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Sale opponents get help

By Christina Bellantoni
Palo Alto Daily News Staff Writer
Saturday, August 10, 2002

The battle to keep town-owned properties in the hands of the people in Los Altos Hills took a step forward this week with a Planning Commission vote on the issue.

The commission unanimously voted Thursday to recommend the City Council take "immediate and definitive action to prevent the sale or change of use designation of any town property without the support of the majority of residents."

Chairwoman Janet Vitu made the motion, which was seconded by Bill Kerns. Commission member Eric Clow was in support of the motion but did not vote, as he lives near Byrne Preserve, a town-owned property.

Vitu, who is running for a council seat along with Kerns, told the Daily News that the property had become controversial with residents, so she thought the council should take a closer look.

Westwind Barn is another property owned by Los Altos Hills, and residents concerned with its fate formed an Open Space Initiative to protect it from being sold.

Nancy Couperus is one resident leading the initiative, and told the Daily News she was happy to see the town "backing off" the sale of its properties. "Itís quite a good move," she said. But Couperus and the group checked with the groupís lawyer to learn about the possible impermanence of such a vote if the council were to adopt it.

Couperus said if the council votes to adopt the recommendation, it could be overturned by a later council with new members.

If the council adopts a resolution, said Couperus, "Our plan is to proceed anyway with an initiative." The group would do this to ensure town-owned properties wonít be sold without citizen consent.

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