Woodside for Outdoor Dining and Art
What's it all about?
Many of us reveled in the joys of dining outdoors throughout the pandemic and the frequent topic of discussion has been "can't it always be like this"? (the outdoor dining - not the pandemic...). The sense of community built around sharing a meal extended into the question "why doesn't Woodside have a community gathering spot"?
Questions led to research, research led to more questions, and as the conversation expanded to include more neighbors and friends, everyone voiced overwhelming support for what we are pursuing today.
This temporary site is designed to provide the background around the initiative, give clarity to the process, and answer questions that you may have.
What is being proposed
It can't happen without parking
The outdoor dining that we all love at Canada Corners exists under the guise of an emergency order issued during the pandemic which allows the restaurants to temporarily use parking spots for dining.
The Roberts Family owns the parcel behind the hardware store which can be used for SURFACE level parking but only by an exception to the Woodside Municipal Code which can only be created through a ballot initiative.
See the Outdoor Dining FAQ's for history, process, and details.
A Community Gathering Spot
Where the Town can come together
A Woodside community gathering spot has been discussed far longer than the current pandemic has been with us - some say the conversation started during the pandemic of 1918!
The Town owns a natural swale located between Town Hall and the Woodside Museum, where a modest (small) amphitheater could be constructed. The site could be used for our First Friday events, community events like the Day of the Horse, or even a place for the Woodside Village Band to perform.
Creating the potential for a community gathering spot requires an exception to the Woodside Municipal Code available only through a vote by the citizens of Woodside.
See the Community Gathering Spot FAQ's for history, process, and details.
How do I sign the petition?
As of June 1st, the San Mateo County Elections Office has certified that enough signatures have been collected to qualify the ballot initiative for an election!
Almost 700 signatures were collected in just a few weeks. Thank you to all those who signed the petition!
Why a ballot initiative?
Currently, any non-residential use of residentially zoned parcels within and adjacent to the town center of Woodside require a change to Measure J (1988) and Measure 1 (1989). Both Measures J and 1, state that they “may only be changed by a majority vote of the Citizens of Woodside in an election”.
The process of modifying a previous ballot measure (or creating a new one) is a complex effort which by design, requires our citizens to voice their opinions about the community and character of Woodside.
What is the process around this initiative?
The initiative begins by gathering enough qualified signatures from the voters residing in Woodside (+/- 500 signatures) to qualify the initiative.
The Town is then required to call for an election. If the measure passes, it will create two exceptions to section 153.113 of the Woodside Municipal Code.
The property owners would then be required to follow the established public process for the respective parcels which include (but are not limited to) the ASRB, the Planning Commission, and a duly issued Conditional Use Permit.
What is a Conditional Use Permit?
A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is a permit issued by the Town via the Planning Commission which puts "conditions" on how a commercial or non-residential property can operate.
A CUP can and often does dictate things like material to be used, environmental issues, frequency and hours of use, noise, capacity, as well as concerns and issues to neighbors.
The entire process takes place at duly noticed public meetings where the citizens are invited to participate as members of the public.
What is the timing of all of this?
Once enough signatures are gathered and certified by the San Mateo Elections Board, the Town Council has between 88 and 103 days to schedule an election.
If the initiative passes, then the property owners can decide when to begin the process of moving through the various boards and commissions in Town. As we all know, this can be a long process in Woodside. Because the gathering spot or amphitheater would be a Town project, it will involve many public meetings around design, long before it reaches the ASRB or Planning Commission.
Who is going to pay for this?
The initiative is led by citizens who are donating their time and who have no potential financial or personal gain, other than improving the character of the community they live in.
The election would be funded by the Town of Woodside.
Parking and associated outdoor dining would be paid for by the property owner and/or the businesses at Canada Corners.
The gathering spot/amphitheater would be funded by the Town of Woodside through the operating budget or the Capital Improvement Program.
Will this raise taxes?
No. The cost of the parking will be paid by the property owners and the cost of an amphitheater will be paid by the Town from existing funds.
Why both parking and gathering spot?
Both of the proposed exceptions are directly tied to measures J and 1 and reside in the exact same section of the WMC.
