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Glens neighborhood plans, wildfire prevention among new Woodside mayor's priorities

Public service is part of the history of Woodside's new mayor Ned Fluet, who worked as a deputy attorney general in California and as an assistant U.S. attorney, among other government positions, before moving to private practice.

So, he said, it was a natural progression for him to run for the Woodside Town Council in 2018 after four years of living in the town.

He currently works for the firm of Lakin Spears in Palo Alto, specializing in trust and estate, elder abuse, and commercial litigation.

"After I went back (to private practice) I wanted to support my community and give back," Fluet said in an interview with The Almanac.

Although four out of the seven council seats were open in 2018, the town has district elections and Fluet was in the only contested race – the contest for the District 7 seat. He defeated Frank Rosenblum for the post and said he enjoyed the campaigning.

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"I knocked on a lot of doors, and that was the fun part, meeting people face to face," Fluet said.

Daniel Yost, Woodside's mayor in 2019, said he nominated Fluet for mayor pro tem in his first year on the council, which is usually the first step to becoming mayor, in part because he was the one candidate who had to run a campaign.

A main priority of the council in 2020, Fluet said, will be to finalize the development plans for the Glens neighborhood that are taking smaller parcels out of the nonconforming category, revising rules that were limiting homeowners' ability to expand their properties.

Woodside will be looking to take the same action in another area of town, most likely his own district, which includes the areas on and near La Honda and Old La Honda roads, and neighborhoods west of Portola Road.

The council will also be looking to publicize a subsidy program for vegetation management and "home hardening" to help protect homes against wildfires, Fluet said.

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"We want to get the word out as much as possible about the defensible space program, with financial help up to $3,000 for home hardening, clearing brush and trees, and fireproof vents," he said.

As a hills resident, Fluet said that he and his neighbors are constantly reminded of the wildfire threat: He and his family lost power twice in the PG&E electricity shutoffs in October, once for four days.

He said that he is in favor of any steps that could reduce the threat of fire, with one caveat: "I want (PG&E) to provide ample notice so that towns and cities can try to accommodate older and vulnerable populations who would need power for air conditioning and medical devices," he said.

Fluet, 42, grew up in the small town of Mount Prospect, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He received a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and a J.D. degree from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

His wife, Katy Fluet, is also an attorney, and the couple have two daughters.

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Glens neighborhood plans, wildfire prevention among new Woodside mayor's priorities

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Sat, Jan 4, 2020, 9:00 am

Public service is part of the history of Woodside's new mayor Ned Fluet, who worked as a deputy attorney general in California and as an assistant U.S. attorney, among other government positions, before moving to private practice.

So, he said, it was a natural progression for him to run for the Woodside Town Council in 2018 after four years of living in the town.

He currently works for the firm of Lakin Spears in Palo Alto, specializing in trust and estate, elder abuse, and commercial litigation.

"After I went back (to private practice) I wanted to support my community and give back," Fluet said in an interview with The Almanac.

Although four out of the seven council seats were open in 2018, the town has district elections and Fluet was in the only contested race – the contest for the District 7 seat. He defeated Frank Rosenblum for the post and said he enjoyed the campaigning.

"I knocked on a lot of doors, and that was the fun part, meeting people face to face," Fluet said.

Daniel Yost, Woodside's mayor in 2019, said he nominated Fluet for mayor pro tem in his first year on the council, which is usually the first step to becoming mayor, in part because he was the one candidate who had to run a campaign.

A main priority of the council in 2020, Fluet said, will be to finalize the development plans for the Glens neighborhood that are taking smaller parcels out of the nonconforming category, revising rules that were limiting homeowners' ability to expand their properties.

Woodside will be looking to take the same action in another area of town, most likely his own district, which includes the areas on and near La Honda and Old La Honda roads, and neighborhoods west of Portola Road.

The council will also be looking to publicize a subsidy program for vegetation management and "home hardening" to help protect homes against wildfires, Fluet said.

"We want to get the word out as much as possible about the defensible space program, with financial help up to $3,000 for home hardening, clearing brush and trees, and fireproof vents," he said.

As a hills resident, Fluet said that he and his neighbors are constantly reminded of the wildfire threat: He and his family lost power twice in the PG&E electricity shutoffs in October, once for four days.

He said that he is in favor of any steps that could reduce the threat of fire, with one caveat: "I want (PG&E) to provide ample notice so that towns and cities can try to accommodate older and vulnerable populations who would need power for air conditioning and medical devices," he said.

Fluet, 42, grew up in the small town of Mount Prospect, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He received a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and a J.D. degree from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

His wife, Katy Fluet, is also an attorney, and the couple have two daughters.

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Comments

glens resident
Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jan 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm
glens resident, Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jan 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm
Like this comment

Sounds promising, especially targeted fire-risk reduction in our vulnerable communities! Thanks Ned!


Neighbor
Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jan 6, 2020 at 12:38 pm
Neighbor, Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jan 6, 2020 at 12:38 pm
6 people like this

Welcome Mr Mayor,
Having dirt trails to ride bicycles up to Skyline blvd through Woodside and beyond is a long past due plan.
The ever busy roadways through our communities are fine for some bicyclists, however, many of us(especially those of us with kids) seek non motor vehicle traffic'd dirt path options.
South end of Crystal Springs Trail x Runnymede st ,Archery Fire Road in Huddart Park are a few that deserve serious consideration for Town of Woodside support to encourage SMCounty Parks to redesignate as non motorized bicycle routes.
There is not 1 inch of dirt trail available today for bicycle riders.
Please consider reflecting the needs of the broad community you represent.


awatkins
Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jan 6, 2020 at 2:39 pm
awatkins, Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Jan 6, 2020 at 2:39 pm
1 person likes this

Living in Mayor Ned's district my biggest concern is wildfire. Protecting citizen's lives is the first priority of any government, way ahead of tinkering with land use.

Wouldn't it be great if Woodside took this problem as serious as Portola Valley?

PV has a committee devoted to it, and a written plan you can read at Web Link.

Where is Woodside's wildfire plan?

We in the "western hills" have a huge property owner (Open Space) responsible for areas like Thornewood that are basically big piles of kindling waiting for a match.

This directly threatens the entire Skywood and Grandview neighborhoods.

And we have the primary exit route, Hwy. 84 aka La Honda Road, that is shrouded in brush. A few hundred feet of that got cleared year before last but then work mysteriously stopped. What's up with that?

So maybe our mayor and town council could use their influence to get actual physical progress done by working with those agencies.

Ned's assuming that first order of business is to "educate" the public, as he seems to do here, is certainly easy. But how does he know that ignorance is what keeps people from clearing brush and fire-proofing their homes? Has he asked anyone?


Glens Resident
Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jan 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm
Glens Resident, Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jan 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm
1 person likes this

Ned - it's fantastic to hear your commitment to finalizing changes in Woodside Glens that will allow families to upgrade their homes to modern standards! It's long overdue and needed. It also has the additional benefit that when we use modern construction materials, even a larger home is more fireproof.

One question on fire safety that could be more clear: there are many protected trees (due to size / species) that are also fire hazards due to proximity to homes. How do we ensure that homeowners can have the needed rights to protect their life safety in these situations?


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