News

High-rise apartments win council's praise

San Antonio Road project would bring 605 units, including 44 affordable homes

Despite some grumblings about being "hosed" on affordable housing rules, the Mountain View City Council gave an otherwise enthusiastic thumbs-up Tuesday to a proposed 605-unit apartment complex at 400 San Antonio Road. The project, among the largest housing developments in the city's pipeline, was praised as a forward-thinking plan for creating denser residences in one of the fastest changing areas of the city.

The developer, Prometheus Real Estate Group, submitted tentative plans to build a trio of five-story buildings and one seven-story building. In applying for the project, Prometheus representatives said they would seek to maximize use of a density bonus for development beyond the limits established by the city's precise plan for the San Antonio neighborhood. The proposed seven-story building would also surpass the city's height limits.

"The city's goal is to improve the quantity, diversity and affordability of housing," said Nathan Tuttle, senior development manager for Prometheus. "We feel this development responds directly to those goals."

The new apartment complex is meant to work in tandem with the ongoing development across the street at the San Antonio Shopping Center that aims to turn the area into a commercial hot-spot.

To get clearance to pack in so many units, Mountain View planning staff said that Prometheus would need to meet certain qualifications -- namely, including dozens of affordable homes or an equivalent lump sum in cash to the city. Planning staff reported that Prometheus' plans would require at least 44 units set aside as affordable homes, but they noted that this number was still prone to change.

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Some council members made clear they thought the affordable-housing component of the project should be much larger. The Prometheus proposal was premised on using a variety of density bonuses, including incentives in the city's precise plan for the San Antonio neighborhood as well as a 1979 state law meant to encourage affordable-housing.

City Council members pointed out that Prometheus would be maximizing its affordable housing to get the largest density bonus under the state rules. But they questioned why Prometheus didn't also have to provide additional affordable housing to meet the city's rental-housing impact fees.

"I'm worried that we're giving up a whole lot of units for very little additional affordable housing," said Councilman Lenny Siegel. "To me, they're double-dipping."

City planning staff informed council members that the developer had no obligations to build more affordable homes. State law effectively trumps the city's rules in this matter, and its affordable-housing requirement exceeds what the city would have required, explained Community Development Director Randy Tsuda.

Boiling this down, Mayor John McAlister said he thought the city was getting a raw deal.

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"They're getting 200 extra units, and we're only getting 44 (affordable) homes." he said. "We're getting hosed, but that's the law."

Prometheus also must provide some type of public benefit, which could be a new public park, trails or other community space. City staff calculated this project would require about $2.5 million in community benefits.

A round of public speakers were mostly supportive of the project as a way to increase housing stock in the city. One exception was Suzanne Ah-Tye, who identified herself as the owner of a 14-unit apartment next to the Prometheus site. Her property consists of two-story buildings, and she worried that the proposed five- and seven-story buildings would block out sunlight to her property.

"It's right next door to me, and I find myself getting upset by the project's enormity," she said. "This would literally loom over our complex, blocking out the sunlight and creating more traffic and pollution."

City officials said those concerns could be taken up as the project moves forward for further review. The council's discussion at Tuesday night's study session did not allow for a formal vote to be taken. Council members voiced criticism of small details, such as architecture design and the layout of the buildings, but overall signaled support for the plans.

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High-rise apartments win council's praise

San Antonio Road project would bring 605 units, including 44 affordable homes

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 11:39 am

Despite some grumblings about being "hosed" on affordable housing rules, the Mountain View City Council gave an otherwise enthusiastic thumbs-up Tuesday to a proposed 605-unit apartment complex at 400 San Antonio Road. The project, among the largest housing developments in the city's pipeline, was praised as a forward-thinking plan for creating denser residences in one of the fastest changing areas of the city.

The developer, Prometheus Real Estate Group, submitted tentative plans to build a trio of five-story buildings and one seven-story building. In applying for the project, Prometheus representatives said they would seek to maximize use of a density bonus for development beyond the limits established by the city's precise plan for the San Antonio neighborhood. The proposed seven-story building would also surpass the city's height limits.

"The city's goal is to improve the quantity, diversity and affordability of housing," said Nathan Tuttle, senior development manager for Prometheus. "We feel this development responds directly to those goals."

The new apartment complex is meant to work in tandem with the ongoing development across the street at the San Antonio Shopping Center that aims to turn the area into a commercial hot-spot.

