News

Deal reached to save Milk Pail

Council delays San Antonio project, wants to add housing

Milk Pail Market owner Steve Rasmussen and developer Merlone Geier announced Tuesday night that they had reached a last-minute deal to save the Milk Pail, before City Council members ultimately decided to delay the second phase of Merlone Geier's Village at San Antonio Center development in order to replace half the office space in the project with housing.

Addressing a major community concern while bolstering support for a controversial project, Mike Grehl of Merlone Geier said it was his pleasure to invite Rasmussen to the podium to announce the agreement in front of those who packed the City Council chambers Tuesday, July 1. The agreement grants Milk Pail customers access to 11 parking spaces in a nearby parking garage, enough to meet city requirements for the Milk Pail market to stay in business past 2016, when its current parking agreement expires.

"For the past several days my team has been working furiously on an agreement to allow the Milk Pail to remain in business where we have always been," Rasmussen said, adding that it would apply only "if and when phase two is approved."

Merlone Geier's second phase of development at the San Antonio shopping center is slated to replace Ross and BevMo at San Antonio Road and California Street. It includes a 167-room hotel, a large public square, 109,000 square feet of retail space, a 50,000-square-foot movie theater and a six-level parking garage with just over 1,300 parking spaces, and an office garage with 1,174 spaces.

"The length of the term is substantial and that would allow us to be around for quite a long time," Rasmussen said.

Grehl had previously said any further delays would kill the project, but was amenable when members voted 6-0 to delay the project and to study a compromise for more housing. It would remove one of two proposed six-story office buildings and replace it with what city staff said might be 115 housing units within the same footprint.

Inks can't vote

Council member John Inks had to leave the dais after the California Fair Political Practices Commission said that, even under new conflict of interest rules, Inks must continue to recuse himself from the project. Inks owns property within 500 feet of the San Antonio precise plan area, but Merlone Geier representatives sought a clarification of the rules in hopes that Inks could vote on the project. The FPPC determination was made just an hour before the meeting, clearing up confusion and concern that Inks would be a swing vote to approve an unpopular iteration of the project.

Housing needs

Residents of the 330 apartments in the first phase of Merlone Geier's development spoke in favor of phase two, but most people who packed the meeting called attention to the area's housing shortage and how adding as many as 2,500 office workers to the city in the two proposed office buildings would speed up the area's gentrification.

"There are a lot of beautiful things about this project, then there's this jobs-housing imbalance thing, and I can't not think about that," said Edie Keating of Peninsula Interfaith Action. "The jobs-housing imbalance distorts so many things in our community. It creates traffic jams and it breaks up families. In our church we see young folks and retirees leave our area. Communities are being broken up by this jobs-housing imbalance. It affects everyone, whether you are a renter or a homeowner. You've got a great project, you need to make it morally right by substituting the office for housing."

The group leading the effort to remove office space and add housing to the project isn't satisfied with the compromise proposed by Mayor Chris Clark to replace only half of the office space with housing. Merlone Geier said that removing all of the office space and replacing it with housing would trigger a lengthy delay to study the impacts and comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

"We would like more than the compromise offers," said Lenny Siegel of the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View. "There are still too many jobs proposed."

Referendum threat

Siegel said that the group has yet to decide on a way forward, but said in an email that it seemed "unlikely" that a referendum petition would be circulated to gather over 3,400 signatures to put the project up for a public vote. The group had planned to put a referendum on the ballot if the project is approved before the San Antonio precise plan comes up for discussion to consider housing and other needs for the San Antonio area.

Grehl touted the $7 million in public benefits that would come with the Merlone Geier project, including a protected bike lane along California Street, a $300,000 monument to the birthplace of Silicon Valley at 391 San Antonio Road, new bike lanes on San Antonio Road and $750,000 toward a pedestrian tunnel under Central Expressway at the San Antonio train station, to which other developers in the area would contribute, according to Planning Director Randy Tsuda.

Grehl added that the project would bring $2.5 million to the city in the form of property taxes and sales tax revenue. An estimate of how much revenue would be created if the project were killed was not included; Merlone Geier has said it would alternatively build a two-story, 175,000-square-foot retail project along the southern half of the site, which the council had already approved with phase one several years ago. There would also be $5.3 million in below-market-rate housing fees, which council members said would pay for only about six subsidized homes for low-income residents.

"I want Mountain View to stay a diverse community," said resident Joan Bradovsky. "The only way to increase housing is to build it. Even if you build more and it's not affordable, at least it would take some pressure off (older housing stock). I hope you do that, you have the authority to do so."

"While I benefit from the housing-jobs imbalance on paper, I just think it's wrong," said longtime resident and homeowner Paul Davis, referring to how his property value is rising. "I agree it's a moral issue. The city has failed to address the housing-jobs imbalance and that's something I urge you to do ... so that our community can be whole."

Council members said they wished residents had been such advocates for controversial housing projects that they scaled back or killed in the past following public opposition, and they encouraged the public to continue their advocacy for housing. They said they would finish making most major decisions on the San Antonio precise plan including whether to make housing a higher priority at a July 8 study session to be held at the Senior Center.

Comments

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

"Council members said they wished residents had been such advocates for controversial housing projects that they scaled back or killed in the past following public opposition, and they encouraged the public to continue their advocacy for housing."

Taking a longer-term view of this history, Bruce Liedstrand recently recalled the evolution of the now widely popular Park Place mixed-use development downtown. It did not start out widely popular.

"Actually, the developer proposed a much different project - one that was internally focused and turned its back completely on the neighborhood. The City's review process (of which I was an active participant) insisted on opening the project to the community, including specifically the public's ability to walk through the site and a requirement for the exterior design that looks somewhat like a series of row houses. The developer (Prometheus) initially refused to agree to the changes, so we told them the project could not be approved without the changes the city requested. Eventually the developer changed its mind, told the project architect to design what the City wanted, and produced the great project we enjoy today."


Posted by Dylan Carlson, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Thank you to everyone who stood up for housing and Milk Pail at the meeting, and sorry I couldn't join. Kudos

I'm not sure about the referendum. I'm hopeful the Council will listen, be willing to delay other developments, and modify them in consideration of housing. Developers don't have to lose for housing to win. We have a long way to go to get more housing measured in thousands of units. I'm not sure what the target number is, but if we're bringing 30000+ new workers into the city by 2018, maybe the target number is 10,000 units. 155 units in this doesn't seem like much. Workers only take up 190 sq ft. But every little bit helps, if we can get more changes like it.


Posted by Los Altos School parent, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

All this housing means that there should be a school built on that side of El Camino to accommodate the influx of families into the Los Altos School District because it's not in the Mountain View School District. The city is not thinking about that at all and the schools become more crowded.


Posted by Elitism, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Makes me Ill to constantly hear Los Altos parents not wanting their childeren to be schools with Mountain View kids. LASD is not bounded by city and if that school district wants to build a school, then they can fund it.


Posted by Long-time MV resident, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm

What about discussion of school resources if we want more affordable housing so that young families can afford to move into Mountain View? Mountain View and Los Altos schools are already at capacity.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

This is a significant moment.

The saving of the Milk Pail and the addition of housing to San Antonio Phase 2 is great!

Remember, it didn't happen without a lot of work by Lenny Siegel and others. The community, home owners, renters, and businesses, got together to support a major issue. We made ourselves heard and influenced the outcome.

Take a minute to congratulate yourselves, but don't forget that the job is not yet done!



Posted by Martha, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Yay. I love when things are saved, especially in this case.


Posted by Gardener, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Gardener is a registered user.

This is great news. Many thanks to everyone who signed the petition and pushed for some sanity in this development. Mountain View is going to continue to grow (sorry, it's inevitable) and we need to make sure we do it in a way that best serves the community. Last night's outcome, while not perfect, was a major step in that direction.


Posted by psr, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Elitism , you are missing the point entirely.

The issue is that Mountain View is continuing to build more and more housing in the the area of the city that is served by LASD, yet they continue to refuse to provide any space upon which to build a school. How on earth do you think it is reasonable that Mountain View continues to build more housing, yet refuses to plan any space at all for services to deal with all those extra people?

Just to catch you up, Mountain View claimed that all the new construction, which includes not only the San Antonio Center, but construction of Monroe Place AND the housing that is being built at the old San Antonio Inn site, would only result in about 300 new students going to LASD schools. Now the new estimate is 600 new kids. That is the population of an ENTIRE school. Why should LASD foot the entire bill of dealing with a situation that Mountain View has created?

FYI, I live in Mountain View and my child attends an LASD school. The people of Los Altos have no problem at all with their children going to school with Mountain View (and Palo Alto) kids. What they have a right to be upset about (as am I) is that the city of Mountain View continues to create an overcrowding issue in their schools, then washes their hands of trying to help solve the problem they have caused.

For my part, I do most of my shopping in Los Altos. When the Los Altos Safeway is completed, I will shop there, not in Mountain View. My child gets an excellent education from a Los Altos school and the least I can do is support the people who provide it. I will also continue to voice my disappointment in the behavior of the city in which I live.

So I hope you now understand that the Los Altans are not elitists. They are actually the victims of the poor planning and irresponsible behavior of the Mountain View leadership.


Posted by traffic-mess, a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm


Good to see engaged citizens winning.

Perhaps this is a case of winning the battle
and losing the war on traffic :-(

But what about the traffic mess on San Antonio Road?
This win is not changing the traffic issue.

Also ... every homeowner in Los Altos is paying massive
parcel tax for LASD. I hope the Mountain View homeowners
that are under LASD are doing the same. Otherwise, LASD
should be very concerned about the massive apartment
buildings being planned.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Please approve the buildings and don't force us to have big box merchants. The developer wants to create an awesome public place for the city and we're blowing it. Building a few hundred houses makes NO MATERIAL DIFFERENCE to the housing shortage, and delaying this development is bad for everyone.


Posted by Lillian B, a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Yeah Milk Pail!!!!!!
What a long time to wait for that wonderful news.

I hope the City Council understands better now the community is important and if they write hundreds of letters and fill meetings to express their outrage and concern that the council should make a stronger effort to get involved and help. Their "not my problem" attitude did not serve them or make them any friends from the community at large and now look what is challenging them because of that.

I am in favor of some of the design concepts - in fact I would say go farther! Where is the light-show canopy over the gathering square or meeting multiple objectives with a live-work-space architecture? Be memorable in a new and innovative ways - along with honoring a 40-year old beloved local business-treasure. Now I can say "At least the Milk Pail part you finally got right" Yeah!

