FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Note: Some responses may be a bit dated e.g status of projects
- Water and Conservation
- Environmental Concerns
- Pets and Dogs
- Volunteering/Community Outreach
- Staying Connected
- Saratoga Noise
- Saratoga Projects
- Code Enforcement
- Noise Concerns/ Control
Question: Saratoga is pretty safe right? I hear of break-ins on NextDoor. How worried should I be?
ANSWER: Yes, Saratoga is very safe, but there are residential burglaries that do occur. Saratoga experienced a huge drop in burglaries from 2016 to 2017 - 47% drop, the biggest drop in burglaraies compared to any other Santa Clara County city (except Los Altos Hills). You can visit the city of Saratoga safety page for the latest crime stats. http://saratoga.ca.us/stayingsafe or contact Councilmember Rishi Kumar to schedule a safety briefing for you and your neighbors
Question: How can I launch a Neighborhood Safety Watch? What exactly is this program?
ANSWER: Saratoga’s decades long Neighborhood Watch Program is considered one of the most effective and most cost-efficient ways to prevent crime and reduce fear in our neighborhood. Neighborhood Watch Programs forge bonds among area residents, help reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between police forces and the communities they serve. Contact isha.icecream<at>gmail.com to get one started in your Saratoga neighborhood
Details of this program at www.RishiKumar.com/NSW
Question: How can I track or prevent mail theft?
How can you track mail that was delivered by USPS, but did not receive? Stolen?
Enroll in USPS Informed Delivery. Free service. Go to https://www.usps.com/manage/welcome.htm
Now you can preview images* of your mail and manage your incoming packages on one dashboard without entering tracking numbers. From the Informed Delivery® dashboard you can also sign up for text or email notifications, schedule delivery alerts, request redelivery, enter USPS Delivery Instructions™, and more.
*NOTE: Black and white (grayscale) images show the outside, front of letter-sized envelopes and mailpieces that are processed through USPS® automated equipment
Here are a few ways you can prevent mail theft:
· Pick up mail promptly after delivery and never leave mail in the box overnight
· Do not place an envelope with a check and raise the mailbox flag. It may be picked up someone else not the post master.
· Drop outgoing mail directly at the post office when possible
· Install security cameras monitoring your mailbox if you can
· If you're expecting checks, credit cards or other valuable parcels, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail if you can't be home
· If you don't receive an expected check, credit card or other valuable parcel, contact the issuing agency immediately
· When going on vacation, tell the Post Office so they can hold mail until you return
· If you change your address, immediately notify the post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
Question: What is the Saratoga's Community Emergency Response Team CERT?
ANSWER: The Saratoga Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a key part of the City’s disaster response strategy. The Santa Clara County Fire Department offers multiple CERT training academies throughout the year where participants learn about personal preparedness, organizing resources, basic medical operations, basic search and rescue, fire extinguisher use, and basic damage assessment. All training academies are open to those who live, work, or volunteer in Saratoga and the communities served by Santa Clara County Fire Department. The next academy will be held at Los Altos Hills Town Hall beginning March 5th. Students must attend all seven sessions to receive a certificate of completion.
For more information on CERT and all upcoming academies, visit http://bit.ly/2gxf07l
This program provides training to help with any emergency like earthquake, fire escape plan, missing person, lost child, bio/chemical attack, emergency evacuations, neighborhood safety and so much more. CERT is a great way to be organized, as well as to get trained by professionals. You become a huge asset to your neighborhood once trained. Email
Question: Does it cost our neighborhood to put up a neighborhood safety watch sign?
ANSWER: No! The city installs it for free, but your neighborhood needs to follow the steps involved.
Question: Can we install surveillance cameras in my neighborhood?
ANSWER: Thinking of surveillance cameras for your neighborhood? You can join the pilot being run. Review the deck atwww.RishiKumar.com/pilot Our City is now accepting requests from homeowners Associations (HOAs) for encroachment permits to install security cameras in the public right of way. The first step of the process will require applicants to submit documentation to verify that they meet the criteria for an HOA per the City’s standards for encroachment permits for private security cameras in the right of way. Information and the application for an encroachment permit for private security cameras is available on the City’s website at www.saratoga.ca.us/ep
You can also read the SJM article here.
Question: How can I get critical "emergency" alerts from the city of Saratoga?
ANSWER: Our city uses the county service. You can sign up at www.Tinyurl.com/AlertSCC which will take you to the county site.
Question: I like to walk in the evenings. But it gets dark - any suggestions?
ANSWER: I am concerned about the number of folks that don't carry any light source with them when they walk in the evening. If you are on a street that is not well lit, it may be very difficult for a motorist to spot you. And if you do carry a flashlight, please do NOT flash them right at a motorist’s face. Waving the light at the ground near them would be better. Please be safe.
Question: We are going to be traveling on vacation? What are some precautions I should consider taking to ensure that I don’t experience a break-in?
ANSWER: Are you planning a vacation? You will find some interesting tips and measures to take before you leave here. Please read the safety tips; tips such as setting up vacation patrol when you are gone.
Please take steps to place deterrents in and around your home. You can review safety tips at www.RishiKumar.com/tips . Please take action now, adopt some protective measures to protect your home.. here is the deck that was presented by Captain Urena at a recent Neighborhood Safety Watch certification meeting.
