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Recount complete, Woodside land use measure still passes

Measure A was approved by four votes, county election officials reported

Independence Hall in Woodside on Nov. 10, 2020. Measure A, a land use measure in town, passed by four votes after a recount this week. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

After two days of manually recounting ballots, elections officials say Measure A has still passed, but the margin of victory narrowed for the Woodside initiative to allow two sites in the Town Center area to be considered for outdoor community gathering spaces.

Although the outcome remained the same, the final vote count tightened to a four vote difference, with one additional no vote, according to the San Mateo County Elections Office. The final vote count for Measure A remained at 1,160 yes votes, while the count for no votes is now 1,156.

The ballot in question was previously considered an "undervote," according to the county. An undervote occurs when a ballot is left blank or the voter's intent cannot be determined.

During the recount process, county officials determined that the voter did not properly mark the ballot, resulting in it being considered a blank ballot. The county’s recount board reviewed the ballot and determined the voter intended to vote no on Measure A.

Measure A opponent Alan Watkins requested the recount last week after the election results showed the measure passed by just five votes. Measure A required a simple majority to pass.

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Eight staff members conducted the recount over about two days, Jim Irizarry, assistant chief elections officer for the county, said in an email.

The race grew closer as votes were tallied, after starting with a 20-vote lead on election night. The results were certified on Nov. 19.

Voter turnout was about 54%, according to a county press release, with 2,316 of the 4,270 registered voters in Woodside casting ballots on the measure.

Watkins could not be immediately reached for comment.

There is no provision in California law for an automatic recount in any election.

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The county estimates it will cost about $6,000 to conduct the recount. Watkins, as the requester, must foot the bill for the recount since the results did not change.

"A tremendous debt of gratitude to Vicki Coe, Matt Garr, Stacia Garr, David Madrid, Matt Richter, Tim Stannard, Jamie and Andy Kerr, Christine Roberts, Tyler MacNiven, Dror Berman and the countless volunteers that reached out to us asking for signs or to give us words of encouragement or to offer support (mental or otherwise) along the way," said Measure A co-author Alex Tauber in an email. "The folks above waged a campaign characterized by facts and a strong ethical compass, despite weathering the constant attacks. ... To the broader community of Woodside, thank you for allowing a discussion to now formally occur. We have tremendous confidence that our town staff and elected officials will make us proud in how they manage this discussion and process moving forward."

Measure details

Measure A amends current land use regulations that 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 parking lots, and Cañada Corners at the Cañada Road intersection (owned by Roberts Market). Because the rules were established by ballot measures J and 1 in 1988 and 1989 respectively, only voters could overturn the restrictions.

The measure allows the property behind Cañada Corners to be outfitted with surface parking to accommodate permanent outdoor dining, trails and play structures, allwhich were previously 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. Measure J prohibited development of commercial or office space on a then-vacant, town-owned parcel near where Town Hall is 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 before June 1988.

Measure 1 created an exception to Measure J, allowing residentially zoned parcels in the Woodside Road Whiskey Hill Road Parking Assessment District to be improved to provide access, parking and open space, so long as at least 50% of the residential parcels were maintained in open space. It allowed the town to construct parking and access improvements for Town Hall, commercial businesses and the public.

The Woodside Town Council's emergency ordinance allows the town to waive the restaurants' parking requirements that are part of a conditional use permit, something allowed thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order that extends parts of his March 4, 2020, COVID-19 emergency proclamation through March 31, 2022.

Mayor Brian Dombkowski said outdoor dining is likely to be extended (assuming the council continues to renew the 60-day resolutions) through March 2022, which was set to occur regardless of the outcome of Measure A.

When the emergency declaration ends, the town must once again enforce the parking requirements, he said.

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Recount complete, Woodside land use measure still passes

Measure A was approved by four votes, county election officials reported

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Dec 3, 2021, 11:08 am

After two days of manually recounting ballots, elections officials say Measure A has still passed, but the margin of victory narrowed for the Woodside initiative to allow two sites in the Town Center area to be considered for outdoor community gathering spaces.

