Woodside sues resident for building without permits | December 7, 2011 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - December 7, 2011

Woodside sues resident for building without permits

by Dave Boyce

More than three years after the town of Woodside cited Gregory Smith of 37 Upenuf Road for the construction of a two-story building on the property without having acquired the necessary permits, the town has taken Mr. Smith to court.

A complaint filed Nov. 9, 2011, at San Mateo County Superior Court alleges that Mr. Smith ignored requests by the town in the late summer and fall of 2008 to stop work, contact the town and acquire the necessary permits for construction and site development, including grading and the installation of utilities.

Attempts to reach Mr. Smith or his attorney for comment have been unsuccessful.

In October 2008, after no response to an order that the improvements be removed, the complaint said, the town's community preservation officer recorded a code violation notice, which is supposed to halt all development on the property. A code violation also complicates any attempt to sell the property.

In the complaint, Woodside refers to the violations as "a public nuisance" and asks the court to order Mr. Smith to remove the building, return the property to its pre-construction condition, obtain the necessary permits and have the town inspect the resulting construction.

The town also asks Mr. Smith to reimburse the town for its legal fees and pay a fine of $5,000, the maximum allowed. The town is demanding penalties that would exceed $25,000, according to a filing by Town Attorney Jean B. Savaree of the firm Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone in San Carlos.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Have any of the neighbors complained? If not maybe Woodside should just back off and leave the person alone. At a maximum have them pay the outrageous price for the permits and inspections. Since it is not added with proper permits it is hard to sell so I volte to just leave him alone.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Brian -

That isn't the way it works. Perhaps the structure was built in a set-back or right of way. Perhaps it isn't to code and represents a fire hazard. Perhaps it is too high or too large.

Would you like a neighbor to construct a building next to your home without a permit?

There is a reason we have a permitting process and they don't have an "outrageous price." You should check before you make those kind of claims.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm


As difficult as many jurisdictions can make it to build, and Woodside is one of them, it is still the law. This person bought this property knowing there were laws and regulations regarding the development of his property. He chose to ignore them. He gets to pay the price. Personally, I hope they make him tear the structure down. No permits, no inspections, no idea if the structure conforms even remotley with modern buidling and fire codes. There is a reason these regulations are in place.

Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 8, 2011 at 8:58 am

Pogo, I guess you didn't really read my post. I said if none of the neighbors complained. If he built it on a setback or in a place that would bother the neighbors they would complain, as you or I would if someone built a house near our property line.

As for the outrageous cost of permits, I stand by that statement. I have added to my house and paid what I conside a huge amount of money to the city, then to the high school district (no kids in my house) and others to have them approve the plans and do inspections. Afterwards I ended up paying money to fix things that the "Inspections" shoud have caught. So with otu without permits and inspections you could end up with a fire hazard.

Posted by Old MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Woodside permit costs are not different than any other community in this area. You may think it is outrageous, but it is the going rate.

Posted by R.Gordon, a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Woodside residents have built outside of its city limits in San Mateo County with the help of Richard Gordon and the planning commission over almost a 10 year period and the names of those on the documents who okayed the permits and ignored dozens of others on a beach house were in complete denial and are far from being let go of what can be called a "payoff". There are hours of film and written denials which promptly buried the illegal costs of construction which is in the tens of millions.
It was to be judged except it was interrupted by the banking scandals. The owner "a venture capitalist", was going to have to name a list names who cooperated on his luxurious beach home where Gordon pulled the strings. He is now an Assemblyman doing good deeds.