Los Gatos housing plan update

Housing plan update - the town of Los Gatos has a Seven-Day Public Review of the Draft Revised 6th Cycle Housing Element - person inspecting documentsThe Los Gatos Planning Department sent out the information below housing plan update below. I requested and received permission to repost it here. This is relevant to everyone in town who has any concerns about the California building laws and their impact on new developments, particularly as they relate to the Builder’s Remedy. For our neighborhood, it appears to be connected to the proposed 30 new homes at the Mirassou site.

Housing plan updated: public review of the Housing Element Draft info from the Planning Department

On September 22, 2023, the Town posted online the Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element with modifications in response to the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Findings/Comment Letter received by the Town on May 30, 2023.

The Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element is available to the public for a seven-day review period prior to HCD re-submittal.  The seven-day public review period runs until 5:00 p.m. on September 29, 2023.  The following items can be viewed on the Town’s Housing Element Update website at: https://www.losgatosca.gov/1735/General-Plan—Housing-Element.

  • Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element – Clean Copy
  • Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element – Track Changes Copy
  • Response Memorandum to HCD’s Findings and Comment Letter

Written comments (including name, affiliation, telephone number, and contact information) can be submitted through September 29, 2023, by 5:00 p.m., by email to HEUpdate@losgatosca.gov or by mail to:

Town of Los Gatos
Community Development Department
110 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Additionally, the Housing Element Advisory Board (HEAB) will be meeting on September 28, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. to review and discuss the Town’s Draft Revised Housing Element addressing HCD’s findings/comment letter received by the Town on May 30, 2023.  The agenda and staff report is now available on the Town’s agenda center webpage.

 

Delicious LeLe Cake Cafe

Cappuccino at LeLe Cake CafeWe are fortunate to have LeLe Cake Cafe right in our neighborhood!

LeLe Cake Cafe ambiance and offerings

I’ve been to LeLe twice now, both times enjoying some sort of coffee drink. They were delicious. The photo at the right is from last Sunday, when I had a cappuccino.

The interior is light, stylish, clean, and welcoming. Fresh flowers add a nice touch and are another reminder that this is a boutique shop and not just another chain outlet. The patio area provides a good number of shaded seats. It was uncrowded and very pleasant.

It’s impossible to miss the beautiful pastry temptations or to miss the menu offerings. At some point we’ll go for breakfast or lunch – the food looks amazing.

Service

The staff gets quite busy, but as soon as possible I’ve been greeted and my order taken. Since we wanted to sit outside, I asked if we needed to wait indoors for our coffee drinks or if they’d bring them to us. They kindly did bring our coffee drinks to us.

Location, contact info, and website for LeLe Cake Cafe

You’ll find LeLe at the Walgreen’s Shopping Center at the corner of Blossom Hill Road and Harwood Road, Los Gatos. They are in the space previously occupied by Subway. Rumor has it that they are going to expand into the adjacent suite, too, which would be wonderful. I’m happy that they are successful in this location!

14178 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

(669) 291-6986

Their website is not yet up and running, but here’s the URL – bookmark it for future use: LeLe.cake

30 New Homes at Mirassou School

It looks like there will there be 30 new homes built at the Mirassou School site, which until recently housed Mulberry School, per a recent vote at the Union School District office.

The proposed construction came as a surprise to many of us, but the momentum toward this outcome has been moving along in the Union School District, which owns the property at 220 Belgatos Rd, Los Gatos. After much hard work (unknown as it was to the public), Robson Homes has emerged as the partner.

 

Future site of the 30 new homes to be built by Robson - school field as seen on Belvue Drive, Los Gatos

 

Meeting regarding the proposed 30 new homes

Union School District hosted a special meeting to vote on the agreement between Robson Homes and the district on Friday, August 25th @ 4:30p.m. The vote did go through, and the 30 new homes will be built on the grassy lot per the image below.

How could this go through when the neighbors object?

Right now the town’s housing plan has not been blessed by the state. Builders have an advantage, and can utilize the “Builder’s Remedy” to force through projects that might otherwise not have been permitted. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only state regulation that can push this through despite local opposition. It’s a complex network of laws that appear to make it possible for builders and landowners able to build despite CCRs, zoning laws, and the objection of immediate neighbors.

That said, some of the neighbors are objecting and are gearing up for a legal fight.

What is the objection to these units being constructed?

Neighbors object on several points:

  • The majority of the neighborhood consists of homes on appx 8,000 SF lots to 12,000 SF lots, some larger (almost none smaller). These houses and duet homes will be on postage sized lots.
  • Belgatos Road already has too much traffic with the schools and Belgatos Park.
  • The intersection of Belgatos Road and Blossom Hill Road is dangerous now, as the two fatalities this year underscore. Adding probably 60 new cars coming and going to exacerbate this issue.
  • School crowding has been raised as an issue.
  • I haven’t heard, but would expect that the folks living right next to the school yard’s property line will be unhappy about the loss of privacy, increased noise and shadows, and so on.

