News

Council approves huge, 583-unit complex

High-density apartments to go across from San Antonio shopping center

At the Sept. 27 meeting, the Mountain View City Council unanimously gave the green light for one of the city's largest apartment projects to be built directly across the street from the rapidly expanding San Antonio shopping center. The project at 400 San Antonio Road would construct two, five-story apartment buildings and a seven-story building that would bring a combined 583 new housing units into one of the city's bustling commercial areas.

The project by Prometheus Real Estate Group was warmly received by council members, who lauded the development's significant community-benefit funding and its efforts to create minimal traffic.

"This is exactly the kind of development we need in Mountain View," said Councilman Lenny Siegel.

The project has been in the city's development pipeline for about three years as a so-called gatekeeper project that needed special exemptions from the city's precise plan for the neighborhood. City planners pointed out that the exemptions needed for this project were minimal, including bonus height and floor-area, which they recommended granting.

"We've worked diligently with staff to make sure we stay with the vision of the San Antonio Precise Plan," said Nate Tuttle, Prometheus vice president. "It wasn't easy with a development this large."

Prometheus' development would be built at a 5.7-acre space formerly occupied by low-density commercial, office and industrial buildings with large parking lots. One former tenant, Masa Sushi, would be welcome to reopen at the new site's ground floor commercial space, Tuttle said, pointing out that lease terms were still being negotiated.

Music to the ears of council members, the apartment project would include 48 below-market homes, which would be offered for about $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom or $1,200 for a two-bedroom unit. Prometheus' project also would provide more than $24 million in parkland dedication fees and $5 million in public benefit funding.

Even before voting on the project, city officials traded some ideas for how that community benefit money could best be used. City planners urged the council to set aside $500,000 to go to the Community Services Agency to help provide homeless aid. That issue is particularly germane for the San Antonio neighborhood because a large number of car-campers regularly park just a few blocks away, near Latham Street.

Superintendent Jeff Baier of the Los Altos School District urged the council to direct some of that money toward a new site for a future school campus. Over recent months, Baier has repeatedly warned Mountain View officials that the city's push for new housing is creating a growing enrollment problem for the district. Thanks to a 2014 general-obligation bond, the LASD school district is holding about $150 million intended for a new school, but the district is still in the process of working to acquire a suitable property.

Baier told council members the district currently had two "active" sites under consideration with a third property that was "potential."

While council members signaled support for the school district, some expressed caution on committing funding to a project that could remain a long way off. Mountain View could be devoting this money immediately toward improving safer routes to schools or solving other problems, said Councilman Chris Clark.

Councilman John Inks went further, saying the city didn't have an obligation to help the school district, where 27 percent of the enrollment is Mountain View residents.

"Not to spite the school district, but the voters approved a bond, and the school district is coming back to voters for (a parcel tax)," he said. "We're being generous to the school district if we (give money) when the taxpayers are already paying for it."

The council approved the project in a 7-0 vote.

Email Mark Noack at mnoack@mv-voice.com

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

37 people like this
Posted by Why?
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

It makes no sense for the City of MV and the Los Altos SD to be pitted against one another like this. Yes, MV urgently needs high-density housing. Yes, Los Altos SD is going to feel the effects, and yet Inks treats it like, "Not my problem."

But it is our problem when 27 percent of MV students are crossing busy roads to go to over-crowded schools.

Someone explain WHY we have two different school districts? It's time for this nonsensical pissing match to stop. The quickest way I can see is for the two districts to merge and work together to help the KIDS of our communities.


21 people like this
Posted by Phil Aaronson
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Phil Aaronson is a registered user.

These high density projects are being approved because there is transit available in the area. It's like having a Caltrain station sprinkles magic pixie dust on what should be *major* traffic concerns for the City Council. The problem is that there are no local schools for these children to attend. Nor is there transit that would get these kids to their likely assigned elementary school, either Covington or Santa Rita (or possibly others) in some cases far on the other side of El Camino. So how are these kids going to get to school? They're going to be driven. Planning would be good here MVCC and LASD. Start now.


74 people like this
Posted by Brett
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Anyone who thinks these projects will result in "minimal" traffic is living in an alternate reality. Traffic on San Antonio is already a nightmare. This is only going to make it a lot worse. I don't understand why the MV city council feel that the city should become an urban metropolis but they clearly do.


59 people like this
Posted by OldMV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm

So, our city council "lauded the development's significant --- efforts to create minimal traffic." Given that these are 557 units in an already highly congested area, I'd be really nice to know exactly what those "efforts" will be! The cynical part of me says that Prometheus wants to cheap out on space-consuming parking spaces, so they have duped our development-crazed city council into thinking that limiting parking will limit the number of automobiles that tenants will own. We have a city council in total denial here, and the next election may make things even worse.


139 people like this
Posted by Memebr
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 30, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Another completely obvious statement that the city is under the control of developers. Why is this exactly what Mountain View needs? When did we aspire to be a 100% rental population? Why you we need another megaplex after the insanity being built across the street. We've destroyed all the original zoning and building laws to build bigger higher and more dense areas. It won't matter my young ones are slated for LAHS because it will take 2 hours to get there through traffic pollution congestion by the time they are of high school age. Stop all building we DONT need it we don't want it and it is obviously it is only exactly what the city's politicians need to keep getting personal funds from developers.


31 people like this
Posted by True
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 30, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Good!

MV needs more and higher density residential inventory. This is a step in that direction.


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Really, Councilman John Inks? The city doesn't have an obligation to help the school district, where 27 percent of the enrollment is Mountain View residents? Really? What am I missing here?


