Woodside: Bell tolls for Jackling house
• Judge rules against preservation of 85-year-old Woodside mansion.
Uphold Our Heritage, the preservation-oriented group trying to save Woodside's historic Jackling house, has been dealt another blow. A San Mateo County Superior Court judge has overruled Uphold's objections to plans by Apple Corp. chief executive Steve Jobs, the owner of the 82-year-old mansion, to destroy it and replace it with a modern home.
In her March 8 ruling, Judge Marie S. Weiner spent most of its 12 pages recounting the four-year unfolding of this case, including her decision for Uphold in February 2006, the appellate court's agreement, and Mr. Jobs' subsequent — and now successful — efforts to address his case's shortcomings as identified by the court.
The saga may not be over. Uphold Our Heritage has 60 days to appeal the decision. The last time Uphold appealed, they won, but Mr. Jobs has addressed the deficiencies cited then by the courts.
In her ruling, as she concluded that Mr. Jobs could go forward with demolition, the judge paused twice to note the unhappiness among some in Woodside over the increasingly likely passing of this Spanish colonial-style mansion.
"It's unfortunate that someone didn't buy the property who really bought it in order to preserve the mansion, but that's what happened," said former Councilwoman Carroll Ann Hodges in May 2009, and quoted in the judge's ruling.
Judge Weiner also quoted architect and then-mayor Peter Mason, who lamented the tearing down of historic resources. "I think that's really sad for the long term historic heritage of our town," he said.
The judge noted the Jackling house's location on private property, its inaccessibility to a view by the passing public, the house's "serious" state of disrepair as a public health and safety issue, its construction before there were building and fire codes, and its proximity to the San Andreas fault.
The judge noted that Mr. Jobs "intends not to fix (the house) and not to sell it," though he has received several proposals to take it off his hands, including two in 2009.
Gordon Smythe, a venture capitalist and enthusiast of Jackling house architect George Washington Smith, offered in the summer of 2009 to dismantle the house and reuse parts of it in a new family home. It's unclear whether Mr. Jobs ever agreed to this, and the proposal has since lapsed.
Later in 2009, Woodside residents Jason and Magalli Yoho offered to relocate the house to Lindenbrook Road from its current location on Robles Drive, according to a letter to the couple from Town Hall.
Representatives from Uphold Our Heritage did not immediately respond to requests for comment.