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State high court refuses to hear Steve Jobs' appeal on Woodside mansion

Apple Computer CEO seeks to demolish historic Jackling house

The California Supreme Court does not want to hear about Steve Jobs’ quest to tear down a historic Woodside mansion. On April 25, the state's high court turned down Mr. Jobs' petition to hear his case.

Mr. Jobs, the CEO of Apple Inc., has been waging a losing battle against a group of preservationists over the fate of the Jackling house, a massive Spanish Colonial revival-style mansion built in 1926.

He said he plans to tear it down and build a new family home on the Mountain Home Road site, but has been thwarted by an ad-hoc preservation group called Uphold Our Heritage that filed suit to block the demolition

Mr. Jobs was granted a demolition permit by the town of Woodside in December 2004.

Uphold Our Heritage, led by Miami Beach resident Clotilde Luce, whose family owned the Jackling house in the 1960s, successfully halted the demolition, wining its case in both the trial court and appeals court.

Ms. Luce called yesterday’s state Supreme Court’s decision good news for preservationists.

Howard Ellman, Mr. Jobs' attorney, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The town of Woodside has no rules of its own regarding historic structures, so the fate of the Jackling house is governed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In order to justify granting Mr. Jobs a demolition permit, town officials needed to show proof that there were no feasible alternatives to tearing the house down. According to a trial court judge, and the state Court of Appeal, Woodside officials failed to show such proof.

Mr. Jobs has said that he plans to build a much smaller family home on the site, and referred to the Jackling house, where he lived for 10 years, as an architectural "abomination." In recent years, the Jackling house has been uninhabited and allowed to fall into disrepair.

The demolition permit for the Jackling house came with an unusual condition -- that Mr. Jobs offer to give away the mansion to someone who would relocate it and restore it. A handful of prospective takers have come forward, but the relocation plans have been on hold while the case made its way through the courts.

Information about the Jackling house is on the Uphold Our Heritage Web site here: http://www.friendsofthejacklinghouse.org/

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