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801 El Camino Real Project is Highly Flawed

Original post made by konrad M. Sosnow on Jan 3, 2014

Cuesta Park Neighborhood Should Continue to Have a High Quality of Life.

The 2030 General Plan, in the Quality of Life section, states that "The General Plan seeks to maintain this high-quality environment by preserving the land uses within most neighborhoods and establishing policies to help enhance and support their distinct characters. Most of the General Plan change in the city is focused in the North Bayshore area and along transit corridors in the East Whisman, El Camino Real and San Antonio areas"

801 El Camino Real is actually a project that is primarily along Castro Street and not El Camino Real. Thus, it should not be zoned as along a transit corridor per the 2030 General Plan, el camino real change area, LUD 20.2: Focused intensive development. Allow more intensive development in key locations based on factors such as lot size, character of surrounding land uses, distance to transit facilities and opportunities to improve a site.

Rather, it should be zoned as part of the Cuesta Park neighborhood and this high-quality environment should be maintained by preserving the land uses within the neighborhood.


801 El Camino Real Will Increase Congestion along El Camino Real

The development at 801 El Camino Real will add 176 cars to the already congested El Camino Real, thus increasing congestion along this important route. All retail traffic in and out of the development will be forced into the existing alley, which will be shared by delivery truck traffic and garbage pickup for the businesses and residents. Increased traffic in the area will pose safety issues for pedestrians, school children, bicyclists, and even drivers.


801 Camino Real Will Have Inadequate Parking.

The 170 one, two, and three bedroom apartment units will have only 176 underground parking spaces for residents only. In addition, the current 162 parking spaces for existing retail would be reduced by 59 spaces, about 1/3 less, and shared by retail customers and employees, apartment employees, and residents of the 170 units and their guests. Also, there is no designated guest parking for the development.
The result will be tenants of 801 Camino Real, and their guests will be forced to park in the streets of the Cuesta Park Neighborhood, destroying the quality of life for the residents of Cuesta Park.

801 Camino Real Will Tower Over the Neighborhood Single Story Residence

The proposed development is 4 stories next to single story residences. How would you like this mammoth project next to your home? How would you like your neighbors to be able to look into your backyard?


801 El Camino Real Will Negatively Impact Local Businesses.

Gochi's Japanese Fusion Restaurant will be excluded from the development and forced to close or relocate. Rose Market will not be accommodated during the 2 year construction phase so they can actually remain in business. There is no guarantee that they will not permanently relocate or even close.

Comments (15)

Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm

I agree totally with everything Konrad has stated. The more I study this plan, the worse I realize it is. At first we thought all businesses that wanted to be included would be, but now Gochi's is being unfairly excluded forever, and Rose Mkt. will be out of business for 2+ years! Unacceptable. The owner of the property that both these businesses are on told me herself that all the businesses on her property would definitely be included: Her deal with Greystar included that promise! But now she's away traveling and we are losing two very beloved and much patronized places that diminish our immediate neighborhood and our city. If our city really wants to help them survive, as well as restore what we lost in the fire on the corner at 801 ECR, then our City Council should promote a modest mixed use complex in place of the Chase Bank on the adjacent corner: If it were built first, with places completed in it for the businesses on the 801 side, they could just move across the street. Then 801 ECR could be built (much more modestly, less floors, more parking). The retail space in the new 801 build could then instead house a nice new liquor store to make it handy to the neighborhood (thereby reducing the tragedies caused by drunk driving to get more to drink after one's judgement is already impaired); a fine new deli with super great sandwiches for those rushing on a lunch hour on a work day; a new American style convenience store (French's has left the neighborhood); a mail center/notary republic service place like before; possibly another cleaners/laundromat if they improve their fire safety protocols; and, another fine, upscale restaurant with a very different menu from our remarkable Japanese Fusion Tapas across the street. Whatever can enhance convenient services to the surroundings should be added. All these places could be designed to work really well for drop in traffic, with lots of very handy parking making convenience possible. That means, not on the public parking lot. That is not actually handy for the corner and along Castro. It should have been kept for Frankie & Johnnies Italian Restaurant's customers, so their business isn't hurt. And certainly, it is no place for traffic to drive up & down connecting with the parking below, causing noise & exhaust for those immediately next to it! That ramp would be right by their bedroom windows! That part of the plan and the number of floors they intend to build are unacceptable.


Posted by KD, a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Oh yeah? Well, welcome to Mountain View. Yada yada waa waa. Try living at the Crossings where across California Avenue they want to put a 7-story hotel and six-story office buildings to block our view of the mountains and so that guests can stare down into our homes. This sounds more like Cuesta Park feeling like they are special. What's the per capita for people living in Cuesta Park anyway? Probably a lot less than any other part of town. And 800 El Camino is on the border of Cuesta Park!


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I mentioned this in a post to another thread, but it is an appropriate comment for this thread so I am re-posting here:

I hope residents who are concerned about the apparent development frenzy in Mountain View, and more specifically the current proposed development at 801 el Camino Real (corner of El Camino Real & Castro Street) will consider signing the following petition:

Web Link

One development at a time, the residents of Mountain View are being forced to watch as developers profit at the expense of the community as a whole.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm

No, honestly, the 801 ECR plan will build too tall as planned, staring down in our backyards & into our windows, and blocking our view of Mountain View from Mountain View. Unless we stop tearing into each other and unite to oppose all this oversized building. If they ruined your neighborhood already, don't fail to get the word out about more bad plans and help your fellow city citizens, even if it is not your backyard. We simply must help each neighborhood. Had I heard about what they built next to you, I would have helped you organize a fight. Everyone be sure to turn out Jan 11 at 9:30 AM until Noon at the MV Senior Center at 266 Escuela as there will be w meeting to ascertain if we like the big building style of not. Come en masse and said NO!


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

If you are one of the many who prefer that all this high density building ceases, please come to the meeting on Saturday Jan. 11th at 9:30 AM until Noon at the MV Senior Center (266 Escuela). This meeting is to survey public opinion about the high rise building, making the corridor all this way, and the ideas of road diets on California Street, etc., including only one lane for cars in each direction on ECR. Come out and speak out!


Posted by Charles Bransi, a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 10, 2014 at 1:47 pm

@Linda and others, thanks for spreading the word on the importance of speaking up on these important issues. A few people in my neighborhood are getting ready to make a stand on the development in Mountain View that doesn't take into account their residents. We are a bit fed up with the city council rubber stamping the developer project without caring about residents, schools, small business, traffic, the environment, etc. We created a new non profit corporation called "Mountain View Citizens for Responsible Development". We are in the early stage of organization, and we need all the help we can have.

Can you contact me at mvcrdev@gmail.com ?

See you tomorrow.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Thank you, Charles, for stepping up to keep MV desireable. I most certainly will join and assist in every way possible save MV from horrible, irreversible wrong moves in this life size Sim City game our city government is currently playing with MV. I encourage everyone who also cares about the quality of life in MV to do the same! We must find our maximum strength in numbers and hurry up, especially after seeing how their hired professionals pushed us around in the meeting. Our only choices were those they listed, none of our own! I'll say more about this soon, but for now:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoroughly committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Meade


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm

@Linda Curtis

Quick and simple question, as new jobs are created in the area and population increases, where would you like to see people live?


Posted by David, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

@Robert

Why is it a given that there will be so much job growth in Mountain View? The land here is overvalued and Sunnyvale is much more attractive. Primarily you have Google bound and determined to cram more and more employees in their declared headquarters despite the costs. They cut many corners to do this. For example they are planning 1.1 Million square feet of office space not in Mountain View but at NASA Ames, where they will use Mountain View resources without paying Mountain View property taxes. They say they will "only" have 4000 employees added in this complex but that runs against current employee densities at high tech companies.

See: Web Link

The current statistics are not what you think. Mountain View has a population of around 75,000. There are around 39,000 jobs in the city of which only about 10,800 are filled by residents. The other residents don't work in the city or they don't work anywhere (retired, children, students).
That means 28,000 workers in the city live elsewhere. Most of this is by choice and has nothing to do with the city's housing stock.


Posted by David, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2014 at 5:57 pm

The most practical solution for Google's employee growth is to build these small 1 bedroom apartments in mid rise or high rise buildings up by the jobs in the North Shoreline office park area. The reality is that these are mostly single young employees recently out of school. When Google wanted to build such housing in that area, the city council derided this housing as "dorms" but the reality is that this is the nature of the Google employee.
This 801 El Camino building is just a similar complex built pretty far away from the Google workplaces. It still could be viewed as "dorms". It is NOT family housing or even family friendly. This is not in the tradition of the population of Mountain View.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

@David

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but with all the problems with the economy, even in the bay area and especially with youth, you're framing this as if job growth was somehow a bad thing, which one would have to be seriously selfish and sick to think.


