The Los Altos Hills City Council will be meeting residents at an April 3 public hearing as it mulls over proposed improvements to Adobe Creek, plans that have proven highly controversial.
At issue is work targeted for a quarter-mile section of the creek near Fremont Road and Edith Avenue. Santa Clara Valley Water District officials want the council to approve two easement transfers so they can rebuild the Edith bridge, add concrete reinforcement and widen the creek bed. The district's goal is to accommodate the possibility of a 100-year flood - a flood of such magnitude that it occurs on the average of once every 100 years.
Most residents in what the district calls the Reach 5 section support the district going forward. They acknowledge the plan is flawed and overblown, but those in favor say a flawed plan is better than no plan.
"What we have is 13 neighbors trying to solve a desperate problem," said Terese Blockus, who lives on the Los Altos side of the creek. "With all the pros and cons, (the project) is the district's best-faith effort."
But resident D.J. Rogez, who stands to lose most of his back yard to the project, vowed to fight the plan every step of the way. He said he is not only fighting for his property but also for West Edith Park, much of which will be affected by the construction work.
Greg Zlotnick, district 5 director for the water district, said Rogez knew about the easement and that he would be building in a flood plain when he bought his Fremont Road property.
Eleven of the 13 residents in the Reach 5 zone favor the project, but many are concerned with the district's planned removal of nearly 140 trees. District officials said they will replant along the creek bank after construction.
Also at issue are district plans to restore the creek channel at Reach 7, which includes rebuilding the Burke Road bridge over the creek. Residents fear if this work is done with nothing done to Reach 5, the risk of flooding will increase.
"We'll going to make a decision on the water district proposal based on work they're going to do in Reach 7 that will affect reaches 5 and 6," said Councilman Mike O'Malley.
For Blockus, the thought of the tree-shaded creek area turning into a construction zone has her concerned. "There still is going to be a change - it might take 5-10 years (for regrowth). But is it better than nothing? Is it going to benefit the majority of people? And can it look the best it can with it being an eyesore?" Blockus said.
She dismissed talk about extensive damage to West Edith Park. Blockus said 24 trees would be felled, including 12 eucalyptus, leaving 70 percent of the park's trees alone. She also noted the district would keep two park trails and the only fencing involved are 2-foot fences to protect plantings.
The Adobe Creek issue also will be discussed during a joint meeting of the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city councils on March 31 at Los Altos City Hall.