To get clearance to pack in so many units, Mountain View planning staff said that Prometheus would need to meet certain qualifications -- namely, including dozens of affordable homes or an equivalent lump sum in cash to the city. Planning staff reported that Prometheus' plans would require at least 44 units set aside as affordable homes, but they noted that this number was still prone to change.

Some council members made clear they thought the affordable-housing component of the project should be much larger. The Prometheus proposal was premised on using a variety of density bonuses, including incentives in the city's precise plan for the San Antonio neighborhood as well as a 1979 state law meant to encourage affordable-housing.

City Council members pointed out that Prometheus would be maximizing its affordable housing to get the largest density bonus under the state rules. But they questioned why Prometheus didn't also have to provide additional affordable housing to meet the city's rental-housing impact fees.

"I'm worried that we're giving up a whole lot of units for very little additional affordable housing," said Councilman Lenny Siegel. "To me, they're double-dipping."

City planning staff informed council members that the developer had no obligations to build more affordable homes. State law effectively trumps the city's rules in this matter, and its affordable-housing requirement exceeds what the city would have required, explained Community Development Director Randy Tsuda.

Boiling this down, Mayor John McAlister said he thought the city was getting a raw deal.

"They're getting 200 extra units, and we're only getting 44 (affordable) homes." he said. "We're getting hosed, but that's the law."

Prometheus also must provide some type of public benefit, which could be a new public park, trails or other community space. City staff calculated this project would require about $2.5 million in community benefits.

A round of public speakers were mostly supportive of the project as a way to increase housing stock in the city. One exception was Suzanne Ah-Tye, who identified herself as the owner of a 14-unit apartment next to the Prometheus site. Her property consists of two-story buildings, and she worried that the proposed five- and seven-story buildings would block out sunlight to her property.

"It's right next door to me, and I find myself getting upset by the project's enormity," she said. "This would literally loom over our complex, blocking out the sunlight and creating more traffic and pollution."

City officials said those concerns could be taken up as the project moves forward for further review. The council's discussion at Tuesday night's study session did not allow for a formal vote to be taken. Council members voiced criticism of small details, such as architecture design and the layout of the buildings, but overall signaled support for the plans.

Comments

For purchase please
Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 12:16 pm
For purchase please, Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Is this housing for rent or for purchase? If only for rent, why are we building more rental units?! Mountain View is already so heavily full of renters. Give these renters a chance to own their own place by building something slightly more affordable for purchase! Any new housing built here should be for purchase, not for rent. We should not be encouraging people to be long-term renters as that does not help their situation in the future, as should be plainly obvious now.


Kenny
Jackson Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 12:20 pm
Kenny, Jackson Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 12:20 pm

SoDoSoPa at San Antonio. Welcome home...


Anokneemous
Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm
Anokneemous, Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Diversity and affordability are two words that should not be associated with Prometheus.

Apartments decorated to look like hotels, rented at insanely high prices. Lipstick on a pig.


Garrett
another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 1:04 pm
Garrett, another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 1:04 pm

These apartments will be rented to young people looking for high sytle resort living that is new and modern. They don't want post war boxy with stucco and just a pool with a laundry room.

When phase 2 at San Antonio Center these apartments will be desired and with Los Altos down the road what else can I say.


more renters than home-owners in unlivable MV
another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm
more renters than home-owners in unlivable MV, another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm


Developers and their investors (living elsewhere)
will be celebrating.

MV is destined to become the most crowded town.
It will have unbearable traffic.
MV will be most polluted (crowd pollution and
traffic pollution and noise pollution) and unlivable.

With majority renters and minority home-owners,
MV is not likely to be good for home-owners.

The renters will vote for even more rental
apartment developments. The home-owners will
have no voice in keeping this town livable.

In two years, MV will be crowded with high-rise
office buildings and high-rise apartments everywhere.
Traffic will come to a standstill.
_________________


Liz
another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 2:29 pm
Liz, another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 2:29 pm

I own a condo in the San Antonio area.

Let's just tear down whatever is there now and make it a parking lot for the RV's parked at the corner of Latham and Showers. I don't see how a cheap trailer park environment, directly across the street from San Antonio Shopping Center is going to make living or buying in the area desirable - unless people like muggings and loud music blaring from RV's parked on our residential streets.

It's disgusting that the Mountain View City Council and City Attorney refuses to take action on this matter. It's disgusting but not surprising...the city is allowing one neighborhood to become a slum in order that a new neighborhood can be built nearby. The only thing that matters to our City Council is money and money and more money. We homeowners - who by the way received their property tax bills yesterday - no longer matter to our City Council or our mayor.


