The bell tolls for Steve Jobs' Jackling house


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.

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Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Worked in that house. Very sad to see it go. they dont build them like that anymore

Like this comment
Posted by Been there
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm

It is sad it has taken so long for someone to exercise their property rights. If others thinks this house is so valuable and historic, let them buy it themselves and move it to their own lot. Jobs would be happy not to have to pay the demolotion costs. Steve Jobs prevailed because he can afford to defend his rights. Others aren't so lucky.

Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 13, 2010 at 7:44 am

Well said Been There.

On the other hand, I think Jobs knew he was buying a property with a historic designation. Given that knowledge, he had to know it would be a battle to excercise his property rights. Even if I had the money Jobs has, if I knew a property had a historic designation I wouldn't buy it. I don't need the heartburn

Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 13, 2010 at 8:09 am

Actually, the Jackling house wasn't designated as historic when Mr.Jobs purchased it.

Thank goodness this saga is ending and Mr. Jobs can begin construction of a truly historic residence.

Wait till the historic zealots go after your remodeling plans!

Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2010 at 9:19 am

R.GORDON is a registered user.

I am so glad that the other RICHARD GORDON will be gone by then. He takes no interest in San Mateo County unless there is something in it for him....and Jobs does not need to be palming money.
He can do what the millionaires (not B.)who call themselves "venture capitalists" or "philanthropists" who give away a junkie piece of land for a ball park, build a basketball court, or swimming pool; then get favors from the building commission which cannot be investigated. They get more favors for illegal permits which are never filed in the court records in their parcels.
Jobs will take care of business and hopefully get the local govt. to operate for ALL people and not the preferred who lost a BUNDLE which wss a great comeupance.

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