7 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Inks rarely votes for anything - he's a libertarian who believes in less government. So why is he even on the council?
Talk about lame duck presidents - he is a dead duck council member.


54 people like this
Posted by Who Says
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 30, 2016 at 5:33 pm

We need more high density housing? I certainly don't want it. No one I know wants it so why is this what we need to become New York City? Oh every single council member has Prometheus as one of their contributors. I don't think corruption could be any more blatant.


26 people like this
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 30, 2016 at 5:45 pm

@WhoSays - do you know anyone who works in the tech industry? If not, you might not be aware that many people working in the economic engine of our region absolutely want more housing stock, including high density housing. Not surprising when someone who bought a house 35 years ago and pays only $1K in property taxes is ignorant of all the young people who pay $13K in property taxes if they are lucky, or have no home at all if unlucky. Thank you Prop 13! <sarcasm>


31 people like this
Posted by Konrad Sosnow
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Our city council is bought and paid for by the developers. They want to turn Mountain View into Manhattan. I say, If you want to live in Manhattan you should move there and let those who prefer a suburban environment continue to live in Mountain View.


41 people like this
Posted by Konrad Sosnow
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm

@Cordelia,

Those who bought homes in a quiet peaceful Mountain View 30 years ago have sweated and slaved to pay their mortgages, pay taxes, and support their families. Now the developers, and city council, want to replace the quiet neighborhoods with massive, Manhattan style developments. The young, spoiled, techies believe that they are entitled to whatever they want at no cost or effort.


21 people like this
Posted by Home Ownership
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 7:53 pm

@Cordelia,

Life is a continuum. It's the rare exception for a homeowner to have owned a home
for 35 years. Homes have been owned for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, etc. This citing of the Prop 13 features in an inaccurate way shows that you just don't get it. It only takes a very few years for a homeowner to start to benefit from Prop 13 features. Most people move or even DIE before they reach 35 years of home ownership in Mountain View.

Yeah, and way to go, the right group to aim your ire at, the very few senior citizens on Medicare who have owned their homes for 35 years. They cause all the problems. Think how much lower social security taxes would be without THEM!


16 people like this
Posted by David Roode
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:22 pm

LASD is not suffering in all of this. Look at the other Mountain View school district with 80% of the city's K-8 students. They have 2 middle schools with 1000 students each. LASD has 550 students average in two middle schools. Plus this is looking WAY down the road because as Jeff Baier said in his letter to MV CC, it takes YEARS before the "yield" on new apartment construction provides significant loading to whichever school district is involved. Who knows what will be situation in 10 years? This is a big "what if" scare tactic scenario. What if the childless tenants in the big buildings start to have kids and stay in the same building?

LASD closed and sold of a 2nd school on Portola Avenue that formerly served students from Mountain View north of El Camino. It was 10 acres of land. This little area of Mountain View north of El Camino is 1/4 square mile of land. It's hardly a big city area needing an urban school site. The Los Altos and Mountain View attendance areas for schools are typically 2 to 3 or even more square miles in size.

If you are going to talk about denser school sites, there are steps in between using 3 acres of land for 1000 students and saving 10 acres for 500 students each at 7 other elementary schools. It's the same district. The schools need to be equal. The obvious intermediate solution is for the middle school at Egan use just 10 acres for up to 1000 students (NOT 3 acres) and then have an 8 acre portion (as has been the case for over TEN YEARS) used for a 2nd school on the Egan site. 8 acres of land already owned for the El Camino area's students makes much more sense than buying 3 more acres of land for $56 Million dollars. The planning needs a simple reality check.


5 people like this
Posted by Development Impact Fees
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:33 pm

With this project having 600,000 square feet of most residential space, the
existing LASD development impact fees will provide LASD with $1.5 Million.
If Prop 51 does not pass in November, then LASD will be able to increase
its impact fees, and the developer of this project will be paying $3 Million
in impact fees direct to LASD. These are completely separate from and in
addition to the community benefit fees alluded to in the article.


9 people like this
Posted by Ken M
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Build baby build


26 people like this
Posted by Liz
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I'm discussed by what has happened to Mountain View. I grew up in this town and I can't believe what city hall is doing to this town. We need to get rid of all these clowns who run this city. Every where you go traffic is out of hand.


21 people like this
Posted by vonlost
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Every city in the area needs to add as much high density housing as possible to reduce the need for automobile commuting; walking, biking and increasingly efficient public transit will cut pollution and commute times and costs. Wishing to go back to the bucolic orchard fifties won't make it happen.


37 people like this
Posted by Alex M
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 30, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Just what we don't need, more rental housing for more itinerants. What we DO need is a community with a sense of ownership. Where are the housing projects to build residences that people can OWN?


35 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 1, 2016 at 4:22 am

Last night my wife and I went out to dinner. What used to take 10 min is now almost thirty last night. Build and build and build but I don't see good public transportation and wider streets. So, I told my wife we need to get a scooter and lane split just to get to dinner now! The city council is terrible at urban planning. I miss the old days when I lived here and it was easy to get around. Because I don't have a rich public pension I will have to sell and move out of the area when I retire. Mountain View is great if you work for tech and make big bucks... terrible for somebody that just has a job and living. No place for the little people anymore.


4 people like this
Posted by Lisa Davis
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 1, 2016 at 5:56 am

I believe it would be more equitable to have more affordable apartments offered.why is it okay to squeeze people out or to not even let them in the city? I am a teacher and will have to eventually move out of Mountain View if decisions like this keep up.


