March 10, 2006
Formal offers of financial support for trail improvements made through letters sent to San Mateo County, Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills
Following on a recent agreement that requires Stanford to facilitate the construction of several trails, the university has sent letters to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the town of Portola Valley that formally offer assistance in improving the existing trail that crosses through those jurisdictions and runs roughly along Alpine Road, from the Menlo Park city limits to Arastradero Road.
The university also has sent a letter to officials in Los Altos Hills that formally offers to pay to improve a separate trail within the town's jurisdiction. That letter was sent on Feb. 21, and the letters to San Mateo County and Portola Valley were sent on Feb. 7. The county has jurisdiction over unincorporated land that portions of the Alpine Road trail would cross over.
In addition, personal follow-up meetings with elected officials from each of those jurisdictions have been held to further explain the offers, according to Larry Horton, senior associate vice president and director of government and community relations for Stanford.
"Our meetings with the mayors and the supervisors were cordial and constructive. We placed some rich options before San Mateo County, Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills. They will now study the offers. We at Stanford will be pleased to offer our assistance, but the decisions will be theirs," Horton said.
On Dec. 13, 2005, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement that requires Stanford to build or improve a number of trails in order to satisfy a condition of Stanford's General Use Permit (GUP), which was granted in December 2000. The agreement allowed construction to begin on a long-awaited trail that will cross Stanford lands near Page Mill Road, known as the "S1" alignment. The construction process for that trail has commenced, Horton said.
The agreement also endorsed the improvement of another trail along Alpine Roadknown as the "C1" trailwhich would run along the west side of San Francisquito Creek and cross Stanford lands at certain points. In the agreement, the university promises financial resources to neighboring jurisdictions for trail development; and the letters specify an offer of up to $8.4 million to San Mateo County and an offer of up to $2.8 million to Portola Valley.
In the letter to Los Altos Hills, the university has offered up to $1.05 million for the improvement of an existing trail along Arastradero Road that will connect the S1 trail to the Arastradero Preserve.
In order for San Mateo County, Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills to receive the funds, the trail improvements must be completed by Dec. 31, 2011. But the agreement allows for one two-year extension.
If San Mateo County or Portola Valley do not accept the offered resources, Stanford will pay the unclaimed money to Santa Clara County for use in mitigating the impacts identified in the general use permitthe increased need for recreational opportunities for campus residents and facility users caused by the housing and academic development approved in the GUP.
Specifically, in order to receive the funds from Stanford, each jurisdiction must enter into an agreement with the university that specifies the scope of the construction, commits to completing the work by the 2011 deadline and identifies who will design, construct, manage and maintain the trail. The agreements must also set forth the provisions for transfer of and accounting for funds.
The money must be used for trail construction and for costs to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and Stanford has offered each jurisdiction the choice of being paid either in a lump sum, by submission of invoices to the university, or by an arrangement agreed upon by both parties. The letters also noted that, in completing the recent Sand Hill Road improvements, Stanford negotiated an agreement with the city of Menlo Park and San Mateo County, whereby the university performed the work for each jurisdiction and assumed the risk of cost overruns.
"We are confident that the governments receiving the offers will find that the resources will enable them to build impressive new trails for the benefit of the local community." Horton said.
Both the C1 and S1 trails were proposed in the 1995 Santa Clara Countywide Trails Master Plan, and when the county approved the GUP, the university was charged with getting portions of those trails built and improved.
Copies of the letters sent to San Mateo County, Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills, as well as the formal agreement with Santa Clara County, may be requested from the Office of Public Affairs, Government and Community Relations. The number is (650) 725-3320.