Letter: Appropriate to consider housing in Portola ValleyMy hat is off to Mayor Maryann Derwin, the Town Council and staff of Portola Valley for coming up with the proposal for affordable housing on the Al's Nursery site. The term "high density housing" is being used by opponents of innovative residential proposals to frighten residents and to enflame NIMBY passions in Portola Valley. As a former council member in Menlo Park I can assure you that I am familiar with this strategy.
Eight residential units on 1.6 acres (five units per acre) is not high density. In a neighborhood that includes a viable commercial center, a couple of churches and city services, it is a reasonable, low-density use of the property. It is notably less isolated from the rest of the world than most of Portola Valley or Woodside.
It is commendable that Portola Valley has joined with other San Mateo County cities, including Menlo Park, to plan for some future growth with infill development such as this.
Many of our neighbors in Menlo Park make more than the $85,000 per year maximum threshold established for eligibility to purchase one of the units of this proposal. They do not suffer from the presence of those of us who have lower incomes. As the saying goes, we all put on our pants one leg at a time.
Steve Schmidt, Central Avenue, Menlo Park