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Los Gatos town sealAlmost 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;

h. On residentially zoned properties: any construction, commercial, or other equipment, machinery, or materials except that construction equipment, machinery or material which is temporarily kept within or upon the property for and during the time such equipment, machinery or material is required for the construction or installation of improvements or facilities on that property. However, in no event shall the construction equipment, machinery or materials be in the front or side yard areas visible from a public street for any period of time in excess of twelve (12) consecutive months or twelve (12) nonconsecutive months in any eighteen-month period.

i. Any of the following when located in the front or side yard and visible from public right-of-way: refrigerator, washing machine, sink, stove, heater, boiler, tank or any other household appliances, equipment, machinery, furniture (other than furniture designed and used for outdoor activities), firewood, lumber, salvage materials, building materials, unmounted campers, unmounted camper tops, unmounted camper shells, vessels not on trailers, boats, trailers, or any part of any of the listed items for a period of time in excess of seventy-two (72) consecutive hours, except as specifically provided herein;

j. Any of the following when located in the front or side yard and visible from public right-of-way: boxes, cargo containers, storage containers, containers, or dumpsters, in excess of seventy-two (72) consecutive hours, or for more than two (2) occasions in a calendar year, except as otherwise permitted by this Code, or when engaged in ongoing construction activity, pursuant to an active building permit;

k. Any storage unit or shed in the front yard or in the side yard and visible from a public right-of-way;

l. On residentially zoned property, any business or activity which dismantles, disassembles, builds, remodels, assembles, crushes, repairs, paints, washes, cleans or services motor vehicles, aircraft, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats or trailers owned by a person other than the property owner;

m. Any tent, temporary shelter, car canopy, or collapsible structure in the front or side yard and visible from a public right-of-way for a period in excess of seventy-two (72) hours or for more than two (2) occasions in a calendar year;

n. Any use of a parking lot, driveway, carport, or parking structure for other than vehicular parking, ingress and egress, except as expressly authorized by permit;

o. Any fence, or other structure installed on or upon any public property, including structures within the public right-of-way, except as authorized by permit;

p. The use of outdoor barbecues or other methods of cooking food outdoors to be sold is prohibited, except as expressly authorized by a festival permit or a permit issued pursuant to Town of Los Gatos Municipal Code;

q. The parking or storage of vehicles on landscaped surfaces or unpaved surfaces;

r. The parking or storage of inoperable vehicles on residentially-zoned properties when visible from a public sidewalk, street, or thoroughfare;

s. Any construction, demolition or remodeling activity to the exterior of a structure which is not completed within eighteen (18) months of commencement.


(Ord. No. 2191, B’ 1, 6-7-10)