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Big field lines up for council race

Original post made on Aug 14, 2008

Mountain View voters will have an opportunity to elect a new majority of the City Council when they go the polls Nov. 4. And they will have plenty of candidates to choose from.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 14, 2008, 4:46 PM

Comments (19)

Posted by time for change, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE lets remove
Macias,Kasperzak and Means....look around at what has been built,if you need more evidence come see the Pulte development along Ferguson Drive.!!
Regardless of whether they voted this monstrosity through they were on the council when the motions were passed.
Macias the highest claiming expense mayor in MV history!!

Don't vote for these folks and our city will be better.


Posted by Prefer diversity and tolerance, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 15, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Some people feel the same way about the Whisman Station Project. It's nice to be a NIMBY once you get your home and try to exclude others. The density of the Pulte Project is less than the density of the recent construction at Whisman Station.


Posted by A Proud Sierra Club Member, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 15, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Mayor Means has done an outstanding job in leading our community to only support development that makes sense, and has talked and worked with many of the residents involved to mitigate the impacts.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2008 at 4:34 pm

The streets on the Pulte development on Ferguson Drive are so narrow that garbage trucks cannot get through and turn around properly. Homeowners are having to manually roll their trash bins out to the truck for garbage pickup.

I'm all for smart, eco-friendly development and not being NIMBY or excluding others. But making architectural designs that pack people in so tight that basic services are impossible is just ridiculous.


Posted by city planner, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 20, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Every proposed project goes through a vetting with fire, police, trash and other city departments to make sure public services can be provided for and are accessible. No one in the planning department presents a project to the city council unless these issues have been dealt with. In this case residents roll out their bins just homeowners roll theirs down a driveway onto the street.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2008 at 9:04 am

"In this case residents roll out their (garbage) bins just (like) homeowners roll theirs down a driveway onto the street."

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The difference here is that a single family home owner's house is just one driveway's distance away from the main street, so rolling their garbage bin down their driveway onto the street for pickup is no big deal.

In the case of the Pulte rowhomes, many of the garbage truck-inaccesible alleys are longer, maybe 3, 4, 5 homes deep, so for the homeowners on the far end especially rolling their garbage bins out to the main street is not really analogous to a single family homeowner rolling their garbage a short distance down their driveway but more analogous to a person living on the far end of a dead end street having to roll their garbage and recycling bins (which are heavy and full of garbage) down the street past a bunch of other houses and driveways and out onto the main street and back for pickup once or twice a week. It just makes no sense.

To me, it seems like the problem is caused by developers trying to squeeze in as many units as possible in order to maximize their profits along with the backing of environmental activists who support any high-density development without truly examining or thinking through carefully whether the design really works or not.

That's why I'm a big supporter of "slower growth" council members like Macias, Siegel, Bryant, and Abe-Koga who really take the time to examine the functionality of any development proposal instead of just rubber-stamping anything that comes to them.


Posted by DG, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 22, 2008 at 12:25 am

I think keeping the Francia orchard as open space and making it the third major park in the city (along with Rengstorff and Cuesta parks) is a great idea. We are definitely underserved in terms of park space in this area on town. Kudos go out to the city council candidates who support this!


Posted by No Growther, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 22, 2008 at 8:15 am

Interesting how this "slower growth" council has approved more units in 2 years then the previous alleged pro-growth council. 3 RH's are no longer than some driveways in most areas. As for density, most projects are way below the maximum allowed. Perhaps the developers are maximizing profits by building at 65%.

The Franzia park idea is great but like the farm group you need to get the owners on board. The farm group and those that supported them promised a lot, but in the end all they wanted to do is take park land with out compensation. Fortunately, there is a major park already planned in that area but it wont happen unless park fees are collected from the developers. It easy to say you support something but another to actually get the job done.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2008 at 9:41 am

I'm not sure how much you keep up with the "slower growth" council but one of the things they've been trying to do is to get developers to commit to not building 100% of what's allowable, and instead doing something like 80% of that max. The problem is there is a lot of pressure from ABAG with their failing grade given to the city to build more housing in Mountain View.

I think another big reason for the problem is the city's zoning regulations. For example, the R2 zone, which makes up a lot of the city, allows for 2-story (30 foot tall) townhomes, condos, single family homes, etc. But for some reason it also allows for 45-foot rowhomes. No surprise then that almost all of the developers now choose to build rowhomes since they allow them to cram way more taller homes closer together over the other housing types. I can't even remember the last time some developer proposed detached 2-story homes in town because they don't make as much profit.

