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Where a developer sees opportunity, neighbors see treasured green space PAGE 5
ATHERTON Three level custom home in the heart of Lindenwood. Integral plaster walls, hand hewn hickory ﬂoors, towering ceilings, and French doors that open from almost every room to a balcony or terrace. Lower level with a dedicated home theater, ﬁtness room, and wine cellar. Master on main ﬂoor. Pool/spa, pool house, 3 gated entrances, and a 3 car garage.
WOODSIDE Exceptional bay views from this stunning, contemporary, 4bd/3ba home on 1.5+/acres. Truly spectacular great-room experience with vaulted, beamed ceilings and walls of glass taking in the panoramic views and lovely gardens. Open and bright ﬂowing ﬂoor plan. Dreamy master suite. Very peaceful and private location.
WOODSIDE Updated country home in a private setting on ¾+/- acre. 4bd/2ba with Chef’s kitchen and 2 modern baths. Front room, dining room, and breakfast nook. French doors, hardwood ﬂoors, outdoor terrace, bocce court and pool. Extra RV parking. Excellent Portola Valley Schools.
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March 4 WEEKLY REAL ESTATE REPORT Reports available via the convenient QR code or at PeninsulaSpecialist.com Real Estate Statistics Updated Weekly for Atherton Woodside Portola Valley Menlo Park
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Victor Tellez prepares an area for striping last week at Hillview Middle School. The painted asphalt area will be used for basketball and volleyball.
School district near finish line on Hillview playing field By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor
he school district and city are racing against the clock to try to open the new Hillview Middle School playing field by this weekend, allowing local lacrosse teams to use the field as scheduled and wrapping up a project originally expected to be completed by last Dec. 1. “We’re working as hard as we can to get the field open on the 9th,” said Ahmad Sheikholeslami, the director of facility planning and construction for the Menlo Park City School District. “We’re doing finishing touches and resolving issues.” Those issues include firming up a post-event trash-collection process and ensuring restroom
access, according to Chip Taylor, Menlo Park’s director of public works. The city has partially funded the field and will share its use for its own after-school recreation program. In addition to lacrosse, AYSO soccer and Menlo Park Strikers soccer teams are scheduled to use the field through the whole of spring, according to Tedd Zeo of the city’s recreation department. As of last week, crews worked to lay down striping on the basketball courts and the synthetic playing field, and finalized work on the rubberized running track encircling the field. The Menlo-Atherton Grizzlies Lacrosse Club was scheduled to use the field on March 2 and 3, but was able to move the games elsewhere for that weekend,
the club’s assistant coach, Erik Lundh, said in an email to the City Council in mid-February. But he appealed to the council “to prioritize the completion of the ... field project within the Public Works department” so the club could begin to use it on March 9. “Our club would like to offer our volunteer services to help with trash, bathroom maintenance or any other required services that need to be in place (by that time). If renting a porta-potty is an option, we can do that as well,” he wrote. Mr. Sheikholeslami said bad weather in November and December “was a big contributing factor” in the long delay. He expects that the work will be completed within budget, he said. A
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Feb. 14, 1936–Feb. 20, 2013 Barbara Hendryson (nee MacMillan) was born in Los Angeles, CA on February 14th 1936 and raised in San Francisco. She graduated from Mission High School in 1954 and in 1960 married Alfred Paul Paoletti with whom she had three children Barbara spent the majority of her life in Menlo Park, CA where she enjoyed walking and hiking with her dogs, visiting the library, reading, gardening, playing with her cats Tilda and Mao, cooking and writing poetry. She was published in more than 100 literary journals including the Sun and Poetry Magazine and included in several anthologies. She spent the last 3 years of her life in Napa, CA with her daughter and granddaughters. She died peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday February 20th. Barbara is survived by her three children, Laura Paoletti, Brian Paoletti and Bradley Paoletti, and her two granddaughters, Delia Rogers and Esperanza Heintz. The family is grateful to her wonderful caregivers over the last few years especially those at Choctaw House in Napa. She will be cremated at Tulocay Funeral Home and donations in lieu of ﬂowers may be made to Pedestal Magazine, an online poetry magazine, in her name at www.pedestalmagazine.com or to The Peninsula Humane Society. There will be a memorial hike in her honor at Hidden Villa Farm in the Los Altos Hills on Sunday March 17th at 1pm. Memories and words of sympathy may be sent to the family on-line at www. tulocaycemetery.org. PA I D
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Local News M
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Where a developer sees opportunity, neighbors see treasured green space
Developer Sam Sinnott stands on the spot where he’d like to put a driveway on Louise Street — a plan that neighbors are protesting. Owners of the adjacent property (right) use the spot, which is partially in the public right-ofway, for parking. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
