The full Woodside Town COWncil met last Tuesday for a meeting that ended up running for more than three hours due to extensive public participation and discussion. The meeting began with a bit of hijinks with a cameraman from DMB Saltworks, whose massive development project in the baylands of Redwood City prompted most of the public outpouring. He wanted to tap into Town Hall’s audio out feed but was refused on the grounds that the official recording of the session might somehow be compromised. He was clearly taken aback, saying, “I think you’re being a little…” and trailing off. Town Manager Susan George telling him he should have contacted them earlier and that the meeting had to start. We wonder if Susan would let us tap into to the audio feed if we contacted her in advance?? You can see the meeting on Mootube here.
With that bit of drama behind them, the meeting then began with the consideration of Adolph Rosekrans, a longtime resident of Woodside and local architect, for District 4 Planning Commission. The COWncil all knew and approved of Mr. Rosekrans, and only newest COWncil member Kasten bothered to ask him a question. It was agreed by COWncil that he would be an excellent addition to the Planning Commission and he was voted in unanimously. The consent calendar was passed unanimously right after.
Due to the many people present for it, Mayor Burow shuffled the meeting’s schedule around to put the DMB / Cargill Saltworks proposal to build a giant new development on what is now salt ponds in San Francisco Bay prior to the discussion of updating the Town’s fee schedule. This issue brought out more than ten speakers, both from our Town and neighboring cow-munities, to speak for and against the project and went on for more than an hour. We noted with interest that every single Woodside resident who spoke was strongly against the proposal. Many local governments are taking an interest in the project due to the impact it could have on the bay and on our cowmunities. Councilman Ron Romines expressed strong opposition to the project while the COWncil as a whole seemed somewhat wishy-washy on the issue, appearing to oppose it but not wanting to anger Redwood City.
The COWncil moved on to the update of their fee schedule, which took an hour on its own. Some members of the COWncil, especially Peter Mason, seemed taken aback that some of the building permit fees would nearly quadruple with the move from square-foot to a valuation model. The matter will come back with some tweaks shortly. This is something we all need to be concerned about.
The COWncil then quickly passed an encroachment permit for a temporary closure of Kings Mountain Road on May 18th for the Tour of California professional bicycle race. The COWncil heard a report on the Firewise Workshop of the weekend of March 21st and 22nd. It was focused on not so much fire prevention, but what to do when the fire is here, i.e. how to keep residents as safe as possible during an emergency. There was a bit of bad news on the fire front; there was to have been a joint meeting between the Woodside and Portola Valley Town COWncils on March 31st, but it was canceled due to the lack of a quorum. We hope that this can be rescheduled, as we share similar concerns and geography.
The meeting concluded a few minutes after eleven p.m.