Most importantly, let your immediate neighbors know that you are gone, and for how long, and leave your contact information with them. If you don’t have the contact info for your immediate neighbors, then let your zone Block Captain know (if you have a Neighborhood Watch program established in your neighborhood). Your block captain already has communication setup with your zone neighbors and will let them know. To find your block captains, contact your Neighborhood Safety Captain. If you don’t have the contact of your Neighborhood Safety Captain, contact Councilmember RIshi Kumar, He may be able to help
Question: I found a license plate during my walk, what should I do?
ANSWER: One of our neighbors found a license plate on a Saratoga street during his walk. This was my response to his NextDoor post asking what to do with it. “Folks are stealing license plates from public places that they deploy on cars to go steal homes. So, we should report this to the sheriff calling the Saratoga non-emergency number. We should always report any suspicious activity or solicitors by calling 911 or the non-emergency number to Saratoga Sheriff 408 299-2311 // Emergency #408 299 3233. If you are using a cell phone, I recommend you use the direct dial number to Saratoga Sheriff.”
Question: Should I report solicitations at my door?
ANSWER: We highly recommend that you report all solicitation and suspicious behavior to the Sheriff. Call the Sheriff's non-emergency number 408 299 2311 and report it. For businesses out soliciting, you should ask for a City of Saratoga Permit.
Question: How do I register my surveillance camera?
ANSWER: The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with CrimeReports.com. for reported crimes in your area. CrimeReports.com hosts a Camera Registration Program. By registering the location of your home security cameras, you might assist the Sheriff’s Office in supplying information needed to catch criminals that have burglarized your neighbors. Having camera footage of suspects is one of the most valuable tools law enforcement can use to identify criminal suspects. Your information is kept secure and never made public. To register your security camera, go to www.CrimeReports.com and click on the “register my camera” link. Then select the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office as your local law enforcement agency.
Question: How do I report hate crime?
ANSWER: Report any hate crime here http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/hate-violence/
Question: How can I prepare for the cold spell?
1. Dress warmly in layers to avoid hypothermia.
2. Bring pets and potted plants inside and cover outdoor plants.
3. Check on isolated or medically fragile family, friends and neighbors.
For Santa Clara County cold weather resources visit: http://bit.ly/Cold_Weather_Resources
Who is at risk from hypothermia:
• Elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating
• Babies sleeping in cold bedrooms
• People who remain outdoors for long periods — the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.
• People who drink alcohol or use drugs
Don’t wait – take action:
If a person’s temperature is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately. If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:
• Get the victim into a warm room or shelter.
• If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it.
• Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket, if available. You can also use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
• Warm beverages can help increase body temperature, but do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
• After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
• Get medical attention as soon as possible.
Please check on family, friends, neighbors and others who might be at risk of cold-related health conditions. Older Adults and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions are very vulnerable to the cold. Take a few minutes to check in on elderly family, friends and neighbors and those with medical conditions to ensure they are warm and safe. Ensure that proper access to heating is available to them.
Question: What are the Winter Storm resources?
Santa Clara County shelter services listing of facilities click here: http://bit.ly/WarmCenters1-2-2019.
For more information on shelter locations and warming centers around Santa Clara County, visit the County of Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing at
Please do not use BBQ’s, kerosene lamps or any items that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and potentially death inside your home or vehicle.
Santa Clara Valley Water District’s flood resources web page: https://www.valleywater.org/floodready
contains helpful information about sandbag sites (including how to build a sandbag barrier), tips for what to do before/during/after a flood, how to report creek blockages and local street flooding, links to sign up for emergency alerts, and information on flood insurance, among other resources.
Question: What should I do if I see a down power line?
- DON'T TOUCH IT- by touching the power line, you could complete the circuit between the power grid and the ground and result in catastrophe. This includes touching it with a stick, broom or any other long object.
- STAY BACK- an energized power line can "dance" and move. Keep your distance to avoid being touched by the power line.
- CALL 911- Don't be afraid to call 911. Downed power lines is a serious emergency. The Fire Department can keep the area safe while PG&E is responding.
- TELL OTHERS TO STAY BACK- Power lines can sometimes be hard to see. Be a part of our safer community and t! ell others to keep back!
Can I drive over the power line?
- NO- Never drive over downed power lines. It is always safer to take the long way around. It isn't worth catastrophe.
What do I do if the power line is on my car or house?
- STAY PUT- Stay where you are and call 911. By exiting the car or house you could put your feet in contact with the energized area of ground surrounding downed power lines. This energized ground is just as dangerous as the wire itself.
- If your car or house is no longer safe to stay in, jump out and land with both feet together. Then shuffle to a safe location without lifting your feet off the ground.
Check out the information provided by PG&E
Question: What should I do if I experience flooding or other hazards during a storm this winter, and what are my winter emergency resources?
ANSWER: Flooding, fallen trees, power outages, and landslides are all possible outcomes of storms. It's always best to prepare ahead of time.