o people living on Louise Street in Menlo Park, it’s a battle over the rights of residents versus developers. For Sam Sinnott, a developer, it’s an exercise in frustration. The Menlo Park City Council will need to balance both perspectives during its March 5 meeting. Mr. Sinnott bought a home at 1825 Santa Cruz Ave. last year with the intent of demolishing it to make way for a new single-family house he would then sell. Simple enough, except that the rear of the lot faces Louise Street — an appealing location to build a driveway, given Santa Cruz Avenue’s traffic. The neighbors, some of whom have lived on Louise Street for decades, support Mr. Sinnott’s plan — as long as it doesn’t include a driveway on their street. The driveway is not a new idea. According to city documents, the owner of the property in 1984 asked permission to build a 15-foot-wide driveway there to evade the heavy traffic on Santa Cruz Avenue. The city said OK, but the owner never got around to the project. The group of neighbors opposing the current attempt said they talked to 35 current and former Louise Street residents, and no one recalled any vehicle ever accessing the lot on that side. However, the man who sold the property to Mr. Sinnott told the city the intention was always to shift the lot’s main entrance to Louise Street by creating a driveway. Mr. Sinnott told the Almanac he thought the real issue was two illegal parking spaces
next to a public right-of-way that poten- the Almanac abandonment isn’t comtially would disappear underneath his mon. “It really depends on the issue. ... driveway, along with a swath of greenery if the council decides they are not going in the right-of-way that neighbors say their to approve the driveway there, there’s no children like to play in. He said he offered reason for the city to maintain that little to create two parking spaces for the neigh- piece of right-of-way.” bors to keep using and will retain as much But, he added, city staff recommended greenery as possible, among other mitiga- approving the driveway. The required tions, and remains open to suggestions. encroachment permit is “typically done “If they want a play area, we could over the counter, but property owners design it,” he said. can appeal any decision to the council.” No dice. “We are opposed to any drive- According to the city’s report, however, way connecting 1825 Santa Cruz Avenue “(s)taff cannot recollect the last time a to Louise Street. A concession for his right driveway permit was ever appealed.” to infringe into our development is not Developer and neighbors have reportwhat we are looking edly sat down many for,” said resident Kiki times to hash out the Kapany, spokesperson issues. Louise Street The neighbors, some for the Louise Street Michael of whom have lived on resident neighbors opposing the Schwarz described the plan. She said the park- Louise Street for decades, conversations as “not ing spaces have nothproductive. oppose the new driveway especially ing to do with it. He’s intent on buildon their street. Instead of a driveing the driveway and way, they want to claim at this point we’re the public right-of-way that fills the end equally intent on stopping it.” of their street with a riotous tangle of Building the driveway would support bushes and trees. The neighbors pooled Mr. Sinnott’s attempt to change the an estimated $10,000 to file an “aban- address of the home from Santa Cruz donment application” that asks Menlo Avenue to Louise Street, and that also Park to grant the land to the adjoining rubs the neighbors the wrong way. homeowners, since the city has no use “We respect the developer’s right to build for it. Abandonment benefits the neigh- a new house on the property. But he has borhood as a whole, rather than a single no right to take a property on Santa Cruz developer, they said. Avenue and turn it into a property on LouIt would also eliminate Mr. Sinnott’s ise Street,” said resident Kiki Kapany. ability to create an exit from his property The city does appear to agree that the on Louise Street, according to the city address of the home should remain on staff’s report. Santa Cruz Avenue, with staff saying no Public Works Director Chip Taylor told when Mr. Sinnott asked twice during the
past 12 months if they’d support changing the address. Despite that, an ad for a new $5.5 million home ran on Craigslist in December 2012: “New Development, 5BDRs, 5 baths, 1 Office, Guest house, basement, 2 car garage ... Current address: 1825 Santa Cruz. New expected address after development will be complete: 100 Louise St. Frontage of house will be on Louise St.” “My partner put that up; that’s wrong,” Mr. Sinnott said. He said the point of the ad was to find a buyer early enough that the family could have input into the layout, materials, and other customizable aspects of the house. Changing the address requires a formal application to the Planning Commission, he said, and the previous staff reviews “were helping me to decide if I wanted to pursue the change concurrently with the encroachment permit. I decided not to and have a conforming building permit application moving forward now without a frontage change. If I go forward, it will be the first request.” Mr. Schwarz said that the developer appears to behave “as if it’s a done deal,” which has galvanized the opposition. “He tells us he’s going to be improving our neighborhood and increasing our property values. Well, we think our neighborhood’s fine and we’re happy with our property values.” The regular City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. on Tuesday, March 5. Go to tinyurl.com/a9qt8kl to review the staff report on the appeal. A
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s plans to convert a senior home into a Marriott Residence Inn move forward, the Menlo Park Planning Commission is taking a look at the project’s architectural design and providing input on the proposed parking strategy. Sand Hill Property Co. is under contract to buy Casa de Peninsula, a 125-unit senior residential property at 555 Glenwood Ave., and convert it to a 138-room hotel, according to representative Reed Moulds. Of the 80 seniors living there at the time the project was proposed, 57 moved right away, while the remainder waited to see whether the city would approve the hotel. Branded as a Marriott Residence Inn, the hotel would provide extended-stay accommodations, with about onequarter of guests projected to stay more than a month. Analyses by the city and the applicant estimate the hotel would add an estimated $669,000 to Menlo Park’s annual revenue, with approximately $616,000 to $656,000 contributed by the 12 percent transient occupancy tax approved by voters in November. The city’s new downtown specific plan requires 173 off-street parking spaces for a hotel of this size. However, the applicant proposes 113 spaces — 74 on site and 39 spaces on Garwood Way currently used by the senior home, but within the public right-of-way. Although the City Council in October urged the applicant to consider partnering with the