I was present for the last half of the Study session discussing the issue of the Phase II development for the San Antonio Center. I have been closely following the issue of the development and the Milk pail for the last year, so I am pretty familiar with most of the facts that have been revealed in public.
With that said, I am appalled that the developer seems to have take a my-way-or-the-highway approach to negotiations. MG could have saved themselves a lot of bad publicity and ill-will from the community by coming to an amicable agreement early on, but instead has apparently gone out of its way to kill a mosquito (the Milk Pail) with an elephant gun!
MG knows that if they do nothing, or make offers that are not serious, the can run out the clock and force the Milk Pail to close, or to relocate under less than optimal conditions. So what is the simple solution?
The City Council has said that it would be almost unprecedented for them to insist that one business provide parking for another; however, the City made another unprecedented decision in that study session to allow MG to hold the contract to hire a third party to study the "placemaking" aspect of the development!
It seems to me that if the City was willing to go out on a limb like that for the developer, they should certainly be willing to do so on behalf of a small business that has been an integral part of our community for 40 years! The Milk Pail's owner has also spent some of his time and money putting together functions that are of benefit to the entire community such as the one he sponsored for the Day Worker's Center last year.
The fact is that the Milk Pail was there first and the plot of land that phase II occupies is enormous compared to the 15 additional spaces the Milk Pail needs in order to operate. MG could generate an enormous amount of good will just by allowing the Milk Pail to operate as it always has in the past.
Can any of you imagine how you would feel if you owned a home that you bought and paid for and that you worked on for 40 years, and someone came to you one day and said, "Hi, I'm building a mansion next door and your house is in my way. I've found a loophole in the city statutes that will make it impossible for you to keep your house, but if you like, I can get you into a nice apartment somewhere". If you are like me,you would not be happy at all!
One other though that comes to mind is, if the city requires 15 additional spaces, why can't the city simply ask for a park in lieu fee as they do of developers that can't (or don't want to) provide sufficient parking?
The fact is, most of us who have lived in Mountain View for several years want the Milk Pail to stay. The Council has proven that they can be very creative when they want something, so I urge everyone to write them to let them know what YOU want. It is our city after all!
Old Mountain View