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Original post made
on Jun 20, 2014
It looks like Merlone Geier is using the threat of sealing the fate of the Milk Pail to leverage the City Council to go forward with their plans and for the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View to drop their potential referendum.
I urge the City Council and the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View to not be swayed by such threats!
Do what is best for Mountain View. There is always a price for every action.
If the Council requires a parking provision for the Milk Pail they are setting a precedent and anybody in the future who is effected by development can expect similar help from the City.
The Milk Pail as a private business must pay their own way. They have done nothing for the public to deserve favored treatment.
More housing means more congestion. Office workers do not put as many cars on the road as residents do. A lot of them will commute by public transit.
I urge the City Council to move ahead with the project. It will be a great upgrade to the San Antonio center.
If Merlone Geier and Steve Rasmussen were a couple of little kids out on the playground at recess, MG would be sent to the principal's office for bullying. In this case, the principal, MV, is trying to appease the playground bully, saying it's not our role intervene, etc. However, all the other kids on the playground are banging on the principal's door, urging the principal to do something to protect little Stevie.
Why should City Manager Dan Rich care? Like his name, he is now rich! He makes over $200K per year, he has a guaranteed retirement plan, and then he will consult back to the city for big bucks after he has "retired".
Hey may not care who wins and who losses when it comes to someone else business, but when it comes to Rich's money, you can bet he is going to win every time!
Ask the City of Cupertino how much they are paying him to not work there anymore.
@incognito - Let's hope the City will be an UP-stander not a Bystander.
Merlone Geier's phase 2 proposal is fair and brings Mountain View a lot of value. I don't want to see more apartment housing in this location. There is already enough. Around the El Camino/San Antonio intersection, there is already severe traffic compared with when Sears was around. I think that has a lot to do with the new apartment complexes in the village. There is a huge development on the Los Altos side. If we have offices and restaurants in phase 2, at least these people will travel in the opposite direction. Mountain View is 66% renters and is doing a lot to balance the job/housing situation. Why don't Palo Alto/Los Altos build more housing?
Milk Pail does not own the parking lot. Merlone Geier does. Just because I like Milk Pail does not give them the rights to use other people's property. We can plead to Merlone Geier, boycott their center, but it has the same legal grounds as MG demands MP selling the land to them.
I just read this article and I am truly appalled by MG behavior. I don't even shop at the Milk Pail but the bullying tactics MG is using against a popular, locally-owned business is disgusting. I actually was all for the development moving forward until I just read this article. MG, you should be ashamed of yourselves threatening MV residents like this and giving the appearance you are trying to help the Milk Pail when it's pretty clear you are not. Go ahead, pull out. I no longer care and I, personally, no longer have any interest in shopping at anything you build there. It's really not that hard to work with Milk Pail owners and give them a shared parking agreement. And don't think for a minute the residents of MV are so stupid we don't see through your lies and scare tactics. Good riddance.
I live here and also work just down the street from Milk Pail and shop there. Just want to say that I would much prefer the movie theater-hotel-first floor shops and office buildings to replace the junk that is there now. It would bring vibrancy and a center of activity to this area. We don't need big box retailers and random buildings (Ross/BevMO etc.) Please let the development proceed.
Let them walk. I'm sure 10 other developers will happily line up for the chance to build something there. Maybe 1-2 of them will be willing to actually listen to community input rather than just push forward to make a quick buck.
Merlone Geier isn't the only game in town. I'd rather work with another developer and get more of what we want there and not work with these bullies and be stuck with something that's just better than what's currently there. We'll have to live with it for the next 30+ years, no need to rush. Let's do it right.
The city council was an active participant in setting in motion the plan for San Antonio, and it is incorrect for them to claim they have had no hand in choosing a winner.
I think it is utterly ridiculous for businesses not to share parking. We are supposed to be supporting walkable environments and if we are expected to park and drive between every destination in the San Antonio Center it is a step backwards. Who cares if someone is parking to see a movie or parking to buy some produce or parking to visit a friend in one of the townhouses? In fact, the person parking for the least amount of time is likely to be the one shopping at Milk Pail.
We already have gridlock on El Camino and San Antonio Rd. Parents taking kids across El Camino on Los Altos Ave. back that street up for multiple light cycles trapping residents around school commute time. We don't need more housing OR more office space. We need a school on that side of San Antonio. Rather than threaten eminent domain on the Target property for a new school, why not put a park or school on the land.... anything for relief of the oppressive traffic and overcrowding we have ALREADY without all the new units under construction already?
It feels like Mtn View and Palo Alto both want more property tax revenue so they shove the massive overbuilding and traffic congestion it brings towards each other, as far from the center of their towns as possible, and it destroys the "small town" quality of life in Los Altos as it chokes our main road into town off.
Put a park there and let the Milk Pail share the parking with park users. If you want an ugly, overcrowded place to live then move to Brooklyn.
Traffic at that intersection is no worse than the twice a day disaster at Hausner School.