Resident
Jackson Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm
Resident, Jackson Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm

As it is now, it is difficult getting access to Bayshore from Shorline and Rengstorff. Now, there will be additional traffic on San Antonio Road.
Stop building! I can not stand what the city council and the tech companies have done to Mountain View.
I wish the tech companies would leave and go to some place like Detroit where there is plenty of space for them to develope their campuses and housing for their employees. I'm sure they have the necessary natural resources to support both.
Mountain View has always been my home and it sickens me to see how chaotic it has become.


Martin Omander
Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm
Martin Omander, Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm

This is good news -- we need housing supply to meet the increased housing demand. If we don't add supply, prices will become even more insane and we will price out even more of our fellow Mountain View residents.


Martin Omander
Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:09 pm
Martin Omander, Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Oh, one question: the headline says 4 affordable units and the text says 44. Which one is it? Or am I not reading it right?


605 apartments across from 330 apartments
another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm
605 apartments across from 330 apartments, another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm



San Antonio Phase I apartments -- 330 units!!!

400 San Antonio Rd across the street with 605 units!!!

MV has absolutely lost all sense of proportion.

San Antonio Road with 935 apartments within
a block -- wow! Simply wow!!

Greed! Simlply greed!!

Capitalism running amuck in MV.
No checks whatsoever.
Excesses everywhere.
MV home-owners have lost all control.
The new Roman Empire.
_________________



Rodger
Sylvan Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm
Rodger, Sylvan Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm

How can we stop this high rise plans, Mountain View has gone nuts.


Our fault
Monta Loma
on Oct 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm
Our fault, Monta Loma
on Oct 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Well, didn't you vote in the ones who ran on "increasing housing". What do you expect? When will people wake up and realize....all those politicians that promise you all these things that sound wonderful, sound like the "right thing to do" actually have consequences?

The guys that run on reality, that put forth the harsher, not fun to talk about reality, but put forward more truth, are the ones who lose.

All I can say is you're all getting what you asked for. You voted for this council, now look what you're stuck with. Even more unfair is I DIDNT vote for this council and now look what I'm stuck with.


Kat
another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 6:41 pm
Kat, another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 6:41 pm

@Liz - we have been having this same discussion in the NextDoor neighborhood app. Area is zoned commercial so it is allowed to be an RV/car/van encampment. See below


I got some additional information from PD and it looks like the commercial zone is the only zone that allows (or doesn’t disallow) RV parking and occupying it as a dwelling unit. They are not allowed in residential zones and there is no overnight parking in the industrial areas. It used to be prohibited in the commercial zones but it was repealed in the early 2000s. I think your only recourse is to bring it up with council members and try the City Manageryfkyc as well. There is not much we can do-we have to follow the Municipal Code. I think the best thing is to contact council members and the City Manager for direction. Let me know if I can help!

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thank You,

Elizabeth Cramblet
Assistant Planner | City of Mountain View
(650)903-6199 | [email protected]
500 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA- 94039


#5
Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2015 at 7:51 pm
#5, Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2015 at 7:51 pm

The city on Mountsin View has lost its soul. City officials are ruining this town.


AC
Sylvan Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 8:16 pm
AC, Sylvan Park
on Oct 8, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Affordable is $500,000 in PA, what is it in Mtn View?


Doug Pearson
Blossom Valley
on Oct 8, 2015 at 8:22 pm
Doug Pearson, Blossom Valley
on Oct 8, 2015 at 8:22 pm

The cost of housing (purchase and rental) is going through the roof. That's because there is not enough of both to keep the costs down.

The only way I see to increase the housing stock in the city is to go up. These mid-rise units are a start, but we need more height per building and more buildings.

The number of cars on the road is sky-high and going up. That's because people are not using alternative modes--walking, bike riding, and transit.

In both cases, the underlying cause is rising population. Trying to prevent that is like holding back a tsunami--it cannot be done. We must, finally, realize Mountain View is a city, not a small, rural town and work with that, not against it.


Solving MV's Rent Problem
another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm
Solving MV's Rent Problem, another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm


MV needs to first stop adding any more office spaces.
MV is a small town with not much space left for widening roads, etc.

It is a fallacy to keep adding office spaces and then look helpless about
the office-housing imbalance. Logical thinking is required to see
this no-win situation. The residents of MV need to wake up.

Cities such as San Jose have plenty of room to add offices *AND*
rental units.

There is no reason to make MV into an unlivably congested town.
Enough damage has been done already.


Liz
another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 9:50 pm
Liz, another community
on Oct 8, 2015 at 9:50 pm

@Kat...Thank you so much for responding to my dismay at the 'encampment' at the corner of Latham and Showers.

