Los Gatos Government
This summer, the town of Los Gatos will begin a one-way pilot program along N Santa Cruz Avenue, in the south bound direction, between Bachman Avenue and Elm Street. The trial will run from July through October and will also include the addition of a southbound bike lane, angled parking on the east side of the street, and 7 parklets. Parklets are spaces carved out of the roadway for people to gather and dine, along the lines of a sidewalk cafe. To learn more about what’s coming, please see all the details on the town’s website:
Experience Los Gatos – Town of Los Gatos summary of changes coming this July – October
When I first heard about this program, I wondered if it was intended to address the problem with beach traffic. The FAQ page, though, states that “This project provides an opportunity to envision a future downtown with wider sidewalks (demonstrated by parklets) which leads to areas for sidewalk dining and casual gathering. Combined with other placemaking efforts, the goal is to provide for a vibrant downtown.” The downtown businesses do suffer each summer when traffic makes the area difficult to access, so perhaps this will be helpful to bring more cyclists and pedestrians into the beautiful downtown area (and perhaps the foot traffic will discourage cut-through motorists?).
The state of California has water heater bracing requirements for both gas and electric water heaters, but so do individual cities and towns. Some of those municipalities have rules that go beyond what is required by the state. (Permits and finals are required everywhere, by the way.)
Recently I found the requirements for the town of Los Gatos, and a couple of them surprised me, so I’m sharing the link here in case I’m not the only one caught a little off guard by it:
TOWN OF LOS GATOS WATER HEATER BRACING REQUIREMENTS (link to the town’s page)
San Jose’s requirements can be found here (for comparison and because they are pretty thorough by comparison to ours):
City of San Jose requirements for water heater installation (strapping, bracing, anchoring, blocking, etc.)
One concept that seems to differ between Los Gatos and San Jose has to do with the pressure release valve.
Los Gatos requirements for the pressure release valve state:
“Pressure relieve valve shall terminate to the exterior, 6 in. to 24 in. above grade with a nothread fitting pointing downward. Minimum ¼ in. per foot downward slope shall be maintained at pressure relief drain line.”
San Jose requirements for the pressure release valve:
There is a full page, and 12 numbered requirements, for the temperature & pressure relief value (T & P). Item 6 conveys that if the water heater is in a garage, the T & P does not have to drain to the exterior: “When a water heater is located in a garage, the T&P drainpipe may terminate in the garage. The piping must extend from the valve to within 12 inches but not less than 6
inches above the floor and point downward.”
Los Gatos has no such exemption for water heaters located in the garage!
BOTTOM LINE: if you are replacing your Los Gatos water heater, you might want to double check the town’s requirements to be sure that yours will be in line with the requirements of the town. There are a lot of odd water heater strapping cases around Santa Clara County, don’t let your home be one of them!
The 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:
Other helpful info:
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
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.
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.
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:
Almost 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
Sidewalks, 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:
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!
Tomorrow 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:
- Marico Sayoc http://marico4lg.com/
- Jim Russell http://www.losgatos4russell.com/
- Rob Rennie http://www.robrennie4lgcouncil.com/about.html
- Steve Leonardis http://www.steveleonardis.com
- Sue Farwell http://farwell2014.com/
Information on voting can be found on the town’s website:
See you at the polls!
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:
Find location, hours and other info on the town’s site:
The 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: