Almanac

News - May 8, 2013

Can a green town coexist with artificial grass?

by Dave Boyce

In a town whose general plan puts determined and repeated emphasis on preserving the natural environment and the town's rural character, is there room in that vision for a playing field covered in artificial grass? That's the question facing the Portola Valley Town Council on Wednesday, May 8.

The Woodside Priory School has applied for permission to replace its nonstandard running track with a standard quarter-mile oval, and received a green light from the Planning Commission in March to use artificial grass on the track's interior field, currently natural grass. It was a close 3-2 vote, with the majority citing private property rights and two years of poking at the project, but a public outcry over a conflict with the vision embodied in the general plan and zoning laws led the council to decide to review the commission's decision.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, in the Historic Schoolhouse and will consider three options, according to a staff report:

• The council can find the artificial surface consistent with the "general purpose and intent of the town's zoning ordinance and general plan" and allow the Priory to go ahead immediately. This option would include council approval of the school's conditional use permit (CUP) and the project's environmental documents, which establish a less-than-significant impact from a 2.5-acre field of artificial grass.

• The council could find inconsistency in the above criteria, still approve the environmental documents, but add a condition to the CUP requiring that the field be natural grass. The council's decision would be final in 30 days.

• The council could order a revision to the environmental documents, have the revision circulated for public comment, and add a condition to the CUP requiring a natural grass field. Final action would likely be delayed until at least July, staff said.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields