First, are there any plans for solar panels or renewable energy? Residents in luxury apartments are sometimes heavy electricity users, owners of the latest gadgets and maybe an extra refrigerator. The developer could mitigate the increase in the city's carbon footprint by putting renewable electricity into the buildings themselves.
Is the developer going to build in any kind of greywater usage or water recycling for the buildings and their outdoor spaces? In a time of drought, when the Santa Clara County water authorities are asking every city to reduce water consumption, it is smart to ask that any new apartments, have minimal impact on the city's overall water consumption. The council should ask the developer to consider installing a system that will water all of the beautifully manicured outdoor spaces with greywater.
One last but important green innovation is the building roof. There is significant new data about technical changes to make a building's roof "white." This can make a huge difference by reflecting sunlight back into space and reducing the amount of heat that is absorbed by the built environment.
Minton's is a large site, perfect for easy access to transit and services. It is on the edge of a commercial zone that has suffered since the dot-com bust. That area could be revitalized at any time as the economy recovers from the current recession. In fact, the developer of that site could trigger the change, attracting new businesses to occupy the surrounding sites.
Finally, I would ask for a mixed-use development on the site. Freshly wired, modern facilities could keep start-up companies coming to Mountain View. I would suggest they incorporate significant "green building" measures — architecture that demonstrates vision and innovation rather than simply meeting the current legal requirements and pacifying the public demand.
While the development will undoubtedly help with the jobs-to-housing imbalance and reduce the vehicle miles traveled by some of the good people working in Mountain View and living a distance from town, it is my hope that City Council and staff will hold this site to a very high standard.