Save Menlo submits petitions to put initiative on ballot | Page 3
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Student enrollment surge is driving force behind June 3 ballot measure to provide $265 million for local high schools SECTION 2
MENLO PARK Light-ﬁlled retreat reminiscent of a chic Nantucket Beach house, this home was fully renovated and expanded in 2012. Stylishly open ﬂoor plan designed for indoor/outdoor living. 14,725+/- sf lot with level lawn, private side terrace, raised vegetable beds, solar-heated pool and spa, and a detached studio perfect for ofﬁce, exercise, or play. Excellent Menlo Park schools. $3,295,000
WOODSIDE Charming country retreat surrounded by lush sunny gardens, majestic Redwoods in a private and peaceful 1+/- acre setting. Approx. 3000+/- sq. ft. of single level living space, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths with an attached 1 bed/1 bath guest/au pair suite. Offering ﬁltered views of the Bay and hills and close to open space and hiking, this one of a kind setting is not to be missed, Woodside schools.
ATHERTON An entertainer’s delight, all rooms are generously proportioned for gracious living and entertaining. Oriented to the private, rear garden, the living/ dining area is ﬂexible and open with soaring cathedral ceiling and skylights. Well-equipped kitchen with adjoining pantry. Entertainers will appreciate the supplemental catering/bar space. Huge master suite, bath and closets. $2,150,000
2 N The Almanac N TheAlmanacOnline.com N May 14, 2014
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Because of all your knowledgeable and honest advice, your meticulous and thorough attention to detail, my home sold quickly and for more than I ever dreamed possible. Growing up here and being respected in our community, only adds to your genuine appreciation and understanding of this unique housing market.
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Save Menloâ€™s initiative proponent Patti Fry shows boxes full of petitions at a May 12 news conference at the Menlo Park City Hall. At right is Save Menlo organizer Mike Lanza.
Initiative signatures submitted By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
bout a dozen people gathered outside Menlo Park City Hall on May 12 to listen to Save Menlo representatives announce that theyâ€™ve collected a lot more than the 1,780 registered voter signatures needed to get their downtown/El Camino Real specific plan initiative on the November ballot. The grassroots coalition organized to protest the specific plan once a large mixed-use development was proposed along El Camino Real. If a sufficient number of signatures are verified, the City Council may choose to implement the changes or put the issue before voters. â€œWe hope the council adopts it,â€? said Patti Fry, a former planning commissioner who helped draft the initiative. Those signing the petition go beyond â€œthe usual suspects,â€? according to Ms. Fry, who said many are new to Menlo Park and had to register to vote first.
She told the gathering that the initiative is a way to enforce the limits set by the specific plan. â€œThis is not â€˜no growthâ€™,â€? Ms. Fry said. Rather than an urban downtown with high-rise office buildings, she said, the com-
Save Menloâ€™s Patti Fry says she hopes the council adopts the changes before the election. munity wants balanced development with retail, transitoriented housing, a hotel, and maybe more senior housing. â€œBut thatâ€™s not whatâ€™s coming forward.â€? According to the cityâ€™s summary, the initiative restricts the amount of office space in any individual development to 100,000 square feet; limits total new office space to 240,820 square feet; and caps overall new, non-residential
development to 474,000 square feet within the specific planâ€™s boundaries. The initiative would also redefine open space to mean only areas no higher than 4 feet off the ground, thereby preventing balconies from counting as open space. Voter approval would be needed to revise the ordinance or to exceed the size limits for office and non-residential development. Other clauses appear intended to guarantee the longevity of the measure, with one stating that if any part of the measure is invalidated, the remaining provisions remain in effect, and another allowing the initiative to supersede all conflicting ordinances and policies, according to the cityâ€™s analysis. The initiative would impact two mixed-use development proposals already in the works by cutting the amount of office space allowed in each project by about 50 percent. Stanford University and developer John Arrillaga want to See INITIATIVE, page 6
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If that appeals to you, we invite you to do what the kids do, stop by and say â€œhiâ€?. Old-fashioned values. Modern medicine.
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$13.5 million in bonds for Woodside School? By Renee Batti
for any “extras.” Measure D on the June 3 ballot hen people pass by would raise about Woodside Elemen- $13.5 million tary School, they see for the Wooda well-manicured campus with side Elementary attractive, recent-vintage build- School District in Woodside. ings. They could be forgiven, The nonprofit Woodside School then, if they wonder why the Foundation has launched a capital one-school district is asking vot- campaign to raise another $3.5 ers to approve a $13.5 million million for the campus modernbond measure next month to ization project, according to disfund campus modernization and trict Superintendent Beth Polito. repair projects, and the replaceIf passed, Measure D would ment of Sellman Auditorium. tax district residents at a rate “If you drive by the school, of $24.05 per $100,000 of their you think it looks so beautiful property’s assessed value per and modern,” parent Heather year. This would be in addition McLeod Grant said, adding that to what property owners already the glancing impression could pay annually for previously be deceptive. approved bonds: a total of $34.50 What the casual per $100,000 of passerby cannot assessed value for see are the leaky The money would bonds passed in roofs and other and 2005, pay for repairs, 1999 problems resultaccording to Robing from deferred upgrades and new in Wasco, the dismaintenance; the trict’s chief busiclassrooms. lack of facilities for ness official. students to eat lunch; classroom School board members Wendy space that hampers the type of Warren Roth and Rudy Driscoll, instruction schools are widely along with community memadopting to adapt to the chang- bers Frank York, Charline Quist ing world; and the deteriorating Douty and Erika M. Demma, — and seismically unsound — signed the ballot argument in condition of the auditorium. favor of the bond measure. Ms. McLeod Grant, who chairs Mark Hinkle, president of the the community-based Yes on Silicon Valley Taxpayers AssociMeasure D committee, noted in ation, wrote the ballot argument an interview that if Measure D against Measure D, challenging is approved, the bond revenue the use of bond revenue to pay raised would fund “really bare- for safety projects and technolbones projects,” and private ogy rather than using “dollars donations are being raised to pay already in schools’ budgets.” Almanac News Editor
Photo by Barbara Wood
Woodside Elementary students, from left, Xander, Shay, Bryn and Yvette, explore with parent Jeff Linnell the virtual universe they helped create for a Collaborative Design Thinking Project event held at the school on May 1.
With enrollment at around 450 students, the cost of the bond “could exceed $29,500 per student — not counting interest and administrative expenses,” he wrote. Mr. Hinkle also signed arguments against Measure A, the Sequoia Union High School District bond measure; and Measure AA, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District bond measure. Ms. McLeod Grant noted the extent of work needed after years
of state budget cuts that led to deferred maintenance. A school board “that has been really fiscally conservative” decided during those years to delay facilities maintenance projects so that classroom programs wouldn’t suffer, she said. What would it pay for?
If the measure passes, bond revenue would fund the repair of “critical school facilities, including sewer, lights and leaking roofs; upgrade classrooms
and other facilities to meet current health and safety codes, and replace two aging portable classrooms with permanent facilities; and replace older heating and electrical systems to save on utility bills,” according to the ballot argument in favor of Measure D. The bulk of the bond revenue would be spent on rebuilding Sellman Auditorium, built in 1940, according to Ms. Wasco. See WOODSIDE, page 8
Open space district seeks voter OK for $300M bond measure By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac
f two-thirds of voters approve Measure AA, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will be able to issue up to $300 million in bonds to finance improving, preserving and restoring its properties as well as purchasing land needed to connect trails and preserve plant and animal habitats. According to the ballot measure language, bond proceeds will be used “to improve access to hiking and biking opportunities, protect and preserve redwood forests, natural open spaces, the scenic beauty of our region and coastline, critical wildlife habitat, and restore creeks to protect
water quality, and reduce forest fire risk.” To reduce the cost of the bonds, the district will issue them in several series and will not allow the annual tax rate on the bonds to exceed $3.18 per $100,000 of assessed property value, which is equivalent to $31.80 a year for the owner of a property assessed at $1 million. The bonds have a maximum term of 40 years and the annual tax is predicted to range from $1 per $100,000 assessed value (or $10 for a $1 million home) in 2015-16 to $2.90 per $100,000 assessed value (or $29 for a $1 million property) in 2044-45.
This is the first bond measure the district has attempted to pass in its 41 years. The highest rate of $3.18 would be in 2034-35. The bond measure also includes provisions for an oversight committee, made up of seven board-appointed district residents, to annually review how the bond money is spent and present its findings to the public. Steve Abbors, general manager of the open space district, says the bond measure is the first the district has attempted
to pass in its 41 years. The district covers southern and central San Mateo County from the Bay to the ocean, and northern and western Santa Clara County, as well as a small area in Santa Cruz County. Property owners in the district, except for those on the coast, currently pay $17 per $100,000 of assessed property value, or $170 a year for a property valued at $1 million. Property owners on the coast will help pay for the bonds if Measure AA passes. Diane Talbert, a resident of Woodside and president of the Sempervirens Fund, is one of those who signed the ballot argument in favor of the bond measure. “Measure AA is essen-
tial to protecting the miles of treasured open space that make the Bay Area such a wonderful place to live and work,” said Ms. Talbert. She said the measure will “protect and preserve the vital land around our water sources,” as well as increase public access “so that more trails, waterways and redwood forests can be enjoyed by all members of our community.” Ms. Talbert said she believes “this is money well-spent and essential to preserving our precious natural resources and quality of life.” There appears to be no organized opposition to the bond measure, but local LibertarSee OPEN SPACE, page 8
May 14, 2014 N TheAlmanacOnline.com N The Almanac N 5
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New driveway coming to Louise Street? By Sandy Brundage
of the green space would damage the character of their neighborhood. t turns out that life on Menlo Although city staff initialPark’s Louise Street as the ly authorized the driveway, in residents know it may sur- August, the council voted to vive the addition of one more turn the green space over to the driveway after all. residents — a process known Developer Sam Sinnott and as abandonment. Mr. Sinnott resident Kiki Kapany issued then filed a lawsuit in San a joint press release on Friday Mateo County Superior Court in (May 9) announcing that the November against several of the two parties had settled their dif- residents as well as city officials. ferences over a tangle of greenWhen asked what made a ery on the cul-desettlement possible sac in a conflict now, Ms. Kapany that started more by referDeveloper and responded than a year ago. ring to the press The settlement residents reach release. “That’s will let Mr. Sinnott all we have to say. compromise. construct a 16-footThanks so much.” wide paved driveBill Garrett, way at 1825 Santa Cruz Ave. the attorney representing Mr. that will exit on Louise Street, Sinnott, said, “Cooperation. while preserving a portion of Communication. Comprothe 53-foot-by-60-foot patch of mise.” A framework for a greenery as open space. settlement was reached back in Mr. Sinnott and investment February, he said, and the parpartner Mircea Voskerician ties have since worked out the bought the property two years details. ago for redevelopment, but then The press release offered no ran into trouble when Louise other information about the Street residents protested the terms of the settlement. The pair’s plans to build a driveway revised terms of abandonment and then switch the home’s were part of the City Council’s address from Santa Cruz Avenue consent calendar for May 13. to Louise Street. The residents Check almanacnews.com for argued that paving even a part updates.
