News

Candidates see housing crisis solutions in North Bayshore

Most City Council candidates say new neighborhood is needed

If their support for a new residential neighborhood north of Highway 101 is any indication, Mountain View's City Council candidates appear to represent a shift in public opinion toward allowing more housing development in Mountain View, balancing the explosive job growth at LinkedIn, Google and other Mountain View tech companies.

The filing period for council candidates ended last week, and there is now a field of nine candidates running for three open seats in the November election: environmental oversight executive Lenny Siegel, civil engineer Pat Showalter, family financial planner Ken Rosenberg, tech executive Lisa Matichak, planning commissioner Margaret Capriles, government policy aide Ellen Kamei, systems administrator Jim Neal, family practice attorney Mercedes Salem and retired electrical engineer and lieutenant colonel Greg Unangst.

Helen Wolter, who had declared her intention to run, pulled out of the race.

In December the City Council is set to approve a precise plan, a blueprint for allowable development in North Bayshore affecting Google, LinkedIn and others. It would allow 3.4 million-square-feet of new offices, possibly bringing as many as 20,000 new jobs, but no housing to the 500-plus acre North Bayshore area which stretches north from Highway 101 to the city limits.

Given the positions each candidate revealed this week, the odds are that there will be a City Council majority in support of North Bayshore housing in January. Lisa Matichak and Margaret Capriles are the only candidates who clearly oppose new residential zoning in North Bayshore, while Unangst, Neal, Siegel and Showalter expressed the clearest support. Rosenberg, a self-proclaimed housing advocate, said North Bayshore housing seems like the right thing but wants to see an environmental study to make an informed decision. Kamei expressed the most concern, saying she would only support housing there with adequate transportation infrastructure and accessible amenities, like a school and grocery store.

"Yes, we want to see housing out there it is simply the right thing to do," said candidate Showalter in a email, adding that it had to be bird-friendly. There are rare burrowing owls and a colony of egrets living at Shoreline Park and along Stevens Creek) and city officials must consider the flood risks caused by rising sea levels in the nearby bay, she said.

Salem is the only candidate who did not respond to requests for comments about North Bayshore housing, though she says the thrust of her campaign is to help middle class families who are struggling to find affordable housing in the area.

In 2012, council members voted 4-3 against a plan for 1,100 homes in North Bayshore, with outgoing members Margaret-Abe-Koga, Jac Siegel and Ronit Bryant opposed to North Bayshore housing. It may only take one new council member to create a 4-3 majority in support of North Bayshore housing.

The positions of the candidates in this year's election already represent a shift in public opinion about housing needs in the city. Silicon Valley's housing shortage is often blamed on a "not-in my backyard" political culture where residents often oppose housing development in their neighborhoods. Lisa Matichak, who voted against North Bayshore housing as a planning commissioner in 2012, is the only candidate with track record of opposing a housing development. Wolter, who pulled out of the race, was part of the opposition that kept as many as 450 homes from being built at 100 Mayfield Avenue a fight that helped elicit support for Bryant, Siegel and Abe-Koga during the 2006 election. Eight years later, the public discussion on housing issues has changed, with growing concern that a lack of housing is driving up rents and home prices.

Many have said that more local housing development would mean less commuter traffic if people can live near their jobs, but Capriles and Kamei raised the concern that North Bayshore housing development might add to the area's traffic problems. Council members who oppose North Bayshore residential development have also said North Bayshore residents would be making more car trips than commuters in order to take kids to school and shop for groceries, among other things. Candidate Lenny Siegel said he doesn't see it as such a problem.

"Residential construction, even if we assume half the new residents will walk or bike to work in North Bayshore, will still add vehicle trips, " Siegel said in an email. "But there are three differences. A smaller share of trips will be during rush hour. Residents will drive shorter distances (to markets, for example) than commuters, many of whom already drive 90 minutes or more each way. Residents will be driving out of the area when commuters are driving in, taking advantage of unused road capacity."

Candidate Jim Neal had a similar take on the situation, saying in an email, "I would rather see housing in the North Bayshore than additional offices. I believe that allowing more offices there will aggravate an already severe jobs/housing imbalance, as well as increasing the traffic problems. Building housing there would help to at least partially alleviate traffic issues."

Capriles, who sits on the city planning commission, is not jumping on any bandwagon that says housing is the necessary fix to traffic jams.

"Transportation is the main issue for this area and it's important for the community to get clarity on how either commercial or housing will add to this already complex problem," Capriles said.

Capriles added another concern, that housing will cause "a direct negative impact on the special environment we have in the Shoreline Regional Park. Even though the change area does not include the park area, it will not prevent encroachment into that area. Shoreline Regional Park is a jewel in our city and one that we want to protect."

So far, the city's plan creates buffer zones near wildlife habitat and focuses development away from Shoreline Park and Stevens Creek. Perhaps the strongest environmental concern expressed by opponents is that house cats and dogs could wipe out the small population of ground-dwelling burrowing owls at Shoreline Park, which is declining in numbers but not an endangered species.

Siegel said that, as someone who has been involved in wetland restoration for years, he sees added commuter traffic and tailpipe emissions from restricting housing growth as a bigger environmental problem than any feared impacts to wildlife.

Planning director Randy Tsuda said that the 2012 proposal to add 1,100 homes to North Bayshore -- which was supported by Google and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce -- was made with the idea "that we didn't want to design such large area for housing in that we'd have residential projects scattered around North Bayshore." Instead, the approach was "clustering them around Shoreline Boulevard to create more of a neighborhood feel."

Siegel has been advocating for much more North Bayshore residential development, 5,000 homes or more, in order to support a grocery store, a school and other services in North Bayshore. On the other hand, Showalter noted that Costco is just a short trip from North Bayshore via the less trafficked San Antonio Road (also, the Bailey Park Safeway is less than a mile away from North Bayshore via Shoreline Boulevard, which is often gridlocked with commuter traffic.)

Kamei expressed concern that adding housing to North Bayshore plans would delay development there for years, but Tsuda told the Voice that that wasn't necessarily the case. If the council goes with the 2012 plan for 1,100 homes, much of the work has already been done. The first step would be to amend the city's general plan to provide the necessary zoning, which Tsuda said could be done quickly because the council has already certified an Environmental Impact Report that studied housing in North Bayshore.

Next, the council would have to update the North Bayshore precise plan and do a new environmental study. How much time this would take depends on what the council wants, but "a simple amendment would take nine to 12 months, mainly due to California Environmental Quality Act requirements," Tsuda said.

Such changes do not necessarily mean that development would have to stop in North Bayshore, he said. "Potentially, projects could proceed in the development review process while the Precise Plan is being amended," Tsuda said.

If the council asks for more than 1,100 homes? "I couldn't even hazard a guess" as to how long it could take, Tsuda said.

Rosenberg said the council's goal of approving a North Bayshore precise plan without housing in December is "premature," given community interest in housing.

"I would vote for a thorough environmental review on the viability of a large enough housing community to support itself," Rosenberg said in an email. "At that point, I'd then have information and data as to inform my opinion. Right now, it's a conceptual guess. Housing feels like the thing to do, but is it more environmentally sound to implement the draft precise plan as it is (or with some modification)? There is value to having people live close to where they work, indeed, but I need to see that it's a better alternative than just re-imagining and growing the (North Bayshore) business park."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by sensible-growth-MV
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm


Replace the two office buildings, the hotel and the movie theater
planned for San Antonio Phase-2 with 2-story condominium complexes.
Take a look at Palo Alto and Los Altos condos for building aesthetically appealing condos.

