Belgatos

The Belgatos subdivision consists of 81 semi custom homes on tree lined streets close to Belgatos Park in east Los Gatos. It is a scenic area with the coastal foothills and a tremendous amount of open space close at hand.

The Belgatos subdivision, street view - Westhill at Belblossom

 

Where is Belgatos?

Heritage Grove Surmont Belgatos Belwood of Los Gatos mapped subdivisions

This area consists of just a few streets:

  • part of Westhill Drive (spans the three adjacent subdivisions)
  • part of Belvue Drive
  • part of Belblossom Way
  • the west side of Belgatos Road
  • some on Blossom Hill Road

This area is close to, but not part of, Belwood of Los Gatos. For home owners in Belgatos, is it possible to pay the Belwood dues and enjoy the pool, cabana, etc., as this is in a “Class D” optional membership area.

What are homes like in Belgatos?

Most houses are ranch style, one story houses, and they are very well kept.

I crunched the numbers, and here are the averages:

  • Bedrooms – 4 (3.925)
  • Total bathrooms (includes half) – 3 (2.925) – could be 2.5 bathrooms or could be 3 full baths
  • Average number of stories – 1.35 (55 of the homes are single story, 13 are 2 story, and 2 have 3 levels – either split level or 2 plus basement)
  • Home size – 2427 SF
  • Lot size – 10,476 SF
    • Most lots are fairly level except on or near Westhill. A number of the homes on Westhill are hillside properties with lovely valley views.
    • Some lots on the north side of Westhill or on nearby streets have a sloped lot but not enough elevation for a valley view
  • Year built – 1970 (ranges from 1964-1977 with one exception, which was constructed in 1935)
  • Most have an attached 2 car garage. There are a few with 3 or which have converted the garage to living space – but not many.

(more…)

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)

Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

A fire was set, apparently by three kids, in Belgatos Park this afternoon. (Whether by accident or on purpose remains to be known.)  Homes were evacuated along Santa Rosa and flames got terribly close to houses on Westhill Drive, but fortunately no residences were harmed by the blaze.  Fire fighters arrived by land and air very quickly, and within an hour, the fire was under control.

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive.    Photo by Trish McCauley trish.mccauley@gmail.com

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive. Photo by Trish McCauley trish.mccauley@gmail.com

At the time of its eruption, I was in central San Jose at a listing presentation.  When I got out, around 4:30pm, I checked messages and had a text from my friend and wonderful pet-sitter, Trish McCauley, who alerted me to the situation. She also took a couple of photos.  At left is one she took from Bacigalupi Drive at the intersection with Belwood Gateway.

Luckily, though, the word got out about the fire via social media, too:

For those of you who are on Facebook, there’s a group called Belwood Area Residents with great info shared. Pauline Wilson broke the news there at 3:33pm today.  Photos posted by Dave Klenske of the work going on to contain the fire by air and the smoldering fire too. If you are on FB and a resident, join the group if you haven’t done so already and have a peek at his pics: http://www.facebook.com/groups/105901399446505/

Mention was also made on the Nextdoor site for the neighborhood too by Kate Carr – many thanks for spreading the word!  (If you haven’t joined, please do!)  Http://www.belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com.

(Unless you happen to be connected to someone who sees the fire and alerts you, it’s great to get an update by a large group of neighbors such as we find on Nextdoor and Facebook, so I highly encourage everyone to join both sites.)

Back to our household –  Jim was out at an appointment at the same time that I was, too, but when we converged at home, he and our daughter, Clair, walked up to the park to see what, if anything, was still going on. He spoke with Ranger Dave Gray, who said that 3 kids (appx age 10?) were seen running from the area when the fire started.   Jim also  chatted with a neighbor, who said she saw the kids running away and explained that they were “young teenagers”.

Clair, meanwhile, kindly took a lot of photos for me so that I could share them with anyone else who wasn’t around when everything happened.  Below are the photos she took for this blog.

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos,  Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

There were multiple fire trucks and other vehicles from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, but also helicopters and planes from the CDF involved today.

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos,  fire cleanup

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, fire cleanup

 

UPDATE:  Patch Los Gatos reports today that 3 14 year old boys were involved, one of whom started the blaze using lighter fluid.  The teen, a resident of San Jose, was arrested, charged with felony arson and has since been released to his parents.  Read the article here:
http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/fire-at-belgatos-park-burns-3-acres

Helicopters repeatedly flying over Belwood and Belgatos Park

Helicopters over Belwood and Belgatos Park on 6-24-2011

Helicopters over Belwood and Belgatos Park on 6-24-2011

My husband, Jim, likes to joke that “if you like helicopters, live in Los Gatos“.  We seem to be a chopper magnet, especially in the east Los Gatos areas near Belgatos Park.
 

Last Friday, and again yesterday, there was a helicopter apparently practicing something as it flew low over Belwood, Belgatos Park and the Santa Rosa Drive area in the hills at the end of Harwood Road.  What were they doing?

This is not a new problem for us (and in fact I blogged about it on my Live in Los Gatos blog in the spring of 2007) but there are times I just want to scream at them to knock it off.   I finally called the town of Los Gatos, was transferred to the non-emergency police line where a kindly officer said that he’d had a few complaints but no answers as to what was going on.  “We’re trying to find out,” he assured me.

Like many, I vented a little on Facebook.  One friend thought that the birds were there due to some sort of fencing project.  Another suggested that it was a practice run for firefighters pretending to grab water from Lexington Reservoir to put out fires on the Sierra Azule range.  Who knows.

Grass Fires in Silicon Valley

Today is Labor Day – it’s many things, but it’s also the end of summer. But it’s not the end of the dry season. In fact, the rains won’t really arrive until November. So between now and then, the fire danger will continue to rise in our hilly, rural areas.

A few days ago, the coastal hills near Stevens Creek Reservoir and the Montebello Ridge over Cupertino (just a little north of Los Gatos) burned fiercely.  It took a couple of days and a lot of firefighters to extinguish it.

Now the hills by Mount Hamilton on the east side are ablaze too. We just took a quick drive to the top of Harwood Road to see the enormous plume of smoke rising over the hills by south San Jose.

What does this have to do with Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont?  Earlier today, Bella and I took a walk down Bacigalupi Drive and into Belgatos Park, entering on the side, as we do most days. The grassy area there is parched. The path is covered in wood chips and tanbark. And to my horror, I saw two cigarette butts among the wood chips.

Belgatos Park in Los Gatos CA in FebruaryBelgatos Park in Los Gatos CA in May

 

 

 

 

 

Smoking is not illegal in the park, as my husband (the volunteer parks commissioner) reminded me today. But it is very unwise to do it in the tinderbox areas which comprise most of the park.

Should we put a polite request at the entrance to the park that cigarettes are a great danger to the park, to Belwood and to Los Gatos as a whole, and that putting them out in the grassy areas is inadvisable???

To me it’s obvious: fire season and burning objects over dry grass don’t mix. But apparently it’s not obvious to everyone.

Fire season’s not over yet. Let’s hope that common sense prevails and we won’t have any more senseless fires.