Woodside moves forward on Jobs' demo permit

Town council votes almost unanimously to advance process relating to Apple CEO's plans to tear down a dilapidated 1935 mansion to make room for a smaller, modern home.

Steve Jobs' 1925 mansion in Woodside, Calif.
Steve Jobs' 1925 mansion in Woodside, Calif. Jennifer Guevin/CNET (created with Microsoft Virtual Earth)

Updated at 12:15 p.m. PDT with confirmation and additional information from the Woodside town manager.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is one step closer to getting permission to tear down his dilapidated 1925 mansion in Woodside, Calif.

The Woodside Town Council voted almost unanimously Tuesday night to let Jobs move forward with his plans to demolish the 14-bedroom home to make room for a smaller, modern home on the same land.

The council for the small town--one of the world's wealthiest and home to other tech pioneers like Larry Ellison, Thomas Siebel, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Gordon Moore--voted 6-1 to instruct town staff to prepare a resolution approving a demolition permit for the 17,000 square-foot home, according to Town Manager Susan George. (First reported by the local paper The Daily News.) The staff is also preparing additions to the environmental impact report (EIR) and other documents to make the action legal under California law, George said.

The council is scheduled to revisit those items again on June 9. The one opposing vote belonged to Mayor Peter Mason, who said he was saddened by the dwindling number of historic buildings in the area, The Daily News wrote.

Jobs' plans have long been opposed by historic preservationists, who say the Spanish Colonial revival-style home built for copper mining magnate Daniel Jackling should be renovated or moved to another location.

Jobs bought the house in 1984 and hasn't lived in it for a decade. The council approved a similar demolition permit in 2004, but was sued over the decision by a group called Uphold Our Heritage, which argued the EIR the council used to justify its approval didn't show substantial evidence that restoration alternatives were cost-prohibitive. A trial court ruled in favor of the preservationists and an appeals court confirmed that decision in 2007, according to a town of Woodside staff report (PDF).

This time around, Jobs' has included detailed cost estimates that show it would cost $8.2 million to build Jobs' new 6,000-square-foot house, compared with $13.3 million to renovate the existing house, which has long been in a state of disrepair, as is evident in the shots (see below slideshow) taken in 2006 by "urban explorer" Jonathan Haeber.

The council on Tuesday also voted, George said, to include conditions in the demo permit documents that Jobs' would limit his new home to 10,000 square feet; agree to work in good faith with a man committed to preserving the historical elements of the house; and integrate the Jackling House's six-acre parcel with the three-acre adjacent parcel he also owns, to create one nine-acre parcel.

About the author

Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.

 

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