And yes it seemed to be a deal between the Developer and the Milk Pail in the end – but the City Council (behind the scenes) finally must have said something to the Developer to get them to work something out. Maybe next time the City Council cannot take so long to listen? Or maybe not have their minds made up before they get all the input of the people that they are supposed to be representing? One can only wish.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

"Council members said they wished residents had been such advocates for controversial housing projects that they scaled back or killed in the past following public opposition, and they encouraged the public to continue their advocacy for housing."

The above statement really hits the nail on the head. Where were all these voices clamoring for more housing units when the Minton's development (now Madera Apartments) was being debated, and some units were chopped off to appease complaints about height? Will people carry this same message, for instance, to the proposed Greystar development at El Camino & Castro - which could actually go higher according to the General Plan? How about the housing proposed in the South Whisman area, near existing Whisman Station? That Precise Plan theoretically allows something like 1100 units, but is likely to get built at more like 500 units, in part because the developer knows that people would freak out if they built at the maximum allowed density.

I'd like to see the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View shine attention on some of these other developments - especially ones like South Whisman and Greystar, which are not yet approved and could still yield more housing.


Posted by Dylan Carlson, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm

@ OMV Resident

Maybe people were busy, or didn't know, or it just took time for a lot of people to appreciate just how out of balance things were getting. What's important is that people are getting engaged with the issue now. Can't do anything about what didn't happen last year.


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

clearly balance meant "low income housing." But again and again it was only mentioned at "housing." A few people did mention rising rents, but whenever it came to the housing issue, they didn't say what they meant IMO.

Disingenuous. Not Moral. And certainly of little integrity since it wasn't brought up for three years. Maybe Larry just works slow.

If you look online there are apartments available all over within 3 block of the San Antonio/California


Posted by Confused, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 2, 2014 at 9:43 pm

We are certainly a confused bunch. A few years ago I was reading comments about "no more housing, no more housing". Even with the most recent development on the rim of Cuesta Park on El Camino, everyone crying no more housing. I guess they just don't want housing to disrupt their precious single family homes. It's ok to cram those apartment dwellers next to each other, but don't mess with the single family homes.

If growth in Mountain View is inevitable, then we all should share the pain. Sprinkle new housing developments all around the city, not just in certain areas. This will help even out the inequality among the MVWSD as well.

On another note - I'm totally happy the Milk Pail will get to stay! Thank you MG! Now I'm very much looking forward to your finished Phase 2!


Posted by Comment, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:38 am

As one who paid the Los Altos parcel tax for nearly two decades I have no sympathy for those who will shop at the new Safeway out of some misguided belief that they would be supporting better schools. Los Altans screw themselves fighting over charter schools. Talk about elitism -- with one of the best school districts in the state, if not the country, drawing funds and attention away for charter schools is a travesty. If Los Altans are so put upon by Mountain View efforts to address the urgent need for more housing, maybe they should consider ways to help alleviate the problem by approving new developments in their community.


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:20 am

I liked the idea of offices inside phase 2, mixed use is the future. Remember other properties around phase 1 and 2 are either in planning review or will be in the future.

Again mixed use is the future, having really top quality projects that are designed well and have the right balance. Chances are office space will get built away from services and transit.

More housing at San Antonio means during the weekdays parking will empty out, at nights and weekends will fill up. At least offices, parking during the weekday will fill, nights and weekends, no office workers.

To achive shuttle/transit we need to think mixed, people ciming and going from the same point and most important all day.

Yes more housing is needed, offices near housing, retail near both.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