11 people like this
Posted by David in Waverly Park
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 1, 2016 at 6:28 am

Agree we need more housing. You only have to look at housing prices and rental costs to understand that.
Would like to see money and planning set aside for better public transportation. You can't keep stuffing 100s of more families into the same area without effect... it is going to be impossible to get anywhere if we don't start investing in bikes, trains, etc.


22 people like this
Posted by bjd
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 1, 2016 at 8:55 am

To the point of some previous comments, I do think MV needs more ownership units, but detached homes and townhouses aren't the only answers. Ownership condos (1-2BR or even studios) would make for great starter homes- apartment-style living while also building equity. I do wish we could incentivize this style of development, I only know of a dozen or so such units in the pipeline.

Otherwise looking forward to these units. With San Antonio Phase 2, this is going to be a really interesting part of town. I recognize concerns over traffic in the area- San Antonio gets pretty jammed up, and I hope we can explore transit options to better serve the area. For example a fast and free shuttle linking this area to downtown.


5 people like this
Posted by Anthodyd
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Oct 1, 2016 at 9:14 am

Re the traffic and density issues; it might be time for the burgeoning tech companies to step up their employee participation in rapid transit and particularly local bus transit in an effort to resolve future gridlock problems in advance of their near-certain impending arrival.
Suppose those flourishing local tech companies set out to sponsor local transit measures? Would it not be to their advantage to subsidize electric pod cars and minibuses, clean local transit buses with limited 'circle routes', and to proudly proclaim their participation with banners and bright colors on said vehicles? This would offset any criticism that must arise for placing such a concentration of commercial enterprises in North Bayshore with its evidently limited access over 101 and from Whisman, and encourage residence in surrounding neighborhoods, rather than our beleaguered and treasured Mountain View.
We are already witness to the popularity of trucking in high-tech employees from San Francisco, hailed as catering to the expensive tastes of those who don't mind commuting 40 miles for the sake of living in desirable tho pricey digs. Simply expand the concept to include those lesser souls who only expect a viable work/life environment.


17 people like this
Posted by LA renter
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 1, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Thank goodness some sense is prevailing and they are building. I make $80K working for a tech company-probably 10% more than I would in any other city. I pay $2800 for a 2 BR apt which is 100% more than I did in my previous town. I came here for my dream job, but feel the rent and house prices are completely unrealistic and unsustainable.

Aren't we the USA- the land of the free and capitalistic. If there are jobs and demand for housing, it is only fair that builders build more housing. Don't prey on us or fault us for not having come to the bay area earlier. If anything you should be complaining to the tech companies and tell them to move to Fresno or Sacramento.


15 people like this
Posted by Perks
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2016 at 7:07 pm

@LA Renter

Does your Tech company give free meals, breakfast lunch and dinner? Did they do that in LA?


29 people like this
Posted by Bruce
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm

I'm not a huge fan of Prometheus, but I am a fan of development. Mountain View has a huge (and growing) number of jobs, and if we don't build more housing near the jobs, all of those people will have to commute here on 85/101/transit, plugging up our transportation systems (and ruining their quality of life) even more than today.

I'm sympathetic to the people who moved here when it was a sleepy suburban town, but if you think it's going to stay that way, I think you're in denial. That ship had sailed, and now we have to make the best of it.


7 people like this
Posted by Something Not Right
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2016 at 8:49 pm

I agree that traffic seems much worse and things seem more crowded, especially nights and weekends. But this is not coming from all the new jobs Google has crammed into their space in North Bayshore. If there is a housing shortage, and little new has been built, where is all this activity coming from? The only new complex I can think of that has been completed and occupied is Carmel The Palaces. How many people live there?

Now Montrose is finished and it's a large Prometheus building on El Camino Real near El Monte. It will surely add a lot more residents. But so far it has removed a few businesses.

What's making all the new bustle? Has the city population gone up by 5000 people over the past year like it feels? Where the heck do all these people live?


24 people like this
Posted by Inks is right
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 1, 2016 at 11:45 pm

A lot of hyperbole and a lot of ignorance about development and its impact on traffic and schools. Inks is correct, the school district will get millions from building fees and property taxes. The school district is responsible for providing schooling, not the city. Inks is the only sensible council member who sees the benefits of growth. No on has mentioned the results of the traffic study.


22 people like this
Posted by Tech Made Your Houses Worth Millins
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 2, 2016 at 6:26 am

Everyone is co losing about development and the tech industry. That industry, which is forcing the need for development is the reason your 200K home is worth millions.


42 people like this
Posted by But the weather is great
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 2, 2016 at 8:11 am

When the scales of quality of life fall so out of balance that about only things on the positive side of the scale are things like:

A) If you are a long time homeowner, and did not refinance yourself to the hilt, then your home ishould be worth a lot of money.
B) The weather is GREAT here.
C) This is a " jobs rich" area.

