weed abatement manager
The County's weed abatement manager Moe Kumre answers questions at the Aug. 1 Council meeting. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Los Gatos followed through on its plan to fine a property owner for allowing weeds to get out of control, during its Aug. 1 meeting.

Council heard that property owners are charged $92 for an initial inspection.

Delinquents are then charged $92 each year for the following three years, as well.

Councilmember Rob Moore wanted more information about why one particular person was being charged $611.

Santa Clara County Weed Abatement Manager Moe Kumre said if the property isn’t in compliance during the inspection a “work order” has to be generated, which costs around $500. Kumre said it’s to cover the staff time involved with verifying property boundaries, determining the true square footage of the property and making a determination of the work required to bring the site back into compliance.

Vice Mayor Mary Badame wasn’t too happy to hear about the specifics of the offending parcel.

“His property remained non-compliant during peak wildfire season?” Badame asked.

“That is correct,” the manager confirmed.

Undine Tsai did not raise a defense for himself at the meeting.

But he sent the Town and County photos to show the problem has been addressed.

“I have no extra money to pay more taxes as I am already a 68 years old senior,” he wrote. “I have already followed the weed abatement regulation.”

Moore asked if the property owner was notified of the cost of a work order.

Kumre said it’s in paperwork they hand out.

Badame made a motion to move forward with the enforcement fee.

“I cannot make the finding for an exception,” she said. “At stake is potential loss of life and property.”

Councilmember Rob Rennie seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Town Attorney
Town Attorney Gabrielle Whelan discusses the social host ordinance. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Town tweaking ordinance so underage party hosts don’t slip through the cracks 

Los Gatos introduced a social host ordinance amendment in an effort to create more latitude when it comes to holding those who throw parties with underagers accountable.

Town Attorney Gabrielle Whelan said in crackdowns on events where alcohol, cannabis or other intoxicants are served to minors, staff has been running into a 10-day deadline.

“Our experience has (shown) that 10 days is not enough time,” she said, noting in two cases the Town didn’t even get the incident report until the 10th day.

“I don’t see why we should unnecessarily handcuff ourselves and make this impossible,” Ristow commented.

No member of the public commented on the item.

Councilmember Matthew Hudes wondered if the ordinance would achieve its aims if investigations are allowed to continue indefinitely.

“Can this be effective if parents aren’t notified until much later?” he asked.

Whelan said the Town still plans to respond to incidents promptly.

“Our intent is to wrap these up as quickly as possible,” she said.

Rob gives his report
Council members take in a presentation from Rob Stephenson. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Parks Commission presents plans for keeping Los Gatos green 

Parks Commissioner Rob Stephenson gave Council a rundown of what the body he represents has planned for the year ahead.

Top priorities include trail connectivity, ensuring tree cover along roadways, and trying to sort out concerns people have expressed with pickleball play.

“We came up with this at our last meeting,” he said. “We’re working towards these goals over the next year.”

An ad-hoc committee has been looking at GIS overlay maps to understand how Los Gatos’ recreational pathways could be linked to those managed by groups such as the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

And, he added, the commission will likely continue to be busy handling issues with trees in town that crop up—such as ones that need replacement or create hazards for traffic.

Stephenson said he’s tried to keep an open mind about problems people have described with pickleball.

The commission is considering options for dampening the noise made by paddles striking the ball and may restripe a tennis facility at Blossom Hill Park—which is further away from residences than other courts.

Councilmember Rob Rennie, who once sat on the parks commission, suggested current members could undertake a tree survey.

Councilmember Rob Moore acknowledged that not everyone is a fan of pickleball, at least in their neighborhood.

“People love pickleball, and then the neighbors are really upset by this,” he said.

Stephenson agreed that it’s a thorny issue.

“They’re passionate about pickleball,” he said. “It’s hard not to empathize with the homeowners as well.”

Councilmember Matthew Hudes suggested the commission could get involved in the development of a community garden.

“We really do have some momentum,” he said. “I don’t think it’s just a wish at this point.”

Mayor Maria Ristow said she approved of the work plan that Stephenson presented.

Previous articleDISCOVER LOST GATOS: The historic Rankin Block
Next articleThe worry wart surfaces
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here