While Atherton may be known to outsiders as the community with the most expensive real estate in the country, it would be pretty hard to guess that from the state of the town offices where residents and developers must come for building permits and other business.
The Atherton City Council heard at its April 15 meeting from Community Services Director Michael Kashiwagi that the four portable buildings housing the town's building and planning offices are "in very poor condition and should be replaced prior to the next winter season."
While the town is getting ready to build a new civic center, the portable buildings need to be replaced now, he said in a staff report.
The buildings, which town staff members describe as cramped and unsafe, provide offices and storage spaces for the town's building, planning, public works, code enforcement and town arborist activities.
There are a number of problems with the buildings, including exterior walls covered with patches because of water damage and a ramp that had to be patched when someone's foot went through it.
Mr. Kashiwagi suggested the town lease new portable buildings and move them to Holbrook-Palmer Park, where the permit center could continue to operate while the new civic center is being built.
But council members thought that idea should first go to the town's Park and Recreation Committee, especially because the town has discussed moving the park's playschool to a new location and new building. The thinking is that the portable buildings would be used for town offices until they are no longer needed (when the new civic center is completed) and then they might be used by the preschool.
Once the committee has considered the matter, it will be returned for more council consideration.