Councilwoman LaDoris Cordell's attempt to open Foothills Park to taxpaying Palo Alto business owners crashed once it reached the Council Chambers Monday night.
The council rejected the proposal to send the idea to the council's Policy and Services Committee on a 6-3 vote, with Cordell and council members Judy Kleinberg and Peter Drekmeier in the minority.
The proposal even lost the support of one of its co-sponsors, Councilwoman Dena Mossar, Monday night.
"Having signed onto this colleague's memo, I regret having done so," Mossar said, noting that it wasn't fair to toss such a large issue to the next council, which will have four new members.
Someone who has lived in a Palo Alto apartment for one day can visit the park, but longtime, taxpaying business owners such as the Montoyas of Montoya's Jewelers on California Avenue can't get in, Cordell said.
But that standard doesn't make sense, Councilman Jack Morton objected, asking whether all stockholders of Hewlett-Packard as "owners" of a Palo Alto business would be allowed admission. He said there are dozens of other parks and open spaces accessible to anyone while "this one small canyon" should be kept for residents as a protected nature preserve.
Vice Mayor Larry Klein said the change would break the council's "compact" with the community and endanger the park's sensitive natural resources.
Klein called the issue of opening the park to non-residents "the Halley's Comet of Palo Alto" because it comes around every few years.