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

Los Gatos Creek Trail

Charter Oaks townhome community

The Charter Oaks townhome community was built in 3 phases between 1972 and 1975,  and consists of 101 units on a verdant, green campus. I’m told that the builder was the highly regarded Blackwell Homes.  Each townhome enjoys between 960 square feet and 1,760 sf, with the average being 1452. Most are 2 story but there are a few single story homes as well. Lot sizes are small (1,920-3,205 SF, average is 2477 SF) as there is a great deal of common, outdoors space to enjoy.

Charter Oaks townhome community

Charter Oaks Circle mapLos Gatans are drawn to Charter Oaks for many reasons. First, it offers well built homes that are thoughtfully designed in a beautiful setting. The community features include expansive greenbelt areas and a pool.

The location is a huge plus. It is located alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail, making it an easy walking or bike commute to Netflix, a simple bike ride to Vasona or downtown Los Gatos, or a convenient route for a longer ride, jog, or stroll. To top it off, this area includes the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and is close enough to the freeways to make commuting less stressful.

Every area has some location challenges. Because it’s close to two freeways, there’s a bit of noise from the highways but it’s not too bad. The other thing to know is that there’s just one road in and out, and trying to turn left from Charter Oaks Drive onto Lark Avenue can sometimes be frustrating as the cars just keep coming and there’s no traffic signal to help there.

Charter Oaks real estate pricing

Homes in Charter Oaks are selling for about $1,100,000 to $1,200,00 as of spring 2017. (See my listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle here.) As with every complex, some areas will sell for more than others. In this case, because the townhomes are fairly close to highway 17, some areas have road noise and will be a little less desirable.  Some will have better or lesser views, access to parking, natural light, and so on. The condition and size of the unit have an enormous impact on housing values too, of course.

 

Which streets are a part of Charter Oaks?

Includes streets are these: Walnut Hill Court, Charter Oaks Circle, Willow Hill Court, Cherry Hill Court, Almond Hill Court, Spruce Hill Court

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Attempted Kidnapping on Lark Avenue by Los Gatos Creek Trail

November 15, 2011

On Sunday afternoon, a 17 year old girl was attacked by a would-be kidnapper on Lark Avenue near the Los Gatos Creek Trail.  She fought back and got away.  The police have issued a press release (which does not appear to be on the town’s website – I looked under the crime alerts and crime info and didn’t find it there).  I have uploaded it to one of my sites, though, and you can read the attempted kidnapping press release by clicking on this link (it will bring up a pdf of the file).

The victim gave a good, detailed description of both the attacker (a 45 year old looking Hispanic male, appx. 5’6″ and 150 lbs wearing dirty paint-spattered jeans and a red shirt) and his vehicle (dark brown car with patches of non-matching paint, either blue or black). Please read the entire press release for all of the details.  Let’s get this guy off the street.

Los Gatos Home for Sale, "In the Schools", On Tree Lined Street and Backing to the Los Gatos Creek Trail!

September 03, 2009

208 Las Miradas Drive, Los Gatos, backs to the Los Gatos Creek Trail - photo by Jim Meech of APRA couple of weeks ago I was introducing some buyer clients of mine to various neighborhoods in Los Gatos and Cambrian Park to give them a general feel for the area, real estate prices, home styles, and so on.

We drove into the Las Astas area, off Lark Avenue, and decided to pop into an open house at 208 Las Miradas Drive, which was being hosted by the listing agent, Jim Meech of Alain Pinel Realtors. The setting is quite nice and also unique, so I asked him if I could blog about this property. After consulting with the homeowner, he gave me the green light.

Why blog about this house?

Kitchen at 208 Las Miradas Drive, Los Gatos, CAAs you can see from the photo above,this house enjoys the proximity of many beautiful, large trees. It is a lovely setting. Inside, it’s evident that the owner has updated and remodeled the home – the kitchen is beautiful and features slab granite countertops, for instance. The layout is nice, with both a living room and a family room. Finally, a major plus of this home and neighborhood is unseen: this property enjoys the highly regarded Los Gatos School District.

