Almanac

News - November 9, 2011

Atherton sets date for 'master plan' meeting

by Barbara Wood

A special meeting of the Atherton Town Council will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8 with a single topic: discussion of a request by the public for a master plan for all town facilities and buildings, including the library.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 94 Ashfield Road in Atherton.

Petitions bearing at least 300 signatures asking for the master plan were presented to the council at its Oct. 19 meeting by former councilwoman Didi Fisher, who is part of the Atherton Town Center Task Force, a volunteer group studying options for building a new civic center.

The petition requested a study to include sizing and location of all town facilities, including administration, finance, building, public works, police and library, before making any decisions to move the library to Holbrook-Palmer Park.

The topic of where to put a new library has split the residents of Atherton. At the Oct. 19 City Council meeting, the council voted 3-2 to make town-owned Holbrook-Palmer Park the "preferred site" for a new library.

The town's Parks and Recreation Commission had recommended to the council in early October that a decision on a library site be postponed until a town-wide survey of residents could be conducted.

The council declined to ask for a survey, so a group of Atherton residents, again headed by Ms. Fisher, emailed a survey to 1,800 town residents, she said. Of the 155 first responses, provided to the Almanac by Ms. Fisher, about half opposed putting the library in the park.

The current 4,790-square-foot library is housed in a former private residence built in the late 1920s and twice remodeled, and which does not meet current building standards. It is located at 2 Dinkelspiel Station Lane, near the other town administrative buildings.

Funding for the new library will come from property tax revenues that can only be spent on the library. The fund currently has about $5.6 million, and is expected to grow by about $750,000 each year.

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