A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Los Gatos

Plein Art Show in Los Gatos

PaintingThe Plein Art Show in Los Gatos returns this weekend!

  • Preview and sale at 100 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos on Sat., June 22nd from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • The show itself is Sunday, June 23rd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Los Gatos Town Plaza. These will be works of art created here in recent days. Beer & wine will be available for purchase.

 

What is Plein Air?  Plein Air is a French phrase which refers to the way of painting in the open air, which was especially popular in the 19th century with many impressionists.  There will be dozens of artists coming to town and over 100 pieces of art on display (and to purchase). Also found at the event will be wine tasting, music, and mini art sessions for kids.

Thanks to the Los Gatos morning Rotary for sponsoring this great event yet again. Learn more on the Los Gatos Plein Air website:
http://www.lgpleinair.org/

Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Los Gatos real estate market graphicThe Los Gatos real estate market for single family homes is a sellers market as a whole, but this varies depending on many factors. A particular home’s market will be impacted by things such as the pricing tier (the luxury market is a colder market, while homes under $2 million are generally a hot commodity), the school district, condition of the property, whether it is remote or convenient (in some cases), etc.

First, here’s a glance at the Altos Research profiles by the Los Gatos zip codes: 95030 and 95032 are “in town” and 95033 is in the Los Gatos Mountains. The last profile refers to the averages of all 3 zip codes. These are updated automatically every week – so check back often, it will always be current! Also, I’ve provided links to each of the 3 zip codes reports. Within those weekly reports are great data points, my favorite being the info of what size home and number of beds and baths you’re likely to find per price quartile. Check it out!

Altos Research Profiles of Los Gatos single family homes by zip code

A link is provided to the full weekly report for each zip code. It will bring you to the page for single family homes (houses and duet, or single family attached, homes), but from there  you can click on a tab and view the same type of data for condominiums and townhouses if any data exists for them.

Close to downtown – 95030 (read the full weekly report for Los Gatos 95030, which is automatically updated, here):

be6f880 - Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Primarily East, West, and North Los Gatos (view the Altos Research report for Los Gatos 95032 HERE):

4ecf6c4 - Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

The Los Gatos Mountains / Santa Cruz Mountains – 95033 (see the full 95033 weekly report here, no condo or TH in these areas):

95d9db3 - Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

All 3 Zip Codes combined

941bfce - Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

 

Los Gatos real estate statistics and trends from the RE Report

The real estate numbers below reflect realty data gathered the first week of the month for the past month in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, or MLS “area 16”. See the full REReport here.

Los Gatos Trends at a Glance for 95030 & 95032

The market has been leveling off in Los Gatos, with median prices close to where they were a year ago but a little off from April’s closed sales. The average sale price is up 3.1% from last year, but down 1.5% from last month. Other data points are also mixed. Overall, the market is cooler than a year ago, but in most of the areas we track, warmer than the month before.

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance May 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,460,000 (-2.2%) $2,515,000 $2,475,000 (-0.6%)
Average Price $2,788,930 (-1.5%) $2,830,520 $2,705,630 (+3.1%)
No. of Sales 37 (+76.2%) 21 30 (+23.3%)
Pending 43 (+16.2%) 37 46 (-6.5%)
Active 78 (+6.8%) 73 74 (+5.4%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.0% (+1.3%) 99.8% 103.6% (-2.4%)
Days on Market 22 (-38.4%) 36 25 (-11.8%)
Days of Inventory 63 (-37.3%) 101 74 (-14.5%)

Continue reading

Los Gatos Free Music Concert Series: Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz and Vasona Vibrations Schedule of Events and Performers

Summer 2019 is just around the corner and we’re all revved up and ready for those free concerts around Los Gatos. Most artists and schedules have been announced and, knowing that you are as excited about these as I am, I have compiled a calendar of free outdoor music events for us all! Below please find a compilation of the FOUR different Los Gatos free musical concert series (and don’t forget Independence Day festivities)! As always, the information below should be reliable but as with any concert or outdoors event it is subject to change, so double check the website prior to going and always read the rules (especially if you plan to picnic). Hope to see you there!

Los Gatos Free Music Concert Series List of EventsVasona - Los Gatos Free Music Concert Series: Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz and Vasona Vibrations Schedule of Events and Performers

Music - Los Gatos Free Music Concert Series: Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz and Vasona Vibrations Schedule of Events and Performers(1) Vasona Vibrations  5-7pm every Saturday of June & July (pl;us a bonus Open Mic on Aug 3) at Vasona Lake County Park, schedule of performers has recently been announced here at the event’s website. Performances are held on the lawn near the Ranger Office, just down the hill from the pedestrian entrance at University Ave and Pepper Tree Lane. Consider bringing food and cash donations to Second Harvest Food Bank, which are accepted at every concert. Please note that a $6 fee is charged for parking within the County Parks.

