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July 10, 2007

In the Los Gatos area, some homes are identified with a 3-digit address, some with a 4-digit one, and others with a 5-digit house or building number.

Does it mean anything?

Most of the time, yes.  At least initially, this is how the breakdown worked:

3 Digit Addresses: Los Gatos (in the town, not just the area or address)
4 Digit Addresses: Not Los Gatos but Campbell or San Jose (with very, very few exceptions)
5 Digit Addresses: Unincorporated area, belonging to the county, county jurisdiction

Does this all really matter very much? For buyers, it does. If you buy an area “in town” that is actually unincorporated, there may be plusses and minuses that effect you. For instance, in the county areas you may have more leeway with remodeling than in the town – but so does your neighbor, so you could end up with something you didn’t think was possible near your home because the restrictions are different between the county and the town. Also in county areas, the Los Gatos Police doesn’t patrol the areas, but rather the Sheriff does. Your response time may not be as fast in a county pocket as it might be in an incorporated area. A plus to the county areas for many is the lack of street lights, the more rural feel. Also in the county areas, you won’t be able to vote in town elections, but only county ones. It’s important to understand what you are getting and what you are giving up. But don’t assume that if the house has 5 digits it’s in the county area. Check it out.

On a more mundane level, the house numbers are helpful to understand when you’re trying to find a residence. There are a few streets in town which can be particularly trying for the uninitiated, one of them being Blossom Valley Drive (by Alta Vista School). The hapless visitor may start in an area with 3 digit houses, go through a patch with 4 digits, and then pop back to 3 digit addresses again.

What happened?

Boundaries. The border of Los Gatos and San Jose zigs in and out through Blossom Valley Drive. Pity the poor soul who sees homes with four numbers while searching for one with only three. This happens in other areas, too, where it goes from incorporated to unincorporated areas, for instance.

Along these lines, there are properties with a Los Gatos mailing address that are really either San Jose or Campbell homes. The maps show them as San Jose or Campbell, so attempting to get a delivery to a home with a confusing address can be problematic.

So when identifying a property address in Los Gatos, always get (or give) the cross street!

It helps to understand the little things.