Almanac

News - February 13, 2013

Portola Valley: 'Meadow preserve,' affordable housing on council agenda

by Dave Boyce

Two key issues come before the Portola Valley Town Council on Wednesday evening, Feb. 13, in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road:

• The council and the Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. for a study session to reconsider the specific language in the general plan that describes a "meadow preserve" at 555 Portola Road, a road officially designated as a scenic corridor. The owners of the field have applied for a permit to use part of it for a barn, rows of vegetables, and rows of grapes to be used for making wine. The proposal is meeting with opposition from residents concerned that the scenic value of the field will be compromised. Also at issue is whether grape growing is consistent with the historic uses of the field.

• Later that same evening in a meeting that begins at 7:30 p.m., Mayor John Richards will name nine members to the new ad hoc committee looking into the complex and controversial issue of affordable housing in town. Thirteen residents applied for membership. In terms of geographic diversity, they've got it; their map locations could almost be suitable to indicate the town's neighborhoods. Looked at in terms of experience as civic volunteers, the list is familiar. Nine applicants, or 70 percent of them, either already are or have been members of other town committees.

The council will also hear a report from the Bicycle, Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee. A report shows strong support for widening the road shoulders on Alpine and Portola roads, but seems to show little support for formally designing and designating the shoulders as bike lanes.

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