(2) Music in the Park   5-7pm Sundays from July 7th – August 4th, usually with a dance party finale at the Los Gatos Civic Center campus lawn.  Get more information (rules, dates, location, schedule and lineup) when available at the website, closer to June.000 Jazz - Los Gatos Free Music Concert Series: Music in the Park, Jazz on the Plazz and Vasona Vibrations Schedule of Events and Performers

(3)  Jazz on the Plazz 6:30-8:30pm Wednesdays, June 19 – August 21 at the Los Gatos Town Plaza (where the farmers market is held) on West Main St and Santa Cruz Ave by the post office. More information and a schedule is available on the website. Please note that while the other music venues are 100% free, with Jazz on the Plazz, the “best” seats come with a price tag.

(4) Fiesta de Artes open 10am-6pm August 10th – 11th, at the Civic Center Lawn in Downtown Los Gatos. The Fiesta is the only art and wine festival in Los Gatos and offers musical performances both days from start to finish. Find the schedule here.

Don’t forget to include the Fourth of July in your plans – it is always spectacular, and is one of the more child-
friendly concerts! The events are held at Oak Meadow Park, and Los Gatos residents park for free. Event page is showing information from 2017, this is normally updated as we approach July. Last year, a new event was held the weekend prior, the Red, White, & Blue Block Party on sjws 4thSaturday, July 1st, 2017. Santa Cruz Avenue in Downtown was closed for festivities including, music, family games, a bike parade, and dunk tank. No updated information has been given yet, but we hope the party will be back in 2018!

Now for the full schedule of performances. Once again, please double check all rules, directions, and schedule information with the information on the festival website so you can enjoy the music to the fullest. A complete list of performers is not yet available, the chart will be filled in as details become available.

Series Date Day Time Performer & Link
Vasona Vibrations 1-Jun Sat 5:00-7:00pm Top Shelf Big Band
Vasona Vibrations 8-Jun Sat 5:00-7:00pm Blue House
Vasona Vibrations 15-Jun Sat 5:00-7:00pm The Jones Gang
Jazz on the Plazz 19-Jun Wed 6:30-8:30pm Jane Monheit
Vasona Vibrations 22-Jun Sat 5:00-7:00pm Andre Thierry
Jazz on the Plazz 26-Jun Wed 6:30-8:30pm Tiffany Austin
Vasona Vibrations 29-Jun Sat 5:00-7:00pm Windy Hill
Vasona Vibrations 30-Jun Sat 5:00-7:00pm Andre Thierry
Jazz on the Plazz 3-Jul Wed 6:30-8:30pm Curtis Stigers with Full Spectrum Jazz
4th of July Celebration 4-Jul Thurs 1:00pm Symphony in the Park – San Jose Wind Symphony
4th of July Celebration 4-Jul Thurs 11:00am The Hipwaders (for kids) on 2nd stage
Vasona Vibrations 6-Jul Sat 5:00-7:00pm Blue Summit
Music in the Park 7-Jul Sun 5:00-7:00pm The Sun Kings (Beatles tribute)
Jazz on the Plazz 10-Jul Wed 6:30-8:30pm Paula West (Facebook Link)
Vasona Vibrations 13-Jul Sat 5:00-7:00pm Jessica Johnson
Music in the Park 14-Jul Sun 5:00-7:00pm Sweet HayaH
Jazz on the Plazz 17-Jul Wed 6:30-8:30pm John Proulx
Vasona Vibrations 20-Jul Sat 5:00-7:00pm Isis and The Cold Truth
Music in the Park 21-Jul Sun 5:00-7:00pm Ryan Scripps
Jazz on the Plazz 24-Jul Wed 6:30-8:30pm To Be Announced
Vasona Vibrations 27-Jul Sat 5:00-7:00pm Bean Creek
Music in the Park 28-Jul Sun 5:00-7:00pm Stealin’ Chicago
Jazz on the Plazz 31-Jul Wed 6:30-8:30pm Jamie Davis
Vasona Vibrations 3-Aug Sat 4:00-7:00pm Vasona Vibrations Acoustic Open Mike
Music in the Park 4-Aug Sun 5:00-7:00pm Caravansarai (Santana Tribute)
Jazz on the Plazz 7-Aug Wed 6:30-8:30pm Monterey Jazz Festival County High School All Stars
Fiesta de Artes 10-Aug Sat See website TBD – see Fiesta de Artes page
Fiesta de Artes 11-Aug Sun See website TBD – see Fiesta de Artes page
Jazz on the Plazz 14-Aug Wed 6:30-8:30pm Roberta Gambarini
Jazz on the Plazz 21-Aug Wed 6:30-8:30pm The Funky Godfather
That is quite the roundup! Los Gatos is a fantastic place in which to live and recreate, but no time more than in the summer. Enjoy!

