A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Los Gatos Government

Wildfire Evacuation Route signs being installed

Wildfire Evacuation Route in Los GatosThe Town of Los Gatos takes its responsibility for minimizing risk from flood, fire, earthquake, or other disasters seriously.  A few months ago, I began to notice “Flood evacuation route” signs.  First I noticed it along Blossom Hill Road, close to the Highway 17 over crossing, and later on Lark Avenue.  (Lexington Reservoir  is located further down the highway and a break in the dam would bring tons of water screaming down the highway 17 corridor.)  Seemed like a wise idea, given that we have that and also Vasona Lake right here.

Additionally, though, last week I saw a “Wildfire Evacuation Route” sign too.  It was located on Prospect Avenue and Kimble Avenue, across from the new Sorellas housing development which is currently under construction by Summerhill (formerly the Holy Names Sisters convent and Casa Maria Montessori School).

If you live in a woodsy or mountainous area, the odds are good that your property is located in a zone earmarked as high risk for wildfires, and you’ve been notified that brush must be cleared 100 feet away from your house or structure annually to create “defensible space”. (Some of the best Los Gatos real estate can be found in those areas!) What isn’t always so apparent is where to go in the case of a wildfire.  These new signs should help to improve safety in case of a serious fire.

You may not know that the town has some helpful resources online, too.  You can find them here:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/1359/Fire-Safety-and-Wildfire-Preparedness

CalFire flier on creating 100′ of defensible space around your home (pdf)

Other helpful info:

Flood evacuation information on the town’s website

72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Kit Checklist (pdf)

“Los Gatos Prepared” revised

Statement of purpose on the Los Gatos Prepared page:
Empowering Community Self-Sufficiency towards the ultimate goal of every resident and business in Los Gatos having the awareness, skills, and resources necessary to be self-sufficient in the event of an  earthquake, fire, flood, or possible flu pandemic

Should Los Gatos outsource its police services?

The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department has a bit of a struggle over a $200,000 or more “bill” that Los Gatos handed to the city of Monte Sereno for overtime and other expenses relating to the  murder investigation of Ravi Kumra.  Monte Sereno feels that the contract it has with the town of Los Gatos covers those inevitable overruns so has refused to pay. As a result of this financial burden, it’s being suggested that Los Gatos outsource its police services to the county sheriff’s office.

Is that a good idea?

Many locals don’t seem to think so, and state that if outsourced, the quality of policing in town will fall.  “The police won’t really know the areas or the community”, said one neighbor of mine.   Other objections include the lack of ties to the community, slower response times projected, and potentially higher costs, too.

What do you think?

The issue will be addressed at the April 21st 2015 Town Council meeting, located at the Los Gatos Civic Center Council Chambers. 110 E. Main Street Los Gatos, CA 95030.  I’d bet that it will be the most packed meeting Los Gatans have ever seen.

 

 

Additional information

The Los Gatos Town Council meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 7pm in the council chambers. http://www.losgatosca.gov/16/Town-Council

Link to the town’s Police Dept page: http://www.losgatosca.gov/43/Police-Services

San Jose Mercury News Article:    Los Gatos: Police outsourcing issue delayed

More information can be found under the Los Gatos Town Council’s agenda’s on the town’s site.  May take some time to find and read all of them – the site isn’t entirely intuitive.

 

Los Gatos leaf blower ordinance

Leaves mapleMost likely, everyone in the town of Los Gatos is aware that gas powered leaf blowers are no longer legal to use here. What some may not know is that the “grace period” ended January 1st, 2014.

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but in mine, the gas blowers are continuing like nothing has changed.

We spoke with our gardeners when the law passed.  There was some grumbling and a comment that the consumer would pay more in the end, but it was understood.  But guess what – nothing changed: nothing, nada, zilch, zip, niente.

