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[whitespace] News From Silicon Valley's Neighborhoods

Chain Gains
Los Gatos--Ever frugal, the Los Gatos Town Council last week voted to send the town's classic firetruck to a cheap place for required renovation. Initial estimates to make safety-oriented alterations to the old fire engine, which is living out its retirement as a jungle gym at Oak Meadow Park, were looking pretty expensive (nearly $30,000) until Councilman Joe Pirzynski suggested shipping the engine to Elmwood Correction Center. There, he argued, inmates would be able to do most of the work for free--only the cost of sandblasting, transportation and materials would get passed on to the town. The savings are significant--over $20,000--and the Town Council gets the satisfaction of knowing that there are a tad fewer idle hands at the county jail.

Street Talk
Campbell--The Campbell City Council finally sewed up the San Tomas Area Neighborhood Plan, which contained some hot-button issues for residents of that bucolic area. They don't want to become citified, thank you, and it looks like they won't have to--not much, anyway. They get rolled curbs instead of the whole sidewalk-gutter- and-curb package, and the new plan includes fairly stringent limits on additions to existing single-family homes. Although the floor-area ratio has gone up from 45 percent to 50 percent, additions will have to meet architectural approval.

Paved Paradise
Palo Alto--New legislation may be required before a group of Palo Alto residents will be permitted to plant as many as 2,000 tall tree saplings along the north county stretch of El Camino Real. The tree-huggers hit a snag recently when Caltrans officials turned down the plan, citing the need to protect drivers from big trees. Local environmentalists duking it out with transit bureaucrats have enlisted the help of state Senator Byron Sher, who promises to help the El Camino tree canopy take root.

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Web extras to the January 27-February 2, 2000 issue of Metro.

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