Tree pruning, tree removal in Los Gatos

A canopy of trees

A canopy of trees

Most Los Gatans know that you cannot just remove any tree you like in town – some older and larger trees are protected, and some are deemed so important as to be known as heritage trees.

Did you know that the protections extend to pruning certain trees, and not just removing them?

Not all trees are protected, and not all pruning is prohibited.

  • At what point is it required to get permits to prune or remove a tree in Los Gatos?
  • How old and how large do they have to be to need a permit for pruning (let alone removing) them?

I was surprised at the answers, so thought I’d share some of the highlights of them here. If you’d like to just jump to the town’s document, here it  is: Town of Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Tree Removal and Pruning Permit

The town’s info all uses the diameter of the tree’s trunk at 4.5′ above grade, but I think it’s easier to measure the circumference. Jim, my better half and a guy who thinks math problems are recreation, reminded me that you can learn the circumference of a circle simply by multiplying the diameter by pi, or 3.12 (appx!).

The town has three categories, protected, large protected, and heritage.

What is a protected tree in Los Gatos?

Protected trees are classified as such by meeting any of a variety of criteria: diameter of trunk at 4.5′ above natural grade, type of tree, or some combination of the two of them together with the type of location in town.

In addition to the criteria, there are a few exceptions, such as fruit or nut trees up to 18″ in diameter, or a short list of others up to 24″ in diameter, including most palm trees.

A protected tree may be as small as 4″ diameter (appx 9″ circumference)  on vacant or non-residential property.

For residential lots which are developed (a home exists on the property), all trees which have a 12″ or greater diameter (less exceptions). For the developed hillside areas (see the map for the designated Town of Los Gatos residential hillside areas), it’s just an 8″ diameter (about 24-25″).

There are additional criteria, and specific trees named in the town’s document, including some oaks, buckeye, and madrone. And, as you’d expect, if there’s a development review or related requirement from the town, there are other requirements, too.

Protected trees need permits to be removed OR to be pruned by more than 25% over 3 years

What is a large protected tree?

A large protected tree has a diameter of 48 inches or more, or could also be an Oak, California Buckeye, or Pacific Madrone with a diameter of 24 inches or more.

What is a heritage tree?

A heritage tree is “specifically designated by action of the Town Council which possesses exceptional aesthetic, biological, cultural, or historic value to the community”(quote from the link above).

Permits are needed to remove or cut any branch or root greater than 4 inches in diameter of any Large Protected Tree or Heritage Tree

These are just the highlights – if you are thinking of doing major pruning or removal of a tree in Los Gatos, please read this document thoroughly, and if in down, check with the town:
Town of Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Tree Removal and Pruning Permit

 

Related reading:

TOWN CODE Chapter 29 – ZONING REGULATIONS ARTICLE I. – IN GENERAL  DIVISION 2. TREE PROTECTION

Los Gatos: private trees

Los Gatos: street trees

Trees, Branches, and Property Lines in Silicon Valley (older post on my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog)

 

Los Gatos welcomes new residents

Recently while looking for something on the town’s website, I stumbled upon something new to me – a way in which the town of Los Gatos welcomes new residents. This comes from the FAQ page. Similar info can be found on resident services / welcoming new residents page.

Residents receive packets of useful community information, including letters from the Town Manager and Chief of Police, an overview of Town services, emergency preparedness and home safety information and gift certificates from local businesses. Children receive Town pins, stickers, and police badges.

Read all of the info on the link provided above, or contact the Personnel and Community Services Divison at (408) 354-6842.