Build 10 story office buildings and 10 story condo complexes -- as many
as needed in North Bay shore. Multi story schools, library, shopping
should also be part of the north bay shore. By plan, make sure
the north bay shore residents will bike and walk everywhere around
this area. Make this area the high-density part of MV where it is
easy to walk and bike to everything.

Simply adding only 20000 jobs to north bay shore and no homes there will
mean disaster for all of MV --- traffic, pollution, congestion will make MV
unlivable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

@sensible-growth-MV, a resident of another community

Why don't we put those condo's in your sleepy little community? Hmmmm?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

On housing...
Let's follow the examples of Palo Alto and Sunnyvale in the housing they've put in their bayside industrial areas.
Oops. They decided not to include housing in those areas.
On reducing traffic...
Let's be the first community to incorporate Light Rail in the industrial area in order to get commuters out of their cars.
Oops. Sunnyvale has already invested in that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Keep the office buildings, build housing, stores and other services around jobs. Building housing near the offfice is great but what about when they go off the clock and weekends. Mixed use like San Antonio Center is needed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sarah
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 15, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Housing is desperately needed, but not North of 101, unless Mountain View is willing to let Shoreline Park and its open space be replaced with schools, groceries, a clinic, some nail salons, banks and other services that residents would need.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Aug 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Robert is a registered user.

Mixing housing and other uses such as commercial office is often a shotgun marriage. There is friction where they collide. I see new residents phoning city hall complaining about noise from amphitheater events for example. Those who blindly favor housing in North Bayshore fail to see the eventual externalities that will surely arise from this action.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm

This is illness. Take away the one area of Mountain View conducive to reflection in a beautiful setting, replace with domestic sprawl. You know kids will rip over those golden hillocks on dirt bikes and ATVs, and crime will follow. Where in Mountain View can you find zero crime? There. This idyll nook in Mountain View not to be preserved; then it's not Mountain View anymore.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Any candidate (or journalist) who sees "housing crisis solutions" in developing North Bayshore is either caught up in a fantasy, or is shilling for developers.

The numbers don't work. We are looking at 30,000 new jobs by 2030, minimum. 1100 units is a drop in the bucket. 5000 units would be a disaster not just for Shoreline but for traffic also, and still wouldn't hold prices down.

But what an opportunity for developers!!!

Now...send in the trolls.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2014 at 6:09 am

The 2 six story office buildings wifh ground floor retail near a large theater and hotels surrounding residential units. Mix of open space both public and private with good pedestrian access. Small business units like hair salons, insurance agents and accounts can be housed below apartments and condos.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seen This Before
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2014 at 8:03 am

No one is talking about what happens when Google implodes (as did SGI whose buildings it resides in) and the social media fad dies and takes LinkedIn with it.

Bubbles come and bubbles burst in the Valley. Why are we building housing and infrastructure for specific businesses? Is MV now a "company town?"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Charles B.
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 16, 2014 at 8:51 am

Beyond the debate between building housing vs office, we should look at building neighborhoods. This is after all the job of managing a city. I support Lenny's vision about building a neighborhood in North Bayshore. I have seen an idea floating around an innovation village that really look cool for North Bayshore. I also support Lisa Matichak for City Council because she has a very thorough vision of building neighborhoods. She was president of a neighborhood association, and she was chair of the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC). She has been reluctant to approve big projects without the infrastructure to support it. She also has been a very strong voice for having community benefits that actually benefits the residents. She is also the voice of many homeowners and residents that are hesitant in front of the massive development happening in Mountain View. If you are not a fan of "build, baby, build", if you want someone who has the experience, and the intellect to see the impact and mitigation of all the projects, I believe you should consider Lisa Matichak for City Council. As a homeowner with a Balanced view, I can support both Lenny Siegel and Lisa Matichak, two very strong candidates that will improve Mountain View.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Little Concern
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

The shoreline park need to be renamed. How about call it "MV Industrial Park".

Because we need more housing, therefore, we need to build more. The wild life does not have right to be co-exit with human being. That's so sad.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wondering
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Has anyone considered things like flood zones, environmental toxins, etc? Is this a safe area to build a neighborhood? I agree we need more housing but is this a safe place for it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I agree with Charles B.'s list of attributes for Lisa Matichak and will vote for her for MV City Council. Lenny Siegel, I'm afraid, will build too much housing in inappropriate places, just to have more. Lisa does not make that mistake, nor would Mercedes Salem, with whom I have spoken at length. Jim Neal also has good judgement on where some housing could work, and where it is clearly wrong to it's neighbors!

I'll vote for Lisa Matichak, Mercedes Salem, and Jim Neal, all three of whom are very concerned with linking up our city with good public transportation, rather than just "build, build, build" at the expense of the neighbors to the building & the charm of MV, and the irreplaceable wildlife & unspoiled nature of parts of Shoreline.

The time these three candidates have invested in their ongoing studying of projects makes it possible for them to better represent the citizens of MV.
Cast your vote their way!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV-character-and-soul
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm


As you drive through Mountain View, all you see is massive
buildings either being planned or already built.

Where is the soul of the city?
What about the character of the city?

Does this lovely city just want to be one big industrial park
with random shops and businesses with glass buildings?

If not stop the San Antonio Phase-2 office buildings, cinema
and hotel. Replace them with classic architecturally stylish
condos and retail shops.

Anyone who is screaming for office buildings in San Antonio phase-2
must not have any sense of soul or character of a town.

Why is MV selling its soul? To what end?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm

If housing in Bayshore is just cookie cutter new condos as seen across the Valley, I'd oppose it too. Why is housing so unimaginative?

But if the candidates are envisioning a new model, a neighborhood utilizing the world's best thinking in urban and eco design, my family and I that currently live in North Bayshore (thus would directly feel the impacts of any development) welcome it!

No one is proposing taking away open space, simply swapping current commercial space for a more complete vision. No one is suggesting that Bayshore will solve the region's housing shortage. But there is no moral victory in doing nothing all because you can't solve it all alone.

We wouldn't be approaching this blindly. For example below are the benchmarks being used to create new eco-cities in China:

-- Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Neighborhood Benchmarks:
-Green Transportation - At least 90% of trips within the Eco-city should be in the form of green trips by 2020.
-Proportion of Affordable Public Housing - At least 20% of housing in the Eco-city will be in the form of subsidised public housing by 2013.
-Usage of Renewable Energy - Renewable energy should account for at least 15%
-Jobs to be generated in the Eco-city - Sufficient jobs should be generated for at least 50% of the Eco-city's residents within the Eco-city who are employable, to minimize the need for them to commute on a daily basis from their home to their workplace. --

We in MV live in a city where our private companies continue to positively disrupt entire industries through their creativity, risk taking, and reliance on research and data. Why not housing? After all the criticism of housing in China in earlier threads, ironic their benchmarks for new neighborhoods exceed our own local expectations.

In housing, we seem to think only, more of the same, or none at all. I hope the candidates carve a third path.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Mixed Use is the way to go.

Offices on top or around a retail area with housing nearby or with good biking or walking distance. Offices are closed at night and weekends so retail becomes the main focus and they are going to need customers. Having a hotel attached wilk make sense for business travelers and visitors. Not everyone will chose to live in this kind of development or even want to live in Mountain View so building transit is a must. Good parking helps also.

Housing blends like apartments, flats, and townhomes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I agree with Christopher Chiang on less cookie cutter and more creativity
Yes looking to China or Europe.would help, less suburban and more old classical city planning is needed.

Two buildings facing each other would make a nice well landscaped private space. That same building could be facing a square with shops could house servicez like chiropractors on the.ground floor or a dental office.. On the other side of square is offices. Square could be a patch of green with a play structure and a coffee hut.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Let's not drop the ball restraining the over blown development of Phase II in the San Antonio Center which is coming up fast for approval. The 1132 parking spaces for 400,000 sq feet of office space will pour out onto the intersection of San Antonio Road and California Street. The city council wisely directed the developer to balance the traffic at the intersection with one of the office buildings to become a residence building.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Housing
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Offices are very easy on the land. At least, the way they are done in East Bayshore. Allow private developers to poop out a bunch of high density condos and forget about it.

What we really need are ways to regulate the greedy landlords that have taken over Mountain View. Did you know that over 60% of the residents are in RENTALS?!

To prevent the ability of landlords to jack up rents and displace people, we just need some rent stabilization rules in place. Tie maximum rent increases to inflation and give some allowance for increases for capital improvements.

Now, the irony of people who wish to grow housing in MV in order to allow people to live close to work is that it has not worked so far. Did you know that most people who LIVE in MV do not WORK in MV??? Even our infamous Jim Neal has confessed that he commutes 4 HOURS EACH DAY to get to and from his job.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve this. Since all greedy landlords care about is renting to people who can pay high rents and don't seem to care that these residents are impacting the transportation infrastructure commuting out of town, we need to make them care.

Each landlord must submit to the city proof that each resident is employed within the Mountain View city limits or be subject to a 15% tax on the rent they are charging. This must be re-submitted annually. The tax revenue could be used to improve the transportation infrastructure to offset the commute impact.

This would apply to new developments and could be phased in for existing rental situations over four years.

See? Easy!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Why should landlords be regulated and not homeowners? If a person sells to someone other then a resident, penalty. Why should someone in Los Altos Hill invest in company, create thousands of jobs and live in place where no business exist.

Cap jobs will work but you will have to cap investing in new ideas. Google just didn't magically appear in Mountain View. It attracted customers, users and became the biggest leader in ideas. Ideas that became jobs which has become wealth for many. Stop generating wealth, jobs, ideas, babies, investment and living the big lifestyle.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Housing
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Good questions Garrett. Let me try to educate you...

"Why should landlords be regulated and not homeowners?"

Because landlords are running a business—they are not simply private citizens living in their home. Homes are bought and sold much more frequently than apartment complexes, so the tax assessments get adjusted and that revenue can be used to build out infrastructure. Apartment complexes and similar developments are held for many decades by a holding company, so tax re-assessments are not often done and tax revenues are low.

"Why should someone in Los Altos Hill invest in company, create thousands of jobs and live in place where no business exist. "

Because it's extremely pleasant to live in a beautiful place. Jamming in mixed-use developments everywhere makes it not a beautiful place to live. This should be obvious?

"Cap jobs will work but you will have to cap investing in new ideas. Google just didn't magically appear in Mountain View. It attracted customers, users and became the biggest leader in ideas."

The biggest leader in ideas….hmm… What idea did Google have before anyone else? Internet search? Nope. E-mail? Nope. Maps? Nope. The only thing they LED was monetizing search advertising and data. You know..the Big Brother thing that many are concerned about. They buy small innovative companies, re-deploy the talent from them and shut down their products.

"Stop generating wealth, jobs, ideas, babies, investment and living the big lifestyle."

Ah, yes.. If we don't build a lot of Ant Farms for people to inhabit throughout Mountain View, then the sky will fall on us.

Personally, I have more confidence in both businesses and the citizenry. If we make this a nice place to live, then the market will adapt. Businesses will figure out how to optimize to the realities and continue to innovate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jason
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

I like the idea of assessing a fee to landlords for tenants that are jamming up roadways commuting back and forth. I would exempt tenants that are 65 and older, but otherwise a solid concept.

The people that claim that additional housing in MV would result in less traffic due to residents living close to work should support this. If they are correct, the little tax should be collected. If they argue against this idea, one has to wonder about their honesty .


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Madeline Bernard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 17, 2014 at 9:24 am

Madeline Bernard is a registered user.

I also like Christopher Chiang's thoughts! We can certainly do better than the tedious townhouses of Milpitas etc. I'd love to see in North Bayshore a more European/Chinese approach, interesting tall housing with shops under.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by China Housing
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2014 at 9:54 am

Here is China's housing model that some in MV would like to emulate:

Web Link

"This is the future home of the Taiheyuan Affordable Housing Project, which will have grocery stores, restaurants, and 2,400 apartments for factory hands and other[...]residents. "

Sound familiar? Yes, that's right. Mixed use! And right near employment.

Let's keep Mountain View beautiful. Jamming in people just to turn a profit for land owners and developers is inconsistent with that ideal.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Well that one photo might show one bad development example you will have many good examples.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Type into Google search the words.
"Very good classical european mixed use projects" then click images where you will find good examples.

Search for Poundbury England, click images.

Think North Bayshore, Whisman and San Antonio Center


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV-soul-and character
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2014 at 4:08 pm


Who thinks that San Antonio Phase-1 qualifies as an aesthetically
appealing mixed use project? One look at the buildings housing
330 apartments, it is very clear that aesthetic appeal was not
part of the plan. Low cost appears to have been the goal.

So much for the gateway to Mountain View.

There is still some hope to retain MV's soul and character...
Phase-2 can be used to redeem the image of San Antonio Center.
NO office buildings, NO cinema, NO hotel in phase-2.
Replace these glass and concrete with 2 story condominiums that
will be architectural classics. Add restaurants and retail to hearts content. Office buildings, cinema and hotel don't belong here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LocalMixedUse
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Garrett--you keep pounding the " mixed use" drum, but yet to point us to a specific LOCAL example. Why ? There isn't one.

Give us a local example and we'll plug the concept into East Bayshore and see what we get.

According to you, traffic will be less than it is today and rents will go down substantially.

Waiting...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Two Worlds, the original Old Mill, City Center/Park Place and American Apts. May or may not lower rents or housing costs but it might give choice to those who want to live close or within reasonable distance to work.

Nothing in North Bayshore yet.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm

As has been repeatedly pointed out, just building housing near jobs (read: Google) does not mean that the occupants will actually work there.

The Bay Area is one continuous unit, when it comes to where people live and where they work. "Mountain View" is just our local administrative entity. There is no reason why someone should not live in, say, Los Altos, and work in Cupertino, or, say, live in San Francisco and work in Mountain View. Things just aren't that tidy.

"Build Baby Build" won't solve anyone's high rent problems, or our traffic problems.

What we need is a vastly improved transit system, and council candidates who value residents' (both renters AND homeowners) quality of life above developers' profits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm

There are plenty who would want to live in a bold small eco-extreme (not-car dependent) neighborhood in-harmony with the Baylands and adjacent to Google/Linkedin. Remember that there are fleets of priv. buses that regularly depart empty from Bayshore for SF to pick up the next round of SF workers headed to MV. There are many people that fit the mold of either: working in North Bayshore, working biking distance from North Bayshore on the trails, or in SF (perhaps one day utilizing these empty buses).

Housing should not be built to appeal to everyone's criteria, nor does it need to. A community can be designed that would appeal to a group of residents that could live in North Bayshore without adding to traffic, thus reducing cars, and reducing the demand they would otherwise placed on other housing markets.