If you live in a flood-prone area, please prepare your property in advance. A free, 24-hour sandbag station is available right outside of the City's Corporation Yard (19700 Allendale Ave.) where you will find bags, sand, sandbag fillers, and shovels. There is a 25-bag limit per household. You can find information on proper sandbag techniques on the Santa Clara Valley Water District's website at https://www.valleywater.org/sandbags
You can report fallen trees, landslides, and flooding on roads and public property to the City of Saratoga by calling 408.868.1245 between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. At all other times, contact Santa Clara County Communications at 408.299.2507. Report power outages and damaged power lines to PG&E at 800.743.5000. You should also call 911 to report downed power lines and in the event of any other emergency. For more information, visit http://www.saratoga.ca.us/218/Winter-Storms
Question: How can I be proactive and prepare myself for the El Nino season that we are seemingly bracing for?
ANSWER: You should see the video to be released soon with detailed information and links. Residents can report fallen trees, landslides, and flooding on roads and public property in the following ways:
• Emergencies: Call 911
• Weekdays between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.: City of Saratoga at (408) 868-1245
• All other times: Santa Clara County Communications at (408) 299-2507
Every citizen of Saratoga should be signed-up with ALERTSCC to receive alerts via email, phone call, and/or text message. Sign up at alertscc.com.
Question: How does Saratoga notify residents in the case of an winter storm warning alert notifications?
ANSWER: Stay connected and alert in the eventuality of an earthquake, flood etc. Sign up for Alert SCC. You can sign up at www.Tinyurl.com/AlertSCC which will take you to the county site.
Question: Where can I find sandbags for my home?
ANSWER: We are experiencing a pretty wet season! Good thing given the drought, but stay safe, avoid flooded zones, report fallen trees and power lines, and use sandbags around your home if needed. Saratogans report local street flooding by calling (408) 868-1245 and if after hours call (408) 299-2507. If flooding, contact the local floodplain manager by calling (408) 868-1274. Are you looking for sand bags? Saratogans can go by the Redwood Middle School city yard parking lot and pick up free sandbags. Here are the other county locations http://www.valleywater.org/sandbags/
Here are 2 good links as well:
http://www.saratoga.ca.us/whatsnew/winterstorms.asp and this SCVWD page http://www.valleywater.org/Services/FloodProtectionResources.aspx
Question: What are some simple tips for fire safety?
#1 Notify authorities if you see people burning debris, playing with fireworks, or driving off-road vehicles in dry, grassy areas or trees touching a power line.
#2 Develop an evacuation plan for family members. Identify a meeting location outside your home and neighborhood.
#3 Create a fire-safe zone around your home, where dead vegetation and other flammable materials have been removed
#4 Have your address clearly visible from the street to help first responders find your house.
#5 Maintain two emergency kits, one at home and another in your car.
#6 Take videos and photos of everything for insurance purpose. Take picture copies of insurance policies, wills, passports, driver’s licenses and social security cards and place them on the cloud.
NOTE: If the home burns, it’s unlikely stuff stored in a fire safe will survive
For help developing a personal wildfire action plan, visit tinyurl.com/ReadySetGoPlan.
Question: What is Saratoga's Weed & Brush Abatement Program? How is it related to fire?
ANSWER: In Saratoga, there are two programs that help prevent wildfires by reducing the amount of flammable vegetation and debris. The first is the Weed Abatement Program managed by the City of Saratoga in partnership with the County of Santa Clara via contract. All properties in Saratoga are subject to this program. The second is the Brush Abatement Program/Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Preparedness Inspection managed by the Santa Clara County Fire Department. Only properties in the WUI area are affected. There are a number of things you can do to make sure your home is fire safe and in compliance. Keep tree limbs at least 10 feet away from chimneys or stove pipes. Also, remove dead vegetation from landscaping, and clear leaves from roofs, eaves, and gutters. The deadline to meet Weed Abatement requirements is April 15, and properties on the list will be inspected after that date. If properties are non-compliant, they may be subject to fees and other penalties. For more information and a full list of program requirements, visit:
Question: What are the rules pertaining to my old EWAS SYSTEM?
The big change we made with Saratoga Fire a few years back was to give residents a choice of system and the monitoring companies for an EWAS system. Residents are no longer limited to the vendor provided by Saratoga Fire. When an alarm system is required, Santa Clara County Fire makes the final determination if it meets all requirements. You can get another system and monitoring as long as County approves it.
You can call County Fire at 408 378 4010 and ask for Fire Prevention Department, speak with Mac Bala for further info. Here is the FAQ on EWAS http://www.saratogafire.org/ewas/
Question: What are the options if someone’s home was lost in the recent California fire?
ANSWER: Under California’s Revenue and Taxation Code for Disaster Relief, affected property owners, such as those in the recent Northern California fires and now the Southern California fires, who have suffered a calamity that destroys their property may be eligible for property tax relief. To qualify for property tax relief, property owners must file a claim with the county assessor. If the loss estimate is at least $10,000, the property will be assessed according to its damaged state and property taxes will be adjusted accordingly. This reduction will be effective from the month in which the damage occurred and will remain in effect until the property is rebuilt or repaired. When the structure is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, the property will retain its prior value (Proposition 13) for tax purposes. This property tax relief is available to owners of real property, business equipment and fixtures, orchards or other agricultural groves, and to owners of aircraft, boats, and certain mobile homes - it is not available to property that is not assessable, such as state licensed mobile homes or household furnishings.