I have contacted the PD and our council members and our mayor and our city attorney. I've even spoken to police personell (parked in the Target parking lot - trying to catch a speeding car...and I appreciate that) about this issue.

As you say, because of some law change when this nasty issue of trying to grow our city too fast Last surfaced (as it always surfaces during a boon), someone somehow convinced our city council to allow living in "encampments" on any city street (allowing 'free parking for forever) as long as the city says it's a commercially zoned area - which is pretty much all of Mountain View within 4 blocks of El Camino.

I've contacted city officials about this 'encampment' at the end of my block. As you have done, the ball was kicked back to me. Stop doing that! Homeowners have the same rights of renters. We have more rights than people living on streets my property taxes pay to upgrade.

I'm glad you used the word 'encampment'. If 'encampments' are legal in the city of Mountain View, let's move the 'encampment' - at the corner of Latham and Showers - to Castro Street - and any block within a certain radius of Castro Street. Let's give people a true picture of what is like to live here. That wouldn't do, though, would it? Money talks. Nothing new in politics.

Maybe the mayor would like the 'encampment', at Latham and Showers, parked on his street?
.....

This is totally disgusting. There certainly must be a parking lot for these RV's. Our police department parking lot maybe?

I am willing to set up a meeting with Mountain View residents to discuss this issue. It doesn't matter if you are a renter or a homeowner. If we don't meet - if we don't say to city and county governing bodies what we will and will not accept in our neighborhoods - we will lose our quality of life.

We may lose it anyway, but at least we would have stood up for it.


Jeff
Cuernavaca
on Oct 9, 2015 at 7:32 am
Jeff, Cuernavaca
on Oct 9, 2015 at 7:32 am

With the affordable units, does this mean the city's prevailing wage requirement is in effect?


@Jeff
Cuernavaca
on Oct 9, 2015 at 9:11 am
@Jeff, Cuernavaca
on Oct 9, 2015 at 9:11 am

Prevailing wage is required if the developer is building on City owned property. This is private property and the City has no jurisdiction to mandate how the contractors pay their workers.


BvP
another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm
BvP, another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm

"I think the best thing is to contact council members and the City Manager for direction."

In more direct terms, bring ca$h.


Traffic problem
another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm
Traffic problem, another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm

So, at least extra 935 cars in and out San Antonio Road. Does anyone actually do a traffic analysis of the impact of extra 900-1000 cars on San Antonio Road and surrounded neighborhood? Also, I do hope there are enough parking spaces for these 1000 cars. Or, it would make more sense to just convert San Antonio Road to San Antonio Parking lot.


Kat
another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm
Kat, another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

@Liz - I am happy to attend any meeting. i also spoke with Mary Flores in the PD and she's at a loss to help. They don't even tag the tires anymore. I agree, this would not fly in or around Castro Street. We are not a dumping ground.


Traffic
Monta Loma
on Oct 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Traffic, Monta Loma
on Oct 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm

@Traffic problem - Sure, there will be an analysis.

Prometheus will come in with a traffic analysis as part of the project's Environmental Impact Report. It will be from Hexagon or another similar firm, and it will show "no significant impact" from the project. It will provide a fig leaf for Planning and the City Council. This is as predictable as night follows day.


Liz
another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 8:15 pm
Liz, another community
on Oct 9, 2015 at 8:15 pm

@Kat and others following this exchange: Thanks, again, for responding to my previous comment. I'm glad to read that you'd attend a meeting to discuss the RV parking lot that's formed on the corner of Latham and Showers.

I'm tossing some ideas around - in my head - of additional possibilities. I'll email you with my ideas.

How dare the police department stop chalking tires! That's an open invitation to anyone to "come live in your vehicle at the corner of Latham and Showers. The police will never bother you."

I don't think I could park, even my car, on Castro Street for one day without having it towed.


Elijah
Castro City
on Oct 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm
Elijah, Castro City
on Oct 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

@Liz,

What's worse is that The Voice won't even cover the issue of the camp ground as a story. It doesn't fit with the editor's political/social agenda.

And the palace guards, um I mean police department, doesn't like to do parking rule enforcement. This is ironic since the more the build the more parking will become an issue for everyone.


ellespeth
Registered user
another community
on Oct 11, 2015 at 5:08 pm
ellespeth, another community
Registered user
on Oct 11, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Hi Elijah

I just put up some sort of article about this - see An Open Letter to Our Police....."

