Potential development in town took center stage in Woodside in 2021.
With state mandates taking effect, it was a year of planning for what the town will look like with more housing units. A proposal to allow the development of outdoor community gathering spaces of the Town Center area closely divided residents. With vaccinations against COVID-19 rolled out and new equipment for recording and streaming, government meetings began to take place in person in Woodside for the first time in a year in a half.
Passed by just a handful of votes in November, Measure A, allows for expanded use of two residentially zoned parcels. After the votes were tallied, a town resolution surfaced showing that the land along the Cañada and Woodside roads intersection, known as Cañada Corners and owned by George Roberts of Roberts Market, had been placed under an open space conservation easement.
The Roberts have not brought a plan to the Town Council yet, but the council can choose not enforce an easement (or amend it), if members deem it to be for the public good.
Town officials also began to kick off planning for the housing element. Woodside faces significant increases in the number of units they're required to designate for development by the state (from 62 units in the last cycle to 328 units in the 2023-31 Regional Housing Needs Allocation). They also addressed increased development that will result from Senate Bill 9, which allows homeowners in single-family zones to split their lots and build up to four housing units. SB 9 requires local agencies to grant ministerial approval to certain lot splits and up to two units on each resulting lot, with 4-foot minimum side and rear setbacks.
The Town Council and other residents expressed concerns about preserving the town's "rural character" and not increasing wildfire risk with building.
Woodside council members adopted a resolution stating they "feel strongly" that state housing legislation deprives towns of their abilities to meet the needs of their communities.
Town Hall reopened.
In September, the Town Council began meeting in person for the first time since March 2020. The council welcomed audience members both in Council Chambers and over Zoom.
Construction workers completed the $2 million rebuilding of the aging Portola Road bridge. A new Jewish organization for Woodside and Portola Valley opened its doors to residents in the spring, saying there was a void in Jewish services in the area.
Woodside's population increased by only 0.4% — to 7,188 people — from 2010 to 2020, according to the latest census data.