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LAH sells a slice of history, raises Westwind fees

Steve and Karla Jurvetson will soon own a little piece of Byrne Preserve, thanks to the Los Altos Hills City Council, which voted Nov. 13 to sell a town-owned lot located at the corner of Altamont and Black Mountain roads.

The town acquired the preserve in the late 1960s and early 1970s as eight separate, deeded properties from Albert Byrne. However, one of the parcels, No. 182-21-003, is physically separated from the Open Space Preserve by Altamont Road. Because the parcel is not listed on the Los Altos Hills Open Space and Public Recreation Initiative and no one uses the lot, town officials scheduled a public hearing for the Nov. 13 council meeting to consider selling the property.

But the triangular 0.2-acre property does not conform to minimum lot-size standards for building development, making sale of the property difficult.

Enter the Jurvetsons, who own property adjacent to the Byrne parcel. Purchasing the 8,712-square-foot parcel would increase the Jurvetsons' land holding to more than 1.6 acres and, more importantly, would increase the maximum floor area allowed for their home from 8,724 to 9,924 square feet. The maximum-allowed development area would increase 3,000 square feet, to 24,810.

The $139,218 cash deal will be sealed after a 30-day escrow period. The Jurvetsons are paying all costs related to the sale and the money will go to the town's open space/public recreation preservation fund.

Other council news

• The council approved revising user fees at Westwind Barn, with councilmen Dean Warshawsky and Breene Kerr recusing themselves from the discussion and subsequent vote. The fee increase follows town staff's projected operating deficit of $15,400 by the end of the year, $4,400 higher than originally anticipated when the town assumed management of the barn in June.

Effective Jan. 1, monthly barn boarding will cost $685, a $99 increase, and the city will subsidize the remaining cost of $105 for each boarder; the feeding pasture – $345, up $23; and Byrne Preserve – $275, a $41 increase. Additionally, the city imposed a new facility-use fee in lieu of membership costs to Westwind Barn.

A six-month use fee will cost nonboarder residents $100, $150 for nonresidents, and a day-use fee will cost nonboarder residents $25, $35 for nonresidents.

Finance Director Nick Pegueros estimated the new fees would reduce the barn's operating deficit to $6,800 by the end of next June, for a deficit total of $22,200 at the end of fiscal year 2009.

• If the Los Altos Hills City Council election results from absentee/mail-in ballots remain consistent with the Nov. 4 precinct outcome, the Santa Clara County Clerk will certify the results Tuesday and council newcomers Ginger Summit and Rich Larsen, and incumbent Mayor Jean Mordo, will be sworn in at the regular meeting Dec. 11.

The Nov. 13 meeting was the final one for outgoing councilmen Mike O'Malley and Craig Jones.

Contact Mary Beth Hislop at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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