OF THE ALMANAC AND
PA L O A LT O W E E K LY
SPRING REAL ESTATE inside this issue PSYCHING OUT THE ‘FACEBOOK EFFECT’ PAGE 6
RESEARCH, THEN REFINANCE PAGE 12
PSSST ... HAVE I GOT A HOUSE FOR YOU! PAGE 29
COMPETITION FOR HOMES HEATS UP PAGE 60
T H E H O M E TOW N N E W S PA P E R F O R M E N L O PA R K , AT H E RTO N , P O RTO L A VA L L E Y A N D WO O D S I D E
APRIL 18, 2012
| VO L . 4 7 N O. 3 4
SCHOLAR with A
c ause Section 2
W W W. T H E A L M A N AC O N L I N E . C O M
WOODSIDE Located on a on a very private and ﬂat 3 +/- acres, this home offers many desirable features. In addition to the main residence, there is a 2bd/2ba guest house. Tennis court, barn with storage, and private well for irrigation.
MENLO PARK Magniﬁcent light-ﬁlled Georgian home with slate roof. Three levels with four bedrooms on 2nd ﬂoor. Theater, wine cellar, exercise room, paneled library with ﬁreplace. 5th bedroom and bath on lower level. Graceful staircase and hardwood ﬂoors.
WOODSIDE Featured in Dwell Magazine, this 2bd/2.5ba custom built home features soaring walls of glass, an open ﬂoor plan, and sits on 17 +/- acres. There are stunning views from every room.
2 N The Almanac N April 18, 2012
UP F RONT
Celebrating 50 years of friendship By Jane Knoerle Almanac Lifestyles Editor
hey met at age 4. Fifty years later, Peter Katz and Bob Holland are celebrating five decades of friendship with 150 of their nearest and dearest on Saturday, April 21, at Portola Valley Town Center. The party will include live music, a buffet supper, a slide show, and the return of five childhood friends, who will once again “roast the hosts.” “For many with local roots, it’s a wonderful reunion and journey home,” says Peter. Bob and Peter both moved with their families to Portola Valley in 1961 (Bob to Zapata Way, Peter to Mapache Drive). The 4-year-olds met when Peter and his mom went for Almanac photo by Michelle Le a walk in their Westridge Best friends Peter Katz, left, and Bob Holland—here and below. neighborhood and happened on Bob and his older brother, Tom, sitting on the corner fire treating on Halloween, carol- Canada College and Hayward hydrant. They became instant ing at Christmas and annual State. Peter started a career friends. “Turkey Bowls” played at in high tech and settled on The boys went the Peninsula. all through He works with ‘We rode our bikes everywhere. We’d go off tech startups as a school together: Ormondale, Porall day long. Our parents would say “So long. marketing contola Valley Junior sultant and lives Be home by dark.”’ High, and Ravenin Menlo Park’s swood High Sharon Heights BOB HOLLAND School. Their area with his parents, Bob and Sue Katz Thanksgiving. wife, Meg Marks, and sons and Harry and Sally Holland, “We were pretty much insep- Zack, 14, and Ben, 13. became good friends. Mr. Katz, arable. We had a spare bed at Bob pursued music, includa member of a commission that our house that was referred to ing attending Berklee Colhelped Portola Valley incorpo- as Bob’s bed,” says Peter. “Even lege of Music in Boston and rate in the 1960s, still lives in our dogs visited each other.” later performing and teaching the Portola Valley house Peter Peter went on to UC Berke- music in Taiwan. He has his grew up in. ley; Bob played soccer at own blues band, “Souls of They’ve always shared a love Blue,” which will play at the of the outdoors, especially party, and gives private lesskiing and backpacking, as sons, mostly in guitar. He lives well as music and the arts, with his wife, Kelly O’Connor, says Peter. They performed on in Redwood City. stage together in school proBob was best man at Peter’s ductions of “Guys and Dolls” wedding (1994); and Peter at and “You’re a Good Man, Bob’s (1999). Charlie Brown.” During three summers in They remember an idyllic high school, Peter’s grandchildhood in the close-knit parents took both boys to Portola Valley community. Drakesbad Guest Ranch in “We rode our bikes everyLassen National Park. While where. We’d go off all day there, the boys met “two old long. Our parents would say See FRIENDS, page 14 ‘So long. Be home by dark,’” Bob says. There was trick-or
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THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright ©2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
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April 18, 2012 N The Almanac N 3
WE’RE WORKING WITH HOMEOWNERS IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE IN CALIFORNIA
Providing solutions for homeowners in need of assistance remains a critical focus for Bank of America. We want to give as many customers as possible the chance to stay in their homes. That’s why we’re reaching out to homeowners in the nation’s hardest-hit communities, meeting with them face-to-face and working with them over the phone. Since 2009, Bank of America has held customer outreach events in California and across the country. Through these events and other outreach efforts, we’ve helped modify over one million mortgages nationwide since 2008.
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© 2012 Bank of America Corporation. Member FDIC. ARN724S3
4 N The Almanac N April 18, 2012
E N L O
A R K
T H E R T O N
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Mayor, Facebook smiling over development terms Council to vote on agreement this week. ■
By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac
oth Facebook and Menlo Park officials say they are happy with the terms of an agreement the two have come up with that will allow Facebook to have as many as 6,600 employees on its current campus. The agreement is scheduled for a vote by the Menlo Park City Council when it meets next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St. After 10 weeks of negotiations between
Facebook and city officials, a draft of the have them here,” she said. terms for the development agreement Facebook spokesman Tucker Bounds between the social networking giant and said Facebook plans “to be a very good the city was released on April 12. neighbor and these generous proposMayor Kirsten Keith als strongly underscore said she is “very hapthat commitment.” The py” with the proposed N MEN L O PARK terms, he said, include terms. “I’m very please “a comprehensive range and I think everybody of commitments to worked very well on creating this and I Menlo Park that build upon the inherent hope to see it approved on Tuesday,” she benefits we believe flow from Facebook’s said. entry into the community.” Mayor Keith said most of items that In addition to the changes Facebook were important to the city ended up in wants to make at its current site near the agreement including items that ben- the intersection of Willow Road and efit East Palo Alto. Bayfront Expressway, it is also seeking Facebook is “a fabulous addition to permission to eventually expand even Menlo Park and we are very fortunate to further by building new offices and a
parking garage on the nearby Constitution Drive site that could house another 2,800 employees. That development will be the subject of future negotiations and is not part of this development agreement. After Tuesday’s meeting, the Menlo Park Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the Facebook project, including the environmental report and the development agreement on May 7; the council will hold another hearing on May 29, with June 5 expected to be the date for final action by the council. Among the development agreement terms See FACEBOOK, page 7
City reveals details of proposed downtown plan in memos EIR scheduled for release Thursday.
By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac
efinements in the longrange plan that will govern development in downtown Menlo Park and along El Camino Real for the next 30 years will be released by the city on Thursday afternoon, April 19, when it publishes the environmental impact report and final version of the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan in preparation for Planning Commission discussion on Monday, April 30. Go to tinyurl.com/plan-42911 if you can’t wait to read the details of the final EIR and want to read city memos that were posted Friday on more than a dozen items the council had asked to explore further. Among the highlights:
■ Parking garage in Plaza 2. The memo says a parking structure on Parking Plaza 2 could provide between 250 and 310 parking spaces, depending on whether part of the parcel is left as a small park. The five-level structure would replace 95 existing spaces, with one level underground. ■ El Camino roadway and sidewalks. The memo suggests that four lanes with bike lanes and on-street parking is the preferred configuration for El Camino Real, and also suggests including curb extensions to improve pedestrian safety. ■ Senior housing. The memo recommends allowing senior housing in mixed-use zones, but without creating a separate zoning designation. Suggested developer incentives include reduced parking requirements and increased See SPECIFIC, page 8
Noisy nights for Caltrain neighbors Caltrain has announced that nighttime training of new train engineers may disrupt the sleep of nearby residents for several weeks. The training started on April 11 and runs through May 24, and may occur from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and also during some daytime and weekend hours. Jayme Ackemann, Caltrain’s government affairs officer, warns “communities located near the corridor will notice an increase in horn noise and
gate down time during the overnight hours as the training runs operate through their area.” The training will also take place on weekends when trains may be running at off-schedule times but will not pick up passengers. The training is planned to make the new engineers more familiar with local crossings and other local characteristics. Those who want to leave comments or concerns can call 508-7726.
Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
Lilly Mallinckrodt, left, and her sister Amanda enjoyed traditional Neopolitan pizza fresh from a woodfired oven run by the mobile restaurant Rolling In Dough Pizza on April 5 in Portola Valley.
Community has new venue to mingle while sampling range of ‘street food’ By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer
he evening of March 22 in Portola Valley saw an upward bump in the number of popular places to eat, and the town may never be quite the same. The status quo returned later that night, but a Thursday evening routine had begun, one that is expected to continues until some time in August. People now gather in the parking lot of Christ Episcopal Church at 815 Portola Road between 5 and 7 p.m. to line up in front of food trucks for street food, or what passes for it on the Pen-
insula. The church is hosting the event to build community awareness, members told the Almanac. “I think the food truck is Northern California’s equivalent of street food,” said Jill Horn, the chief operating officer of Mobile Gourmet, an umbrella company that arranges for the varied offerings from some 28 food trucks. Ms. Horn, who happens to live in Portola Valley, co-founded the company with Lorring Jones of Pleasanton. While these trucks may sell tacos, they do not announce their arrival with La Cucaracha See STREET FOOD, page 9
April 18, 2012 N The Almanac N 5
N E W S
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â– Trails Committee might find itself with a new name and a new mission.
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6 N The Almanac N April 18, 2012
Council considers changing some advisory committees
tâ€™s crowded on Woodsideâ€™s roads, paths and trails. Cyclists, equestrians, pedestrians and motorists, residents and nonresidents, contend sometimes for their right to proceed, whether to a beach, a park, a winding rural road, a garage, a parking space. Weekends are notoriously difficult, and any day can be risky going by foot or bike to the town center or the school. Itâ€™s an old story for residents, and there are inflexible realities that bear on it, including narrow roads and fixed rights of way. A knotty problem, to be sure. Sounds like a job for a citizens advisory committee, the Town Council said at its April 10 meeting. Citizens advisory committees happen to be on the minds of council members. With the townâ€™s general plan recently revised, it is an opportune time, they said, to consider the missions of the nine advisory committees and whether they line up with the goals in the revised plan. One goal addresses the issue of getting around town, referred to as circulation: â€œImprove the circulation system to balance the needs of motorists, bicyclists, equestrians, and pedestrians.â€? The council considered the idea of a Circulation Committee that could perhaps absorb purviews of the Trails Committee, which tends to focus on equestrian issues, and the Bicycle Committee. If there is a third rail in Woodside politics, it is equestrian issues. The council touched it, albeit gently, in appearing to question the existence of the generically named Trails Committee. An equestrian focus, council members said, may be better suited for a new committee dedicated solely to equestrian interests and heritage. Then there are the cyclists. If there is a thorn in the side of Woodside culture, it is out-oftown cyclists. The town is inundated with them on weekends and visited by a knot of 50 to 100 every weekday around noon. The Bicycle Committee rarely meets; reaching a quorum is reportedly difficult. Significantly, observers have described the bicycle and trails committees as not on speaking terms. A Circulation Committee could start a dialog.