Mountain View Voice

News - August 31, 2012

Row homes slated for vacant lot on Ada Avenue  

by Daniel DeBolt

A 59-unit row-home project proposed for a vacant lot at Ada and Minaret avenues has been given the thumbs-up by zoning administrator Peter Gilli and is now headed for City Council approval.

If the council votes yes on Oct. 9, developer Tripointe Homes LLC could begin construction on the 4.51-acre site in April 2013 and finish the following November.

Gilli called the three-story row-home proposal "a very good project" during an Aug. 22 hearing. He cited the City Council's desire for ownership housing as more than 1,000 apartment units make their way through the city's planning pipeline.

A few neighbors raised concerns about how the project would impact the existing lack of parking in the neighborhood, to which city staff said the project includes 137 parking spaces, more than two per home, and more than the city requires.

Speed bumps on Minaret Avenue would be installed along with the project, addressing one neighbor's concern about people coming to and from Whisman Road who "speed by at 40 miles per hour."

Gilli also made it a condition of his approval to provide pedestrian and bike access on the main private street through the project, addressing another neighbor's request; he plans to present to the council the possibility of providing similar access through an alleyway on the site.

Plans show two small private parks, including one that is "a meditative kind of park," said city planner Nancy Minicucci. More than 44 percent of the lot is landscaped.

The developer is asking to remove remove 38 large trees classified as heritage trees by the city, mostly black walnut trees in poor health, remnants of an orchard on the site, Gilli said. Six heritage trees would be relocated.

Minicucci said the heights of the homes would be 34 to 36 feet, well under the city's 45-foot zoning limit for the site. The mix of attached and detached homes also meets the city's row-home guidelines.

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