Carriage house restoration plan on Atherton council agenda | April 16, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - April 16, 2014

Carriage house restoration plan on Atherton council agenda

by Barbara Wood

Plans for a $2.5 million renovation of the carriage house in Holbrook-Palmer Park will be presented to the Atherton City Council at its regular meeting on Wednesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.

Also on the agenda is a letter outlining the town's objections to many aspects of the environmental report on Caltrain's proposal to convert to electric trains.

The Atherton Dames have hired Woodside architect Adolf Rosekrans to design the 113-year-old building's restoration. Along with the already restored water tower, the report says, the carriage house is one of only two original buildings built by the Holbrook family remaining in the park.

The Dames are proposing that the town pitch in $1 million of the cost, with another $1 million to come from private donations, $250,000 from a grant, and $250,000 from Dames' fundraising.

The report says that "in its current state, the Carriage House raises serious health and safety concerns." The Dames propose "a careful restoration of the authentic and historical elements of the Carriage House so that its heritage can be viewed and preserved."

The plans include an updated kitchen, an elevator and disabled-accessible bathrooms, restoring doorways to their original height, and moving stairs to make the building more useful.

"Once restored and renovated, the Carriage House will offer an intimate environment for embracing history while offering the luxuries needed for hosting meetings, parties, seminars, classes and/or workshops," the Dames' report says.

The council has been asked to endorse the project, and as part of its budget process will later vote on the funding, which the Dames say could be contributed over three fiscal years.

The council will also consider at its meeting the contents of a draft letter to Caltrain responding to the environmental report on a proposal to change the rail system to run on electricity.

Among the letter's objections are including design elements that would allow high-speed rail to be added to the system in the future, and that would require cutting down many heritage trees and installing 30- to 50-foot-tall poles and overhead wires. The letter asks for alternative designs and more research on areas such as traffic impact.

Also on the agenda for Wednesday are: a proclamation honoring retired council member Jim Dobbie; final approval of several items including laws about filling council vacancies, mobile food vending and greenwaste-collection rates; proposed resolutions to amend the contract with the police union and to issue day-use permits for Holbrook-Palmer Park; options for the Parker Avenue right-of-way; and details of managing tennis in Holbrook-Palmer Park.

To see the full agenda and reports go to


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