I shop at the Milk Pail and my husband's family has been going there since you could get milk at a drive through there. While a movie theater would be nice in theory, I hate to see all the little, unique businesses getting shoved out of Mountain View in favor of housing and expensive, homogenous chain restaurants. La Bamba had to move out of the original hole in the wall location for new housing going up. New location, higher prices. Then the Boardwalk, now the Milk Pail. Eminent domain for Target??? What's the city of Mountain View going to try to take next? There is new housing going up all over Mountain View--the San Antonio Center does not need it. The space is already too crowded and there is too much traffic congestion, and that's before the new housing along El Camino is finished and occupied. The roads can't be widened. It would be easy enough to give the Milk Pail the few parking spaces it needs and would create good will. More congestion is going to do the opposite. I go to the center for Safeway, but once the new one in Los Altos opens, I won't go back because of the difficult traffic situation. If the Milk Pail goes, there will be no reason to shop there at all.
Again with the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk was only there at that location in the first place because some developer put an office building there.
People really need to find out what the plans are for San Antonio before they get into histrionics.
You can't live your entire life having someone else do your homework
MG could drop plans for this development, build big box center with Milk Pail getting the back wall side and loading docks. Even shared parking won't help the lost of access to the center.
Chances are MG will build facing their property not Milk Pail.
"People really need to find out what the plans are for San Antonio before they get into histrionics."
Right. Here's the proposal for San Antonio Phase 2, in quite a bit of detail. First, the staff report given to the EPC by Planning: Web Link
Next, the Environmental Impact Report for the project: Web Link
My own reaction was not histrionics, more along the lines of disgust.
The EIR asserted that the project would add 2500 new jobs, but would add only 571 AM peak hour trips, and 839 PM peak hour trips. Then, using these extremely lowball figures plus outdated 2012 traffic figures, it asserted that there would be minimal impact on traffic congestion - except for the intersection of San Antonio and El Camino, which the EIR conceded would still unavoidably deteriorate to "Level of Service F". Yet, staff recommended that the project be approved, because of the "overriding benefits" that it would bring to Mountain View. Incredible!
It's true that the Milk Pail is a business, but it's also a community institution. It has a character that provides value beyond food for money. Have you noticed how friendly and, yes, neighborly, people are when they shop there? The energetic staff and astoundingly low prices make this a destination for many. Let's find some parking for them!
Note: The Environmental Impact Report (link above) takes quite a while to load, so be patient. If you're interested, it's worth the wait.
The new piece of data here is the threat of a big box store going in the space if Phase 2 doesn't go forward. Blech. When did that get approved?! *Fantastic* If a big box store goes in, nobody's going to want to live right next to it. This seems to be the real stick that MG is holding.
Is it true that MG is free to build big box stores? Sounds like a clumsy bluff to me. They stand to make a lot more with the Phase 2 project even if it's delayed and regiggered to include housing. Also big box stores there would devalue their Phase 1.
" Have you noticed how friendly and, yes, neighborly, people are when they shop there? "
I've noticed a lot of..'characters' who just push right in front of you while you are looking at or selecting things. Not as weird as the people who show up for the Monday free book giveaways at Cubberly, but very very close.
I think MG can build a nice new retail center with parking and store fronts facing Phase 1, leaving Milk Pail in the shadows. The planned housing on California and San Antonio will face back walls and parking lots, walking to and from Caltrain will be less impressive.
Why would amyone place a school in a shopping center with car and truck traffic.
Last Tuesday the EPC voted 7-0 to delay approving any Phase 2 proposal until after a new San Antonio Precise Plan is developed. But this has only the force of a recommendation to the City Council. They could ignore it, or not.
If Merlone Geier's Phase 2 proposal is not approved by the council, the existing San Antonio Precise Plan would allow the construction of one big box store:
"Under the No Project Alternative, the site would remain in its existing condition except for the construction of a 175,000 sf retail store with associated parking, as approved by the Precise Plan Amendments and San Antonio Center Project EIR (City of Mountain View 2010). The new retail store would be 2 stories (40 feet) in height and would include parking on the ground level."
(Quote is from this city document, page 15: Web Link)
Sounds good to me. Let Merlone Geier go for it. The building would still have to go through a design review process, I think.
"Why would amyone place a school in a shopping center with car and truck traffic."
Have you not seen the traffic chaos that Hausner school creates every day?
Big box store with 3 large ugly walls, 1 wall will have entry/exit doors to parking lot or 2 stores in the box. Depends on what retailers want the site and what building needs are required.
3 ugly walls with docks, firedoors and service area will be facing someones direction.
You could go small but somewhere that back wall will be built which I am afriad Milk Pail will get the wall of box.
The City Council already has their mind made up to steam-roll forward and cares less what the community says, the recommendations from the EPC, blogs or petitions.
I believe there are some good things that can come from a regional gathering place. It is unfortunate that MG doesn't understand what the Milk Pail Market can contribute to their cause. A ton of locals who will bring friends and help make the center filled and successful. Too bad their bully tactics are turning the whole community off towards the project along with the City Council. I blame the City Council for not requiring MG to lease the Milk Pail 11 parking spaces. Look at what the result of that has been.
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