News

Council shifts gears on San Antonio plan

Housing a higher priority in shopping center area

After sharp public opposition delayed phase two of Merlone Geier's Village at San Antonio Center project last week, City Council members showed signs on Tuesday of making housing a higher priority in the San Antonio shopping center area.

At the study session meeting in the Mountain View Senior Center on July 8, council members came to a rough consensus that the San Antonio precise plan should put more emphasis on a mix of housing and retail in the San Antonio shopping center, with limited exceptions for small office space and fewer restrictions on office space north of California Street. The precise plan is a document guiding future development in the area, which is southeast of the corner of El Camino Real and San Antonio Road and includes the San Antonio shopping center.

Mayor Chris Clark said city staff was directed to expand areas where housing would be allowed, and make an overall reduction in office space in the San Antonio precise plan. Clark said although the city cannot require developers to build affordable housing, the wording in the precise plan will emphasize that they want a range of housing options.

Support for more housing by council members was an about-face from the February study session, where they opposed housing as a priority in the San Antonio area. Council member Mike Kasperzak said the council is taking a step back from the direction they were going in February.

"We seriously de-emphasized housing in February, and the decision we're trying to come up with now is to de-emphasize retail or office in favor of housing," Kasperzak said.

Council member Ronit Bryant said the shift in priorities comes from the community feedback, which calls for a better balance between newly developed jobs and housing in Mountain View. The San Antonio precise plan, as proposed last month, would allow for 879,000 square feet of office space in the San Antonio shopping center and surrounding blocks. This would create anywhere from 4,395 to 5,860 jobs, but only 1,575 homes.

"What we heard really clearly from the community is we're building enough office space," Bryant said. "We need to leave it flexible, and I would like to put housing and retail mixed use in and encourage restrictions on office."

This mixed use of residential and retail might include buildings with housing units on floors above retail stores. Kasperzak did voice some concern that maintaining a housing-retail proportion might make it difficult for developers in the area.

"My concern is that if retail establishments want to build a new store, like a Kohl's, if it makes it kind of complicated for developers who know they need to deal with this residential proportion requirement," Kasperzak said.

Bryant said that the current San Antonio plan lacks focus, and though the public support has been in favor of more housing over office space, Bryant said it's important to remember it is a "shopping" center.

"We're just all over the place with the precise plan," Bryant said. "If we had a picture of what we wanted it to look like, it would be better.

Bryant suggested a scenario where the shopping center would have retail, a range of different housing options and limited office space.

"I think we could come up with something very interesting," Bryant said.

Clark said he supported limited options for office space in the mixed residential and retail areas of the shopping center, and said restricting the area with no wiggle room for small offices sounded like an onerous policy.

"We should make sure there's no unintended consequences where we can't allow a small, 20,000 or 30,000 (square foot) office space in an area of mixed-use," Clark said.

Along with finding ways to pinpoint lower office space in the plan, council members considered "phasing" options, where office space could be capped at a certain square footage until more retail and residential development gets added.

There were some initial concerns that the additional housing in the precise plan could go beyond the threshold of the environmental impact analysis, forcing city staff to revisit the precise plan overall. City planner Rebecca Shapiro said a change in the environmental analysis would delay phase two planning beyond the end of the year, but working within the boundaries is a "workable plan."

Clark said there's plenty of leeway in the environmental impact report (EIR), and that the threshold is around 10 times the previously proposed housing numbers. He said reaching the 1,900-some housing unit cap would take years, and a new environmental impact analysis could be done later down the road to avoid delaying current plans.

"I think the numbers are okay from an EIR perspective," Clark said. "Council should decide how much they should push for housing."

Lenny Siegel and other members of the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View attended the meeting. The group spearheaded the community outcry for a balanced jobs-housing ratio in the San Antonio Precise Plan and threatened to put a referendum on the ballot if the plan was approved as-is.

Siegel said the council has come a long way in responding to the community and he's pleased with their progress, but they still have further to go. He said he was disappointed that the council member's discussion was very narrow, and didn't reference many of the concerns from the public.

"They missed the whole point in trying to create a livable community," Seigel said.

Siegel said that "livable community" should include a neighborhood school -- something that was not mentioned once at the study session meeting Tuesday. Seigel said a school in the San Antonio precise plan area makes sense from the point of view of people in the area who want to live in a family community, and it makes sense from the point of view of traffic.

Siegel said council members need to consider family-friendly housing, and that so far the housing designed in the San Antonio area has discouraged kids.

"Even young people are speaking out," Siegel said. "They want to settle down in the area and have a family, and solving the housing problem isn't just the number of units."

Clark said a new draft of the plan with council member feedback will be available in September, and the City Council will likely have another study session on the draft. Council members are slated to vote on the new draft by the end of this year.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by randy albin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 12:59 pm

well, this area has changed alot. the traffic is ridiculously heavy. what are these people thinking? it's affordable living? get wise and do things better than this. how unappealing


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

San Antonio Towers, modeled after Geneva Towers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Creating space for small to large office user are good, small businesses need space. We have a pretty big area here which needs to be tied in together.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Go Away Garrett
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Good lord! Who is this Garrett character?

"Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
3 minutes ago
Creating space for small to large office user are good, small businesses need space. We have a pretty big area here which needs to be tied in together. "

HE'S A RESIDENT OF ANOTHER COMMUNITY! Why is he still telling us what to do???

"Creating space for small to large office user are good"

---What does "are good" mean? How can anyone take you seriously when you can't even form basic sentences correctly?

GO FIX YOUR OWN COMMUNITY AND LEAVE OURS ALONE!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm


Whatever the council does... it better UNDERSTAND
the TRAFFIC mess on San Antonio Road.

Any decision made about phase-2 without taking the TRAFFIC
into account would be unacceptable.

The ELEPHANT in the room is the TRAFFIC.
Cars on San Antonio Road are moving at the speed of
ELEPHANTS today.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alex M
a resident of Willowgate
on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm

What KIND of housing?

Mountain View already has one of the highest proportion of renters (almost 60%) of any city I know. You build a long-lasting community with people who own their homes, not transients who rent.

On another note, it's good to see the City Council finally turning away from being a developer's rubber stamp. But they still have some progress to make in listening to the community they were elected to serve.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

@ Alex M,

I agree that we need more residents with ties to the community, not short term renters. I am afraid that the 60% renters is only going to increase.


Having the City Council listen to, and respond to, the residents, both owners, renters, and businesses is a great first step. It has been a long time in coming. It has taken a lot of work and frustration to get to this point.


We have won a battle but it will be along war.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Celia Bella
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:33 pm

The comment about including an elementary school is very intelligent. Families are the stable base of a community. Families are the most law-abiding community builders. Having a school within walking distance reduces traffic, reduces pollution, and increases a sense of community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Emphasis on retail through out on the ground floors, with both towers as housing, instead of as offices, is what I think can improve this mess the most, aside from forgetting it. All the council members were in agreement on emphasis on retail & shifting to housing instead of office.

If each housing tower had an open air courtyard, like a roofless atrium, in its middle, the residents living there could have some quiet with their windows open for fresh air, not air from the nearby busy (way too busy) noisy roads.

