Planning Commission to review Stanford’s plans in Portola Valley

Stanford's proposed 'Wedge' development in Portola Valley.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Portola Valley Planning Commission on Wednesday (Jan. 20) will review plans for a housing development proposed by Stanford not far from the Alpine Inn that has sparked concern from residents.

Stanford owns the 75-acre property known as the “Stanford Wedge,” but is not proposing to develop all of it. It is proposing to build 27 single-family homes for faculty and 12 below market-rate apartments in the northern corner of the property, closer to Alpine Road and Westridge Drive.

All of the buildings in the development will be two stories, according to the proposal. The apartments will be clustered into three buildings with four apartments each. Stanford is proposing that there would be a priority for people who already live or work in Portola Valley to live in the apartments.

A picnic and play area will be built as part of the development, as will a loop road connecting the homes to Alpine Road.

The remaining 64.4 acres of the wedge property are proposed to stay the same. The Planning Commission will not be voting on the project, but holding a study session, where it will hear from the town’s planning department and Stanford about the project, listen to residents weighing in on the project and then the commission will discuss the project.

The town council will get the final vote.

An environmental impact report is being prepared. It will delve further into issues such as fire hazards, traffic, air and noise pollution.

Ever since the project surfaced in 2019, a group called Portola Valley Neighbors United has raised issues about the project regarding its proximity to a fault line and fire hazards. The group has sent multiple letters to town officials and Stanford outlining their problems with the project and have expressed disappointment that the project has not been stopped by town officials.

“We are distressed that this project has not been stopped and that our interests are not being listened to,” resident Mary Hufty told the town council in May.

The council at the same meeting that Hufty spoke at ended up voting 3-0 to send a letter to the group responding to some of the claims it has made about the project and the town’s handling of it.

Town Planner Laura Russell said in a memo to the Planning Commission that the Woodside Fire Protection District, which provides fire services to Portola Valley, has signed off on Stanford’s application, but will inspect the property from time to time. Additionally, there will have to be a plan for long-term fuel management on the site, meaning there is a plan to keep dry or particularly flammable vegetation away from the homes.

The commission is meeting Wednesday (Jan. 20) at 7 p.m. the meeting can be accessed by Zoom with ID 931-3420-1220 and passcode 3530.