A proposal to replace an equestrian bridge on the Center Trail, the main horse trail through Woodside, was unanimously approved for funding by the Town Council on Jan. 28, over earlier opposition from some residents who argued that the trail only benefited the horseback riding community.
Town Manager Kevin Bryant told the council that the town's responsibility to maintain the horse trails is part of its general plan, which identifies Woodside as an equestrian-oriented community.
A conditional use permit for the bridge was approved by the council in October. That was after the Planning Commission passed it along to the council without a recommendation; some commissioners had expressed concerns about whether a publicly funded portion of the cost was appropriate.
Although the gates to the trail are unlocked, it is for equestrian use only, thus hiking and biking are prohibited.
The $200,000 cost of the new bridge, which will run over Bear Gulch Creek south of 3411 Woodside Road, will be paid for with a $115,000 donation from horse-oriented organizations, $50,000 from a fiduciary fund made up of contributions from the equestrian community, and $35,000 in public funds from a town trail maintenance fee, along with property and sales taxes.
The Mounted Patrol Foundation, the Woodside Community Foundation, the Woodside Horse Owners Association, the Woodside Trails Club and the Community Horse Advocacy Program for San Mateo County contributed to the private funding.
"We need to make a statement that we are in support of our equestrian heritage," Councilman Chris Shaw said.
The public works department plans to begin the project in June or July and complete it in two to four weeks.
The Town Council also approved a $140,000 project to remove 21 eucalyptus trees on Blue Ridge Lane in order to make it easier to prevent the spread of a wildfire and to leave the neighborhood should one start, according to the staff report.
Eucalyptus are a non-native species and are exceptionally easy to ignite, according to the staff report.
The trees are next to and over power lines running across Blue Ridge Lane.
The town received bids from four tree service companies and chose the lowest operative bid.
The work is expected to begin in March and will take about three weeks to complete.
The council voted unanimously to go ahead with the project immediately by executing a budget amendment for the 2019-20 fiscal year to pay for it.
Woodside has also applied for $937,000 in federal funding for hazardous tree removal to prevent fires which, if approved, will require $312,000 in local matching funds, according to Public Works Director Sean Rose.
The federal money will not be available until the 2020-21 fiscal year that begins July 1, according to the staff report.
The project is one of several tree trimming and brush clearing projects that have been undertaken in Woodside. The town has removed about 160 hazardous trees so far on eight different streets, Rose said.
The next planned project will involve brush clearing and tree removal in the 6.8-acre Joan Olsen Preserve in the Glens neighborhood.
Glens rules get final approval
The council also voted unanimously to give final approval to changes to zoning and development rules in the Glens, completing a process that has taken more than two years.
The Woodside Planning Department will be doing similar studies and considering similar changes to the rules in other neighborhoods, Bryant said.
He added that zoning and development rules in the Old La Honda Road neighborhood in the Western Hills will be next up for consideration.