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

Belwood

Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont neighborhood

Belwood Belgatos Surmont and nearby area mapJust west and south of the intersection of Blossom Hill Road and Harwood Road sits a neighborhood of Los Gatos homes with three subdivisions: Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos & Surmont. Nearby public landmarks are Belgatos Park and the Walgreen’s shopping center (corner of Blossom Hill and Harwood), now sporting a new Starbucks coffee shop.

For many Los Gatans, all three of these east Los Gatos areas (and sometimes a broader one still) are generally referred to as “Belwood” or “Belwood-Belgatos.” (The Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police cert map identifies the whole region plus the Strathmore neighborhood, which is across Blossom Hill Road, as “Belwood” generally.)

The terrain is nearly level, with very low, gentle hills over most of the area. With winding, mostly tree-lined roads and tidy houses, it’s a very attractive neighborhood overall. For those looking for an arduous climb on foot or bike, though, Harwood Road provides a nice challenge. At the top, you’ll see a fantastic view of downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley for your trouble. (There are some challenges to be found in the open space trails, too.)

Belgatos Park and trails

Grassy fields at Belgatos Park Los GatosAt the middle of this community is the very inviting Belgatos Park, a scenic, setting which includes a playground near the parking lot, picnic areas, restrooms, trails into the hills (with some wonderful valley views), and access to the Heinz Open Space Preserve and its network of trails also. (And it’s not far to the Santa Rosa Open Space area either.)

One hill attracts kids who enjoy sliding down it on bits of cardboard, and thus has been nicknamed “cardboard hill” for decades. Most of the time these cardboard sledding enthusiasts are pretty good about picking up their “sledding vehicles” when done.

The paths are popular with people on foot, but also those on mountain bikes or horseback. As there are a few larger properties which are zoned for horses in the area, this is a very nice equestrian option.

For photographers, the park has abundant worthy subjects year round, both of the open space and the valley views below. In the early morning hours, or near sunset, you may see some deer too. But be careful: bobcats and mountain lions are in these hills also.

What are homes like in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont?

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Starbucks coming to east Los Gatos in the Walgreen's Shopping Center

July 23, 2013

Starbucks will be moving into the space formerly occupied by Gallo’s Restaurant in the Walgreen’s Shopping Center in east Los Gatos, at the corner of Blossom Hill and Harwood Roads, probably in October or close to that time.  The popular coffee shop will take up about two-thirds of the building, the part closest to Blossom Hill Road, with the remainder likely turning into a Subway sandwich shop. 

Right now there is no space for outside dining, but the plan is to rework some of the landscaping so that this can be incorporated.  The patio and tables will be a hit not just for those who like the outdoors, but for the many Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby neighbors who will walk over to the establishment with pooches in tow. 

This should be a very nice enhancement for neighbors, who right now do not have anyplace in walking distance which offers patio dining of any kind.  

Community meeting regarding explosion in east Los Gatos reveals few answers as to the cause, neighbors worry

March 26, 2012

Tonight at the Belwood CabaC1a in east Los Gatos, there was a community meeting of neighbors with a panel of officials to discuss the explosion at the yard on Westhill and Belblossom on March 5th. Officials included Sgt Kerry Harris from the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Department, two men from P G & E (one named Tamon) and a representative from the county fire department. Jim and I arrived about 1-2 minutes late so unfortunately I missed some of the names. (My apologies to the panelists whose names I missed.) Panel at the explosion meeting in east Los Gatos

Dogs, Cats, Neighbors and Yards

May 25, 2011

Please keep your dogs off my lawn - it is not a potty (one of two signs in Belwood of Los Gatos)People in Los Gatos love their pets. Not all of them – residents or pets – are well behaved, though.

One neighbor of ours in Belwood who recently planted new sod in his front yard got tired of locals allowing (encouraging?) their pets to relieve themselves on his newly laid lawn and put up two signs telling them not to do it.

Another neighbor, on another street, placed graphic “no pooping” signs along one side of the yard because not only were pooches defecating there, but their owners were not cleaning up after them, either.

Dogs are usually on leashes, so it’s hard to say that their owners don’t know any better. But what about cats who are allowed to roam freely and do what they want and where they want? Their messes become everyone’s problem too – the owners just don’t have direct knowledge of it.

We have this issue in our front yard, where a neighborhood cat seems to love to return again and again, and the stench from its markings can be unbearable – especially early in the morning when stumbling out to get the newspaper. (Maybe it’s to taunt our black lab, who can’t get at the cat?) Jim periodically uses some nasty sprinkles from a company called Predator Pee (not making this up!) to keep the felines away. It works, but it, too, is smelly. Wouldn’t it be nicer if cats only stunk up their own yards? (Aren’t cats safer if kept indoors, too?)

