Mayor disputes housing editorial
I was surprised to read your May 7 editorial regarding the City Council's approval of the Prometheus project on Evelyn Avenue. You characterized the council as "ready to do anything to encourage development and retail development downtown," with the added implication that the council disregarded the risk of "traffic gridlock, impossible parking and an imposing, four-story facade".
I reject that characterization. Let's put the decision in context: a location on the edge of the downtown neighborhood, fronting the train tracks (and possibly, quite soon, the high-speed rail) was approved for 203 mostly one-bedroom apartments; the parking ratio is somewhat greater than the one approved in the 15-year old Evelyn Corridor Precise Plan; the facades mirror the ones of buildings across Villa and Bush, with four-stories facing the train tracks. None of the studies undertaken indicated there would be significant impacts on the neighborhood. Did the neighbors express concerns? Quite a few most certainly did. Quite a few others expressed support.
After months of study, numerous public meetings, many, many private meetings with residents, countless e-mail messages, and very considerable thought, I voted with the majority of council to approve the project. I love my downtown neighborhood, where I have lived for the past 23 years — a walkable and very diverse neighborhood. The Prometheus project will add some housing options for people unable or unwilling as yet to afford the high costs of single-family residences but eager to live in a friendly, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood with good public transit options.
Nothing in the decision I made regarding this specific lot on Evelyn Avenue should be taken as implying that I would necessarily approve another high-density project downtown, or in any other part of the city. Several times in the past few years your paper characterized me as being "slow growth" when I voted against higher-density projects that I thought were badly designed or inappropriate for their proposed location.
In truth, I am neither slow-growth nor fast-growth. I judge each project that comes before me on its own merits, with a view to fulfilling what our residents recently defined as the vision for Mountain View: a city that "provides for the needs of all residents," with "a lively downtown, vibrant neighborhoods and a healthy economy."
Ronit Bryant is Mayor of Mountain View.