A Bay Area community is saying “no more” to anyone with plans to build in an effort to protect mountain lions.
It’s been an issue for years up and down the Peninsula -- cougars coming into contact with communities, and it’s not just in Woodside.
“You see mountain lions in Redwood City and San Bruno, and it’s like ‘okay,’” said Michael of Woodside.
Biologists said the run-ins between the big cats and humans are inevitable as cities and towns encroach more and more on wildlife habitat.
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Now the town of Woodside is ending all new building because they say mountain lions are threatened and need the land to survive.
“I totally agree with them voting against it. I feel like it’s okay to maybe rebuild a parking lot, but everything else – not so much,” said Natalia Bujak of Woodside.
Under California law, threatened species are given the same protections as endangered species, and town leaders said they can invoke the protections to halt building.
“I mean they’re trying to keep things small and rural,” said Michael. “And I can appreciate that.”
The move prohibits owners of larger properties from splitting their land to develop new housing that’s desperately needed and encouraged under Senate Bill 9.
State Senator Scott Weiner, who was a co-author of the bill, said in a tweet, “all for mountain lions” but he said people also need homes and he predicted legal challenges to the moratorium on building.
In an interview with The Almanac newspaper, Mayor Dick Brown said, “Every house that’s built is one more acre taken away from habitat.”
But some question the town's motives.
“This is a clear attempt by the town of Woodside to thwart housing laws in the middle of a housing emergency,” said Rudy Espinoza Murray of Yimby Action.
“I think it’s silly. I think the people of Woodside just don’t want low-income people, and I don’t think the mountain lions are going to discriminate against multi-unit housing,” said Gloria of Woodside.