Tonight: OMVNA election heats up over Minton's project Around Town, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Dec 3, 2009 at 4:34 pm
Because of a controversial apartment development proposal, the normally quiet elections for the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association steering committee have become tense and newcomers hope to take over during elections tonight at City Hall.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 3, 2009, 1:33 PM
Posted by Max, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2009 at 4:34 pm
This story at present repeatedly cites neighborhood opposition to "the Minton's development." That conveys an inaccurate picture, because most of the criticism aired in the neighborhood discussions, including by the MiRNA group, concerns not the prospect of an apartment development, but the developer's requests for variances from the existing Evelyn Area Precise Plan, created to help maintain the character of the Old Mountain View neighborhood. These variance requests reportedly include construction of less than usual per-unit on-site parking. Parking overflow from residential construction has proven a serious issue in some Palo Alto and San Francisco neighborhoods.
Also, much of the recent ferment and controversy within the neighborhood concerned not even the Minton's project, but rather the creation of position statements by the OMVNA's 2009 Steering Commitee, reflecting its own views, but appearing and taken to be on behalf of "the entire neighborhood," without consulting or surveying that neighborhood. This took many neighbors by surprise. The Steering Committee's annual election is at tonight's meeting.
Posted by Steve Nelson, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:57 pm
High density near BART stations in the East Bay have not lead to unreasonable urban environments. With HIGH SPEED RAIL added to the mix in this area (with Light Rail and Commuter Rail) having additional height will be very helpful in shielding surrounding single-family (small lot) development from the rail corridor noise. Near Cuesta - I can still hear heavy rail traffic at night and 85 freeway noise in the morning.
Now, when Minton's was an active lumber yard and millwork factory - how much truck and worker traffic was there? (1950-1970)
Posted by Elated by the overthrow, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:23 am
Congratulations to all the write-in candidates who answered the call-to-arms and campaigned to fix the dysfunctional OMVNA Steering Committee. These people sacrificed time and vacation to insure our neighborhood group lives up to its charter.
I do hope the Mountain View Voice will get the hint and stop quoting the defunct old-guard types like Bruce Karney.
It's time to listen to the fresh faces who know what the neighbors really want, not the cliquish out-of-touch members who commandeered self-insured nominations hoping to run in an uncontested election.
It was a clean-sweep write-in DEMOCRATIC take-over!
Posted by Max, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:07 am
"Fact check" (not a real name?) is right that I mis-stated precise cause of the parking concern. Fact-check could have added (but did not) that current "permitted uses" for this property, in the same Precise Plan that "Fact check" quotes, are 15-25 units/acre, allowing a current legal limit of 91 units (the developer wants 214). And that residents question if the normal Mountain View multi-family-dwelling standard of 2.3 parking spaces per unit (MV City Code) should indeed drop to 1.5 in this case, given concerns about overflow, including complaints on record that nearby street parking already is reduced by overflows from the train station (including overnight parking). If allowed both the higher housing density and lower parking provision, this complex would be some 160 spaces (492 minus 330) short of Mountain View standard. (Past estimates that restricting on-site parking would reduce car ownership more than it actually did have transformed some San Francisco neighborhoods into 24-hour parking nightmares.)
Thank you, "Fact check," for prompting these clarifications!
Posted by I'm concerned, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:44 am
There is nothing spectacular or "fresh" about a reactionary NIMBY push. Unless these MiRNA people prove to be genuinely committed community leaders this could simply be another case of self centered property owners exercising too much power. City planning should focus on what is good for the city as a whole, not the 200 people who showed up Thursday to elect a new minority to the OMVNA steering committee.
The city actually has an opportunity to do the sort of development that any urban planner will tell you is ideal. Killing off this project will not bode well for city's future residents, who will someday have to deal with unaffordable gasoline prices and undoubtedly wonder what the heck people were thinking when they built town homes across the street from the city's main train station.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm
Last night was a travesty. The MiRNA folks were unruly, disrespectful and nearly required police intervention to control them. They attacked and screamed at volunteers helping to facilitate the election. They bullied their way into power, led by liars (Lewis, Cox, Perkins) and they'll have their hands full, if they think they now speak for the neighborhood.
