I support favoring the natural environment over the built environment in most situations. Design-thinking requires us to consider the impact of a new build on the quality of life, the rural ambience of Portola Valley and wildlife impacts. Occasionally, there will be situations, where we have to compromise, for example if commercial properties near the corner of Alpine and Portola Roads are rebuilt, we may need to favor pragmatic solutions for parking cars, increasing building height or illuminating interiors at night that favor the building architecture over vegetation, for example. Portola Valley's Conservation Guide for Residents goes into more detail.
The vigilance of Portola Valley's Architectural and Site Control Commission (ASCC) means that houses are designed to fit in with the natural environment. The Commission helps the town avoid "the erection of structures or additions or alterations thereto of unsightly or obnoxious appearance or which are not properly related to their sites". I support these objectives.
The Portola Road and Alpine Road scenic corridors need to be preserved as well as possible. The Land Use Element in the Town's General Plan aims to "minimize the need for non-local traffic to penetrate the planning area". Residents of other cities do come to hike and cycle in Portola Valley. Trucks deliver goods to businesses and residences. As more people order items online, the number of delivery vehicles has increased. Rush-hour traffic that is directed by Waze and other routing apps, has made the roads busier. Solutions might include displaying informative messages on the town's speed sign trailer, encouraging ride-sharing and pushing Caltrans to consider metering lights for Sand Hill Road on ramp (see Mr Roadshow's 2015 comments that says Caltrans would need to meter the entire corridor and there are no funds for that).
On a clear night you can see the stars, planets and space objects because the town has chosen to restrict lighting. The ASCC and town ordinances regulate the use of outdoor lighting. There are no street lights in Portola Valley. Let's keep it that way, so we can enjoy the night sky. I support keeping the town dark at night. I also encourage those walking or cycling at night to be well-lit.
The town's noise ordinance helps make Portola Valley a place of rest and relaxation for residents and visitors. Chippers and chain saws can only be used on weekdays, gardeners can only use power tools between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm on weekdays and between 10 am and 5 pm on Saturdays. Residents can use power tools from 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays as well. Holidays are when domestic garden tools are prohibited. There are exceptions for removing flammable brush and grass between April 15th and June 15th from 8 am to 8 pm. Given, the risk of wildfire, I'd consider extending these dates, for two weeks prior to when the Woodside Fire District chipper program for scheduled areas only.
Helping wildlife find trails and habitat requires us to be vigilant to preserve open space areas.
Angela Hey is a candidate for Portola Valley Town Council. She is an experienced technology marketing consultant who serves nonprofits, as a volunteer.