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Interactive map to view risk of flooding from dam failure in Los Gatos

Interactive map to view risk of flooding from dam failure in Los Gatos

The risk of flooding from dam failure in Los Gatos appears to be mainly from four reservoirs, all tying into the Los Gatos Creek at some point or another. Recently Clair found a great resource for better understanding this risk, and we wanted to share it with our readers.

  • There’s an interactive map (link below) that shows most, maybe all, of our Santa Clara County dams and where flooding could happen should the dam fail
  • Additionally, Valley Water has in depth info on a downloadable PDF that actually shows how deep the flooding could be (link below)
    • Some areas of Los Gatos could experience 20′ of flooding or more in case of a breach at Lexington
    • This level of information is not part of the disclosures we get when buying and selling homes. Instead it is listed as “in” or “not in” an inundation from dam failure zone

The usual home seller disclosures include a natural and environmental hazard report, but the info does not go into deep detail. For instance, it may state that a location is in a zone of potential flooding from dam failure, but it does not tell the reader which dam it is. At times I’ve sold homes that were in that designated area but wondered whether the dam was a smaller or larger one (my concern being how much water could come through).

Now, more of those questions can be answered by visiting the state of California’s Dam Breach Inundation Map Web Publisher.

Dam failure flood zones in Santa Clara County

 

This site is very easy to use and to understand. The dams are marked with colors to indicate the downstream risk. Larger dams that spill into more populated areas appear to be those at higher risk, but perhaps they have a different formula for that designation.

Once you zoom in to your desired area (most counties appear to be participating, and MOST dams appear to be included in this publication), just click on the colored box and wait for the information to populate. It is sometimes a little slow, but after a few seconds it will appear.

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Town of Los Gatos 7 Day Public Review of the Draft Revised 6th Cycle Housing Element

Town of Los Gatos 7 Day Public Review of the Draft Revised 6th Cycle Housing Element

Los Gatos Seven-Day Public Review of the Draft Revised 6th Cycle Housing Element - person inspecting documentsThe Los Gatos Planning Department sent out the information below on the public review of the housing element draft, which I received in an email today. They’ve given permission for me to repost it here. This is relevant to everyone in town who has any concerns about the California building laws and their impact on new developments, particular as they relate to the Builder’s Remedy.

Public review of the Housing Element Draft info from the Planning Department

On September 22, 2023, the Town posted online the Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element with modifications in response to the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Findings/Comment Letter received by the Town on May 30, 2023.

The Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element is available to the public for a seven-day review period prior to HCD re-submittal.  The seven-day public review period runs until 5:00 p.m. on September 29, 2023.  The following items can be viewed on the Town’s Housing Element Update website at: https://www.losgatosca.gov/1735/General-Plan—Housing-Element.

  • Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element – Clean Copy
  • Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element – Track Changes Copy
  • Response Memorandum to HCD’s Findings and Comment Letter

Written comments (including name, affiliation, telephone number, and contact information) can be submitted through September 29, 2023, by 5:00 p.m., by email to HEUpdate@losgatosca.gov or by mail to:

Town of Los Gatos
Community Development Department
110 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Additionally, the Housing Element Advisory Board (HEAB) will be meeting on September 28, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. to review and discuss the Town’s Draft Revised Housing Element addressing HCD’s findings/comment letter received by the Town on May 30, 2023.  The agenda and staff report is now available on the Town’s agenda center webpage.

 

 

 

Best suburbs list includes Los Gatos

Best suburbs list includes Los Gatos

Los Gatos was just named in a list of the “Top 20 Best Suburbs for City-Like Living” in a study sponsored by Storage Cafe. It was one of four Bay Area communities to receive that honor.

These lively suburbs with an urban flair were sifted from 912 cities or towns with populations between 10,000 and 100,000 in 100 of the largest metropolitan areas

Pal Alto #3
Los Gatos #7
Burlingame #8
Menlo Park #16

 

Here’s the whole list:

Top 20 Best Suburbs list by Storage Cafe

Best Suburbs Criteria

How did these four areas get named to the “best suburbs” list? We know and love these communities, but many others, too, such as Saratoga, Los Altos, and Campbell.

The criteria used, per their article:

  • Residential landscape: housing affordability, new construction and housing diversity (single-family, multifamily homes)
  • Demographics
  • Business environment
  • Shopping and dining amenities
  • Health
  • Education
  • Safety
  • Transportation options
  • Self storage prices and availability as a way to maximize home space

Housing affordability probably should have taken all of the Bay Area cities off the list, so I’m not sure how they – and especially Palo Alto – ranked so highly overall. None of these would be called affordable communities. However, we do have diversity in housing types with plenty of condos and townhouses, senior living communities and senior condos to purchase , and of course varying sizes of domiciles.

Check out all of the details on these communities and see more graphics on their page: Suburbs That Feel Like Big Cities

Love downtown Los Gatos? Read up on a couple of the neighborhoods right “in town” (on this site):

Almond Grove Historic District

Broadway Area Historic District

 

Los Gatos fire risk

What is the Los Gatos fire risk? This morning a good friend of mine shared a map app that is very helpful for understanding any California property’s wildfire odds. Buildings are given a color code from blue (for low risk) to dark red (for very high risk). With the fires raging in the Diablo range on the east side (from about Fremont to Gilroy), the Santa Cruz Mountains, and many other areas of the Golden State, some folks are getting nervous – even if their particular property is not close to the infernos or in a particularly dangerous location.