Question: We are in the hillside and would like city of Saratoga to maintain areas that is currently maintained by home owners collectively
Discuss with PW Director John Cherbrne the Landscape and Lighting District
In 1980, the City of Saratoga (the “City”) formed the City of Saratoga Landscaping and Lighting Assessment District LLA-1 (the “District”). The District currently consists of 30 Zones which are budgeted separately and the properties within each Zone are assessed annually for their proportionate share of special benefit of the maintained improvements Each Zone incorporates specific improvements that were established at the time of development of the properties within the Zone or were installed for the benefit of the properties within the Zone. Some Zones are currently not levied based on the current reserves and other revenue sources such as property taxes available to the Zones.
The District provides a funding mechanism for the ongoing maintenance, operation and servicing of landscaping and public lighting improvements that provide special benefit to properties located within each Zone. These improvements may include, but are not limited to, the design, construction or installation, including the maintenance or servicing, or both, thereof, of landscaping, including trees, shrubs, grass or other ornamental vegetation, statuary, fountains and other ornamental structures and facilities, and public lighting facilities for the lighting of any public places, including traffic signals, ornamental standards, luminaries, poles, supports, tunnels, manholes, vaults, conduits, pipes, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platforms, braces, transformers, insulators, contacts, switches, capacitors, meters, communication circuits, appliances, attachments and appurtenances. The improvements also may include the cost of repair, removal or replacement of all or any part thereof, providing for the life, growth, health and beauty of landscaping, including cultivation, irrigation, trimming, spraying, fertilizing and treating for disease or injury; the removal of trimmings, rubbish, debris and other solid waste; electric current or energy, gas or other illuminating agent for any public lighting facilities or for the lighting or operation of any other improvements; and the operation of any fountains or the maintenance of any other improvements.
Question: How do I get a "Noise Exception" sound permit for a backyard party?
ANSWER: Did you know you can process a tree permit and a sound permit by just going online?
Here is the link https://www.saratoga.ca.us/304/Permits
Hosting a neighborhood block party? You can just submit the permit request online.
Give it a try, this should be no reason to have to make the trip to city hall.
We are also going to rollout building permits - simple ones like getting a remodel for car charging installations which is also online. This is great news seeing as it makes submitting these permit requests much more accessible and easy.
Question: How do I get a permit for a neighborhood block party?
ANSWER: Just go online.
Here is the link https://www.saratoga.ca.us/304/Permits
You can just submit the permit request online. Give it a try, there shouldn’t be a need to visit city hall.
Question: Our neighborhood is hosting a block party and would like a fire truck present for the kids
Here is how: Call County Fire at (408) 378-4010 and ask for Community Education Department, speak with Kristy Duncan to schedule the Fire Truck visit to your neighborhood
Question: Am I stuck with my old EWAS system? How do I get a replacement for my old EWAS SYSTEM?
Search for EWAS or scroll up
Landscaping / Water Questions/ Conservation/ Concerns:
Question: So, what is the latest water situation?
ANSWER: Visit www.RishiKumar.com/water for updates and information.
Question: I am not happy with my water bill - I feel I am getting squeezed with high water rates. What can I do?
ANSWER: Visit www.RishiKumar.com/water for protest information
Question: Are there water filling stations for Saratogans?
ANSWER: Our City staff recently completed the installation of two water filling stations to increase healthy drinking options for Saratoga residents at locations where there is potentially heavy foot and bicyclist traffic. The two locations are Congress Springs Park and Blaney Plaza. County PICH (Partnership to Improve Community Health) grant funds paid for the units and the installation of the water filling stations. The water filling stations have three tiers that allow residents to drink from the fountains, refill their water bottles and also give their pets water from an outlet at the bottom of the stations.
Question: How can I optimize the use of water in my yard?
ANSWER: Mulch is good. A layer of mulch several inches thick will gradually decompose, feed the trees or plants, retain soil moisture, improve soil texture and pH, create an environment that stimulates root growth, and can even destroy diseased organisms. Mulch can consist of a mixture of chipped wood, leaves, and branches obtained from tree companies. This material is typically free and better-quality mulch is often available for purchase from a nursery.
Question: Where can I find some Saratoga relevant landscaping information?
ANSWER: A new page has been added to the City’s website with information about the trees and plants the City selects for its landscaping throughout Saratoga. This new resource will also be shared with the America in Bloom judges, and a printed flyer will be made available. Thank you to Kevin Meek for being a valuable resource during the creation of this page! The page can be viewed at http://www.saratoga.ca.us/citylandscaping
Question: How is the Anderson Reservoir retrofit project coming along?
ANSWER: We have a very informative PowerPoint slide deck on the project as well as an FAQ. Both of these can be found here: http://www.valleywater.org/Services/AndersonDamAndReservoir.aspx
Who is the primary city contact for Garbage and Recycling matters?
ANSWER: Effective this week, Public Works will now be the primary point of contact on garbage and recycling matters. This includes missed garbage pickups, household hazardous waste, and the annual cleanups. The transition from the City Manager’s Office to Public Works has been timed with the formation of the West Valley Clean Water Program Authority, which will hold its first meeting on May 3rd.
Question: Does Saratoga offer a composting program? Are there classes that I can take?
ANSWER: Currently the only composting program offered in Saratoga is for commercial customers. Customers that produce a lot of food waste like restaurants, may opt to have a compost collection bid. Yard waste collected by our hauler, West Valley Collection & Recycling, is sometimes used to make compost. However, it most commonly is used as daily coverage at the Guadalupe Landfill. During the last round of hauler contract negotiations, the Board did consider providing organics (both food and yard waste) composting service for residential customers. However, the Board determined that the cost to compost residential organics was too high.
But here is an option in Saratoga http://scgardener.webs.com/apps/blog/show/32635005-free-and-inexpensive compost-in-santa-clara-county Cooper Garrod Farms
If you are interested in going into Cupertino here are a few resources: http://www.cupertino.org/our-city/departments/environment-sustainability/waste/compost/compost-site
For individuals interested in composting at home, the County in partnership with the University of California run a Master Composter program and provide free compost basics classes. There are a number of classes scheduled for this fall:http://cesantaclara.ucanr.edu/Home_Composting_Education/Composting_Workshops/
HOW ABOUT DOING IT YOURSELF?
Looking for a new way to improve the health of your garden? Interested in reducing waste? Try composting! Not only does composting benefit your garden, it also helps you save money on soil conditioners and increases the lifespan of our landfills. Best of all, composting is easy! Below are some tips for starting your own compost pile. For more information or to become a Santa Clara County Master Composter, visit
• Only use open compost piles for yard trimmings
• Place your pile away from any structures
• Chop up compost materials before adding them to your pile
• Mix together dry woody materials with moist green materials
• Keep your compost pile moist
• Stir or turn your compost pile about once per week
• Because compost bins keep rodents out, they are good for fruits, vegetables, and yard trimmings
• If you are using a compost bin, bury food scraps into the center of the pile
•The composting process is complete when the material in the pile looks like dark rich soil and easily crumbles in your fingers (this should take 1.5 to 3 months with a compost bin).
Question: Where can I drop Hazardous Waste?
ANSWER: No-Cost Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Day
Call www.hhw.org @ 408.299.7300.
- --Saturday, April 21, at County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) drop-off sites in San Jose or Sunnyvale.
-- April 28 in Santa Clara on
Earth Day is April 22 and a good reminder about recycling and protecting our environment. Do you have household hazardous waste, such as paint, cleaning products or pesticides that you need to dispose of safely?
For Cupertino and Palo Alto residents, please do not make an appointment. Contact your city's household hazardous waste program.
• Cupertino (800) 449-7587
• Palo Alto (650) 496-5910
If this weekend isn’t convenient, no-cost Household Hazardous Waste drive-through drop-off events are scheduled throughout the year at locations in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Martin, for community members to safely and sustainably dispose of or recycle paint, batteries, light bulbs, pesticides, household cleaners, automotive fluids, cooking oil, cosmetics and garden chemicals. Maps and directions are online and provided with sign-up opportunities. The site addresses and provides directions to the facilities that are only made available to residents at time-of-appointment to prevent unauthorized drop-offs and to ensure safe collection by professional staff. https://www.sccgov.org/sites/rwr/hhw/Pages/hhw.aspx
Question: Is there a free wood chipping program run by the county?
ANSWER: The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council (SCCFSC) is offering free chipping of debris piles that are the result of clearing defensible space on your property. This service is available for residents that live in High or Very High designated Fire Hazard Wildland Urban Interface areas. In general, this includes wooded hillside areas in South County. The debris piles must be from clearing defensible space within 100’ from your home or an access road. There are a number of requirements related to this service. For information on eligibility and program requirements, please go to their website at:https://www.sccfiresafe.org/santa-clara-county-fuel-reduction-programs/hazardous-fuel-reduction-programs Also, South County residents should check the community chipping schedule to see when their neighborhood is scheduled for chipping. That schedule and a link to maps of fire hazard areas can be found on their website: https://www.sccfiresafe.org/planning/south-santa-clara-county/364-south-santa-clara-county-chipping-program-for-2017
Pets and Dogs
Question: Can I have pet pigs in Saratoga?
ANSWER: The City Code is not specific on pet pigs. Section 15-12.020 (Permitted uses in single family residential zones) states that it comes down to pet owners being responsible and not impacting their neighbors.
Question: I see owners not picking up dog waste left behind. What should I do?
ANSWER: Saratoga has always been a dog-friendly community and abiding by leash laws and picking up dog waste will help it stay that way.
We prohibit this as a part of city code in parks. Please report it by calling the Telephone Number 408.868.1214 (hotline). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Webpage (including complaint form):
If it’s in your yard we don’t have a provision yet.
Owners must also immediately clean up after their dogs in parks and public areas, including schools. If you forget dog waste bags, the City has provided dog waste stations at City parks, throughout downtown, and at several trailheads. Please take only one bag as needed and dispose of them in nearby bins. Captain Jay Terrado manages the Field Services Unit for San Jose Animal Care and Services. The Field Services Unit responds to calls for animal law enforcement, stray animals, bite investigations, emergency calls, and other animal-related issues.
Question: I would love to see a dog park in Saratoga.
ANSWER: Dog Parks are generally expensive and high maintenance. They do not fit in with a minimal service city like ours.
Question: Are dogs allowed off their leashes in Saratoga?
ANSWER: Saratoga has always been a dog-friendly community and abiding by leash laws and picking up dog waste will help it stay that way.