I just wish we'd see more "Whisman Station-type" developments come to the council rather than "Bedford Square-types" which is all we see nowadays.


Posted by DG, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 22, 2008 at 10:27 am

I agree with No Growther. The farm group was unrealistic in expecting to somehow just get the Francia orchard without compensation.

Macias and Kasperzak's support for a third major city park in the Whisman area is not just empty talk. The City's draft of the General Plan Update talks about purchasing land between 101 and Central for use as a third major city park.


Posted by City Planner, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 22, 2008 at 5:23 pm

I was at the last study session. Staff informed council that there is only one RH project built in an R2 zone. There are only 6 sights in town. All of the council members except Bryant supported RH's in R2. The N whisman project will be at 30 feet. As I stated earlier, the 80% min density was passed after developers came in with low density projects averaging below 70%. Very few projects come in at 100% so it is a non-issue. The current PP for whisman park area is around 55% of the max density allowed. Buildings look dense because the city requires so much open space.


Posted by FLN, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 23, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Buildings look dense because they ARE dense... Take a look at the development on Dana and Calderon. It's scary dense. I'm not sure why they even left space between buildings and put windows on the side walls since the houses are only 4 feet apart. Sounds like "tokenism" as council member Siegel called the Hetch Hetchy proposals.


Posted by Smart Growther, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 24, 2008 at 9:22 am

That project is no denser than other multi-family buildings nearby. I don't like the project and was present when council voted on it. Not one neighbor complained about the height or spacing. Everyone was complaining about the driveway and access to school.

Siegel(EPC) voted to support the spacing (3'-10') between rowhomes (1.19.05)

"Chair Siegel said he he felt it was beneficial to have some space if it fits the particular parcel of land as it would allow more light coming through windows and also as suggested nicer landscaping and possibly walkways and or other things to help the traffic patterns"


Posted by Florence, a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 28, 2008 at 3:57 am

"State law requires each city and county plan for their "fair share" of the region's housing needs. The fair share is determined by each region's Council of Government. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) determines the regions fair share, through a process known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA). ABAG has determined that Mountain View's RHNA numbers is 2,599 units for the years 2007-2014."


Since it's a state requirement to build all these units, the council members hands are basically tied whether or not they are pro-slow growth or not. Maybe the only thing slow-growthers can really do is to limit the density, size, height, etc. of these units. No wonder Jac Siegel voted to leave small gaps between buildings, landscaping, walkways, etc. That's probably all he could really do given the strict numbers requirement.


Posted by Smart Growther, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2008 at 10:58 pm

State law requires a plan, but there is no requirement to make a city actually build the units. MV could be sued but unlikely. The RHNA process is a mixed bag of central planning with little regard to actual market forces. What is the theoretical basis for the so-called jobs/housing ratio quota for each city? In fact the ratio is one sided since it doesn't penalize cities that produce few jobs and build lots of housing. I have yet to see a council member call for more housing based on the ABAG model. Putting limits on new production may actually produce units that look even worse.


Posted by jon smith, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 2, 2008 at 5:21 pm

it seems like the ones complaining are the ones that do not even live in the community....let it be, just because you have a house in mountain view doesn't mean you "own it"..


Posted by Janet, a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2008 at 7:41 pm

I work in MV. Everybody seems to be arguing about garbage rather than discussing the candidates. I've seen the signs and statements of each around town. I does seem time for some new blood in the system. Tracy Gordon seems to have a fresh perspective. She's been in town a long time but is new to public service. I like her down to earth attitude.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I wish I knew more about Tracy Gordon. She has not been to any of the candidate debates/forums though. She didn't have a candidate statement either in the election guide.

For someone who is running for an office which involves so much strategic thinking, that doesn't say very much about her thinking to me.

I understand she works nights and has two young kids so she couldn't make the debates, but if elected how is she going to be able to attend the city council meetings which are also at night given these same constraints?


Posted by tim, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 2, 2008 at 8:44 pm

i have no idea what you're all complaining about. i've lived in mountain view my whole life. everything's fine the way it is. forget politics, just keep everything as is...except i do hate the new castro street. it's hideous and ugly with all these new fancy buildings and a restaurants. terrible


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