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Woodside decides it's not a mountain lion habitat, allows developers to propose housing under SB 9

Original post made on Feb 7, 2022

Facing legal action and national scrutiny, the Town Council backpedaled on claiming a townwide exemption from a state housing law as a mountain lion habitat, and is now accepting applications for split-lot projects.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 7, 2022, 9:53 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2022 at 11:14 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I'm sure they will not be the first to try and find a way around this. The idea that an established elite community has to be forced to go against the wishes of those who can afford and possibly need exclusivity are being forced into this is not right in my opinion.

It is quite a while ago now, but I remember when Barbra Streisand had to go to court to prevent aircraft flying across the ocean near her home with tourists on flights to see stars homes. I am sure I have heard of similar stories of bus loads of tourists on tours to see the stars' homes.

I am no celebrity, but if I was, I would want my home to be free from neighbors touting apartments as Live Next Door to ____ . Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have done what they can to give themselves some privacy. It seems that Woodside residents would like to do the same. Can't say that this is going to end here.

Posted by sequoiadean
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 7, 2022 at 1:18 pm

sequoiadean is a registered user.

I think all of the environmentally aware residents of Woodside, who care so much for the mountain lion, should donate all of their property to the "Woodside mountain lion preserve" and move to downtown San Jose.

Posted by We Are The People
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2022 at 1:18 pm

We Are The People is a registered user.

Woodside has more than enough Land to provide Affordable Housing?
Why is it that in areas where the Humans have more than enough, do not want
to Share? In fact they can build enough Housing in certain areas, where they
would not have to ever SEE the people. Its amounting into looking like an exclusive
Segregation Club of sorts. The Rich & The Poor. If NOT the very Middle Class that are
The prime "Back Bone" of this Country?
Just my opinion?

Posted by Elaine
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 7, 2022 at 1:36 pm

Elaine is a registered user.

Woodside should be ashamed for wasting the Attorney General's time and money. It is time for them to realize that laws apply to rich people too! Every Bay Area community needs to take responsibility for the current housing crisis.

Posted by Carol
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2022 at 2:32 pm

Carol is a registered user.

My Ecology and Field Biology text states
“The place where an organism lives and its surroundings, both living and nonliving, is its habitat.” It also says the mountain lion of North America feeds on deer. This may help explain why the townspeople spot them. Anyone who looks carefully in the fields from 280 can often spot deer. So food awaits them passing properties.

My mother had lived in Woodside for many years. She was raised by a Montana homesteader (land courtesy of President Taft), who had in turn been raised by a homesteader in the Oklahoma Panhandle. That is why she didn’t dig neighbors! She had a deep, deep love of animals. Please avoid stereotyping Woodside residents.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2022 at 2:59 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

SB 9 was a garbage bill, giveaway to developers.
I applaud Woodside for bringing up the state’s own rules re: wildlie habitats - why not?

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 7, 2022 at 3:03 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

It was/is a garbage bill. There's also no public transportation to/from Woodside to places of employment.

Posted by Mike trobe
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 7, 2022 at 5:29 pm

Mike trobe is a registered user.

This is unfair. Los Altos Hills and other communities along 280 haven’t changed in 50+ years. It’s the communities along 101 that decided to build office buildings like crazy. Communities along 101 should have to build housing to go along with the offices they’ve built.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2022 at 5:57 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

"A mountain lion habitat." An attempt to avoid complying with state law is correct. Hiding behind cats is comical.

Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 7, 2022 at 6:42 pm

TimR is a registered user.

Given the high number of compounds in Woodside, many lots already have multiple dwelling units on them. So it's not like SB9 is a big change in that regard (seems more like the norm). As for being able to split lots, isn't that only for "urban" areas, and not more rural areas like Woodside?

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 7, 2022 at 8:15 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Great to see another win of SB 9! Slowly but surely, NIMBY-ism will be rolled back.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2022 at 6:07 am

Annette is a registered user.

I agree with the first Anonymous (Duvenck/St. Francis) and Online Name. SB9 is a lousy bill. Think twice if you like SB9 b/c the underlying punch is that it eliminates local control. That is wholly bad. Sacramento is outta control and not really coming up with solutions that address the problem.

Also, it is time to retire the terms NIMBY and YIMBY. The path to affordable housing is complicated and divisive enough without layering on insults and stereotypes.

Posted by Local parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2022 at 10:14 am

Local parent is a registered user.

"Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good" - Voltaire

SB9 & 10 are not perfect laws, which is impossible, but at least have good intentions of increasing housing since almost every community in the state has been doing what they can to prohibit housing development for 50 years despite the massive job growth.