No, dogs are not allowed off-leash when outside of their yards. When in public and at City parks, dogs must be kept on a leash that is no longer than 6 feet. Leash laws exist to keep your dog and the people and other dogs you encounter safe and able to comfortably enjoy the City's beautiful amenities. The City of Saratoga contracts with San Jose Animal Care and Services. To report a dog off-leash, contact them at 408.794.PAWS (7297), or call 911 if you find yourself in a dangerous situation where you feel threatened. San Jose Animal Care and Services also provide a variety of other animal services. You can contact them for pet licensing or if you have lost or found a pet. For more information, visit www.sanjoseanimals.com
That is a violation as per Saratoga city code. Suggestion - call the Sheriff's non-emergency number 408 299 2311 and report it. Typically, these types of calls are handled by San Jose animal control. Although the Sheriff’s office does frequently respond since animal control does take longer to respond. Animal control will either give warnings or cite the offenders.
What should I do when dealing with a neighborhood dangerous dog?
If you are dealing with a dog bite or attack, you should explore a civil law suit
The City of Saratoga contracts with San Jose Animal Care & Services for expertise and enforcement of the City Code regarding dangerous dogs. A dog may be deemed ‘Dangerous’ or ‘Potentially Dangerous’ by Animal Control if it exhibits certain behaviors, bites another dog or bites a human.
Captain Jay Terrado manages the Field Services Unit for San Jose Animal Care and Services. The Field Services Unit responds to calls for animal law enforcement, stray animals, bite investigations, emergency calls, and other animal-related issues.
A dog is considered ‘Potentially Dangerous’ if it has committed any of the following acts:
1) On two separate occasions within a 36-month period, engaged in any behavior that requires a defensive action by a person to prevent bodily injury when the person and the dog are off the property of the dog owner.
2) Bitten a person causing an injury that is not severe as defined in the code.
3) Severely injured a domestic animal while off the property of the offending dog.
A dog is deemed ‘Dangerous’ if it has committed any of the following acts:
1) Inflicted severe injury or killed a person; or
2) Killed a domestic animal, off the property of the offending dog; or
3) Committed an act qualifying it as potentially dangerous dog more than twice
during a 36-month period.
Question: How can I get involved with our city?
ANSWER: I am happy to discuss how you can join one of our Saratoga Commissions listed here. You can also join the Safe Saratoga Citizens committee facebook.com/groups/safesaratoga
Here are organizations to consider joining:
Saratoga Historical Foundation http://www.saratogahistory.com/membership.htm
Hakone Garden http://www.hakone.com/get-involved/become-a-member.html
Saratoga Sister City is also looking for board members. Contact Ginger Lai <email@example.com>
Question: How can I volunteer for the City of Saratoga? (From Saratoga Source)
Answer: The City of Saratoga staff members enjoy working with youth and adult volunteers who help support a variety of City programs. Some volunteers donate time to ongoing administrative projects during business hours. Others join in one-day opportunities at events or activities that are held on evenings and weekends.
Some of the recent events volunteers were involved with include the State of the City, Safety Fair, Color Dash, Movie Nights, and the Paint the City Utility Box art project. In the fall and winter, volunteers also help to beautify and maintain Quarry Park trails or fill sandbags in preparation for winter rains.
If the City does not have an opportunity that matches your availability and interests, there are many other ways to get involved in the community. You can visit www.saratoga.ca.us/volunteer for information on opportunities with the City or www.volunteermatch.org
Question: I am new to Saratoga. Are there Saratoga specific Interest Groups I can subscribe / join?
ANSWER: Here are a few groups:
Discussion group for Saratoga Residents
Saratoga’s STEM programs for middle and high school kids http://groups.google.com/group/SiliconValleySTEAM
Email group for Saratoga Union School District https://groups.google.com/group/susdparents
Email group for Saratoga’s High School District http://groups.google.com/group/shsparents
Email group for Saratoga Safety http://groups.google.com/group/safeSaratoga and Facebook.com/groups/SafeSaratoga
Saratoga Neighborhood Watch Captain’s group https://www.facebook.com/groups/SafetyCaptains
Email group for Saratoga Water http://groups.google.com/group/WaterOversight
Saratoga Chamber of Commerce events https://www.facebook.com/groups/saratogachamber
Saratoga’s Open Mic / Entertainment events Email group: http://Groups.google.com/group/ValleyTalent
Revitalize Saratoga group: https://groups.google.com/group/revitalizesaratoga
Incredible Saratoga Groups.google.com/group/IncredibleSaratoga
Noise Concerns/ Control:
Question: Is Saratoga planning to address the Leaf blower noise? I think it’s a fair assessment that most everybody is annoyed by the excessive and obnoxious sound that most leaf blowers create. They permeate our audible landscape daily. I used to think that maybe I was just unlucky enough to live near commercial properties that employ leaf blowers until I started to bring it up with others who live in more conventional neighborhoods (and not just in Saratoga). What is Saratoga considering to address this noise pollution?
ANSWER: On leaf blowers - please visit https://www.saratoga.ca.us/159/Noise-Standards
In response to the increased use of leaf blowers, the Saratoga City Council recently passed an ordinance that will help decrease noise pollution in the City. The new ordinance will go into effect on October 1, 2019.
