Search the Archive:

November 30, 2005

Back to the Table of Contents Page

Back to The Almanac Home Page


Publication Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Portola Valley notes: Mystery sound haunts the nights Portola Valley notes: Mystery sound haunts the nights (November 30, 2005)

If Sherlock Holmes were to walk out of fiction and into the Bay Area, the Case of the Mysterious Hum in Portola Valley might catch his interest.

Several residents have a shared nighttime complaint: a humming sound heard inside their homes but not outside. First noticed in August, it can change with the weather, the pitch sometimes varies, and it can interrupt sleep, said Canyon Drive resident Stephen Dunne in a November 17 e-mail to Councilman Ted Driscoll.

It's a low-frequency noise, and not everyone can hear it, said Brookside Drive resident Annaloy Nickum at the November 21 Town Council meeting. "Sometimes, it can take 15 or 20 minutes and then you go, 'What is that noise?'" she said.

"I definitely can hear it," said Councilman Richard Merk, who also lives on Brookside Drive.

Efforts to isolate the noise's source, first thought to be equipment at The Sequoias retirement community, have proved futile, said Planning Manager Leslie Lambert in a memo to the council.

The matter will be on the agenda for discussion at the December 14 council meeting, said Mayor Ed Davis.

Town staff has investigated but needs better data, said Ms. Lambert. An expert might be able to capture the sound's acoustical signature and match it to a source at a cost of $1,500 to $2,000, she said.
Christ Church agrees to land swap for new Town Center entrance

A land swap between the town of Portola Valley and Christ Episcopal Church has resolved a potential sticking point in plans for a redesigned Town Center: the need to relocate the main entrance.

Church land abuts the northwest edge of the 11.2-acre Town Center site. The church is giving the town a right-of-way for a new main entrance where the properties meet on Portola Road. In return, the town is giving the church a 10-foot-wide buffer strip along the property line.

The new entrance would have good views of Portola Road traffic; engineers consider it superior to the current main entrance, said Mayor Ed Davis.

With Councilman George Comstock absent, the five-member Town Council approved the agreement unanimously on November 21.

The price tag of $37,000, to be paid by the town, will cover project costs that include paving, fencing, landscaping, directional signs and a pedestrian gate. The town also pays all legal fees, perhaps as much as $14,000, for negotiations between the town and the church.

E-mail a friend a link to this story.

Copyright © 2005 Embarcadero Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Reproduction or online links to anything other than the home page
without permission is strictly prohibited.