The fact that housing was proposed by Google itself lends itself to the belief that people would be interested.

People do frequently switch jobs in the Bay Area, so any housing associated with companies would likely be rentals and transitory to some extent.

A relatively transitory community would lend itself well to a small mixed used neighborhood, since such a community would not need the cradle to grave infrastructure that larger communities need.

While controversial, I would hope the conversation over North Bayshore's future even include the concept of extreme micro housing, see an image here of such a micro home: Web Link

Micro homes of this size are the only legal way to limit houses to two occupant without risk of discriminating against families. Such micro homes would alleviate the concern of extra strain on our schools or fears of over packed tenements.

It also worth nothing that North Bayshore has had much more housing in its past history, as seen in reminder like those homes still around Google on Alta Ave. So any argument that North Bayshore can't sustain housing ignores that housing was once there in larger numbers before the corporate park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Exactly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Thank you Garrett for providing your examples: "Two Worlds, the original Old Mill, City Center/Park Place and American Apts."

Let's take Park Place as the local example and apply it to East Bayshore. So, you build a monster 2,500 unit version of this in East Bayshore. Rents start at 2500 for a 1 bedroom. Chain restaurants go underneath it. No retail stores, because your example of Park Place has no retail. What about schools? Need to build one on that side of 101. Where does that go? Hmm..no grocery store nearby.

As we can see, just letting apartments get built helps nobody but the companies that directly profit from them. I honestly believe that either Garrett or people like him are shills for these people. It's cheap to hire shills like this compared to the massive profits made destroying a community.

Christopher Chiang reads real, but is simply mis-guided. OF COURSE, there would be people INTERESTED in living in an ant-farm. It doesn't mean that interest will translate into economic viability. Google is a special situation where they are throwing some money around to map this interest into something possible. (They are paying for the darned buses!) Wait until competitors start to really nip into Google's revenue streams...benefits like this will take the hit.

I'm all for trying the experiment, but let's do it right. A small 100 unit apartment that will require all residents to work within a 5 mile radius and sign an affidavit annually that they do not own a motorized vehicle. Do you know why this will not get built? Because while people are INTERESTED in this idea, nobody is willing to PAY for it.

Let's just focus on making (really keeping) Mountain View a great place to live and the rest will sort itself out. Don't be deluded by the profit-hungry developers and landlords (and their paid shills). This is our city, not some large corporation's and we deserve to run it--not THEM.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm

How can people be for more housing without defining what the housing will be (low income, market rate, luxury)?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm

How can people be for more housing without defining what the housing will be (low income, market rate, luxury)?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by newcomer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

I'm a new resident. I moved here to work for a large company who cannot be named when they bought the small company where I'd happily been working for more than a decade. My family & I live in Monta Loma. I walk to work. I'm probably going to offend everybody when I say:

- The area needs more housing, as supply & demand is grossly out of alignment. You just have to look at the real estate prices here vs elsewhere in the country to see that. In the flyover state I moved from, I had a new, attractive, energy efficient 5 bedroom, 3000sqft house on 1/3 of an acre. It sold for $350K when I moved here. That's roughly the downpayment on the ugly, ~1400sqft house I have here (with single pane windows, no insulation, etc).

- There is nothing "attractive" about the area to preserve. The ugliest parts of mountain view are the low density 50s tract housing (like Monta Loma). Maybe one or two Eichler's & Mackey's should be saved as an architectural example on how not to build houses.

- The wetlands of north bayshore deserve to be preserved.

- Prop 13 leads to NIMBY-ism because it immunizes grandfathered residents from insane property values. In any other state, people would have been forced out years ago because they could afford to pay their property taxes. Then their house would have been bulldozed to make way for higher density housing. Here, they get to stay in their falling down house until they die.

So.. I propose that the city use eminent domain to seize houses in ugly, low density neighborhoods near north bayshore like Monta Loma. Rather than paying the fair market price, the owners get paid the assessed price (seems fair, since they were willing to pay taxes on that). The city bulldozes the land, then sells or leases it to developers that will build 20+ story apartment / condo buildings with the goal of adding at least 10,000 units per year until housing prices in Mountain view are in line with the state average.

This would be environmentally friendly, and would put a big dent in housing prices, and might solve the problem of Prop 13.

Just my fantasy..


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 10:08 am

Nice fanrstay but afraid it will stay just that. We have hundreds of acres of strip malls, rundown shopping centers, apartments that were built in the 50's, warehouses and crappy tilt up office buildings with thousands of empty parking spaces at nights and weekends. Use this space first.


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Posted by fan of garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 10:54 am

Garrett is the only one who makes sense on this blog


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Posted by Agree with garrett
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm

We need to pave over all of mountain view. Did you know that there are still some independently owned stores and restaurants? If we can remove all the trees, block any views of mountains (in mountain view) by building high, then landlords can raise the rents and drive these awful establishments out of here.

Want to eat out? We should be paying $30/each for dinner at the low end! As it stands now, with lower commercial rents still available in older developments, restaurant owners do not need sky high prices. So terrible! Don't worry, we will still have meals for under $10. High calorie and low health, but cheap!

We need mixed use, very expensive housing, people jammed together, infrastructure problems deferred to the future without thought. That is Garrett's philosophy and why I will vote for him for city council!


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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I spent 2 hours with Mercedes Salem yesterday, discussing what is best for Mountain View. Her thoughts follow:

Mercedes has 3 goals:
1. Neighborhood preservation is # 1
2. Preserve open spaces and the environment
3. Improve Mountain View infrastructure and services

Mercedes is concerned about rising rents as it affects her personally as well as her neighbors. However, she realizes that it is a regional problem and there is no magic bullet. She says "No matter how much housing we build, we cannot meet demand. We will just have additional expensive housing." The solutions are BMR Housing, Low Income Housing, assisting medium income residents by providing more services such as free summer day camp for children, and providing training for high-paying, in demand jobs, such as IT technician.

Mercedes is against building 5,000 residential units in North Bayshore. She points out that there are no services or infrastructure in North Bayshore and those 5,000 residential units is too small to form a real community. Increased traffic is also a concern.






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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Two young renters joined me at Peet's Coffee Shop yesterday, Sunday, August 10, to talk with Ken Rosenburg, candidate for City Council.

Ken's goal is to Preserve Character of Mountain View. Preserve and protect what we love about Mountain View and change only what we need!

Question: Mountain View, when North Shoreline is excluded, has the highest population density of any city in Santa Clara County? Why should we increase our density?

Ken: A city that expands its jobs base also has to expand housing.
However, we don't want to turn Mountain View into Manhattan.

Question: Should we build housing in North Bayshore?
Ken: I am not sold on housing in North Bayshore, but I am keeping an open mind. I am concerned about the environmental impact such as the destruction of a wilderness area and runoff.

Moffett Field is a better place to build housing. Re-purpose the existing facility to residential use.

Question: How to control escalating rents?
Ken: I am very concerned about the gentrification of Mountain View. However, in the short term there is not much we can do. Market forces control prices in a capitalistic society.

Rent Control is not a solution. Upon the passing of a rent control measure, landlords will immediately increase in their rents because it will the last rent adjustment under their control. Rent-controlled units are in great demand. Landlords know that filling them is easy. So, landlords have no incentive to upgrade their units. In addition, they generally reduce maintenance to the minimum.










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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Is it only me, or does the MV Voice (or perhaps just Mr. Debolt?) seem to be bias/activist in some/much(?) of its , "reporting" on matters related to housing, and development in general in Mountain View?


