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Portola Valley: 50th anniversary party on Wednesday's council agenda

Town to celebrate founding

The Portola Valley Town Council starts 2014 with a look ahead to the year-long celebration of the town's 50th anniversary, plans to make Alpine and Portola roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and deciding whether to green light a development at 18 Redberry Ridge.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road. Also on the agenda: interviews of candidates for the key commissions on planning and architectural oversight, and the appointment of a planning commissioner.

Details are scarce on the celebration of the town's founding, but it is expected to culminate in September around Portola Valley's annual – and more recently semi-annual – fall festival, usually called Blues & Barbecue.

As for the road safety item, the town will be applying for a grant from the $5.4 million county Measure A funds allocated for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 for bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Applications for grant funds are due Jan. 17.

The council will consider allowing the owner of 18 Redberry Ridge, Portola Valley resident David L. Douglass, to proceed with plans for a residence there, starting with review by the Architectural & Site Control Commission. The council assessed Mr. Douglass a fine of $75,000 in connection with the felling, without a permit, of at least 18 trees on a lightly forested hilltop on his undeveloped property in late 2012 or early 2013.

Residents Judith Hasko and Mike Mokelke are seeking to fill an open seat on the Planning Commission with the retirement of longtime Commissioner Arthur "Chip" McIntosh.

Ms. Hasko is a practicing attorney with a focus on commercial transactions in the life-sciences industry, she wrote in her application letter. She also chairs the Trails and Paths Committee, served on the Portola Road Corridor Plan Task Force and on the Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee.

"As a member of the Planning Commission, I will apply the principles set forth in the Town's General Plan using all of my skills and expertise to address the issues faced by Portola Valley in these changing times," she writes.

Mr. Mokelke, a serial entrepreneur in the technology sector, is the past owner of 22 homes, including fixer-uppers and rental properties, according to his letter of application. He lives in the Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde community, part of unincorporated San Mateo County.

"I like Portola Valley as it is, but I recognize that some change is healthy in any community. I have the time and energy to commit to this work," he writes.

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