Publication Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2005
(July 20, 2005)
New housing ordinance isn't 'small change'
Contrary to Henry Riggs (Almanac, July 13), the recent amendment adopted by the Menlo Park City Council to the process for single-story remodels of single-family homes was not "admittedly small change." Instead it will for the first time in our city's history enable homeowners to engage in construction without regard to the welfare of their neighbors.
Moreover, City Council member Kelly Fergusson, like her colleague Andy Cohen, is an "obstructionist" only in the eyes of those who would prefer that the current council majority govern without input by anyone except themselves, and certainly not input from individuals like Ms. Fergusson and Mr. Cohen, who are devoted to making Menlo Park a more neighborly place in which to live and work.
James R. Madison
Holly Avenue, Menlo Park
Still possible to uncover creek
In last week's Guest Opinion column, Matt Stoecker points out that a segment of Sausal Creek currently flows in a culvert beneath the Portola Valley Town Center campus. The creek was confined underground decades ago for safety reasons when the campus was part of the school district.
Mr. Stoecker calls for the uncovering and restoration of the creek as part of the Town Center redevelopment project.
I share Mr. Stoecker's abiding appreciation for the town's creeks. Corte Madera Creek, Los Trancos Creek, and Sausal Creek provide habitat for plant and animal communities and tranquil pleasure for the residents of Portola Valley.
The Town Center Master Plan preserves the possibility of opening the creek in the future. By design, none of the structures to be built will encroach on the creek channel.
Unfortunately, the costs of restoring Sausal Creek are very high (greater then $300,000), and the Town Council has given top priority to securing resources for the library, fields, and buildings that provide the services residents have come to value.
If fundraising efforts prove very successful, the Town Council would be pleased to engage the community in a dialogue about the merits of restoring the creek. There are a number of issues that will need to be addressed such as the safety of young visitors during the wet winter months, the maintenance of riparian vegetation over time, and the nature of the creek during the summer when it is often dry.
Mayor, Portola Valley
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