Roberts market could get use permit this week
The Portola Valley Planning Commission may issue a conditional use permit this week for the new Roberts market going in where John's Valley Foods used to be, near the corner of Portola and Alpine roads.
The commission is set to discuss and possibly vote on a permit — it's the third item on the agenda — at its 8 p.m. meeting Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the Historic Schoolhouse. The decision might be put off until Dec. 19 if the character of public comment suggests that a delay is appropriate, Planning Manager Leslie Lambert said.
If the permit is issued, the store would likely open in the spring, Ms. Lambert said.
The market came up in an impromptu discussion near the end of the Nov. 28 Town Council meeting when Town Planner George Mader mentioned talk around the community of the new store's potential as a gathering place.
It would seem a natural spot for chance encounters given the store's central location, its essential purpose, the community's warm welcome, and Portola Valley's lack of a grocery store since John's closed in July 2006.
One problem: there's little in the way of outside facilities where people can sit and chat. The Planning Commission will discuss this issue in particular, Commissioner Ann Wengert told the council from the audience.
Market owner George Roberts is naturally interested in moving customers into and out of his store, Ms. Lambert said, but added that he appears willing to consider a bench or two and maybe a couple of tables.
Could residents wanting to chat be directed to the small and secluded Triangle Park at the corner of Alpine and Portola roads? Its grassy expanse is designed for kids, but "maybe it's time to look at it," Ms. Lambert said.