News

Council: new Rengstorff property should be a park

Senior housing idea is a no-go for Stieper property

Council members voted against any possibility of redeveloping a lush, 1.22-acre piece of property on Rengstorff Avenue Tuesday, deciding instead to preserve its numerous fruit trees in a unique park.

Council member Ronit Bryant called the park-to-be, which sits in the middle of a neighborhood that is notable for lacking parks -- "a gift for the entire city."

"I see it as a green oasis, a place of respite for the neighborhood," Bryant said at the Sept. 24 meeting. "I would like to leave it, as much as possible, as-is."

Council members agreed, voting 6-1 to preserve the trees on the site and not pursue the possibility to build anything there, including an option to build affordable senior housing on half of the site. Mayor John Inks was opposed.

In June the city closed escrow on the $3 million property, purchased from its longtime owner, Frances Stieper, who will continue to live there until November. It has 145 trees -- many bearing fruit -- numerous beehives. The home that Stieper and her husband built over 60 years ago is said to now be in too poor a condition to be saved.

The council had previously decided to place the city's tiny, historic "Immigrant House" on the site after it is restored, an idea championed by Marina Marinovich, whose grandparents once lived in the 1880s home at 160 Bryant Street after arriving in this country.

"We should stay the course and turn this into a beautiful park," Marinovich said. "It's such a jewel for Mountain View. I think it will be a wonderful place for the Immigrant House."

Members also considered having a community garden on the site, but there was disagreement over whether there should be garden plots for individuals on the city's waiting list or if there should be a "demonstration garden" which anyone could be involved in.

Kavita Dave Coombe spoke for a group advocating for a demonstration garden somewhere in the city, possibly at the Stieper property or some open lots near downtown on Shoreline Boulevard.

Demonstration gardens "create a sense of belonging for residents," Coombe said. People of all ages and all skill levels learn "sustainable" farming techniques, she said. Residents pointed to examples: Full Circle Farms in Sunnyvale and Veggielution in San Jose, which also provide thousands of pounds of food to low income residents of those cities.

Council member Jac Siegel made the motion that members approved, which was for "100 percent park" on the site, with "passive uses" only, such as benches and walkways, preserving "as much as possible" on the site, including its "character."

There was not support for Siegel's original motion, which would have kept the city from building garden plots for individuals, a type of garden use that Siegel said he was in "violent disagreement" with as it would serve too few people for such an expensive space.

Google executive chef Liv Wu proposed partnering with the city to create a teaching kitchen on the site. "(It) completes the circle about what to do with food and how to cook," Wu said.

Council members didn't embrace Wu's idea Tuesday. Members were also lukewarm to the idea of building formal play structures on the site, with members Margaret Abe-Koga and Siegel saying that it would be a great place for "unstructured play" for kids, like what exists at the Cuesta Annex.

There's also the problem of there being no place for a parking lot.

"The Immigrant House, fine, but plans to bring in busloads of tourists, I don't think so -- unless there are plans to teleport them in from somewhere," Bryant said. "We're a very small city, we have lots of ideas."

It is important, she said, that "we not try to cram too many things in."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Larry
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

It's true that individual garden plots would only serve a few people. However, there is now a SIX YEAR waiting list for "individuals" who want garden plots on MV park land -- so the demand is great! And the "individuals" who farm these plots frequently share their bounty with neighbors.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Maher is a registered user.

IS there any way to get Inks off the city council asap? This guy is just too silly to be tolerated.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JeffM
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Address of property? Link to map?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Darin
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Darin is a registered user.

Does anyone know why Mayor Inks opposed the motion? Does he support some use(s) that the motion prohibits? senior housing? gardens? play structures? something else?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I watched the taped replay and Mayor Inks who supported the the purchase believes the land could be put to better use.

A community garden is a bad idea. It effectively gives a few residents private use in perpetuity of public land with out paying their fair share. One way to reduce the waiting list on the current community gardens is to only allow a limited tenure over a plot. Say perhaps 2-3 years and then have a lottery to determine who gets plots. This would allow more people to use the public land.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm

"Council member Ronit Bryant called the park-to-be, which sits in the middle of a neighborhood that is notable for lacking parks -- "a gift for the entire city."

Another ignorant statement from this woman. WE have plenty of parks in the area. I can list 4 nearby to this area. Here is a list of all the parks Mt. View has, not sure we need more.

Parks



PARK SITES AND FACILITIES GUIDE

Bubb Park
Barbara Avenue & Montalto Drive
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, soccer/football field, horseshoe area, passive areas, restrooms, picnic area, softball field, and outdoor volleyball court.

Castro Park
Toft Avenue & Latham Street
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, passive areas, picnic area and outdoor volleyball court.

Charleston Park
Charleston Road
Amenities include: Passive areas and restrooms.