@Confused

"A few years ago I was reading comments about "no more housing, no more housing". Even with the most recent development on the rim of Cuesta Park on El Camino, everyone crying no more housing. I guess they just don't want housing to disrupt their precious single family homes. It's ok to cram those apartment dwellers next to each other, but don't mess with the single family homes."

~~~~~~~~~~

No confusion here.

Apartments, are designed to be high-density from the get go. Renters agree to the deal at the time they sign the contract. Single family home neighborhoods are designed and zoned as R1 = single family homes and purchasers agree to that deal when they sign their contracts to purchase. However, in the case of 801 West ECR, the city of Mountain View has up-zoned the area to CRA (maximum density) that directly abuts long established R1 and R2 dwellings. This deliberate action will effectively destroy the small neighborhood directly behind this development that will now live in the shadow of this four story 170 unit apartment behemoth. (The planned under parking of this development is another HUGE issue that the city has turned a blind eye to. Willfully ignorant or just plain stupid, take your pick.)

Hit the link for a rendering of this project and note that the small buildings that share a property line with these large blocks of buildings are one and two story single family homes, duplexes and small apartments.

Web Link


If you were a homeowner, who purchased their home in an area zoned as R1 (single family homes), and suddenly the city decides changes the zoning of a huge tract of land that abuts single family homes, duplexes and small 1 and 2 story apartments - in order to facilitate the development of a four story 170 unit apartment block, which will also permanently displace several small locally owned businesses...well, yeah, you might feel rightfully aggrieved. This development, as currently proposed will literally back up to the property lines of one story single family homes as well as be directly across the street from single family homes.

Don't worry though, because it's evident that the city doesn't care about the property owners who are getting screwed here. And, there are plenty of people who seem to believe that these property owners can get "rich" selling their property believing the land value will increase because of this new development. Telling sentiment indeed. What if the property owners just want to live their lives - in peace - in their R-1 zoned neighborhood where they may have lived for decades? Should these property owners be forced to sell their home or suffer the consequences created by the city fostering the development of a 4 story high density 170 unit BLOCK of apartments literally in the backyards of this neighborhood?

Quality of life matters, and the quality of live here, in Mountain View is rapidly deteriorating .


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:55 am

Well, it didn't take long for the kumbaya moment of everyone supporting housing to come to a screeching halt. And reading MVResident67's post above, I do mean screeching:
"...This deliberate action will effectively destroy the small neighborhood..."
"...Willfully ignorant or just plain stupid, take your pick..."
"...the quality of live [sic] here, in Mountain View is rapidly deteriorating..."

MVResident67 throws out a lot of language about respecting R-1 and R-2 zoning, as if the Greystar development is some huge surprise for the neighboring property owners.

Actually, that parcel has been zoned CRA for years now, allowing substantial mixed-use development on it. It was designated for somewhat higher intensity in the General Plan that was adopted in 2012 - after a 3-year process involving tons of community meetings. The General Plan designation actually allows up to 6 stories and a 3.0 Floor Area Ratio at key locations and with significant public benefits, so the Greystar project isn't even maximizing the opportunity of that site (refer to p. 84 of the General Plan, which is available here: Web Link).

The reality is, those property owners that are directly next to or across the street from the Greystar development have known for years that the nearby properties could be redeveloped at much higher intensity. Given the high land values and booming economy around here, it's actually surprising that that site didn't redevelop long ago. So to stir up outrage at this point - especially in the way some like Linda Curtis have - vehemently opposing the Greystar development while promoting dense residential at San Antonio - is the very definition of NIMBYism.

I'd like to see the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View push for sites like the Greystar one to really maximize their potential for housing and go all the way to the maximum allowed by the General Plan, 6 stories.






Posted by grandma, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:55 am

Please regard the impact on schools when big developments add more families. Mountain view needs to save some land for a new school. these folks are all going to be in the Los Altos School district and there is no more land for a school.anyone who follows the problems the charter school is having knows how little space is left.
The city of Mountain View needs to plan better for its new residents.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

@OMV Resident:

"So to stir up outrage at this point - especially in the way some like Linda Curtis have - vehemently opposing the Greystar development while promoting dense residential at San Antonio - is the very definition of NIMBYism."

~~~~~~~~

What makes you believe that I have promoted any part of the either phase I or phase II of San Antonio center? Please provide links to and/or cut/paste in my comments that demonstrate this alleged support.


FYI...

I have been active in discussions of the General Plan, the ECR Precise Plan as well as speaking up when the zoning change was discussed and consented to, so please, try not to presume that I have been ignorant and/or uninvolved in this process.

CRA zoning allows for up to 1.85 FAR and "high-density" allows for up to 1.67 FAR. 801 ECR has been zoned for up to 1.85 FAR which shares property lines with R1 and (what was) R2 zoning. I spoke up then, and I will continue to speak up now...it's inappropriate density for the neighborhood, and yes, it will destroy the neighborhood.


Posted by Reader, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:27 am

Terrible idea to add more housing.

More housing = more people, more cars, worse traffic!

Traffic on San Antonio between El Camino and California is already horrible. This will just make it worse.


Posted by Los Altan, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:32 am

Time for LASD to use eminent domain to claim some MV land for a new school.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

@MVResident67 --
"What makes you believe that I have promoted any part of the either phase I or phase II of San Antonio center? Please provide links to and/or cut/paste in my comments that demonstrate this alleged support."

OK, so I glossed over that distinction. Linda Curtis and folks who take a similar tactic (opposing things in their neighborhood, supporting the same across town) are one kind of NIMBY. You are another - you complain like the sky is falling down about every proposed development. Neither is productive.

"CRA zoning allows for up to 1.85 FAR and "high-density" allows for up to 1.67 FAR. 801 ECR has been zoned for up to 1.85 FAR which shares property lines with R1 and (what was) R2 zoning"

I'm glad to hear that you have been involved in the process, but you have your facts mixed up. Or if you believe they are correct, please provide references.

"...it's inappropriate density for the neighborhood, and yes, it will destroy the neighborhood."

We can all rest assured that people were saying the same things about the Park Place and Boardwalk developments on Castro Street before they were approved (maybe you were even one of them). People said the same before Madera (Minton's) was approved. And you know what? Those developments have actually improved the quality of the neighborhood - they are higher quality construction, are better landscaped, and have more amenities (e.g., wider sidewalks, public walkways, better pedestrian lighting) than what was there before, or than most of the neighborhood around them. And the same is likely to be true of 801 El Camino.


Posted by Antonio P., a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 3, 2014 at 11:14 am

"It includes a 167-room hotel, a large public square, 109,000 square feet of retail space, a 50,000-square-foot movie theater and a six-level parking garage with just over 1,300 parking spaces, and an office garage with 1,174 spaces."

Curiously, a "a large public square" is undefined, when everything else is. What exact does "a large public square" mean?

Additionally, where is all the additional water going to come from for all of the new residents and/or office dwellers? We are already in a conservation mode. And for a city that prides itself on being green, there is sure going to be far more cars, smog, and other contributing polluting factors in the area. With all of the additional traffic, commuter tensions are going to be much worse too, especially at the San Antonio and California intersection.


