Belle Alert – Paved area allowance’s – could your property become Nonconforming?

February 26, 2010


Changes in the Paved Area coverage ordnances may make your property nonconforming. COWs have an opportunity to be herd at the next Planning Commission meeting on March 3rd, regarding these changes. Item number 5 of the Planning Commission Agenda is for the “Review and approval/denial of a Resolution of Intention to Amend Sections 153.047 and 153.056 of the Woodside Municipal Code (Paved Coverage Requirements).”

As we have reported a number of times (see here and here as well as here and here
the amount of allowable paved area is an important issue. At the heart of it is whether gravel will or will not count as paved area. Historically, gravel was not counted as paved area in Woodside, but that changed when Hope Sullivan rode into town. In 2005, when we learned that Hope had made the determination that gravel counted as paved area at 50%, making perhaps a majority of Woodside properties nonconforming we wrote about it here.

Section 153.056 of the Municipal Code determines the amount of allowable “paved area” on your property. It tops out at 15,000 square feet. This can be a very small amount for a 5, 7, 10 or more acre property! Consider that paved area includes all paved surfaces, driveways, pathways, decks, pools and surrounding pavement. Tennis courts alone are about 7000 square feet. If you count gravel paths needed to get between buildings, patios around accessory buildings and areas to park horse trailers etc., you are probably well over the allowance. Indeed, for horse properties, gravel is the base for riding rings, trails, equipment parking etc. and has allowed horse related activities where they could not otherwise be. The 50% rule was very detrimental to the use of our Woodside properties.

We have not seen the staff report on this issue as yet so we don’t know what staff is recommending. However, we strongly urge COWs to weigh in on this issue.

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