Jobs loses appeal in bid to demolish Woodside
Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia,
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
January 10, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer
Steve Jobs today lost a bid to a state appeals court in San Francisco
for a permit to demolish an historic 30-room house in Woodside
and replace it with a smaller residence.
The Court of Appeal upheld a ruling in which San Mateo County
Superior Court Judge Marie Weiner last year set aside a permit
granted by the Woodside Town Council for demolition of the building,
known as the Jackling House.
The two-story, 17,250-square-foot house was built for copper
magnate Daniel Jackling in 1926. It was designed by George Washington
Smith, a leading architect in the Spanish Colonial Revival style,
and qualifies as an historical resource under the California Environmental
Quality Act, the court said.
Jobs bought the building in 1984, lived in it for about 10 years
and then rented it for several years after moving to Palo Alto.
It has been vacant since 2000 and has been allowed to deteriorate,
according to the court ruling.
Jobs began seeking a permit to demolish it and build a smaller
6,000-square-foot home for himself and his family in 2001. He
was granted the permit in 2004 by a 4-3 vote of the Town Council,
against the recommendation of the council's staff. Then a conservation
group called Uphold Our Heritage filed a lawsuit challenging the
In today's ruling, a three-judge appeals panel agreed with Weiner's
finding that there was no substantial evidence to support the
Town Council's conclusion that it would not be economically feasible
to renovate the house or renovate it with a new addition.
Those two options were evaluated as alternatives to demolition
in an environmental impact report, which concluded that demolition
would result in loss of a cultural resource.
Under the state environmental law, a public agency can't approve
a project that would have a significant effect such as harming
an historical resource unless there are no feasible alternatives.
Douglas Carsten, a lawyer for Uphold Our Heritage, said, "We
hope that now the town and Steve Jobs will work with Uphold Our
Heritage and other interested parties in achieving a genuine preservation
solution for the Jackling House."
Jobs's lawyer, Howard Ellman, said he could not comment on Jobs's
plans or on a possible further appeal because he has not been
able to reach Jobs, who is at Apple's Macworld trade show in San
Ellman said "discussions are in progress" for a private
group to take over the house and move it to a different site.
Uphold Our Heritage member and Woodside resident Barbara Wood
said, "I'm really happy that the original ruling was upheld.
I'm happy to see that the state law that says we need to protect
our historical resources applies no matter who the person may
Wood said the building "is a romantic house. You can imagine
all those big parties in the 1930s with a jazz band playing in
the courtyard," she said.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the California
Preservation Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the
case opposing the demolition permit.
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