Council favors seven-story housing project

Concerns emerge that underground parking garage could spread toxins from nearby Superfund site

Despite some misgivings about parking and the sheer size of the project, Mountain View City Council members on Tuesday night were largely pleased with a proposal to build two seven-story housing structures right next door to the city's largest jobs center. But bringing any amenities like parks and retail to the Terra Bella area just south of Highway 101 will probably have to wait for another day.

The project at 1001 North Shoreline Blvd., proposed by Calvano Development, would be a big divergence from the existing single-story buildings in the area, bringing a dense mix of apartments and for-sale condominiums, and a six-story parking structure, to an area currently zoned for industrial uses. The project would be right next door to a 111,443-square-foot office building -- also built by Calvano -- that is expected to be completed this summer and will be leased out to Google. The new proposed development includes 203 apartments in one structure directly facing the Highway 101 on-ramp, as well as 100 condominiums to the east of the office building.

In a letter to city staff with the initial proposal in 2015, the developer referred to the property as a "unique opportunity" for mixed-use office and residential development that follows the spirit of the draft North Bayshore Precise Plan transforming the jobs-rich are of the city with thousands of new housing units. By putting jobs and housing right next door, the developer expects the project to have a "self-mitigating" jobs-housing balance.

The property also appears to be uniquely positioned to be a bad place for retail, park land and underground parking. Since the developers' original gatekeeper proposal was submitted, 3,000 square feet of proposed retail has vanished, and the five-story residential buildings have grown to seven stories to make room for two levels of above-grade parking. Although the city typically requires underground parking for nearly all of its residential developments, digging below the surface and removing groundwater could spread contaminated water from the nearby Teledyne Spectra-Physics Superfund plume north of the site.

It's one of several Superfund sites in the city stemming from toxic chemicals, including carcinogenic TCE (trichloroethylene ), that leaked or were dumped and which then contaminated the groundwater flowing underneath the area.

Council members quickly agreed at the April 4 study session not to require to developer to study underground parking. Council member Pat Showalter said she used to be a geo-hydrologist, called the requirement "overkill" and that there's a very low chance the developer is going to find underground parking to be feasible, given the proximity to the groundwater plume. Council member Lenny Siegel added that it would be difficult to prove in a study, without a reasonable doubt, that underground parking wouldn't disrupt the plume, and that the developer could end up on the hook for the cleanup if the contaminated plume spreads as a result of the digging and groundwater removal.

"If they spread the plume beyond its current boundaries they can be named as a potentially responsible party and be liable for the entire cleanup of the site if the other responsible parties aren't able to do that," Siegel said.

Council members also overwhelmingly supported allowing the developer to pay in-lieu fees instead of providing park space -- acknowledging that it was a lousy location for a park -- and agreed to study whether to allow the developer to provide fewer parking spaces than would normally be allowed for high-density housing. Under the city's Model Parking Standard, the project would be required to provide 458 spaces for the homes, but Calvano's proposal only provides for 364 spaces. Shared parking with the nearby office building could be one of the ways to off-load parking demand in nearby lots.

Although the proposal before the City Council on Tuesday night called for setting aside 10 percent of both the condominiums and apartments for below-market rate (BMR) housing -- which is typical -- council members mostly agreed that all of the BMR units ought to be apartments. The developer could also shift some of the units from low-income to moderate-income families, expanding access to the affordable units to families making up to 120 percent of the Area Median Income. An additional package of community benefits will be developed during the formal review process for the project in the coming months.

Council members were split, however, when it came to requiring retail. Although the original gatekeeper proposal called for 3,000 square feet of ground-level retail on the project site, the developer has since dropped it from the proposal, claiming it wouldn't thrive at the project's location. The city's Environmental Planning Commission last month agreed to recommend that Calvano stick to its original proposal, and council members John McAlister, Siegel and Mayor Ken Rosenberg said they were hesitant to lose valuable retail space.

"I think we're going to have to develop the habit of requiring retail even at the risk that it might get subsidized," Siegel said. "We're losing too much retail in our community."

Rosenberg said the claim that retail wouldn't thrive in the project's location doesn't quite add up. The previous business in that location, Fiesta Del Mar, was one of Mountain View's most popular restaurants before it shut down in 2015 to make way for the office development.

"I don't want to accept that it's not possible," Rosenberg said.


