Monday, April 17, 2006

Those who don't examine history...

We have asked Santa Clara County to investigate whether Stanford repudiated its earlier offers of a trail alignment on the south side of campus to establish leverage over the County. So far the County is not interested in examining this issue. I don't believe that "no" is an acceptable answer, because we have no wish to repeat potential mistakes from the past. We'll have to see if the County agrees with us.



April 6, 2006

Marina Rush
Santa Clara County Planning Department

Request for staff investigation regarding the S1 Trail approval process and staff recommendations for the future planning involving Stanford

Dear Marina:

I regret that I will be unable to attend tonight’s meeting, but I would like to suggest a topic to be reported on at a future meeting. The topic is an investigation of whether Stanford University placed a new condition in September 2005 on its offer of the S1-C trail alignment, a condition that Stanford had not acknowledged in spring 2003 when Santa Clara County rejected the community groups’ S1 trail alignments and bifurcated the S1 and C1 planning process. The new condition that concerns us was Stanford’s refusal to accept the S1-C alignment that Stanford itself had offered, unless the S1 decision be delayed to accompany development of a C1 EIR, or unless the County also accepted Stanford’s proposal that the Alpine Road sidewalk immediately become the designated alignment for the C1 Trail. The investigation should determine what was the written record showing what conditions, if any, Stanford placed on its offer of the S1-C alignment in spring 2003, what Santa Clara County staff’s perception was of whether Stanford had conditioned its offer in spring 2003, and what community groups perceived Stanford’s offer to be in spring 2003.

The purpose of this investigation would be to determine whether recommendations are needed in the future for dealing with any other offers that Stanford makes as part of the General Use Permit compliance process. Regardless of where one stands on whether Stanford reneged on its offer as of spring 2003 and placed new conditions on the S1-C alignment, the investigation can determine whether there is a need for better clarity as to when Stanford has made a firm offer and what are the terms of that firm offer. In the alternative, better clarity will allow parties to understand whether Stanford is simply floating a proposal that it may choose to revoke or change with no notice, and reliance on such a proposal is completely at the risk of Stanford’s revocation or modification.

We further recommend that the investigation determine whether to develop a standard “Stanford University Acknowledgment of Detrimental Reliance” form. Such a form, if signed by Stanford, will indicate whether Stanford considers itself legally bound by a particular offer.

The Committee for Green Foothills would be happy to help in the investigation and development of a standard “Stanford Detrimental Reliance” form. We further note that we raised this question originally in our comment letter for the December 13, 2005 Supervisor’s meeting (attached).

I apologize again for not being there tonight. If the CRG wishes to agendize this for discussion at a later meeting before making a recommendation for County staff action, that would be fine.

Please contact us if you have any questions.


Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County

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