- Published on Tuesday, 27 June 2006 20:58
- Written by Eliza Ridgeway - Town Crier Staff Writer
A settlement agreement last week capped one of Los Altos Hills' most storied development sagas: the fate of the former Winbigler estate.
The 7-acre property on Campo Vista Lane housed a cream-colored chateau-style house, recognized as a historical landmark, from 1926 until 2002, when new property-owners Gordon Campbell and Maria Ligeti razed the house, sparking town-wide outrage.
Los Altos Hills issued a stop-work order on the property and, eventually, levied a $27,000 fine for the unauthorized removal of the house. Campbell-Ligeti responded with a $500,000 lawsuit, claiming the town had approved a housing plan that included removal of the house, and the ensuing stop-work order was "arbitrary and capricious."
In the June 21 settlement, the town and Campbell-Ligeti agreed to the dismissal of all claims, and the town agreed to waive the $27,000 penalty. Neither side admitted fault..
"It is such a huge relief (to have litigation ended)," Councilman Breene Kerr said. "This was a hangover from a previous administration that unfortunately landed in our laps. It was extremely time consuming and represented a very large potential liability.
Pinewood School purchased the property from Campbell and Ligeti in 2004 as a possible site for its upper school. A negative reaction from neighbors changed Pinewood's plans, according to President Scott Riches. Pinewood placed the Winbigler property on the market in January for $15.5 million.
According to Vickie Geers, the real estate agent handling the sale, the property is one of the few remaining undeveloped parcels in Los Altos Hills that could support a megahome.