I like the dimensions of Santana Row. It has a nice feel & is not too spread out to have inviting spaces with music, flowers, some small lawns & courtyard areas, parking all around, but only very slow traffic cruising through. Not impossible for those who cannot walk...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Mix of housing, everything apartments to townhomes and condos, ownersip housing away from San Antonio Road. Condos flats and apartments closest to phase 2.

If someones owns land and wants to.apartments in area that could support such don't see anything wrong with building.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I was born and raised in Mountain View 50 years ago, and still live here. I guess I am one of the "renters" mentioned. I wish I had been able to buy a home, but it was not in the cards for me. I am lucky enough to have a landlord who keeps my rent reasonable. Not all renters lack ties to the community. I love Mountain View, and plan to stay here as long as I can...God Willing...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Zack
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2014 at 7:48 pm

They should be required to build a school.

I'm a Los Altos resident and can't get my kids into the afterschool program at their own Los Altos school 2 blocks from my house because there's so many non Los Altos residents there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scarlet
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Where is water coming from to support all of these new residences and businesses?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AllyK
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Mountain View could have successfully re-created a Santana-Row type environment which is vibrant and experience-based with high ownership-potential residential prospects incorporated. Multi-levels are provided for in the general plan. Instead, we threw in a Safeway, a couple of retail-blah's and some revenue-producing apartments. Fail, Mountain View. Really, really big fail. Hopefully we can do better with phase 2.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not Zack
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:20 pm

@Zack
"They should be required to build a school.

I'm a Los Altos resident and can't get my kids into the afterschool program at their own Los Altos school 2 blocks from my house because there's so many non Los Altos residents there."

Who is this "they" you are referring to? You are aware, dear readers, that it is illegal for City Councils across the great state of California to require developers to include schools on their land. Nor can they zone for it. School Districts control such things. Wanna complain about "no talk of schools" in City Council meetings? Complain somewhere else because they aren't allowed to discuss it, except maybe to say, "gee, I hope the school district can find some land somewhere nearby."

Speaking of which, if you think the school districts aren't aware of the rapidly increasing population, then you need to get out of Council meetings and start attending school district meetings. Take your pick. MVWSD or LASD.

And Zack, that last sentence of yours is offensive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by More for Zach
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:08 am

Zach,

In case you didn't know, a large portion (40%?) of Los Altos elementary district has always been comprised of Mountain View residents. That's the way the boundary is set. Sorry...you'll need to co-exist.

PS - That doesn't mean a school shouldn't be added to the portfolio.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:59 am

I agree a school is needed but the Mountain View City Council is not in charge of buying land for schools. I think the city would be wise to buy land for park and lease back some the site for a school.

We aren't going to see the amount of kids being born, but still planning for schools, parks, shopping, entertainment, creation of jobs, services, housing, strong tax base and housing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dylan Carlson
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Infrastructure has to have equal priority to housing, since apparently it was not considered during this binge on office space. I think all of this office space should be delayed for infrastructure improvements, as well, if it could be.

Much harder & costlier to address later when everything is pushed to the limit. Let's not be punished for lack of foresight, we all intuitively know the problems that are coming with what's already been permitted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2014 at 3:32 pm

The author of the column in this issue about the Housing-Schools imbalance has not been paying attention. The Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View has consistently joined residents of the San Antonio area in proposing a neighborhood elementary school: for the kids, for the neighborhood, and to reduce auto traffic. While it may be difficulty finding suitable property, I believe it is possible to incorporate a school into a new residential development.

As for those who think the City has no role in school development, I suggest they check out page 150 of the Mountain View General Plan, where it states:

POS 5.2: Schools and open space. Collaborate with the school district on new
school development and intensification to accommodate population growth while
preserving and protecting public parks and playgrounds.
POS 5.3: School facilities. Ensure school facilities are constructed to serve
community needs to the extent allowed by state law.
POS 5.4: School facility needs. Collaborate with local school districts on their facility needs and provide information on development and growth trends.

Now is the time for Mountain View to collaborate with the Los Altos School District, to plan for a neighborhood school in the San Antonio Area before redevelopment is built out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Clogged Streets
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Good grief...how will Rengstorff and San Antonio Road take all of the traffic these developments will impose on the road network.

Both of these arteries are parking lots twice a day as it is. If you do the accounting you will see that between Rengstorff and San Antonio Roads at El Camino, there are 4 or 5 huge developments. Toss in the new Google site at San Antonio and Alma and there is no way we can get from El Camino to 101.

What ever happened to regional planning? Was it lost to pure unadulterated greed?

I guess if you're the developer, you live in Atherton, Woodside or Los Altos Hills where I hear the traffic is no problem at all. We, on the other hand, are stuck with miserable traffic in perpetuity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by after school
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm

How come Santa Rita and Almond have so much smaller after school spaces than all the other schools?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm



When the government approves huge developments
that cannot be supported by San Antonio Road
infrastructure --- the residents in the area
have to sit in traffic for a LONG time at each
signal EVERY DAY wasting their precious time.

When more developments are approved despite the
already catastrophic traffic (catastraffic !!!) --
it is a civil rights violation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2014 at 9:08 pm

@zach - no offensive but its not the school districts responsibility to take care of your kids outside of school hours, its yours. It is great that many of the schools in the area (Palo Alto included) have some kind of after school program, but school districts are only responsible for school hours. Anything else is a plus.

That said, I think school capacity should absolutely be a deciding factor in new developments. Cal law is ridiculous. In many other parts of the country, not only is school capacity a consideration, developers are required to donate land and build schools as part of a development. Go figure!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:35 pm

@TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV --
"When more developments are approved despite the
already catastrophic traffic (catastraffic !!!) --
it is a civil rights violation."

If you think being inconvenienced by having increased traffic add some time to your commute, or your drive to the store, is a civil rights violation, you have no idea what a true civil rights violation is.

Your statement is also rather insulting to people who, past or present, have suffered or are suffering true violations of their civil rights.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2014 at 11:04 am

Don't see the Civil Right Violation and one being subjected to traffic. Guess I better file a class action suit or bring charges because the traffic lights won't stay green. I am being discriminated against because I can't find parking in front of the store. What about.

If you lived in rural community you wouldn't have to deal with traffic but no jobs. Drive 9 miles for household staples or get a pizza. Housing is cheap, taxes are low but don't expect much in services. Some people in the world would welcome your civil rights violations, hot smoggy places where commuting miles to work and back home home again eats up your free time.

Where having a 98 year old evicted because of greed but build housing you will run into NIMBYISM.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2014 at 12:41 pm

@TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV : Your basic point is absolutely valid. Perhaps you should have said it differently, for example:

"When traffic is already at a standstill at peak hours, and more developments are already in the pipeline, adding even more development in the San Antonio area would be sheer idiocy."

@OMVresident: You know very well what his/her point was. Don't pretend otherwise. You know very well that attacking the "civil rights" phrase is an off-topic distraction. However, in an odd way, I appreciate your efforts to prevent us controlled-development people from using excessive hyperbole. It helps us improve our case.

@Garrett: It's hard to make sense of your comment. Are you saying that any objection to excessive development in a crowded community with insufficient infrastructure is NIMBYISM, and therefore we should all just shut up? Give me a break.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dylan Carlson
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

There are no doubt people astroturfing here from other cities, and from organizations, just to disrupt things.

