By Barbara Wood
Special to the Almanac
Because some Atherton residents asked the town to give them two extra weeks to comment on what should be in an environmental impact report on the proposed new library in Holbrook-Palmer Park, due to the holidays, Town Planner Neal Martin has extended the period for comments to Wednesday, Jan. 11.
A public meeting to help determine what will be the focus of the report was held in the Atherton Council Chambers on Thursday, Dec. 8. About 17 people attended, but only five spoke.
The major concern of most speakers was what alternatives to the park site will be looked at in the EIR. Mr. Martin said the report will consider such project alternatives as a reduced size building at the site of the main house in the park; a site in the parking lot northeast of the main house; the existing library site; a Town Center site other than the existing library site; and retaining the existing library.
"If you think outside the box there are a lot of locations where the library could be placed," said resident Phil Lively. That could include sites outside Atherton such as Flood Park, since the library is a county library, he said.
Charles Marsala, a former Atherton council member, asked that the study look at sharing facilities with Menlo College or other schools.
Resident Ann McNertney repeated the request that town officials have been hearing since the council voted 3-2 in October to choose Holbrook-Palmer Park as the preferred site for the library that the public be asked where they want the library. "I think the town's populace deserves a town-wide referendum," she said.
A draft version of the EIR should be available for public comment in the spring, Mr. Martin said. The public will have a chance to comment on the draft and hearings will be held before the Planning Commission and City Council. Once the final EIR is accepted the town can review and approve the actual library plans.
Until Jan. 11, written comments on the scope of the EIR can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Lisa Costa Sanders, Town of Atherton, 91 Ashfield Road, Atherton 94027.