The new ordinance will go into effect on October 1, 2019. It will require that all leaf blowers used in Saratoga are certified by the manufacturer to produce no more than 65 A-weighted decibels (dBA) or less at a distance of 50 feet.
Question: What is the latest on the Air Traffic noise over Saratoga?
ANSWER: Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) released the updated final version of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) response to recommendations made by the San Francisco Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.- https://eshoo.house.gov/uncategorized/eshoo-speier-panetta-release-updated-faa-responses-on-aircraft-noise-concerns-in-three-congressional-districts-14-18-20/
The FAA developed this document “Initiative to address noise concerns of Santa Cruz/ Santa Clara/ San Mateo/ San Francisco” as a result of meetings with elected officials and community leaders over the last several months. Congresswoman Eshoo is also introducing legislation that would require the FAA to plan with communities before implementing changes and also to restore the EPA’s Office of Noise abatement and Control which was defunded more than 3 decades ago. Stay tuned - we are pushing this issue.
Join this group Quiet Skies NorCal http://www.quietSkiesNorCal.org
Question: Status on Village Vision Plan
Question: Status on Prospect Road construction project
Question: Status on Big Basin Turnaround
ANSWER: As of July 2018 Construction of the Big Basin Way Turnaround is scheduled to begin in early August. George Bianchi Construction has been chosen as the contractor for this project. Work will include the installation of a small, “kidney bean” shaped island, and the installation of signage and striping. Staff anticipates the construction to cost around $20,000. The turnaround will be located at the west end of the Village in a paved area frequently used to make U-turns.
Question: Status on Village to Hakone Gardens Walkway
As of July 2018: Bellecci and Associates completed the design plans for the Village to Hakone Gardens Walkway and submitted them to Caltrans for approval early this week. The proposed walkway will run from the existing sidewalk terminus at the west end of the Village to the Hakone Gardens driveway on Congress Springs Road. This walkway is the first leg of a pedestrian path that will eventually connect the Village to Quarry Park. The plans are available to view in the Engineering Department.
Question: What is the status for the all-inclusive playground at El Quito Park or Magical Bridges playground?
The City Council approved a Capital Improvement Project in FY 2016/17 with the goal of constructing an all-inclusive playground at El Quito Park in partnership with the Magical Bridge Foundation at the request of the Saratoga Youth Commission. I understand that the Magical Bridge Foundation sought out a partnership with the Saratoga Monte Sereno Community Foundation to help secure donors to fund the local match required for the project. The City had budgeted $160,000 to kick-start the project design once the local match had been secured. Unfortunately a local match was not secured through various fundraising efforts.
The County of Santa Clara later established the All-Inclusive Playground Grant Program which provides $2 million in matching funds for each Supervisorial District. The program requires a dollar-per-dollar match from cities or non-profit corporations. The City of Campbell recently received a $1 million grant from this program for an all-inclusive playground at John D. Morgan Park after committing $1 million in city park development fees received from new home construction in Campbell. The City of Saratoga does not have the same level of new home construction as Campbell to accumulate that kind of park development funding. An all-inclusive playground is still identified in Saratoga’s Capital Improvement Program Unfunded Project List. I’m sure the City Council would seriously consider putting the project on the funding list for FY 2019/20 if at least a $1 million local match from the community is secured to move the project forward.
Question: I have a question on AirBnB rentals. I was going through a post on nextdoor.com today where a resident had posted a link to an article about a Miami neighborhood that went south because of Airbnb rentals. I performed a quick check on Airbnb for Saratoga, which showed about 4 rentals. I believe that Saratoga does not permit short term rentals such as those for Airbnb or VRBO. What does the city do to enforce the code? Is there an active check on such rentals? Is there any publicity around the code? With all the action some months ago about neighborhood watch programs, I think this goes hand in hand with keeping our city safe and pristine.
ANSWER: Please email your concerns to code enforcement at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: How do I report blight?
Question: I see a home that is not being maintained and potentially a fire hazard. A potential blight.
ANSWER: Call city staff Paige - Code enforcement
COMCAST, PG&E, San Jose Water SJWC
Question: What is Saratoga’s Franchise fee that I see on my water bill and Comcast bill?
2017 franchise fees collected
Comcast - $ 370,238 (5%)
AT&T - $ 75,411 (5%)
SJWC - $266,522 (2%)
The 1957 Franchise Agreement between the City and SJWC provides for a 2% franchise fee.
In 2017, the City received $266,522 in franchise fees from SJWC.
In 2006 the State took away cities authority to have separate video franchise agreements through the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 (DIVCA). They also set the franchise fee rate at 5% for video services. Franchise Fee is a general fund revenue source that is applied towards the general operations of the City. I’ve attached an excerpt from the City’s FY 207/18 adopted budget which illustrates our general fund revenues by category. We are expecting to receive approximately $2.3 million in franchise fees this FY which represents approximately 11% of our general fund revenue.
Question: I plan to dig my yard for some yard work? Do I need to call someone to ensure I don’t hit a gas line?
ANSWER: CALL 811 “Call Before You Dig” and let them know please. They will come out and mark your yard for no charge.
Question: I really want to have competitive cable/high speed service, and have options. Can the city enable that?
