Sun Cofounder's Nosy Palo Alto Neighbors Hate Noisy Hockey Rink

Conditional permit not to be renewed says Palo Alto planning director

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Jan 29, 2010  |  Updated 4:15 PM PDT
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Sun Cofounder's Nosy Palo Alto Neighbors Hate Noisy Hockey Rink

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Scott McNealy's plans for a home hockey rink have landed in Palo Alto's penalty box.

Billionaire Sun Microsystems cofounder Scott McNealy might have cashed in on the sale of the company to Oracle, but all his money can't buy peace at home.

The temporary permit for a hockey rink he's had installed the last two winters at his Palo Alto estate on Los Trancos Road won't be renewed.

McNealy first iced over a tennis court and installed a blimp-like dome over it without a permit last year in order to practice hockey with his sons.

That lead to complaints from neighbors, who objected to the ugly, noisy installation nestled amidst trees atop a hill.

This winter, McNealy applied for and was granted a temporary permit on the grounds that he had take steps to reduce the noise and the ugly.

But apparently the amelioration effort wasn't enough, and Palo Alto's planning director said the permit won't be renewed -- meaning McNealy will have to apply for a proper building permit, submit plans, and have the issue aired publicly in front of the city's planning commission.

Of course, he could just rent out Palo Alto's Winter Lodge or the Ice Oasis in Redwood City for a few hours a week, but what's the point of being a billionaire if you have to actually share facilities with the public and can't just do whatever you please, neighbors be darned?

Jackson West personally thinks that hockey in California is an abomination of slow ice and dumb money.

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