FAQ’s about joining Firewise Glenridge Park/LG
The Glenridge Park Firewise community program works best when all members of the community participate. If the house next-door to yours remains in a high-fire hazard condition, it puts your home at higher risk. By working together, we better protect our family and our neighbors! So how do you get started? Here are some FAQ’s to help answer some of your initial questions. A more in-depth overview will be scheduled to provide you with all the information you will want to know to understand how to best use the knowledge and financial resources being made available to you in pursuit of neighborhood safety.
Q1: Who is eligible for participating in the Firewise Glenridge Park program?
Any homeowner with single-family residential property in the Glenridge Park historic neighborhood is eligible to participate, as are homeowners living in townhome communities in the neighborhood where the HOA is willing to make fire safety a top priority by taking actions that create a more fire-safe community.
Q2: What is required for participation in the Firewise Glenridge Park program?
A neighborhood-wide threat assessment has already been created, as well as a neighborhood-wide action plan that details the actions that individual homeowners can collectively take to bring their property up to a high fire-safe standard. Introductory meetings are being scheduled to help educate the neighborhood on what each of us can do to contribute to transforming our neighborhood into a Fire-safe community. Please sign up on the Los Gatos Historical Preservation website (www.losgatoshistorical.org) to stay informed of upcoming meetings to learn about next steps and how you can be proactive with your property.
Q3: What if I don’t have the financial resources to invest in fire-safety?
If you live in a historic home, which Los Gatos defines as pre-1941, and would like to make improvements that would lower the vegetation fuel and/or structural ignitibility threat to your home, the California State Historic Preservation Act (known as the Mills Act) will provide funding to reimburse you for fire-safety improvements. We are pushing for town council adoption of the Mills Act to help fund fire-safety measures, as Los Gatos is one of the few historic towns remaining (with significant population) in the state that has not yet adopted the Mills Act. Our Mayor Marcia Jenson has basically said no to allowing historic homeowners access to these significant state-provisioned funds.
Q4: What other California towns have adopted the Mills Act and are receiving state funding to make their homes fire-hardened?
Just about every major historic town in the state of California, but Los Gatos has adopted the Mills Act because the economic benefits are so compelling. In addition to every major city in California including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, and Sacramento, over a hundred smaller towns including nearly all those surrounding Los Gatos have already adopted the Act and collectively have received well over $1 Billion in state funding. These surrounding towns near Los Gatos include Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and so many more.
Q5: Why has Los Gatos not already joined the hundred plus cities and towns to adopt the Mills Act? Why would we not want to benefit from state funding flowing into Los Gatos?
While there have been recent efforts to educate the town council about the Mills Act, and most of the town council members (and many prior Mayors) are in favor of adopting it, the current Mayor Marcia Jenson neither sees the Mills Act as necessary nor as a priority given her agenda early into her one-year term. To date, she has blocked putting the Mills Act on the town council agenda, and has made it clear that she would veto any efforts to adopt it while she is Mayor.
Q6: What can be done, in advance of the next wildfire season, to have the town council vote to adopt the Mills Act, as a means to fund the very improvements that CalFire recommends individual homeowners and communities in the wildfire urban interface do to improve the safety of their neighborhoods?
Firewise Glenridge Park has written an Open Letter to the Mayor of Los Gatos to make clear to the town council and to all residents of Los Gatos what is at stake and that the only prudent path forward is to tap into Mills Act funding to accelerate fire-hardening of the historic homes in our neighborhood to ensure an effective first line of defense against the growing and now imminent threat from wildfire for our most exposed neighborhood. This letter will also be presented at the March 17th town council meeting. And by banding together to show the town council that this is THE priority for the Glenridge Park neighborhood, and for Almond Grove as well, since if Glenridge Park burns, so too will Almond Grove. There is no substitute for raising our collective voice to ensure that the town council acts responsibly and focuses their attention on matters that are of the utmost importance to its citizens. The Los Gatos Historical Society will be communicating how we can ensure that our collective voice is heard by the town council and with sufficient support, can help convince the town council that the time is now for accessing the state funds that will make our neighborhood better prepared to withstand the next wildfire season.