Change of Plans


As many of you already know, we have decided to throw in the towel on the Los Gatos project due to the credit markets and the falling real estate values (our current house was not immune!).  There is good news though in that we have taken advantage of the soft RE market and purchased a home in a new community being built in Livermore!  The house will be great for the kids with all three getting their own room, it is right in the best part of the Livermore school system, and it backs up to Robertson Park.  We are scheduled to move in on March 19th and at the pace they have been building I expect them to make this date.  Here are some progress photos we have taken and we will of course post more as it is built.

Site Approval!


SCCOfficial as of March 19th we have site approval from Santa Clara County for our house in LG! It has taken almost a year to get here but we finally made it. Now comes the hard part of building permits and spending big $$ to actually build. My best estimates put ground breaking in the July/August time frame with the hopes of moving into the new house in the summer of 2009. Let’s just hope I don’t lose my mind during the build! :-)

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What Does the Inside Look Like?


Here is what the first and second floors will look like inside.  Let us know what you think!

first-floor-1.jpg   first floor 2  first floor 3

second floor1  second floor2  second floor3

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Los Gatos House in 3D!


Let me first say that Google SketchUp is amazing!  It is amazingly easy to use (this model of the house took me 2 evenings to build) and most importantly it’s FREE!  Please feel free to leave comments on what you think of the house.

Front of house     Right side      Rear of house      Left side

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What are You Building in Los Gatos Anyways?


I realized some of you may be wondering what exactly we are planning to build up int he mountains.  Well, here is a rough outline of what we are looking to build.  It is going to be a bit more contemporary with the shed style roof and will have lots of windows (we are in the mountains after all).  In terms of exterior materials we plan to use a mix of stone veneer on the bottom portions of the house and the rest will be a fiber cement siding made to look like cedar siding (the recent San Diego fires made us rethink real cedar!).  There will also be about 600 sqft of decking which isn’t clear in the pictures.  We welcome any comments on the design as we are always looking for new ideas!


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Los Gatos Update


Well, we finally have one small victory! Today, in a very official unanimous vote, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved the abandonment of the last 96 feet of Walla Walla Trail! :) This theoretically enables us to build the septic and house in the locations as planned.

Next major hurdles are the site approval, which is currently under review, and to obtain a variance on the setback requirements, which is under review as well. I’ll report back on any progress on this front.

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Los Gatos – Road Abandonment Saga Continued


Well, we are finally getting closer on the road abandonment, the small victory that seemingly will take forever to achieve. I have been told by the county that we are on the Santa Clara County board agenda for November 13th!!! Only 6 months after the initial purchase of the land! 😐

No I just have to cross my fingers and hope nothing derails this date somehow……

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Los Gatos – Continued


Well, I promised an update if there was progress and so here it is.  We got clearance (sort of) to move the abandonment to the other end of the neighbor’s property (see prior post).  The reason I say sort of on the approval is that we now will require a variance to the county setback requirement of at least 30′ from a right of way.  Of course this “right of way” is after the effective end of the road and therefore will not ever be a true right of way.  Again, needless red tape that causes issues.  In terms of the road abandonment itself, it will now be going to the board for approval on October 16th at the earliest.  This approval would at least give us one small victory and then we can work on the site approval in November.

In case any of you are curious about what all this looks like here is the current site plan to give you a visual of all the variables being dealt with.

Site Plan

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Los Gatos Update


Well, I knew that the build process would be painful but I must say it is worse than I had ever anticipated.  Mainly it is due to red tape at the county but amazingly there are issues with neighbors as well.  On the county level, the very second you think something is on autopilot you get a call at the eleventh hour stating that there is now an issue with it.  Case in point: the road abandonment.  Road abandonment you may be asking?  Yes, that is right, we have to have the last 96ft of Walla Walla Trail, which happens to run through our property, abandoned at the county level.  This means rounding up letters from all utility companies who could require an easement saying that they are OK with it.  This was done and everything was ready to go to the county board for approval in mid August.  Then, the day before the required submittal date, I get a call stating the abandonment happens to go across the entire front of my neighbors property and before anything can go forward I need to get permission and allow them an easement.  Now this of course brought everything to a screeching halt!  No problem I thought, I’ll just give my neighbor a call and get this resolved so as to get things back on track for an August approval.  I proceeded to find out who the neighbor was and gave him a friendly call.  To my surprise, he told me that he had been in discussion with the previous owner on this very matter.  He also told me that the previous owner was talking about potentially paying to have a garage built for him and a new driveway in return for the approval.  He said he would be happy to sit down with me and “figure out what this would cost.”  Holy shit!!  He is telling me I am going to have to buy him off!!

I hung up and immediately decided that the road abandonment has to move to the other corner of his property since I will NOT be put in a corner like that.  So that is where thing stand as of today.  We are waiting to hear from the county if moving the abandonment triggers any other potential issues (my estimation is that it will absolutely trigger a host of new issues).  So, the August board meeting is out for us and we are again in county planning limbo (aka county HELL).

I’ll update again if we make any progress.  If you never see another post about the build then please start sending money since we will have a really expensive piece of useless land…..

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