Tonight: Woodside may seek public opinion on planning, building services


Are Woodside residents and others who deal with the town's planning and building operations dissatisfied with the services?

At a meeting that begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, the Woodside Town Council will consider giving Town Hall staff the go-ahead to begin gathering public opinion on planning and building services.

Opinions will be sought on staff timeliness, consistency, organization and responsiveness to questions. Town Manager Kevin Bryant has adapted a survey from the city of Milpitas.

During budget deliberations in June, the council agreed to commission a survey. At that meeting, two residents spoke in the public hearing and criticized Woodside's planning and building operations.

Resident Tim Johnson, a retired land-use attorney, said he had compared the productivity of Woodside's planning staff with that of Atherton and other communities and found Woodside apparently less productive. The town should evaluate its planning and building operations, he said.

Resident William Fender complained about the lengthy process he's experienced trying to build a two-car garage at his home on Grandview Drive. Mr. Fender recommended that staff examine its processes with an eye to improving efficiency.

The council was receptive to the complaints and agreed on the need for a survey, but noted that Woodside is distinctive in that staff members focus on "rural character," in keeping with the town's priorities outlined in the general plan and residential design guidelines. Staff members also deal with highly sophisticated residential projects that bring a level of complexity that approaches that of commercial projects, council members said.

Also on the Tuesday agenda: an ordinance that would streamline the permitting process for rooftop solar energy systems; the awarding of a bid to remodel the town's public library; and acceptance of proposed trail easements and lot-line adjustments on five parcels known as the Sand Hill Estates in the vicinity of Lawler Ranch Road.

The Woodside council meets in Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Your Neighbor
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 28, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Tim Johnson's recent article about the slow and inefficient ways of the Woodside Building Department was the best thing I'd read in the Almanac in the past decade. The Almanac should republish it.

Anyone who has dealt with this department -- especially in small jobs -- has their own stories of their snail-like responsiveness and soft-cost add-ons.

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