Menlo Country Club golf course project Woodside, posted by do you care, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2012 at 5:30 am
Town of Woodside
Public Hearing Notice
Notice of Availability/ Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration
Public Review Period: March 19, 2012 through April 17, 2012
CEQA2011-003, CUSE2010-0008, CUSE2011-0008, and GRAD2010-0004
Menlo Country Club, Golf Course Renovation and Tennis Facilities at 2300 Woodside Road
The Menlo Country Club is proposing to renovate the golf course and tennis facilities. Two of the four tennis courts will be relocated to the southwest quadrant of the property adjacent to the other two existing tennis courts. A new tennis court building is proposed adjacent to the tennis courts. Out of the approximately 5,000 trees on the property, the project proposes to remove 53 native Significant Trees and 166 non-native Significant Trees. There are an additional 126 trees proposed for removal that do not qualify as Significant Trees. The project includes approximately 180,000 cubic yards of grading (total of cut and fill quantities). Additionally, approximately 63,000 cubic yards of sand that will be brought onsite to cap the golf course. The project requires a Grading Exception for grading quantities totaling over 1,500 cubic yards. An amendment to the existing Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is required to update the Program Statement and exhibits (plans), and a new CUP is required for the work within the stream corridor pursuant to Woodside Municipal Code Section 153.208(F).
The negative mitigated declaration and attachments are available on the Town's website or at the Town office. Do you care? If so comment in writing and attend the Planning Commission Meeting April 18th at 7PM.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2012 at 7:52 am
I can't believe this project qualifies for a Negative Declaration without exploring less distructive to the environment alternatives. The number, size, and character of the trees to be removed is criminal and all for the ego of a few. Quite destructive to the character of the setting and no real gain over the existing course which can be improved within its existing routing. Further the ambiance of the driveway entrance will be awful as revised by driving thru a new "parking lot" and bare tennis court complex virtually inaccessible to children from the pool area. If one were objective there can be no mitigation to the distruction contemplated when requiring an EIR would force consideration of an alternative routing of the course, e.g., as it is now, thereby saving the trees, pond and other habitat friendly structures. I feel strongly the Town must decline the request but look favorably toward a project which allows for "fixing" the course as it is currently routed.
Posted by do you care, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2012 at 5:26 am
This golf course reconstruction will be huge by Woodside standards. It will involve destruction of 345 trees, 4542 large truckloads entering or leaving the property over a 15 month period, and an equivalent of 9000 large trucks of soil being moved about the property to change the grading and configuration. It will involve a huge impact on the environment including birds, wildlife, drainage and air quality not to mention traffic on Woodside Road. There will be several public hearings as follows:
Open Space Committee March 22, 2012 at 5:30PM
Architectual and Site Review Board March 26 at 4:30PM
Planning Commission April 25 at 7:30PM
The public notice and copy of the mitigated negative declaration can be found at this link
Posted by john, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Hills neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2012 at 9:16 am
Just learned of a huge project planned for Menlo Country Club.
The project will result in some 5000 plus heavy trucks departing and entering the club through the main gate into Woodside Road. Traffic on Woodside Road on week days is terrible as commuters use Woodside Road (Highway 82)between 101 and 280. The town of woodside has imposed restrictions for the hours these trucks will not be allowed
on 82 to from 7 am to 9 am and from 2 pm to 4 pm. This would appear to be because of traffic generated by Woodside High School. However,
this is totally inadequate. Woodside Road west of High Road is already in bad condition after several efforts to fix the road bed.
Further mitigating measures should be required by the town of woodside before this project should be allowed to significantly impact on the traffic on Highway 82.
Posted by bob, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Would you people rather have a condo developement? Do you care justify your numbers they to be rather convientley high? If you are going to point out how many trees are being taken out, how many trees are on the property and how many are they adding? You should know this you seem to have all the numbers.
Posted by do you care, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm
Bob, the above web link should take you to the Town of Woodside published Mitigated Negative Declaration. Just click on the "web link" and it should open if your are patient for it to load. The answer to your question of how many trees, species, and replacement plan is detailed starting on page 7 and ending on page 9. It is simply to large to post here. If you can't get it here then go to the Town of Woodside city hall and they will give you a copy.
