Join the Group to Preserve the Historic Grant Road Open Space! Around Town, posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
If you have a Facebook, then please join the group dedicated to preserving this century-old extremely historic open space!
E-mail city council; attend the meetings; call the city clerk; make your voice heard!
The fight to keep most or all of the historic century-old 15-acre open space on Grant Road in Mountain View, California from becoming housing! The proposal to develop the area had passed council back in 2007, but as history has shown, a go-ahead from the city does not necessarily mean that a project will go on as originally planned.
From an online report in 2007:
"On June 5, Council directed staff to proceed with the annexation of the Grant Road property under the existing residential R1-8 pre-zoning. The vote was 6-1 with Ronit Bryant voting no. She favored further study of alternatives through a precise plan. This vote pretty much eliminates the possibility of a keeping a farm at this site, and unfortunately this MV landmark will be replaced entirely with new houses and streets. We wish Council could have at least allowed Planning Staff to evaluate our proposal."
Did you know that the Santa Clara Valley — California in general — has the richest/best soil in America?
Any local open space is always worth preserving, especially now, when more and more is unfortunately vanishing.
If you care about the well-being of this planet, the environment and our future, then we strongly urge you to become involved!
Yes, this is about preserving a valuable asset to our community. But, in a way, it is also about more than that. It is about making people aware of the environment, sustainability, and how and why it needs to be protected for future generations, and for the good of ourselves as a society and as a planet.
In that case, we do not just need support from the community of Mountain View; rather, we need support from surrounding communities; from other cities, and perhaps other states. People need to realize that the environment -- our environment -- is so very precious, and so vital to our existence and where we come from, and with every parcel of farmland/open space destroyed, we are killing ourselves and our future faster and faster. With every new farm paved over, we are cutting ourselves off further and further; not only from history, but also from our food sources. As a result, we become even more dependent on long distance, energy-wasting imported food from other parts of the globe.
When you go outside and stand in an open meadow or field, with the sun shining down and the wind in your face, ask yourself this: "are material things really that much greater than the experience I am having right now?" Are these precious acres of land not living historical reminders of who we are, what once was, and what can be again?
In late-2008, on the way home from a basketball game, I passed by the historic field; the entire space a bright green and yellow, underneath a beautiful stormy sky, with a slight hint of mist and showers. The scene was so incredibly gorgeous; yellow was as far as the eye could see. We have this precious and historic slice of Americana and untouched wild nature in Mountain View; why destroy it? Why ruin this unique wilderness? In fact, ever since 2007, when the space ceased to become a working farm, a number of families have ridden their bikes through the area; others have pulled their cars up alongside of it, just to get out and observe this precious gem with wonderment and awe.
Posted by Never Mind You Don't Own It, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm
If you use the power of zoning to deny the owners' plan for the land, how are you not effectively stealing the land from them? What about working with one of the existing conservation organizations to offer to buy a conservation easement on part of the land?
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
This cause is basically for the council to do something better, such as preserve at least part of it if not most if not all, which they have the power to do. To use the excuse that we should leave it alone since others own the space is to say that we are perfectly alright if private owners of every open space -- or even owners of much larger parcels, such as park serices -- suddenly decide overnight to just develop everything.
This is an etremely, extremely naive mindset to have.
Posted by Martha, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 5:35 pm
Daniel, I agree with you, but we went through this back in 2007, just before the owners asked the Schmitz family to stop farming the plot. There was a plan presented to the City Council that preserved about 5 acres of the farm. The group involved was knowledgeable, organized, and was headed by someone very experienced in working open-space preservation. The Council voted it down after hearing from many dozens of citizens on both sides of the issue. Not a snowball's chance, as they say. The pro-farm people made all the arguments you make and more, and very convincingly, but to no avail.
Google "Mountain View Farmlands Grant Road Farm" and you can find lots of newspaper articles about it.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 5:45 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
I know ... but, history has shown that things can change, even after any city council already votes ... I am not giving up, and only wish that the farmland campaign would've continued even after the vote in '07. People should not ever give up.
Look through history invollving activism issues, and you'll see what I mean. The campaign to preserve the open space should have done more extreme things; nothing that'd exceed common sense, of course, but still a lot mor pro-active.
People in this country need to learn to be pro-active.
Posted by Never Mind You Don't Own It, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 8:36 pm
Is this really all about saving the environment? There is plenty of open space in our area (not subject to the level of property taxes that the owners of this parcel are paying) and a working farm is not nearly as environmentally friendly as you might think.
Isn't it really about how nice it would be to have an open space in the neighborhood, with maybe a storybook farm. There's nothing wrong with wanting that, but don't fool yourself that you're doing something to save the environment. And if what you really want is the nice experience of open space in your neighborhood how badly do you want it if you're not willing to compensate the owners.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 8:58 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
The environment is not the foremost issue here; the foremost issue is that at least part of the space "can" be reserved as open space, if not all. For if we reach the point of vulnerabilty, where owners can buy any space and do with it what they please, then what does that say about us? I keep on hearing the "compensate the owners" topic; well, you didn't respond to the main point in my last post; a point that clearly is more important than how much money is paid out.
Posted by Never Mind You Don't Own It, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 11:02 pm
They didn't buy the space having in mind doing anything they pleased with it. They are two old ladies and the farm has been in their family for a long time, longer than any of us have been around. They pay heavy property taxes on the land.
