FAQs

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Welcome to our FAQs section. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please contact Town Hall at (650) 851-1700. Or, you may email at towncenter@portolavalley.net.

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Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • How can I determine my property's zoning district?

  • How do we add our residence to the Do Not Solicit list?

  • How do I get on the list for affordable housing in Portola Valley? What is the process for candidate selection and how soon can I sign up?

  • What size units would the affordable housing be and at what prices would they be expected to rent or sell?

  • Does the Town maintain a current list of all guest houses, room rentals, in-law units, etc. already in Town that could satisfy the requirement?

  • There is a small contingent of homeowners who leave town for awhile and let caretakers stay in their houses for free or substantially reduced rent. Does this count towards our obligations?

  • Why doesn't the Town put more effort into second units? Have there been any Town forums to educate residents on how to get their second units counted towards second units?

  • How do units at The Sequoias fit into the calculation of affordable housing?

  • Can the second unit amnesty program be revived or corrected to help meet the State requirements?

  • Will the families who buy the affordable homes benefit from market appreciation?

  • Who would live in the moderate income housing units?

  • Who would build the moderate income units and how would the Town identify a builder?

  • Does the Town encourage the development of more guest cottages?

  • If the Town moves forward with an affordable housing project, what opportunities will neighbors and the public have to comment on and influence the project?

  • What are the consequences of an uncertified Housing Element?

  • Are there benefits associated with a certified Housing Element?

  • When was the current Housing Element approved and when will the next one be reviewed by the State?

  • Does the current Housing Element commit the Town to providing affordable housing units?

  • Is the Town required to build affordable housing?

  • How do other communities like Portola Valley meet their regional housing obligations?

  • How does Portola Valley's assigned housing need compare to Woodside, Hillsborough, and Atherton?

  • If the Town builds these units now, will the State want more housing units in the next Housing Element?

  • How is compliance with State law enforced?

  • What is the State law regarding affordable housing?

  • How is Portola Valley's housing need determined?

  • Am I required to put food waste in the “Compostables” bin?

  • Is the "Compostables" bin required to be a certain size?

  • Does GreenWaste provide a "Compostables" label for my own 32-gallon can?

  • Can I put food waste and food-soiled paper products into what used to be considered the "Yard Waste" only bin (now the "Compostables" bin)?

  • Can I put food waste directly into the "Compostables" bin or must the bin have a compostable bag liner?

  • Where can I purchase “Compostable” bags and suitable Compostables bins?

  • Where do I store my food scraps before I take them out to the Compostables bin?

  • Why does GreenWaste charge to “rent” a green “Compostables” bin, but the brown Recycling bin is provided for free?

  • What charities will pick up furniture/mattresses in Portola Valley?

  • Where can I donate used eyeglasses?

  • Where can I properly dispose of my prescription drugs?

  • Where can I recycle styrofoam?

  • Where can I properly dispose of batteries and compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs?

  • Where can I recycle my tennis shoes?

  • How do I register for a class?

  • I’m interested in teaching/instructing a class or activity at Community Hall, how do I get started?

  • Can a class/activity be cancelled after I pay my registration fee?

  • What is the teacher-to-student ratio?

  • When does the registration period begin?

  • It’s been less than two weeks since the class started, so how do I obtain a refund for my registration fees?

  • What if after registering and paying the required fees I find that the class is not for me?

  • How do I get a town business license? Do I need one?

  • Where can I get a trail map?

  • How do I obtain a Residential Data Report (RDR)?

  • What classes are offered at Town Center?

  • Where can I obtain Agendas, Minutes, Resolutions and Ordinances?

  • When and where are the Town Council meetings?

  • Who is on the Town Council? How can I reach a member of the Town Council?

  • What are the Town Center office hours?

  • What resources are available for mediation and conflict resolution?

  • When do I need a building permit?

  • What work is exempted from obtaining a building permit?

  • How do I apply for a building permit?

  • How much does a building permit cost?

  • When do I need an encroachment permit?

  • When is the best time to involve Town Staff in my design process?

  • What is Architectural Site & Control Commission and what is their charge?

  • When are the ASCC meetings conducted?

  • When do I know I need to go before the ASCC?

  • How long is the ASCC review process?

  • Once I receive ASCC approval what are the next steps?

  • When do I need review by the Town Geologist for my proposed project? What are the requirements for Geology review?

  • What is a Deviation from Resolution No. 500-1974? How do I apply for Deviation and what documents are required for such review?

  • What is a Map Modification? How do I apply and what documents are required for such a review?

  • What are the different levels of Site Development Permits and who has authority for their review?

  • What is a basement? When does it count towards floor area?

  • How do you calculate allowed floor area? How do you calculate impervious surface? How much floor area am I allowed to build? What is the 85% limitation?

  • How do you measure height?

  • When do I need storey poles?

  • Do I need a permit for a fence? What are the regulations relating to fences, types, heights and locations?