Posted by Educator, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm Educator is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
I think it is great that Menlo Country Club is planning to renovate its 100+ year old golf course. The Club pre-dates the Town of Woodside by half a century and was built by the founders of the Woodside area. A true connection to our past...we should support renovation of a golf course just as we would a well-worn home.
Posted by Jon Castor, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm Jon Castor is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Friends who know the golf course have been telling me for years that a major renovation is needed, and I'm sympathetic to Educator's point of view. However, as John observes, Woodside Road west of High Rd is failing again, after several repair attempts. The last work crew was on site for quite a while, raising hopes for a real fix, however the roadbed is already cracked and tipped. Past Woodside Rd 'fixes' have clearly been inadequate. Do you care advises that some 4500 trucks would enter and leave the CC. Perhaps Menlo CC project transport mitigation fees could underwrite much of a project to finally properly engineer and re-construct the road. As it is the road is not up to the current traffic load.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 9:46 am
Educator, no problem with fixing the course in its current configuration and thus retaining its character. But to re-route the holes causing the destruction of many heritage and other large trees as well as substantive excavation altering the contour of the land impacting natural drainage is unnecessary and harmful to the environment. Replacement trees on a one for one basis is not mitigation as the size differential is considerable. Educator, you will not recognize the original setting and the club's founders would be quite dissapointed with this needless and costly project totally out of character with Menlo tradition. With approval of this project the Town might as well require a ne name for the club.
Posted by bob, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm
Disgusted It would be interesting that you know that the founders of the club would be disapointed in this. They are all dead, they probably wouldn't approve of women memebers,minority members, etc. Times change sometimes for the better despite what some people think. Also what the founding would feel about has notheing to with the planning commisson.
Posted by disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm
Bob, you certainly are entitled to your opinion, and yes time brings change, some better, some worse. Nonetheless, the massive destruction of the environment with the re-routing of the course I believe would have been totally out of character with those founding members who resided in Woodside I can only believe due to their apprreciation for the environment, not to live there to destroy it.
Posted by Drew, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Hills neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm
A big project like this should create a lot of jobs and help the local economy. I don't know why so many people in this state reflexively say no to anything economically beneficial to our communities. It's just one of many reasons CA is in a free fall. I think we are still ahead of Mississippi, though. So we got that going for us, which is nice.
Posted by Educator, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm Educator is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
The Founders of the Club would more than likely be proud that today's members love the course as much as they did and are willing to devote significant personal resources (as did the Founders) to maintaining and updating the course to modern standards. I agree with Drew, this project could bring a lot of sorely needed jobs to the area. It would also generate fees for the Town. Everyone wins.
Posted by Educator, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm Educator is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
I have no idea how extensive the fees would be for a project of this type, but those of us living in Woodside know that the simplest "permitted" modifications to our homes involve building and planning fees.
Posted by do you care, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm
Educator, maybe I can help you by referring you to the town's schedule of fees. Unfortunately this does not look to be a pot of gold for the town as it just involves small charges for tree removal, checking grading and plans. I would guess it amounts to a very small amount since, except for a shack type tennis outbuilding, it does not involve building construction.
Posted by Woodsidelife, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm
I have been a resident of Woodside for 24 years and feel we are all very lucky to have Menlo Country Club in our back yard. The setting is serene and will only get better with a layout that makes more advantageous use of the land for years to come. Golf has changed dramatically over the last 100 years, and Menlo Country Club plans to provide golfers of all levels the ability to enjoy the game. When residents remodel their homes today, they take a fresh new look at the best location for their home and update the property with the latest designs and improvements which will last for years …this is what Menlo Country Club is doing. Menlo Country Club is an owner of their property, just as other residents are owners of their property, and they are updating their golf course for the 21st Century. They have compromised their optimal plans by not using additional adjacent acreage they own. Why shouldn’t we allow them to build a course that still provides the Town with an “Open Space” feel for the 21st Century and beyond.
Posted by Amazed, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm
Digusted, I'm struggling with your phrase "massive destruction of the environment"... it's a golf course becoming a slightly different golf course. I'm wondering how anything ever got built in this community.
Posted by Educator, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm Educator is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
I doubt the Town's fee schedule anticipated a project of this nature. Just the grading, engineered drainage, engineered water/irrigation, and cart paths would add up. I never expected a pot of gold, but I would expect the Town will find a way to generate some revenue for itself, and that will help keep their staff happily employed and paid.