Posted by Max, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm
"Disgusted" (another person who won't use a real name) for some reason presents a bizarre picture of last night's annual OMVNA meeting. I was present throughout, in the City Council chambers, crowded with people, who maintained order, politeness, and decorum all two hours. The "MiRNA" candidates (actually only one of whom was part of MiRNA) were in the chambers and respectful. There was some brief argument, in the hall outside the Council room, among late arrivals not yet seated, who missed the earlier parts of the meeting.
In the online discussions in the days and weeks before the election, which are archived, the most respectful candidate comments came from the new opposition candidates. This gratuitous "liars" namecalling has been ongoing from others who did not welcome the new candidates or their message. It offended some people, and may ironically have encouraged the massive turnout and overwhelming community support of the new candidates in the election.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm
Max must have already been seated in Chambers when police were almost summoned on site to stop a woman from physically assaulting a volunteer at the registration desk. And she wasn't the only one verbally assaulting and haranguing volunteers. Simply disgraceful.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm
My objection is not to the project itself, but to the use of a letter crafted by the (now) out-going steering committee stating that OMVNA supported an application related to the project. That letter is now being used by the developer to claim that it has the support of OMVNA.
Those concerned about representation and city planning should be more concerned with the personal opinion of eight people being passed off as the opinion of several thousand.
Posted by Fact check, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm
Max, you are continuing to play loose with the facts here. While the developer is requesting a variance for the density of the project, the developer is proposing to fully comply with the parking requirements of the Evelyn Avenue Corridor Precise Plan, which are the guiding City parking requirements for the Minton's side.
If you are simply opposed to the density of the proposed project, which is quite apparent from your comments, then say so. Don't throw up smoke screens with exaggerations, please.
Posted by brian, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:47 pm
"Mike" Your math is still wrong. city planners should now be concerned that the personal opinion of MiRNA is being passed off as the opinion of several thousand.
Was the letter that the outgoing SC sent poorly worded and misunderstood? Yes
Was the outgoing SC's steadfast defense of the wording part of the problem? Yes
Does a takeover of OMVNA by MiRNA to turn it into a single issue group solve the problem? No
Does MiRNA's view of the proposed development align with the neighborhoods? Yes and No.
Will the newly minted single purpose OMVNA SC attempt to pass off their opinion as that of the whole neighborhood? All points seem to indicate Yes they will.
The one thing we can agree on is that there can be no consensus view in a neighborhood as diverse as ours. If your problem with the outgoing SC is that they took a position that seemed to indicate support for the development, then the new SC cannot in good faith do the exact same thing by publicly issuing a statement opposing the development. That will be an equally egregious mistake but one the MiRNA folks seem more than happy to perpetrate on the neighborhood.
Posted by Democracy My Butt, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm
I hope the City Council takes the interests of the whole neighborhood into account, not just the overwhelmingly old, wealthy, white, English-speaking, homeowning 3% or so who (understandably) like things just the way they are, and tend to squawk the loudest when anything threatens to rock the boat.
Posted by I'm concerned, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:49 pm
I really don't think this was a "takeover" by MiRNA or that OMVNA will now be a single issue group. They only won three of eight seats on the steering committee. As far as I can tell the SC won't have a majority. How is that a mandate to the City Council?
I am concerned that we now have more typical NIMBY bulldog types in OMVNA. I liked it better when it was just a neighborly group of people.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm
I agree with you wholeheartedly.
And I am concerned that the personal opinion of MiRNA (or any special interest group) being passed off as the opinion of OMVNA - so after the voting I proposed an amendment to the by-laws that any written opinions attributed to OMVNA must be approved with a majority vote.
You will receive a copy of that proposal and can vote on it at the next general meeting.
Posted by Ed, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:17 pm
I think tweaking the OMVNA by-laws can only do so much (and I say that as the author of two of the other amendments proposed last night). Part of the answer has to involve educating the city council on just how unrepresentative OMVNA actually is of the overall resident population.
