http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2007/06/22/some-final-thoughts-on-the-grant-road-farm-vote


Mountain View Voice

Opinion - June 22, 2007

Some final thoughts on the Grant Road farm vote

Council demonstrated a lack of vision in its decision to develop the property

by Denise Sacks

I wish to share the following thoughts, as I did with the City Council following its June 5 meeting to decide the fate of the farm on Grant Road.

After attending that meeting, where the council voted 6-1 to zone for developing the last large plot of agricultural land in Mountain View, I have the following issues I would like to put to Mountain View residents:

• The very important point and underlying fact that I did not hear addressed by any member of the council is that this is currently, and has been for a long time, agricultural land. Thus it is special. And this is the reason why it's the best place to have a farm in Mountain View. Healthy soil is the basis for growing things, and takes much time and care to develop.

• Another point that I did not hear addressed is that all the owners of homes around the farm bought their homes when there was agricultural land at this spot. So rather than "No Farm," the slogan "Develop the Farm" would have been more accurate.

• Yet another point, which was not brought up at all, is consideration of factors that are "priceless." The economic models presented did not factor in those costs and benefits which cannot be measured in dollars. The following benefits, if factored in, put farmland in a city at "priceless" value: connection to food for children, local food for community, beauty of the space, benefit to birds and other wildlife in the area, to name just a few.

• Finally, consideration of creative and alternative funding possibilities for maintaining a portion of the current farmland were not given a chance to burgeon — for example, a public fund where individuals could contribute and grants could be sought.

With these above-described themes left out of the debate on June 5, I am left with a sense that this council does not represent the values that I hold dear. In addition, I believe that the pressure of the homeowners around the land in question caused the council to limit its vision.

I do appreciate the move to consider developing a farm somewhere in Mountain View, but again this does not address the loss of good agricultural soil to single-family dwellings.

The zoning that has been given to the land does not allow for much else than large plots and large homes, so those issues concerning "high density" or "affordable housing" or any other services for the greater community are now also lost.

After attending that council meeting, it has become clear that the kind of vision that resulted in projects like Shoreline Park is not alive in our city now.

Denise Sacks lives on Creeden Way.

Comments

Posted by Lorraine Bates Noyes, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 22, 2007 at 10:37 am

I applaud Denise Sacks for pointing out some of the fundamentals of soil agriculture, benefits for children, insect and animal life, in her "final thoughts" about the farm on Grant Road. Denise also addresses some of the political issues dealing with affordable housing, etc.

My family came to this area in the late 1960s, when apricot orchards could still dazzle ones senses on a warm summer day...not to mention how we kids loved running through them. The word that comes to me when I think of what has happened in this area since then is simply, greed! I agree with Denise's assessment that those who purchased their homes next to this farm did so knowingly. I'm guessing many must not be the original homeowners at this point. That farm was a touchstone for our own family, especially during the holiday season and I'm sickened by the progressive move toward acquisition and opulence that this area so stunningly embraces now.

I recently read how the land carries the soul of it's people. This is still honored in many countries, where ancient sites and certainly family lands are NOT for sale. I think we are showing that the soul of our local community is now willing to sell out for anything green (and I don't mean vegetables).

Shame on us!!


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2007 at 11:06 am

The private property component of this has been addressed so thoroughly that Im not going to open that back up. As much as I'll miss the pumpkin patch, I commend the owners for allowing that use to remain as long as it did-- the entire community should acknowledge this.

I would take issue with your comment on affordable housing. Mtn View has done more-- much more-- on this front then the region as a whole, certainly better then its wealthier neighbors that are very good at TALKING about the social problems of the area.

There is a cost to doing these projects-- direct fiscal cost, opportunity cost, infrastructure, etc. How much of its neighbors "share" do you want Mtn View to bear?