For many years, the citizens of Woodside have fought to preserve rural Woodside. In 1988, Measure J was passed to stop the use of residential lots to facilitate commercial expansion. Do we want Woodside to continue to be a delightful rural community without attracting even more traffic, and overwhelming our town? The Woodside general plan requires that businesses primarily serve the day-to-day needs of the local community. How many customers are not local residents? Are we becoming a destination, not a residential community?
Proponents allege that outdoor dining will be eliminated without passage of this measure. Hyperbole like this beguiles folks to supporting Measure A, but nothing could be further from the truth. Both restaurants have had outdoor dining for years and can have more outdoor dining by presenting a plan to the town and Planning Commission.
We all want and enjoy outdoor dining and can continue to enjoy it and work to expand it. Let us work together to develop a comprehensive plan with the town and citizen input and review and determine the best approach with specific details for seating and parking for providing outdoor dining. It is wrong to start with a brute force initiative to remove the limit on commercial expansion for these two areas. By eliminating these protections, there will be no restrictions on bulldozing the open space lot to build a large parking lot and facilitate expansion of the restaurant.
A second completely unrelated plan is to build an amphitheater by Town Hall to provide a venue for commercial events. This idea should also be brought to the town as a developed plan which includes details on size, performance times, number of customers, building cost, and ongoing maintenance rather than charging forward to overrule limitations. In fact, they can gather there today where the proposed amphitheater is, if it is not a commercial event, like a rock concert. So why do we need to allow commercial use in this amphitheater? How will such commercial use impact the local businesses? How will it impact the neighbors?
Neither of these projects has been studied, engineered, planned, or designed to allow for an intelligent vote. Instead, scare tactics have been employed for a reactionary vote.
Bacchus Management is spending thousands of dollars and using employees to gather signatures, send emails, and reportedly solicit callers who are seeking reservations. It is clear that Bacchus could benefit through expansion and revenue if Measure A passes.
We are the custodians of Woodside, and its future is dependent on your vote. Will you allow the circumvention of the protection of our planning process and allow commercial interests to exploit our beautiful town and in so doing destroy our rural environment? Or will you stand with the many residents who are voting no on Measure A to enable an inclusive conversation for a proper solution to the issues before us? Let's work together to see how we can provide more outdoor dining and gathering places without damaging the rural character of our beautiful town.
I ask you to vote no on this measure.
Don Pugh has been a Woodside resident since 1972 and was the author of Measure J. He can be reached at [email protected] Visit saveruralwoodside.org for more information.