Over 1,000 new homes for Google?
City Council to vote on major general plan study
The City Council is expected to take a major step forward with a plan for the future of Mountain View on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Allowing zoning for as many as 1,500 new homes in the North Bayshore area among Google's offices is one of the potential scenarios to be studied in a massive city-wide environmental impact report.
The council will vote on a "strategy" for what should be studied in that EIR, and anything that is not studied is unlikely to make it into the city's updated general plan, which will serve as a blueprint for the city's development until 2030.
On Nov. 16, the council indicated support for studying the 1,500 homes amid new shops and restaurants in Google's neighborhood along Shoreline Boulevard just north of Highway 101 and at the west end of Plymouth Boulevard — but is not yet sold on implementing the idea.
Tsuda said on Wednesday that several North Bayshore property owners, not just Google, are interested in that idea, which could create a downtown feel next to Google's headquarters.
"If half the site were to redevelop, we could expect 1,500 (housing) units by 2030," City Planner Martin Alkyre said at the Nov. 16 meeting.
"That is assuming half of those sites transition to exclusively residential," said Planning Director Randy Tsuda. "We don't see that happening. We plan to insert policies about maintaining a mixture in that corridor."
The homes could be as dense as 70 dwelling units per acre under the EIR. For comparison, the controversial two-, three- and four-story Minton's development on Evelyn Avenue is about 60 units per acre.
The city is also coming up with a traffic and circulation plan for Google's office neighborhood to break up its "super blocks" and create a college campus feel.
There could be as many as 89,000 homes built in Mountain View under the strategy the council will consider Tuesday, according to city staff, up from the 65,000 that exist now. The city's current general plan allows up to 82,000 homes. Areas where new homes could be built include an up-zoned El Camino Real, Moffett Boulevard and a revamped San Antonio shopping Center. Traffic impacts will be studied.
But the largest impact may come from up-zoning the North Bayshore area, where nearly the entire area will see potential floor area ratios that could translate to Google office buildings seven stories high.
"We've already been accused of having far more jobs than we have housing for," said council member Laura Macias. "Something like 50,000 people a day come into this city for work. If we build this much office space ... what happens to the quality of life as we know it?"
The city also plans to study the impacts of redeveloped "village centers" throughout town, shopping centers where neighborhoods buy food and receive other services. Their locations include the intersections of Whisman Road and Middlefield Road, Rengstorff Avenue and Central Expressway, and Cuesta Drive and Miramonte Avenue.
There was some concern on Nov. 16 about the Francia family's orchard property on Whisman Road, which is labeled as a "city/community facility" on the general plan strategy map, even though city staff say they have not had any real discussion with the owners of the property. Council members and neighbors have been floating the idea for a bond-funded park there for years, but council member Inks called it the "first step, tip-toeing to a regulatory taking," and urged the city not to label the property as a public facility until the owners were ready to sell.
"The city should stay cool here and make sure it doesn't do anything that could be regarded as hostile," Inks said.
E-mail Daniel DeBolt at email@example.com