Council members were not moved Tuesday night by last-minute efforts by the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor to keep housing as an option for future development of Google's neighborhood north of Highway 101.
Council members voted 6-1 in a final approval of Mountain View's 2030 general plan, a kind of road map for redevelopment in key areas of the city and the culmination of four years of meetings, and a "community visioning" process in 2008.
Largely by increasing allowed building densities and heights, it encourages redevelopment along El Camino Real, in the East Whisman area, North Bayshore (north of Highway 101), Moffett Boulevard and the San Antonio Shopping Center area.
Council members removed an allowance for as many as 1,100 apartments along Shoreline Boulevard between Highway 101 and Charleston Road. The housing would likely have been used by employees of Google and other tech companies in the area and was supported strongly by the Chamber of Commerce, which posted a YouTube video promoting the idea and whose members largely support North Bayshore housing, said president Oscar Garcia.
Council member Tom Means was the sole opponent to the general plan adoption. Mayor Mike Kasperzak and John Inks supported the motion although they opposed the removal of housing in North Bayshore.
Council members had some fiery comments after having been called on by residents to explain their position against housing in North Bayshore.
"One thousand units of single-occupancy rooms, that's not a community, that's dorms," said council member Ronit Bryant. "It's done a lot in China. Huge factories, huge apartment blocks, I don't think everyone lives happily ever after."
"Housing by companies went out with the mining towns," said member Jac Siegel. "That just went away a long time ago. This is not a university, people need to grow up and they need to go out" of where they work.
While the discussion focused almost entirely on North Bayshore, there was dissent on the council about other parts of the general plan as well, most notably the council's move in April to allow much higher densities for key El Camino Real intersections (up to a 3.0 floor area ratio) that could mean more than the five-story buildings residents said they supported, Siegel said.
Environmentalists were split over the pitch for new housing in North Bayshore, with supporters saying it would reduce greenhouse gasses from commuters and wildlife preservationists saying it would encroach on wildlife in Shoreline Park.
"We have an increasing imbalance of more jobs and less housing," said Aaron Grossman of the Coalition for Sustainable Planning, calling for the housing. He said protests from preservationists were "long on emotion, short on vision."
"Somebody needs to tell wildlife that greenhouse gas reduction is more important than their habitat," said Siegel.