Mountain View Voice

News - September 7, 2012

Developer drops controversial fence proposal

by Daniel DeBolt

Developer Merlone Geier has withdrawn its application to build a fence blocking access between properties in San Antonio shopping center after city staff and several business owners questioned the need for it, with some calling it a "bullying tactic" to force land sales.

"They did not give a reason," for withdrawing the application said planner Melinda Denis of Merlone Geier, which is in the middle of construction of a major redevelopment at the center. The developer is pursuing approval of a large hotel and office building where Ross and BevMo! now stand. "I just got an email saying they would like to formally withdraw the application."

Paul Brunmeier, co-owner of Barron Park Plumbing Supply, said last month that the fence was "a bullying tactic by the developer to put existing, successful Mountain View businesses in a poor state if not try to force them out of business altogether so they could obtain this land cheaper for their own plans."

Merlone Geier officials had said they wanted to "preserve their property rights" as they looked to buy Ross and BevMo! The developer also said it needed to preserve parking, though Barron Park and the neighboring Halal International Market said they didn't need to use the parking lot.

The withdrawal of the application came after zoning administrator Peter Gilli told Merlone Geier to try and work with the property and business owners who had complained about the proposal. Three buildings at the corner of San Antonio Road and California Avenue would have had a 6-foot wrought-iron fence built behind them, blocking access between the Ross and BevMo! parking lots and Barron Park Plumbing Supply, an office building and Halal International Market, which would have had the exit for its driveway blocked, potentially discouraging customers from using its own parking lot and keeping garbage trucks from easily accessing garbage enclosure next to the driveway exit.

"It killed my business," said Mehran Farshad, co-owner of the International Halal Market of the cyclone fence Merlone Geier put up without permission in May. "People saw they could not exit, so they did not enter the property."

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

Posted by Steve, a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

That spot is all wrong for a hotel. The entire block has been retail and restaurants since the day it was developed, short of a small footprint office building near Chili's and facing El Camino. With every other available site in town being made into office buildings for high-tech outfits, we need to preserve existing retail space, else limit purchase choices for lack of competing stores.

The site should remain zoned as-is for retail, at least on the lower floor or two, with 3-4 floors of office space above. No hotels please.


Put a hotel over by Google in the old and now unused Amphitheater parking lot where it would prove more useful. That was the original plan for a hotel in M.V., and it's still the site of choice.


.


Posted by Roberta Kerr, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Hi, I live at Oaktree Commons. About a block from this site. Thank everyone involved for some common sense about this fence. Please put a hotel somewhere else. This is a retail space and should remain so.


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