Although the outcome remained the same, the final vote count tightened to a four vote difference, with one additional no vote, according to the San Mateo County Elections Office. The final vote count for Measure A remained at 1,160 yes votes, while the count for no votes is now 1,156.

The ballot in question was previously considered an "undervote," according to the county. An undervote occurs when a ballot is left blank or the voter's intent cannot be determined.

During the recount process, county officials determined that the voter did not properly mark the ballot, resulting in it being considered a blank ballot. The county’s recount board reviewed the ballot and determined the voter intended to vote no on Measure A.

Measure A opponent Alan Watkins requested the recount last week after the election results showed the measure passed by just five votes. Measure A required a simple majority to pass.

Eight staff members conducted the recount over about two days, Jim Irizarry, assistant chief elections officer for the county, said in an email.

The race grew closer as votes were tallied, after starting with a 20-vote lead on election night. The results were certified on Nov. 19.

Voter turnout was about 54%, according to a county press release, with 2,316 of the 4,270 registered voters in Woodside casting ballots on the measure.

Watkins could not be immediately reached for comment.

There is no provision in California law for an automatic recount in any election.

The county estimates it will cost about $6,000 to conduct the recount. Watkins, as the requester, must foot the bill for the recount since the results did not change.

"A tremendous debt of gratitude to Vicki Coe, Matt Garr, Stacia Garr, David Madrid, Matt Richter, Tim Stannard, Jamie and Andy Kerr, Christine Roberts, Tyler MacNiven, Dror Berman and the countless volunteers that reached out to us asking for signs or to give us words of encouragement or to offer support (mental or otherwise) along the way," said Measure A co-author Alex Tauber in an email. "The folks above waged a campaign characterized by facts and a strong ethical compass, despite weathering the constant attacks. ... To the broader community of Woodside, thank you for allowing a discussion to now formally occur. We have tremendous confidence that our town staff and elected officials will make us proud in how they manage this discussion and process moving forward."

Measure A amends current land use regulations that 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 parking lots, and Cañada Corners at the Cañada Road intersection (owned by Roberts Market). Because the rules were established by ballot measures J and 1 in 1988 and 1989 respectively, only voters could overturn the restrictions.

The measure allows the property behind Cañada Corners to be outfitted with surface parking to accommodate permanent outdoor dining, trails and play structures, allwhich were previously 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. Measure J prohibited development of commercial or office space on a then-vacant, town-owned parcel near where Town Hall is 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 before June 1988.

Measure 1 created an exception to Measure J, allowing residentially zoned parcels in the Woodside Road Whiskey Hill Road Parking Assessment District to be improved to provide access, parking and open space, so long as at least 50% of the residential parcels were maintained in open space. It allowed the town to construct parking and access improvements for Town Hall, commercial businesses and the public.

The Woodside Town Council's emergency ordinance allows the town to waive the restaurants' parking requirements that are part of a conditional use permit, something allowed thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order that extends parts of his March 4, 2020, COVID-19 emergency proclamation through March 31, 2022.

Mayor Brian Dombkowski said outdoor dining is likely to be extended (assuming the council continues to renew the 60-day resolutions) through March 2022, which was set to occur regardless of the outcome of Measure A.

When the emergency declaration ends, the town must once again enforce the parking requirements, he said.

Comments

Matt
Registered user
Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Dec 3, 2021 at 6:27 pm
Matt, Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
Registered user
on Dec 3, 2021 at 6:27 pm

The voters have spoken. Now it's time to come together. I learned a lot through this process. A four vote margin in over 2000 ballots cast?

I met and connected with several amazing people. And I was saddened by the vitriol and really negative ways many of us chose to express our voices.

After all, were all neighbors, one way or another. Thank you to those who participated with decorum.

Matt R


Native
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 6, 2021 at 9:58 pm
Native, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Dec 6, 2021 at 9:58 pm

Got it. So the world is burning, we "care" about climate change, but Woodside absolutely must ensure that there's gobs and gobs of free parking for everyone's vehicles? Have I got this right?


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