For many years, the citizens of Woodside have fought to save rural Woodside. Measure J to Limit Commercial Development, was passed in 1988 by a landslide of the voters to stop commercial expansion in the Town Center. The General Plan requires that businesses primarily serve the day-to-day needs of the local community, not outside tourists. The attempts to expand commercial uses must be fought by concerned citizens if we want to save our rural environment.
What is this really about? Money. It is a ploy by the Bacchus Management, owner of Woodside Bakery, to bulldoze the open space lot to expand parking to allow more seats and to make more money. When the Bakery use permit was approved in 2016, the Planning Commission ignored the zoning rules, and allowed excessive seating capacity that exceeded parking needs by 14 spaces, which now causes the parking and traffic problems. Expansion beyond this is a violation of the general Plan because most of the Bakery customers are not local residents. Expansion will also further exasperate the traffic problems we have today.
The amphitheater is a completely unrelated issue to restaurant parking. So why do we need to allow commercial use in the amphitheater? Is their plans to have rock concerts and charge admission? How will commercial use impact the local businesses and nearby neighbors? Why has this idea never been brought to the Town Council for consideration?
So let's understand this is just a ploy by rich outsiders that care only about making money, not about the welfare of the Town residents. Over a third of the signatures were invalidated because they were not residents or other issues.
I ask you to vote NO on this initiative.
The fundamental question is: Do we want Woodside to continue to be a pleasant rural community without crowds of tourists and outsiders overwhelming our peace and quiet? Or do we allow more commercial activity so the Bakery owners can make money off them?
Outdoor dining can be continued without need for any changes, as long as the number of seats is restricted to the available parking as per town code. More parking spots will generate more expansion, congestion and traffic.
Why do we need to spend thousands of dollars on an amphitheater that will attract crowds of tourists when we have plenty of gathering facilities in Woodside? Independence Hall is available for community groups. The Hub at the Village Church is a beautiful meeting spot. The amphitheater at the school can be rented for larger gatherings. Huddart Park has facilities for large groups. Many residents prefer to have events in their backyards.
The folks sponsoring this initiative do not seem to have a good understanding of the history and culture of Woodside, and have now forced the Town to spend nearly $80,000 on this election.
The future of Woodside is in your votes. Do you want to allow commercial interests to eat away at our rural environment? Or will you stand with the many voters who supported Measure J to Limit Commercial Development to keep Woodside rural?
I ask you to vote NO on this measure.
Woodside resident since 1972
Author of Measure J
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