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Planning director: 'Plan Bay Area' aligns with Mountain View's vision

Original post made on Jul 20, 2013

A coalition of Bay Area leaders late Thursday night approved a controversial plan designed to accommodate population growth over the next few decades while meeting state mandates for cutting air pollution and improving access to public transportation.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 19, 2013, 3:45 PM

Comments (21)

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Posted by concerned
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I hope it is placed on the ballot as I wasn't informed adequately ahead of time or I would have been at Rose Market to object. I do not want to see Mountain View "grow" larger and taller. It's just the right size to be 'a community of people who know each other'. San Jose has room to spread out; let new homes be built there, and people can commute in to work via public transit if needed- We need affordable housing and more employment for our current residents first.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2013 at 6:32 am

In the meantime we keep adding jobs and keep,building office building along with shopping centers.

Mountain View is to add 15,000 jobs but yet only about 2,600 units, while at the same time other cities will keep adding jobs.

San Jose along with other cities and surrounding counties have green belts, urban limit lines and farmland protections in place. While it makes sense to protect open space, farms and other natural land, but does it make sense to have farms next job producing cities.

While you can build housing in outlaying areas which will change the,make up of outlaying communities. Valley farming communities will be home to hundreds of Mountain View workers.


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Posted by Mountain View Vision
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

With hardly any new construction, Mountain View has already added 10,000 jobs North of 101. When Google takes over a building, what once held 4 works for every 1000 square feet, now you will find that Google will place 7 to 10 workers in that 1000 square feet of space. As a result, with no new construction, Google has overwhelmed the road infrastructure and might life hell for all who need to drive in the area during commute times. Sure, they try to run those massive shuttles but in the end there are still more cars on the road up there than ever before.

Now, consider that this area is in a flood plain. When the bay water level rises and the right storms come, this area will be out of commission.

So would it not make more sense for Google and other companies to locate in other parts of the bay area, such as Sunnyvale and Santa Clara which have much more underdeveloped land than does Mountain View. This land is not going to be underwater.

Mountain View's plans don't make sense over the long run.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Another success for United Nations Agenda 21!


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Posted by Against Over Development
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

It's totally arbitrary to classify older apartment buildings as being at the end of their useful life. It depends on the quality of construction and the maintenance care that they have received.

For example, not the oldest, but a fairly old apartment complex is the Village Lake Apartments at 777 Middlefield Road. This is one of the complexes of 2 story buildings and it has 208 units beautifully laid out on 10 acres of land with artificial lakes and other open space all over the complex. It was constructed in 1969, so it is 44 years old.

The owner has proposed to add units to the complex by filling in some of the lakes and using the land thus made available. There would still be considerable open space on the 10 acres but also increased unit density. This land is not on any transit corridor.

The city has REJECTED the owners proposal to add brand new buildings, saying that the owner should instead tear down some existing buildings and replace them with taller buildings instead. In other words, the city is interfering with the rights of the property owner to preserve the existing construction, and is insisting that the owner tear down the buildings. It is not a case of market forces causing the owner to want to tear down the buildings, but it is instead the city's intervention. This beautiful complex has a chance to be preserved with a density increase and the city is instead championing the destruction of perfectly useful buildings. The complex would be much nicer with the owner's plans.

The city has indicated the issue is not with the idea of filling in the lakes. They just want still more density than the owner is proposing. I don't think they have legal grounds to make such a demand, and I hope the owner takes them to court. They deserve it.


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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm

@ Against Over Development, a resident of another community, 5 hours ago

It's totally arbitrary to classify older apartment buildings as being at the end of their useful life.

No its not. All building require upgrades or tearing down depending on the economics.


The owner has proposed to add units to the complex by filling in some of the lakes and using the land thus made available.
The city has REJECTED the owners proposal to add brand new buildings, saying that the owner should instead tear down some existing buildings and replace them with taller buildings instead.

My inside sources tell me otherwise


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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

We moved to Mountain View more than 35 years ago because it was just the right size to be a community of people who know each other - a good mix of apartments, single family homes, retail and offices. Let's not destroy Mountain View by growing it out of a great place to live. If we wanted to live in Manhattan, we would be there!


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Posted by Steve formerly from Sylvan Park
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Follow the money! Federal 'Grant' funds (our tax dollars) are returned to state and local govenments with strings attached. Every element in this plan exists to satisfy those strings, who cares what the citizens want! Our elected and non-elected officials are selling us out in return for more money to play with. Mountain View city staff has been doing this for years, so it's no wonder the ABAG/MTC plan aligns so closely with ours!


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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

"If we wanted to live in Manhattan, we would be there!"

Even with a thousand years of development at our recent pace of growth, Mountain View will never resemble Manhattan. For better or worse, the pattern of development here and the presence of the single-family residential neighborhoods means Mountain View will never develop densely, except in a few select pockets.

Anyone who makes statements comparing MV to Manhattan when commenting on development either (1) has never been to Manhattan and has no idea what a truly urban area looks like, or (2) is deliberately being disingenuous and inflammatory to make their point.