Posted by Dylan Carlson, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm

@ "Reader"

What do you think 30,000 additional workers are going to do to the city? Good grief, some of you people are bad at math.

Here I'll help you. Workers occupy around 180-190 sq ft of space each, and that number is going down every year. Employers try to pack the beehive densely. Compare this to what an average resident takes up. Almost all of those 30,000 workers will be commuting into the city. So your precious local throughfares will be choked with commuters. The irony is that your opposition to housing, and this city binging on office space, is feeding exactly the problem you're complaining about.


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

". Los Altans screw themselves fighting over charter schools. Talk about elitism -- with one of the best school districts in the state, if not the country"

Well if elementary school were the real indicator, and if you could go straight to Harvard from 6th grade...maybe.

But once you get to high school... Los Altos High ranks below schools other fine cities such as Fresno, Folsom, Loomis, Clovis, Stockton...

Heck the district isn't even in the top 20% in the state.


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

If you offer people a chane to live near work, some people will just will not want it but they would want jobs and strong retail choices.

Those R 2 buildings might make good 2 to 3 story mixed housing units.

Inlaw units, duplexes, 2 to 3 story single families homes or small apartment, buildings. 4 to 6 large studios or 4 One bedrooms or just 2 Two bedrooms.

For San Antonio Area I hope mixed housing units would be part of the overall plan.


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Los Altos School District needs to step up the plate, but Mountain View doesn't get off easy. Los Altos should beaware that every housing might just lead to an increase of children. Not every young person is not having children, maybe later, right now student debt, landing a job and succeeding in their chosen profession.

Who knows they might change profession, might get married or not, might have a kid or 2 kids. Right now we need housing, all types not just single family homes or high density rentals.

Oh yes we still need to solve schools and as a.side comment, retirement housing, elderly living units.


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

There sure are a lot of Grandpa Simpsons on this website.

Times change. How is it that everyone feels so superior to the farmers who were here before they showed up 30-40 years ago?

Do you think Mt View is the only city in the bay area to change? 35 years ago Fremont was pretty much all white blue collar workers. Tons of guys who worked at the Ford or GM plants. Or at the light industrial/food plants in Hayward and Union City.

There were walnut orchards--all up and down--wait for it===Walnut Ave. Also big fields of cabbage right by the courthouse...which stink up the area for miles once they were harvested and the remnants were left to rot.

Mushroom farmers, mink farmers...nothing but houses in those spots now...

Right about that same time, they decided they were too good for retail and let New Park Mall go to Newark while they concentrated on more and more and more houses.

Eventually what they ended up with is an old dump of a mall in what more or less was "downtown" Fremont and a lack of retail tax revenue. Which resulted in not being able to keep their library open more than 30 hours a week, as well as other budget issues.

And despite what the bussed-in protestors at the city council meeting this week will tell you..there IS housing in Mt View. They were well coached not to say "low income housing."

Just walk, drive, bike, whatever down California Ave a couple blocks from Showers and you'll see apts looking for tenants.

I guess I know how Mt View should be described now...Sexa and Septa genarians who hate any changes that occur since they moved there, and think everyone should be working at Sylvania or the seed packing plant and riding a donkey to work.


Posted by Jenny, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I read above that LASD should not pay for additional or expanded facilities to send an increasing number of kids to school. If that is the case, then what is the point of a school district? They receive funding to provide exactly that. They can also add a parcel tax to pay for (currently) very low interest bonds to buy and develop a property.

Sorry if you feel that Los Altos is superior to Mountain View and are deliberately doing all your shopping there. Many, if not most, Los Altans have to work outside Los Altos and do most of their shopping and other business outside, because the city is more interested in keeping their neighborhoods beautiful. That's ok, but don't go bitching at other neighboring cities for failing to provide the services that your own city is neglecting.

Remember a few years ago when a whole gaggle of Los Altos parents came to city council meetings to try to get us to expand our playing fields so they can have larger little leagues (baseball)? Why? Because their own city doesn't want to develop.


Posted by traffic-mess-MV, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm


Mountain View is welcome to add 200,000 jobs
and build 100,000 apartments. Wish Mountain View
could do this without causing traffic mess for
peace-loving ordinary neighborhoods such
as Los Altos.

Los Altos does not want to build much commercial
and office buildings because the residents want to
preserve some semblance of tranquility in the
chaos of rapid development. Los Altos is willing to
give up the income from uncontrolled development
for maintaining livability.

There will come a time when Mountain View will
wake up and see the traffic mess they are responsible
for. San Antonio Center... the gateway to gridlock (TM).
Innocent bystander -- Los Altos.


Posted by David Speakman, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm

The city needs to stop listing to the NIMBY folks who do not understand that more dense housing near train stations and office buildings will be LESS traffic on our thoroughfares than we have now because there will be fewer long-haul commuters coming in from out of town.


Posted by Another OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

OMV Resident comments make a lot of sense. Every housing project has brought objections from the no growth group. Many of them post on the Voice blogs. Even Single family unit projects receive objections. MG 2 project has been stalled for over 2 years with over 40 meetings. All of a sudden, some council members, (who told the developer to not include housing), cave into the mob group that shows up at the last minute to claim housing is now necessary. The process is broken when after 2 plus years a flippant decision can be imposed. MG will likely provide housing to get the project approved. It will be interesting to see how many BMR units will be negotiated. And of course two council members that claim they wanted housing will object to the project and come up with more excuses. And of course the rest of the council will have cover for requiring housing since that is supposedly what the public wants. I predict a 4-2 vote.