Now for some of the negative side of the scale, like:

A) if you don't already own a home, and you aren't presently clearing $200+ annually -- well, home ownership probably not going to happen in Mountain View...not now.
B)The cost of living is ridiculous in Mountain View. Untenable.
C)Good thing the weather is great, because the traffic congestion has become so ridiculous that it's only a matter of time until walking across town is going to be the fastest option to get from point a to point b, and that good weather will be extra appreciated on those longer hikes with kids and groceries. Oh, and ...good luck not getting struck by a vehicle while you are out walking!
D)Believe it or not, there CAN be "too much of a good thing", and we are all now witnessing what ills can befall a city - in this instance the city of Mountain View - when said city recklessly allows millions and millions of square feet of corporate office/jobs growth, while at the same time allowing many of those corporations to provide all meals and other services (dry cleaning, massages, on site sundry stores, bike repair services, etc.) on site for THEIR employees, the majority of whom are bussed in or take a train in daily ( eg, not residents of Mountain View). The fact that all of these services are provided on site is meant to keep the employees on campus, and defacto prevents them from spending money downtown during the day. Most, if not all of the small mom & pop type businesses that served the North Bayshore companies for decades, are now gone, put out of business by this practice. Also, the downtown local restaurants are unable to keep their employees because they are losing those employees to the in house restaurants on the large corporate campuses...chefs, line cooks, servers - everyone. These large corporations are now cannibalizing the thriving downtown local restaurants (and to some extent other small businesses) and essentially destroying them. The ripple effect will be devastating.

Don't think there is such a thing a a company town? Think again. And think about what has happened to your quality of life in this company town over the last 5-8 years (if you have lived here that long) l'm not talking about the supposed 'value' of your home ( if you happen to own one) I am talking about your overall quality of life -- your daily grind, the 'is this really worth it' factor -- has any of that changed for you in that time, and if so, has it gotten better for you?

I have lived here for many years, and sadly what Mountain View is 'transforming' itself into is not what I had envisioned for my future. It's a shame, really. It's plan B for me, I suppose.


19 people like this
Posted by ivg
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 2, 2016 at 10:03 am

Thank you, Council! This is why I voted for you in 2014.


7 people like this
Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 2, 2016 at 11:16 am

Rossta is a registered user.

The city planners have gotten the message from ABAG that we are at a large deficit in housing as compared to jobs offered in MV. So, build, build, build. Our housing density is now starting to exceed many areas of San Francisco and other cities.

But, where is ABAG on rating us on the other aspects of a healthy city? The most obvious is our transportation infrastructure. We are reaching gridlock in many areas due to population growth outpacing our infrastructure. Equally lacking is basic activities, especially for youth.

Many of our developments have taken place over the last 20-30 years on the sites of "low value" commercial. No more bowling alleys. Most theaters have moved to periphery or just gone. Even a BMX riding area bulldozed and not relocated. Any wonder gang activity has increased - what else do you think our kids will do for entertainment? Thank goodness most have a computer screen to sit in front or the problem would be worse, though that certainly isn't my first choice.


20 people like this
Posted by yonatanb
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2016 at 8:51 pm

As someone who grew up in MOuntain View, this sounds great! It might put some downward pressure on rents so I might be able to afford to live in Mountain View again!


19 people like this
Posted by More Hyperbole
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 2, 2016 at 10:23 pm

"Our housing density is now starting to exceed many areas of San Francisco and other cities. "

Pure nonsense.


20 people like this
Posted by Long gone
a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2016 at 8:54 pm

It's not only Google and the developers who want to Manhattanize MV. It's the lefty urbanists who want to force us out of our suburban life and into their dystopian high rise "village.". When those do gooders sell their Old MV houses, second cars, stop their arbon producting jet vacations and move into one of those vaunted high rises and take the bus to work, then they'll have some credibility. Until then...


28 people like this
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 3, 2016 at 9:46 pm

@Konrad Sosnow & @Home Ownership - Your parents paid their taxes in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s without the "help" of Prop 13 and those taxes paid for your free schooling and affordable college tuition. When it was your turn to pay taxes, you hid behind grandma's skirts. "Don't throw grandma out of her home!" The joke is on you, your children and the rest of us wage slaves. Thanks to Prop 13, owners of commercial real estate don't have to pay their fair share of property taxes. Where you get a tax break of about $10,000, the commercial real estate corporations get a tax break of $100,000. Many owners of commercial real estate don't live in CA and they don't care that our schools aren't properly funded. You think we younguns don't understand that every homeowner benefits from Prop 13 after "just a few years"? We understand perfectly well that the younguns "benefit" the least and the oldest and richest among us reap large rewards from Prop 13. Take a look at our schools and horrible roads. It's clear that Prop 13 allows you to legally steal from our children who can't vote on Prop 13. If it wasn't so easy to justify selfish behavior, you would be ashamed of yourselves.


11 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 4, 2016 at 2:24 pm

The beauty of tech industries is that they can be located anywhere - anywhere - being connected via the internet / satellite / et al.

Why put them in the beautiful, climate perfect Bay Area? I suggest that they move to fine locales such as Ridgecrest, Bishop, Toms Place and Big Pine. Spectacular views and decent weather would be combined with affordable housing. Who could ask for anything more?

There's plenty of room around Lake Owens, too. Stop the LA Aquaduct from taking ALL the water and Owens would refill providing a truly spectacular sight for Google, Facebook, Oracle and all the rest. Enjoy the spectacular sunrises, climb mountains and water ski anytime - day or night.

And the Bay Area could return to the delightful land it used to be. Heck, we'd even have room to plant orchards.


11 people like this
Posted by Why?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2016 at 2:35 pm

If you had to start a business, how many top tier workers are you going to get to come work in Ridgecrest?
If you had an established career here how likely will you and your family relocate to Big Pine if offered?

That's why.


9 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 4, 2016 at 3:01 pm

"Our housing density is now starting to exceed many areas of San Francisco"

Golden Gate Park, maybe. Otherwise - not a chance.