Posted by Birdseyeview, a resident of the Atherton: West of Alameda neighborhood, on Mar 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm
I am struggling with the all the claims of "mass destruction" and then the quotes stating that there will be very little real changes -
....... "this does not look to be a pot of gold for the town as it just involves small charges for tree removal, checking grading and plans. I would guess it amounts to a very small amount since, except for a shack type tennis outbuilding, it does not involve building construction"
As I understand it, the club is not expanding it's footprint just updating the exisiting course and laying it out differently. It will still be an 18 hole golf course not a 24 or 28 holes course!
Posted by do you care, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2012 at 5:37 am
CEQA (California Enviornmental Quality Act) is a very difficult process for the average person to understand. It is rather complex and a haven for administrators, specialists, and lawyers. In this case, the Town of Woodside as the lead agency has chosen to declare the application to be a Mitigated Negative Declaration under CEQA. The numerous multiple items they have checked as likely causing "Potentially Significant Damage" are mitigated as described in the declaration. Of course, it a complex and subjective classification but the Town had better get it right otherwise they are open to lawsuits. The next higher classification is an Enviornmental Impact Report (EIR) which if done right would fully protect them and allow an in depth study of the issues and avoid further expensive litigation. Menlo Country Club would pay for the EIR and it would not cost the Town.
This is why it is so important to inform yourself on what is going on in the review process and comment to the Town Of Woodside Planing Department as you see fit.
More a more complete discussion of the process here is a link.
Posted by Educator, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2012 at 8:43 am Educator is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
Under the California Environmental Quality Act, the potential effect can be reduced to a level of insignificance...or mitigated. So in this case, yes, the Town, in my opinion, has correctly determined a Negative Declaration.
The country club has planted most of the trees on the property, and they have carefully maintained them for over a century. Why would anyone expect that their practices would change? Of course they will be good stewards of their land.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2012 at 11:13 am
I have no problem with bringing the course up to date technically with sand capping improved traps and much better greens. I do have a problem with unnecessarily taking out a significant volume of trees within the existing course footprint. Sufficient yardage can be achieved by extending some of the tees while maintaining forward tees to accommodate the vast majority of players. As we follow golf on TV we see than many of the more interesting and difficult holes are the short ones, e.g. #10 at Riviera. As I see it, it all comes down to whether or not this proposal actually meets the standards for a MND. Mitigation to attain a level of insignificance is clearly a subjective determination. And I disagree with the Town’s conclusion as well as with Educator’s concurrence.
Educators, as to being good stewards, why are so many of the trees to be removed diseased. Have they been subject to good stewardship? Can we expect the new trees to be properly cared for beyond the monitoring review period?
I would prefer an honest assessment of alternatives and impacts which an EIR would require. Actually an EIR requires evaluation of five alternatives one of which is to do nothing which I do not favor. So, clearly, the objective here is NOT to allow consideration of one obvious alternative which is fixing the course as it is currently configured and to do so to the level of the same standards as proposed. This would achieve all the current up to date qualities desired for course playability, save the 300 plus trees, is less disruptive to the community, and be a boost to the economy. Why not require this?
Posted by do you care, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm
Educator states Under the California Environmental Quality Act, the potential effect can be reduced to a level of insignificance...or mitigated. So in this case, yes, the Town, in my opinion, has correctly determined a Negative Declaration.
Gosh, Educator, I hate to keep coming back at you but honestly it is apparent you do not understand the terms you are using. Here is a CEQA dictionary that might help you with the terminology.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm
Educator, what is a more modern and playable course? One that reroutes the layout and destroys the environment; or one that makes the existing layout playable under any expected weather condition? And does so without environmental harm.
Posted by john G, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm
Menlo Country Club call the project a Renovation when in fact it is a Remodel of the entire course. It is this fact that necessitates the massive removal of some 300 plus trees. You cannot replace such significant trees of more than 50 years with the mitigation of replanting such trees 1 for 1.
A Renovation in Place within the present foot print would not need the removal of any significant trees and the pond on the golf course would continue to be a habitat for wildlife.