Snipped from the Society of Professional Journalists:

Web Link

*Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.

*Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Hundreds of acres of old motels, strip malls, warehouses, tilt up office buildings, car washes, storage lockers,old apartment buildings and other urban uses is not open space.

Mountain View has changed since 1953, jobs, level of education and emtire lifestyles have changed. We sit in one of the most expensive housing markets in the world and a job leader of the country. Yet the desire to live in the 50's is strong. Gas won't be cheap forever, the cost of building infrastructure into the bay area will sky high


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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm

@Garrett,

I have never lived "in the 50's", nor do I desire to live "in the 50's" presently, so you might want to stop with the gross mis-characterizations of those who may have a different opinion/vision of what they would like to see in terms of future development in their fair city.

Seriously, stop.


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Posted by sensible-growth-MV
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

old 1, 2 story or more stories ... these buildings may not be
pretty.... however... as long as they are safe, they are fine.

You know what is even more unsightly?
NEW buildings covered in glass and concrete,
and built right at the edge of roads such as
El Camino and San Antonio Road.
These NEW buildings are even more undesirable when
they are the root cause of traffic congestion.

Builders are profiting from these new construction --
they don't seem to care about the traffic or aesthetics.
Builders should not be allowed to ruin a city just to
make profit.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm

In 50's why take transit when you can buy a car and drive into the city. Beautiful little ranchers extending for miles with free parking right near the doors. Gas is cheap, water is plentiful, no need it is the land of plenty. Need more car space we will just build freeways. Fill in the bay, build up the hillsides or just build out.

Lay out 6 lanes streets with gas stations, motels, shopping center and fast food. Free parking why go downtown. Build bigger just go further out.

Wait freeway revolts, Silent Spring, little boxes on the hillside, top of San Bruno Mountain removed, clean air, Point Reyes, Save the Bay and low income.neighborhood redevelopment. We can infill, build a better transit.system, conserve open space and change our lifestyle.

For 35 years I heard the arguments.




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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm

@MVResident67,


It is well known that Daniel DeBolt is an advocate fro rent control in Mountain View.

He has abandoned his objectivity in pursuit of his goal.

That is why many people are now using the Voice as toilet paper.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 4:46 pm

@sensible-growth-MV

I agree with your definition of unsightly.

Konrad quoted Mercedes Salem correctly above in his analysis of the discussion yesterday. I also want neighborhoods preserved so that not all housing available is so new & shiny that it is unattainable by regular working folks like myself. Plus it will be ugly characterless stuff. We know it will be...

"Housing" wrote favorably about housing in China, built up to the sky. Well, that is not charming and only aids creating a Big Brother State of surveillance with loss of private areas to enjoy. Beware.

Ken Rosenberg's conversation also included (Konrad wrote elsewhere) thoughts of putting a cap on office growth. I believe it is dangerous to go that far. I want to limit it, but forget a "cap" as that is too rigid and scares away business + it changes the image of MV forever. We certainly have enough office growth for now. Why can't there be two apartment towers at Phase 2 of San Antonio, instead of one of housing and one of office? It would, for sure, make it more lively in the evenings, and therefore more of a designation for folks to go to of an evening. And also a bit more housing and less office at the same time to help the balance a tiny bit, instead of just break even!

Also, much as we would like housing with infrastructure at Moffett Field, Ken's idea is impossible because the Feds are not in the mood to sell it to MV. Hope we are ready to grab it if their mood changes! More research is needed on such suggestions so we can get some good ones!


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Posted by sensible-growth-MV
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm

@Linda Curtis,

Phase-1 San Antonio has 330 apartments -- more than
the density appropriate for that area.

Phase-2 should be 2-story aesthetically architected
classic condo complexes with plenty of retail and restaurants.

@Linda -- You give me the impression of NIMBY... You don't
want towers in your neighborhood but advocating
more high density towers in the already over-built
San Atonio shopping center. Please have a more balanced
view :-)


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Posted by ThinkSmart
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm

The problem of affordable housing can only be solved through rent control. It's funny that those opposed to this complain that:

1) landlords will raise their rents now while they can

Smart Response: they might, but it won't matter in 5-10 years. If we don't do anything, then landlords will continue to raise rents to the maximum possible and making it difficult to build a stable community.


2) landlords will not want to upgrade since renters will stay anyway for the affordable rent

Smart Response: landlords will be able to raise rents when they make capital improvements. San Francisco allows this.

San Francisco is one of the top destinations in the world. The long term, creative residents were able to stay and mold a great place. Detractors of rent control are likely politically conservative or have a vested interest in astronomically high property values and rental income.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm

This is a re post with some corrections.

In 50's why take transit when you can buy a car and drive into the city on new freeway. Beautiful little ranch homes extending for miles with free parking in shopping center right near the doors. Gas is cheap, water is plentiful, no need to worry land of plentiful. Need more car space? We will just build more freeways. Fill in the bay, build up the hillsides or just build out.

Lay out 6 lanes streets with gas stations, motels, shopping center and fast food joints. Free parking why go downtown. Build bigger just go further out.

Wait freeway revolts, Silent Spring, little boxes on the hillside, top of San Bruno Mountain removed, clean air, Point Reyes, Save the Bay and low income neighborhood redevelopment. We can infill, build a better transit system, conserve open space and change our lifestyle.

For 35 years I heard the arguments. The funny thing the same arguments from this paper, people of West Marin, Mill Valley and San Francisco residents.



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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Here is a mixed use project for the Google area.

Web Link.

Since we are talking a large area with some bridges, nearby park space.

Web Link


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Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I don't understand why an small eco-community (on my side of the 101) would be so alarming to residents on the other side of the 101. A small community mixed among the companies, that is small in size will both reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our consumption (less house to fill), and remove those eco-warriors from the rest of the housing market and road congestion. It's being done all around the world. We can create a non-suburb housing model without threatening the suburban model in the rest our community. In fact, North Bayshore would alleviate pressure to urbanize the rest of town.

There are many people who would disagree that rent control has helped SF. SF is facing the same housing crisis that MV is facing. Below is an excerpt of article that captures the debate well.

Is rent control hurting San Francisco's middle class? (EXCERPT)
By Joel P. Engardio (SF Examiner)

Today's threat seems to be the Google bus, bringing well-paid tech workers into a city with a housing shortage. Longtime tenants are being evicted from their rent-controlled apartments under the Ellis Act, a state law that lets landlords sell a property and leave the rental business. It's become lucrative to turn rentals into ownership units.

How did we get here? The story starts in 1979, when City Hall temporarily froze rents to combat rampant inflation.

Then, as community activists, they pushed anti-growth measures to discourage housing for future newcomers. They embraced permanent rent control, which became The City's housing policy for 35 years.

A basic rule of economics is that price fixing eventually creates shortages. Sure enough, we have a supply-and-demand crisis. We control prices on aging housing stock while making it difficult to build enough new units for everyone who wants to live here.

We seem to have a reactionary housing policy that plays whack-a-mole every time rent control creates another market distortion. Our gut always says, "Tighten rent control!" Perhaps it's time to try a counterintuitive solution, like steering into the skid to avert a crash.

To save San Francisco's middle class, we need what has been rejected for 35 years: more housing. We need a variety of new supply that accommodates families at every price point. We also need to rethink rent control and density restrictions.

To start, there's no reason an investment banker making $200,000 should enjoy rent control.