OMVNA doesn't have the resources to do much more outreach than it already does to renters and non-English-speakers and people who work nights, but they're the ones most affected by NIMBY protests against new apartment complexes.
Posted by Michael, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 6:45 pm
There seem to be a lot of sour grapes from many of the commentators to this article. I know losing is not pleasant, but the fact remains that the OMVNA steering committee's actions motivated an unprecedented turnout of the community that, through a democratic process, elected a new slate that they felt represented their viewpoint. This simply democracy at work. It really is not very complicated
I would also like to add that vicious name calling (by "disgusted") and blatantly age biased and racist comments (by "Democracy My Butt") are unacceptable and have no place here. I hope we can all agree on that.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 6:51 pm
I for one would like to see the value of all of our property increase over time. Driving up the socio-economic demographic seems like a fine way of achieving this versus positioning the city as a haven for the economically challenged. I know this is not a politically correct viewpoint, but then again I'm not a liberal socialist like most of the folks who seem involved in the community around here.
Posted by Ed, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm
I always thought that leveraging government power to control what other people do with their own property was more of a liberal socialist thing, but I don't think throwing around labels like that really contributes to the debate.
There are homeowners who believe that a nearby apartment complex can benefit our own property values and attract a fine socio-economic demographic. It's not just a foggy-headed fantasy; the big city to our north is chock full of apartments and yet somehow even more pricey and exclusive than our own hood, while the city at the foot of the Dumbarton Bridge is mainly a sprawl of quaint one-story homes with bars over the windows and the occasional echo of gunfire.
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2009 at 10:14 pm
I went to the meeting last night and thought all sides (I believe there are more than 2 positions on Minton development) conducted themselves well, at least for the portion I attended (I left after voting). I can't speak to what happened in the hall while the meeting prior to the voting took place (I was attended the part on neighborhood watch prior to the voting).
It's regrettable to see name calling taking place here rather than useful dialog. I agree with those, such as Brian above, that there's no consensus on what is best. Original letter was poorly worded, steering committee didn't do an adequate job to determine if there was any consensus, and the letter was misrepresented by the developer. Personally, I think the site is a good place for high density provided concerns such as adequate parking are addressed.
Posted by Max, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm
Neighborhood discontent with the 2009 Steering Committee and their 2010 nominees was diverse. Some people didn't want any new development at all, some were indifferent, some were preoccupied with lack of provision for increased school resources to accommodate added student population, some didn't mind the development but saw unaddressed parking problems. All were frustrated that a group of neighborhood volunteers appeared, and were taken, to speak for the entire neighborhood without even an attempt at consulting the neighborhood. There was no previous notion of needing "By-law changes" because in the continuous history of the OMVNA Steering Committee it simply didn't occur to people to do something like this before, so the 2009 Committee broke a venerable tradition. All these points were rehashed on the neighborhood mailing list since September from many perspectives, yet some Committee members and candidates (not all) stubbornly refused to understand or acknowledge the broad nature of the discontent even up to the election. Those people consequently wasted good opportunities to address the community's actual concerns and thus salvage their election. It is the community's loss, not just theirs, because these were good, respected people and committed volunteers. So stubborn were the evident blind spots as to suggest ideological thinking (someone who has bought into a specific idea so hard as to be beyond examining it). That such thinking persists is conveniently illustrated, to those who can see it, by some of the comments posted here.
Posted by Robert Cox, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm
Thanks for an excellent article on the recent OMVNA steering committee elections. As coordinator of the MiRNA group's activities, let me off some minor clarifications.
Overe 300 Mountain View hoemowners and residents have endorsed our Minton petition, which asks the city to respect the Evelyn Ave. Corridor Precise Plan, which determined that the zoning for the Minton Lumber property would be 15-25 units/acre. This plan was the result of two years of research and was paid for by Mountain View residents' tax dollars. Because conditions on and near the property, including the types of available public transit and the width of the surrounding roads, are the same as when the plan was written, we want the council to respect the plan and the current zoning.