Here's a question: has the City completed a traffic study anytime recently, and if so what were the results?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm


I removed the civil rights reference in my
earlier posting.

Here is the updated version --

When the government approves huge developments
that cannot be supported by San Antonio Road
infrastructure --- the residents in the area
have to sit in traffic for a LONG time at each
signal EVERY DAY wasting their precious time.

When more developments are approved despite the
already catastrophic traffic (catastraffic !!!) --
it is time for speaking up LOUD & CLEAR!



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

"If you lived in rural community you wouldn't have to deal with traffic"

which is what Mr View was before all the houses came along. The houses where people decry the loss of their community live.

As long as you got yours, no one else matters. No one before you, and no one after.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Flat Out False
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 12, 2014 at 9:34 pm

"When the government approves huge developments
that cannot be supported by San Antonio Road
infrastructure --- the residents in the area
have to sit in traffic for a LONG time at each
signal EVERY DAY wasting their precious time."

While traffic is congested during school morning and pick up times, you never have to sit for a long time at each traffic signal. Again , the only people using that portion of the street have a reason to be there. People from the crossings and ML neighborhood have easier alternatives unless they enjoy driving SA road.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2014 at 9:10 am

I know from experience, anecdotes and Palo Alto Weekly, that many people have stopped using Arastadero Road and Charleston Road since the lanes were reduced and have started using San Antonio instead as a faster route to and from Foothill Expressway, VA Hospital Gunn High School and even 280 and other commuters entering Palo Alto.

San Antonio is a faster route, can you believe it. So it adds to the reason why traffic around San Antonio is so bad.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2014 at 10:02 am


@PAResident

Thank you for the info -- Now I know why the Los Altos side
of San Antonio Road has become a mess.

The San Antonio Road segment north of El Camino is already a mess.
San Antonio road Infrastructure simply cannot support any office
buildings in Mountain View side of San Antonio Road.

Traffic mess in Los ALtos is caused by the out-of-control development
in Mountain View and Palo Alto. Los Altos should demand a moratorium
on all new office buildings in Mountain View and Palo Alto that are
directly causing traffic mess for Los Altos.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

@Dylan Carlson - As nearly as I can tell (someone please correct me If I'm wrong), the City does not run its own traffic studies. Instead, it depends on reports paid for by developers, that are commissioned from "transportation consultant" firms. Obviously, there is an incentive for the consultant to produce a result favorable to the developer.

The "Draft EIR" for Phase 2 has some tables that you might find interesting. Here's a link to the Draft EIR; look in section 3-13: Web Link

I'd take these "Level of Service" figures, and the trip generation estimates, with a very large grain of salt.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2014 at 6:37 pm

That link takes a while to load; be patient.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dylan Carlson
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 14, 2014 at 1:56 am

@concerned

Thanks a bunch! I poked around earlier and couldn't find anything. I didn't guess to look in the EIRs.

That said, the report is more negative about the existing traffic than it is positive. (at least, that's how I read it.) It seems reasonable based on my own experience.

This is helpful.

As an aside: I so dislike having conversations without data... it's just empty, pointlessly angry rhetoric. Even if the data is not very good, it's at least a starting point to have a conversation on how we need better data. :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 14, 2014 at 10:41 am

Curious Observer is a registered user.

The City Council is under the delusion that millennials do not own cars therefore traffic and parking will not be an issue. See Mayor Clark's comments regarding the apartments they approved at Moffett and Central.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 11:27 am

Things change, this whole part of Mountain View changing, but transportation infrastructure hasn't changed all that much. Yes people are wanting to reduce dependency on cars, fuels or having to pay more when gas prices rise. So what is a matter with designing mixed use projects.

I am not the developer of the project but if I was it would be different.

Do we build to support transportation alternatives in the future or just build for the present


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CMV PLanner
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm

@concerned citizen

"@Dylan Carlson - As nearly as I can tell (someone please correct me If I'm wrong), the City does not run its own traffic studies. Instead, it depends on reports paid for by developers, that are commissioned from "transportation consultant" firms. Obviously, there is an incentive for the consultant to produce a result favorable to the developer."

The developer pays for the study but the consultant is hired by city staff. Staff is unconcerned about the incentives of the consultant. They want a fair and objective study.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm


@CMV PLanner -- appreciate your response.

However, the city staff is considering office buildings
along San Antonio Road that will house 1000s of employees.

San Antonio Road TODAY has already become a traffic mess --
AND the ElCamino/SanAntonio intersection is CLOGGED
almost all the time even on weekends.

So, clearly something is amiss here.
TRAFFIC is the ELEPHANT in the room.
It cannot be magically wished away.

The residents need to speak up NOW
or FOREVER be stuck in ELEPHANT-SPEED
traffic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

CMV Planner: "Staff is unconcerned about the incentives of the consultant. They want a fair and objective study."
That assumes the city staff has no motives of their own. Mountain View city staff is rather brazen about pursuing their own goals over the wishes of the residents, and historically they've had the city council as an ally. Snow 'em under with reports and recommendations, and they bow to staff suggestions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dylan Carlson
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm

@Steve

If we are indeed getting snowed over, if there is some hidden agenda, then it's on us to vote new members and/or vote for referendums. The city works on our behalf, not the other way around.

I'm on the side of addressing the imbalance between offices and housing. However I think it's not good if the City is providing data, and we are too poorly organized to analyze and respond to it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CMV PLanner
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

@TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV

"However, the city staff is considering office buildings
along San Antonio Road that will house 1000s of employees."

Staff is considering nothing. It is the developer that proposes a project. Staff prepares the reports and I will admit at times we overwhelm council with information. We have no agenda and in fact many of us are MV residents. Its council responsibility to read the reports and raise concerns. The reason council "bows" to staff is because most council members are ill equipped to understand most of the information in these reports.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:14 am

@MVC Planner - "The reason council 'bows' to staff is because most council members are ill equipped to understand most of the information in these reports."

Wow. That's not too flattering - and this from a city planner! I'd like to think that you are wrong.

But then I'd have to come to an even less flattering conclusion - council members understand the reports, but do not have the will or desire to question them.

IMO, Planning is used to working closely with developers, tends to see things their way, and rarely recommends against their proposals. Case in point is Phase 2. As you say, Council is supposed to act as a check. But for the last few years they have generally not done so, using staff reports as cover for pro-developer decisions (for whatever reasons).

Council's "shifting gears", covered in this article, only came about because of some fairly intense public pressure. That's encouraging, but it remains to be seen what kind of project we will ultimately get. I'd hope for mostly retail space, with no more than perhaps 200 units of housing, no office space, no cinema, and no hotel (and parking for Milk Pail).

And yes, traffic congestion is the real issue here - the "Elephant in the room". See the Draft Environmental Impact Report in the link above. It states that as planned, the project would put the San Antonio/ El Camino intersection at "Level of Service F." And yet, staff recommended approval.

