Mountain View Voice

Opinion - February 19, 2010

Town Square

On plans for allowing taller, denser buildings in certain neighborhoods of Mountain View

If you want a shining example of a city who planned for and allowed for high density housing (albeit an earlier version of it that was sold as the future), take a walk down California Avenue between Rengstorff and Shoreline. What a mess. People crammed together renting hovels.

Since everyone likes to cite Europe as the model for high speed trains, apply the same comparison to vertical high density apartment towers and the result isn't all that captivating. You'll find just as many ghettos in European high rises as you will the political cultured elite trying to tell everyone how the future will be.

Big Al, a resident of the Willowgate neighborhood

Hey Big Al,

Be careful whose home you call a hovel. I like my home and my neighborhood. I can afford the rent and enjoy living in Mountain View. So who really is acting like the "political cultured elite"? Should I say they live in Willowgate?

DM, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood

I agree with the idea of planning for a city with more people than we have now. I'm not sure what the right number is, but I'm pretty sure it's over 80,000. That said, three, four, and five story buildings, in selected areas such as north of Bayshore and along El Camino Real, are necessary.

Suppose I'm wrong and our population has already topped out at about 73,000. Developers will not have reason to build many (or any) taller buildings and it will not happen, even if zoning allows it.

Doug Pearson, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood

Growth will happen, whether we like it or not. People go where the jobs are and, with future fuel spikes, will/do demand to live even closer to jobs. This pressure will either force Mountain View to build more housing or lose those jobs to communities who will.

My preference is that the planning be done now for when that happens rather than ad hoc variances that make little sense in the long run growth of the community. Just look at some of the great development plans from the 1950s through '80s to see how that worked out. If done properly and connected and associated with regional planning for infrastructure/transit, this will only benefit Mountain View and its residents.

dfb, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood

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