Where will the residences be built?

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Belwood Bingo and Movie Night

Belwood Cabana Movie Night

The next “Belwood Bingo and Movie Night”  is tonight, Aug 19th, for paying cabaña members and their guests. At 6 pm the music starts, at 6:30 pm it’s bingo, and the film, Captain Marvel, starts at 8:15 pm.

What to bring to the Belwood Bingo and Movie Night

This is an outdoor event, and things get cool to cold after the sun goes down. Dress in layers and bring something comfy to sit on – blankets, sleeping bags, lawn chairs etc.

Bring your picnic supper, or if you’ve already eaten, there will be popcorn, cotton candy, and other treats are available for purchase!

For more information, keep an eye on the Belwood HOA website page for this event (and hopefully another one in July or August).

Belwood Cabana June 2016

 

The address is 100 Belwood Gateway, Los Gatos CA 95032

Belwood of Los Gatos July 4th Celebration

Belwood 4th of July PartyThe Belwood of Los Gatos community is hosting its annual Independence Day or 4th of July celebration and the details will soon be announced on the Belwood HOA website. Last year, neighborhood festivities ran from 1pm – 5pm at the cabaña.  Read all about it on the Belwood HOA site!

Annual 4th of July Party

The party is open to Belwood members and their invited guests only. This will be the second July 4th community party out of lockdown (they were annual until 2019, but were put on hold from 2020-2021), and it’s a great opportunity for newer residents, especially, to get to know their neighbors.

Please note that our warm, dry, and windy summers make the risk of fire danger very high. Fireworks are illegal in most of Santa Clara County without a permit due to the safety hazard. A sign at Belgatos Park warns that fireworks are strictly prohibited. There are some spectacular professional firework displays and festivities around the Valley that you can enjoy, including the, which is less than 10 minutes by car and 20 minutes by bike from Belwood!

Belwood Cabaña is on FacebookGot Facebook? If so, you might consider tagging photos shared of the event with the unofficial Belwood Cabaña page on Facebook. It’s another great way to keep in-touch and stay updated with the community.

3 New Homes at Harwood and Almond Blossom

Story poles are now up for 3 new homes at Harwood and Almond Blossom at the site of the former Harwood Hills Preschool and more recently, a Spanish language school.  I was told by long time neighbors that this was a tennis court club long ago, but the county records that I can access don’t go far enough back to know if that’s the case or not. What is clear, though, is that the new use will be housing.

This area is not in the Belwood of Los Gatos subdivision and not part of the areas served by the Belwood Cabana.

 

3 new homes at Harwood and Almond Blossom - orange story poles are now up

 

What do we know so far about the 3 new homes at Harwood and Almond Blossom?

 

First, the current property address is 16220 Harwood Road, Los Gatos 95032.  Initially the story poles appeared only in the back corner of the property, but as of yesterday we saw all three sets of story poles in place. The poles were the first that we knew of a project that was being proposed.

Orange story poles for 3 new homes at Harwood and Almond Blossom

 

The three sets of story poles confirm that 3 tall, detached structures are being proposed.  It appears to be 3 two story homes are in the works.
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Surmont

The Surmont subdivision is a highly desirable, scenic, low turnover area situated close to the coastal foothills with large trees, gently winding roads, and tidy homes in Los Gatos, California, 95032.

 

Westhill Drive in the Surmont subdivision in east Los Gatos

 

What are homes and lots like in Surmont?

 

Old Orchard at Westhill Drive in Surmont subdivision

There are 72 houses in Surmont. I pulled the data shared below from Realist, a program offered to members of the MLS which provides information from the Santa Clara County tax records as well as MLS data.

Typical:

  • 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
  • 2496 SF
  • 1 story
  • 2 car garage
  • built in 1965
  • 10,000 SF lot
  • ranch style (or modified ranch)
  • slight hillside grade

Most houses are single story, but a few are split level or two story houses. (Average is 1.33 floors.)

These are good sized single family homes with the average house providing about 2500 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 or 3 bathrooms. The smallest houses are a little more than 1650 SF and the three largest boast more than 4,000 SF.

This is generally an older area, with most houses first built in the early 1960s. The earliest properties were constructed in 1952 and 1955. Four houses were built after 1970, with the newest constructed in 1980. The average year built is 1965.

Most parcels enjoy between 9,000  SF and 11,000 SF of space, but a few are larger: 4 are about a half acre and 1 is 1.5 acres.

This region is gently hilly overall. A few homes on Surmont Drive, Surmont Court, and Westhill Drive have more of a slope than other parts of the neighborhood. Some of those properties have amazing views, too – though most houses in this community do not. Most of the two story houses are hillside homes.
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