Our neighborhood has been abandoned by the police and city council and mayor.


resident
Old Mountain View
on Oct 11, 2015 at 9:24 pm
resident, Old Mountain View
on Oct 11, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Can we look at limiting the number of jobs in large companies (> 100 employees) that can exist in MV? Perhaps a minumum number of square feet of office space pre employee also? It seems this increases, and encourages more demand for housing. Those employed don't worry about issues of crowding as they usually get free provided transportation and a high salary. Do many plan to stay here for their lives? Or move on after a few years of youthful fun working in Silicon Valley? There are always more waiting for their turn in the nightclub called the City of Mountain View and High Tech Employment.
Also, why not have a business license tax that is based on the number of employees if > 100? This would only seem fair to pay for the hardships this causes on the city, the residents, the roads, the demands placed on things.
And perhaps a real cap on the number of vehicles that can go to/from a large office business in MV per day-- say 1/4 of the number of employees maybe--with fines for going over per car, again to pay for the city's needs.


Caroline L
The Crossings
on Oct 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm
Caroline L, The Crossings
on Oct 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm

As a Crossings homeowner, I noticed that a lot of important information was left out of the article:
1. He failed to mention that Charles Brandi lost his case in court against the association; the judgement was rendered in March, but yet the author of the article chose to leave that out.
2. All prior businesses that operated where SnoZen is located were closing at 6pm.
3. SnoZen doesn't play music during the day, but plays it in the evening when it is most annoying for the people living upstairs.
4. The attorney who wrote the 2nd opinion about the lawsuit starts his text with a huge caveat: his opinion is based solely on the document that was filed at the court and which is likely to be amended. The attorney wrote an opinion without seeing any of the evidence. It is obviously a very uninformed opinion.
5. The legal fees will be recovered in addition to the damages sought, should the HOA prevail.
6. Among all the cars towed, almost half did not belong to Crossings residents; many people park on Crossings private streets and go take CalTrain.


Caroline L
The Crossings
on Oct 11, 2015 at 9:57 pm
Caroline L, The Crossings
on Oct 11, 2015 at 9:57 pm

One more thing (addition to my previous post), the attorney who wrote the second opinion did not even read the HOA's governing documents, if he had, he would not have accused the board to have broken the rules by initiating the lawsuit without prior notification to the homeowners. The HOA attorney addressed this concern in a Q&A sent to homeowners which points to the HOA CC&R article that pertains to an exception reading avoiding that statute of limitations. But that somehow did not make it to the article.
This article is honestly very biased and poor journalism.


Resident
Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Resident, Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm

I don't look forward to the traffic, but these 605 units will keep 605 households from competing for the remaining housing in Mountain View, and that's a good thing. Even though they'll probably be very expensive, the people willing to pay that won't be bidding up other housing.

New housing during a housing crunch that's pricing diversity out of your town needs to be celebrated, whatever the source.


one 7-story and three 5-story with 605 apartments
another community
on Oct 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm
one 7-story and three 5-story with 605 apartments, another community
on Oct 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm



On San Antonio road, where traffic is already a mess due to
San Antonio Phase-1 and looks overwhelmingly dense with 330 apartments....
... and San Antonio Phase-2 high-density coming up...

MV is happy to add another 605 units across the street in 4 buildings:
3 5-story buildings
1 7-story building.
"The goal is to convert San Antonio Road into a
commercial hotspot".

Anyone think about physical limitations such as road
infrastructure and traffic issues?
All this on San Antonio Road!!!!
Something is not right about what is going on in MV.

Home owners need to take on a petition to halt this
disaster on San Antonio Road.


confused
Cuesta Park
on Oct 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm
confused, Cuesta Park
on Oct 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm

I am confused. What is the crossings law suit section of this story? It sounds like a different topic.


Ginger
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 21, 2015 at 2:06 pm
Ginger, St. Francis Acres
on Dec 21, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Odd, there building "multi-family" mania...town meeting demand affordable units suddenly...developers receive waiver. City planning around Bay area, friends of "NAIOP" deterring future home owners' I know adamant upon. Renter going more these mini cities built around "speculation" call Mt.View Mt.Prometheus, since dominate rental. Market causing increase everywhere!


Observation
another community
on Dec 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm
Observation, another community
on Dec 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm

NAIOP is a commercial real estate development organization, for those who need to Google it like I did.

It's worth noting that this 600 unit apartment building is in the Los Altos School District, same as the Carmel The Village building. This new building looks to be more friendly to people with kids. Not so sure it will be all young tech workers.


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