Belle Alert – WILL GRAVEL COUNT? YOUR PROPERTY NON-CONFORMING?

February 25, 2008


COWs from all parts of Woodside (especially horse loving COWs) should take special interest in this weeks council meeting regarding gravel and whether it counts as paved area. Item 10, Review and Interpretation of the Intent of Section 153.056 of the Woodside Municipal Code: Measurement of Paved Area Coverage” is innocuous sounding but has enormous implication for all property in Town. Historically, gravel was not counted as paved area in Woodside, that is until Hope Sullivan arrived. We first raised this issue 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 non-conforming (see article here) .

We all know what a muddy mess our property can be after the rain, particularly if you have horses. Gravel has always been a perfect solution. Indeed, for horse properties, gravel is the base for riding rings, trails, equipment parking etc. and has allowed horse related activities to go on where they could not otherwise. The 50% rule was very detrimental to the use one could make of our Woodside property.

The Council is considering the following policies:
1. Section 153.056 of the Woodside Municipal Code is intended to limit development of land and to protect the natural features of the land.
If this is the intent, staff should not authorize any credits based on permeability.
2. Section 153.056 of the Woodside Municipal Code is intended to protect the watershed and ground water by minimizing storm water runoff and increasing the opportunity for storm water to percolate through the ground. If this is the intent, staff could authorize credits of up to 100 percent for the use of porous materials.
3. Section 153.056 of the Woodside Municipal Code serves a joint function of limiting development of land and minimizing storm water runoff. If this is the intent, staff could authorize credits of up to 50 percent for the use of porous materials.

The 100% rule would effectively preclude approval of many of horse related uses which are now common in Woodside as well as make up to 80% of Woodside nonconforming. What are they thinking??? The Town Council should postpone this item and to do some serious investigation of the impact of this decision on Woodside properties. There needs to be wider clearer notice throughout Woodside on any hearing on this subject as this interpretation certainly is of great importance to COWs and no one we spoke to was aware of it.

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