Woodside: Council addresses aircraft noise, considers increase to house sizes


Complaints about the noise of low-flying commercial aircraft cruising over Woodside on the way into San Francisco International Airport are not new, but the issue is nearly new for the Woodside Town Council, which heard from several affected residents Tuesday evening (May 24).

The council also conducted a third study session on the question of increasing the maximum square footage for a main residence in Woodside.

On the aircraft noise issue, the council directed staff to draft a "strong resolution" stating the views of the council, and to explore options for engaging a consultant skilled in the ways of the Federal Aviation Administration so as to craft more effective complaints about noise.

A recently published analysis by the FAA said that it would not be feasible to change the patterns of aircraft passing over a navigation beacon in the hills above Woodside.

After hearing from a noise-issue activist about the FAA's respect for local communities that take the time and make the considerable effort to come up with solutions for their complaints, the council singled out elevation as a possible focus -- a seemingly simple matter of having the jets cross over the beacon at higher altitudes.

House size

The study session considered a proposal drafted by a zoning subcommittee -- two council members, the town manager, the planning director and two residents with differing points of view -- that would allow an increase of up to 10 percent to the maximum size of houses in Woodside.

The proposal would use a sliding scale in which allowable square footage rises with the size of the property up to a 10 percent increase from the current limits of 3,000, 4,000 and 6,000 square feet. Among the complications: house sizes on properties that are atypical of their zones, either smaller or larger than normal.

Staff will be considering a formula that would simplify the process of figuring out the maximum size for a given acreage, without losing sight of perennial complications in Woodside having to do with sloping lands and geo-technical issues.

Of the 46 emails sent to the council ahead of the study session, 83 percent favored the proposal, Town Manager Kevin Bryant said.

The council directed staff to forward the proposal to the Planning Commission for refinement and more public hearings.

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5 people like this
Posted by Samia
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Why does Woodside need bigger houses? We need to reduce the ever-growing house size on the Peninsula, not increase it.

23 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 25, 2016 at 5:02 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Quite frankly, Samia, it's none of your business.

Some of our residents have a large family, work out of their homes, have wine cellars, libraries, offices, studios or gyms. If they can afford it, it's not your concern. And even if it is just one person and just want room to roam around, that's fine also.

No one tells you how to spend your money...

9 people like this
Posted by Homeowner with family
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on May 25, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Agreed POGO, they should also allow smaller lots to have "granny units". This would aid in their BMR issue and the property owner actually has a chance to hear any noise issues or see visual infractions

13 people like this
Posted by Woodside Homeowner
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on May 25, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Samia - I don't care what regulations Menlo Park residents have. Woodside in general has large lots, and the allowed house sizes are oftentimes smaller than those allowed on small Menlo Park lots. I don't see why reducing house sizes on the Peninsula would help anything, and don't see why larger houses in Woodside would affect you as a Menlo Park resident.

4 people like this
Posted by NearSandHill
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 26, 2016 at 9:06 am

Woodside has been known for its beautiful and large estates since the 1800's. The 6,000 sq ft restriction has been somewhat arbitrary (in more recent years) considering the large size of many of the lots. Woodside is a beautiful community with beautiful homes that are well cared for. Glad the council is relaxing their restrictions!

4 people like this
Posted by Broke
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 29, 2016 at 6:41 pm

For those of us with strange lot sizes, shapes, and hills, 10% is not enough. Just make it easier and cheaper to get reasonable projects through.

Despite calling Woodside home, many of us don't have hundreds of thousands to fight the arcane rules. We can update a dated and deficient house in a tight budget, but don't have unlimited funds for the battle.

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

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