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Merlone Geier seeks permit for "intimidating" fence

Original post made on Aug 22, 2012

San Antonio Shopping Center developer Merlone Geier has not given up on its controversial efforts to put up a fence that several businesses and a property owners say is a way to force a land sale.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 11:04 AM

Comments (36)

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Posted by Right Thing Local
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 11:23 am

Please City Council...these are locally owned and run businesses, some of which could be considered institutions in this area. Please stop the bullying from the out of town Mega-Developer trying to crush these institutions, just so they can gobble up a few more parcels in order to stuff a few more pennies into the already buldging wallets of the development company. Its flat out wrong and it stinks to the high heavens.


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Posted by Mark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Well, if any of our elected officials have accepted "campaign donations" (a.k.a., "influence money") from this bullying Merlone Geier group, you can bet that the fence WILL be built, and that it's only a matter of time. Merlone Geier STILL has time to "donate" to city officials though! ... "adjacent office building owner Dave Pilling" has apparently received "donations" and has gone to the dark side after righteously removing the intimidating fence in the past ... what WAS your price Mr. Pilling?


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Posted by Nancy Morimoto
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

In the next weeks to months, the city will launch its community outreach for developing a precise plan to guide future development for the San Antonio change area. Be on the lookout for announcements and make sure to voice your ideas about how you envision this neighborhood in the future. I would like to see a great diversity of businesses, and hope to have a precise plan that encourages/requires developers to integrate the current local businesses into their proposals or move them within the area,not force them out of business.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

When Merlone Geier eventually develops the Ross/Bev Mo area, there will not be any parking for these companies. They are currently using parking that is not theirs. Putting up the fence now will not be any different than when the properties are redeveloped. The real issue here is that the current business are surviving only because they are using parking that does not belong to them.


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Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Has anyone considered that this is a shopping center, and that people who come for Milk Pail or the Plumbing store might choose to stay for some of the Merlone Geier businesses? While the idea of refreshing that center seemed appealing, didn't they get enough land? Why the need to push out the little guys? Who are of course going to bring the business of their long-time clientele to the new stores... provided there isn't a large fence keeping them from walking on over.


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Posted by I want access
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I want contined access to all the businesses even when the development is finished. This was intended to be an inclusive development. People could walk to the places they needed to go. But, I guess only IF the places they want to go were built by THIS developer? This is not right!


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Posted by Ready for action
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I'll be watching. Any council member that approves the fence will NOT get my vote. They will be tagged at the council members who closed down Baron Park Plumbing and The Milk Pale in favor of big money outside interests.
Council, we are DEPENDING ON YOU to do the right thing for these MV businesses. Help Them!


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm

The developer is probably attempting to stop the placement of any easements across their property. Regardless of our feelings toward them, they're under no obligation to provide parking for someone else's business.


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Posted by Sabrina
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

We need our elected officials to step in and speak up for those local businesses who MAKE this community. When these officials are not serving the interests of the majority of their constituency (as is the case right now), they are not doing their job.

Where's the outrage? I see Merlone Geier's monstrous particle-board edifice, blocking my view of the mountains, everytime I drive south on San Antonio. Isn't this enough of a reminder of worse things to come if city council doesn't immediately do what's right for the people who LIVE HERE?


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Posted by Probably74
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Why can't the developers build 2- or 3-story parking garages instead of eating up all the existing property. Baron Park and Milk Pail deserve all the support we can muster.


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Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

This is very sad. Ignorant out of town developer follows text-book MBA procedure to "maximize" their development while ignoring the big picture of their behavior. They probably also know nothing of these businesses they seek to drive out. I, for one, will drive all the way across town to go to Barron Park Supply because they are that unique of business for which there is no substitute. I know I am not alone in this. When I do make that trip, I often have done other errands at San Antonio Center.

I hope the city can do what they can to protect our local businesses. It seems that should be part of the bargain when these businesses have invested in our community for years and built the city to what it is today. We shouldn't just go to the highest bidder.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

In the past cities allowed too much development with inadequate parking. It is very difficult to fix the problems. Hopefully the City of Mountain View required plenty of parking for the new development and the developer is just trying to assert his property rights. If, as is all too common, inadquate parking was required, many people won't be able to find a parking space and the existing companies will suffer even if there isn't a fence.

Adverse possesion ... if someone has flagrantly used your property you can loose your property. A former mayor/judge in Colorado asserted that he had used the neighboring property for 25 years to reach his deck. The new property owner couldn't build a house on his own land. Web Link (Denver Post 11/18/2007)


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Posted by Watching Too
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

This is so simple. The Council will either vote to protect Mountain View businesses, some of which are local institutions going back 40 years, or they will vote to support the out of town fat cat developers efforts to drive the businesses out. Such clear and obvious choices are rare these days, but it will make decisions easy come re-election time.


