A critical feature of Portola Valley's ambience is that the built environment is subservient to the natural environment. I agree with this.
My caveat would be that if we need to build very many dwellings by unavoidable State mandate, and we cannot encourage residents to build ADUs, then the town should consider all options to prevent urban sprawl, which might even mean building higher than usual, or allowing existing homes to be divided into two or even three, providing the house doesn't look any different from its original plan from the road and cars can be hidden. We must still keep the town looking rural to provide healthy respite for residents, hikers, cyclists and other visitors.
I agree with keeping the rural look of our roads, particularly our approach roads, in accordance with the Scenic Corridor Plans of Alpine Road and Portola Road. Great care must be taken to ensure that views off Portola Road of the hills are maintained, in accordance with the Portola Road Corridor Plan. We have wide shoulders for cyclists. I am committed to encouraging cycling commuters who can help reduce vehicle traffic, which enhances the rural feel of the town.
Mandates for Affordable Housing
The town has decided that affordable housing should be integrated among existing development, in keeping with nature. This has worked so far, the question is will it work in the future if we have to build many more housing units than in the past. Here we look at what this means for Portola Valley.
So far the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) mandates have been met by building Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Homeowners may be able to build 2 ADUs (one attached to their house) and the other in a separate structure.
To ensure ADUs do not destroy the natural environment the town's ADU ordinance of March 27th 2019 states their number and size:
Night Sky and Noise Ordinances
We are fortunate to be able to see stars, the International Space Station and meteors on a clear night. We must be vigilant in ensuring that this is preserved. As an advocate for road safety, I see no need for street lights that could destroy the dark skies of our valley.
It is good that we can rest in the evenings and on Sundays, free from noises. We need to ensure residents understand the value of taking time off from noises that can affect hearing, temperament and relaxation in our town.
Committees and Commissions
I hope to encourage the town's commissions and committees that have contributed to the culture of rural ambience, in particular the ASCC (Architectural & Site Control Commission), the Planning Commission, Conservation Committee and various Ad Hoc Committees formed from time to time to address relevant issues.
Angela Hey is a candidate for Portola Valley Town Council. She is an experienced technology marketing consultant who serves nonprofits, as a volunteer.