Posted by Fair Play, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm
I find it remarkable that some are considering the golf course project at Menlo Country Club to be causing mass destruction. This can't be further from the truth. Menlo Country Club has been a steward of this land for over 80 years. Menlo Country Club has paid taxes, provided employment and planted many of the trees that are on their property, all of which have benefited the Town of Woodside. The people commenting purchase their residences with the knowledge of Menlo Country Club's existence. Like all property owners Menlo Country Club should be afforded the right to upgrade and update their property. Many residents update and upgrade their properties and I'm sure create more of a relative impact than what Menlo Country Club is proposing. A completed golf course renovation or remodel lasts for several decades if not longer. This can not be said for most homes owned inside the Woodside Town limits.
Posted by Highlander, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Hills neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2012 at 6:41 am
I am struck by the arguments here that there are some in our community who might prefer that there be multiple housing units on this property rather than a golf course that has been there for a hundred years. Menlo Country Club should be a cherished asset to the town of Woodside, and something they should be very proud of. Just as San Francisco is the proud home to many golf courses and clubs. Why is it that The Olympic Club can get permission to restructure its courses frequently (to add yardage for professional golf tournaments like the upcoming US Open), yet Menlo Country Club is being derided for trying to make the first major remodel of the course in what could be over 50 years? I believe Menlo Country Club has done an amazing service to the town of Woodside through its care of the property for the past 100 years. And I further believe that Menlo Country Club will do the same for the coming 100 years. If this land were left dormant there would be massive erosion, significant loss of trees from weather and land changes, and any disease (as mentioned earlier here) would run rampant rather than at least be controlled. Menlo Country Club is a steward of the land, and will continue to be so. Updating the course will not in any way harm the land that is there - it will improve it for future generations. Why are we against improvement?
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2012 at 7:11 am
I am an active supporter of the Peninsula Open Space Trust and consider myself environmentally aware, but I honestly can't understand the angst about this golf course remodel. We have to be realistic: the country club and its golf course have existed on this plot of land for over 80 years. They own this land, just like all of us homeowners own our land, and they have a right to remodel. This is a once-per-century remodel: if only the same could be said for all of the mansions that dot our landscape here. From what I understand, the club has promised to keep 90% of its trees and replace the ones it needs to take out. Please, people, let's be sensible. There is a balance between caring for the environment and letting bureaucracy stand in the way of everyone's right to update and use their own property. I personally would much rather see this land used as a golf course than as a bunch of homesites, which is what it would invariably be if the club weren't there, and what it may become if the club can't update its own property like anyone else.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2012 at 11:20 am
Many have posted confusing the issue of fixing a golf course that is lacking proper irrigation and drainage with those of property rights, stewardship responsibilities, embellishing the economy and other irrelevancies. Yes, the course needs a refresher. .... Fix the irrigation and drainage for year around playability; and improve existing greens and improve and add more traps. All that is fine and would be considered enhancing the property and following what I hear is good stewardship practices.
I too am a long time supporter of POST and other like environmental associations and a Town resident for well over 30 years. For the record, due to environmental concerns over a particular habitat, I understand the Menlo Country Club backed off from a proposal that extended the golf course footprint as well as rerouting it. Now we have essentially the same program and my concern remains totally with tree removal and excavation, now all within the existing footprint with no material benefit to the course. Yes that is one person's opinion. The Olympic Club's improvements are essential for a PGA venue which status Menlo Country Club could never achieve. Is it worth the approximate 350 trees to gain a meager 350 yards of golf course? That's one tree per yard! Most of that lengthening could be achieved within the existing routing? Further, this additional acreage devoted to a golf course will require additional irrigation and at a time when our water resource is scarce.
Now, if I were a resident of Woodside Hills or Heights I'd really be concerned with the visual impact on looking over an area where many large trees will be removed from within a golf course footprint. Kinda like expanding acreage of a farm at the expense of wooded land.
Posted by bob, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm
Digusted If you are going to focus on the amount of trees being taken out, it would be interesting to find out what 300 trees really means. My guess is that 300 is a tiny percentage of all the trees in Woodside. I don't think it is that big of a deal. As far as views from Woodside Hills I think most focus on their view of the entire bay area rather, than their view of Menlo Country Club.
Posted by Highlander, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm
Why would someone who is not a member of the Menlo Country Club care about the course layout? I would have to assume that the members want the course changed, and that is why the club has filed this proposal with the Town. They have proven to be wonderful stewards of the property - keeping it in shape, planting trees and flowers and shrubs, caring for the stream that passes through the property, etc.