Posted by Yet another OMV resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

NIMBY's are a huge reason that housing is so expensive around here. You can have more affordable housing, or lack of change, but not both. I've talked to my neighbors about housing here, and the feeling I get is that once people have a house here, they feel lucky to be "locked in", and want nothing to change, which is selfish.

I do, however, really dislike these giant, cookie-cutter developments. Rather than having the city council and local busybodies telling big developers how to build these developments, why don't we handle this the way old, successful cities do it. Subdivide the land into lots of small lots, sell them, change zoning to allow small offsets, and hence, higher density, and watch these areas fill in organically with dense, unique housing. Even better yet, allow for light commercial on the ground floors. We've got too many office buildings and houses for the number of local shops, so local shopping of all sorts would be really amazing. Think of the way dense neighborhoods surrounding European cities are built - lots of little walkable boutiques, housing above them, and people only really need to travel longer distances for larger shopping trips, the basics are available locally.

Mountain view will grow, our population is increasing. We'll either be packing more people into the same old housing and infrastructure, or we can accept change and improve all the infrastructure for everyone. The NIMBYs and busybodies just need to get out of the way.


Posted by @dylan, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

We don't need 30k more job. We need to stop all construction NOW. Our infrastructure can't handle it. The road, schools, etc..

But a lot of ignorant people want more and more, till we are a sardine pack, like tokyo. Oh wait, that's the whole idea.

Lets build so we can't see the views of the mountains and only time we will see the sun is at high noon, when no buildings are blocking it.

Lets keep our heritage before the people like Dylan, probably a detroit transplant wants to destroy it.

PS, those additional 30k workers can take the train from San Jose, where they are building houses and homes at a record pace.


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Big lots become small lots and some cases big lots. How about shopkeeper units with housing above for the shop keeper.

Yes large lots becime large single story shopping center or car lots become office buildings. Then after 25 or 50 years, redevelopment.

El Camino can be full small to medium density with some larger density.


Posted by Yet another OMV resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Increased density doesn't mean we become Tokyo, and stopping all development is shortsighted.

Mountain View is a desirable place to live, people are moving here. They're driving up prices housing due to demand, pricing out lots of people (this is a huge complaint you NIMBY's have). You can keep Mountain View from growing by making it undesirable, but then, what's the point of living here? You can restrict all development and "lock in" the current residents, but then we're all going to get old together, and what makes cities into communities are people of all ages, from kids, to parents, to elders.

Mountain View will not stay as it is. People are moving here, they're sharing apartments, renting rooms, the population is increasing. So, do we try to make this a nice, growing place to live, or do we become those people yelling at the newcomers to stay off their lawns?


Posted by Dennis, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

I am glad at least something came together that wouldn't stop the area projected building and improvement to that area. As far as the Milk Pail is concerned they are an antiquated eyesore in the worst possible area for traffic of patrons. They like the "neighbors," that in all cases of improvement and development cause a pitiful calamity that often ends in disaster like the case of the Alma Plaza in Palo Alto. Look, if you don't like change, if you don't like development that will bring in much needed revenue, then just move. Stop your complaining and whining because change waits for no one and it won't wait for all those that in reality only care about their own restricted vision of life and the area.


Posted by Trolls Gone Wild!, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Sparky: "I guess I know how Mt View should be described now...Sexa and Septa genarians who hate any changes that occur since they moved there, and think everyone should be working at Sylvania or the seed packing plant and riding a donkey to work."

Sparky gets the Troll Of The Day prize. A new low!


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm

@OMV Resident:

"OK, so I glossed over that distinction. Linda Curtis and folks who take a similar tactic (opposing things in their neighborhood, supporting the same across town) are one kind of NIMBY. You are another - you complain like the sky is falling down about every proposed development. Neither is productive."

~~~~~~~~~~

Yeah, wouldn't want the facts to get get in the way of your metanarrative. Please show me where I have "complain[ed] like the sky is falling down about every proposed development." Search hard and make sure to get back to me when you find those complaints - "about every proposed development." Let me help you out a little...you're never going to find anything demonstrating that I have complained "about every proposed development." because it never happened.

It's pretty clear that there is no room in your world for anyone who may have a different viewpoint and/or opinion than yours. It's also pretty evident that once you have deemed someone as having a viewpoint and/or opinion that does not align with yours, well then, you resort to making chastising and belittling comments. Classy.

Keep telling yourself that you are "right" and anyone whose viewpoint and/or opinion doesn't match yours is "wrong"...because THAT'S productive AND open minded.

I wouldn't want to waste any more of your time with my unworthy thoughts or opinions, so please carry on with your goods deeds...but don't tread on me. Ever.


Posted by Dylan Carlson, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 3, 2014 at 11:52 pm

City council gets elected to make wise, balanced decisions about the city's future, especially for the current residents and not as a money grab to pay off pensions or to dole out money to those on the city payroll.

Honestly I don't think that whatever opposition to housing from 3-4 years ago was meant to be translated into a mandate for carte blanche commercial/office permits. But now the real NIMBYs who have exposed themselves here, are using that as a form of causation to justify 5M sqft of office space in the pipeline and almost no housing. That's probably because they are playing the housing market and want to cash out of here at some point, or just astroturfing for a developer that doesn't want to see their projects undermined. They don't really care about the future of this town.

Nobody needs to be good at math to intuitively understand the adverse impact of the corporate office park beehive MV is turning into. The infrastructure will be stressed; the more it gets stressed the harder and more costly it is to improve. It will be a town full of long-haul commuters, as David Speakman correctly pointed out.

The question isn't whether Mountain View will scale. The question is whether it will scale in the right, sustainable ways.


Posted by Nimby , a resident of Bailey Park
on Jul 4, 2014 at 12:43 am

NIMBYs don't want the development at all! Why? Because it is terrible. Pavement, plastic turf and horrible walkability. Go away Merlone Grier!


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 4, 2014 at 6:17 am

An out of town developer comes into town with out sized schemes for corporate enrichment, signed on by city employees as a way to ensure their bloated salaries and pensions.
The trolls seem to think that the residents who are impacted have no right to say anything about it.


Posted by Jeremy Hoffman, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 4, 2014 at 11:16 am

OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View, on Jul 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm, wrote:
> "Council members said they wished residents had been such advocates for controversial housing projects that they scaled back or killed in the past following public opposition, and they encouraged the public to continue their advocacy for housing."
> The above statement really hits the nail on the head. Where were all these voices clamoring for more housing units when the Minton's development (now Madera Apartments) was being debated, and some units were chopped off to appease complaints about height?
----------------------

I've worked and rented here for six years.

A few years ago, when new housing was being blocked (such as in North Bayshore), I wasn't aware of City Council's ability to shape and block development. I became aware just three months ago, and immediately started getting involved.

As Dylan Carlson said, "Maybe people were busy, or didn't know, or it just took time for a lot of people to appreciate just how out of balance things were getting. What's important is that people are getting engaged with the issue now. Can't do anything about what didn't happen last year."

I'm sorry I wasn't there a few years ago to oppose the opposition to more housing. But just because I'm newly active on this issue doesn't mean I'm wrong!

I'm going to do exactly what the mayor said. I'm going to be showing up in support of more and more dense and diverse housing options that Mountain View needs to address this housing crisis. And I won't be alone.


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community
on Jul 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Houston has the best of both worlds but can be a poor example in zoning.

Jobs are created, housing gets built to support the growth in jobs. If space is needed for growth jobs, landz is then zoned for commercial growth. Apply same rule to housing.

Here both is needed, too many jobs create high demand, land prices rise. Housing eats into commercial areas which ls needed to attrach commercial growth which brings in jobs.

Housing for jobs or jobs for housing.


Posted by Garrett , a resident of another community
on Jul 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Houston has the best of both worlds but can be a poor example in zoning.

Jobs are created, housing gets built to support the growth in jobs. If space is needed for growth jobs, landz is then zoned for commercial growth. Apply same rule to housing.

Here both is needed, too many jobs create high demand, land prices rise. Housing eats into commercial areas which ls needed to attrach commercial growth which brings in jobs.

Housing for jobs or jobs for housing.


Posted by psr, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 4, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Jeremy, you are welcome to your opinion, as am I. I can assure you that there will be just as many people who understand that adding density without proper infrastructure is irresponsible.

We are not adding enough schools for the population and, like it or not, the people adding the people have no right to make THEIR decision to add more people someone else's problem. The weird fact that some of Mountain View is in the LASD doesn't mean Mountain View has the right to make their extra kids Los Alto's problem.

Schools are the only issue either. In case nobody noticed, we are having a drought. Where is all the water for all these extra units supposed to come from? Why should the current residents have to suffer for the greed of those who want to pack in people like pickled herring?

You lovers of high density housing are welcome to it, but don't expect that the rest of us have to like it, support it or not work actively against it.


Posted by Dylan Carlson, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 4, 2014 at 11:50 pm

@psr

Nothing is getting "packed in" with greater density or resource consumption than workers. 180 sq ft per worker. Do the math. It would be more drought-responsible to have medium density housing and residents than it is to have hives of workers.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2014 at 2:23 am

@MVResident67 -
"Yeah, wouldn't want the facts to get get in the way of your metanarrative. Please show me where I have "complain[ed] like the sky is falling down about every proposed development." Search hard and make sure to get back to me when you find those complaints - "about every proposed development." Let me help you out a little...you're never going to find anything demonstrating that I have complained "about every proposed development." because it never happened. "

Thanks to the search capabilities provided by a certain company that's headquartered here in Mountain View, it's not hard to find the long trail of sky-is-falling, gloom-and-doom posts you've made on all manner of development projects in recent years. Here's just a sample:

Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 11, 2014 at 10:24 am on "City poised for unprecedented office growth" (Web Link"
"...Someday, in the dystopian future we are on a trajectory to achieve, the history of how Mountain View was destroyed will be viewed as a cautionary tale. It's a shame that it will take so long to see the error of our present day follies."

Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 9:20 am on "Guest opinion: Questions for City Council" (Web Link)
"...I am so disappointed in our city council that I vacillate between putting my house on the market and moving out of the city and washing my hands of all of it...or sticking around and actively campaigning AGAINST certain members of council (should they choose to run again) while actively campaign FOR qualified candidates who are interested in slowing down this malignancy of development that is destroying the quality of life for the residents of this city..."

Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:38 am on "Is anyone worried about development impact?" (Web Link)
"...Honestly, I am seriously considering putting my home on the market. This is not my Mountain View - the Mountain View I have lived in and loved for over two decades. Not only am I not up for living thru several more years of large scale construction projects that will not only be make my quality of life worse while the construction is ongoing, but will not provide a better quality of life once they are completed..."

There are many more examples to be found with a quick search, but I've left them out to avoid further lengthening this post. I will note that you also occasionally stray to other cities' newspaper message boards to complain about development, such as here:
Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 20, 2013 at 10:32 am on "Jay Paul withdraws plan for office complex, Police HQ" (Web Link)
"...P.S. There are plenty of Mountain View residents who stand in solicitude with the residents of Palo Alto regarding the apparent non-stop, up-zoned and under-parked developments and proposed developments...)


Posted by Fan of OMV resident , a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

Nice post by OMV resident, well researched but of course he will claim this doesnt cover "every proposed development" but I think you made your point.


Posted by Merlone Geier, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm

RE: First Amendment to License Agreement - Revocation

Dear Steve,

As you know, Phase 2 of our development at the San Antonio Center did not receive full approval on July 1, 2014. Accordingly, the first condition in Section 10 of the First Amendment to License Agreement (the "Agreement") dated July 1, 2014 was not met. Consequently, and pursuant to the terms of Section 10, the Agreement is revoked and is of no further force and effect. The Original License Agreement remains in effect through the original termination date of January 31, 2016. This is a disappointment to both parties but we look forward to working with you in the future.

Regards,
Mike Grehl
MGP IX PROPERTIES, LLC
Vice President


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

News: Merlone-Geier revoked the offer to Milk Pail after not receiving immediate Council approval for Phase 2:

Web Link


Posted by Sylvie, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Wait, I don't understand the last two comments. Is the whole thing off? Very confused.


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Sylvie, the developer Merlone Geier Partners has revoked the deal to "save" Milk Pail, which was the subject and headline of this Voice article.


Posted by mildy disappointed, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm

While this is an unfortunate turn of events, I don't think it's that surprising-- MG is holding onto its bargaining chips and protecting themselves legally, and City Council has made it clear they really want to see Milk Pail survive this.

Personally, I think Milk Pail will feel a bit out of place once Phase II is complete. And selfishly, I would love to see them move closer to downtown where there is still room for this sort of "small scale" development.


Posted by Konrad M.Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm

@ Sylvie,

Yes, the Milk Pail agreement is null and void.
It was conditional upon the City Council approving Phase 2 as Merlone-Geier presented it. The City Counsel listened to the EPC and the residents of Mountain View, renters, home owners and businesses, and required a compromise to include some housing.

Is a Milk Pail agreement dead? Never say never.
I expect Merlone-Geier to come back with the requested modifications to Phase2 and then the Milk Pail deal will be resurrected.

They will complain about how much it is costing them and how the City f----- them over. But, in the long run, they are coin operated and will not walk away from a pot of money.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Konrad- You are so right, I figure, as usual.

Let's all get out to the San Antonio Precise Plan Study Session tomorrow night (6:30 PM at the Senior Ctr,) and ream MG. Let's make them put the MP deal right back in place, and maybe demand two apt. towers instead of office towers, instead of settling for just one like last week!


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Didn't some say this is what would happen last week?

(yes)


Posted by A trick, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 4:29 pm

MG knew that it wouldn't get approved that night, which is why they signed the deal with Milk Pail. It got the public commentary portion of the meeting to not raise it. Boom. It's off the table. Very slick!


Posted by Yes show up, a resident of Gemello
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Yes, everyone of you should show up and see how much more you can f*** up a project. The same thing happened with the first phase of this project. The staff report claims lessons learned but I doubt it.


Posted by Vickis, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm

There is no longer a shared parking agreement for Milk Pail since the developer, Merlone Geier, is a bully and revoked the shared parking agreement on July 1 since the city council did not approve their plans. This is not good business or sportsmanship.
Mountain view residents please continue to fight for what you want, local small businesses and not what the developer thinks we want!!!


Posted by Yes show up, a resident of Gemello
on Jul 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Yes Vicki's. You should definitely show up to the meeting and share your opinion. Developers have no clue what they are doing and need to hear from people like you. Let them know they are wasting millions of dollars


Posted by no more verbal public input, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm

You can show up, but no more talking is welcome. Email comments are still possible.

Reposting a notice posted on Nextdoor.com, from Shonda Ranson, at the City of MV:

"We received several emails over the weekend asking about public input opportunities for the Tuesday, July 8 Study Session on the San Antonio Precise Plan.

Clarification for July 8 San Antonio Study Precise Plan Study Session
The City Council had a study session on this topic on June 24 and heard from 26 members of the public. At the conclusion of the public input, and in response to what was heard, the Council continued the item to July 8 in order to have sufficient time to discuss it thoroughly.

Unfortunately, the courtesy notice sent to neighbors and interested parties was in error in stating that verbal comments would be allowed on July 8. The period for public comments was closed on July 1. The official agenda for the meeting is correct in stating that no further public comments will be considered on July 8. The public is, of course, welcome to attend and to submit comments in advance in writing to the Council by emailing them to community.dev@mountainview.gov .

We apologize for the error on the courtesy notice and confusion caused by it."


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