Mountain View Voice

News - January 19, 2007

Stierlin project rejected

Council moves Satake, Evandale plans forward

by Daniel DeBolt

The City Council put the kibosh on a Stierlin Road housing proposal Tuesday, refusing to process a zoning change request for two parcels there.

Council members made it clear that no staff time would go towards re-zoning 454 Stierlin Road and 451 N. Shoreline Blvd., which together total .70 acres. A city staff report said 11 proposed town homes would be closely sandwiched between an existing self-service car wash and a noisy meeting hall.

Staff recommended the gatekeeper request be denied, and council members unanimously agreed.

"To put residential there would make no sense at all," said council member Jac Siegel.

The property owner, Doug Eustice, said one of the parcels had sold last Sunday, but still requested a zoning change from commercial office space to a zoning that would allow homes and office space.

Five residents spoke in favor of the 11-unit development at a February 2006 meeting, saying it would provide much-needed housing near major transit corridors and downtown. Developer Steve Lowenthal said the townhouse style homes would allow people to work from home and would be an example of "smart growth."

The council deferred the project in hopes the car wash to the north could be added to the project. But the car wash owners aren't interested in the deal, saying in a curt letter to the city, "You want to buy. We don't want to sell."

No change to Satake, Evandale plans

Because state law and the city charter require "second readings" for zoning changes, the city's newly seated city council had to decide for a second time on two controversial developments approved by last year's council.

The development of 30 homes at the Satake Nursery at the end of Marilyn Drive drew a packed house last month from neighbors in opposition to what the council ended up approving — zoning that would allow 30 homes instead of 26. But this time, nine of the 12 speakers who lined up encouraged the council to move forward with the project, even though many of them had originally signed a petition for fewer homes.

"I can see I'm in the minority here," said Bill Krepick, who advocates the 26-home plan.

The council unanimously approved the project a second time, with several members noting that they wanted to respect the fair and inclusive process that had taken place before the first vote.

But the proposed condos at 291 Evandale did not get a unanimous approval this second time, with newly elected council member Jac Siegel and Mayor Laura Macias voting against. The controversial project would build 144 condos, estimated at $500,000 each, where 64 affordable apartments now sit. It is expected to displace 250 low-income city residents.

Macias and Siegel said the location could not support the high-density zoning, while new council member Ronit Bryant said she was hesitant to support the project but would respect the decision made in December.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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