The MiRNA organization consists of volunteers who seek endorsements for the petition, talk to city government officials about it, campaign for MiRNA endorsed candidates, and manage our web site.
Only two of the elected steering committee candidates are members of the MiRNA organization: Robert Cox (Secretary, Write-In Candidate) and Jack Perkins (At Large #2, Ballot Candidate). In this election, the MiRNA organization endorsed five other candidates whose views were compatible with those of our organization. These include the other two write-in candidates: Laura Lewis (Chair) and Carter Coleman (Treasurer).
A sixth candidate was also endorsed, Becky Reyna (At Large #1, Ballot Candidate), in recognition of her contributions to the steering committee in past years and to provide continuity for the organization, even though she has no position on the Minton site redevelopment.
Details aside, those of us in the MiRNA organization are delighted that Laura Lewis accepted our endorsement and is ready to take the helm of OMVNA. Her strategic seven point plan for our neighborhood includes "utilizing the downtown precise plans as a guide for development to ensure that near-team decisions don't future consequences." This is compatible with MiRNA's long term goal of making "the preservation of the character of the Old Mountain View neighborhood our #1 priority".
We at MiRNA wish Laura Lewis and all of the new steering committee members all the best in the coming year, and look forward to working with them on our common goals. As one Old Mountain View resident told me Thursday night, "A new age is dawning in our neighborhood. I'm glad I was here with hundreds of other to be part of it!"
Posted by Jack Perkins, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2009 at 9:30 pm
As one of two MiRNA members now elected to the OMVNA Steering Committee I would like to comment on why I personally feel this was a historic election for the Old Mountain View Community.
Going door-to-door in the Old Mountain View Neighborhood and standing in the "expressive box" at the Farmers Market, made it quite clear to me and other volunteers (MiRNA and regular OMVN inhabitants who volunteered their time) that an overwhelming majority of residents in OMVN are against granting Prometheus a variance from the established 15-25 units per acre to 60+ units per acre, at this particular location.
I invited current Steering Committee members to join me in talking DIRECTLY to residents in OMVN as well as openly inviting anyone else in OMVN (candidates for the new SC positions undoubtably knew about this) in favor of this high-density project to spend equal time talking face-to-face with residents to find out for themselves where this neighborhood stands.
I was very surprised nobody took me up on this offer. What I learned from this is some people who purport to know what is best for this rare and unique neighborhood prefer to hide behind emails and not set foot on their neighbor's doorstep.
In my personal opinion, the historic turnout at this election and overwheming victory of the write-in candiates is a clear message of where this neighborhood stands and how far out-of-step with the neighborhood the Steering Committee has become.
What I saw Thursday night is DEMOCRACY IN ACTION and culturally it was VERY American.
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm
Sounds like a lot of community activity going on. Funny how people think an endorsement by a committee representing a group is more important and/or useful. How does a committee claim to represent something larger than just the individuals that voted on it.
My bet is that the new elections will intimidate a few council members who will now oppose the project because they fear it will affect their re-election chances. Others will see the opportunity to engage in smart growth and push for higher density in an appropriate area. All of this will be covered in the EIR which will support higher density and the parking and traffic that go with the project.
Posted by Fact check - again, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 7:19 am
In his posting above to Daniel DeBolt, Robert Cox states the following:
"Because conditions on and near the property, including the types of available public transit and the width of the surrounding roads, are the same as when the plan was written, we want the council to respect the plan and the current zoning."
This statement is simply NOT true. The Evelyn Avenue Corridor Precise Plan was written in 1993/1994 and adopted in December 1994. At that time, Caltrain ran fewer daily trains than it does today, there was no Baby Bullet service (meaning trips to SF or SJ took considerably longer than they do today), and the VTA light rail system was in its infancy and did not serve Mountain View. Around that time, ridership on Caltrain at MV Station was 1,023 boardings per day (according to Feb. 1995 counts).
