Menlo Oaks Road Maintenance

This spring, a Roads Committee was formed by MODA board members Jim Bird, Brent Brown, Kay Hitch, and Stephen Huhn with the purpose of communicating with the appropriate officials within San Mateo County about road conditions, maintenance needs and options.

In the ongoing, and what will likely be a long-term effort to address poor road conditions in Menlo Oaks, the Roads Committee of the MODA board has continued communication with San Mateo County to further clarify the status of road maintenance by the Public Works Department in Menlo Oaks. In this regard, the committee requested face-to-face time with County Supervisor Don Horsley, who agreed and met with the Roads Committee members on the streets of Menlo Oaks on October 27th. The purpose of the meeting was to further discuss the status of road maintenance with the added benefit of the Supervisor directly witnessing the road surfaces in person. Given the poor and aging road surfaces throughout Menlo Oaks, the committee requested that the County first provide an engineering assessment of the roads in order to understand feasible options for basic and standard repair and maintenance. The Supervisor agreed to secure an engineering assessment, and further suggested that the County appoint a consultant to work with MODA and the Roads Committee to facilitate the process of which road improvements (that may go beyond routine maintenance) could be both feasible and acceptable to homeowners within Menlo Oaks. The Roads Committee will provide an update with the next newsletter on the outcome of the engineering evaluation, as well as any discussions with the consultant assigned to the project. Supervisor Horsley acknowledged that the plan to secure an engineer report and consultant will require the approval of the Board of Supervisors, but this was not viewed as being problematic.

Both the MODA board and its Roads Committee are aware of the diverse range of views on road conditions that exist within Menlo Oaks, as well as the complicated history of past interactions with the County. The objective of the Roads Committee is to hear the spectrum of viable long-term options, in the context of the current road conditions, as proposed by the County engineer and consultant. The Roads Committee has communicated general concerns regarding easements, trees, and road width within Menlo Oaks that may or may not be impacted by various maintenance or repair plans. Of note, the plans for chip seal or micro-surfacing on a select road within Menlo Oaks as indicated by the County in the last newsletter may be revisited by the County pending the engineer’s analysis.

The outcome of the process outlined above will be presented to the MODA board as well as to all homeowners within Menlo Oaks. The final decision step in any significant road improvement process will need to involve all homeowners by vote, and the effort to outline road options is expected to take at least six months. The Roads Committee and MODA plan to present the outcome to all of Menlo Oaks for larger discussion, and ultimately a vote as to the most acceptable option (assuming that the County will be willing to budget and implement a long-term solution). Part of the process will also be to carefully review the current road agreement between Menlo Oaks and the County as executed in 1998, and how that agreement can be modified and optimized going forward for the benefit of future road conditions, subject to approval by Menlo Oaks. By way of background, the County has not allocated any resources (basic scheduled maintenance and/or improvements) the past 25 years after homeowners voted in 1998 to leave the roads as is. In addition to normal aging, the road quality has been further complicated by the continued gentrification (new construction) within Menlo Oaks the last few decades as each rainy season causes the structure of the roadways to further deteriorate.

MODA is looking forward to a concrete (excuse the pun) set of options at some point in the next year if progress continues with the County. We are very grateful for the interest from Supervisor Horsley and his staff.

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