5 people like this
Posted by Mexican food corner
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2017 at 11:20 am

I have gone to the 'other corner' for food about twice in the last two decades (Taco Bell). I much preferred the original Fiesta Del Mar. (but after 'too' opened up downtown? started going there)

I agree that this neighborhood area, on a very visible main drag - could again support the right iconic retail/food spot. If there is no reserved retail, we know by downtown, that Office Space will start to erode on mixed-use neighborhood uses.

What Councilwoman from Wagonwheel neighborhood would like to have the local (award winning) little burrito place displaced from the Whisman Road shopping center? I agree with members McAlister, Siegel and Rosenberg. The magic number for Council 'majority decisions' in a vote is FOUR. Please, step up Lisa!

13 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 6, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Any room for trees in this project? I mean real trees - not the wimpy little overgrown shrubs they normally plant.

32 people like this
Posted by Albert
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Apr 6, 2017 at 2:59 pm

People living here will find it impossible to leave by Terra Bella in the mornings when Shoreline is already gridlocked. How does the city council expect to fix this problem?

31 people like this
Posted by Reside
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Apr 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm

I agree with Albert, traffic is already unreal at that corner. How come none of the Stierlin Estate neighborhood had any chance commenting on this massive project. We are the one's most affected my this project. And the only grocery store in the area is that now so famous Safeway on Shoreline. I guess the council believes that all those new residents will walk there since it not just the long checkout lines but also limited parking during peak hours. Shoreline Blvd is way past traffic capacity most any hour of any day. Oh my, this council is destroying our once lovely city one monster project after another.

21 people like this
Posted by Disappointed in MV City Council
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Seven stories, I don't know what to say. I'm stunned.

Let ALL the Googlites live there, with shuttles to and from work. Get them off the streets and out of the neighborhoods.

13 people like this
Posted by Probably74
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm

I'm not convinced that "Shared parking with the nearby office building could be one of the ways to off-load parking demand in nearby lots" is a reasonable or feasible plan. Offices frequently need more parking spaces than they originally anticipate and housing always needs more for visitors and guests of residents.

58 people like this
Posted by Fed Up!
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Just say No! So tired of the horrific city council approving one bad project after another. No retail, massive traffic, dark caverns of roads, cheesy cookie-cutter overpriced high density housing do not make a pleasant community in which to live. Companies could find other locations that would welcome the influx of jobs /housing rather than trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Large companies such as Google would attract people to those jobs wherever they were located.

58 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 6, 2017 at 5:17 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Please change the name of Mountain View; it no longer applies if you build this monster housing project. Developer Acres, Toxic Terrace? I don't think people want to live here.

11 people like this
Posted by Disappointed in MV City Council
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 6, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Alphabet/Google employees = 72,053

As of 2016, the American multinational internet company, headquartered in Mountain View, California, had 72,053 full-time employees. Up until Alphabet's creation in 2015, these figures were reported as Google employees.

Source: Web Link

I know this article isn't about Google, but I assume they are trying to cram all of their employees (and families) into Mountain View. They really have outgrown mountain view, isn't there a cap on this sort of thing? I see potential for a ghost town like Detroit, Mich. if they go elsewhere or fold.

20 people like this
Posted by @the punnisher
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 6, 2017 at 5:23 pm

How about No-Mountain View? Toxic Terrace is clever, but rather upity.

5 people like this
Posted by Disappointed in MV City Council
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 6, 2017 at 5:25 pm

@ the_punnisher: How about No-Mountain View? Toxic Terrace is clever, but rather upity. I think we can do better.

24 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 6, 2017 at 7:24 pm

"Kowloon Walled City" seems like a good name, with the way things are going. 7-story (soon to be 17 story, then 70 story?) tenements lining the city boundaries, blocking all sunlight and Mountain Views.

28 people like this
Posted by Ross Heitkamp
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 6, 2017 at 8:14 pm

I used to live a block from here. That is way out of proportion.
Hey, City Council, what happened to following our General Plan? We put a lot of effort into visioning how our city should grow and evolve, but you routinely ignore that and approve these changes. When you take industrial area and make it residential (a windfall for the land owner in this climate) it knocks our city balance out of whack. That was done before to create the housing imbalance, but 2 wrongs don't make a right. Make a good plan. Follow the plan. Don't feel pressured by these developers that don't have to live with the consequences. Please!

16 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2017 at 10:11 pm

"But mah views!" said all the Boomers.