Chetwood Park
Chetwood Drive & Whisman Station Drive
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

Community Center
Rengstorff Avenue & Central Expressway
Amenities include: Auditorium, meeting room and restrooms.

Cooper Park
Chesley Avenue & Yorkton Drive
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, soccer/football field, passive areas, picnic area, softball field, tennis courts and restrooms.

Creekside Park
Easy Street & Gladys Avenue
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas and trail access.

Crittenden Park
West Middlefield Road
Amenities include: Softball/soccer, basketball court, restrooms (Not open to the public during school hours 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Cuesta Park
615 Cuesta Drive
Amenities include: BBQ facilities, bocce ball court, children's playground, horseshoe area, passive areas, picnic areas, tennis courts, volleyball court, and rest rooms. Host to Summer Sounds concert series.

Dana Park
Dana Street & Oak Street
Amenities include: Passive areas.

Del Medio Park
380 Del Medio Avenue
Amenities include: Children's playground, swings, outdoor exercise equipment, passive areas, benches, and a picnic area.

Devonshire Park
62 Devonshire Avenue
Amenities include: Play equipment, swings, arbor, picnic tables and benches, expanded turf area.


Dog Park
Northeast corner of Shoreline Blvd. and North Road (east of Shoreline Park entry gate)
The approximate 2/3 acre park is open every day from 6 a.m. through 1/2 hour past sunset. The park is designed to provide separate fenced open areas for both small and large dogs. A shade structure is provided as well. Animals may run off-leash while inside the park; however, they are required to be leashed while going to and from the parking area to the dog park. Dogs are not permitted in Shoreline Park.
Amenities include: Drinking fountains, shade structure, animal waste bags and dispensers, trash receptacles, a bulletin board, a disabled-accessible portable restroom and seating benches.

Dog Park FAQs and for more information visit the Mountain View Dog Park Place or call the Shoreline Park office at 650/903-6392.

Eagle Park & Pool
652 Franklin Street
Amenities include: Children's playground, picnic area, swimming pool and restrooms.

Fairmont Park
Fairmont Avenue & Bush Street
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

Gemello Park
Marich Way & Solana Court
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

Graham Athletic Field
1175 Castro Street
Amenities include: Softball/soccer, basketball court, restrooms (Not open to the public during school hours 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Huff School/Park
Martens Avenue
Amenities include: Children's playground, baseball/soccer fields, passive areas (Not open to the public during school hours 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Jackson Park
Jackson Street & Stierlin Road
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

Klein Park
Ortega Avenue& California Street
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, passive areas and a picnic area.

Landels Park
Dana Street & Calderon Avenue
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, soccer/football field, passive areas, picnic area, softball field, outdoor volleyball court and trail access.

Magnolia Park
Magnolia Lane & Whisman Station Drive
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

Mariposa Park
305 Mariposa Avenue
Amenities include: Children's playground, water sand play feature in warm months, bucket and strap swings, and small turf play area.

Mercy-Bush Park
Bush & Mercy Streets
Amenities include: Children's playground, picnic area, passive areas.

McKelvey Park
Miramonte Avenue & Park Drive
Amenities include: Baseball field, softball field and restrooms.

Monta Loma Park
Thompson Avenue & Laura Lane
Amenities include: Baseball field, basketball court, children's playground, passive areas, picnic area and restrooms.

Pioneer Park
1146 Church Street Church Street & Castro Street
Amenities include: Passive areas.

Rengstorff Park & Pool
201 South Rengstorff Avenue (corner of Crisanto and Rengstorff Avenues)
Amenities include: BBQ facilities, baseball field, basketball court, skate park, children's playground, passive areas, picnic area, softball field, swimming pool, tennis courts, outdoor volleyball court, and restrooms.

Rex-Manor Park
Farley Street & Central Expressway
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

San Veron Park
San Veron Avenue & Middlefield Road
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, passive areas, picnic area and outdoor volleyball court.

Senior Center
Escuela Avenue & California Street
Amenities include: Auditorium, meeting room, shuffle board and restrooms.

Shoreline at Mountain View
3070 North Shoreline Boulevard (North end of Shoreline Boulevard)
Amenities include: Nature preserve, environmental education, passive areas, picnic area, trail access, and restrooms.

Sierra Vista Park
Sierra Vista Avenue & Plymouth Street
Amenities include: Children's playground, picnic area, passive areas.

Skate Park
201 South Rengstorff Avenue at Crisanto Avenue (Northwest corner of Rengstorff Park)

The Skate Park is open daily from 6 a.m. until one-half hour after sunset. On Saturdays and Sundays, the park is reserved exclusively for skaters age 12 and under from 9:30—11:30 a.m. All skaters must wear helmets, kneepads and elbow pads. All bikes (including BMX bikes) and scooters are prohibited at this facility.
The Skate Park is a non-supervised facility. The park will be closed if features are wet.
Features include: Trick Ramp, Quarter Pipe, Mini Half Pipe, Fun Box with a Handrail, Launch Ramp, Arch Rail, Kink Rail, Slider Rail and a Plain Box.