Now, Caltrain runs more trains per day, Baby Bullet service has cut down on travel times to key destinations and has proven very popular, and VTA light rail serves Mountain View and key employment destinations such as Cisco, Yahoo, the Great Mall, and elsewhere. Caltrain ridership (as of Feb. 2009 counts) has more than TRIPLED to 3,455 boardings per day, and VTA light rail ridership adds an additional roughly 1,000 boardings per day at MV Station.
These are substantial changes since the Precise Plan that Mr. Box does not acknowledge, which help explain why the developer has proposed higher density than was envisioned in the Plan development in 1993/1994.
Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 7:33 am
I Hope all of you posters read the draft EIR report and attend the EPC and DRC meetings for the City of Mountain View in General. Does anyone know what a gatekeeper study is?
I can only hope the special interest and non-profit activity is contained so corruption is kept in check. Given the experience and after awhile thinking... you know corruption is part of the overall process and you have to deal with it.
Posted by NIMBY, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 8:25 am
The proponents of "Smart Growth" want to turn downtown Mountain View into a 5 story concrete jungle. This is absolutely the right thing to do if you want to create affordable housing. The proponents of "Smart Growth" will have you believe that increasing supply of units will actually lower home prices & rents as per the Supply & Demand concepts of Capitalism. This seems completely reasonable. Doesn't the increase of supply necessitate the dropping of price? Not necessarily...or at least not directly.
If what we are led to believe is true, then Prometheus will create reportedly high quality units like their Park Place property. Those are renting for the $1800+/mo for a small unit. Small houses with yards and more square footage in Mtn View are renting for just a bit more ($2000+), so you can see that there is no significant savings here.
So, how can you have cheap rents & prices? The best way is to create a place where people *don't* want to live. If the proponents of "Smart Growth" get their way with the 5 story concrete jungle, then few will want to live there on a long term basis. Many thousands crammed together, few trees, rising crime rates, and noise...
Like East Palo Alto, rents & home prices will be lower. Mission Accomplished!
Posted by Robert Cox, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 12:11 pm
Just to reply to "Fact check" (why don't these people use their real names?) what I meant by "types of available public transit" was that when the Evelyn Ave. Corridor Precise Plan was written, there was Caltrain, VTA, and bus service, and there is Caltrain, VTA, and bus service there now. I acknowledge that ridership may change over time.
VTA has long been joked to "go from no place where anyone is to no place where anyone wants to be". The recent service cuts are making it an even less attractive alternative to automobile use. I grew up in the Cleveland area, and didn't own a car until I was 24 because I could get anywhere I needed to on public transit. I was shocked when I first came to the Silicon Valley area to see that public transit here was far inferior to the old "Rust Belt" where I used to live. It literally takes 2-3 times longer to get to most places on public transit. Even to the airports!
That being said, one of the issues when establishing zoning is quality of life. MiRNA's general charter is to "preserve the character and enhance the quality of life in Old Mountain View". The 15-25 acres/unit allows development at more than twice the density of the nearest current residential development (11 units/acre). We understand that there are people whose goal is to increase the popuation of Old Mountain View so that they can increase the attractiveness of this area to business. So these people are willing to sacrifice the character and quality of life in Old Mountain View to make it a more attractive location for business. Each group can advocate for what it thinks is best.
-- Robert Cox (MiRNA Coordinator and OMVNA Secretary-Elect)
Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm
Funny How things change and still stay the same until poked in the eye.
News - Friday, April 21, 2006
Council's five-year plan has something for everyone
by Jon Wiener
City council members got an early look at the capital improvement plan Tuesday evening. The plan calls for spending $15 million-plus annually over the next five years for, among other things, further expansion of Stevens Creek Trail, construction of new parks and playing fields, and major renovations at the police and fire stations.
Public works director Cathy Lazarus presented the five-year plan to the council. The first year of the plan focuses heavily on infrastructure maintenance, much of which has been deferred in recent years to stretch tight budgets.
Council members did not propose many significant amendments to the 240-page plan, and few in the public offered comments.