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Wine and Spirits 2013 Rosé, pt. 1 It’s rosé season once again! The 2013s are starting to pour in. There are many top wines yet to arrive, but we have several annual favorites ready to go. The 2013 is another in a string of ﬁne rosé vintages. 2013 Dom. Sorin, Cotes de Provence ....................................................................Reg. 11.99 Sale $9.99 2013 Dom. de Fontsainte, Corbieres...................................................................Reg. 14.99 Sale $12.99 2013 Triennes, Mediterranean ............................................................................Reg. 14.99 Sale $12.99 2013 Andrieux, Cotes de Provence .....................................................................Reg. 14.99 Sale $12.99 2013 Dom. de la Fouquette, Cotes de Provence ............................................... Reg. 16.99 Sale $14.99 2013 Clos du Caillou, Cotes du Rhone ................................................................ Reg. 17.99 Sale $15.99 2013 Mas de Gourgonnier, Les Baux de Provence ............................................ Reg. 18.99 Sale $16.99 (Woodside location only)
6 N The Almanac N TheAlmanacOnline.com N May 14, 2014
INITIATIVE continued from page 3
build a complex on the mostly vacant car lots along 300 to 500 El Camino Real. The 8.4-acre project would involve 199,500 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail, and up to 170 apartments. The proposed mixed-use complex initially contained medical offices and fewer apartments, but Stanford revised the plan after a series of discussions with city officials and Save Menlo representatives. A second project, designed by Greenheart LLC, would put 210,000 square feet of office space, 210,000 square feet of apartments, and 13,000 square feet of retail on the 7-acre site located at 1300 El Camino Real and Oak Grove Avenue. Greenheart representatives have stated that the proposed modifications to the specific plan, and delays caused by waiting to see what happens with the initiative, would make their project financially unfeasible. Meanwhile, the city has found a potential consultant to conduct an independent analysis of
both the initiative and the specific plan. The staff report for the May 13 meeting identifies the recommended contractor as Lisa Wise Consulting Inc., a company based in San Francisco that has not worked with the city of Menlo Park before. The city proposes to spend $126,886 on the review, with the option to increase that by $3,408 to add a site analysis of what types of projects could be built under the initiative’s proposed regulations. “My first reaction was (that) we’re in the wrong business,” Mike Lanza quipped during the press conference when the cost of the analysis came up. An initiative leader, he said he hopes it leads to a regional “push back against pack and stack” development. Mr. Lanza predicted that with three council seats open this fall, the issue could influence the election’s outcome and encourage higher voter turnout than usual. Save Menlo did hire paid signature gatherers, but the number of signatures collected by volunteers was sufficient to get the initiative on the ballot, he said. A
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Town of Portola Valley
The red arrows point to the two ends of a gas line feeding a Portola Valley residence at 190 Cervantes Road. The line was accidentally severed on May 6 by the action of an asphalt-grinding machine as a crew prepared a section of the road for repaving. The line was 3 inches below the road surface and should have been much deeper.
Gas leak may be tied to settling of road By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer
epairs have been made to a residential gas line serving 190 Cervantes Road in Portola Valley. The line, which had been just 3 inches under the surface of the road and thus vulnerable to repaving processes, was severed on May 6, but is now repaired and at the proper depth of 18 inches, a Pacific Gas & Electric spokesman told the Almanac. Town Manager Nick Pegueros told the Almanac that the town’s conversations with PG&E will result in the line being buried to an updated standard of 30 inches below the surface. The line may have been too close to the surface because road beds settle over time, and because repaving processes can slowly push a road below its original height, PG&E says. There were indications that the