Either way, it's fortunate that our Council and Planning Commissioners have enough sense to discount this kind of rhetoric.


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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2013 at 6:59 pm

With all due respect to the Planning Director, who does he mean by Mountain View when he speaks of "Mountain View's" vision? When I think of Mountain View, I think of the people that live here and what they want.

I attended the meeting on Thursday and saw that many other people from Mountain View were there also. Of those that spoke, I did not hear a single Mountain View resident that was in favor of this plan!

The article says that the resolution that was passed states:

"the plan is not intended to dictate local land use policy or development approvals" and would "increase housing choices by providing incentives for qualifying development projects."

That statement is disingenuous as whether or not that is the intent, it is the net effect! Cities that do not comply with ABAGs "suggestions" can find themselves subject to losing funding from the State and/or Federal Government in addition to being subjected to lawsuits, so to me it seems that the incentives for cities to comply are all stick and no carrot.

Even before the vote was taken, I was sure that the voice of the people would be ignored. Whenever there is so much money and there are special interests involved, it is always almost impossible for the voices of residents to be heard.

I won't be redundant, but anyone who is interested can read more about my thoughts and views on the meeting here:

Web Link

For the next election, please consider voting for someone that does not take money or favors from special interests.


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


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Posted by Voting
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Kudos to Palo Alto's representative for being one of 5 (?) "no" votes. Did Mountain View have a voting representative?

"Mountain View's Vision" referred to here is not the vision of most residents. Even if it's consistent with the General Plan, 99+% of the 75,000 residents don't have the time, interest, language assimilation, etc to get involved in the minutia of the General Plan process. But if Council Members would go around town and ask people (who they represent), they'd find that the folks that favor huge increases in housing are primarily not the folks who live here.

The claim is always that housing needs to be built to support jobs. That statement goes unchallenged. Why not test it? If we don't build the next 2 large apartment complexes, would it have one iota of impact on whether Google or Microsoft can retain employees? If housing slows down, will Google employees go work for another company? Will they be unable to hire the next Stanford grad?

I'm glad that 5 voters took the opportunity to challenge ABAG. Palo Alto has been pushing back for some time. I wish Mountain View had the same fortitude. (If the community of MV residents and MV leaders feel building more housing is truly best for this City, then the housing will be built...but it shouldn't be by the mandate of a disputed plan forcing growth...and it also shouldn't be without MV's leaders doing a "process-check" with the residents they represent).


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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm

@Voting:

~~ "If the community of MV residents and MV leaders feel building more housing is truly best for this City, then the housing will be built...but it shouldn't be by the mandate of a disputed plan forcing growth...and it also shouldn't be without MV's leaders doing a "process-check" with the residents they represent". ~~

AMEN.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 12:11 am

Manhattan grew differently then Silicon Valley, while New York City was founded in 1624, modern day New York City was started in 1898 with the merging of the 5 boroughs. Also want to point out that New York City attracted far more people in ways that won't happen here.

Mountain View is a youngster compared to most places in New York City, also drive around, take a look which you will find that most buildings here built in the last 60 years. Before that you had farms, farming support building, farmhouses and small industry. I know about the air station, NASA and some other businesses that were here that have left. Some left due to the high costs of being in Mountain View, found cheaper digs in some other small city.

Just like New York City, we attract the smartest, the brightest and the most educated workers. They come here to find jobs, create companies with their ideas and also hire people. Some create big wealth while others just want to work.

Now for the non tech worker, remember we need to have worker who are living in homes that are close to their jobs, co-workers, employees and their business. Not everyone here is involved in the tech related fields. You still need to house your teachers, plumbers, accountants, insurance brokers, florists, supermarket clerks, waitpersons, students, nurses, police officers, drivers, hairdressers, store managers, senior helpers, counselors, priests or some other jobs I might have forgotten.


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Posted by Manhattan
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm

It's indeed crazy to compare the changes in Mountain View to Manhattan. Even the WORST thing the city council and the general plan contemplate won't bring the City into a density similar to San Francisco or San Jose, densest to densest comparison.

In that regard, what Mountain View plans is NOT in the spirit of the Plan Bay Area. It's too spare. However, realistically, it is already going to be very hard to achieve what Mountain View is shooting for (100,000 residents by 2030) without causing all sorts of problems. It would be much more compatible to have the population growth in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, which have more land area to play with, and a longer run on El Camino.


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Posted by North of Bayshore
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Really, Mountain View is missing a bet by not developing the area North of the Bayshore Freeway differently. Even if they do not push for more jobs to be created up there, it's happening anyway, because companies put more and more employees into the same floor area. Plus, they are allowing construction such as at Intuit, which will keep a relatively sparse 250 square feet per employee ratio, but will double the size of their built out space, albeit with Green Roofs.

Plan Bay Area doesn't like increasing jobs that aren't near public transit, and the North of Bayshore isnt near Public Transit.

