Mountain View Voice

News - April 27, 2012

Trees axed for $1.6m condos

by Daniel DeBolt

The loss of two cedar trees nearly killed a plan for five, $1.6 million condos which the City Council narrowly approved Tuesday for a downtown portion of California Street.

"The project is very attractive, however it would be very attractive somewhere else," said council member Ronit Bryant, who opposed the project with members Jac Siegel and Laura Macias. The council's four other members quietly approved it.

"I don't want to send a message, 'Come buy the property, cut the trees and put a lot of development on it," Bryant said. "I think it's more important to say, 'We want to save heritage trees.'"

The five condos would be built on .3 acre, replacing a pair of older —but not historic — homes at 948 and 976 California Street near Franklin Street. The homes would be built atop an underground garage which would leave little or no soil for two cedar trees (18-inch and 23-inch diameter) classified by the city as heritage trees. Only smaller box trees would work as replacements in the project's central courtyard over the garage. A 32-inch cedar near the front of the property would be saved.

"It's almost like you could have put in four homes and not cut the trees down," Siegel said.

Macias said such projects turn the area "into another suburb with very new construction." There needs to be "a way to preserve old homes and trees."

The architects on the city's design review committee said developer Pacific Peninsula Group had designed the project well to fit the neighborhood and would use high quality materials.

The city will receive $120,000 in park fees and $240,000 in below market rate housing fees from the project, which increases property tax revenue by $10,432.

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

Posted by Karen Koshgarian, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The City of Mountain View is no longer a place of which I am a proud resident. I moved here in 1976, after commuting 9 years from San Jose, to my workplace, Awalt High School–now Mountain View High School. As a high school art teacher, I was attracted to the politics of the city, as well as the surrounding beauty of the landscape, and was happy to call this town my beloved home.

It has been painful over the years, to see landmarks like The Ferry Morse Seed Company torn down, the orchards ripped out for housing for our ever expanding and uncontrolled population girth, and the last farm on Grant Road turned into another developer's greedy cash cow. As a complacent resident, bowing to progress, I have come to realize that I am no longer comfortable living in Mountain View. I am no longer proud of this city, and in fact, rather disgusted with our city council.

Now, removing Heritage Trees to build condos–and notice the headline always has to mention the $$–completely breaks my heart. I agree with council member Ronit Bryant, that the message is clear: We've got the land, you've got the money. Come spend it in Mountain View. We even kill our Heritage Trees for your future dollars. Is this the best Mountain View can do to sustain our future?

Karen Koshgarian


Posted by Karen Koshgarian, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

The City of Mountain View is no longer a place of which I am a proud resident. I moved here in 1976, after commuting 9 years from San Jose, to my workplace, Awalt High School–now Mountain View High School. As a high school art teacher, I was attracted to the politics of the city, as well as the surrounding beauty of the landscape, and was happy to call this town my beloved home.

It has been painful over the years, to see landmarks like The Ferry Morse Seed Company torn down, the orchards ripped out for housing for our ever expanding and uncontrolled population girth, and the last farm on Grant Road turned into another developer's greedy cash cow. As a complacent resident, bowing to progress, I have come to realize that I am no longer comfortable living in Mountain View. I am no longer proud of this city, and in fact, rather disgusted with our city council.

Now, removing Heritage Trees to build condos–and notice the headline always has to mention the $$–completely breaks my heart. I agree with council member Ronit Bryant, that the message is clear: We've got the land, you've got the money. Come spend it in Mountain View. We even kill our Heritage Trees for your future dollars. Is this the best Mountain View can do to sustain our future?

Karen Koshgarian


Posted by Gene Cavanaugh, a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 29, 2012 at 7:55 am

Also, we should get rid of those horse-less carriage thingys, and all those cell phone thingys.
Walking and yelling at each other was good enough for a million years, how can you justify changing that?


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