We can do more to protect the vulnerable, like tying rental aid to a needy individual rather than a housing unit.

Most economists agree that rent control creates a housing shortage and increases prices, ultimately hurting the people it was supposed to help -- something a new teacher trying to move into The City knows all too well.

Full article at Web Link


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Part of what have been hearing for 35 years.


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Posted by Think
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:35 pm

The folks who are against rent control are liars. Chris's reference to the article: "Most economists agree that rent control creates a housing shortage and increases prices, ultimately hurting the people it was supposed to help -- something a new teacher trying to move into The City knows all too well."

We don't have rent control in MV, yet we have a so-called "housing shortage".

But does rent control increase prices? No, it does not. At least not for the residents that inhabit rent controlled apartments. But...what about the "new teacher" that wants to move into a rent controlled city? Because there are seldom vacancies in rent controlled apartments, how can they get in? Well, think about it. (Yes, this seems to be a novel concept--to think!) Why would there be vacancies in a non-rent controlled area? BECAUSE RENTS ARE SKY HIGH!!!! So, this poor "new teacher" won't be able to afford an apartment anyway! Well, then they can share, right? New teachers are generally young...they can have a roommate or two.

Well, guess what? Think! In a rent controlled city, this same "new teacher" can move into a 3 person 3 bedroom apartment and take one of the rooms. In SF, Berkeley, NY (which are great places to be--people come from all over the world to visit!), "new teachers" and the like can move into a shared apartment and pay much less than what "market value" would be. I've had friends that have done this in all three cities!

Now, if your data source is the apartments listed by the landlords, then sure! No vacancies! But if one THINKS or has some life experience renting apartments in cities, knows that is not a true indicator.

With 60 percent+ of MV being renters, I wonder if we can get rent control passed as a ballot measure?


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Posted by newcomer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:50 pm

ThinkSmart: Rent control is probably the only thing that could make the area worse, and it is already so bad that that is saying a lot. Rent control destroys the mobility of renters, and will make commutes far worse. And I'm saying this as a renter.

The only solution is to build our way out & to lead by example.

Agree with garrett: I don't propose paving everything over, just building high density housing & knocking down the low density housing thats in the way. My ideal would be building underground & returning the surface to nature. But that's impossible thanks to the high water table & the toxic chemicals that previous industries have left in the ground.

Wake up people. There is no character left to preserve. This is not the 50s. This is 2014 & everytbody is stressed, miserable & angry. This is a city in all but building height. If you want to live in a quiet, relaxing, real, authentic, small town, please just go move to one. There are lots of actual small towns all across America that would love to have you, and you could buy a nicer house than the tar-paper shacks, err.. I mean Eichlers ... around here for a small fraction of what you'd raise by selling yours


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Posted by ThinkSmart
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm


I will agree to the point that "newcomer" made:

"Rent control destroys the mobility of renters..."

Right now, there is a very high mobility of renters as the rent escalates and people are forced to flee. Rent control will give an economic incentive to renters to stay in their apartments that are giving them an affordable place to live. By doing so, they will become long term residents of this city and be much more likely to contribute to it. Sure, mobility will be less...and that is a good thing.


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Posted by "newcomer"
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:45 am

Removing prop 13 should resolve the problem. It solves a lot of existing issues.

You own a $1M house? - You are more than welcome to start paying $$$$$ taxes on it. Taxes can be spend on building sufficient infrastructure, schools etc - everything which nimby-ists are crying about. Sorry, but space on Earth generally is limited, so if you want to live in such a desirable place, please pay for it and don't parasite on the newcomers.

You don't want to move to a new place because you are afraid of paying more property taxes there? This problem will not exist anymore.

Yeah, just dreaming - I know it will never happen. But still, there is an easier solution (pretty much the same as it was done in other major cities):

1. Start building high-density housing in few places.
2. The road traffic situation in such places will urge the development of public transit.
3. Introduce disincentives for owning a car - eg bus-only lanes, paid parking everywhere.
4. This will force out single family houses who are tried of traffic and which can't imagine life without having 2+ cars.
5. Build more of high-density housing to replace sold single-family homes.
6. Repeat until the nimby-ism is fully treated and there is enough of apartments for everyone. who desire to live here


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Posted by anothernewcomer
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:01 am

@newcomer, just wanted to mention that I'm a newcomer too, and I do pay $$$$$ property taxes. I'm also sure that I'm not the only one. Happy to do so because I know it pays for good stuff (services, schools, libraries, etc.), but also because I know that over time, it'll remain manageable thanks to prop 13. Some of my neighbors pay much less, but they're retired people. If it wasn't for prop 13, they would have moved away a long time ago; yet Mountain View is their place as much as ours, and their friends and connections are here, too. So please when you advocate paving over and building up our little paradise here, be conscious that it would affect real people. I'm in favor of public transit where it's dense enough, and I try to commute by bicycle as often as I can. Perhaps you should just buy a place - maybe a condo or whatever, then you won't have to worry about rent increases. It might also change your perspective with respect to keeping the place nice and livable for the rest of us. Cheers and thanks for considering.


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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 8:44 am

Random Google tidbit I heard cited on a national morning broadcast this morning. It was reported that Google spent $80 million dollars in 2008 to feed their employees on site(s). The amount spent on feeding Google employees today was speculated to be vastly greater than the 2008 figure.

Snipped from a recent article ...

..."City council member Mike Kasperzak is generally proud to call Google a neighbor, but he points out that the company's presence isn't the economic windfall you might think. There's no sales tax on Google's search or ad businesses, and no sales tax on the free meals that Google dishes out to employees. "I don't want them to leave, but they aren't the cash cow that everyone thinks they are," says Kasperzak. " ...


In case you haven't had a chance to read the article referenced above...

Web Link


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm

@sensible-growth-MV:

I am truly not a "Not in My Backyard but OK in yours." I've attended the study sessions and council meetings on Phase 2 San Antonio and helped get many to come to push to have housing instead of office space. I see no way to prevent either. The plan was almost approved as it was before this change.

Main thing is that here at San Antonio, it is not towering over people's back yards, like at 801 ECR, where four 4-story buildings are going up on three sides of my one story place!

I did hear one gentleman's lament about Phase 2, that he will lose his view of the mountains from across California where he lives, as this build will go tall when the parking lots and one story places are converted to the new plan, which I've always fought against. I do not want taller stuff. I like the retail that was there. But the new construction will be as tall as the council lets them go. At least they are not along anyone's back fence, but rather are more in the middle (from to ECR to CA) of this acreage. It still stinks, but at least it is close to the train station and a host of buses, including the free Google public shuttle that is coming soon. Maybe more people would take the VTA buses if the county made this a priority and let all riders go for free. At least seniors, disabled, and students? Google could pay for all their employees on VTA? Traffic gridlock ruins everyone's day, plus ruins nearly all neighborhoods with cut through traffic, which is noisy and very dangerous.

I consider this thing a loss from what I loved. Hopefully there will be lots of useful retail, not just high end, and the Milk Pail won't get slaughtered by having to move, as did our Gochi's Restaurant near 801 ECR, as they have been left it out of the plan. Both these businesses contribute to the desirability of the places for those coming to live in them, but profit per square foot screws the new tenants just the same as those living nearby.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm

"Most economists agree that rent control creates a housing shortage and increases prices" is true. If a decision is made to start rent control in an area, the rents in that area always jump upwards dramatically before they are not allowed to again. And then they are locked in, even after the next downturn in the economy.