If you guys wanted the entire city of Mountain View to remain a quiet suburb then you should have bought the whole city. Thank god we're building more housing in the midst of the crunch.

12 people like this
Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2017 at 6:59 am

I think that allowing the developer to remove the retail space is a mistake. As noted in the article and by other commenters, Fiesta del Mar was successful at this location, and there is other retail across the street. Adding residential density plus the new office workers who are about to occupy the buildings under construction should actually make it more viable.

The Council should make retail space a requirement, regardless of what the developer says (they will always complain about anything that makes their project a bit more complex). Even if the retail space isn't occupied right at the start, it's important to have the space built in for the future, as this is going to be an even more important gateway location in the future.

60 people like this
Posted by Just stop the addiction
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 7, 2017 at 7:51 am

OMG! Just stop! Stop the building! Stop converting open space and trees to cement, stop with giant housing, corporate developing. JUST STOP!

People, wake up and LOOK at what is happening. Mountain View is turning into a city without heart or humanity, every man/woman for themselves, due to corporate takeoeover. As with all addictions, comes a crash and burn. We think we are immune to crashes. This recent flood of overbuilding, over industrialization, overdevelopment, overcoprporatizarion is an addiction and we will crash. People have forgotten the years of vacant buildings and contamination left behind by previous hungry corporations. We still have repercussions decades after GE, Fairchild and ofhers abandoned acres of contaminated land, leaving homeowners to suffer. Try a one year moratorium on building. Seriously.


43 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 7, 2017 at 7:59 am

Challenge to YIMBY and anyone else to claims to support this project -- head over to Shoreline & Terra Bella at 9:30 AM today (or any workday) and just observe auto traffic. Come back and let us know how functional roads will be (or not) once you add 1000 more cars (likely all headed north on Shoreline). No need to post here again until you have actually done this.

5 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 7, 2017 at 9:28 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Oh, BTW, Google/Alphabet has some property in/near Boulder, Colorado. They have even had NIST be forced to build height restricted buildings. Web Link
I shouldn't worry about Google planned expansion plans. Plenty of Mountain Views and expansion space. The people maintain a similar behavior pattern that I call it Berzerkeley East. The students even protested like Mountain View residents did: Web Link

14 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2017 at 10:24 am


I get stuck in that traffic constantly, and yet I wish this building was 14 stories or more. We need better mass transit infrastructure and we need more housing, but either of those things requires an arduous uphill battle with people who want it to be 1970 again in Mountain View, so I'll take what I can get.

3 people like this
Posted by Crusader
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

79 people like this
Posted by Living
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Apr 7, 2017 at 12:14 pm

What comes first; a great transit system or unlimited growth? Any city can only support so many residents and workers. Mtv View has reached its limits, by the way were is all the water coming from for these new residents. Hetch Hetchy has only so much storage space, and the next drought will come again.
New schools will be needed, or are all of these new residents single without children and move away once they get married and have children. This city needs to stop building anything and follow the existing general plan. You can not add unlimited growth without the support facilities. And this has nothing to do with 'not in my backyard' ,it's about quality of live.

7 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

We should be expanding our infrastructure to handle more growth, but that's often a way of just saying "no growth" because those same people will still find a way to block the infrastructure developments. The housing is coming, so start supporting the infrastructure improvements that are going to be needed for it.

8 people like this
Posted by Pragmatist
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 7, 2017 at 4:41 pm

And where are the kids who live in this new massive development going to go to school? The MV schools are already overcrowded. There needs to be better coordination between the MV City Council and the school districts, which seem to operate completely independently of each other.

12 people like this
Posted by Real Pragmatist
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 7, 2017 at 5:01 pm

There's a great solution to that problem: build more schools. It doesn't make sense to hold housing hostage for that, though. Otherwise, we'll hear "Why are you building more schools? There aren't enough kids to support it."

We should do what we need to do to handle our growth, which includes building more housing, building more schools, improving our public transit. We can do this together so that everyone who works in Mountain View can afford to live here.

14 people like this
Posted by Crusader
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 7, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Complete and utter nonsense, there is absolutely NO responsibility for a city to ensure its workers can afford to live in their city.

This is crazy. Who are you that think this is a RIGHT? Show me where, EVER has it been said that a City should provide housing?

You guys keep chanting this mantra, thinking if you repeat it enough it will make it true. The Voice keeps publishing articles giving such a slanted view it's ridiculous. And posts thatcontradict this social engineering are deleted.