If there is a solution here, it's to pay very close attention to the candidates for the 3 council seats that will be open in November, and try to get a council that understands issues of overcrowding, congestion, infrastructure, and quality of life.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M.Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

@concerned citizen,

Yes, San Antonio was supposed to be a regional shopping center. I interpreted that to mean many stores, small, middle sized and large.
I don't equate "regional shopping center", with a few high end shops and restaurants, office space, a cinema, and a hotel.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by San Antonio Road
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Housing is needed in Mountain View. In the past, there have been a large number of 2 and 3 story apartment buildings along Del Medio Avenue, which parallels San Antonio Road south of Central Expressway. There is also a lot of housing along the cross streets. The area bordering the Del Medio housing area but directly on San Antonio Road has always been primarily RETAIL with a few smaller office buildings mixed in. None of these has been taller than 2 stories. If nothing is done, developers will indeed propose and receive approval for office towers along San Antonio. I would say that this is a prime place for higher rise HOUSING in the city, every bit as much appropriate as El Camino Real. In fact, it's more suited to housing in the form of condos and apartments, since it is directly across the street from this huge retail center.

Let's stop the development of office towers along San Antonio Road in this area, and replace that by higher density housing. Housing creates less traffic rush hours than offices, and involves fewer people.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm


The 330 apartments in phase-1 are adequate. Phase-2 needs to be
just retail.
Find a way to put up a school before adding anymore residential
units on San Antonio Road.

But even this density on San Antonio given the existing phase-1
330 units is too much. Building so much on the border with
neighboring towns is unrasonable. Mountain View needs to stop
high-density or take all its high-density to the interior.

Mountain View is adding much more than its fair share of
the traffic mess. Perhaps rename MV the Catastraffic City,
Gateway to Gridlock, ...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

I would think most people prefer to take 280 or 85 to Los Altos. And if you follow the cyclists they all come down shoreline or escuela to go to Los Altos


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Posted by Housing in Mountain View
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Mountain View is adding housing everywhere. The Mountain View Whisman school district is seeing added housing construction, especially new apartments along El Camino Real. Much of this is not yet ready for occupancy but it's very near.

Los Altos School District property of all sorts was valued at a total of $15.1 Billion for 2012-2013 and it rose about 7.5% for 2013-2014 (full numbers not yet out). The MVWSD aggregate property value to serve MORE students was valued at a total of $13.6 Billion for 2012-2013. I'll bet its growing at a faster clip that in LASD.

The total number of houses and condos is about the same--13,148 for MVWSD and 13,639 for LASD but the average house/condo value has been historically much higher in LASD. Luckily MVWSD has more commercial property which helps it regain some ground, but it still has a lower property tax based than LASD and of course it serve more total students with a lower parcel tax. In the area of multiunit housing that is rented, MVWSD is doing better than LASD. There are 1,872 complexes in MVWSD but only 283 in LASD. We need more multiunit housing complexes in the LASD portion of Mountain View, just to even things out. I'm afraid that's exactly the border area you are talking about.

The right thing is to build apartment or condo towers along San Antonio Road on the side towards Palo Alto.

Surely, arrangements can be made to construct a new school. Consider all the extra revenue from ad valorem property taxes that are collected by LASD. This increase in multi unit housing will increase the difference even more in favor of LASD, and of course there will be developer fees which are substantial. It barely matters that LASD also collects $8Million extra in parcel taxes. The pendulum is swinging to the point that parcel taxes won't be as needed in LASD.


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:24 am

For those interested on traffic on San Antonio, I am willing to bet this will encourage more traffic on San Antonio to get to Gunn. Web Link


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Posted by Private Schools
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

This LASD district is disgusting. They have way more money and way more land for schools and way fewer middle income and low income kids. So they gripe to the Mountain View city council that heavens no, they can't possibly stand to have more kids added living in the San Antonio area. Give me a break. Of all the places in Mountain View that can AFFORD to add school children, the LASD territory is the best 20% of the city where growth should be occurring.


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Posted by School Land
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

There's no real need to add space for a school in this downtown urban area. It's much nicer for the kids to travel to nearby Egan and Santa Rita schools in Los Altos. LASD did once have a closer school but they sold that school for cash. That's their fault.

The growth may be occurring in San Antonio now, but there have ALWAYS been a lot of kids living here. Back in 2000 there were 200-300 kids who attended Santa Rita. That's a lot of kids and they were 1/2 of an LASD school by themselves. It had been that way for quite a while. Then some growth started occurring and LASD kicked these kids out of the closest school and sent them off clear across town to Covington when they opened it in 2003. The sent more to Almond. All of this was just so that their Santa Rita school could stay below 500 kids! The Castro School is way biger than that. Why shouldn't LASD let all these kids go to their closest school? Where's the humanity?


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Posted by School Land
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I forgot to mention that Santa Rita Elementary School on Los Altos avenue is HUGE. It is a 12 acre school. It has its own grove of trees. It has 2 huge playing fields, pretty much double what any ordinary school has. Compare that to Castro Elementary. Castro is tiny by comparison. Even counting in the city park next to it, the total is about 8.5 acres. No where near as much is spent on landscaping at Castro. Clearly Santa Rita has a much larger capacity for students than does Castro. The Los Altos neighbors of Santa Rita just don't want "THOSE PEOPLE" in there, meaning people who live in apartments in the San Antonio area.


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Posted by school-districts property-prices property-taxes
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm


MV needs to play a good and reasonable neighbor. Exploiting
surrounding cities is not acceptable.

Property prices are directly tied to school districts
and expansive and premium schools.
Home owners have paid huge premium for their properties
on the premise that these properties are located in "better"
school districts and in less dense areas.
Property taxes are based on property value assessment --
this assesment is tied to how much one paid for their property.

Will MV residents share some of the property taxes
that LA residents are paying? So, you see -- 100's
of kids from Mountain View apartments built on San Antonio
Road should be able to attend schools that MV builds. MV
should stop building high density on the border and
crowding out LASD and causing havoc in LA neighborhoods!!

MV is not playing a good neighbor. MV is the root cause
of the traffic mess at El Camino / San Antonio intersection.
Still MV is marching on to build massive offices right on
San Antonio Road!!!! Does MV care about the mess it is
inflicting on the neighboring cities? How about some
reasonable behavior before pointing fingers at LA?


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Posted by Property Taxes
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Hey, wake up. The property tax base in LASD is *GREATER* than the property tax base in Mountain View Whisman. Part of LASD's huge property tax bases is the area around San Antonio Center. If you would like some specific numbers, for the 2013-2014 collections, which are based on the property values of January 1 2013, here they are:

MVWSD: $14,727 Billion
LASD: $16,496 Billion


LASD is ROLLING in dough. A lot of it is because of the San Antonio Center area which has some of the most valuable property in the LASD taxing area. I don't know who this guy is with the hyphens in his name, but he's just plain WRONG.

Now, what will happen when the 2014-2015 assessed value totals are released? It's going to be interesting, as MVWSD has gone up a lot, but I will bet you that LASD has gone up still more....


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Posted by Schools
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Los Altos schools have nothing to complain about. Their schools are deluxe in every respect. They have plenty of land and plenty of money to landscape and add portables all the time on that land. The Santa Rita school could handle 800 students very easily. You could have Egan (20 acres) handle 1300 students too. You could have a 750 student middle school and a 550 student elementary school just on that single piece of land. Why buy more land? Especially Egan, it's not very far at all from San Antonio Center.