ANSWER: Given our population, the economics does not work well for another company like Verizon to jump in also and compete with AT&T and Comcast. There is significant investment in infrastructure needed and Verizon (or any other company) would focus on high population densities first. With Google fiber, our city did not have the financial prowess to invest into Google fiber, which some other cities were able to make. Thus, we did not make the list the first time around. But we will apply again at the soonest opportunity and I think that Google Fiber would be great for our city. I will let you know how things progress.
Question: I'm planning to book the multipurpose room at Joan Pisani center for a party and wondered if you had any cost-saving insight on booking the place.
ANSWER: You can get 10% discount for Saratoga residents and a 50% discount if you run through a non-profit. Email Nina Walker <email@example.com>
Question: I'm not happy about the street cleaning
Here is our web page on street sweeping that contains the schedule - https://www.saratoga.ca.us/214/Street-Sweeping . The contract is administered through our Streets Division in Public Works
Question: How do I book the Multi-purpose room or any other room at the Joan Pisani Community Center?
ANSWER: Please call Nina and setup an appointment. Here is her contact information:
City Of Saratoga
19655 Allendale Ave.
Saratoga, CA. 95070
Question: I found a dead bird in my yard and reported it to the County's vector control unit. They picked it up and tested it and found that it had West Nile Virus. A little research reveals that this is a pretty bad mosquito borne illness that kills people. I don’t know what sort of outreach the City is doing with the County but thought you would want to know that we have West Nile Virus in town.
ANSWER: Santa Clara County VCD has detected the first West Nile virus positive birds of 2015. The three American crows were found on March 19th in San Jose (zip 95124), March 20th in San Jose (zip 95123), and on March 20th in Cupertino (zip 95014). Dead birds can be reported online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
Question: How will Proposition 64 / Marijuana Proposition impact Saratoga?
ANSWER: On January 1, Proposition 64 will take effect in California. In June 2017, the Saratoga City Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting all commercial sales and outdoor cultivation of marijuana within the City of Saratoga. This step is expected to eliminate the public safety and health risks associated with outdoor cultivation and commercial marijuana activities, including burglary, trespassing, robbery, and chemical or pesticide use that can harm people and the environment.
This will also reduce opportunities for people under 21 to obtain marijuana, which aligns with the City’s updates to its tobacco policies to protect youth from smoking and reduce overall exposure to secondhand smoke.
Question: How can I contact the Santa Clara County Agricultural org.?
ANSWER: Contact the Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner at 408.918.4600
Question: Can I have other people work in my home that functions also as an office?
ANSWER: No person other than a resident of the dwelling shall be employed in the conduct of a home occupation.
---Excerpts from our code ----
5-40.010 - General regulations.
All home occupations shall comply with the following regulations:
(a) There shall be no stock-in-trade other than products manufactured on the premises.
(b) A home occupation shall be conducted within a dwelling by an occupant thereof and shall be clearly incidental to the use of the structure as a dwelling.
(c) A home occupation shall not be conducted in an accessory structure and there shall be no storage of equipment or supplies in an accessory structure or outside the dwelling.
(d) There shall be no external alteration of the dwelling in which a home occupation is conducted.
(e) The existence of a home occupation shall not be apparent beyond the boundaries of the site.
(f) Medical offices for doctors, dentists, osteopaths, chiropractors and other practitioners of the healing arts are not permitted as home occupations in any A, R-1, HR, R-OS or R-M district.
(g) No person other than a resident of the dwelling shall be employed in the conduct of a home occupation.
(h) A home occupation shall not create any noise, odor, dust, fumes, vibration, smoke or radio or television interference beyond the boundaries of the site.
(i) Not more than one truck, of not more than one-half ton capacity, and no semi-trailers, incidental to a home occupation shall be kept on a site.
(j) A home occupation shall not create pedestrian, automobile or truck traffic significantly in excess of the normal amount in the district.
(k) There shall be no display of merchandise, products or other material or equipment for advertising purposes.
(l) Professional or administrative offices wherein clients or prospective clients are regularly met upon the premises shall not be permitted as home occupations in any A, R-1, HR, R-OS or R-M district. This prohibition shall not apply to the sale of dwelling units out of a temporary office established in a model home when properly authorized by a use permit.
Question: Is Saratoga thinking Microgrid? I have heard of other cities rolling out Microgrids for Emergency Shelters, Fire Stations, ETC.
ANSWER: At a recent city council meeting Councilmember Rishi Kumar proposed a Microgrid concept for Saratoga and for our emergency shelter. Our Community Center serves as an emergency refuge in the event of a disaster like a major storm or earthquake and a microgrid can be configured to supply clean power to the Community Center in the scenario of an outage. A Microgrid solution is currently being deployed at 3 Fire Stations in Fremont for critical facilities such as Community Centers, Fire and Police stations, and Medical facilities. The essence of their solution is intelligent software that integrates and manages the power from: Solar PV arrays, Battery Storage Systems, and the Grid itself. Yes, such innovative approaches for Saratoga would also help reduce our monthly expense.
Question: In light of the recent developments specifically around immigration, can I expect that the Sheriff’s Department West Valley Division to indiscriminately stop and question citizenship?
ANSWER: We follow the General Order Policy. We will not initiate police action to discover the status of a citizen. We leave that to federal authorities and will only check for a driver’s license.
Question: I am interested in bee keeping in my backyard and would like to find out what are the regulations for that?
ANSWER: See below