Posted by David, a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm

I am not against job growth at all. I am just skeptical of the idea that having that be located within the city of Mountain View is a benefit to the city of Mountain View. It should not try to grab more than its share of regional job growth, and it should not assist Google in doing so. I am very glad that Google has bought the complex in Palo Alto which is at least a short distance away. It is a bad thing for Mountain View to be so dependent on one employer for so many jobs within the city.

The fact that just about forever most Mountain View residents have had employment outside the city, to the tune of 75% of the workers in the city working outside the city is noteworthy. It's also important to realize that similarly only 25% or so of the jobs in the city are filled by city residents. To think that adding apartments along El Camino Real is going to change that is just silly. The jobs are no where near El Camino Real in general and most of the commuting occurs along the freeway by people who don't live near El Camino Real where they are coming from or work near there in their destination city. Unlike some cities much further away, there just is no concentration of jobs in that corridor in Mountain View. There is no way that is going to change, so it makes the most sense to think of adding at least some housing up closer to where the jobs are. There's basically no good reason not to, if we are talking about these mid rise small apartments for recent college grads working at Google. It's not like ALL the Google employees are going to live in those new apartments up there.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 15, 2014 at 10:59 am

David- I agree with you and I'm not being "selfish" or "sick" as Robert stated! I do not believe that ruining the quality of a neighborhood or jam packing the streets with gridlocked traffic, including Google buses, helps anybody. Our city believes it will force people onto the buses, but in reality it forces traffic down what was quiet side streets, endangering children, pets, wildlife, bikers, and everyone! I do like the idea of building near Google, and even across the Bay from Google so that their free ferries can give their employees a pleasant bay cruise to and from work. Then some other communities could add some housing and help their tax base instead of MV doing it all. After about 10 years, all the building built at once becomes less of an asset financially to the city, and over time, it all wears out and looks ugly at the same time. Eck. I also think that housing built near Google could be fabulous, as well as some that is cheaper for those who want that. And why can't some of the new big businesses build in Livermore, or somewhere like that which has plenty of room for development? MV doesn't have to hog all the new jobs and housing developments just because some of the council members place "fiscal responsibility" way ahead of keeping the quality of our city! We can have both but not by building along El Camino Real! How noisy and stinky for those who would live there, and how awful for traffic and the one and two story neighbors who will be towered over! And as it was stated above: The jobs are not along ECR anyway!


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Okay: This is it: The Study Session for the 801 El Camino Real West Project will be at 5 PM sharp this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, at the Council Chambers, 2nd Floor of MV City Hall. Everyone come and speak for precisely 2 minutes to give the council members something to think about. Examples: too tall, too dense, too ugly, not enough parking, need of trees to separate it from its pre=existing neighbors, and my pet peeve: The entrance/exit ramp to underground parking (to be located on the back corner of what is now a public parking lot) will be horrible noise and disturbance to those who have homes adjacent. How could one ever open a window for air with the noise and exhaust of cars a few feet away from them, night and day? Horrible. And then think of all of them all spilling out onto our already gridlocked streets, impeding traffic even more. How can emergency responders respond? How can we drive ourselves to the emergency room? Too high of density also means no possible evacuation in case of tidal waves or rapidly spreading fire as could follow a tremendous earthquake, all of which we could have here. Sad to plan to build high in seismically active areas anyway! Etc.!

Anyway, sign the petition and make your comments on the link you'll find above, third comment from the top, in the comment made by the well spoken "MVResident67" --Just click on the words :Web Link" in blue, and you can read the petition and add your comments and signature. Encourage as many people as you can find to do the same so there will be plenty of voices represented in the meeting on Tuesday evening.

So plan to attend. Get off work early or whatever it takes to get there. I believe this is the last City Council Study Session on this project.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm

In this article, Konrad Sosnow nailed a few of the less pleasant aspects of this project for those living nearby, as well as for all using ECR with its intensified gridlock due to this added volume of traffic. I calculated even worse numbers in the loss of parking spaces it will create, and thus the overflow to the neighborhood will be even greater. Too bad for the public in general when special events roll around, like the Art & Wine Festival every September! And every day trying to get any where on El Camino Real!

Rose Market actually is NOT to be accommodated for the two year construction process! This means the 25 employees of Rose Market will lose their jobs. And Gochi's will be totally gone, no matter how good they are! If you want to help remedy these problems and those mentioned in the article, as well as discussed above, please come at 5 PM on Jan. 21, 2014, to the City Council Study Session of this project at City Hall and speak up! Make the city hear us and represent us!


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