Where are Santa Clara County’s Earthquake Faults and Flood Plains?

Where are Santa Clara County's Earthquake Faults and Flood Plains_Earthquake faults and flood plains are of interest to home buyers throughout the Golden State and to their lenders, too. Part of the home sale and home buying process is to provide information on these risk factors so that consumers (and their lenders) can make an informed decision.

Natural Hazard Reports are included in the disclosures when homes are bought and sold here in Silicon Valley. Those reports will indicate whether or not the property is located in areas with known natural hazards, including

  • Flood Plains (100 and 500 year floods from heavy rainfall)
  • Liquefaction Zones
  • Earthquake Fault Zones
  • Unstable Soils Areas (landslide areas)
  • Flooding from dam failure zones

But wouldn’t you like to know where those places are before ever deciding where to target your next home?

Mapping Earthquake Faults and Flood Plains

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San Jose: an introduction

If you are new to the area or relocating to Silicon Valley, you may find the sprawling, diverse city of San Jose a little confusing at first, so today I want to do a broad overview of the area.  San Jose covers about half of Santa Clara County, includes over a million people, with many school districts, and has lots of distinct areas.  Much of it was filled with orchards 100 years ago and was a significant portion of the area then known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight.

 

Public Schools in San Jose

Since many people coming to San Jose are interested in the public schools, I want to note that the city boundaries are not the same as school district boundaries.  Nor do the school boundaries follow zip codes.  The lines were drawn before most of the valley was incorporated into cities or towns, so that’s why it is the way it is – old boundaries, many dating from the 1800s. The Union School District serves students in the Cambrian area of San Jose as well as residents of the eastern end of Los Gatos, for example.  The biggest school district in SJ is San Jose Unified.  To see all of the school districts in the county, visit the Santa Clara County Office of Education site.  (A good place to check school scores is SchoolAndHousing.com.)

Districts or Larger Areas within San Jose

Let’s start with a map I created with the major areas identified (this may not be precise but it’s close).

 

San Jose Districts or Areas map

 

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Schools, API Scores & Maps of School Boundaries in San Jose’s Almaden Valley

One of the many reasons the Almaden Valley of San Jose is so popular is the wonderful public schools.  Almaden, like the rest of the county, does not have “easy” school district boundaries.  Instead, it’s complicated – Almaden is served by several different public school districts and various schools within one of them. It can be very confusing for home buyers to figure out which areas belong to which elementary, middle and high schools. Today we’ll address this broad topic, looking at both the districts and the individual schools, providing links to both. We’ll include API scores and maps of district and school boundaries too.

Disclaimers about schools of attendance:

First, schools – especially the most popular ones – are sometimes impacted, or full.  If you move into an area it is likely that you can have your students attend the neighborhood school but it is NOT GUARANTEED. For example, if your nearest or assigned school is Williams but it’s full, your child may be assigned to Simonds or some other elementary school. You will remain in the same district but may not have the nearest school. This is particularly a problem when moves happen in the middle of the school year.

Second, sometimes boundaries change between schools in the same district. This usually only happens after a lot of public debate and discussion, but it can happen. (This is also true for some designated natural hazard zones such as flood plains – those maps can and do sometimes change!)

Third, the San Jose Unified Schools in the Almaden Valley did have court-ordered busing from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s to help with desegregation. This practice ended in 1996 and the court order was lifted in 2003. You can read about the history of the San Jose Unified School District online. Although it appears unlikely that busing will happen again, I cannot guarantee that it won’t.

These are the three broad regions and their schools: (more…)