Woodsiders are set to vote on changing zoning to allow for more outdoor community gathering spaces in a Sept. 7 special election.
The citizen initiative qualified when San Mateo County verified 447 signatures out of the 678 signatures on a petition started by resident Alex Tauber to change zoning regulations so a parking lot behind Buck's Restaurant in Woodside can be developed, according to a report prepared by town staff for a Tuesday, June 8, council meeting. The measure would also allow for a parcel of land next to the Woodside Community Museum to be developed into an outdoor amphitheater. The measure needs a simple majority in favor to pass.
Tauber started the effort in February in search of safe ways to bring community members together outdoors.
Current land use regulations limit two residentially zoned pieces of land adjacent to the Town Center, a town-owned complex along Woodside Road from Whiskey Hill Road to Roberts Market that includes government buildings and commercial businesses, and Canada Corners at the Canada Road intersection (owned by Roberts Market). To overturn these rules, established by ballot measures J and 1 in 1988 and 1989, respectively, residents must submit a petition to the town for a ballot measure to get voter approval.
The measure would allow the property behind Canada Corners to be outfitted with surface parking to accommodate permanent outdoor dining, trails and play structures, all of which are now prohibited. It would also allow for the possible construction of a public building — an amphitheater or gazebo — for community events in the residentially zoned Town Center area.
Local businesses told The Almanac in April they support the petition.
Measure J, approved by the voters in 1988, did two things. It prohibited development of commercial or office space on a then vacant, town-owned parcel near where Town Hall is now located. It also required residential properties within and adjoining Town Center to remain in residential use unless commercial parking on those properties had been permitted prior to June 1, 1988.
Measure 1, approved by voters the following year, created an exception to Measure J's requirement that residential parcels in Town Center remain in residential use. Upon its approval by the voters, residentially zoned parcels in the Woodside Road Whiskey Hill Road Parking Assessment District were authorized to be improved to provide access, parking and open space — as shown in the 1989 Town Center site plan — so long as at least 50% of the residential parcels were maintained in open space. Approval of Measure 1 allowed the town to construct Town Hall parking and access improvements which now serve Town Hall, commercial businesses in the Town Center and the public.
There have been no further amendments to these land use regulations in the Town Center since 1989, according to the town.
Conditional use permits would be required prior to making any changes to these parcels.
Arguments for, and against, the ballot measure are due to the county on June 22. Instructions for submittal can be found at smcacre.org.