By Elizabeth Cloutman - June 12, 2002
Town Crier Staff Writer
A group of Los Altos Hills residents concerned about the city council's
interest in selling town-owned properties, such as Westwind Barn, say
residents should have a voice in such transactions.
"We are considering a ballot initiative to ensure residents be given the
opportunity to vote on any sale of town-owned properties and open space
lands," said resident Nancy Couperus, a group member. Couperus heads
the 4-H Riding for the Handicapped program at Westwind Barn. The
13.5-acre facility is one of the properties that four council members have
The possible sale of the Westwind property has drawn the most opposition.
Its supporters say it is the heart of recreational activity in the town.
summer, the town's parks and recreation committee conducts two horse
camps at Westwind and two Ohlone camps at the adjacent Byrne Preserve.
Friends of Westwind Barn operates the facility on a self-supporting basis.
Residents and nonresidents board horses in the barn. However, the lease
that Friends of Westwind Barn holds on the property is set to expire in
In a recent townwide letter, Mayor Toni Casey wrote, "For the council to
consider gathering all the information that might make moving Westwind
Barn and its activities to Byrne Preserve is a responsible action of the
council that should have occurred years ago."
Casey noted that no council member has suggested creating a park similar
to Cuesta Park, but the council might consider "enhancing Byrne Preserve
so that more Los Altos Hills residents can enjoy it."
Opponents have said that the restrictions placed on Byrne Preserve by the
Nature Conservancy at the time it deeded the property to the town would
not allow relocating Westwind Barn there.
Couperus told the Town Crier that 70-80 residents living adjacent to
Westwind met in a neighborhood home during the Memorial Day week-
end to learn more about the history of Byrne Preserve, Westwind Barn
and the hiking and wildlife corridor that connect them to Hidden Villa
and beyond. Couperus said the residents supported keeping Westwind
as a town property. The following week, 60 members of Hills 2000,
a residents' association, also met to discuss the issue.
Councilwoman Emily Cheng, liaison to the parks and recreation
committee, told the Town Crier that while she believes it is important to
assess the worth of town properties, she is opposed to selling Westwind
or any other town property "unless our town is in desperate need of
money." She called Westwind "an asset to our town ... I would like to
keep the place the way it is."