It's unfortunate that laws are needed to force towns to do the right thing, a little at a time. We need more of that.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 8, 2022 at 10:33 am

Online Name is a registered user.

You do realize that homeowners are disadvantaged against developers when it comes to conversions?

Also, do you see the contradiction in your post about "prohibiting housing despite the massive job growth"?? There have been many attempts to moderate the "massive job growth" by curbing office development so the jobs/housing imbalance doesn't keep getting so skewed. PA even passed a ballot initiative to cap office growth about 6 years ago BUT the well-funded PRO-DEVELOPMENT figured out a workaround so office growth continued to spiral, pushing up prices even more!

If nothing's done to limit office/jobs growth, you can pave over all of Silicon Valley still never have enough housing and certainly not affordable housing given the price of land here.

So where's the "good" intentions when big companies like Google and Facebook add a few housing units so they can get some pr WHILE adding millions of sq feet of new offices for more workers?

See also PT Barnum.

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 8, 2022 at 11:47 am

S. Underwood is a registered user.

"Also, it is time to retire the terms NIMBY and YIMBY." I jokingly call myself a YIYBY (pronounced yee-bee).

I am personally against SB9, but acknowledge that it's a very thorny set of issues at play here. A Sacramento mandate that would turn any lot into a multi-unit housing complex with no consideration for broader community impact is not the answer.

Environmental studies, traffic studies, environmental reviews, infrastructure considerations, offsets, even things like architectural review boards... sure, it seems like we have out of control paperwork for everything in California, but those functions exist for a reason.

Given that one party in effect controls everything, they need to but their best think-tank minds together and come up with something better.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 10, 2022 at 10:30 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Anybody who drives through Woodside knows that the roads are very narrow and have a lot of vegetation next to the roads. Most of the homes have horses in sectioned off pastures. This is horse country. It is also an area with a lot of very large trees - we protect trees and horses. People who live in port areas have boats - that is boat country. [Portion removed.]

For those people who pop in from other parts of the country the whole point of living in CA is to have sections that support the hobbies and business interest available to the tax paying residents. A better argument would be the high fire danger - similar to Oakland Hills - narrow roads and lot of trees, many horses which would be subject to great danger in a fire. Getting people and horses out of there in an emergency would be difficult. Any fire in that area would result in a total disaster and probably directly affect SU property that is in proximity in the hills. Land management requires common sense and a good evaluation of the risks and responsibilities in the area.

Mr. Bonta will be up for election this upcoming period since his job is the result of an appointment. Since he seems more focused in protecting Mr. Weiner's flank as opposed to focusing on the rising crime rate affecting the taxpayer's flanks then he is not thinking very clearly about what his job is all about. The taxpayers are concerned with crime and that is supposed to be his job. If he is not talking and doing the job then he will be voted out.

Posted by KarlWolff
a resident of Portola Valley
on Feb 11, 2022 at 12:44 pm

KarlWolff is a registered user.

The liberal establishment and their ersatz, imported voters don’t care what happens to your community...

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 12, 2022 at 8:22 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

SFC 02/12/22 - "Getting around laws on housing". Very extensive article with state- wide examples. I have extended family who live in the Eastlake, Chula Vista Development - part of the Otay Mesa Ranch. When the developers wanted to add an additional 40 acres going eastward for additional building then AG Becerra sued them to stop - citing fire danger. If you look at the pictures on the web what fire danger is he referring to? What we are looking at is political maneuvering that defies logic. The Housing Advocates are picking and choosing their targets with the assistance of the state legislature.

The State Legislature is not looking at the Water Problem - though it is discussed in great detail in the news. It is doing nothing for the Transportation problem - though it is discussed in the news. All of the attendant elements to Housing are not being addressed by the Housing Advocates or the Legislature. The Gov. is caving to "advocates" vs the tax-paying residents and city managers.

We did not elect Bonta - he was appointed by Newsome with prodding by Weiner. And our own Assembly reps have gone along for the ride. Time for the Cities and Residents to take back our state. Right now it is like a bean bag being tossed around by people who arrived in state just to destroy it.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 13, 2022 at 7:06 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Karl - your community of Portola Valley has been in the cross=hairs of builders - notably SU that wants to build housing there. One could say that builders do not care about anyone's community. Note the Real Estate Section of the papers - commercial land is being bought by out-of-state-companies to lease to our start-ups. I get solicitations in the mail about companies that want to buy my house. The Bay Area has a target on its back - everyone's back. The bigger cities create those targets - SF, SJ. We need to collectively pay attention to ward off the "carpet baggers" of old.
Assuming that other locations in the US are now all on the same level of development then arguments about the desirability of the bay area are dimming.

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