Posted by Julie Stanford, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Jan 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm
I emailed Abe-Koga about this and she said she was misquoted. This is what she wrote me (and said she wrote the voice as well):
I want to correct inaccuracies in your article and editorial on the Mora Drive businesses that must eventually find a new home in compliance with the Mountain View Precise Plan. Contrary to the impression given by the article, I support giving the businesses more time to find a new location. I made the motion to grant the request for a study, and I voted in favor of it. I would have preferred to fast-track a vote on the extension, but the City’s process only allowed for a study of the extension.
I did express my position that the extra 18 months the property owner requested is too long, given that the Precise Plan, which was adopted in 1987, allowed 25 years for the conversion to residential. In those 25 years, the surrounding area has filled in with housing in compliance with the Plan, placing families next door to some businesses that are inappropriate neighbors.
Crucial facts were omitted from the article. Two-thirds of the businesses on Mora Drive would have been non-compliant uses of the land even under the original zoning. One of these businesses, a landscape contractor, is the subject of ongoing complaints from neighbors. Some Mora Drive businesses have people living in them against city code. The City chose not to enforce code violations because of the upcoming deadline for conversion.
As a former small business owner, I understand the challenges in running and making a business a success. But I also understand that a city has guidelines and rules that need to be followed in the attempt to make land uses compatible with one another, especially when it comes to businesses within residential neighborhoods. I believe the City can strike a balance between giving businesses time to relocate and fulfilling the City’s promise to surrounding residents.
I am always open to looking at guidelines, allowing flexibility and considering changes, but that was not what this gatekeeper request was about nor was this about moving forward with an apartment project on these properties.
I will also note that Simon Printing is a type of business that would be permitted under the new residential zoning. The property owners, not the City, will decide whether they want to accommodate it in their plans for the property.
My personal opinion is that given how long permitting takes, this business should be allowed to stay and find a new space. It's a great addition to the community and I have personally been a satisfied customer in the past.