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July 07, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Woodside: Appeal filed to stop Jobs' demolition of Jackling house Woodside: Appeal filed to stop Jobs' demolition of Jackling house (July 07, 2004)

** Three take historic house issue to Woodside council.

By Andrea Gemmet
Almanac Staff Writer

Steve Jobs is going to have to take his arguments for demolishing the historic Jackling house to the Woodside Town Council. Three people filed an appeal June 28 after the Planning Commission gave conditional approval for tearing down the 17,000-square-foot house on Mountain Home Road at its June 16 meeting.

The Spanish colonial revival style house was designed by famed architect George Washington Smith and built in 1926 for copper baron Daniel C. Jackling. It's been owned by Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs since 1984.

Mr. Jobs has called the Jackling house an "abomination" and said he plans to build a much smaller home for his family on the property. He offered to give the house away to anyone who would remove it from his land.

At issue are the legal provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, which extend some protections to historical structures and other "cultural resources."

Faced with expert testimony that the Jackling house is historically significant, planning commissioners decided that the additional open space gained by replacing the Jackling house with a smaller home would provide the public benefit required by CEQA in exchange for the loss of the house.

They delayed issuing the demolition permit for 12 months, in order to try to find someone willing to move the house to new location.

Clotilde Luce, a Miami Beach resident whose family owned the Jackling house in the 1970s, said she is appealing on the grounds that the Planning Commission's decision violates CEQA.

The other appellants are Woodside residents Rob Flint and Virginia Gill Andersen, the great-niece of Daniel Jackling.

"Does some hypothetical extra lawn up a private road justify destroying a house deemed very significant and still viable for living by outside experts, (and) by the National Trust (for Historic Places)?" said Ms. Luce. "Promoting open space should be used to restrain junk architecture monster homes, not to excuse predatory destruction of a masterwork, which top experts know is irreplaceable."

Ms. Andersen, whose mother inherited the house, said she and her parents went to the Jackling house "all the time." Her aunt and uncle threw magnificent parties, especially in the music room, and the door was always open to anyone who wanted to use the swimming pool, she said.

"It was a real neighborhood place," Ms. Andersen said.

"I think every chance should be given to see if the house can be saved," she said.

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