By Christina Bellantoni
Palo Alto Daily News Staff Writer
Friday, August 16, 2002
The Los Altos Hills City Council voted unanimously last night to
tentatively accept the Planning Commission's recommendation to
require a majority support from residents before selling town-
In a 4-0 vote, the council accepted the recommendation put forth
last week by the commission that it 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." Council
members asked the City Attorney and town staff to come back
with definitive options at a later meeting for possible adoption.
Residents, who for years had fought to preserve open space in
town and protect properties such as the Westwind Barn and Byrne
Preserve, were pleased with the vote, but are concerned that a
future council could overturn it and leave residents back at square
"I'm glad of course we won this temporary battle, but it doesn't
mean we've won the war," said Nancy Couperus, a resident
working on the Open Space Initiative to protect these properties
and often a vocal opponent of the City Council.
Couperus said her group will meet today with their attorney to
keep working on an initiative for the 2003 ballot that would
ensure the protection of properties the town said it wanted to sell
Planning Commissioners Janet Vitu and Bill Kerns, both of whom
are running for a council seat in the Nov. 5 election, pushed the
recommendation forward for a vote last week. Vitu said last
week the issue had become controversial, so she thought the
council should take a closer look.
Two other council candidates, Dean Warshawsky and Breene
Kerr, voiced support for the Open Space Initiative earlier this
Council member Steve Finn was not at last night's meeting.