Portola Valley council sets 'affordable housing' as high priority


People work in Portola Valley but can't afford to live there. They live there but can't afford to stay. They've grown up there but can't afford to buy.

"The Council is committed to exploring ways to keep families whole, protecting those seniors who want to stay in the community they have called home for decades and demonstrate the value of those who are employed here, through second units, affiliated housing, and other inventive tools," Town Manager Jeremy Dennis wrote in a memo outlining proposed goals for Portola Valley.

The council agreed at its April 13 meeting and set "affordable housing" as one of its nine high-priority issues for the budget year starting July 1.

Among the other high priorities that the council agreed to (the council did not rank them):

■ Code enforcement. Over a year ending in August 2015, the town received 49 complaints, of which 42 were considered code violation cases, staff said. Regulations being violated included those governing the use of leaf blowers, building permits, construction hours, lighting and noise, staff said. And the town lacks a tree removal ordinance.

■ Better communication with residents. The town, located in Silicon Valley, is not making the best use of communication technology that is out there, Mr. Dennis said. "The Town is committed to exploring ways to improve communications with its residents and serve as a portal and repository of important and useful information," he said.

■ Support for alternative sources for electricity. Cities and towns in the county are setting up the Peninsula Clean Energy collective to purchase electricity from renewable sources on the open market as an alternative to buying it from Pacific Gas & Electric. The expectation is that it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions footprints while not raising rates significantly for residents. "The Town is committed to (the project) and the promise it brings," Mr. Dennis said.

■ FAA/aircraft noise. Residents in and around Portola Valley have been complaining to the Federal Aviation Administration and airport officials for years about the altitude, frequency and noise of commercial aircraft flying into SFO. A new committee has formed to develop regional solutions on issues related to these noise sources. Councilwoman Ann Wengert is a member.

■ Portola Road shoulder widening. There is a stretch of Portola Road near Town Center where the white fog line is unusually close to the edge of the road. The town has already widened a shoulder on Alpine Road; the Portola Road project is considered a high priority.

■ Spring Down Open Space Preserve. A former livestock pond sits in the open-space pasture just south of Town Center. The pool is fenced, but is up to 12 feet deep in places. The town's plan to make the pool shallow, remove the fence and allow it to dry out occasionally is overseen by the state and federal governments, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, told the town she is available to write letters. "We need to get it off the table," Councilman John Richards said.

The council was revisiting a list of 28 priorities first considered on March 9. Based on that discussion, Mr. Dennis narrowed the list to the nine high-priority items, as well as four medium- and five low-priority items.

Go to this link and turn to Page 26 for more information.

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Like this comment
Posted by Nate McKitterick
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm

PV does have a tree removal ordinance in its Municipal Code, as well as clear guidance on what constitutes a "significant tree" that requires a permit: Web Link

I suspect the Town Council is considering codifying penalties for failing to comply to the existing law, but I do not know.

2 people like this
Posted by Sure they are.
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2016 at 9:41 am

Housing is not "affordable" in the Bay Area partly because new housing is not allowed in many areas - including the foothills. Maybe the Portola Valley Council will authorize some tree houses and allow humans to live in stables with the horses.

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

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