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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Tear down the fence. If they put it up again, tear it down again. Let's all pitch in and give Merlone Geier a great big dose of WHAT FOR.

Corporate fascist antichrist moneygrubbers.


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Posted by Ted
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I agree with Sabrina above. The big buildings going in are too big, massive even and block the view of the Mountains. And what the hec happened to the sidewalks? Those buildings are right up on the street practically! Rename Mountain View Googletown and rename Castro Street Merlone Grier Street.

I will vote out all the current city council who approved this nightmare.


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Posted by GDM
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Remember when Home Depot wanted to build here and got shot down by local residents. Doesn't this make Home Depot look good?


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Posted by Victor Reeus
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Still better than a Home Depot...by a landslide! The taste of that victory is still sweet on my tongue :) Besides, HD would likely have tried to pull the same thing. No, this is all about today's battle, the battle for our local spots that make MV unique. The Milk Pale?!?! C'mon!


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Posted by heartfulart
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I shop at the Milk Pail and Ross on a regular basis - they are my favorite stores in the area! It would be horrible if we didn't have access to the fresh produce from the Milk Pail - of course, then we would HAVE to shop at Safeway, which is twice as expensive, and half the quality and is going in where Sears was!
Does anyone know what else is going into that huge space?


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Posted by A. Lincoln
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Support the little guys!

To hell with deep pockets bullies.


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Posted by Marc Roddin
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm

As a property owner, it seems that Mr. Geier is totally within his rights and is acting responsibly. I don't think that crybabies should be given free easements.


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Posted by Jenny W.
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

There is no redeeming feature of this development! Mountain View was sold on a walkable Santana Row style retail/dining environment. Instead we are have lost the beautiful mountain-to-mountain views(what's the name of our city again??) as the entrance to the city in trade for massive, disproportionate, ugly residential and offices. What little retail that does go in will likely be impossible to access by the majority of the Mountain View residents through the residential/office traffic and lack of parking. At the same time causing massive traffic entering/exiting the city thus blocking our ability to get around. The only specific retail I have heard mentioned is the new Safeway - wait let's tear down a perfectly good Safeway and build another one - how is that "green"? Not to mention there are already numerous supermarkets in the area - thus the only real reason is as a selling point for the future residents of this overpriced, cheaply built, disposable housing. The aggression against successful small local businesses (Milk Pail, Barron Park, etc) just confirms the sleazy nature of the developers - I hope they take a financial bath on this project, unfortunately this probably won't happen. What is clear is that it has negatively impacted Mountain View.

Current city council members who approved this nightmare will see how city residents really feel next election.


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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Oh please.. you nanny staters will re-elect the same council people you claim to hate.

If that access was so important to those businesses they should have gotten things in writing.. legal easements.. make sure this couldn't happen to them.


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Posted by OR
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Hey Marc, as a property owner, multiple properties, I'm respectful, pleasant and nice to my neighbors. I can't imagine being your neighbor and it probably would be anything but peaceful.

In local schools, there are signs stating "bully free" school. Peter and Bradley probably learned at an early age, they can always get what they wanted by being bullies. Clearly, filthy greed turned decency into obscenity. So the question begs, what turned Peter J. Merlone, Bradley A. Geier, and Greg Geertsen into a Grinches?


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Posted by Sparty
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Frankly I'm all for the fence. I had my fill of brain dead Milk Pail customers walking in front of cars, spacing out in the middle of the driveways or trying to cut off other cars and pedestrians chasing after the two or three spots Milk Pail does have.

And now the milk pail /et al have the audacity to sometimes staff a security guard to chase people away, when their customers have parked in front of the fabric store/bevmo for years.


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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I think several commenters on this article (esp. Sabrina, Ted and Jenny W.) are jumping on this parking/fence issue to just spout their gripes about the overall development and their aversion to apartments and any development taller than a story or two.

Yes, the existing Merlone Geier development that's under construction is different than the one-story strip retail and parking lots that were there before. Yes, the one building under construction now along San Antonio Road is a lot closer to the street than the Sears was. Yes, the apartments under construction now are taller than what was there before. But is this necessarily a bad thing? No. Pulling some of the buildings closer to the street, without parking lots between them and the sidewalk, means that if you're walking in this area you won't feel like you're drowning in a sea of parking. Adding some housing - at decent densities - means that you're going to have activity at the center at night as well as during the day, making it safer feeling and less deserted at night. And I think the remainder of the Merlone Geier development, if done right, would add even more to this area by bringing in office workers and hotel visitors with plenty of disposable income to patronize the businesses in the center. This will ultimately be a much better use of this prime site than the half-empty strip stores and parking lots that were there before.


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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2012 at 6:14 am

Amazing how some people think its ok to violate another persons property rights. What if it was the other way around and MG was telling its construction workers to park at Barron Supply. Except for the Milk Pail, none of these properties have a right to use private parking that doesn't belong to them. You dont hear the owners complaining, just the tenants.

