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Palo Alto Daily News News - Saturday, Nov. 30, 2002

Citizens get enough signatures for open space ballot measure

By Christina Bellantoni
Daily News Staff Writer
Los Altos Hills residents dedicated to preserving open space will present more than 1,200 signatures to the town on Monday from a petition to have an initiative placed on a future ballot.

The Los Altos Hills Open Space and Public Recreation Initiative organizers have about 1,230 signatures after nearly two months of tabling, said Nancy Couperus. To qualify to be placed on a ballot, the group needed to gather 822 signatures, or 15 percent of the town's registered voters.

"Our initiative protects 93 percent of the town-owned properties, 157 acres out of 168," Couperus said.

This plan includes properties such as the Juan Prado Mesa Preserve, the Westwind Barn and the O'Keefe Property.

Couperus and 24 other volunteers will hand the completed petitions over to new Los Altos Hills City Clerk Karen Jost.

After accepting the initiative petition for filing, the town will determine whether the petitions contain valid signatures of registered voters. This verification process will take about 60 working days, and then the town will either adopt the measure or have it placed on the ballot.

Earlier this fall, the City Council voted to create its own Open Space Initiative that also will be placed on a future ballot, frustrating organizers of this group who claimed the council was trying to confuse the voters.

The town's ballot would require voter approval for an amendment to the land-use designation for certain town-owned properties.

Couperus said that with newly-elected council members Breene Kerr and Dean Warshawsky, both supporters of the citizen initiative, being sworn in this month she hopes the new council will vote to adopt the measure.

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