C’mon, Los Gatos: let’s be good neighbors and make sure that our pets are good neighbors, too. On top of that, having your animals eliminate on other’s yards is actually against the law.

For reference – the Los Gatos Town Code

Town of Los Gatos Code regarding animals roaming freely:

Sec. 4.10.020. – Animals running at large – chapter 4, article 1, item 4.

No person owning or having control of any animal shall permit such animal to stray or run at large upon any public street or other public place, or upon any private place or property or common area of any planned development, cluster, townhouse or condominium project, without the consent of the owner or person in control thereof.

Town of Los Gatos Code regarding animals peeing & pooping on someone else’s yard:

Sec. 4.10.070. – Public nuisance – chapter 4, article artile one, item 14 .

(a) No person owning or having control of any animal shall permit the animal to do any of the following:

(1) Defecate or urinate on private property (other than that of the owner or the person having control of the animal);

(2) Defecate on public property without immediately removing the excrement to a proper receptacle;

(3) Permit an animal to obstruct or interfere with the reasonable and comfortable use of property by chasing vehicles, molesting passersby, barking, howling, baying, or making any other noise;

(4) Permit unsanitary conditions to exist on the premises where that animal is kept that would cause odors, attract flies or vermin, or otherwise be injurious to public health and safety, or be indecent, or offensive to the senses, or be such an obstruction to the free use of property so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by other persons.

(b) The animal control officer may seize and impound any animal causing or creating a public nuisance.

(c) A violation of this section is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.

(d) Any private person may maintain an action under Civil Code section 3493 for enforcement of this section declaring certain acts a public nuisance, if such acts are specifically injurious to that person.

Traffic Calming Meeting for Belwood Gateway area of Los Gatos

May 11, 2011

Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Director Todd Capurso leads the Belwood Gateway Traffic Calming Meeting

Update May 17, 2011:
At the meeting described below, several residents complained that Bacigalupi Drive is the worst for speeders – possibly because it is so wide near Harwood Road. Yesterday an electronic device was placed in this stretch of the road which displays how fast cars are travelling. It would be great if this slowed traffic down – thank you, Town of Los Gatos!!

Until tonight, I’d never been to a traffic calming meeting. It was anything but “calm”! Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Director Todd Capurso did a great job running the gathering despite strong feelings and loud voices.

Prior to tonight, there had been 2 other meetings just for residents along Belwood Gateway. Apparently they had a large number of signers on a petition requesting that the town of Los Gatos consider measures to slow traffic down along that road, which joins up with Almond Blossom and creates a cut through to Camden Avenue. Neither I nor other area residents were aware of the prior meetings because only Belwood Gateway residents were invited since it was that street which had requested the meeting. (Lesson # 1 of the night: if you want traffic calming measures taken in your area, get a petition signed by residents and present it to the town.)

Some of the meeting attendees at the traffic calming meeting for Belwood Gateway on May 11, 2011 at the Belwood Cabana

Since ONE of the previously proposed solutions was to partially barricade Belwood Gateway at Harwood and that would impact nearby streets, those of us in the “impacted areas” were invited to tonight’s meeting. My family and I live on Bacigalupi Drive and we would definitely be impacted if that road were blocked, so I was made aware of this ongoing process recently.

Clearly, the issue is not just along one street, though perhaps Belwood Gateway has the biggest problem due to the “shortcut” being taken. Almost unanimously, the 50 or more people present indicated that the problems are these:

  1. Many people DRIVE TOO FAST in the neighborhood
  2. Motorists IGNORE STOP SIGNS entirely or merely roll through them

Other issues were raised too, such as left turns onto courts which resulted in vehicles being on the wrong side of the road at the end of the turn or folks on Harwood Road having great difficulty backing out of their driveways, concerns about areas without sidewalks and all sorts of somewhat reckless driving. Soon neighbors were discussing speeding along Westhill and other roads too. (Also present was Los Gatos/ Monte Sereno Police Officer Sam Wonnell, who once lived in the Belwood of Los Gatos area himself. He explained that they need residents to tell them when to be present to catch speeders and those who ignore stop signs but that of course they can’t always be here.)

Los Gatos/ Monte Sereno Police Officer Sam Wonnell, a former Belwood resident, speaks to the Belwood Gateway neighbors

Todd patiently recounted the chronology of events leading to tonight’s meeting and explained, over and over, that at this meeting a solution was not going to be decided, but instead what would be firmed up was simply what residents would vote on in the future. Belwood Gateway residents would be able to vote on adding a stop sign and speed bumps. Nearby neighbors would be allowed to vote on whether or not a “triangle” could be placed at the intersection of Harwood and Belwood Gateway.

