Letter: Contradictory decision on turf field | May 22, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Viewpoint - May 22, 2013

Letter: Contradictory decision on turf field

In its recent 3-to-2 vote, the Portola Valley Town Council overturned the Planning Commission's decision that would allow Woodside Priory School to install artificial turf when it renovates it's playing field this summer. The Priory was denied the artificial turf and now must put in irrigated grass.

Surprisingly the issue that seemed to sway the three council members was not about open space, scenic corridor, rural or water conservation. Instead it was about the fact that artificial turf was not a living organism. The three council members who voted to reject the Planning Commission's decision said they had "gut instincts" against the artificial turf and that they "read into the General Plan" a value that would not allow something inorganic to replace an existing organic material.

I have a deep respect for all our volunteers in this town, especially our council members who put in so much time and effort. However, I respectfully question this decision. How can a town that upholds a water-conservation code that regulates new construction to a limit of 1,000 square feet of irrigated grass now turn around and insist that the Priory put in two acres of it? How can a town that put in a mile of asphalt (inorganic material) on one of its town trails to make it a year-round recreational facility now turn around and deny the Priory a recreational facility the children can use year-round? The decision seems very contradictory.

What is done is done. Now the Priory will have to figure out how to make lemonade out of lemons.

If this upsets you, as it does me, there is something you can do. As citizens who have the right to vote, I urge you to pay attention to the Town Council election this upcoming fall. Two of the three Town Council members who voted to reject the Planning Commission's decision and have denied the Priory a facility that would be "on-par" with every high school in it's league, are up for re-election.

SallyAnn Reiss, Golden Oak Drive, Portola Valley


Posted by member, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Dear Editor

As many of you know, Mrs. Reiss has been the principal spokesperson for the Priory on the question of artificial turf. Does she represent them now or is this letter just her way of announcing that she plans to run for the Portola Valley Town Council in the fall because she insists that her point of view must prevail over all others.

As an artist of how to misconstrue, what Mrs. Reiss alludes to in her letter is the Town’s Dwight Crowder Trail that runs from the Town’s border with Ladera, through Ford Park and on to Arastradero Road. This was a pre-existing trail in poor repair and part of it was falling into the creek. Stanford offered to pay the Town to repair and reroute the Trail and the Town voted to accept Stanford’s money, to provide a continuous multi-use path and correct public safety hazards.

If anything is duplicitous, it is Mrs. Reiss’s misunderstanding of the facts.

I think the Woodside Priory has a great opportunity to show leadership on how they construct their new grass athletic field. This could be a model for the Town of Portola Valley and demonstrate new standards of what grasses to plant and how to apply new methods to maintain them.

As a Priory neighbor and resident of the Town, I’d be upset if the Priory blew it and didn’t show leadership in this matter.

Posted by Sally Ann Reiss, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Dear 'member',
I wrote the letter because,
1) I am a dedicated volunteer and resident of this town;
2) My children go to the Priory and I have a vested interest to ensure that they are given equal opportunity to all the other high schools in the area that do have artificial turf as an option.
3) This is a property rights issue
4) I am a a strong advocate of conservation and the environment (proven by my role as Chairperson of the Portola Valley Community Fund who lead a $17 million fundraising effort that was about having a Certified Green Town Center).

You are right, lets stick to the facts.
Lawn grass takes a lot of WATER, FERTILIZER, PESTICIDES and MOWING. Priory was attempting to show their leadership in conservation and environment but putting in a turf field.

While I can sense that the author of the previous post doesn't like me personally because I have a wonderful group of family and friends, I have a successful career and I really do like who I am, that is no reason for that person to take it out on the Priory, nor our environment.

Dedicated to truths and facts,
SallyAnn Reiss

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