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Tonight: Woodside considers three-lot subdivision on Moore Road

A subdivision plan that would create three residential lots from a 21.7-acre property at 389 Moore Road in Woodside returns for further consideration by the Town Council on Tuesday, March 27.

Property owner Leonard "Ben" De Somma's first came before the council on March 25, when he and Portola Valley architect Carter Warr of CJW Architecture appealed the Planning Commission denial of the subdivision. Mr. De Somma claimed he had been treated unfairly by the commission in that the factors underlying the denial had been acceptable in previously approved subdivisions.

The council reviewed the proposal, made recommendations and invited Mr. De Somma to come back with a revised plan. The meeting begins at 7:30 in Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road.

Mr. De Somma's original proposal would create two lots of 7.5 acres each (parcels A and B) and one of 6.7 acres (Parcel C). The conceptual plan for Parcel A included a two-story residence, a pool, a tennis court and equestrian facilities. Plans for parcels B and C showed driveways and building envelopes at locations suitable for construction.

The proposal raised the same issues for the council that it did for the Planning Commission: the impact of development on the natural environment, the sloping character of the land and how it might be graded, particularly with respect to Parcel C and the exposure of future homes to passing traffic on I-280.

The council was particularly interested in grading plans. The commission had been concerned that the houses would be seen from I-280, but Mr. De Somma countered with videos shot from vehicles traveling north and south past the site and showing ow the trees screen the site. Of the 300 trees on the property, only four and possibly just two would be removed, Mr. De Somma said at the time.

The revised proposal enlarges Parcel C, expanding the possible locations for construction and rerouting potential driveways, according to a staff report. The revision includes details on grading and a fire-truck turnaround.

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