Wednesday: Portola Valley may decide parking dispute along upper Alpine Road


The matter of roadside public parking and how much of it there should be in front of 4860 Alpine Road is the first item of business for the Portola Valley Town Council at its Wednesday, Jan. 13, meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road.

Should there be a driveway into the property at one end of the town-owned roadside area, thereby preserving the stretch of uninterrupted parking for some 20 vehicles, or should the driveway cross the parking area at some point and divide it?

Town staff denied an encroachment permit for the second option as proposed by residents Rick Friedman and Annette Achermann, who have appealed to the council to reverse the staff decision. The slope of a driveway where staff proposed would be too steep, the couple has said.

Two council members have been working with them on a compromise plan that the council will consider.

Also on the agenda for Wednesday: amended policies for the use of and rental of the community hall and the two activity rooms. A proposal that would require room rental fees to include insurance costs, ban reheating of food outside the kitchen, and forbid anything but painter's tape to affix things to the walls.

The council will also discuss modifications to the outfield of the Town Center baseball diamond in light of a June 2009 incident in which a player injured his face after running over a collapsible fence and colliding with a tree.

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Like this comment
Posted by Been there, seen that
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Portola Valley should seriously reduce the size of, or better yet eliminate, the "public parking area" at the corner of Alpine Road and Willowbrook. History shows, the easement along Alpine that is currently used for parking, was originally a pull-out/parking space for paving equipment used by the road builders. It was never intended to be a parking lot for Windy hill Preserve hikers. The noise and litter that have resulted in this small spot are a disruption to the taxpaying residents who live nearby. Car break-ins are not uncommon and anyone who has driven by in the early evening (which the Council, I'm sure has not), knows the area is a frequent meeting spot for teens, where they drink beer and smoke — certainly a detriment to this beautiful area and its residents..
Portola Valley has provided more than adequate parking at the entrance to Windy Hill Preserve. Property owners rights to access their own property and have peaceful serenity around their home is the right decision in this case.

Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

What is — and where can I get some?

Like this comment
Posted by hiker
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Not intended to be a parking lot? It's how this parking lot has been used for the past decade (?) that is key here. Regardless of how it started, it is now THE parking lot for access to this side of the preserve. The current owner of the property is expecting the public to just go away and to change around the orientation of the property to access it from a different road than was in the original plans for the property. That's just too bad. The problems associated with the parking area were clear when the property was purchased. To make these problems disappear would be a great advantage to the owner and huge loss to the hiking-riding public. Saying there is another parking lot is a joke, and a really bad one at that. I assure you that you have plenty of police cars to patrol this parking lot. You just have to pull them off your speed traps. Also, please respect that those down the road from you would love you to honor our speed limits as you pass out of your sacred 35mph neighborhood to pass by the entrances to our neighborhoods. Maybe you can manage to pressure the local government to do your bidding, but that shouldn't be the case if they truly represent the public's interest in this case. If you want to install parking meters... go ahead! Please do. We're willing to pay to help defer costs.
Folks who live along public beaches have much the same problem with dealing with the problems of PUBLIC ACCESS. If you move this parking lot, you are reducing access to a community resource for the benefit of a single owner... who most likely wasn't even party to gaining these lands for the public, but now wants them for their own personal quiet backyard. I do agree that those who hike should NEVER leave a mess, but I've also never seen one at this spot.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Nov 22, 2010 at 9:03 am

It's been a parking lot for far more than a decade. I grew up in Portola Valley and it's been that was for as far back as I remember. It was a parking area long before the new lot was segmented for individual purchase. The new owners knew that when they purchased it and had petitioned it to be changed. That's really what needs to be discussed.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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