If you do live in the Los Gatos or Santa Cruz Mountains, you do know that the chances of fire are elevated over more densely populated areas.  If your home is close to the hills or large open space that stretches into the foothills, it’s not a surprise that your  risk is increased over those in the flat lands.  What is your Los Gatos fire risk? Have a look at the DefensibleApp website and see what it says about your California location.

 

Los Gatos fire risk map

Coronavirus cancellations

Coronavirus Cancellations graphic with padlockAs is the case virtually everywhere else, Los Gatos has many coronavirus cancellations for upcoming events.  In the last week, the number of cases of Covid-19, or the novel coronavirus, in Santa Clara County has tripled, and the county has responded by increasingly restricted the number of people who may assemble, from 1000 to 250 to 100 (under several strict conditions) over just a few days. The government, as well as business owners, religious leaders, educators, another others are cancelling all optional events. Doctors are telling us to postpone non essential surgeries. The message: as much as possible, do social distancing. Stay home, stay away from others – especially crowds where you cannot keep 3′ or better, 6′ away from everyone else.

To that end, most religious, educational, and secular gatherings are closed – part of a huge movement of coronavirus cancellations.

The Town of Los Gatos issued this Proclamation of Local Emergency and Event/Meeting Cancellations yesterday.

  • The Library will be closed to the public beginning March 14, 2020 until further notice.
  • Town administrative public counters will be available by appointment only beginning March 16, 2020 until further notice.
  • All public meetings scheduled for the week of March 16 through March 20 (except for the Town Council meeting) are cancelled.
  • The March 17, 2020 Town Council agenda has been updated to include only consent items on the agenda and the Town encourages the public to abide by Public Health guidance and avoid public gatherings.

Other coronavirus cancellations or schedule changes in Los Gatos this season

  • The Great Race – cancelled
  • The Los Gatos Wine Walk – spring Wine Walk cancelled (see you in October?)
  • Mountain Winery Crab Dinner (Mar 15) – cancelled
  • Cat’s Hill Bicycle Race (Mar 21) – cancelled
  • Generally, groups of 100 are more are prohibited, but all large gatherings are discouraged, so most events will be cancelled. Please check whichever event it is you are interested in with that host.

Los Gatos school closings and online learning due to the coronavirus

This situation is changing daily, so please check with whichever district or private school applies for your child. Overall, schools are closed for anywhere from 2-4 weeks as of this writing. Some are going to online learning.

For public schools, whether elementary, middle, or high school level, all are following the county’s requirement to shut the doors for the time being. Most appear to be closing school for 3 weeks, then continuing with the spring break, and re-opening on April 13th, after the break. It does not appear that public school students will have any distance learning or online education. (Many of the private schools will have distance learning employed.)

Los Gatos Union School District – current statement says that “the Los Gatos Union School District schools will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. The closure will continue through the end of the regularly scheduled spring break (April 10, 2020).” Los Gatos High is on the same schedule – see the Los Gatos Saratoga Joint Union High School District page.

Campbell Union School District – (link is to COVID 19 statement) – “The County Superintendent of Schools announced today that all public schools in the county will close from March 16 – April 3. Consequently, Campbell Union School District will close schools to students until April 13. This includes our week of spring break.”

Union School District – (link is to COVID 19 statement) – “The Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools and all county district superintendents have decided to close schools for three weeks from Monday, March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020….At this time we will adhere to our current calendar for spring break, which is the week of April 6, 2020, with an anticipated return date of April 13, 2020.”

Loma Prieta Joint Union School District – (link is to COVID 19 statement) Same schedule as above, 3 week closure of the school per the county, followed by normal spring break before classes are anticipated to resume.

St. Mary’s (Catholic school) – The Catholic Diocese of San Jose is closing all schools from March 13 through Friday March 27. The schools throughout the diocese, including St. Mary’s in Los Gatos, will be implementing “distance learning” beginning Monday March 16. (The school’s website says nothing, but I did know to check the DSJ site.)

Hillbrook School  (private) – Hillbrook will be implementing a distance learning program also (per popup on the website) “Hillbrook School campus will close and in-person classes will be suspended starting Monday, March 16. Our distance learning program will begin Tuesday, March 17 and continue through Friday, April 3. We plan to reopen campus and resume on-campus learning on Monday, April 13.”

Stratford School in Los Gatos – I don’t see anything on either this site or the site for all of Stratford’s schools on this topic.

Los Gatos Christian School – I don’t see anything on the school’s website regarding cancellation of classes (or distance learning). However, it’s attached to Venture Christian Church, and on that site it did mention the school being closed. “LGCS will not hold classes on campus during this time. Visit lgcs.org for pertinent details and specific information related to the school.” (But the website says nothing as of this writing.)

JCC or Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos – (link to COVID-19 statement) “The JCC has shut down for two weeks, starting March 13, in an effort to protect against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). At the end of March we will evaluate the situation and determine whether to re-open at that time. ”

I know that there are other educational institutions, from pre-school to high school, not listed here. Please check your particular institution or district, especially if you did not get correspondence from your own school on this matter.

 

Gas transmission lines in Los Gatos

Where are the gas transmission lines in Los Gatos? Ever since the San Bruno fire, caused by a faulty PG & E gas transmission pipe line, the location of those pipes has been a concern.  The power company now provides a map with that information for the major gas transmission lines. The map actually outlines info for all of Silicon Valley – and the state of California as a whole!

In Los Gatos, those lines are along Winchester Boulevard, Blossom Hill Road, University Avenue, and Roberts Road (on both sides of 17).

Gas transmission lines in Los Gatos

Gas transmission lines in Los Gatos