Tuesday: Woodside may streamline home design review


In its first meeting since October, the Woodside Town Council on Tuesday, Dec. 8, will say goodbye to three of its members, say hello to three new members, hear about an alternative source for electric power, and consider an ordinance to streamline architectural design reviews for small residential projects.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road.

The meeting is set to begin with recognition of Ron Romines, who is leaving after 10 years on the council, and Dave Burow after eight years. Next will be a recognition of the mayor, Tom Shanahan, who is leaving the council after four years.

Elected to the council on Nov. 3 were attorney and former planning commissioner Daniel Yost to represent District 1, former planning commissioner Tom Livermore, and corporate executive Chris Shaw.

San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine is expected to be in attendance for a presentation about a countywide program, now in the planning and development phase, to provide residents with a source of electricity other than Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Accompanying Mr. Pine to help in answering questions would be program consultant Seth Baruch and attorney David Silberman from the County Counsel's Office.

To participate in the alternative energy program, the council would have to act by the end of February to adopt an ordinance to implement the program in Woodside, and pass a resolution to join a joint-powers authority that oversees the program.

On Tuesday evening, the council will also consider a second and final vote on an ordinance to change the design review process for accessory living quarters, gates and entry features, signs, certain types of fences and outdoor lighting, and projects within scenic corridors and western hills with dimensions less than or equal to 1,000 square feet.

Under the ordinance, these projects would no longer go before the Architectural and Design Review Board, but would instead be reviewed by the planning director acting as zoning administrator, a new position that the ordinance would create.

— Dave Boyce

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Like this comment
Posted by Woody
a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley
on Dec 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Too little too late. Will there be compensation for those residents whose property rights were unnecessarily and unfairly compromised?

2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 7, 2015 at 7:04 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Better late than never, Woody.

I hope that citizens come out in force to make sure the Town Council reforms our permitting process, especially our often capricious ASRB. The recent election spoke loudly - the Town Council should listen to their constituents who are clearly dissatisfied with the status quo.

7 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 8, 2015 at 7:16 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

In my opinion the architectural review board should be entirely dumped. Its responsibilities are easily handled by Town planners. Plans already go through them before going to the board. The board is redundant and as been widely observed, totally subjective in their project reviews.

The board does nothing but complicate the process, make the process take far longer than necessary (Woodside is known among builders and architects as a terrible place to try to get projects done) and it costs residents far more money in architects fees than is necessary. It's time for the board to be disbanded.

2 people like this
Posted by Woodsider
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 8, 2015 at 12:56 pm

The principal problem with the ASRB is that have become the fashion police and often impose their own esoteric standards on applicants - which is NOT their job.

The ASRB members often start their comments by saying "what I'd like to see..." which is code for make this change or your project won't see the light of day. It is unconscionable when it involves an issue way beyond the scope of the ASRB.

2 people like this
Posted by woodside resident
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Dec 8, 2015 at 1:15 pm

it's about time! ASRB has had way too much to say and much of it blatantly subjective. They should be helpful, encouraging projects. Instead they seem to go out of their way to make things difficult for the home owner. Thank goodness for these changes. I hope the new members will be less arbitrary in their dealings with residents' projects.

10 people like this
Posted by 30 Year resident
a resident of Woodside School
on Dec 8, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Personally, I wish our ASRB was a little stricter, like Portola Valley's. Far too many ugly homes are allowed to be built in Woodside, which if it continues will make our community a less desirable place to live and drive down our property values.
We are lucky, though, that our Planning Director, who will now be making these decisions on small projects, is even more strict than the residents who volunteer many hours to serve on the ASRB and work tirelessly to keep our community the attractive place it has always been.
Here's another article talking about how Woodside is third only to Atherton and Los Altos Hills as the home of luxury real estate. Web Link
Thanks ASRB members for all your work to keep our community such an attractive and valued place to live! Now that the little stuff has been taken off your plate you should have even more time to protect our community from developers and people who do not care how their "dream home" impinges on the rest of the community.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 8, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Thank you ASRB member, er, 30 Year resident for your comments. The residents of Woodside spoke loudly about what they think of the ASRB. They're not developers. They're people tired of being dictated to about what the ASRB members think their home should look like. The ASRB is there to determine compliance. The words "I would like" should be crossing their lips. It should be it complies or it doesn't. Period. That is why the residents are upset, not because something developers are trying to do.

9 people like this
Posted by 30 Year resident
a resident of Woodside School
on Dec 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm

And why, Menlo Voter, do you care what happens in Woodside? Could it be because you are a developer? Hard to think of any other reason why you'd care, since you do not live in our town.
By the way, I am not an ASRB member, although I did have to have my home remodel vetted by them 15 years ago. I am, as I said, glad we have the process but have long wished it was more thorough.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 8, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

No, 30 year resident, I'm NOT a developer. I'm a builder that has seen the BS your ASRB puts the citizens of your town through. Because they have a little power and want to impose THEIR idea of what your town should be as opposed to what the Town zoning says. I've seen the countless hours and dollars wasted on this ASRB nonsense. As I said, the words "I think I would like" should never come out of the mouth of someone on the ASRB. That's the dead give away that it's about them exercising a little power as opposed to over seeing whether or not a project complies.

Woodside is the worst place in the Bay area to try to build. [Part removed.]

Also, as I said, the voters of Woodside spoke. And they spoke loudly.

4 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:42 am

really? is a registered user.

The harder one taste or design aesthetic is pushed into a community, the more that city becomes a parody of itself.

Yes, Atherton is a mess, but more because of ostentation and land planning that puts every house 'on show' (gridded like the tables at a flea market). But Woodsides's hidden properties and loads of trees should make the architecture less of an issue, so there's actually less of a reason for all this preciousness.

Like this comment
Posted by Can't see the forest for the sleeze
a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley
on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:59 am

Wow so the campaign of dishonest and destructive attacks on the ASRB never ends. What ignorance. The extreme property rights rhetoric is firmly founded in the east of Hwy 280 residents, conflicted council members who make their living in town, good old boy cowboy network, and the cash of old-timey car dealership and grocery store "titans".

Let's call a spade a spade. And before Woodside allows east of 280 bring about any more changes (increased house size, anyone?) please let the east of 280 neighborhoods fall to their appropriate zip codes of Redwood City and Atherton.

Like this comment
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Dec 9, 2015 at 9:25 am

Agree with "Can't see the forest..." What Woodside has that is special is worth preserving. The council has opened the door to dump the employee and further gut the board that does the heavy lifting wrt keeping the town unique.

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

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