As to the development, I heard from a reliable source that none of the "no growth community activists" showed up to complain about MG II at a recent presentation. In fact everyone liked the project and no one objected to the project. My guess is that these no growthers will wait and ambush the project at a council meeting where they can present their emotional arguments directly to council.

Unfortunately, this strategy will work on some council members.


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Posted by Lane Mason
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2012 at 6:24 am

The original San Antonio Center Precise Plan in 1988, and continuously thereafter, provided for common parking rights for ALL businesses located within the area bounded by San Antonio Rd, Showers, El Camino and California St. ...large and small property owners alike. This was done to encourage the development and unity of the project, and avoid fiefdoms and fragmentation of the center.

This 'common parking' agreement applied until June 2011, as the Merlone Geier project got underway, when the San Antonio Center Precise Plan was inexplicably changed by the City of MV, to exclude parking rights for the small outliers in the northeast and southwest corners of the Center.

Essentially, their parking rights, which they had enjoyed for more than 20 years, were taken away, certainly for the benefit of the Developer, who could then more easily marginalize them (fences?) and put pressure on them running their businesses.


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Posted by Lane Mason
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2012 at 6:29 am

oh, BTW, the security guards near Barron Park Plumbing and International Market were posted by the Developer, not by the small business themselves. Their purpose was to keep BPP and IM customers from parking in the Ross parking lot, where they had been legally allowed to park since the SA Center was formed as a legal entity in 1988..


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

I think the fence is ridiculous. If you read the article, the Milk Pail is excluded from these restrictions, so let's not bring in talk of Milk Pail customers. We're talking about a very small number of customers in relation to the overall parking density of San Antonio and I can't believe they would seriously affect the ability of shoppers at San Antonio to find a parking space. I hate the look of this new development, and I'm worried about traffic implications on San Antonio, El Camino and Showers -- my local neighborhood. I realize there's nothing to be done about it now, but this development was approved with strong reservations by the Council, and I hope that they have learned some lessons from it. Protecting properly rights is one thing, but you can't convince me that those property rights are seriously under threat from a couple of small businesses.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

It seemed the former owner looked the other way when it came to parking. Go anywhere you will find parking controls, limits or closed to the public parking unless you have business on that property. I think the fence is horrible, doesn't do anything expect bad press.


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Posted by Stan
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 23, 2012 at 11:54 am

I too hate the claustrophobia-inducing style of architecture that this development is taking on. Why build structures so close to the road then start using back-pedaling tactics like fences to preserve parking space? In five or ten years when this urban-style architecture has had it's day, we will all be stuck living with these tall, ugly, aging buildings all around us.


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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I have five cars. I park two on my driveway, two on the street, and pay for storage for the other.

I should park them in my neighbor's driveway. If he complains, I will explain that I have been here for more than 30 years and that he is an evil bully for complaining about my cars in his driveway.


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Posted by Matt
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

The new precise plan for this area needs to be changed back to match the one that Lane Mason described in a comment above. Here it is again. It needs to be repeated:

"The original San Antonio Center Precise Plan in 1988, and continuously thereafter, provided for common parking rights for ALL businesses located within the area bounded by San Antonio Rd, Showers, El Camino and California St. ...large and small property owners alike. This was done to encourage the development and unity of the project, and avoid fiefdoms and fragmentation of the center.

This 'common parking' agreement applied until June 2011, as the Merlone Geier project got underway, when the San Antonio Center Precise Plan was inexplicably changed by the City of MV, to exclude parking rights for the small outliers in the northeast and southwest corners of the Center.

Essentially, their parking rights, which they had enjoyed for more than 20 years, were taken away, certainly for the benefit of the Developer, who could then more easily marginalize them (fences?) and put pressure on them running their businesses."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

SA Center is a left over piecemeal nighttmare of bad plannin, poor design and lack of vision. How many different owners, styles and a sea of parking lots. When Mayfield Mall was closing I remember some sort of plan or idea of building for new stores or a Mall. Guess nothing really happened expect piecemeal improvements.


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Posted by Sparty
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 24, 2012 at 12:44 am

"oh, BTW, the security guards near Barron Park Plumbing and International Market were posted by the Developer, not by the small business themselves. Their purpose was to keep BPP and IM customers from parking in the Ross parking lot, where they had been legally allowed to park since the SA Center was formed as a legal entity in 1988."

Well they're doing a bang up job of it, standing behind the plumbing supply store, and near Milk Pail's dumpsters. And telling people that the parking for behind the plumbing shop is not for the mall. Are you sure you know what you're talking about?


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Posted by Nick Shelton
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Places like the Milk Pail need all the support that they can get for the community. Please Mt. View City Council help the little guys that all of us Mt. View citizens love visiting.


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