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Posted by school-districts property-prices property-taxes
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm


@Property Taxes

With all due respect --- North Los Altos has always had high property prices
because it is near the Los ALtos library, Downtown Los ALtos and the general
beauty of the area. It has always maintained the peaceful ambience, etc. MV's property prices are higher when properties are on the border with the
peaceful ambience of Los Altos.

San Antonio Center never had anything to do with the desirability of
North Los Altos. There is nothing to be going gaga over the center.
Now it has gotten worse with the traffic mess caused by MV.
MV needs to be a reasonable neighbor -- Mv needs to stop exploiting neighboring cities.

MV needs to find land and build schools instead of building offices
to make money. MV needs to learn to create a livable environment
from Los ALtos. LA refrains from building too much commercial
buildings to prevent traffic mess. MV can learn a lot from LA.


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Posted by Property Values in LASD
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jul 19, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Silly person-- LASD includes a lot more in the North than just Los Altos. For example, the shipping center with Safeway and Jared Jewelers, etc. on the corner was assessed at $18 Million for 2013-2014 before all the stores there were completed. The total value will surely go up once all the improvements are complete and all the shell is built out internally. $18 Million for those 5 acres on the corner, SO FAR. The Carmel The Village apartments were taxed at $33.9 Million, again before all the retail on the ground floor was completed, and it will also go up. This is more than the value of the residential housing in North Los Altos.


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Posted by school-districts property-prices property-taxes
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2014 at 7:21 pm


Apologies for misspelling ambiance in my previous post.

@Schools

With all due respect --- LASD school grounds are large
by design. LA has chosen to invest in schools.

In contrast, MV does not want to buy land to build schools.
MV wants offices, more offices and more high density.
It is really odd that MV residents are not demanding their
own city that they need more schools, more land for schools, etc.
It is really ironic that the MV residents are demanding that
LASD accommodate more MV students.

MV should stop building high-density on the border. MV should
take responsibility for the future of MV's school kids.
If MV won't invest on land for school, building more schools, etc.
the MV residents should take that to MV city council.

Being a good neighbor means not creating a mess for
neighboring cities.
"The Good Neighbor" sounds sweeter than
"The Freeloader" :-)


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Posted by More property values
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jul 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Another property. The small strip shopping center on the corner of San Antonio and California Avenue, adjacent to San Antonio Center. This property is 1/5 of an acre and it sold in December 2013 for $4 Million. Wow, what a lot of tax revenue bump that produced for LASD, MVLA and Foothill-Deanza!


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Posted by seeing-it-fot-what-it-is
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2014 at 8:21 pm


@More Property Values

MV created a huge traffic mess with high density development
on San Antonio Road.
The tax revenue is meaningless after MV has destroyed the
quality of life for North Los Altos.

Also, San Antonio center property values are high because
of its proximity to Palo Alto and Los Altos. The expectation
is that residents of these cities will be shopping there.

I wish MV had used some other land in MV's interior areas
for this high-density development.
Instead, MV chose to create the traffic mess for the
neighboring cities. Very clever indeed.

Los Altos is not interested in any revenue that comes
with traffic mess. Soon all residents will wake up and
see MV for its unreasonable behavior.


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Posted by Los Altos parent
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:54 am

I like the development. Since our own city refuses to build the services out residents need, we rely on MV destroying the livability of their own city for us.

By the way, let's work harder to get MV to expand their baseball fields for us. They can just add a parcel tax to pay for it.

I love our Los Altos library and think its wonderful that MV'ers have to pay big bucks to get in. We are the elite and they serve us.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:16 am

Remember when phase 1 was planned, the fuss about 330 apartments and the amount of children. Phase 2 was planned as retail but then MG purchased surrounding properties.

Shopping Center, regional ones have low end to high end which I think with income and the price people are paying for real estate. High end.

Restaurants, cinemas, mattress stores and yes jewelry stores. I have been to large shopping centers that have hotels, office and in Folsom they a center with a full Kasier.

When I lived in Australia, my federal Senator had his office in mall office building, one of the reason why they know when economy is bad.


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Posted by losaltos-residents-pay-for-library-use
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:37 pm

@Los Altos parent

Do check your property tax statement -- Los ALtos residents
pay $33 towards county library and $76 for Los Altos Library
every year.

Mountain View is not doing anyone any favor by building out
lots of retail. MV is doing it to make sales revenue
from Palo Alto and Los Altos residents. MV is causing traffic
mess like there is no tomorrow.
Los ALtos especially North Altos is bearing the brunt of the
traffic mess caused by MV.

There are enough places to shop in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Cupertino
and the list goes on. No one needs massive retail in every corner
in Mountain View. High density construction on San Antonio is a
clear indication that MV does not care about the traffic congestion
it is inflicting on neighboring cities.


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Posted by Whoops
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Los Altos family of four will pay a tax deductible fee of 74/year. (About 50 dollars actual)

Mountain View family of four will a non-tax deductible fee of 320/year (80 times 4)

That's quite a big difference, no? Do we want MV to care about out opinions in Los Altos? Then maybe we should stop gouging them!!!


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Posted by Whoa Whoops
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:52 am

It's the entire County Library Authority that charges the $80 fee for a lending card, not Los Altos. In the county as a whole, the tax hit is $33.60 per parcel. The North County Library Authority covers LAH and Los Altos. It has an extra levy of $76 per year, so the total is $110 per parcel.

Now, why can't just Mommy or Daddy get a $80 lending card and the whole family borrows books on the same card? Sounds like it would probably work to me.

This was all because the state used to give $2 Million per year to the county libraries to cover borrowing by non-residents. When they dropped it the county library noticed how many people were borrowing from them.


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Posted by Greedylosaltans
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 8:05 am

The Library Commission is made up of residents of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, so whether to gouge MV it not completely within Los Altos's control.

It just seems disingenuous to complain to MV for permitting a private landowner developing private property a certain way while continuing to gouge MV residents.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 8:26 am

Why should Mountain View watch shoppers and retailers head to other cities? Why should the city let revenue go else and add more residents, jobs and business? Should we be attracting businesses that generate tax revenue, jobs for high school/college kids? Remember this boom will not last, growth companies will slow down and those moving here will like decent shopping.


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Posted by MV's-prerogative-todo-whatever-it wants
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm


It is MV's prerogative to build offices. Build only
high density. It is MV's prerogative to build on the border
with neighboring cities and cause traffic mess. MV needs all
the revenue.

MV will not build schools. MV will not allot more land for schools.
MV residents will demand that Los Altos provide all the library and
school facilities.
Los Altos must look the other way. Los Altos residents
must put up with all this. MV residents are always right.
Los Altos residents pay 110+ library parcel tax every year.
But who cares about the facts?

MV residents don't know how to work with the MV city council
to get the schools and libraries they need.
Los Atos residents need to learn to sympathise.
If Los Altos residets don't know how to be accommodating
to MV, they should sell and leave town :-)


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm

"If Los Altos residets don't know how to be accommodating to MV, they should sell and leave town :-)"

What is a "residets"? Perhaps you should take advantage of your exclusive Library to learn the English language. How can we take anything you write seriously?

Very shameful...


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Posted by MV's-prerogative-todo-whatever-it wants
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Reposting with one spelling error corrected :-)
Thanks!

It is MV's prerogative to build offices. Build only
high density. It is MV's prerogative to build on the border
with neighboring cities and cause traffic mess. MV needs all
the revenue.

