TONIGHT: Council decision on Worker Center

The Mountain View City Council is scheduled to decide tonight on whether the Day Worker Center of Mountain View can occupy its new property at 113 Escuela Ave.

The center seeks to convert an abandoned cinderblock building there into a new headquarters, where dozens of gardeners, construction workers, house cleaners and other day workers would wait for employers, learn English and receive other services.

Neighbors have strongly opposed the plan, however, calling the center a commercial use that does not belong in the residentially zoned street. They say it will lower their property values while possibly increasing traffic and crime. Tonight the council is hearing the request for a conditional use permit for the site after neighbors appealed an approval by the zoning administrator.

The Day Worker Center is currently located downtown in a church at Hope and Mercy streets. It provides an alternative to the common gathering spot for day workers at El Camino Real and San Antonio Road.

Taking his lead from neighbors of the affordable housing development proposed for downtown, Escuela Avenue resident Brad Kellar told the City Council last week that the city should study how the move could affect property values.

It is unclear how the council will vote on the plans, which include allowing the center to use a small piece of city-owned land next to the building for a parking lot.

"I think anything is a possibility at this point," said Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga. "I haven't made my mind up at all."

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12 in the council chambers of City Hall, 500 Castro St., following a closed session discussion with labor negotiators.


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. USA
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 12, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Let's all hope it does not pass.

Like this comment
Posted by Mrs. USA
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 12, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Interesting, because I hope it does pass.

Like this comment
Posted by Seer
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 13, 2009 at 9:05 am

I'm in the Monta Loma neighborhood regularly and don't see the "blight" that the day workers hanging out at El Camino and San Antonio display. Plus, I regularly hear how they help the neighborhood out. The fact is, the day workers aren't going away. Shuttling them around at the behest of the NIMBYs only prevents them from integrating into the community, which if anything would cause the problems people worry about. What I *do* see in the monta loma neighborhood is that there's plenty to work on to improve property values that has nothing to do with day workers, but rather the property owners themselves.

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