Silicon Valley town backs down on bid to evade housing law with ‘mountain-lion habitat’ claim

Written by Desmond

February 13, 2022

Following four days of widespread scorn after attempting to block a new state law allowing duplexes on single-family lots by declaring itself a “mountain-lion habitat,” the wealthy Silicon Valley enclave of Woodside has backed down.

At the end of a nearly 90-minute town emergency Town Council meeting Sunday night, almost all of which was held in closed session to discuss potential litigation, city officials announced they would begin accepting applications for new duplexes.

The change came after a whirlwind sparked by a story published Wednesday in the Almanac local newspaper, revealing that city officials would refuse to permit duplexes and other projects allowed under Senate Bill 9 because the entire community sits in land that’s habitat for potentially endangered mountain lions.

The town of 5,500 is one of the most high-end communities in California and an enclave for tech titans. Oracle founder Larry Ellison reportedly spent $200 million building a Japanese-style 16th century imperial palace across 23 acres in Woodside.

The bid to evade the housing law, which took effect Jan. 1, was especially brazen because under the definition of “mountain-lion habitat” used by Woodside, all of coastal California south of San Francisco, including the entirety of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties would qualify.

Woodside officials had defended the move as sensitive to the big cats, but others had questioned why the town was OK with permitting mansions but not duplexes.

Housing & Homelessness

Wealthy town has an answer against building affordable housing: Mountain lions

The wealthy Silicon Valley suburb of Woodside is trying to block a new state law allowing duplexes on single-family home lots by declaring itself a mountain-lion habitat.

Even cougar defenders criticized Woodside. Josh Rosenau, a conservation advocate for the Mountain Lion Foundation, told The Times last week that blanket prohibitions against growth in already developed areas isn’t required by the state’s endangered species laws and doesn’t actually protect pumas.

“Concern for mountain lions is not what’s driving that policy because it’s not what any mountain-lion expert would recommend doing,” Rosenau said.

Earlier Sunday, Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta chastised the city in a letter, saying its policy was both against the law and the California Constitution, and requested Woodside change course.

In a statement read by Assistant Town Atty. Kai Ruess at the end of Sunday night’s meeting, town officials did not address Bonta’s letter or the outcry surrounding its decision. Instead, they blamed a lack of guidance on endangered species laws from state wildlife officials for the duplex ban.

“The Department of Fish and Wildlife advised that the entire town of Woodside cannot be considered habitat,” Ruess said. “As such, the Town Council has directed staff to immediately begin accepting SB 9 applications.”

Some articles from around the MLHA Nation you might like...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Getting More Local

Setting Up Shop In Your Area Soon!

Coming Soon!

My Local Home Value

MARKETPLACE

Interactive and Intuitive Digital Magazine focused on the housing markets and home values of Your Area.

Sample is of 

My Seattle
Home Value
Marketplace

Coming Soon!

Vounce HOME VALUE

MARKETPLACE

Interactive and Intuitive Digital Magazine focused on the housing markets and home values of Your Area.

Sample is of 

My Seattle
Home Value
Marketplace

Coming Soon!

My Local Home Value

MARKETPLACE

Interactive and Intuitive Digital Magazine focused on the housing markets and home values of the area you live.

Sample is of

My Seattle
Home Value
Marketplace

Appraiser Interview Guide

We have a combined 70+ years of appraisal experience. It makes us happy to share this with you. Let's jump right in then!

1. The first thing is a lot like many things you might get ready to do is to get your ducks in a row, and have a game plan for setting up your appraisal. And of course  you can't know everything about everything so the right appraiser will provide those answers, and you will get the best results.

2. Have your property information readily available when talking with the appraiser...

Get the complete Appraiser Interview Guide delivered directly to your email box in a readable and downloadable format, there's no cost.

Locations By State

We have all Current Certified Residential and Licenced Appraisers in the country. You can simply get started anytime.
We have also setup in many cities and metro areas as well as a centalized base for many rural locations. We will setup more locations each week.

Washington  |  Oregon  |  California  |  Texas  |  New York  |  Illinois  |  Florida  |  Pennsylvania  |  Washington DC

Locations By State

We have all Current Certified Residential and Licenced Appraisers in the country. You can simply get started anytime.
We have also setup in many cities and metro areas as well as a centalized base for many rural locations. We will setup more locations each week.

Washington  |  Oregon  |  California  |  Texas  |  New York  |  Illinois  |  Florida  |  Pennsylvania  |  Washington DC

Home Office

Portland, OR

Phone

503 781-0448

Contact Us

Copyright ©2021 • My Local Home Appraiser

Copyright ©2021 • My Local Home Appraiser

Phone: (503) 349-3765  Home Office: Portland, OR  |  Email: contact@mylocalhomeappraiser.com

  Email: contact@mylocalhomeappraiser.com