9 people like this
Posted by San Francisco
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2016 at 3:20 pm

It is true that Mountain View's areas favored for new construction do exceed the housing density of many neighborhoods of San Francisco. San Francisco is not just Downtown, Yerba Buena and the Civic Center. Also, you don't have to look at Golden Gate Park or the Presidio to find low density. The housing density in North Bayshore of MV is quiet low too!

But in SF, look at residential density in Outer Sunset, Lincoln Park, Parkside, Noe Valley, Twin Peaks, Midtown Terrace, Lakeshore. Many meany neighborhoods in SF are below the average housing density of the city.

SF has 18,000 per square mile overall. Mountain View has 7,000 overall. Take North Bayshore land out of Mountain View's calculation (which is really fair, since it's been treated quite differently as an office-only non-counted area by city policy for years now). You get about 12,000 people per square mile counting all the areas of the city which have existing residential uses.

Is it really that much of a surprise that there are areas of San Francisco below that, when you consider that the numbers in SF are bumped up by areas like Chinatown and other parts of Downtown and elsewhere that have extremely high density housing? Most of S.F. is low rise construction very similar to historical practice in Mountain View.
The comment above didn't say MV was approaching SF's downtown residential density. It pointed out that there are many low density areas of San Francisco, compared to these new 6 and 7 story tall apartment buildings being added to MV.


36 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 4, 2016 at 3:21 pm

@Cordelia: My parents paid their property taxes in the 1950s, 60s, and (part of the) 70s in California (like my grandparents and still earlier generations before them) with no NEED for Prop. 13! Do you still not understand? What many tirades like yours above appear so blissfully unaware of (because most of you writing them weren't present at the time, don't understand the issues then, and can't be bothered to learn) is that Prop. 13 was voted in as a desperate necessity, to halt the alternative: politicians shamelssly raising property taxes at will, to pay off their political supporters in variations of old-fashioned graft. (They still do it, but they use other types of taxes now, and talk about "budget crises" when the number of pigs feeding at the trough becomes an embarassment). In the 1970s, some plum "public-sector" unskilled jobs paid more than highly skilled professionals received; holders of those jobs appeared genuinely shocked when voters finally had enough and turned off the property-tax gravy train. THEY didn't see what was wrong with the old system, just as some commenters today make very clear that they don't understand it either.


20 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Mountain View and Palo Alto, along with so many other places on the Peninsula and the Bay Area are on a building spree of Pack and Stack housing without any regard to infrastructure to support them. Traffic, parking, public transportation, water, etc. are not able to cope with present levels and the idea that all this new housing will alleviate problems is rather ludicrous. As it is, VTA is planning to reduce service to north Santa Clara County and as we have little or no school buses or shuttle services that cross city or county boundaries, we are not going to solve the crisis anytime soon.

These communities are not little islands separated by Berlin Walls. The residents will want to move across city lines to live their daily lives. They will work, shop, live and have pastimes that will mean that they will be adding to the traffic on all our roads as well as Caltrain.

Start fixing some of these problems now by communicating with each other and doing something major to prevent the area coming to a standstill from traffic gridlock.


17 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2016 at 8:45 pm

As "Common sense" demonstrates, the unfortunate thing is too many people defending Prop 13 don't actually have the slightest clue as to what it does.


13 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:11 am

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

Dense, less-unaffordable housing near jobs and transit! This is a great, solid step towards digging our city out of its massive, self-inflicted jobs-housing imbalance and the skyrocketing rents.

This increase to the housing supply will keep hundreds of our neighbors from being priced out of their community, preserving our economic, ethnic, and age diversity.

In the long term it will reduce traffic, when you compare it to the alternative, which is inflicting commutes from Gilroy or Tracy upon the tens of thousands of people who work in Mountain View commercial property that we already have, or is already approved.

And it will do it without any of the harmful unintended consequences of rent control.

Good job, city council! As ivg said, this is why we voted for some of you in 2014 and will vote for others of you in 2016.


24 people like this
Posted by Gnar
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:22 am

To all the people whining about growth, 'manhattanizing,' etc. This is what happens to cities. They grow.

You like the appreciation of your land value since you bought your house 30 years ago? That's because of growth. This project that you're angry about is causing your property values to continue to skyrocket.

I've been living in this city for 25 years, since before Google was a company. I hate the traffic as much as anyone else, and San Antonio is going to be even more of a clusterbomb. But seriously, NIMBYs need to stop whining. The Bay Area desperately needs more housing.


22 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:11 pm

More housing near transit and jobs. This is an excellent step forward


19 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:17 pm

This is exactly what we need - sensible density near transit and jobs. Ten more of these and you might actually have a reasonable balance between supply and demand.


7 people like this
Posted by Mmmm
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2016 at 1:05 pm

This project looks expensive to live in. These are going to be some of the
most expensive apartments in the city! They could be even more expensive than
the ones in the new Montrose apartments that just opened. Anyone know how much
these are going for? Those are right on El Camino, much closer than these which will be somewhat quieter if you are in the back by the low rise single family residences that have been there for years next to the 2 and 3 story apartment buildings in the Del Medio area.


25 people like this
Posted by Liz Lynx
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Neighborhood: One block from San Antonio Road-Cross Street is El Camino.

Traffic in they area is near gridlock already. New buildings for theater etc. will add MORE CARS. Many residents of this monstrous apartment complex will live too far from the Cal Train Staiton to walk there each day Others with further destinations will pour cars onto all the adjacent streets. It will be GRIDLOCK.

This foolish and ridiculous project SHOULD BE REJECTED.


