|Palo Alto Online Real Estate
Uploaded: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 12:12 PM
Updated: Monday, December 31, 2012, 2:32 PM
|Step inside Cuernavaca's main gate and the first thing you'll see is the planned community's clubhouse, which includes tennis courts, a pool, a workout room and a "tot lot" for the neighborhood's children. For many residents, this is paradise.
"It's like a resort," said Steve Cowan, who lives on Elena Privada with his wife Suzanne.
The clubhouse, a social hub for the neighborhood, is the site of about three or four all-neighborhood parties a year.
"You get to meet a lot of people that way," Cowan said.
Cowan lives in a four-bedroom F model townhouse -- the one with the largest floor plan. He moved to Cuernavaca in 1994 with his first wife and her two kids. One draw for Cowan was the architecture -- Spanish style with a signature color that can be hard to pin down.
"It's a very light beige with a pink overtone," he said. "Depending on how the sun catches it, it can either look yellow or pink."
Cowan was also attracted by Cuernavaca's centrality to Silicon Valley and the rest of the Peninsula.
When Dee West was offered a job at Stanford University in 2004, he and his wife were already living in a planned community in Walnut Creek.
"Our Realtor told us of an isolated place, a little oasis in the middle of Mountain View. It was very attractive to us," West said.
West not only found the people friendly, but the board supportive. He's served on that board for the last three years and is currently vice president.
There is no typical resident of Cuernavaca, both neighbors said. Cowan estimated that more than 20 languages are spoken at home in the 170-unit neighborhood. West noted that "being in Silicon Valley, we have more Asian families moving in, many quite young."
And that diversity gets celebrated at least four times a year, with themed dinners with ethnic foods.
The Cuernavaca Homeowners Association -- Cowan's served on the board of directors twice -- recently switched property management companies. The caretaker, though, has been with the community since before Cowan moved there, and is well-loved by residents.
"He really keeps this place going," Cowan said.
Property management expenses come out of neighborhood dues, which are currently set at $205 a month. They've gone up just $25 since Cowan arrived, he said, calling the board "responsible."
Having come from another planned community, West appreciates the board's attitude.
"We have rules here -- how long you can park your car in certain spots -- but they don't go overboard. It's not overly restrictive, just to keep the community nice and functioning. It's OK to put up Christmas decorations and things of that nature," he said.
One change Cowan hasn't appreciated, though, is the steady destruction of trees near the complex.
"We can hear the 85 a bit more," he said, adding that he's seen an increase in traffic since the '90s.
-- Emma Trotter and Carol Blitzer
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Western Montessori Day School, 323 Moorpark Way; St. Timothy's Nursery School, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA Huff Kids' Place, 253 Martens Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive
LOCATION: off Crestview Drive, near El Camino Real and the Sunnyvale border
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Matthew Duncan, president, Cuernavaca Homeowners Association; CMS property management, 408-559-1977; email@example.com
PARKS: Green belt on the property
POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): St. Stephen Lutheran School, 320 Moorpark Way
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District -- Huff Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Mountain View High School
SHOPPING: Americana Shopping Center Lucky Stores
MEDIAN 2012 CONDO PRICE: $1,057,500 ($888,000-$1,280,000)
CONDOS SOLD: 6
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