This week I spoke about this with our gardener, whom we have hired to mow and blow for years.  He shrugged it off, saying that he worked in all kinds of places with leaf blower ordinances, and they were NEVER enforced.  And besides, the electric ones don’t do a good job. Oh, and he doesn’t own an electric one to boot.

I let him know that it does matter to me and that I don’t want gas blowers used.  He said he’d use a rake and buy an electric blower.

My sense is that this is what it’s going to take – not a law so much as home owners saying that we care about the noise and the pollution.

That was last week.  We will see what this week brings.  Meanwhile, my neighbors’ gardeners are continuing to make a racket.  I’m hoping that they will step up and talk to their gardeners, too.

 

FAQs on the Los Gatos Leaf Blower Ordinance:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/2059/Leaf-Blower-Ordinance

Neighborhood eyesores in Los Gatos – what does the town code say?

Los Gatos town sealAlmost every neighborhood has (at least) one house that either isn’t kept up or is somehow an eyesore. You know the sort of thing that drives neighbors a little crazy: cars parked on the front lawn, junk piled up which is visible to the street, homes or yards in a sorry state of disrepair, appliances stored outdoors – though clearly not usable, and many other things too numerous to list.

While this is perhaps less true in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Almaden, or Saratoga than in some other parts of Silicon Valley, our scenic and upscale areas near the foothills are not immune. What does the town say about it? What are the regulations? Being a “go to the source” type of writer, I did just that and looked up the Town of Los Gatos’ ordinance for property condition requirements. (Click the link to see the text on the municode site.)

While some issues named below are cosmetic, many, perhaps most, are safety related and represent nuisances if not stopped. Most surprising to me is that dumpsters and pods are not supposed to be in the driveway for more than 72 hours at a stretch (item J below).

Have you ever read it? Have a read – and if any of it surprises you, please leave a comment!

 

Sec. 30.10.030. – Conditions of property.

An owner of real property shall not allow or maintain any of the following on his or her property:

a. Overgrown, diseased, dead or decayed trees, weeds or other vegetation, which:

(i) In the opinion of the Fire Marshal constitutes a fire hazard; or

(ii) In the opinion of the Town Engineer constitutes a danger to those using the property or adjacent public or private property.

b. The storage of equipment, materials, standing water, and/or vegetation overgrowth which are likely to harbor or provide habitat for rats, vermin, mosquitoes, and other pests;

c. Garbage, refuse, trash, debris or waste, except as stored in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 11 of the Town of Los Gatos Municipal Code;

d. Garbage receptacles in view from a public right-of-way, except within twenty-four (24) hours of the designated day and time the garbage is scheduled to be collected;

e. Graffiti which remains for a period longer than ten (10) days;

f. Conditions which, due to their accessibility to the public, may prove hazardous or dangerous, including, but not limited to:

(1) Unused and/or broken equipment;

(2) Abandoned wells, shafts or basements;

(3) Hazardous or unprotected pools, ponds or excavations;

(4) Structurally unsound fences or other structures;

(5) Machinery which is inadequately secured or protected;

(6) Lumber, trash, or debris;

(7) Storing or keeping of chemicals or motor oil;

(8) Refrigerators or appliances with the door(s) still attached.

g. Any airplane or other aircraft, or any parts thereof on residentially zoned property; Continue reading

Who maintains the sidewalks in Los Gatos – the home owner, or the town?

Good sidewalks and curbsSidewalks, and the little strip of land between them and the street (where the land exists) are something of a no-man’s land. Homeowners don’t actually own the sidewalk, or the sidewalk strip, but in many municipalities they are required to take care of both. In San Jose, that is the case.

In Los Gatos, however, historically the town has maintained the sidewalks, curbs, and gutters as well as the streets adjacent to them. The town’s website has information on streets, sidewalks etc., and also information on how to submit a request for repair:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/103/Streets-Trees

The San Jose Mercury News had a piece in the Action Line column about street trees and sidewalks which asserted that it’s California state law that makes the sidewalks the property owner’s responsibility. So Los Gatans – we are fortunate to be in a community where the town will take care of this. Just another reason to love living in Los Gatos!