Aaron Grossman, executive director of Friends of Steven Creek Trail, lauded the city's efforts to tunnel the trail under El Camino Real and extend it to Dale Street.
"We are thrilled with all the progress you've been making," he said. Grossman and two members of the city's bicycle and pedestrian committee also spoke in support of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 along Permanente Creek.
Properties determined to be eligible for the city's program will also be subject to stricter reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act, even if the owner chooses not to be placed on the register.
Preservation fight not history yet
Still facing opposition from the property owners on Mountain View's historic register, the city council narrowly supported moving forward with a survey of the city's historic resources.
Fast Forward to Dec 2009.
Lets make significant amendments to change everything... Laughing like a 501-3c executive director and CERT Founder with a FEMA certified trailer.
Posted by Fact check, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm
@Robert Cox's reply 2 posts above --
Your reply underscores your lack of understanding of the public transit system in our own neighborhood that serves the Minton's site.
You write that "when the Evelyn Ave. Corridor Precise Plan was written, there was Caltrain, VTA, and bus service, and there is Caltrain, VTA, and bus service there now."
When the Evelyn Avenue Corridor Precise Plan was written, there was Caltrain local service (making nearly every stop along the line and taking over an hour from MV to SF), and VTA bus service. That was it.
Now, there is Caltrain local and Caltrain Baby Bullet service (which has cut the MV-SF time down to 45 minutes) with more total trains per day, VTA light rail service, and VTA bus service, not to mention many, many private shuttles to Google and other nearby employment sites (many of which didn't even exist when the Precise Plan was written).
Regarding the usefulness of these public transit services, I would say that a more than tripling of public transit ridership at MV Station in 14 years is a testament to the fact that many people find them useful now. However, if you are really concerned about VTA services not going where people live or want to be, rather than repeating a tired joke, why not be part of a positive solution -- supporting moderate increases in development intensity near VTA stations, such as the 2 to 4-story project proposed by Prometheus?
And as for providing names on posts, it's inconsequential - facts are facts, and your exaggerations or misleading statements should rightfully be called at any time, by anyone.
Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 3:02 pm
as the 2 to 4-story project proposed by Prometheus?
Please review the EIR Traffic Study and Parking Study given the legal requirement to meet California Environmental Quality Act. How does the single access along a narrow alley to a high density underground parking structure make sense in unstable sandy soil with large amount of concrete that is likey on pollution laided land make sense for the community. Why is there no entrance/exit on Evelyn street?
Moderate increases in development intensity. I have no idea where you get your figures to understand what Moderate increase is?
Is it simply to understand you support the Prometheus gatekeeper study activity as a proposal to the city which it is not. I suggest you check your facts and attend city meetings.
Regarding the usefulness of these public transit services, I would say that a more than tripling of public transit ridership at MV Station in 14 years is a testament to the fact that many people find them useful now.
So please tell us how the San Antonio Station is doing and why the light rail stations are empty with the exception being the MV transit center to take Caltrain as the people wish. Good planning ?
Posted by Ronnie Falcao, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm
Heh, Jack, I'm glad you're here to help provide more information. I thought that all of the newly elected Steering Committee members were endorsed by MiRNA, even if they weren't offically in the group? The first bunch that ended up on the slate were part of the initial approach by MiRNA to have more influence over the Steering Committee, and then the write-in candidates were all also MiRNA endorsed? Am I wrong about this? Is there anyone now on the Steering Committee who wasn't endorsed by MiRNA?
Posted by NotaNIMBY, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm
@NIMBY why do you continue to mislead by saying the development is a 5 story concrete jungle when it is only 2 stories on Villa Street and 3 stories on Bush Street, consistent with the original plan drafted in 1994?
Posted by Ben, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2009 at 9:55 pm
Fact Check is very short on facts.
High-density is high-density regardless of how many stories there are or where they are.
Caltrain - 3,455 boardings per day, and VTA - additional roughly 1,000 boardings per day at MV Station. The fact is 4,455 boarding is in fact about 2,200 people or in fact only 3 percent of the population uses transit. (69,000/2200) Has Fact Check checked the ridership from the Crossings development? It is about the same.
