After seeing some drawings of a parkway running through his family's property, former City Council member Matt Pear spoke up to oppose the idea in Tuesday's City Council meeting.
Pear said his family and their investment partners would never be amenable to the city's vision for a pedestrian path along the length of the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct right of way in Mountain View. The proposed path could connect San Antonio Shopping Center to Klein Park before reaching all the way to the Whisman neighborhood. The city has been studying the feasibility of the idea, but the challenge is that the Hetch Hetchy runs through various properties where it is used as parking or open space, including Pear's parcel.
The 100-foot-wide strip that runs diagonally through the northwest corner of the property is used as parking for Pear's tenants, Target and Wheel Works. It also runs through the yard of his residence behind Target.
The envisioned pathway would cut off driveway access to Target from California Street and make the property Wheel Works sits on into a small, unusable triangle, Pear said.
Although the strip of land is owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Pear said the plan amounted to a "taking" and equated it with eminent domain. It would sharply devalue the property, he said.
He added that the owners he represents are not interested in a costly Santa Row-style redevelopment of the property and will be sticking to the formula for big box, warehouse retail even if Target leaves the site, which he appears to be anticipating. Pear mentioned Home Depot as a future possible tennant for the site.
Pear said his family has owned the property since 1895 and initially used it to plant row crops and orchards.