Home fire hardening

With the increase of fires in recent years, California has a new fire disclosure law on the books, AB 39 (2019). In response, the California Association of Realtors has come out with a new home fire hardening form. This is a new advisory and disclosure document combined, “C.A.R. Form FHDS, 5/21 Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Advisory, Disclosure, and Addendum”. It’s intended to help sellers and buyers be more aware of what can be done to make a home more resistant to fire.

Selling a home in a high fire risk zone? Expect these home fire hardening questions

In one section of the document, home sellers are asked if they have made the following alterations:

  1. Eave, soffit, and roof ventilation where the vents have openings in excess of one-eighth of an inch or are not flame and ember resistant.
  2. Roof coverings made of untreated wood shingles or shakes.
  3. Combustible landscaping or other materials within five feet of the home and under the footprint of any attached deck. (Wood chips and mulch may not be a good idea!)
  4. Single pane or non-tempered glass windows.
  5. Loose or missing bird stopping or roof flashing.
  6. Rain gutters without metal or noncombustible gutter covers.

All of us who are near Belgatos Park and nearby open spaces can benefit from improving our home’s safety should a fire breakout nearby. We recently measured our vent screens and found them to be 1/4 inch, so will be improving that. It’s a good list.

There’s a longer article on my main blog. Check it out for more information:
NEW California Disclosure – Home Fire Hardening Disclosure and Advisory

Below there’s also a document from the CA Assn of Realtors on the law. This is a good article with helpful information – I highly recommend it.

 

Related reading:

Los Gatos Fire Risk (Live in Los Gatos blog)

A History of Los Gatos Fires and the Los Gatos Fire Department (Live in Los Gatos blog)

CA Association of Realtors: Home Fire Hardening Disclosure Law, Feb 2021 (the form was updated in May 2021)

Neighborhood crime

Recently we have seen an uptick in neighborhood crime both in our immediate Belwood, Belatos, Surmont, and adjacent areas here in east Los Gatos as well as the neighboring communities of Cambrian, Almaden, and Saratoga.  Specifically, a gang of 4 intruders has been hitting homes perceived to be unoccupied, often entering through back sliding doors, rummaging quickly for jewelry and cash, and getting away in under 10 minutes.

Where are the burglaries happening?

Most of Santa Clara County is using the City Protect crime map, but the Town of Los Gatos recently launched our crime info on a different platform, LGPD.CrimeGraphics.com.  It would be wise to check both sites since our community is so close to Cambrian and Almaden (as well as county pockets).

 

2021 LG MS neighborhood crime map e1614360376767 - Neighborhood crime

 

The neighborhood crime info isn’t as thorough I would like. In recent weeks we had some attempted break ins by that gang of four near my house in which they got into backyards but didn’t get into the homes.  They moved swiftly and the police did, too – but were gone before they could be apprehended. Those attempted burglaries are not to be found on crime info website.

My recommendation is that you log onto Nextdoor at least once in awhile and check the crime activity in our part of Los Gatos in addition to checking the 2 websites linked above. Or if you have a Ring doorbell, the online Ring community also has good sharing of information. (I wonder if Nest similarly has online sharing?) If you have neighbors who aren’t on Nextdoor, fill them in if you read about an episode so that they can make their home safer and have more surveillance.

Many of the would be and successful burglaries appear to happen when it looks like no one is home. The thieves go into backyards and then often smash a sliding glass door to gain entry. It’s loud, and alarms may go off, but they leave fast and so far haven’t been caught.

If you have security cameras, you can register them with the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Department.

Belgatos playground closed

Today my family and I enjoyed a walk in the neighborhood with the dry, warmer weather. Lots of neighbors were out biking, hiking, and walking dogs, and we wondered if the Belgatos Park playground would be in use, or off limits due to the coronavirus restrictions. Not surprisingly, it was cordoned off.

 

2020 03 19 Belgatos Park playground closed Covid 19 700x525 - Belgatos playground closed

 

In addition to the police tape, there’s a sign to keep people from being in too-close proximity on the equipment.

 

2020 03 19 Belgatos Park sign that playground is closed coronavirus Shelter In Place 700x508 - Belgatos playground closed

 

Be safe out there!

Should you go solar? Ask your Belwood neighbors!

In case you didn’t see the Belwood of Los Gatos “Bellringer” article, I have asked three neighbors with solar installations to tell us about their experiences. This won’t be a sales pitch – just neighbors telling other neighbors about their experiences.

The panelists are Zeny Seid, Roger Kent, and Evan Culp, all on Bacigalupi Drive.

They will sit at the front of the room and field questions from anyone who wants to come.

I have invited a couple of solar firms to be available for those who would like to talk to them, but the panelists are all just Belwood residents like you and me.

Please do come. I am sure you have questions (like I do) about whether or not solar’s a good idea. This should be a chance to learn a lot from people who have been through all those questions.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Belwood Resident April Maiten’s Mosaics on Display at Silicon Valley Open Studios

flamingo statue - Belwood Resident April Maiten's Mosaics on Display at Silicon Valley Open Studios

Flamingo mosaic created by Belwood of Los Gatos resident April Maiten

Belwood resident, teacher and artist April Maiten creates beautiful and award winning mosaics.  Her artwork will be on display during the Silicon Valley Open Studios weekend, May 12 and 13, 2012, from 11am to 5pm at 136 Belvue Drive, Los Gatos. April invites the neighborhood to stop by:

“If you’d like to preview my artwork, please check out my website: aprilarts.com.   I will be hosting five other artists with a variety of art forms, including jewelry, fine drawing, watercolors, and acrylics. Find Mother’s Day, graduation, and special commemorative gifts and cards while enjoying the artwork and visiting with neighbors.”

 

Traffic Calming Vote

IMG 20110511 00178 300x225 - Traffic Calming VoteTraffic calming issues on Belwood Gateway which impact neighbors on nearby streets have been the recent conversation in this part of Los Gatos. As a followup to a recent traffic calming meeting meeting, residents on Belwood Gateway, Bacigalupi Drive and others were recently asked to vote on a proposal to block traffic from going through from Belwood Gateway to Almond Blossom. Homeowners on Bacigalupi Drive and Harwood Road are concerned that this would cause a tremendous increase in traffic and speeding, so are trying to prevent it.

We are awaiting the results of the vote. (Interestingly, it was “one vote per household” but certainly in some homes not all of the residents agreed on how to vote….)

This has been an eye-opening experience as many of us did not know, until recently, what the procedure was for getting the town’s attention regarding areas with too much speeding.