8 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm

@Liz Lynx

Are you suggesting there's a better location where 583 units should go? Also, keep in mind that you should be careful with complaints about "gridlock" as it sounds like something you're directly contributing to...


9 people like this
Posted by BayAreaPerson
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2016 at 9:59 pm

This is exactly what MV and the bay area needs more of. Housing and rental prices are ridiculous right now. We need more housing near transit and jobs in the bay area.

To those of you who want to keep your suburban childhood theme park, go move to Santa Rosa or somewhere else.


15 people like this
Posted by Why move?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2016 at 1:22 pm

No, it's ok, we'll keep our suburban childhood theme park regardless. This sort of thing is good for MV, yes, and it also makes single family houses all the more valuable in MV.
In MV it has always been about the neighborhoods. Some will remain suburban wonderlands, some will remain not. The San Antonio Rd. area was never one of the more attractive areas for the suburban feel, but with the recent changes it may be more attractive for younger singles, while the suburban theme parks of single family homes built around neighborhood schools remain more attractive for families and something to aspire to as you grow out of apartment life.


4 people like this
Posted by Good for Palo Alto
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Palo Alto will finally get more of the mid-rise apartment buildings since San Antonio Road is really more allied with Palo Alto than with Mountain View. Palo Alto kept the Sears shopping center in business for many years. Now the Stanford Industrial Park has some added nearby residences in this new project. Between Miller Avenue and Fayette Ave is prefect. Miller Avenue leads to Monroe Park nearby. There's no reason not to redevelop the buildings on Del Medio too, to make them be mid-rise instead of low-rise apartments. Over the years a number of Stanford graduate students have leased apartments on Del Medio. Lots of potential for new housing. There are some condos on San Antonio called The Greenhouse where the owners just lease the land. Man, has that land value gone up. When the original 99 year lease is up, that can turn into mid-rises too. Palo Alto needs to eliminate the parking on San Antonio and smooth out the traffic flow to 101 though.


10 people like this
Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Where will the electricity and water come from to support the new residents? We already have shortages.
Congestion in stores, restaurants and streets is at gridlock now. There is less customer service. Our quality of life is being destroyed.


16 people like this
Posted by My Opinion
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:34 am

Like others, I wish MV would build more high density ownership units (condos) instead of apartments because there is clearly demand for it given the rental costs of these new developments.

Also, allow me translate a few of the above comments into what was really meant:
1. "our quality of life" = my quality of life
2. "we don't need it and we don't want it" = I don't need it and I don't want it
3. "I don't want it and no one I know wants it" = I don't want it and the rest of my NIMBY homeowner neighbors and friends don't want it. MV ownership is 43% according to the 2010 census so if you are an owner your disinterest in increasing housing supply is probably a minority opinion.

I think it's better if people refrain from assuming their thoughts are everyone else's thoughts and their opinions are superior to other opinions. Unless you are a deep, analytical thinker with matching intellect along the likes of Elon Musk.

Also this: "The young, spoiled, techies believe that they are entitled to whatever they want at no cost or effort" is preposterous. Are you referring to their privileged entitlement of paying $4000/month in rent for a 2 bedroom apartment or what "no cost" do you mean? Or that these "techies" do nothing at their office job or what "no... effort" do you mean?


14 people like this
Posted by Mt View Neigbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Exceptions for developers to build huge complexes is NOT OK. The housing shortage is a Bay Area Problem, not just a problem for MV. This massive building project, especially in the San Antonio area, will further congest an area riddled with traffic jams. What's more, these units will ALL be exempt from rent controls on buildings built prior to 1995, allowing high rents for these units. We see our open space sold off to the highest bidder, compromises on building codes for developers but not for private citizens. Looks to me like privilege for corporations at the sacrifice of the quality of life for residents.


6 people like this
Posted by Friendly MV Neighbor
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 7, 2016 at 9:23 pm


"We see our open space sold off to the highest bidder, "

I thought this was privately owned land?

"compromises on building codes for developers but not for private citizens"

Aren't developers private citizens? .

" Looks to me like privilege for corporations at the sacrifice of the quality of life for residents."

Corporations are owned by people who are residents of cities.


19 people like this
Posted by ivg
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2016 at 8:39 pm

@My Opinion: Thank you.

I find it hard to have sympathy for someone whose entire payment on a 3-bedroom house (mortgage + taxes) is probably less than what I pay in rent for my 1-bedroom.

Traffic, water, etc. are real problems that all have solutions. The housing shortage is a bigger problem with only one solution: build more housing.

California's Office of the Legislative Analyst weighs in:
Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by prop13
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2016 at 12:34 pm

@Common sense

1) Prop 13 hasn't actually decreased state and local taxes, as a share of the California economy. In 1975, state and local taxes were 15.89% of the gross state product [1]. In 2014, state and local taxes were 20.7% of the economy [2].

2) Prop 13 has caused a lot of collateral damage. E.g., CA schools have gone from being the nation's envy, to what they are today.

3) As @Cordelia pointed out, Prop 13 gives the biggest breaks to those who have the most property. So we shifted the tax burden from wealthy corporations, and the wealthiest individuals, to people who've just arrived in California.

4) Prop 13 has also lead to horrible boom-and-bust cycles in the state budget. When Facebook IPO'd, the state had plenty of money, and it took Gov Brown's discipline to keep the legislature from adding a bunch of new spending programs. Will the next governor be able to keep the legislature in check?

I don't want to see people taxed out of their homes. But Prop 13 has turned out to be a terriblly costly way to solve the problem.

