My family and I have been living in Woodside for close to 50 years. I served on the Planning Commission. I helped update the town's general plan. After the terrible Oakland Hills fire 30 years ago, Mayor Jeanne Dickey asked me to head up a committee to make recommendations to the Town Council on how Woodside could protect itself from such a catastrophe. I coached Little League baseball and softball. My wife Amalia was voted Woodside Citizen of the Year in 1984.
It is our considered opinion that what Measure A proposes to do to the town of Woodside is exactly what the town has never wanted. Here are three powerful reasons to vote no:
• The amphitheater is a terrible idea for innumerable reasons. Two of the most salient are:
We already have a first-rate amphitheater in the beautiful redwood grove behind the school. There are lots of non-school activities on school grounds, like Little League baseball/softball and AYSO soccer, on the basketball courts, May Day activities, etc. Spending town funds to build another amphitheater — when there are so many places where those funds could be put to very good use — would be fiscally irresponsible (Editor's note: The authors of the measure, Alex Tauber and Peter Bailey, have stated that any development stemming from the passage of Measure A would be paid for by the property owner, not the town or residents.) And funds for day-to-day maintenance costs? For security?
While it sounds idyllic to have a "gathering place" for Woodsiders in the center of our town, the fact is events would needlessly attract a lot more gathering outsiders, with all the traffic congestion, parking problems, and noise pollution that necessarily would come with the crowds. And toilets to accommodate them? Do we really want all this?
• On adding greater restaurant seating capacity, I am totally sympathetic to the plight of the restaurants during the pandemic, and I support anything temporary — like outdoor seating — that helps them. But it would be a very serious mistake to convert this emergency solution into a permanent change that would work to the long-term detriment of the town's residents — and, by the way, also to the owners of the other convenient places of business in the center (the hair salon, the cleaners, the florist) whose customers would be hard put to find a parking space. Permanent outside seating would create traffic, parking, and other problems Woodsiders should not have to put up with.
Over the years the town has actively discouraged greater restaurant seating. Indeed, a restaurant was proposed for Village Hill, where the bronze statues of Spring and her foal Sprite now serenely gaze down on us as we drive or bike by. The arguments for the restaurant were essentially the same as what we're hearing now for permanent outdoor seating, but were soundly defeated. Happy ending: Village Hill was then voted into Woodside open space for all of us to visually enjoy.
• Conflating in a single vote such totally different proposals as permanent outdoor dining and an amphitheater makes absolutely no sense at all. The only thing they have in common is that they are both very bad ideas for the Woodside residents.
F. Harvey Popell
Olive Hill Lane, Woodside
This story contains 560 words.
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