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.
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.