Almanac

News - August 13, 2014

Woodside: Mansion's owner appeals to council

by Dave Boyce

Palo Alto attorney John Hanna, representing the owner of a mansion at 360 Mountain Home Road in Woodside, has filed an appeal asking the Town Council to rule on whether the partial demolition of the mansion can continue as a remodeling project.

The appeal follows the July 31 meeting of the seven-member Planning Commission, which tied in 3-3 votes on two resolutions. One would have allowed the remodel of the 7,423-square-foot mansion to continue, but with amendments and conditions. The other would have forced the applicant to submit a new proposal due to actions not authorized by the commission that resulted in the removal of the first floor and its framing.

Commissioner Aydan Kutay was absent, but sent letters in support of accepting an amended plan. Mr. Hanna noted Ms. Kutay's support in the appeal.

Mr. Hanna is asking the council to accept the current state of the demolition and allow a little more demolition as necessary, such as when installing differently shaped windows, Senior Planner Sage Schaan told the Almanac.

Town documents identify the owner as SV Projects LLC at the Palo Alto address of Hanna & Van Atta, Mr. Hanna's law firm.

The council meets twice in September and is likely to hear the appeal at one of its meetings, Mr. Schaan said.

Town inspectors visited the site in mid-May and saw the second and third floors and roof of the main house sitting on horizontal steel beams above an empty space where the basement and first floor used to be, according to staff reports. The town gave the owner permission to remove the basement's floor and the walls, but not the first floor or its walls and framing.

Planning Director Jackie Young issued a stop-work order on July 3, a day after the Planning Commission recommended that she send the project back to the Architectural and Site Review Board.

With exceptions allowed to make the work site safe, the stop-work order remains in effect.

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