MV will not build schools. MV will not allot more land for schools.
MV residents will demand that Los Altos provide all the library and
school facilities.
Los Altos must look the other way. Los Altos residents
must put up with all this. MV residents are always right.
Los Altos residents pay 110+ library parcel tax every year.
But who cares about the facts?

MV residents don't know how to work with the MV city council
to get the schools and libraries they need.
Los Atos residents need to learn to sympathise.
If Los Altos residents don't know how to be accommodating
to MV, they should sell and leave town :-)


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Posted by Mvparent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

We would love to check out materials from the main LA library and so would our kids. However, we found out it would cost $400/year!!! The suggestion about buying one card for "Mom" is offensive. Our kids are in high school and shouldn't need to ask us to check out materials on their behalf.

It's Los Altos and they can discriminate against outsiders all they want. It is their right. However, I agree that they should have zero day in how we build in our town.

Don't like increased traffic on San Antonio? Get off your lazy butts and ride a bike or take a bus. Or move to a city that provides jobs, parks and retail, so you wouldn't have to leave it so often to live.


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Posted by Tired of my LA neighbors
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Fellow Los Altans. Especially those of you with kids in LASD schools.

I am really tired of some of the comments and assumptions. Its time to get a few things straight.

1. The school district was here before Los Altos was incorporated.
2. The NEC area contributes more in taxes than do the LA track homes and other assorted properties. Many of those properties are occupied by older adults that bought their home long ago and are paying very low taxes.
3. Places like the Crossings are high density - and are separate parcels so that each residence pays the parcel tax. That's way more dollars per acre than in Los Altos.
4. You pay paid big bucks for your home but that doesn't mean that you own the schools, the state of California is the property owner.
5. Mountain View shouldn't have to give up tax dollars or housing property just because LASD doesn't want to share property at it's current schools.
6. The LASD Board of Trustees needs to put their big boy and girl pants on and provide a school to the NEC.
7. The new fancy apartments are not the cause of over crowding in LASD schools. In fact BCS is the only over crowded school. LASD has a school attendance boundary problem and a school location problem it doesn't have an over crowding problem.
8. If you are really concerned about the number of kids at each school then encourage LASD to start doing home checks, I suspect that their are quite a few current LASD students that are using fake addresses. Start at Loyola - there is something fishy going on there. Same with Santa Rita.


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Posted by County Library Commission
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm

There are only 2 out of 11 members from Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Here are the members: Web Link


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Posted by County Library Commission
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Any student in Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District or LASD is exempt from the $80 annual fee for a library card.

Also Los Altos reps were against the county's $80 fee. Web Link


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm

The State of CA dropped their "transaction reimbursement fee" so the county library system could either choose to close some of their 7 days per week, and/or have shorter hours, or charge those the state no longer reimbursed for. It was decided by the Joint Powers Authority (who oversee the County Library) to stay open as always and to charge (for a time) those who do not pay a parcel tax to cover their usage of the county library system. Teachers can get a free database access card, and students (even those outside of the cities with county libraries) can get free cards.

Most families living outside the "library district" buy one card for $80 and share it among themselves, unless they have students in the family who can get the free student card.

The charges for cards for those outside the library district is on the Jan. '15 JPA Agenda for reconsideration. As the economy is recovering, the property taxes in the district are possibly allowing the county library to keep its open hours and days without a charge to users who otherwise would not pay.

Dropping the charge is in keeping with the philosophy that the State of CA once proclaimed. If the state would step back up with its approximate $400K of help per year, then everyone could once again benefit from the county collection without hurting it due to stretched monies.

Shame on the State of CA for dropping this funding, as if "broke", while simultaneously creating numerous agencies: To oversee high density housing where ABAG mandates; to select the developers without their submitting bids; to levy fines against cities that fall behind the state's schedule in changing the zoning to "P" so many floors of building can be constructed right next door to one story houses, etc.

The more one looks into this, the more one finds that our state government feels it is their right to push us around and force our behaviors to change, rather that to represent us.


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Posted by Sad
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:54 pm

The real issue is that Mountain View residents are reaching into their pockets to fund great services like our city library so that non-residents can enjoy them. Contrast this to the much wealthier Los Altos city, where their residents refuse to pay much for services, so they have to outsource their library to the county system!!! Hear the LA crybabies paying a few bucks on their multi-million dollar home to to to the library...

What is forgotten here, is that Los Altos OWNS their library, so they have the ultimate say. If needed, they can break away and go independent, but that might cost them money and attention. Better to let others do their work for them.

It's so sad that LA is complaining about a private property owner wanting to build businesses on their own land, but refuse to be minimally civil to their neighbors regarding library services. Do you remember when the LA little league parents came to MV city council to demand that we build out more baseball fields for their kids? That takes guts! (or something)


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 10:49 am

@Sad-

Los Altos residents do pay for their library.


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Posted by Read
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

"Los Altos residents do pay for their library."

Linda, nobody ever said they didn't. However, if MV residents wish to access Los Altos's library, they have to pay 80-100's of dollars. Do you not understand that?

Do you not understand that when Los Altos homeowners pay around $80/year, everybody in the house can get a card?

Do you not understand that this small annual fee is TAX DEDUCTIBLE, while when MV residents pay, they do not get to write it off??

I would suggest the next time you wish to share your opinion, do the following:

1. Read: Carefully read what is being written about.
2. Think: Actually understand the issue.
3. Respond: After doing 1&2 properly, then write about it.

It just seems that you keep jumping to #3: Respond, without stopping by #1 and #2...


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

@Read:

Look it, "Read," I do understand everything about this issue. I've worked there for over twenty years. I've attended every JPA Meeting in which this issue was discussed and considered. Your assumptions aren't all correct or in some cases, even close, so quit lecturing.

First off, everyone has complete access to the library and all of the materials and can freely attend all of the programs, adult & childrens. They can also get a really cheap guest pass to go online. And to check out, there is an annual fee, temporarily in place, to make up for the State of CA withdrawing their reimbursement, as I explained above. This is being reconsidered in January of 2015, to go away all together or to be reduced sufficiently.

I could break it down even more for you, for example, the City of Los Altos pays for all maint. on the exterior of the building, the Co. of Santa Clara provides custodial for the interior, etc.

Some large estates within the library district boundaries pay a whole lot more than you are guessing.

You believe one $80 tax write off amounts to a great deal of tax returns? Wouldn't most people who find it difficult to pay $80. once per year (and they can wait for months in between each membership) probably file a short form? If you are all about assumptions, don't you want to also assume that?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

So how did this about a Library which I checked the polices about getting a card in Los Altos and Mountain View.

Mountain View is free and open to all residents. You have to accept the Mountain View library card and borrowing policy.

Los Altos is free to only residents of the Santa Clara County Library District. If you don't live inside the district you will get changed $80.

All applicants must have a ID with picture, name and address or 2 forms of acceptable ID. The taxes from the stores, hotels and other non property tax will benefit the Mountain View Public Library. In fact all non property taxes will benefit the City of Mountain View.


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Posted by Library Taxes
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

The county library system levies a tax on real property in its service area. Businesses can pay up to $7575 per year for this tax. Each apartment unit is taxed at $16 and each house at $32. It all adds up.