Wow. Talk about a population being manipulated. Wake up Mountain View. Wake up.

7 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 7, 2017 at 8:34 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Sigh. Why not RETURN THE WHISMAN SCHOOL AND PROPERTY BACK TO WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED FOR: a PUBLIC SCHOOL! That is also another change I cannot understand. buses lined up to drop students off and buses to pick them up aftr the school day was finished. We HAD a set of plans for the future of Mountain View AND WE PAID THE SPECIAL TAXES! So, where is the future Mountain View I PAID FOR? I see no BART THAT I PAID FOR with a spur past San Jose to access the housing going south. Yes, I planned for better access rather than the Charley Fox I see now. You would already have grade separations like RTD Light Rail has RIGHT NOW!
So who P***ed my money away? [ dead silence ]. I think that Mountain View leaders better grow a pair and ask about BART transit for the Peninsula. No HSR without keeping the promises made for the BART TAX. Otherwise, that money should be given back to the TAXPAYER WITH INTEREST ACCRUED!
NO HSR WITHOUT BUILDING OUT BART!( that would have solved these crises decades ago AND CALTRAIN wouldn't exist! BART is already electrified and smelly diesels wouldn't be killing people and Gunn HS students at grade crossings.
On the other roadblocks to bringing BART down the Peninsula: hasn't anyone heard of the power of foreclosure for the public good?:EMINENT DOMAIN? RTD Light Rail has successfully done this multiple times. I'll bet HSR will do this. So how about making good on those promises? No more Caltrain or expensive electrification; JUST MAKE GOOD ON YOUR PROMISES AND BRING BART DOWN THE PENINSULA. END HSR IN SAN JOSE AND KEEP BART GOING UP TO SF without using the TRANS-BAY TUBE!


7 people like this
Posted by YIMBY​
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm


"Complete and utter nonsense, there is absolutely NO responsibility for a city to ensure its workers can afford to live in their city."

Your generation will not be missed.

4 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 8, 2017 at 10:38 pm

More housing is good! But I would support the "condos" on Terra Bella having a 3-story pedestal and rising to 7 stories with a setback.

17 people like this
Posted by Such a shame
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 10, 2017 at 9:41 am

Wow, the city of Mountain View really knows how to go overboard. First we build massive apartments (many of which are recently completed are still not full) because we need more housing. They are mostly rentals, so people living there will never actually be able to own anything and live here as they age, they will be forced to be renters forever or move away to buy something. Horrible planning.

Then we vote for rent control so we can keep rents artificially low so everyone can live here. We will see the negative effects of this decision 10-15 years from now when all these buildings start to age and look horrible, being rented out increasingly to people of questionable records.

Many people arguing for both of these options pointed to the increasing numbers of people living on the streets in campers saying if there was more housing we wouldn't have people camping on the street. And yet, in my neighborhood the number of campers continues to increase with the city doing nothing about it! These people have no interest in getting out of their campers and paying for adequate housing like the rest of us do.

It would have been much smarter to focus on one of these solutions and make changes gradually. By doing all three at once we have guaranteed that Mountain View will not be a place that our children will want to live. Our neighboring cities have been much smarter, and are making smart changes gradually. It's really a shame Mountain View didn't have the self-control for better planning and more foresight. Now all us residents will pay the price.

Just wait until the tech industry hits a bump (as it always does) and Mountain View quickly becomes a dirty, run-down, crime-ridden area with bad schools and rough neighbors. It won't matter that my future children can afford to live here. They won't want to anyway.

5 people like this
Posted by highwaytohe!!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2017 at 11:15 am

@Such a shame

You nailed it......

5 people like this
Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Darin is a registered user.

@Such a shame

The Measure V rent control won't apply to "these buildings" since it doesn't apply to anything anything built since 1995.

5 people like this
Posted by park user
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 10, 2017 at 9:18 pm

Lousy location for a park? Is there really ever a lousy location for a park? I think there could be creative ways to not have it interact with the soil . Has anyone seen some of the small parks in SF? Or maybe a rooftop park for residents and the public? or between buildings? These things don't have to be like Shoreline. Cities aren't just streets, cement,tar, buildings and companies....

And to be honest, should we be promoting any place built today that does not encourage people to get out and walk around even if it is not connected well to other places yet because they weren't built that way before?

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Stierlin Estates

on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:19 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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

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