[1] Web Link, see "Total Direct Revenue" row, "Total" column.
[2] Web Link, same row/column.


23 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Gov Browns discipline? Are you kidding? That's so laughable I can't even begin to start on all the levels it's wrong. But here's just one. High speed rail. That ONE ridiculous misuse of taxpayers money outweighs hundreds of years of any potential Prop13 shortfalls....

California schools? They have PLENTY of $, what they're missing is accountability. Unless and until tenure and the massive layers of administration are eliminated, you can count on continued poor results. It's shameful. But Prop 13 has nothing to do with it, it's just the scapegoat for those protecting bloated unions and public sector jobs.

Prop 13 doesn't just protect corporations and wealthy. My neighbor inherited his house from his grandparents and would never have been able to afford living here if not for Prop13. Frankly this is the one place I feel it should be reduced, it should only protect the original owner, then the property should revert to current values.


11 people like this
Posted by Martha
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm

@Why? (first commenter) - someone may have answered this already, by as to why we have two school districts: We used to have three - Los Altos, Mountain View and Whisman. Mountain View and Whisman were both founded in the mid- to late-1800's. Not sure when Los Altos was founded. It would take a vote of all the voters who reside within the school boundaries to merge them. Not easy to do. My understanding was there were several attempts made to merge Mountain View and Whisman (which was pretty small - three elementary schools plus Crittenden) and they all failed, until the early 90's when it finally passed.


12 people like this
Posted by I_Got_mine
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:24 pm

We USED to have a High School I could bike to. I just saw an empty lot where it used to be. That HS place made a community feel to downtown Mountain View. Even the high rise tower we called Dog City couldn't change the downtown area.
So now you get to finally sell-out to developers. I hope you got your 30 pieces of silver for your votes, MV CC!
The former housing for Moffett Field service people would have been a better place to build your monstrosity housing. I keep saying " just add a wye at the Ellis Street/101 crossing and head North to the Googleplex to change the VTA transit into something more than the empty trains that cost taxpayers for every mile they travel. " Boulder, CO fought our Federal Government to keep buildings at a 4 story limit, SO PEOPLE WILL NOT LOSE THEIR MOUNTAIN VIEWS. So what does MOUNTAIN VIEW do? The irony should be obvious to an area with so many " rocket scientists " living in MOUNTAIN VIEW. Maybe the CC should also change the name to Money, CA because that would describe the worship that goes on here. And just place a statue of MAMMON in the traffic circle next to City Hall, just so priorities are clear in the former City of Mountain View...


7 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Every morning, my routine includes me dropping off my daughters to MV High all the way from Whisman to the other end of town. This is because the city sucks and the bus routes from my places to the high school are non-existent. Kids for crying out loud are using the VTA Transit buses (#81 to be exact). Aren't transit buses reserved for kids who live in urban cities??? This is just plain stupid.

I feel pissed, envious as I don't have the luxury of allowing my kids to walk down to their "Neighborhood" school. (Has that part of town always been the exclusive, secluded, power-neighborhood while other incorporated areas in Mountain View have been left out in the dark??) I work off my ass as do my wife, we both have professional jobs, yet it seems we'll never reach to the benefit from the fruits of our labor.

I don't have 3 million dollars to purchase a house just to satisfy convenience, but whoever planned to put the High School there did it to satisfy their "convenience". How perfectly planned that was.

Also can anyone explain why cursive writing was removed from the school curriculum? It's stupid to know that my kid will not know how to sign his own name when he gets out in the real world because technology made that part of his education dyslexic.


7 people like this
Posted by @Weather is Great
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 14, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Correction: The weather is NOT great here. It is far too dry.

And far too much ozone too in the air. And other particles.

Definiitely not nearly enough rain.


5 people like this
Posted by @Neighbor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 14, 2016 at 8:59 pm

@Neighbor:

You asked: "Aren't transit buses reserved for kids who live in urban cities?"

Mountain View is an urban area. An urban area is highly developed, has none or almost no agriculture, is population dense. An urban area is usually a place where more people work than live. A suburb is where more people live than work. By any measure, Mountain View has become, while we were sleeping, a major urban area in the South Bay.


11 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Oct 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

@Neighbor from North Whisman

Could you please share your concerns about inferior or non-existent bus services for students with the trustees of your two school districts directly, by emailing them at trustees at mvla.net and trustees at mvwsd.org?

I too am interested in better bus service for our city's and our district's students. I proposed this topic for discussion at the board meeting two weeks ago, but did not get support for it from a majority of the board, so I wouldn't expect it to be discussed any time soon. It would be good for both boards to hear from frustrated parents like you.


13 people like this
Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Traffic is bad already and this will exacerbate the congestion and gridlock.
Also, we lack water to sustain those already here. There were several spare the air days over the past few months which further diminishes our quality of life. Prices on everything have risen lately, even gasoline.
People on fixed incomes are standing in the bread lines.


8 people like this
Posted by @Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm

What I meant to say was a city with a large population of a few hundred thousand people, so large that school buses are too overwhelmed to shuffle the masses of children to various schools scattered around the large area. Mountain View is not that large and I don't see why school buses are not provided from my neck of the woods stretching out to each corner of the city limits.


8 people like this
Posted by Agree W/@Neighbor
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 19, 2016 at 3:21 pm

School Administrators spend more time developing counter-productive reasons not to bus. It probably has to do with being able to use all the money for teachers' and administrator salaries rather than a portion to solve a larger capital budget problem that cost community even more money. Children should have the "bus" option rather than parents driving them to school.


