News

Portola Valley considers buying 3 acres from Spring Down Equestrian Center

The Spring Down Equestrian Center in Portola Valley on July 28, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The Portola Valley Town Council on July 22 held a closed-session discussion on the possible town acquisition of a parcel at 725 Portola Road, the current location of Spring Down Equestrian Center.

Nothing was reported out of closed session, according to Town Manager Jeremy Dennis, who said he could not elaborate beyond the information provided on the agenda. The closed-session agenda item was a conference between real property negotiators and Goodstein Family Partners Lp with "transfer of property to town ownership" under negotiation. Carol Goodstein is listed as the owner of the center on its website.

Spring Down Equestrian Center officials did not return requests for comment.

The parcel under discussion, one of four lots on the property, is just under 3 acres and is the only one owned by Goodstein, according to the San Mateo County Assessor's Office.

The center, which has operated in Portola Valley since 1984, abuts the Portola Valley Town Center complex at 765 Portola Road. In 2000, the town purchased 3 acres of the 12-acre equestrian center property and later 3 adjoining acres to use as public open space, now known as Spring Down Open Space. According to an October 2000 Almanac article, Stanley and Carol Goodstein sold the front two lots of their property to the town at below market value and in exchange were allowed to use the land for horse shows and equestrian training for a decade. As a result of the sale, the Goodsteins had to reduce the number of horses from 84 to 40, and move the riding ring back beside the stables.

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In 2009 the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association gave Carol Goodstein its Hall of Fame award. In a post on its website, the association notes, "There are many kids that grew up at Spring Down who successfully went on to ride on the A circuit, or had a family of their own who are now back riding at the barn. ... Spring Down has been a safe haven for riders young and not so young, building self-esteem and confidence as well as team work."

It's not clear what the equestrian center parcel would be used for if the town acquired it.

A council-formed committee convened last year to research using town-owned property for affordable housing — including a small plot at the south end of the Town Center property. It narrowed down the choices to four sites out of more than 30 that the town owns and found that those properties had drawbacks that would inhibit development of a significant number of units or would draw community opposition, committee Vice Chairman Steve Toben told The Almanac last November.

The state passed new laws that will affect the Regional Housing Needs Assessment beginning in 2022 and could require the town to plan for 100 to 200 units of housing over the next decade, with some percentage of below-market-rate units.

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Portola Valley considers buying 3 acres from Spring Down Equestrian Center

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 10:48 am

The Portola Valley Town Council on July 22 held a closed-session discussion on the possible town acquisition of a parcel at 725 Portola Road, the current location of Spring Down Equestrian Center.

Nothing was reported out of closed session, according to Town Manager Jeremy Dennis, who said he could not elaborate beyond the information provided on the agenda. The closed-session agenda item was a conference between real property negotiators and Goodstein Family Partners Lp with "transfer of property to town ownership" under negotiation. Carol Goodstein is listed as the owner of the center on its website.

Spring Down Equestrian Center officials did not return requests for comment.

The parcel under discussion, one of four lots on the property, is just under 3 acres and is the only one owned by Goodstein, according to the San Mateo County Assessor's Office.

The center, which has operated in Portola Valley since 1984, abuts the Portola Valley Town Center complex at 765 Portola Road. In 2000, the town purchased 3 acres of the 12-acre equestrian center property and later 3 adjoining acres to use as public open space, now known as Spring Down Open Space. According to an October 2000 Almanac article, Stanley and Carol Goodstein sold the front two lots of their property to the town at below market value and in exchange were allowed to use the land for horse shows and equestrian training for a decade. As a result of the sale, the Goodsteins had to reduce the number of horses from 84 to 40, and move the riding ring back beside the stables.

In 2009 the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association gave Carol Goodstein its Hall of Fame award. In a post on its website, the association notes, "There are many kids that grew up at Spring Down who successfully went on to ride on the A circuit, or had a family of their own who are now back riding at the barn. ... Spring Down has been a safe haven for riders young and not so young, building self-esteem and confidence as well as team work."

It's not clear what the equestrian center parcel would be used for if the town acquired it.

A council-formed committee convened last year to research using town-owned property for affordable housing — including a small plot at the south end of the Town Center property. It narrowed down the choices to four sites out of more than 30 that the town owns and found that those properties had drawbacks that would inhibit development of a significant number of units or would draw community opposition, committee Vice Chairman Steve Toben told The Almanac last November.

The state passed new laws that will affect the Regional Housing Needs Assessment beginning in 2022 and could require the town to plan for 100 to 200 units of housing over the next decade, with some percentage of below-market-rate units.

Comments

Neighbor
Portola Valley: other
on Aug 3, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Neighbor, Portola Valley: other
on Aug 3, 2020 at 12:51 pm
5 people like this

I looked up the lot lines of this property to try to find out exactly which parcel they were talking about. The two parcels abutting Portola Road are apparently already owned by the town of Portola Valley, as per the article. That leaves the parcel containing the equestrian center, and the parcel behind and beside it containing the Goodstein home and accessory dwellings (if I remember right, there used to be a trailer there for a barn manager to live in, or a guest house or something, as well as likely the garage and so forth.) The equestrian center is a huge part of not only this community, but other communities as well---it is really the sole place left for regular people to have their kids "try out" horses, in the form of taking lessons, having a birthday party, Girl Scout camp, etc. That parcel MUST remain an equestrian center. It is part of the heart of this community. The Goodstein home parcel, however, would be a great place to put community housing---it's tucked away in a beautiful spot that directly abuts the Town Center playing fields, the view of the hills, and the green grass and open space. It's flat and it's safe from the road. I don't know which parcel the Goldstein's still own, and have no idea why they don't own the second one. But if Carol sells out the equestrian center after all this time as a horsewoman, and after her ongoing commitment to keeping Portola Valley horse country, that would really be a hard and sad situation for us all. I hope above all hopes that the equestrian center can remain, and affordable housing can be built and perhaps the big house modified so that we can meet all of our community's needs.


QHQH Paint
Portola Valley: other
on Aug 3, 2020 at 2:57 pm
QHQH Paint, Portola Valley: other
on Aug 3, 2020 at 2:57 pm
2 people like this

It would be a shame if the horse census gets reduced still further--84 to 40 to what??? The Page Mill Pastures boarders had to scramble when that facility downsized.

It's not accurate to say that "it is really the sole place left for regular people to have their kids 'try out' horses, in the form of taking lessons, having a birthday party, Girl Scout camp, etc." Webb Ranch is all that and more. Chaparral is some of that. Still, a loss to one is a loss to all.


pearl
another community
on Aug 3, 2020 at 3:22 pm
pearl, another community
on Aug 3, 2020 at 3:22 pm
17 people like this

A bit of history: "Spring Down Equestrian Center" was originally named "Spring Down Farm". It was established in the last century by H. Myrl Stearns whose daughter loved horseback riding, and participating in riding events.

Web Link


Horse census?
Registered user
Belle Haven Elementary
on Aug 4, 2020 at 9:01 pm
Horse census? , Belle Haven Elementary
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2020 at 9:01 pm
Like this comment

Town of PV is rumored to be purchasing it to.meet State guidelines for affordable housing.



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