Menlo eyes eight possible sites for one club well

Community meeting on Nov. 3 to guide site selection

The Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club's dream for one public well to water its private golf course now has eight chances to come true -- Menlo Park has announced that the city is considering eight potential well sites, with six in Nealon Park and two in Jack Lyle Park.

A community meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3, will give residents an opportunity to help the city select one site -- or no site, if you're one of the residents fighting the proposal. "It doesn't hold water," said Elizabeth Houck of the city's claim that the well would benefit the public.

According to city staff, the club would pay construction costs for the well and pipeline, and also reimburse the city for annual operation and maintenance. Menlo Park would be able to use the well water for Nealon Park, Jack Lyle Park, Sharon Park, and La Entrada School, with staff estimating that it would save the city $68,000 per year on park irrigation.

"Can you take up open space and park land for a public-private venture when there is no compelling public benefit?" Ms. Houck asked. "Public benefit has to be one of the reasons you do a project like this. It's not saving a ton of money. It's still adulterating our park space and it still doesn't conserve a gallon of water."

She is one of the residents who hired environmental attorney Craig Breon to scrutinize the plan. The attorney is still waiting for the city to provide all the project documents he requested under the public records act on Oct. 11.

"Meanwhile, as you have seen, they have clarified the process to some extent," he said. "We now know that they plan on going through the (California Environmental Quality Act review) process, though we do not know how thorough a document they intend to pursue.

"I think the city has realized that there are some legitimate concerns with the proposal, and they've wisely decided to take more time and to give more solid information to the residents," he added. "Good news, but some considerable work to go."

The community meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 700 Alma St.

After getting feedback, the city staff said they plan to present the project to the Parks and Recreation Commission in December, and to the City Council at the beginning of next year.

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Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth H
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:13 am

In the article above it mentions 68K in savings to parks and a school in the path of the pipeline. It doesn't mention the hundreds of thousands of the golf course will save every year, it doesn't mention the cost to install the pipeline at the parks. Or how much revenue the water district will lose by losing it's second largest customer...

Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:09 am


Those figures aren't included because they aren't known yet. Calculating savings can't be done without knowing the construction and annual maintenance costs, for example. When we have more information we'll include it.


Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Who would pay for complete replacement of the recently re-paved streets? It would not be appropriate to only ask for patching the 4 miles of streets. Patches don't last as long as the paving would.
Would the private blub be totally responsible for operating costs, including repairs of the well equipment and pipeline?

In times of drought, how would the city ensure that the private club is doing its fair share to conserve water? How can the city ensure the aquifer is not depleted and won't cause subsidence? How can the city ensure the aquifer is replenished and the club's runoff doesn't contaminate it?

Why would the city allow private development of a large bite of any city park?

Like this comment
Posted by WannaBe
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm

How much does the club pay in property taxes?

What are their membership requirements? Fees/Dues?

Like this comment
Posted by Central Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

What is the impact of this on Menlo Park's groundwater...or the relation to Menlo Park's Emergency Water Supply Wells Project?

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Remember that every resident in Menlo Park will pay more for their water to cover the fixed costs of Hetch Hetchy water that the club will be escaping.

Like this comment
Posted by long time resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm

A very large group of private individuals currently draw their water from the aquifer in the willows without water meters. Menlo Park has a long history of allowing private individuals to use this water. The real issue here is the cost of the installation and its maintenance. The club should pay for those items. However, maintenance of the right of way, like paving, should be born by everyone who uses it.

Like this comment
Posted by Love Menlo's Parks
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I read in the project FAQ's published by the City that the country club uses over 60 million gallons of water per year. Wow... even at my lowest Tier 1 rate on my Cal Water bill, that would amount to over $355k annually. And Menlo Park "might" save $68k year if they could tie this new pipe into pre-existing irrigation systems at parks and schools? I can see why that country club is very motivated to find a solution to their very expensive problem. And they just have to pay for the cost of the pipe and maintenance? Sweet deal for them.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

This is in no way a good deal for anyone but the country club. If they want this they should be charged the going rate for water. Then, and only then, might it be a good deal for Menlo Park.

Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

So Menlo Park has no water policy? Does the city have any information about the aquifer, its status, and the draw on it?
Long Time Resident - Why do you think it's appropriate to compare a private homeowner's well to a commercial well for a heavy water user like a golf course and country club?

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

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