And when someone changes jobs to work out of town, they stay here for the rent they have that is controlled, so they become commuters, even though they are renters, and so could rent anywhere

When I read people saying "this is now urban so go find any old city for your suburban dream" I know that won't work for me because I picked this city for it's perfectly Mediterranean climate, not foggy like further north, or too warm, like even a few miles to the south. I want to enjoy a nice, natural breeze. That's why I came exactly here and invested everything I have and my whole life into it. Build giant air conditioned crap elsewhere. In fact, that works just about anywhere, go to Nebraska, or Stockton, anywhere but here. Leave this precious, very limited, uniquely perfect climate place to those who really do live ecologically with neither heat nor A/C, and solar panels to fuel their transportation.


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Posted by Housing
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 19, 2014 at 7:31 pm

"Most economists agree that rent control creates a housing shortage and increases prices" is true. If a decision is made to start rent control in an area, the rents in that area always jump upwards dramatically before they are not allowed to again."

This is only partially true. There may be a short term spike, but it won't go so high as to push tenants out any worse than "market pricing" does today.

"And then they are locked in, even after the next downturn in the economy."

This is incorrect. Let's day someone is paying today 3,000/mo on a 2 bedroom apt. Then, the housing market declines. If the landlord does not reduce prices, then they will have vacancies. So, prices drop, people move in, market eventually surges again, but these renters are not pushed out with sky high rent increases.

"And when someone changes jobs to work out of town, they stay here for the rent they have that is controlled, so they become commuters, even though they are renters, and so could rent anywhere"

That also happens much of the time anyway. Our very own Jim Neal commutes 4 hours each day to the east bay. He did not move. People get ties to the community, with neighbors, schools and the like. It's a good thing.

It's funny that Linda Curtis is opposed to rent stabilization rules. Oh, yes. She is a landlord that profits off of renters. Let's trust her.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Rent Control kind of swings both ways. Protects people from rent increases but in the case of San Francisco renters become long term tenants who pay very little. Here lies the problem when people are entrenched in city that hasn't built enough rentals to keep up with growth.

So housing sky rockets most of the evictions taking place are people buying buildings getting out of the rental business. You do have a number properties becoming single family homes but not enough rentals are being built.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Linda, when you moved here, nobody guaranteed you that it will be the same city for the next 1000 years. If you want mediterranean climate and breezes with no traffic, please go and buy an island somewhere in the Mediterranean sea.

But as of now the city needs more housing and consists of 60% of renters and urbanization is something that it urgently needs.


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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

@ resident,

Yes, the city needs more housing.

However, we are a small city, with a very high popylation density.

Some would like to see Mountain View double the number of housing units and population by 2030.

Would you want to visit Shoreline Park on a weekend with double the population?
Would you like to drive to the grocery store with double the population?
What will be the quality of our schools with double the population?

If you want to live in Manhattan, you should move there and leave the rest of us to enjoy our Quality of Life!





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Posted by Need?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Mountain View needs more housing?

Well, I need more money, so please give me some!

Mountain View became the densest city in SC. 60 pct rentals. Nightmare traffic.

Proposed solution?

Higher density.
More rentals.
More traffic.

Are. You. Kidding. Me????


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Posted by sensible-growth-MV
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm


@Konrad, @Need? -- There is hope for a livable Mountain View
with residents like yourselves.

Thank you for paying attention to physical limitations of growth
especially road infrastructure and trafic congestion.

You cannot create new roads... We have what we have. Therefore
paying attention to traffic is absolutely essential for maintaining
livability of this lovely city.


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Posted by @ housing
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 20, 2014 at 4:07 pm

[Disrespectful post removed]


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm

I agree with the last 4 postings. Well said.

As for "Housing" --that is actually what I supply to some very good people at prices from many years ago. I could stop working full time, and my husband, too, if we were not subsidizing these rents to help average working class people stay put.


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Posted by Housing
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Linda, that's wonderful! Since you are dedicated to not massively increasing rents, then rent control will not affect you and you should support the idea. It would prevent the really greedy landlords from gouging their tenants.


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Posted by newcomer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Rent control is basically prop 13 for renters: It creates friction in the market, increases commutes, and increases prices on the backs of newcomers.
Again, I'm a renter. The only solution to high prices can be found in econ 101: Increase supply by building.

I honestly despise the whole area, and can't understand why anybody would want to live here, aside from the weather. I'm personally counting the days until my retention package is done & I can retire back to my home state & live for the rest of my life on less than it would take to buy a house here.. I can't wait to get back to: A/C, $0.07/kw electricity, friendly customer service at clean stores without shopping carts all over the parking lot, the ability to actually drive somewhere whenever I want without getting stuck in endless traffic jams, a friendly post office & a mailman that knows me, a friendly DMV, etc, etc.

Only about 580 days to go!


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Posted by ohwell
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 21, 2014 at 1:02 am

@newcomer, given that you "despise the whole area" I recommend you move away as soon as possible. And please refrain from advocating that Mountain View be built up and paved over (econ 101 as you say ...), just so you can save a few bucks for the remaining 580 days that you are renting here. Farewell!


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Posted by newcomer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 21, 2014 at 9:39 am

ohwell: Yes, I plan to leave this hell hole as soon as possible. If CA & the bay area showed signs of sanity, it would be different. What you don't realize is that you're basically Queens NY, with better weather.

anothernewcomer: Yes, I realize that if you're new, you pay $$$$$ in property tax, while your neighbors pay $. That unfairness, thanks to prop 13, is *EXACTLY* why I refuse to consider staying here.




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Posted by RUkidding?
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Prop 13 averages lower tax payments for residential for 5 years. Get over it.

It's the businesses that keep it seemingly forever. Change that or at least focus your complaining on that!

I agree with "ohwell":
@newcomer, given that you "despise the whole area" I recommend you move away as soon as possible. And please refrain from advocating that Mountain View be built up and paved over (econ 101 as you say ...), just so you can save a few bucks for the remaining 580 days that you are renting here. Farewell!

And my mailman knows me. It's obvious why yours would choose not to become acquainted with you and why store owners are not friendly to YOU. And you are part of the new problem ofgridlock. It will help when you leave.

And I prefer to live without the A/C to enjoy perfect weather year 'round. So compared to me, you are the electricity waster.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Sure, "Housing," locking in my extremely low rents would be great for my resell value when I die. And who doesn't love yet more government interference and control?

I can't believe I agree with "newcomer" that rent control is Prop 13 for renters. Of course, everything else he/she said is out of touch with reality. Blaming the area for problems brought by the one complaining is so un-insightful.


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Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2014 at 6:19 pm

AC is a registered user.

I honestly am appreciating the discussion. I hope to share my situation a bit, for the rest of you to use as datapoints of your ongoing discussion, which I will happily be reading.

I'm a 21 year Mountain View resident. I'm a renter, always have been. Never could afford to buy; I didn't see the sense of shotgunning into a condo in the '90s. I worked at Sun when it was here in MV, and decades later I work for a startup in MV. In 21 years, the furthest job I've had was Santa Clara; so I doubt that I qualify as a "commuter". I am a dot bomb casualty from 2001; so I never made it rich and I am still paying AMT taxes owed from when I worked for the chance at being a dot com millionaire and failed miserably.

- I have always loved this town. Never wanted to move. The suburban feel was great, and the measured incremental growth (you know, old buildings come down, newer, nicer ones go up) has been just right for me. Neither Beaver Cleaver nor Eddie Haskell lives down the street, so I think it's an exaggeration to say that we're stuck in the '50s.

