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Portola Valley: What to expect in the year ahead

Original post made on Feb 3, 2021

Housing and wildfires are top of mind for Maryann Derwin, Portola Valley's mayor for 2021.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 11:25 AM

Comments (2)

Posted by Notes
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 3, 2021 at 1:18 pm

Notes is a registered user.

When fire officials have repeatedly been very clear that the Stanford Wedge is an inappropriate site for high density housing, we should heed their advice. This proposal for 39 houses on 7 acres is absurd when you consider that the homes will not be anywhere close to the Portola Valley required fire-safe spacing of 100 feet. As well, they will require another waiver regarding setbacks. Considering how close to evacuation were were last summer, it seems incredibly foolish to deliberately set up a situation markedly increasing the risk for fire in Portola Valley---and on a main escape route, no less. There should be no exceptions to the building rules our very town has set up, and for good reason---it doesn't matter who is doing the building, or for what purpose. Safety for all of us is the most important issue.

Posted by Ulrich Aldag
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 4, 2021 at 5:01 pm

Ulrich Aldag is a registered user.

The evacuation drill for all residents of Portola Valley is overdue since the CZU fire last summer. Why now a vague date "in summer" when it may already be too late? An earthquake igniting fires can happen any day and off the traditional fire season.
After the recent vegetation management efforts stretches of the main escape roads, such as Westridge Drive, are still containing high fire load brush within the area immediately adjacent to the road. Who signed off the job as completed?
Also, there are lots of dead high trees on several properties. Does the town not intend to remind property owners that they have to cut down those trees to avoid lightning strikes?

If Mayor Derwin wants us to believe the Town has done enough vegetation management, I recommend her to walk trails like Shady Trail or the trail connecting Goya and Escobar to get a first-hand impression of what still needs to be done to reduce the fire hazard in many areas of Portola Valley that present a huge fire danger to the entire town.

It's all a matter of priorities. Addressing the existing fire hazards must have top priority for town management. Unfortunately, it seems to currently range somewhere between Affordable Housing and a Poet Laureate. Due to climate change, though, living in our town is different and potentially more dangerous compared to twenty years ago. We must account to that and take responsibility as residents of this town.

The Ohlone were the stewards of this land in times past. None of us now living on this land was involved in stealing it from them. So, instead of making declarations, let's rather show that we are good stewards of this land and are taking care of it in times of change - even if that costs some money. Making Portola Valley more fire-safe is in our own best interest.

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