The meeting began at 6:30 and was scheduled to end at 8pm. At 8:05 the crowd was beginning to leave and many who remained began to speak so loudly that Todd could not hear questions being posed (nor answer without having to yell). It was dissolving. I left at that point. It was nice to see so many neighbors (whom I normally see only while out walking our black lab, Bella) and to learn what the process is for requesting that traffic patterns be evaluated by the town and local residents.

Voting on what should be put on the ballot for traffic calming

Now we wait for the ballots – it will probably take a month or two for them to be created and mailed out. As for me, I’m all for more speed bumps and stop signs, but I hope that they don’t block off part of that one road…it will, in my opinion, only encourage drivers to take alternate routes. I’d love to see traffic calmed throughout Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont. If only civilians could give tickets!

 

 

Mountain Lion Killed in Belgatos Neighborhood of Los Gatos

October 26, 2010

A rumor has been circulating in the Belwood – Belgatos – Surmont area about a mountain lion death earlier this week in or near Belgatos Park.  It’s been confirmed that a mountain lion was killed on Monday evening by a Belgatos resident.  The mountain lion had killed multiple animals or livestock on the resident’s property so the owner sought and received a permit to kill it from the state fish & game department.  This apparently happened on private property, most likely close to the park.

Related stories and updates:

Coyotes Roaming, Killing Pets in The Almond Grove and Glenridge Neighborhoods of Los Gatos (2008 post on Live in Los Gatos)

Mountain Lion Shot in Los Gatos (January 2008 story by Alastair Dallas in the Los Gatos Observer about a cougar shot in a backyard along Lora Drive)

Mountain lion killed on Hwy 17 near Cats Restaurant in Los Gatos (Jan 12, 2010, Santa Cruz Sentinel)

In late March, 2011, another mountain lion was killed in Redwood City. In the SF Gate article, it was relayed that:

“One of the big cats was treed in Palo Alto in 2004, a cougar showed up in a condominium complex in Pleasanton in 2006, and in September one was found roaming near Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.” (All killed, as well)

Paving East Los Gatos

October 11, 2010

Several neighborhoods in east Los Gatos, especially, have been under construction with roadwork these last few weeks. It’s come in stages in my Belwood neighborhood but I’m seeing signs of the same progress happening elsewhere, too.

My better half, Jim, filmed snippets of the paving on our street (Bacigalupi Drive) to share with our kids, who are away at college.  Here’s his film, which is now on YouTube, explaining the process.

 

Film courtesy of Jim Handy, used by permission.

Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos and Surmont Area Sales in Last Three Years

January 26, 2010

I just updated my Belwood of Los Gatos website with what has closed in the last three years in that part of town (including the Surmont and Belgatos areas).  At the top of the page is a live mls-searching map which shows what’s available in that area.  Right now there’s just a duplex for sale there, no houses whatsoever!  Scroll down to see first sales in 2009, then 2008, and finally 2007.

Home sales information for Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont

Some of the numbers are disturbingly low (disturbing if you are a homeowner).  Some of the lowest prices have been homes which were distressed sales (short sale or foreclosure) or which were not well staged and easily accessible.  Hard to see, cluttered, unstaged homes simply sell for a lot less than homes which are well presented and easily viewed.  In 2009 we saw a rise in foreclosure activity in and near Belwood.  This may keep up for a couple more years until the current mortgage crisis is cleaned out.

Belgatos Park in East Los Gatos – a Great Place to Hike, Ride Horses, Picnic, Play or Just Spend Time

September 03, 2008

My family and I live in the east Los Gatos neighborhood called Belwood of Los Gatos, and the nearby park is Belgatos Park. We tend to visit it several times a week and spend a lot of time there. I confess, this isn’t my first post about the park, but it is my first using video. (Recently I got a flip video so am learning how to work this new medium.)

This park is unique for a Town of Los Gatos park in many regards. First, it is one of the only parks in town which can accomodate horses, joggers and mountain bikers. (Joggers and mountain bikers, don’t zone out! Horses may have gone before you.) Second, in addition to the niceties of a larger park, which include several grassy meadows, a playground, and a restroom, there are a myriad of trails that interconnect with Belgatos. If you are so inclined, you can spend hours chasing down the paths that wind through the Sierra Azule foothills.  Finally, it is one of the only town parks which, with a little effort on the visitor’s part, can provide stunning valley views.

With that introduction, I’ll share with you some video clips I took recently. It’s now the end of summer and Silicon Valley is dry and so are our parks. Below the video clip I will include other pics, from other seasons, of our beautiful Belgatos Park in Los Gatos.

 

Here’s a link to a prior post about Belgatos Park in this Live in Los Gatos blog: A Hike and a Photo Tour Through Belgatos Park.

And here’s a slideshow of Belgatos Park done through Real Estate Shows. I took the photos of Belgatos Park in spring, so it’s all very, very green and lush.

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


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