Who maintains the sidewalks in Los Gatos – the home owner, or the town?

Good sidewalks and curbsSidewalks, 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!

Draining a pool or spa? The water should not go to the gutter!

June 04, 2013

What to do with water drained from a pool, spa or fountain?Yesterday afternoon, my family and I walked our elderly dog through our east Los Gatos neighborhood. We saw an inordinate amount of water coming down the gutter on one street (and it was the middle of the day, so we didn’t think it was watering a lawn). Eventually we arrived at a house where a large amount of water was emerging from a property’s drainage system and into the gutter. It looked like several hoses’ worth was coming through at once.

Turns out that this homeowner was draining his pool, and he didn’t know what to do with the water. So he directed it to the storm drain via the gutter.

Do you know what to do with pool or spa water when it needs to be drained? I don’t think most of us do.

The Town of Los Gatos has a stormwater page on its site. Here there’s a two paragraph explanation that the stormwater drainage system (what goes into the gutters) is not the same thing as the sanitary sewer system. Pool and spa water should be directed not to the gutters, but to the sewer system via either the cleanout or washer outlet. When spa or pool water is sent to the gutters, it goes to our creeks and to the bay, where it’s pollution and harmful for the environment and the ecosystem of our water.

On another page of the town’s website for FAQs on stormwater pollution management, there’s a bit more info on draining pools & spas:


What should be done with drained pool and spa water?


The chemicals used in pools, spas, hot tubs and fountains can be toxic to aquatic life in local streams and the San Francisco Bay Area.

When cleaning out your pool, spa, hot tub, or fountain, discharge the water into a sewer line after obtaining permission from the local sewage treatment plant.


There had been a brochure available for more info on what to do via a link on the first page I mentioned above, but it is broken, unfortunately. I’ll contact someone at the town and if possible, will provide a working link as an update to this post when it is available.


Proactively Look for Construction or Remodeling Defects

June 27, 2009

Although a lot of my work is in Los Gatos, Cambrian Park, Saratoga, and Almaden Valley, I do have buyer and seller clients all over San Jose and Silicon Valley. One of my buyers is interested in neighborhoods close to downtown San Jose such as Japantown, the Vendome area, and Naglee Park.

This week we saw a classic, historic Spanish style home that offered a lot of “old San Jose” charm.  It was partially updated and remodeled but there were a few red flags and odd things about the home.

One of the oddities involved the roof, downspouts and gutters.  Here’s a view of the back end of that home.  Please note the downspout in the center of the photo (it meanders around the window with a large catch-basin at the top). 

Back side of Spanish style home in downtown San Jose, CA

Do you see anything amiss?  If not, have a look again with my annotated version:

Spanish style home in San Jose, CA - downspouts exist, but gutters do not

The home was re-roofed a number of years ago, with permits and finals – but without gutters.

Do gutters and downspouts matter all that much? You bet they do. For more information on that topic, please read “Cracked Foundations, Adobe Clay Soils and Water in Silicon Valley” on my ValleyOfHeartsDelight.com blog.

Don't Let Things Grow On Your Roof!

February 18, 2009

Los Gatos Roof with grass and weeds growing on itWinter is a great time for dirt, leaves, and other debris to pile up in your rain gutters. Leave it long enough and there will be buildup.  Leave it a really long time and those bits of dust, plantlife and other things will mush together and decompose, eventually becoming plant-worthy soil.  Add a few seeds and some rain, and before you know it, green sprouts are popping up on your roof.

Today I passed a home in Los Gatos in which this seems to have happened.  Grass and weeds were sprouting out of the rain gutters and had crept onto the roof quite a few inches.

Why is this a problem? Because the more you grow things on the roof, the more moisture you have getting trapped up there and the faster the roof decomposes.  You don’t want things like fungus and dry rot to munch away at your home, but having plants grow on your roof is going to lead to exactly that.

Keep your gutters clean so problems like this do not have a chance to start.  It is infinely easier to prevent this than to cure it.

(Not a great photo – taken with my treo’s camera and enlarged to show the roof but trying to keep the house itself anonymous.)