Save Rural Woodside

Mission and Issues

The mission of Save Rural Woodside is to alert residents of threats to our rural environment and provide information on helping to respond.   We gather information, generate emails, and mobilize the citizens in efforts to protect our town and stop urban sprawl. 

 

We fought Measure A which was an effort to overrule land use restrictions on residential properties to permit commercial use for parking.  We vigorously  fought to defeat it.  With 55% voter turnout, it lost by only 5 votes. 

 

The next threat citizens need to deal with is SB 9..   Right now the Planning Commission and Town Council are deciding the fate of Woodside.  We need to tell them to protect our Town.

 

SB 9 poses an existential threat to our rural environment in Woodside. 

It essentially eliminates our single family zoning that has keep Woodside rural for many years.  It will allow subdivision of any parcel and the building of four houses which will quadruple the number of units on a lot.  This is an open invitation to developers who can make a lot of money by building all these new units.  This massive increase in housing and population will cause major problems with our rural environment.

 

The time for action is NOW. 

SB 9 takes effect on January 1, and the Town has to have regulation in place by then.  There are just two planning commission meetings and two Town Council meeting in December, and the citizens need to make their voices hears immediately.  Time is of the essence.  Below is contact information for the Town Council, Planning Commission and Town staff

 

Planning Commission Meetings:

Dec 1, 6:00 - Site Development, Zoning, Design Standards

Dec 15, 6:00 pm

 

Town Council meetings:

Dec 9, 7:00

Dec 14 7:00 pm

 

SB 9 will cause many problems in our Town:

 

Multi-million dollar profits for developers

These new houses will rent from $4,000 to $8,000 a month so they will not count as low income housing.

Overloading of the Elementary School by significantly increasing the number of children

Only a 4 foot setback so the new houses will overlook neighbors

Only 1 parking space for a unit is required, which will cause major parking and congestion issues on small streets

Denser housing will cause a number of issues

They could be very large, with basements unless limited by the Town.

No notice to neighbors so they will be unaware of the building plans.

Ministerial approval for SB 9 subdivisions and buildings. No review by the ASRB or Planning Commission

No requirement for improving a narrow street for fire department access to a denser neighborhood.

Does not address the limited water supply in the area.

Does not address the issue of limited sewer capacity or septic capacity.

Can be built without regard to design guidelines unless the Town sets them

Does not allow Homeowners Association rules to limit building.

No rules about cutting heritage trees

 

Unfortunately SB 9 is so onerous that the Town has limited options to protect the rural environment.   But the Town can set some rules and guidelines to protect our town and reduce the financial incentives for developers to build which will limit the impact of SB 9 on our community.

 

The Town should implement the following protections  

 

Limit the size of the buildings to 800 square feet to prevent large houses which will limit the financial benefit to the developers.

Do not allow a basement in the new buildings.

Require design guidelines so the new structures fit into the Woodside environment

Require new developments to be responsible for additional costs such as a school impact fee to support the costs of additional students,

Develop rules that will insure fire safety and fire department access for new developments.  Require access to fire hydrants.

Require fees to pay for road widening or improvements to resolve fire safety issues caused by the additional housing.

Do not allow variances from slope density or other building rules that insure the development is safe for the environment.

Defend the rights of the owners of private roads to limit development or require they pay the expenses to develop the road for additional access.

 

The Planning Commission and Town Council are a bit befuddled on how to best respond to the issues being forced on the Town by SB 9.  There is some reticence to stand up to this unreasonable law, and protect the future of our Town.  Our Town attorney seems reticent to take a stand finding ways to limit SB 9.  You need to communicate to our Town Council, Planning Commission and Town Staff that we need to limit the impact of SB 9 to Save Rural Woodside.

 

If you care about the future of Woodside, then contact the Town Council, Planning Commission and Town Staff with your request that they stand up for Woodside.  This is an urgent issue.  In the next weeks they will be changing Town rules to sacrifice our rural environment to the over reaching state rules of SB 9.

 

Planning Commission Meetings:

Dec 1, 6:00 - Site Development, Zoning, Design Standards

Dec 15, 6:00 pm

Jan 5 6:00 pm

planningcommission@woodsidetown.org

 

Town Council meetings:

Dec 9, 7:00

Dec 14 7:00 pm

Jan 11, 7:00 pm

 

Town manager:

Kevin Bryant

kbryant@woodsidetown.org

 

Planning Director:

Jackie Young

jyoung@woodsidetown.org

 

Town Attorney

Jean Savaree

jbs@adcl.com

 

Town Hall Phone number:

650-851-6790

 

Town Council members:

 

District Name Email
1 Jenn Wall j.wall@woodsidetown.org
2 Brian Dombkowski, Mayor b.dombkowski@woodsidetown.org
3 Chris Shaw c.shaw@woodsidetown.org
4 Sean P. Scott s.scott@woodsidetown.org
5 John Carvell j.carvell@woodsidetown.org
6 Dick Brown, Mayor Pro Tem d.brown@woodsidetown.org
7 Ned Fluet n.fluet@woodsidetown.org

Send email to all Town Council members Click Here

Letter to Town Council

TO:  Woodside Town Council 

       
We must limit the impact of SB 9


SB9 presents an existential threat to the future of our rural Woodside. It is an outrageous overstep by the state to overrule our local zoning that has preserved our rural environment for many years.


I am asking our elected and appointed representatives and staff to do everything they can to limit the impact of SB9 in Woodside. If allowed to go unchecked, SB9 will cause significant harm to our rural environment.


Many other cities and towns are uniting to fight this unreasonable overreach by the state government. Woodside should join them in their efforts.


I am asking our Town Attorney to stop being so deferential to the interpretation of the rules. Between the black and white there are many shades of grey of the law. How often does the Supreme Court go 5-4 on an interpretation of the law? We need to setup rules that may be in a shade of grey, but will help preserve our environment. The Town should set aside a legal defense budget of several hundred thousand dollars to fight this.


SB9 represents a multimillion dollar opportunity for developers in Woodside. Adding 3 more units to one lot will be very profitable unless the Town sets rules that to limit this.


1-The Town should limit the new structures to 800 square feet with no basement which will make it less attractive to developers. This fully complies with SB 9 and will limit profits for developers.


2-Health and safety is an example of a vaguely worded law that can conflict with other sections of the law. We should establish a rule that requires fire department access and turn around on any narrow road. It should require that the developers of any new SB 9 housing improve the road to preserve the health and safety of the existing and future residents. This health and safety rule should take priority over the state rule about not requiring road improvements for SB 9 developments. We should be prepared to defend this in court should it come to that.


3-Woodside should also require design guidelines, school impact fees, allow no variances for slope density. Other rules that will limit the impact of SB9 should be developed.


4-We must find a way that any SB 9 developments should have some sort of public Planning Commission review to insure residents are aware of what is happing in their area.


We should begin the year with the most restrictive rules. They can be loosened up next year if there are good reasons. We should not start with loose rules and try to tighten them up when it is too late.


I want to remind the Town Council, Planning Commissioners and Town staff that it is their duty and responsibility to protect our Town and act in the best interests of the citizens by limiting SB 9.


 

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