What Mountain View should consider would be to allow some high rise apartment buildings in the area, near all these jobs. Even if they only stay there for a few years, every employee who lives up there is one fewer employee clogging the streets in and out of there at rush hour. Many years ago the Mountain View city wisdom became not to put housing up there due to flooding possibilities, but this doesn't make any sense. With all this business building growth, there will still be flooding issues. If roads are seriously impacted, and parking garages, underground or surface, there will be hell to pay. This can be designed around, and it could also be designed around for the case of high rise employee housing. For one thing, a 6 or 8 story apartment building isn't going to flood except on the first floor, just like a business. It's a waste to have an area like that which is not really used regularly at night. There should be housing up there. It makse more sense to put studio and 1 bedroom apartments up there next to jobs, than to place them on El Camino Real. The residents may travel in and out of there by car, but they'll tend to do it at off hours. If some kind of mass transit is created between downtown and the North of Bayshore area, then it will not be much used in the evening and at night if there are no residences up there. A balanced layout helps facilitate development of public transit in and out of the area. Look at Redwood Shores and Foster City. The area is safe for residences, or at least as safe as it is anywhere else.


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Posted by mapper
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 25, 2013 at 2:52 am

I found a map covering the "Priority Development Areas" on it.

Web Link

I wonder how accurate this is - street level, or just general area? Also, will parts of existing neighborhoods be rezoned for this? Zoom in on the map and you may notice that some parts of neighborhoods with single-family housing are covered by PDAs; this includes streets a few blocks from El Camino; parts of Old Mountain View, Monte Loma, etc. There's different types of PDAs, and some are called "mixed use corridor". Anyhow, perhaps interesting to look at.

IMHO: Revitalizing parts of El Camino, adding transit and bike friendliness, etc.: yay! Messing with existing neighborhoods: not so great.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 9:08 am

I agree leaving the single family neighborhood is a must unless we have homes on main streets, like Rengstorff, Middlefield or Castro. Only those housing facing in busy areas are worth a look at adding a rental unit or in come cases a duplex. Rules will be that they must remain 2 stories or under, design to blend in with other homes.

El Camino Real must remain a business area, housing on upper floors are fine but I do now certain type of businesses can't have residential units nearby. I don't think anyone wants to live above a McDonald's,

Right renting is popular but wait until the tables turns when ownership housing becomes popular. Right now lets start looking at sites, design and placement of all housing. We also need to look at schools, parks, public and private services. Remember all is needed for new, current future, older and not un born residents.

We don't need to do a Manhattan, just need to look at more friendly small scale design. 6 story building on Shoreline Blvd for singles and people without kids will work. 2 story single family home near a school will work for families, a studio/work space above Rose Market might work for a Google employee who wants to ride his bike to work.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

Looking at the Map of the PDA's, most of the Bay Area is left alone, single family homes, open space and entire neighborhoods are left out.


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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 25, 2013 at 1:05 pm

@Garrett

Re: Map of the PDA's. There are close to 50 single family homes in my neighborhood, which according to the Map of the PDA's, is targeted for destruction...and by destruction I mean turning a small quiet neighborhood composed of single family homes into some sort of high-density and/or mixed use neighborhood. I'm not cool with that, at all.

This neighborhood might be close to Castro Street and El Camino Real, but it is a very quiet neighborhood, the neighbors are friendly with each other, socialize with each other and look out for each other. If you walk thru this neighborhood, you will find that almost without exception these homes have been extensively renovated and are very well cared for, in short, pride of ownership is reflected in this quiet neighborhood. I and others whom I have personally spoken with ALL find it galling that this quiet little neighborhood seems to have become disposable in the apparent mania to "re-develop" any/every square inch of Mountain View that sits anywhere close to El Camino Real, or Castro Street for that matter.

One of the main things that factored in the purchase of my home was how quiet the neighborhood was...and by quiet I mean almost ZERO traffic on the street that is not residents or visitors of residents of this neighborhood. We do not have sidewalks on our street and young children regularly (and safely) play in the street...it is THAT quiet. Re-development should not include the wholesale destruction of neighborhoods like this, but instead the city should be looking to PRESERVE neighborhoods like this, yet sadly it would appear as if my neighborhood has already been targeted for destruction.

I am SO disappointed in our city leaders. I love this city, and it breaks my heart to think that I am going to be forced out of the home I have made here, the home I have lived in for over 20 years...


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I am not saying out and change the zoning in the PDA area of the map, only housing that is on certain main streets. Must meet height, design standards and only if the property is planning stage of being changed. If the owner seeks to building a granny unit, basement living space, 2 story 2 family duplex or 2 story single family home. If he wants none of the changes and only seeks to remodel, add a room then he doesn't have to seek a change.

I am not saying change little quiet street or destroy the neighborhood feel as only expect a small limit amount of homeowners seeking this kinda of change. No developer will take on such project that won't yield great returns. If someone person wants to build a income unit under his living space. Or 2 families want to build a duplex together. All plans must meet certain guidelines, height, square footage and yard space.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Oooops. I am bad for the crazy comment, was on the phone and typing at the time.

So if you read, I am so sorry for bad writing. Like I said I am bad.


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