Viewpoint - December 28, 2011

Letter: Time for Portola Valley to wake up

Portola Valley residents are about to lose their views over the large open meadow along Portola Road. And, more building will be going on above, right next to Windy Hill.

Development proponents have cleverly arranged for these important planning decisions to be made during the busy holidays. So while our volunteer town commissioners are bogged down in the minutiae of regulations at the planning meetings, precious few residents are there to witness the impending loss of our valuable open spaces.

Through the complications of using the conditional use permit process, the applicant is proposing to add approximately 15,000 square feet of additional floor area on the property. Without the permit approval only 526 square feet would be allowed. The 2,400-square-foot agricultural building plus acres of "fruit and vegetable" gardens will certainly mar open vistas over the meadow. (A meadow historically only is used for mowed grasses to produce hay.)

Be aware, too, that in the future after tempers cool, a second use permit application could then propose a commercial winery, as happened with Fogarty.

Please step up to protect the spirit of our general plan. Throughout the plan, statements can be found aspiring to the goal of preserving open meadows in the valley and our precious views of the hillsides.

Please participate; the next meeting will be on Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Old Schoolhouse on Portola Road. It's up to us, the town residents, to let our elected officials know how we feel about respecting our general plan.

Marilyn Walter

Coyote Hill, Portola Valley


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