The San Jose Mercury News reported June 20: “A house that a Bay Area open space district spent $1 million in 2005 to purchase and renovate as a home for one of its rangers – sparking public criticism and a debate within the agency – is about to meet a new fate: the wrecking ball.”
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a government agency based in Los Altos, bought the 1,440-square foot, two-bedroom home in Los Gatos for $950,000. It spent another $93,429 fixing the deck and support piers. The idea was to provide housing for one of the district’s rangers and build six parking spaces to open up access for hikers using the adjacent El Sereno Open Space Preserve.
“But after 10 years of rental payments that brought the district about $80,000, the agency’s board voted last week to spend $94,256 to tear the whole thing down,” the Mercury News reported. “The reason, said Steve Abbors, general manager of the district, is that building inspectors found major structural damage in the house, which was built in 1972 on a steep slope. Repairs would have cost $409,082.”
The six parking spaces were built, but their use is limited. The newspaper explained: “Records show that very few people are using the entrance to the preserve where the six spaces were built. The district does not allow general public access there, and instead requires interested hikers or bicyclists to request a free permit, after which they are given a combination to a gate, behind which the parking spaces and a 1.2-mile trail are located. Last year, only 39 permits were issued.”