Slater School/Park
Whisman Road & Gladys Avenue
Amenities include: Children's playground, Baseball/soccer field.

Sports Pavilion
Castro Street & Miramonte Avenue
Amenities include: Basketball court, gymnasium and restrooms.

Springer School/Park
Rose Avenue
Amenities include: Children's playground, soccer field (Not open to the public during school hours 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Stevenson Park
San Luis Avenue & San Pierre Way
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, soccer/football field, passive areas, picnic area, softball field, tennis courts and restrooms.

Sylvan Park
Sylvan Avenue & DeVoto Street
Amenities include: BBQ facilities, children's playground, horseshoe area, passive areas, picnic area, tennis courts and restrooms.

Thaddeus Park
Middlefield Road & Independence Drive
Amenities include: Children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

Varsity Park
Duke Way & Jefferson Drive
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, passive areas, and a picnic area.

Whisman Park
Easy Street & Middlefield Road
Amenities include: BBQ facilities, basketball court, children's playground, soccer/football field, passive areas, picnic area, softball field, tennis courts, outdoor volleyball court, trail access, and restrooms.

Whisman Sports Center
Middlefield Road & Terra Bella Avenue
Amenities include: Basketball court, children's playground, soccer/football field, gymnasium, softball field, outdoor volleyball court and restrooms.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

@Hmm, which four parks are the ones you consider close to that area?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tina
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm

lol = "Bryant said. "We're a very small city, we have lots of ideas."

It is important, she said, that "we not try to cram too many things in.""

yeah, right. This from the city council that is rubber-stamping all the development they can cram in before the elections. Nice of them to "let" us have some greenspace. Thanks, guys.


Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Sierra Vista Park
Thaddeus Park
Whisman sports center
Crittenden school
Monta Loma Park

All within walking distance.

Any more questions Greg?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Trey Parker
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm

The city's goal for parks is 3 acres per 1000 residents. This area has less than 1/4 acre per 1000 residents. It is the most underserved area in town with over 5000 people sharing Sierra Vista Park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by One question
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm

One question, Hmmm...

Which of those parks can you use during the day?

I have the answer: only 2, as the others are all schools that you are not allowed on during the day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lost
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm

where is the property we are talking about?!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

I would love to see this property evolve into more modest counterpart to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto. The Gamble Garden land is owned by the city but run by a non-profit with volunteers maintaining the elaborate flower, demonstration vegetable and shade gardens.

It's open to the public during daylight hours and is very popular with families with senior members. It's a beautiful, quiet space to explore nature at a small scale. There are buildings, including a mansion on the site that are used for events. We may not have that with the Siebel site, but the orchards, bee hives and land are similar to the Gamble estate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Liz
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

At least it's not a appartments to Google.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Walden
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Jeff Walden is a registered user.

Based purely on the list of nearby parks earlier in comments and overhead views, I'm going to speculate we're talking about 771 N. Rengstorff or so. Anyone want to confirm that?

I don't have particular intuition about what the optimal level of park space is in Mountain View. I know I'm never really much lacking for a park when I want to use one. But I have no idea whether other people need more of them or not. So I'm not sure I'd have an opinion as to how the space should be used.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old MV resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2013 at 12:15 am

The property is located at 771 N. Rengstorff Ave., between Rock St and Old Middlefield Way.

Frankly I'd like to see housing next door to Google in the north Bayshore area -- it would relieve congestion in the rest of Mountain View!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 27, 2013 at 8:06 am

@Hmmmm: What would you do with the property?

I'm fine with leaving it as a park. Leave as untouched as possible.

I don't know why some people think the city needs to provide you with land for gardens. If that's important to you buy a place you can grow a garden.

I want someplace to park my RV. Should I expect the tax payers to provide me with one?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2013 at 8:34 am

@ Otto Maddox,

"I don't know why some people think the city needs to provide you with land for gardens. If that's important to you buy a place you can grow a garden.
I want someplace to park my RV. Should I expect the tax payers to provide me with one?"

Never hurts to ask the council Otto. Some of them love to pander to this kind of thinking.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by tod ford
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm

>I agree with Ms. Lafleur's comments. Palo Alto has some strong communities to model. >I hope Kavita gets her spot. demonstration gardens are great, building a community that private gardening plots don't. >working with the existing fruit trees is great. but please don't turn it into a sacred grove. let's go for sustainable and not get caught in the trap of trying to freeze nature in some sort of diorama. part of orchard stewardship would be to have a plan to prune, maintain and to replace trees. this is a big piece of land but it's still the suburbs. letting it go wild is an easy answer but an overly simplistic one. yay lots of ideas>rengstorff house is a good model too. link the two somehow?. >bike parking? >water feature with or without greywater irrigation for the trees?


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