Yes, it's a shame to lose this open land, but why are people in our society so ethically bankrupt that they don't even realize it when they are stealing? Want to keep it as open land -- great! -- make sure to compensate the owners. If you aren't willing to do that, you don't really care as much about preserving this open space as you say you do.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Why should their age matter? We're not saying that they're mean or anything; it's all about making people aware that there are alternatives to pave over a 15 acre open space, as in designating at least part of it as natural wilderness ... that's why it was so baffling that some people were against an organic farm; their dumb traffic excuse wasn't even stated in the EIR; it was covered, but I couldn't find anything to back up their traffic claims.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2009 at 10:24 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
I have taken classes, and often times, in cases such as this, common sense take precedance over any written law. Of course, you disagree, so I'll leave it at that; LMK that this mindset is an extremely dangerous one to have.
Posted by Never Mind You Don't Own It, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2009 at 6:42 am
<i>you never responded to my analogy about park services, open space trusts, etc suddenly deciding to develop all their land tomorrow.</i>
Because it wasn't worth refuting. All of the open space trusts will not suddenly decide to develop all their land tomorrow. First of all, because the people running those organizations are self-selected conservations who just wouldn't do that. Second, because they'd get major lawsuits from their past contributors and members.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2009 at 6:49 am Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
I wasn't asking if they would; I was asking what if they did. After all, it is their property. I mean, what is the extent here? If they didn't have donors, it'd be totally alright to just develop everything? If this is a fine lining, then it's an extremely unfortunate and ultimately dangerous one.
Posted by eric, a resident of another community, on Mar 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm
"The space is roughly a century old"-- that makes no sense.
"... you never responded to my analogy about park services, open space trusts, etc suddenly deciding to develop all their land tomorrow."-- the PURPOSE of an open space trust is to, um, preserve open space. Most have in their charter a limited set of circumstances under which they could repurpose a given piece of property. If they raised money under the pretense of preserving open space, they have a contractual obligation to do so, under the terms of their charter. If they buy a development easement, they must follow the terms of the title restriction.
But what any of this has to do with privately owned land is beyond me.
Posted by Robin, a resident of the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2009 at 10:25 am Robin is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
1. google "tax benefits farmland donation California 2009" and you will find tons of information about the SIGNIFICANT financial benefits available to farmland owners.
2. the MV City Council voted against allowing the Community Development Department to even LOOK AT the proposal from the Mountain View Farmlands Group. apparently the City Council members individually felt they had the expertise to make that decision without any input from their own planning staff.
3. never give up? after spending thousands of hours and hundreds of personal dollars to lobby council members who several times said it sounded like a great idea only to vote "no, we don't want to consider it"....think about it.
4. The Voice might want to consider doing an article on the numerous other unused/vacant/neglected properties in Mountain View owned by the Mardesich sisters (who moved away from Mountain View many years ago), such as the site of the old Foster Freeze on El Camino (can you say "eyesore"?) and the empty lot on Bush Street.
Posted by Moderate Response, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Mar 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm
I would like to say that everyone here seems to care about the right, but diametrically opposed things. Private property rights and open space. I loved the pumpkin farm and will miss it greatly. I would ask each of us on here to think "if i inherited that land tomorrow, what would I REALLY do with it." I think the answer is maximize your return, i.e. sell it for the most money possible. Sure a nice little easement would help .05% but we all need to accept the "farm" is gone. And finally think about a farm in the real world - we would be debating the runoff of the chemicals required to really farm in this day and age. Let the owners develop the land with some local input and hope for some nice homes.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 25, 2009 at 5:50 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
If I inherited the land, I would keep it as open space; have a long-term, positive mindset, as opposed to short-term, monetary gain; thinking of what will contribute to positive ripple effects that in turn will contribute to the betterment of society.
Farming has also improved over the years ... organic farming with no harmful chemicals; in addition, growing things organically produces so much more fooc than traditional methods.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 25, 2009 at 11:27 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Rather than answering specifics and addressing things, you and others use cop-outs (so, when I'm 60, I'll automatically become incopotent?) and fallacy-laden responses. I am not a naive human mean, nor do I have a negative bone in my body. What I am, and who I am, is somebody who can see what will benefit society in the long-term, past some man-made laws; somebody who sees the ongoing loss of romance in this country, and who knows that society might as well be dead without it; and finally, somebody who realizes, and has realized for many, many years now, the dangerous ability of the almighty dollar, and the hold that it can have on people.
There is much to be said for buying one album at a local record store, as opposed to two or three at Costco; the same analogy can be used for indie bookstores and restaurants. And while the same analogy cannot be used for any open space, the same "mindset" can.
And that to me is beautiful; it is what any community, big or small, should be about. It is romance; it is America; and it the hope for a better tomorrow.
Posted by Moderate Response, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Mar 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm
Daniel, I expect you to give up all your worldly possessions in the next 24 hours or admit you are a liar. You own a car, that is not good for the environment, and your house, tear it down and build a small park for your neighbors. You would NOT donate the land and what the heck does positive mindset for the long term even mean. Unless you are the author of "3 Cups of Tea." you do not have a leg to stand on.
Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2009 at 10:50 pm Daniel Mart is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
<sigh> I never said to definitely confiscate the whole property; they sold it, and they have a right, but ... I'm not gonna reiterate my points over and over again. If you aren't willing to understand/accept them, then be quiet. Or just move to another city.