In Los Altos, an extra tax is added for extra hours. This is $76 per parcel per year. All the original county taxes apply.

If Mountain View wants to join he county library system, it can have an election and vote to pay the first tax. Paying the 2nd tax would not be required for the city to join. I'm sure the county system would just love to have all that revenue from Mountain View joining.


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Posted by incognito
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

How did an article and discussion about the San Antonio Phase II proposal get hijacked into an argument about the city and county library systems?

Well, at least it appears that some readers are being educated about the differences between and costs of the two systems.

Maybe we can help people understand that the city governments and local school districts are entirely separate entities, with different governing bodies, different geographic boundaries, different populations served, etc.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Incorrectly interrupted. If your one ID is up to date, as with a current address, then that is all you will need.

The library is free to all, it is checking out that will require a library card. If you request one, you can than pay for one at $80./year. You do not get charged unless you make the request.


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Posted by Think
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Linda, you stated that "The library is free to all, it is checking out that will require a library card."

What if there is a book in the catalog that is checked out? How would a MV resident reserve the book and be contacted when it comes in?

Answer: You can't.

It seems that some who self-proclaims to be an expert on this particular library would know that. Next time, please spend more time in Step 2: Think, before polluting our minds with more misinformation.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm

@Think-

No, actually, you can. I have had materials sent over from other branches and I call the requester when it arrives. They either use it here, or photocopy the sections(s) of interest to them, and/or have a friend check it out for them.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm

SO: WRONG ANSWER because one can!

SO it seems YOU are the self-proclaimed expert on this particular library but ARE NOT. SO "Next time, please spend more time in Step 2: Think, before polluting our minds with more misinformation." Like your piddly, little "research" holds up to over twenty years of hands on experience!

Do you do this just because you like to lecture and be a know it all?

I prefer this forum to be used for exchange of ideas, esp. new ones, to help one another, not this drivel from "Think" who isn't really doing so and from "Sad" who really is sad.


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Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2014 at 6:27 pm


The Library topic is a distraction.
The Milk Pail is another distraction.
The elephant in the room is the congested
elephant-speed traffic on San Antonio Road.

The real problem regarding San Antonio Phase II is the massive
plan for constructing high-density offices, hotel, cinema,
apartments, etc.
If you use San Antonio Road on a regular basis, you know that
it is already CONGESTED especially from El Camino intersection
going North towards 101.

Let us stay focused on preventing construction that will cause
more traffic congestion. Once you have unbearable traffic,
a town is no longer desirable.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Off and On peak, rush hour, school commute times, working hours, weekend and night time traffic. While traffic can be bad at times but I wonder how bad it is when a majority of people are at work, school or at home.


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Posted by Sad
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Linda, exceptions can be made but the library prefers their users to be registered before reserving materials for them. The fact that you did not mention this shows the level of deception your postings contain.

Los Altos residents should have absolutely no say in what we develop on our land. Same for LASD. If you want us to care about what you would like, then you will need to extend some courtesy to us...


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 10:59 am

Sad-

There is no deception. Fact is that we who staff the county library system go out of our way to locate materials requested by anyone (whether holding a card or not) at any location where they can check them out. This is our broad philosophy of public service and each of us is happy to go the extra distance to help people. That is why we are still working on reversing the charge put in place when our state stepped down providing the necessary funding. If you want so badly to correct all that is wrong, jump all over the State of CA for not honoring the philosophy of libraries allowing all to hold cards with no membership fee attached so we can help people be well educated and productive in their self improvement and job searches, with the convenience of checking items out. If the state does not put back monies it took from libraries and schools, it indicates to me it is going for a dumber populace that can be more easily led wherever they want to make us go, instead of better representing us.

When you say "...the library prefers their users to be registered..." you are speaking as though the library is a being, rather than a place and a system with policies. The policy of the library is to assist people, all people, so your conclusion is in error.

And FYI, I am a MV resident and I extend every courtesy to everyone. You should try this instead of constantly attacking.

Also, it is upon us to insure that our government serve us. Address the State of CA on this issue.


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Posted by Sad
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Unfortunately Linda Curtis is being unfair to MV residents. She blames everybody but herself about the unfair situation at Los Altos library. (Oh, I make exceptions! or It's the State's fault!) Mountain View does not charge non-residents a library card fee, but she fails to understand this. Somehow she thinks that Los Altos cares so much about us and we should bend over backwards to build a certain way that pleases them regardless of our own needs.

Very sad...


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Sad-

As I've explained, The Joint Powers of Authority made the decision for the (temporary) charge (instead of reducing open days and hours), not Los Altos Library. In fact, their commissioners were not involved in this at all, just the JPA. And why should I blame myself for this or anyone else who opposed it and/or had nothing at all to do with it?

You are a broken record. But you are enjoying yourself picking fights,'cuz that's what you do.

Troll alert! Avoid the troll and let's get back to productive discussion.


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Posted by Lie
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

curtis is stating that the city of los altos is completely powerless to stop this tax on mountain view residents for using their library. that is a complete fabrication. the city of los altos is ultimately responsible for the library policies. notice how she has nothing to say about the mountain view library not charging non-residents. why? because SHE is the troll.

i agree that it is ridiculous to listen to a bunch of noisy (and nosy) Los Altans that want to tell MV what to do, when they refuse to do anything for their neighboring cities. having an apologist troll like curtis living in mv is embarrassing...


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Posted by TRAFFIC-SANANTONIO-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm


The Library topic is a diversion tactic to flood this
comment space with a topic unrelated to San Antonio
Phase II.

The bad news is that traffic congestion on San
Antonio Road will become more of a problem for MV
soon enough. Expect to see bumper-to-bumper traffic
due to excessive office buildings on San Antonio
Road including Phase II office buildings, cinema,
hotel, etc.

The elephant in the room is the congested elephant-speed
traffic on San Antonio Road.

And speaking of libraries and books... since traffic
on San Antonio will come to a standstill soon, bring
your books to read while you are stuck in that traffic :-)

May peace and camaraderie prevail!


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Posted by LA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Since the letters above have digressed from the original subject of the traffic congestion on San Antonio, caused mainly by the incredibly ugly archtecture and lack of class of the new center (Santana Row it is NOT!) I would like to address the vitriol focused on Los Altos - especially concerning the library and a general "unneighborly" attitude toward Mountain View.

It has been my inescapable perception after some 45 years as a resident of Los Altos, that those most bitter and vocal about the policies and eliteism of the LA community are the same ones who hope to someday move to a Los Altos street address. To me this is sad because Mountain View is a much more balanced, middle class community with a much more diverse population and outlook. Just a person peerspective, but one that has surfaced again and again.


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Posted by Agreed
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Agree with LA resident. The neighborhoods in Los Altos are much nicer because MV takes on the burden of building for jobs, retail, parks and much more. But when their beautiful peaceful neighborhoods might take on some traffic impact because of this, they come out of the woodwork to complain.

MV city council is smart enough to ignore Los Altos, so complain all you want....nobody is listening.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Livable-MountainView
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:34 am


Mountain View has been livable until recently -- however in the
past couple of years MV has gotten ahead of itself with building
high-density everywhere. And approving high-density offices everywhere.
At this rate it appears that MV is no longer livable or won't be
in the near future.

