LTWCA Newsletter - October/November 2007


A Monumental Event for Los Trancos Woods

A monumental event in the life of Los Trancos Woods took place on 11 Sept. 2007, at 10:30 a.m., in the Chambers of the San Mateo County Supervisors.  The Board of Supervisors voted to implement the zoning changes which were submitted by the LTW Zoning Committee in 2003.  These changes were designed to try and maintain the character of Los Trancos Woods by limiting house size dependent on lot size.  It was a long and convoluted road which preceded this final event. 


With the beginning discussion of sewer in 2000, the community began to look around and evaluate what changes the future might bring.  There was general agreement then, and still is now, that we like the “look” of the Woods, rural, eclectic, tree shaded, modest houses.  How to proceed forward was anything but clear, and the options were dizzying.  Options considered ranged from incorporating into the Town of Portola Valley, tying housing restrictions to water permits, creating our own House Design Oversight Committee, and more.  The first stab at creating new zoning regulations created chaos and it took a while to die down.  The second stab with the Zoning Committee netted the current regulations and entailed  compromise on all sides.  The Committee was dedicated to making the regulation simple to understand, held public meetings to answer any questions, and put forth a ballot to document consensus.  Finally, after years of delay, the Committee can see the results of their hard work.  Our thanks also go to San Mateo Planning Director, Lisa Grote, and her staff who took up the banner and shepherded it through all the County red tape to bring the plan to fruition.


Repeatedly the San Mateo Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors praised the community for coming together on such a historically divisive issue and submitting a zoning plan that was supported by the majority of homeowners. All this praise is due to Armin Staprans, chair of the Zoning Committee, who not only kept the process rolling, but kept it together at the many breaking points.  He understood that no plan is perfect, no plan will satisfy all, and if we end up with no plan,  we will be worse off.  Thank you, Armin, for giving this community a gift that we will benefit from for years to come!

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale


Neighborhood Notes

-  The community got a wake-up reminder in early August as to how DANGEROUS our roads actually are.  A dump truck careened off the road coming downhill on Ramona, taking with it 2 parked cars, part of a concrete parking pad, and a guard rail all within a matter of seconds.  That no one was killed or seriously injured was a miracle.  PLEASE maintain a reasonable speed when driving downhill and on the narrow roads especially!

-  Come one, come all!  All LTW residents are invited to join the Los Trancos Woods Yahoo Group.  In order to do so, e-mail with your request to join.  The group list is not for chitchat (hanging over fences and meeting at mailboxes is for that) but for community related business.  Well written, thoughtful e-mails are always encouraged.

-  Yet another successful Annual Picnic thanks to Armin Staprans’ gracious hosting on his property, including his barbecue, tables, and chairs.  We met under cloudy skies to hear a pertinent presentation by Don Cox, arborist, about Sudden Oak Death.  The “take away” message was (1) identify your oaks (some are not susceptible), (2) trim your bays away from your susceptible oaks, (3) treat your susceptible oaks with Agri-Fos in the fall.  60 people enjoyed great company and a plethora of tasty treats for dinner under now sunny skies. 


Emergency Preparedness News

Autumn 2007 Earthquake Drill - On the evening of Friday, October 26, the CERPP Preparedness Districts, including LTW, will be coordinating their biannual preparedness drill.  This time it will be a nighttime drill, starting at 7:00 p.m., since an earthquake could happen at any hour of the day. In the hours following a major earthquake, official emergency first-responders will be overwhelmed and unable to respond to problems in remote locations like LTW. Particularly in the winter months, when over half the day may be dark, you should be ready to spring into action in the dark, without electricity, with only moonlight and our own devices to light the way.


During the Drill our neighborhood response will involve volunteers canvassing the neighborhood for simulated damage signs and reporting the incidents to Command Central.  We will also be activating the Emergency Phone Tree for the third consecutive drill.  We encourage participation of the entire neighborhood, and encourage Phone Tree volunteers to work the phones even if you are new to this.


If you are in your house, we encourage you to spend a few minutes that evening doing a simulation of a nighttime emergency response. Turn off all the lights, and imagine an earthquake has knocked out electricity and telephone service, while your family was asleep.  Would you be able to put your hands quickly on a flashlight, glasses (if you need them), and shoes?  Do you know where your two-way radio is, and does it have fresh batteries?  Do you know where your gas turnoff is (before you begin lighting candles)?  A rudimentary emergency kit kept under your bed and secured to a bedpost is an excellent way to prepare for a nighttime emergency.


A flier describing the Drill in more detail will be distributed to every house about a week beforehand.  Contact  851-9152 for more information, and especially if you can volunteer. 

Submitted by Arthur Nielsen, Emergency Preparedness Team.


Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Update

Sign up before 15 October to have your oak trees treated with Agri-Fos to prevent Sudden Oak Death from infecting your healthy trees.  The Task Force has arranged a very inexpensive price with a couple of arborists. Already a number of trees are infected with or have died from SOD in Los Trancos Woods.  Make sure your tree is not next!   Contact Denise at or 529-0604.

Submitted by the Sudden Oak Death Task Force


Next Meeting -  7:00 p.m., 10 Oct., 124 Los Trancos Cir.   Agenda includes emergency preparedness and Sudden Oak Death.  For minutes of the last meeting, please see the LTWCA Web Site.


Los Trancos Woods Community Association Web Site

The web site address is:                    The group e-mail list is:          

Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site        AND        Thanks to Shan Wang for copying our newsletter.


Community Bulletin Board

Found at picnic - one knife for a table setting.  Call Linda at 851-1787 to retrieve.