by Chim Chumby, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I'd rather see all the money used for acquisitions and none of it for management, myself. I mainly value the viewshed and rural atmosphere in the hills.

Posted by empty wallet, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Who else wants to float a bond issue and raise property taxes by supposedly small incremental amounts? Sequoia High School District $265 million, Menlo Park City School District and other elementary schools all want approval for more bonds all begins to add up to lots of dollars....aren't we already taxed enough?

Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2014 at 4:13 pm

You have to appreciate the folks from Atherton who call themselves "Empty Wallet" :-)

Posted by Scott h, a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

How about they actually pay property taxes on the land they own? They have basically taken millions of $ out of those rural school districts that so badly need it.

Posted by SM Coastsider, a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

How is Mid Peninsula or POST compensating the Pescadero and La Honda schools for the thousands of acres they acquire and take off school tax roles? Pescadero schools are Title I which mean 40% or more of the students are at poverty levels. Coastside families want access to decent public schools for their children.

Posted by JL, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 2, 2014 at 7:58 pm

When is it enough? Every time you raise taxes and take more land you contribute to rising housing costs. It is already out of reach for the middle class and even our kids if we don't help them (assuming we can). We have plenty of open space here already. The elitist limousine liberals are simply protecting and expanding their own "cherished rural atmosphere". That is great if you already live here and can afford it but lets not kid ourselves who this is for and who it benefits. The hundreds of millions spent on this will primarily benefit the rich. So when is it enough?

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Much of this acquired land is also sadly being removed from active agricultural use - which is not in society's long term interests.

Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

It's time to boot this predatory agency out of San Mateo County and let County Parks and Recreation take over that land. Maybe we would then see some recreational uses of the land. They might even use some of it for revenue producing activities.
See:Web Link

Posted by Coastsider, a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I support the mission of MPROSD, but do not support this bond measure. I live in the heart of rural SM County and I think there is plenty of open space that has been preserved. Development is severely discouraged in rural SM County because of the cost and requirements of SM County Building & Planning, more than anything else, so it doesn't seem that over development of the Coastside is a realistic possibility from where I sit. When large properties go up for sale, what doesn't get scooped up by POST or MPROSD gets scooped up by the Silicon Valley elite. Some of them have been great stewards of the land and contributors to the local community. Some not so much. And so it goes...

In answer to the comments of others, when MPROSD annexed the Coastside, they made an agreement with the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District to pay LHPUSD each year the amount of $$ that LHPUSD was receiving for those properties prior to them being acquired by MPROSD. So, LHPUSD does get something, but not as much as they would get if these properties were kept on the property tax rolls.

[Portion removed. Please don't attempt to guess the identity of anonymous posters.]

Finally, MPROSD has maintained agricultural use on some of the lands that they manage.

I am in agreement with another poster who said they would support this if it was management of the land that they already own, not to procure more land.

And I disagree with the person who said they should leave the land unused. People do actually live out here. It is our home and our community. Our children grow up out here in these hills that you would prefer just to look at from afar. There's plenty of land out here for everyone to enjoy, including our ubiquitous mountain lions, deer, raccoons and owls. Leave some of it for people to live on, too, O.K.?

Thanks for listening.

Posted by Coastsider, a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:24 am

Hi Editor:

I wasn't guessing and he didn't post anonymously. He posted using his name and he is a realtor.

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