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Wednesday: Woodside Planning Commission to look at new Glens rules

 

The Woodside Planning Commission will consider recommending some new rules Wednesday, Oct. 2, that would make it easier for residents of the Glens neighborhood, particularly those with smaller lots, to upgrade and enlarge their homes.

Homeowners in the neighborhood have been petitioning the town for relief from restrictive zoning rules that they say are blocking them from adding more space to their properties.

Some have also said that the rules that are keeping homes in the Glens significantly smaller than most other Woodside properties are also holding down housing prices in the neighborhood and limiting return on investment.

However, there are reasons why development in the Glens needs to be controlled, according to Woodside Planning Director Jackie Young.

The neighborhood was originally developed to provide summer vacation cottages for San Francisco residents and for year-round primary residences.

According to a staff report, the lots vary enormously in size, setbacks from the street in many cases are minimal, the sewer system is at capacity and the streets are narrow and may not be able to accommodate heavy traffic in an emergency.

After months of Planning Commission review and debate and a series of Saturday neighborhood tours by residents and town staff, the planning department has come up with proposed rules that would:

•"Progressively increase" maximum residence sizes for smaller lots, subject to design review by the planning department.

• Provide incentives for building garages on smaller lots by not including them in calculations of the total floor area of the home.

• Reduce required setbacks for "constrained" lots, subject to design review.

• Count parking within the street right-of-way and off the paved street toward on-site parking requirements.

• Allow tiered landscaping for homes on slopes of greater than 35% when it is considered safe by the town geologist and town engineer.

The Planning Commission is also requesting that the Town Council consider giving residents $500 toward historic evaluation records that are required before demolishing or altering structures that are at least 50 years old.

If the Planning Commission recommends the proposed new rules, they will go to the Town Council, which will consider approving them at a later date.

The Wednesday meeting will be held at Woodside Independence Hall, 2955 Woodside Road, beginning at 7 p.m.

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