Remember to vote tomorrow!

voteTomorrow there are a number of important initiatives and positions on the ballot. In Los Gatos, voting for members of town council is likely one of the biggest draws to the neighborhood polling place. This year there are 5 candidates running for 3 slots: Marico Sayoc, Jim Russell, Rob Rennie, Steve Leonardis, and Sue Farwell. (For newcomers: in Los Gatos we do not vote for mayor. Instead, we elect town council members and they decide who will be mayor. Normally it’s a rotation.)

Here’s where you can find information on each one:

Information on voting can be found on the town’s website:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/15/Election-Voter-Information

See you at the polls!

 

Art in the Los Gatos Town Council Chambers

If you’ve never visited the Town Council Chambers, you might be surprised to learn that there is an ongoing art presentation there, featuring the creative works of local, San Francisco Bay Area, artists. There are four different showings each year. The newest exhibit begins soon, November 3rd, and it runs through January 30th. There will be a reception on November 10th, and all are welcome. This ongoing event is sponsored by the Town of Los Gatos and the Los Gatos Art Association.

Learn more about the upcoming exhibit on the Los Gatos Art Association website:

http://www.lgaa.org/

 

Find location, hours and other info on the town’s site:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/349/Art-in-the-Council-Chambers

New Museum Los Gatos ground breaking

Los Gatos Museum Ground BreakingThe Museum Los Gatos will be holding a ground breaking ceremony on Thursday Oct 16, 2014 at 4pm. The location is the “old” Los Gatos Library, which is in the town’s Civic Center, near Los Gatos High School.

Address: 110 E Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030

For those unfamiliar with the Los Gatos Museum, really it’s 2 museums: one for art, which has been located in the old fire department building at Tait and Main, and the history museum, which has been at the Forbes Mill Annex. Now both will be under one roof.

Groundbreaking is this week, and the opening of the new museum is expected in Spring 2015.

For more information and many details on the New Museum Los Gatos, see the website:

http://www.museumsoflosgatos.org/site/give/

New Museum Los Gatos

Hidden stop sign at Shannon and Hilow in Los Gatos

Saw this today – and we stopped. I wonder how many people fly through this intersection since they cannot possibly see the sign? Photo taken 9-3-2015 at the intersection of Shannon and Hilow in east Los Gatos. Not sure if it’s the town’s responsibility or the home owner’s…but it’s dangerous as it is!

Stop Sign Shannon and Hilow

Los Gatos Town Council Election

Los Gatos Town WebsiteThe Los Gatos Town Council Election will take place Tuesday, November 4th, 2014. But the “running” is already underway! Over the weekend, one Town Council hopeful knocked on my front door to garner support. I was surprised as it seems a bit early. But a little advance planning never hurt. And better still, she was armed with a door hanger, and behind that, a website and a Facebook page.

(For the truly curious, this was Marico Sayoc, www.Marico4LG.com.) Fletch Sullivan will be running too – more on that in a future article.

Word has it that Joe Pirzynski and Dianne McNutt are both opting out for re-election.

Interested in running? Better get your fastest shoes on, as the clock’s a tickin’! This will be an interesting political race to watch!

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos

and nearby areas,
including
Monte Sereno,
Saratoga,
Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
Cambrian and Almaden Valley

Privacy Policy

Mary's other sites
and blogs


ValleyOfHeartsDelight blog
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
especially the West Valley areas

Move2SiliconValley.com
Silicon Valley relocation info

popehandy.com
Los Gatos real estate
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling


Let's Connect




About the real estate search:

Use the widget below to browse properties which are for sale, under contract (pending) or sold. Want to view only homes which are available now? Use the "find a home" link on the menu above (next to the "home" button).

Search real estate listings


Listings in 95030

Listings in 95032

Listings in 95033

Categories

Site Statistics
  • Users online: 1 
  • Visitors today : 505
  • Page views today : 697