All of this is well and good, but it’s not the reason for this post. What’s unique and worth blogging about, as I see it, is the precise location of the home. The lot backs up directly to the much beloved Los Gatos Creek Trail.

Being situated directly on the trail provides a number of benefits. It’s quick access to Lake Vasona County Park, to town, a shortcut to schools (without busy streets to cross), and of course it’s a buffer from other homes. Rather than seeing windows and rooflines behind the house, residents enjoy a canopy of trees.

Los Gatos Creek Trail - photo by Jim Meech of Alain Pinel RealtorsDetails on 208 Las Miradas Drive:

It’s a compact, well laid out ranch style home with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a family room as well as a living room. The living areas are “open”, which makes the house feel larger than its nearly 1300 square feet. The lot is approximately 6900 SF but it, too, feels larger. There’s a 2 car garage and extra room on the side of the home for boat or RV parking.

This property is offered at $889,000.

For more information, please contact Jim Meech at Alain Pinel Realtors: 408-718-3116 or jmeech@apr.com.

(This post is not paid advertising – I simply liked the house & location and wanted to share the info with my readers and hope you find it of interest. -mph)

 

Main Street Bridge in Los Gatos

May 02, 2007

Los Gatos Creek, Los Gatos CAThe Los Gatos Creek plays a key role in the history of the town, and so too does the Main Street bridge that traverses it.

In 1839, two brothers-in law, Jose Hernandez and Jaun Peralta, were looking for the right location to stake their claim to a Mexican land grant when they heard mountain lions fighting. Realizing that if the huge cats lived nearby, water must be nearby too. (The land grant was named La Rinconada de Los Gatos, or Cat’s Corner. And eventually the town was given the name Los Gatos as well.)

View of Main Street taken from the bridge over the Los Gatos Creek

Peralta and Hernandez found the water they sought, a creek snaking down from the coastal mountains and stretching for the bay, and set up their first home at what is now Vasona Park. The partners received 6631 acres of land with the only requirement being that they had to occupy it. Over time, people moved to the area. Mills began at the water’s edge. Stagecoach travel to Santa Cruz commenced. And eventually, the town of Los Gatos incorporated in 1887 over 1 square mile (100 acres) on both sides of the Los Gatos Creek. The population was 1645 then. (Today, the town encompasses 12 square miles. For a detailed historical time line of the town,

 

click here.)

Naturally, a bridge would be important to get from one side of Los Gatos to the other. A wooden bridge was constructed.

 

It came to be known as “the hanging bridge” as this was where a lynching took place in 1883.

“Main Street Bridge, Los Gatos, Fires were a terrible threat, and more than once, buildings burned to the ground as the bucket brigade battled the flames unsuccessfully. A particularly bad blaze ravaged East Main Street in 1891, culminating at a hardware store in which dynamite was sold. Other fires struck in 1890, 1898 and 1901 too. It became clear that a wooden bridge was not an ideal situation.

A stone and concrete bridge replaced the wooden one in 1905 see “Los Gatos Creek Trail sign”

Today the bridge remains central to downtown Los Gatos. It spans across not just the creek, and the businesses on both sides of the creek, but a busy freeway that connects Silicon Valley with the coastal communities, most notably the beach at Santa Cruz. The bridge is frequented by motorists, cyclists, and folks on foot or rollerblade. From the bridge there’s access to the much-loved, 9.7 mile Los Gatos Creek Trail. Tourists and residents alike can be seen on or near the bridge with cameras in hand as the spot is quite scenic. And the first Saturday in December,

plans to improve the bridge between now and 2009 by beautifying it, paving it, and adding a water fountain at the head of the trail.

ohlone mural middle - Main Street Bridge in Los GatosUnder the bridge, in addition to the wonderful trail, there’s a beautiful

mural to honor the Ohlone people who lived here before European settlers moved in. Painted by 60 volunteers, the mural is 76 feel long and 22 feet high and was completed in 2006. With so much of history riding across the bridge above, it is good to remember that the history of the area didn’t really begin in 1839 at all, but much, much earlier.

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
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special focus on
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