3 people like this
Posted by I_Got_Mine
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 19, 2016 at 9:54 pm

Let's see. Mtn.View has a WHISMAN CAMPUS. Why are school students not able to to use that school? I used to see students using buses and actually WALKING TO SCHOOL there.

Mtn. View HAD a local High School as I mentioned before. I have just found out what will happen when the Mtn.View house will be empty. It will be sold as an investment into other housing outside the SFBA and California. Thus ends an era of two generations living in California, from an orchard next door, to Fairchild's " Rust Bucket " and AMD's Test III and IV ( where I worked ), to Father's race car garage.

Since the property is next to existing apartment complexes, I expect a " scrape off " and new apartment buildings built there. Our exodus will be complete. 40 years of living gone in several months after my parents die. I have a better view of real mountains out my front door. This place has no place for high rises that block my view of the mountains, this place will not allow them as they are " built-out " and no more buildings will be built here.


14 people like this
Posted by Citizen for Traffic Sense
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:07 am

This housing development at 440 San Antonio will bring San Antonio Road to utter grid lock and must be stopped. The 583 unit apartment will add close to 6000 trips a day (approx.. 10 trips/ household per Federal estimates) to a section of San Antonio that is already extremely busy. Far worse though, the plans for San Antonio road include a 1700 seat movie theater a 160 hotel and 400,000 feet of office space (for a new LinkedIn Office) which are estimated to employ some 3500 people. These buildings are all under way and located within a quarter mile or so of the proposed Apartment complex. The 3500 employees will easily generate another 7000+ trips (more likely 14,000). That’s additional 13,000 to 20,000 trips a day dumped on only a ¼ mile section of San Antonio Road that can barely handle the current traffic levels. This alone will bring that section of San Antonio to complete grid lock during working hours. Then you add an additional 3400 to 6800 trips in the evening for patrons of the movie theaters and you extend the grid lock well into the late evening hours. Despite the obvious impact of these numbers, there are no plans to accommodate the additional traffic load through additional lanes. The failure to take such measures is incomprehensible and grossly irresponsible as is allowing the project in the first place.

Who will be impacted? All those who use San Antonio to get to and from 101 for work, work on San Antonio, or take their children to school (there are at least three schools off San Antonio within about a two mile stretch), take their children to the Community Center for the Arts or the JCC or do their food shopping at the San Antonio shopping center. Given the amount of increased traffic drive times during rush hour from the intersection of San Antonio and El Camino to 101 could easily take 45 minutes to an hour or more. This will likely also create significant congestion on Eli Camino near San Antonio as well as the section of San Antonio west of El Camino, bringing those sections to a standstill during rush hour as well. The city may need additional housing, but not this way when so many Mountain View citizens including school children will be so adversely affected. Unless measures are taken to mitigate the drastically increased traffic, the housing project at 440 San Antonio should be cancelled.


6 people like this
Posted by Citizen for Traffic Sense
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:09 am

This housing development at 440 San Antonio will bring San Antonio Road to utter grid lock and must be stopped. The 583 unit apartment will add close to 6000 trips a day (approx.. 10 trips/ household per Federal estimates) to a section of San Antonio that is already extremely busy. Far worse though, the plans for San Antonio road include a 1700 seat movie theater a 160 hotel and 400,000 feet of office space (for a new Linkedin Office) which will are estimated to employ some 3500 people. These buildings are all under way and located within a quarter mile or so of the proposed Apartment complex. The 3500 employees will easily generate another 7000+ trips (more likely 14,000). That’s additional 13,000 to 20,000 trips a day dumped on only a ¼ mile section of San Antonio Road that can barely handle the current traffic levels. This alone will bring that section of San Antonio to complete grid lock during working hours. Then you add an additional 3400 to 6800 trips in the evening for patrons of the movie theaters and you extend the grid lock well into the late evening hours. Despite the obvious impact of these numbers, there are no plans to accommodate the additional traffic load through additional lanes. The failure to take such measures is incomprehensible and grossly irresponsible as is allowing the project in the first place.

Who will be impacted? All those who use San Antonio to get to and from 101 for work, work on San Antonio, or take their children to school (there are at least three schools off San Antonio within about a two mile stretch), take their children to the Community Center for the Arts or the JCC or do their food shopping at the San Antonio shopping center. Given the amount of increased traffic drive times during rush hour from the intersection of San Antonio and El Camino to 101 could easily take 45 minutes to an hour or more. This will likely also create significant congestion on Eli Camino near San Antonio as well as the section of San Antonio west of El Camino, bringing those sections to a standstill during rush hour as well. The city may need additional housing, but not this way when so many Mountain View citizens including school children will be so adversely affected. Unless measures are taken to mitigate the drastically increased traffic, the housing project at 440 San Antonio should be cancelled.


6 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 26, 2016 at 2:06 pm

The above poster makes a great point. Adding that much traffic to such a short section of San Antonio is madness and it is hard to imagine a city that prides itself on good civic planning could allow such a thing. The next city counsel needs to give serious consideration to taking corrective measures or voting down the proposal.


5 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2016 at 5:02 pm

I agree with the posts above, adding that many trips is going to make the affected area of San Antonio Road and the surrounding streets into a traffic nightmare. The new city counsel needs to reverse the decision on the development and soon.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Round Table Pizza bites the dust in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 18 comments | 6,118 views

Local Transit to the Rescue?
By Sherry Listgarten | 32 comments | 3,461 views

Eating Green on the Green – August 25
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,410 views

"The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 929 views

 

Register now!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info