Yogi Berra's quote seems to be appropriate:
"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." :-) :-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Phase 1 and 2 when completed might add to some a liveable benefit. Eating, shopping, entertainwork close to home and work. One stop, easy walk or how ever one choses. Liveable environment means different things around ones home even different housing choices.

This could have been just another shopping center with parking on a traffic clogged mess passing fast food and mundane stores.




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Posted by Office Towers and Hotel
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Adding office towers in yet ANOTHER location within the city for big businesses is not something that improves San Antonio Center. We Do NOT need more places for large businesses! We need LESS presence by Google itself which is permeating the entire city in a very undesirable way. Even this Hotel is not something which will add benefit for the residents of Mountain View. So, if the alternative were more retail, that would be better. If we instead replaced it with more condos that people can buy, then that does add a nice option for residents.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Livable-MountainView has sure summed it up accurately. All too fast. And office way out of proportion to housing.

Serious candidates for MV City Council,such as Lisa Matichak, Mercedes Salem, and Jim Neal all want to rein this too fast growth in to a slower pace of development that has a better chance to get it right. Emphasis on housing, not offices, and not stomping on those the developments are going next to.

Please be neighborly, everyone, some of the nicest people in the whole world live in MV and in Los Altos, and in Palo Alto, too, despite the recent headline in the Palo Alto Daily: "Palo Alto 'snobbiest' U.S. city" according to a study by a real estate website.

Maybe folks get back what they give, which I hope is true so we have some control over what's coming our way. Either way, being good neighbors helps the community and facilitates working together = a good thing. Enjoy the beauty in all these cities, and the people, who tend to be among the most positive and open minded in the whole country.


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Posted by I'm an Expert
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Amazing how many people seem to be experts at nothing. They make claims about urban planning with out having a clue what they are talking about. The same applies to those running for council. Most of them do not have full time jobs in the private sector and have no clue how an economy works.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2014 at 6:04 am

Developers wouldn't be building if there was no demand for offices, housing, stores and etc. There wouldn't be a demand if bo one needs, restaurants, offices hotels and etc. There would be no jobs if we didn't have demand for Google, Apple and Tango. People want larger, peole want more choice, people want the latest, and people want nicer.


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:19 am

@Garrett - So is there a point to your comment? Is it that we should let developers do whatever they want? That seems to be the point of most of your posts on the subject of MV overdevelopment.

So even though it's kind of obvious, allow me to point out that we have the concept of zoning, for a reason. We have planning departments, for a reason. We have city councils, for a reason.

And if zoning, planning, and council produce dysfunctional or destructive results, we have elections, for a reason.


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Posted by Trollalert
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2014 at 10:11 am

Garrett is a troll that doesn't live in Mtn View but loves to tell its residents how their city should be developed.
His almost constant steam of misspellings show a lack of education, although have confidence that he will blame his mobile device!

Following Garrett's logic that whatever is most profitable for the developer is best of the city, disposal of spent nuclear materials should be warehoused there!!! Obviously, there are good reasons why our government should regulate what goes on private property. Some are philosophically against it, but try burying toxins in their backyard and listen to their complaints!


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

Most or a good majority of businesses are in business to make a profile. People want jobs to make money so they canbuy homes, cars and acquire things. They want to spend money in new up to date shopping centers with lots and lots of choices and trendy businesses. This whole area has gotten weathly, populated and educated, read the business section of any major newspaper.

Developers aren't going to pay a high price to build ugly strip malls or provide space for cigarette stores, check cashing stores and used furniture stores. I am not saying give in or approve every project that comes along.

The whole area is leading the way on job growth, business growth, growth in wealth in a place that pretty much got started on San Antonio Road. This is where the Silicon Age got its start which changed the world, tight there at the edge of strip mall from the 50's. Yet we are trying to keep it in the 50's, world changing event that caused this place to be on a par with London, New York and other business centers.


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Posted by sanantonio-phase2-MV
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm


MV livability is being DECIMATED by the "build-offices
like there is no tomorrow" mentality.

There are physical limitations -- san antonio road can handle only
so much traffic.

If someone does not understand physical limitations of traffic, and
keeps building offices on San Antonio, the whole road will
become a parking lot. Common sense!

Let us be clear -- it is OK to build shiny new and fancy retail
in San Antonio Phase-2. OK to build condominiums on top of retail.

But office building, cinema and hotel, especially offices
in phase-2 will result in major traffic. Have you noticed the fast
pace of offices going up everywhere in MV? The builders recognize
that before the residents WAKE UP and REALIZE that Mountain
View will be mired in traffic gridlock, the builders want to finish
building all the offices they can.

So, don't make a fool of sensible-growth camp by calling them anti-growth.
Everyone wants growth that the infrastructure (the roads / traffic)
can support. What is happening to common sense?

Yogi Berra was talking about MV when he said
"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." :-)

Yes to common sense, humility, camaraderie, goodwill, sensible-growth...
May MV grow and flourish commensurate with its physical infrastructure
limitations!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sv
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm

The traffic will get worse with renters, not offices.

The agenda is to build more apartments so the rent increase will slow. It was all about affordable housing. Not about reducing traffic. For people who live in Mountain View and Los Altos, having office workers commuting in on the other side of the road is a lot better than having people on the same side.

And these office workers are not around during weekends. They don't pick up kids at 3. They don't go to park after dinner.

Shame on you city council. You caved in at the cost of Mountain View.


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Posted by Dylan Carlson
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 25, 2014 at 3:19 pm

@sv Your conclusions are not supported by any available data.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 am

Some offices inside phase 2 are goos, hotel is feature to have inside a shopping/entertainment/dining area.

Offices should be everything from community based services, medical and dental, small and large businesses. Also retailers who thrive inside office like environments. Zoning is good, but can't zone trends, changes to habits and personal tastes.

I am a fan of mixed use.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

easy peasy... .look at the street parking situation in a neighborhood that has a lot of rental units. is it full of wide open parking spots? Or jam packed with cars parked 6-8" inches apart? Latham between the two 7-11s is a good place to start.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dylan Carlson
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 29, 2014 at 8:23 am

Nice analysis. Those apartments on Latham are ancient and a product of a different era. Near 0% vacancy on these rentals (and likely double occupancy in some cases) reflects a housing shortage.

The real difference is, a brand new office park is going to provide underground parking or an adjacent, multi-story parking structure to its tenants. Look at the new development on Evelyn by the transit center. Somehow you begrudge a 40-50 year old apartment complex for not doing the same.

Companies are still tenants (on most properties), but somehow they are afforded more consideration at much higher densities, while existing housing is treated like a leper colony even though the same solutions like underground parking could be applied.

This discussion is not rational.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 9:55 am

Nor is it rational to reduce the city's parking formula. The city's stated reason why is because "less parking is needed nowadays." Less is required? With more people here than ever? And with time limits and parking fees to be set in place downtown for the expected deluge from sports fans heading to Levy Stadium?

And current projects are required to build less, not more, parking. And some, way less parking than they need for their employees and customers, in exchange for paying in lieu of parking. The small amount these big boys pay (instead of footing the big bill for expensive underground parking) amount to mere lunch money to them, and the result is the city is short on parking forever, squeezing us in everywhere, destroying convenience, and hurting local businesses that get skipped over when there isn't any place to park.


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