Does Fact Check consider living in Mountain View and working in S.F. being a good green citizen.
Transit does not solve the traffic congestion problems (Central Expressway intersections have an F grade all the way to HP/Mayfield Mall and beyond. and becoming more congested with the approved developments – that is a fact. Households generate 5 to 8 trips per day. The transit riders will only reduce this to 3 to 6 trips – for 3 percent of the households. Will the residents use transit to take trips to Wal-Mart and Costco for cart full of groceries?
Fact Check, when do you consider overpopulation starts? When we run out of water and other life supporting services? Fact Check seems not to consider all the facts for high-density developments
Posted by Max, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2009 at 8:06 am
Ben even understates "Fact Check's" indifference to inconvenient facts. I stated above, accurately, citing source, standard city-wide MV residential parking allowance in new construction: 2.3 spaces per unit. The Evelyn Precise Plan grants a lower allowance in the context of construction with 15-25 units per acre. This site's developer seeks variance for a density 2.4 times higher than that. So either "Fact Check" supports the Precise Plan (therefore 25 units/acre maximum), or "Fact Check" wants to ignore the Precise Plan (hence back to 2.3 spaces per unit).
Behind much rhetoric here is a straightforward reality that a variance at that site would offer more housing, but cause predictable side effects with costs borne by the community, not the developer. ("Negative externalities" in economics jargon.) Setting aside any pseudonymous comments that might appear here from shills for the developer (which does happen), some people enthuse over transit-oriented housing (which is OK) but stubbornly refuse to confront the realistic side effects to their neighbors (which is not OK).
Posted by Fact Check, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:42 am
Your stubborn protests about parking standards from other parts of the City applying to the Evelyn Avenue Precise Plan area show your lack of understanding of basic planning practice & law.
The Minton's site falls into the 'Mixed-United Residential Area' of the Evelyn Avenue Corridor Precise Plan, as shown on page 5 of the Plan. The development standards that apply to that area are shown on pages 15-26 of the Plan. Among those are the following:
Parking Requirements: "Two (2) spaces per two-bedroom unit or larger; one (1) space per one-bedroom unit or studio. This is lower than generally required throughout the City to reflect proximity to transit facilities. The zoning administrator may require a parking study prepared by an independent traffic engineering professional to determine if further reduction in parking requirements is warranted."
The Promtheus proposal provides exactly the amount of parking required for the number of units that are proposed, fully consistent with the above requirement.
It is true that the developer has proposed developing at a higher density than what is currently allowed in the Precise Plan; I have never denied that. This will require a variance, and ultimately will be decided by the City Council with input from the Environmental Planning Commission, staff, and the community. However, no variance will be needed for the amount of parking being proposed because *it meets the requirements of the Precise Plan.*
As another example to illustrate the flaw in your logic... The Precise Plan also requires that in the Mixed-Unit Residential Area, a detached sidewalk 4.5 feet wide with a separate planter strip must be provided (p. 18). The Prometheus design adheres to this requirement. By your logic, because Prometheus is proposing to exceed the current unit allowance in the Precise Plan (which requires a variance), they are also not in conformance with the sidewalk/planter strip standard because it is not "in the context of construction with 15-25 units per acre."
In fact, this is not true, and City staff know this. That is why City staff wrote in their report to the EPC on September 16, 2009 that "The applicant is proposing a total of 307 parking spaces which meets the Precise Plan requirements."
Ultimately, City staff will interpret City ordinances and plans, not NIMBY neighbors such as yourselves. This is why I confidently congtinue assert the facts.
Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:22 am
Your logic is swiss chesse, it is full of holes.
Requirements: "Two (2) spaces per two-bedroom unit or larger; one (1) space per one-bedroom unit or studio. This is lower than generally required throughout the City to reflect proximity to transit facilities. The zoning administrator may require a parking study prepared by an independent traffic engineering professional to determine if further reduction in parking requirements is warranted."
