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Ex-Yahoo CEO Pushes To Open Private Women's Club At Former Mortuary

PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) -- A showdown is set for Monday night in Palo Alto as some residents hope to stop a local tech heavyweight's plans to turn an old mortuary into a private social club.

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wants to convert a funeral home on Middlefield Road into a club for women.

Monday afternoon, party planners were putting up flashy Halloween decorations at Mayer's home in Palo Alto.

But neighborhood residents told KPIX 5 they were more concerned with Mayer's other property one block away.

Mayer plans to convert the former mortuary into a busy private women's club.

"This would be incredibly disruptive to the neighborhood, as well as unsafe with all the extra traffic and people coming to the neighborhood," said area resident Lucinda Abbott.

She and her husband hap plan to speak out against Mayer's plans at Monday night's city council meeting where the proposal is getting its first reading.

"We really think this project would be good somewhere else," said Hap Abbott. "This is not an area where corporate events need to be taking place."

Last April, Mayer submitted an application at Palo Alto City Hall for the permits to turn the former mortuary into a membership-supported women's club that would hold hundreds of events per year, including workshops, social events and concerts.

But even city officials aren't exactly sure how big the project would be.

"There's a lot of questions about what kind of use is being proposed here," said Palo Alto Planning Manager Josie Gerhardt. "There is some concern about parking traffic and noise and things like that but we don't have all of the details to give all of the answers at this moment."

Mayer has owned this property for several years and neighbors say that

She has had several events or parties here in the past.

Donald Guinn lives next door to the mortuary parking lot.  He said he hasn't made up his mind on the latest plan.

"Overall, a good neighbor, yeah," said Guinn.

But area resident Sharon Parkingson said Mayer is throwing her weight around.

"She is a rich person who bought a house in the neighborhood and is now buying up other parts of the neighborhood," said Parkingson. "And now thinks she's in charge of the neighborhood."

Neighbors plan to pack the city council hearing to weigh in on the proposal and are anxious to hear from Mayer herself.

Neither Mayer nor the project manager responded to calls Monday for comment.

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