ALSO, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga offers a Newcomers Club. You can check out the membership and activities at http://www.NewComersOfLosGatos.com/

Los Gatos Cat Word Cloud - designed by Mary Pope-Handy

Average & median sale prices in Los Gatos

My RE Report stats come out between the 5th and the 10th of each month, but I like to get a sneak peak, so crunch my own numbers some of the time. Today I wanted a window into Los Gatos real estate pricing. First, here are the average and median sale prices for the Los Gatos market in the two “in town” zip codes of 95030 and 95032 (for single family homes):

2019-5-2 Los Gatos 95030, 95032 average and median sale prices

Next, the Los Gatos Mountains (MLS area 23, zip code 95033):

2019-5-2 Los Gatos 95033 average and median sale prices

Additional market info to follow in just a few days!

Los Gatos Spring Wine Walk

Los Gatos spring wine walk May 4 2019The Los Gatos Spring Wine Walk will take place on Saturday, May 4 2019 from 1:00 to 5:00pm. Stroll through downtown Los Gatos and enjoy wine tasting, free music, shopping, and the ambiance of our Gem City. Sponsored by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, this popular event is $45 in advance (available to the first 300 ticket purchases) and $50 general admission online, plus processing fee. If there are tickets remaining they will go up for sale on the day of the event for $55 at the door IF it’s not sold out, so get your tickets today!

For more details and info on how to register, please see the Los Gatos Chamber’s website. Cheers!

Water heater bracing requirements in Los Gatos

Water Heater straps too close to the controls

The lower strap is required to be at least 4 inches away from the controls. This is an example of one that is improperly done as the controls are closer than 4″.

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!

Willow Street Pizza in downtown Los Gatos

 Willow Street Pizza in downtown Los Gatos One of my favorite go-to eateries for lunch or dinner in Los Gatos is Willow Street Pizza. This casual, kid-friendly restaurant offers both indoor and patio dining, has a nicely varied menu, delicious food, good service, and decent prices for the heart of Los Gatos. It also enjoys an ideal location directly across the street from the Town Plaza Park.

Indoors

The dining area is large and provides large windows, comfortable booths as well as tables and chairs. Kids may find the TV a helpful distraction, and there is a children’s menu (though I’m not seeing it online). The room has good acoustics, so most of the time, even if the restaurant is full, the sound level is not bad. Restrooms are shared with other tenants at Lyndon Plaza, and you must go outside to access them (small warning: they can be cold in winter).

Outdoor seating

Patio dining is fun even if nothing else is going on. Should the weather get a little nippy, there are heat lamps.

In summer, many sponsors host Jazz on the Plazz on Wednesday evenings in the Town Plaza Park across the street. Smart diners arrive early enough to snag an outside table and enjoy their meal with live music.

On Sundays a year round farmer’s market takes places on the interior streets that line the park, Montebello Road and Broadway. It’s a great time to people watch, and the vantage from the patio dining area is hard to beat.

Willow Street Pizza menu

At Willow Street, pizza is king and there are many different types of pizza available. The menu is much broader, though, with some more typical dinner entrees (salmon and chicken), salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches, appetizers, and desserts. There’s also a coffee and tea service, soft drinks, craft beers, and a full bar.

While it’s most famous for its pizza, which is delicious, my favorite food there tends to be the salads, especially the warm Brussels Sprouts salad and some of the seasonal salads (in summer I’ve sometimes had steak salad with peaches or other fruits). They do mix it up a bit throughout the year.

I should mention that they also do take out, but I cannot comment on that as I haven’t tried it.

You can browse the Willow Street Pizza menu online here.

Where is Willow Street Pizza in Los Gatos?

Willow Street Pizza can be found in Lyndon Plaza, once the site of the Lyndon Hotel. It’s at the southeast corner of West Main Street and South Santa Cruz Avenue, directly across from the Town Park Plaza.  The address is 20 South Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos.

Parking is sometimes challenging in downtown Los Gatos, but there is valet parking on site and a public parking lot just across the street on West Main (behind Mountain Charlie’s). Additionally, there’s the Montebello parking lot which can be accessed from Montebello Road at Broadway (look for a driveway next to the post office).

Willow Street Pizza website (for this location and the original in Willow Glen, San Jose)

Comparing the Los Gatos real estate market to others

Market comparison_ Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los AltosSilicon Valley real estate market comparison: Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog, SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com

Today we’re looking at the real estate market for houses in some of the “west valley” communities along the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains – areas where schools are good, crime is low, residents enjoy scenic views of the hills (or of the valley from the hills, depending on the location) and overall, a highly educated population not too far from Highway 85.

Please hop on over to my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog to check out how the Los Gatos market is doing as compared to Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.

https://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/market-comparison-los-gatos-saratoga-cupertino-and-los-altos/

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Mary Pope-Handy

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Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
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Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
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and nearby areas,
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and the San Jose areas of
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