That is why City staff wrote in their report to the EPC on September 16, 2009 that "The applicant is proposing a total of 307 parking spaces which meets the Precise Plan requirements."
Please tell us what the EPC stated at the meeting on September 16, 2009. No decision could be made on the Gatekeeper study without a CECQ Valid analysis for Parking and traffic impacts. The EPC did not comment about meeting the requirement of the precise plan as there is no street access. The plan does not assume traffic on a narrow alley for entrance and exit to access the parking for all 307 proposed parking spaces. Your city staff statement is not within the scope of the study. This is why the EPC must make a determination, this is not city staff authority to make such a decision. They present an opinion and that is it.
Ultimately, City staff will interpret City ordinances and plans, not NIMBY neighbors such as yourselves. This is why I confidently congtinue assert the facts.
The City Staff cannot interpret City ordinances they are regulatory not subject to interpretion. The is why the whole study is corrupt and relies on political favors.
Facts are Facts. Interpretations are not FACTS so your facts are Interpretation of what you think is reality.
Posted by Ben, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm
High density near transit is an urban myth con game by developers and the city that wants more tax revenue. (Requirements: "Two (2) spaces per two-bedroom unit or larger; - if transit users do not need cars you would not be arguing about parking spaces.)
The City, HP, and Toll Brothers developer used the same argument (transit oriented high–density development) for the high-density HP/Mayfield Mall development without any data that the residents of the development will use transit more that the general public. (No fact checks, just baloney.)
Posted by Traffic mess, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm
Good lord, just trying to cross Castro from any side street is a major obsticle. Not to mention trying to cross Central from Castro, expecially if a train comes by. Are these developers out of there minds? The traffic mess that this will create is mind bending.
Posted by In the eye of the beholder, a resident of another community, on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm
Yeah, Traffic Mess, right on... I'd trade the activity of a vibrant downtown any day if it would take me 30 seconds quicker to cross Castro. If I could speed at 60 through Old Mountain View on my way to Wal-Mart to pick up the 96-roll saver pack of toilet paper, I say let's unclog those streets...
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 9, 2009 at 8:18 pm
I cross Castro almost everyday with no problem. There are traffic lights and there are also cross walks with most cars very willing to let pedestrians cross. Don't cross Central so much but when I have light is no problem--just a matter of waiting my turn. Good to have vibrant downtown!
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm
Of course a project effecting a neighborhood negatively is going to be opposed by the residents of that neighborhood. Discounting the opinions of these folks because they are being effected is exactly the wrong thing to do. It is saying: Hey this project is affecting your property values and your life negatively so your opinion against it matters less.
Bottom line, folks not effected by a project smugly crying NIMBY simply have no credibility and should be ignored.
Posted by NotaNimby, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2009 at 11:47 am
Roughly 70,000 people live in Mountain View. There are probably 300-400 households within a 1/4 mile of this project. Let's not ruin a great opportunity to enliven the downtown businesses and enhance the ridership of the transit system b/c a portion of the 3-400 neighbors are saying NOT IN MY BACK YARD! What is good for all of Mountain View...
Posted by NotaNimby, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm
@Special Agent Cert
Why are you so afraid of progress and change...
did you know Caltrain ridership has tripled in the last 5 years at the Downtown Station since they put in the baby bullet train. Let's try to do something to enhance the ridership of the station, not slow it down...
more people closer to Castro street = more people walking to Castro street to shop, eat, work, etc. Surely you can understand that logic...
Posted by Special Agent CERT, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 15, 2009 at 9:03 pm
Why are you so afraid of progress and change...
I'm not afraid of change, I just want a reasonable plan put together, not build is now and we can fix the problems is causes later. Your premise is what caused California street to become California Street, hey we need High Density housing for the people that cannot purchase a home in Old Town Mountain View. They are building a new structure next to the police station, sounds great to me!
Castro street is saturated with traffic in the morning, lunch and dinner. I mean do you want to live in brooklyn, move to New York and have fun !