- I definitely have some appreciation for the NIMBY people. Because their voices have kept Mtn View a great place to live for me, a renter, a tech worker, and a bike-to-work when I can person (I obviously have to drive if I want to carry anything, like groceries or books or things). It has never been such crazy growth, not even during the Internet boom, as it is now.

- I also view Shoreline Park, the golf course, and the aquatic center as treasures of the city

- I'm flat out against urbanization. I could have lived in San Francisco; but I don't. I love to visit Manhattan, and am just as happy to leave it to go home. I really wish that people who dream of cobblestone European streets with a great rail system would stop trying to make a suburban city into that. As for me (I remind you that I bike when I can, and therefore am very fond of my Clipper card), I am very happy with Mountain View's access to Caltrain and VTA. We only need to figure out something with at-grade crossings (which cause bottlenecks on freeway ingress/egress roads).

- "Are we a company town now?" Honestly, we have always been. Whether it was Moffett (the base), or Sun or SGI or Intuit or Adobe or Google or LinkedIn; in my memory we've always been a company town. It's never been a problem before. I have a hard time trying to understand why it's a problem now, save for the raw employee numbers. This town has weathered many a boom and bust before; from the old timers telling me about WWII to Vietnam, to my own memory of the Silicon Valley.

- I do believe that smart urbanization is the job of SF, SJ, Oakland, and other clearly urban centres. We've been the best darned suburb of the Peninsula for as long as I can remember, and I don't see why we shouldn't stay that way.

- Prop 13 and property values: Again, I don't see the problem. Sorry to tell you newcomers, but Mountain View has been majority rental for a long long time now, and it's never been a problem that I've seen. The property owners have given the town much of its character, and I'm happy an honoured to treat them as a treasure of history of this city. We won't have them forever.

- For the "wake up and smell the millenium" folks: Look, consider this. This town has been great for a long time now. Those "old school" people you complain about are a good part of the reason why. And you know what? They're growing older; and they're dying. Think about that folks, because that will be us one day. I say this in caps, "LET THEM HAVE THEIR WAY! THEY EARNED IT!" Progress will happen, and the renewal and redevelopment *will* happen. Take it easy! Take it slow! You know, their children have children or even grandchildren by now; like as not they will not inherit and move into their parents' home, they are likelier to inherit and sell. Or use MPOA and sell and put them into senior living. You'll get the land anyway! Your dreams of progress *will* come true. Your goals of mixed used and environmentally friendly efficiency *will* come to fruition! You're right! So be patient! The fact that it takes so danged long is how you know that we're being the tortoise, not the hare (you *did* hear that story in grade school, didn't you?)

- Building North Bayshore: I admit that I'm just not well enough informed or studied to have an intelligent opinion. My gut thought is: It used to house a military base, with equipment, munitions, troops, some barracks. I don't see how some well-thought housing is any worse. Preserving the wildlife areas as they are, of course.

I think those are my only bullets of value to add. I hope you continue discussing. I really need to be more informed for the election.....


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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 8:34 pm

@newcomer,

People live here because of the great weather and outdoor activities.
San Francisco Bay has the best and most challenging sailing in the world.
Lake Tahoe area has Olympic level skiing.
People come from all over the world to visit San Francisco, Yosemite, Napa Valley, and enjoy the beauty of Muir Woods and other redwood parks.

California is the most populous state by choice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 8:49 pm

@AC,

Yes, don't fix what isn't broken.
Many of us have lived here for 40 years, or more, and have contributed to making Mountain View a great place to live.

Housing and rent prices are a problem.
However, I don't see that building 5,000 units, which is equivalent to 25 Madera Complexes in North Bay shore will accomplish any good. The cost to the developer will be about $450,000 per unit, so they won't sell for $200,000 and won't rent for $1,500 per month but will rent for about $3,700 per month. All we will have done is built a lot more luxury housing in an ecologically sensitive area.

Moffett Field is another story. It should be re purposed into housing as this area has previously been used for housing. Land, construction, and other costs will still keep the price way above middle class folks. I don't have an answer for this,and anyone who says that they have an answer is just blowing smoke!


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Posted by Housing
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm

"Sure, "Housing," locking in my extremely low rents would be great for my resell value when I die."

So, you just care about resell value? Sorry, but many of us in Mtn View care not only for the community today, but for the community after we leave. It's not all about money.

It's fine if you are just a straight-up business entity, like Prometheus and Merlone Grier. All they care about is the bottom line. ($$$) Just don't then try to sell us on the fact that you are "one of us".

If we had rent control ten years ago, or even five, we wouldn't be in the situation we have today.

Linda..If you don't like Prop 13, then you don't need to participate in it. Simply calculate the tax you would owe if your tax assessment was based on fair market value and donate it to the city. It's ridiculous that businesses like yours get the same benefits that the little old lady that lives at the end of the street in her little cottage. Shame!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:26 am

Inch by inch, day by day, building by building, Mountain View slowly loses the charm and appeal many people worked so hard to create.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

@Jennifer,

I recently posted a comment (which has since been deleted, I believe) that closed with thoughts very similar to yours...

Mountain View City Council...destroying neighborhoods one development at a time.

STOP approving massive apartment buildings that share property lines with single family homes. RESPECT R-1 ZONING!


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:55 am

@Housing- You're not attuned to my sarcasm about my resell value. If I don't care about the current income generated, why would the resell matter especially after I'm dead? But such might matter to others. Just a point of concern to them.

And I give these nice places to live at extremely cheap rents and you assume I'm under Prop 13 and should drop out of its benefits. Why? To insure I need to raise the rents? I thought you'd rather go for cheaper rents.

The folks with the outstanding, intelligent remarks (just above) are AC and Konrad M. Sosnow. Well said you two!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sensible-growth-MV
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm



A mountain of information on the San Antonio precise plan: Web Link

Please pay attention to what this means for traffic.
Adding 10s of 1000s of jobs and then in the name of housing
balance, adding 1000s of units will mean MV is no longer
a livable town. The way to achieving balance is by restricting
job growth in this already congested city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I agree and that is why I'm not planning to vote for Balanced Mountain View candidates. They promise lots more housing all over the place, as if that will bring down rents when the demand just keeps increasing as jobs are added by the thousands, plus it's already it's congested enough already.

I like:

Lisa Matichak whose slogan is: "Best for Your Neighborhood" as she really knows what's going on in all MV communities based upon her background as member and chairperson of the EPC.

Mercedes Salem has a host of ideas to help housing become more attainable for regular working folks that do not have huge budgets. "Preserving Neighborhoods" is one of her goals, as she knows the newly built stuff costs more and replaces older, cheaper housing. Due to the cost of MV property, any new builds are high end as the land is expensive and needs high end stuff built on it to make the whole thing worth building.

Jim Neal stands up for regular working folks, speaks up& keeps track at all the meetings of MV City Council and EPC, so he can hit the ground running. He is concerned with preserving our rights and freedoms and quality of life. He is not afraid to speak up to anyone, and will do so on behalf of the citizens of MV. I count on him for that.

They all love MV and will do right by us.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sanantonio-phase2-MV
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2014 at 9:31 pm


You may want to look at the photo gallery of what is coming
in San Antonio Phase-2.

Jaw dropping glass and concrete:
Web Link

Just imagine the San Antonio Road between California Ave and
El Camino intersection after phase-2 is completed.
All that glass and concrete ... unbearable high density!!!!!


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