The ballot initiative process takes a huge amount of work, time, and resources. Doing both on one ballot is a more efficient process.
While the dining issue is new, both the need for parking and the desire for a community gathering spot are long-time wishes of the community.
Does this affect all zoning in Woodside?
No. This initiative would create two exceptions to the zoning ordinance 153.113, one for the property in Canada Corners, the other within the Town Center between Town Hall and the Woodside Museum.
Why can't the Town Council just change the zoning?
Measures J and 1 from 1988 specifically state that any changes to those measures must be done by a vote of residents of Woodside.
Are you getting paid to do this?
No. We have no personal or familial connection to the project, nor is there any benefit beyond acting on the conversations and wishes of the greater Woodside community.
FAQ - Parking
Why do we need more parking?
To make permanent outdoor dining possible at Canada Corners, the parking spaces current used for dining must be replaced.
While many of us walk to the town center, the employees who work in and around Canada Corners for the most part must drive. The businesses at Canada Corners need up to 40 parking spots just to allow the businesses that make up our town center to operate.
Throughout the pandemic, much has been made of 'essential workers' without them, Woodside would not have a grocery store, hardware store, restaurants, florists, or a tennis shop. Having a place to park is essential to our town.
New parking on private property alleviates some of the street congestion and enhances the town center by moving the parking to the rear of the property.
What about the pedestrian and equestrian trail?
A pedestrian and equestrian trail would be part of the Conditional Use Permit and connect the the existing trails on Canada to the trail along the creek to Woody the Fish.
What kind of parking will this be?
The ballot initiative specifically states surface level parking only.
Who is paying for the parking?
The property in question is private property and the cost of new parking and any fees will be paid by the property owner.
Who will be allowed to use the new parking?
The new parking would be on private property. The property owner could choose to make the new spaces available for customers of the Canada Corners businesses, for employees, or both.
When will this happen?
If the initiative is passed by the voters of Woodside, the property owner will have to go through the ASRB, Planning Commission, and Conditional Use Permit process. The amount of time the process takes is not prescribed.
FAQ - A Community Gathering Spot
In the natural gully between Town Hall and the Woodside Museum.
Why is this important for Woodside?
The hallmark of small communities across America are community gathering spots where residents come together for celebrations and events specifically for the local citizens.
Woodside is home to many groups which are the fabric of our community. These groups range from from volunteer committees, a vibrant arts and culture group, equestrian clubs, and even our own Woodside Village Band. Life is better in Woodside when we support our entire community.
What about possible negative impacts on Woodside?
Before any gathering spot can be constructed, all aspects require public meetings. Size and design of an amphitheater, types of events, number of events, hours of events, noise, will all be subject to neighbor and community input and considered by the ASRB, Planning Commission, and subject to a Conditional Use Permit.
Who owns the land?
The land is owned by the Town of Woodside and the ballot initiative creates an exception to the Woodside Municipal Code which would allow for the construction of an amphitheater on Town property.
Who would pay for this?
Design, construction, and maintenance, would be paid for by the Town of Woodside as part of the operating budget and/or Capital Improvement Program.
What is the process?
If the ballot initiative is passed by the voters of Woodside, the project would be subject to all of the standard design, permitting, and building requirements.
Because the project is a Town property, the design would be determined through a citizen's committee appointed by the Town Staff and the Town Council.
The design would be subject to the ASRB review process and debated in a series of public meetings. If approved by the ASRB, the Planning Commission would hold another set of public meetings to review the project as it relates to the Woodside Municipal Code.
Lastly, the project will require a Conditional Use Permit which will detail all of the conditions of approval of the project and its future operations including but not limited to: number and types of events, permitted size and hours of events, noise, and what groups or individuals can use the facility.
What about the amphitheater at Woodside Elementary School?
While the Woodside Elementary School is a public school on land owned by the State of California, the school and its grounds are not necessarily 'open to the public'. The school facilities are controlled by the school and are primarily for the benefit of the school.
The proposed amphitheater would be for the use of Woodside residents for Woodside community events.
Changes are indicated by strike-out and underlined words