I completely agree with those here who have likened this to a homeowner wanting to remodel their property - or in many cases tear down what already exists and start over. It looks as though Menlo Country Club has plans to replace the removed trees. And it is certainly my expectation that the Club will still be around in another hundred years.
Menlo Country Club has been a wonderful neighbor and citizen in the town of Woodside. We should not stand in the way of their wanting to continue to be so.
Posted by neighbor, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Heights neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm
As a neighbor for 19 years and long term member of the club, I can attest that the designers have worked hard to minimize the environmental impact while making golf course changes that are critical to the playabiity of the course. This sentiment is shared by the vast majority of members and speaks to the importance of rerouting problem holes to make the golf experience, which is a core component of the Club's long term vitality, competitive with other courses. No club founder would champion the problems with the current course that this new plan so successfully addresses. The fact the design preserves so many of the trees in this very large area with the course improvements is impressive.
Posted by do you care, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 5:59 am
This thread started with an alert that the Town was holding public hearings and considering permitting the Menlo Country Club application to renovate the course. Many of the posts have been interesting and hopefully educational about the project and process. It seems,however, that there is misunderstanding on what the project physically accomplishes and why it is being undertaken. Neighbor states changes need to be made "changes that are critical to the playabiity of the course" and that "the importance of rerouting problem holes to make the golf experience, which is a core component of the Club's long term vitality, competitive with other courses." These statements contrast with others that just say the course layout is just fine and all that is needed is a fix of the drainage, irrigation and other infrastructure items. They say there is no need to destroy 345 trees, regrade, and reroute the course for a course that has served its members well for so many years in its existing configuration. For the non-golfers and non-club members this is probably not interesting but the topic a necessary ingredient in the permitting process. It will not be discussed as the Town has declared a Mitigated Negative Declaration and alternatives to any project need only be discussed when it decides the project needs to be reviewed as an EIR study. It might be also interesting to point out that the permitting is a Woodside issue but there are less than 40 Woodside members of the Club and about 240 members who live in other communities who might not share the same environmental objectives as Woodside citizens.
The following link goes to an interesting discussion of re-routing as opposed to renovation.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:43 am
Issues relative to playability of a golf course necessarily center on course maintenance which in turn relies on adequate irrigation and drainage, not course layout. It matters not that the course designer was modest in the environmental impact of a rerouting. What matters is that there is an impact, and to me a significant one involving many large heritage or other trees inside the course footprint. Therefore, the issue is whether or not that should be allowed based upon the proposal’s conformity to the Town’s policies relative to open space and impact on the habitat. I contend it does not conform given the paucity of the mitigation measures, e.g., one smaller new tree for one large heritage oak, and that a remodel is unnecessary. However, a renovation in place is necessary. As the web link above suggests tee repositioning and green and trap enhancements together with necessary improvements to the irrigation and drainage will result in a very playable course throughout the year, AND without requiring the removal of a single tree.
The article also talks about the golf experience as relying more on individual camaraderie among members and friends than on the course’s length and layout. I see false arguments presented in an attempt to justify removing 345 trees for an equivalent number of additional yards to the course. One poster assumes the club’s membership favors this proposal yet I am told it has never been the subject a membership vote. So how the membership really feels is mere conjecture!
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm
Educator, how can you assert "the overwhelming majority of members do support the submitted plans" when the plan have never been submitted to a vote of the membership so I am told. Also do you care was a little off, say less than 25%of the membership is from Woodside. Question, Is the outsider pushing Woodside into something it really should not do given its stance on the environment and open space?
Posted by john g, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm
the facts: there are 49 members of Menlo Country Club residing in Woodside.
There was never a vote of Menlo members to do a specific golf course project. Thre is no claimed "overwhelming mandate". There was a vote to authorize the boatd to spend $250,000 or more to advanve the golf course project. The board wanted a concept 1 which included use of some extra hitherto unused acreage which died at the town because of wood rats issues. The board at Menlo then moved ahead with concept 2 which is a remodel of the golf course but within the present foot print of the golf course. It is this concept 2 that would require the removal of some 300 plus trees.
There is an alternative concept 3 or a Renoation in Place which would result in the same improvements as concept 2 but would not require the removal of any healthy significant native trees. This alternative would cost less and meet all environmental concerns.