News

Google plans for-sale homes in North Bayshore

New plans for North Bayshore include about 2,000 units of ownership housing

Want to own a home in Mountain View's North Bayshore? If things play out according to Google's plans, there could be about 2,000 new for-sale homes going up in the city's priciest area in the coming years.

A new promotional website charting Google's expansion plans reveals for the first time that the company aims to go heavy on ownership housing. Google is laying out the groundwork to build up to 6,600 new homes in North Bayshore, which up until now have been described as rental apartments. In the new materials, Google officials now indicate they intend for at least 30 percent of the housing to provide "ownership opportunities."

That turn of phrase will be music to the ears of Mountain View officials, who have promoted for-sale housing as a key component of the city's future residential growth. Google's development also will include 20 percent affordable housing, which if fully built would double the amount of subsidized housing in Mountain View.

The proposed housing comprises the lion's share of the 9,850 homes envisioned in the city's precise plan, approved about a year ago. The 6,600 homes would be focused in Shorebird and Joaquin, two new neighborhoods envisioned in the city's precise plan. Google first laid out its grand plans for building out these neighborhoods in a series of master plans submitted to the city in December.

As part of building these neighborhoods, Google says it will provide 7.5 miles of new hiking and biking trails and up to 35 acres of public open space. If all goes according to plan, Google officials say they believe they can fully build 6,600 new homes in North Bayshore by 2030.

But plenty of components in the plan remain unresolved. To provide a school for children in the new neighborhoods, Google is offering the Mountain View Whisman School District a 3.5 acre site near San Antonio Road at Casey Avenue. The site is located about 2 miles away from where most of the North Bayshore residential development is planned.

The Mountain View Whisman School District is scheduled to discuss the proposed Casey Avenue site at a board meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7.

In addition, a conflict remains unresolved between Google and the development firm SyWest, which owns about 16 acres along the Shoreline Boulevard, near Highway 101. SyWest has declined to partner with Google on building out the Joaquin neighborhood, and the firm submitted its own development plans to the city.

Google is publicizing its housing ambitions in anticipation of a Feb. 26 City Council meeting to review the precise plan.

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Comments

37 people like this
Posted by Kevin W
a resident of Slater
on Feb 6, 2019 at 2:29 pm

This is great news for Mountain View and will go a long way towards solving our enormous job/housing imbalance.

Amazing opportunity for 6,600 new families, including 2000 new homeowners in our community.

Join me to welcome our new neighbors with open arms.


20 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 6, 2019 at 2:58 pm

I think this is great news. My only concern is the pricepoint. I'm worried that only very highly paid techworkers will be able to afford them. I've been a Mountain View resident for 26 years, and there was only a four-year period where I could have afforded to buy, from 1995 to 1999. But I made the wrong choices, and I never got into ownership housing. I was young and foolish.

After 26 years, Mountain View is my home; but I don't know that I would be able to afford any of the new owner-housing.

I hope so. It's my own fault, the pickle I'm in; but I hope so.


23 people like this
Posted by Alex M
a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 6, 2019 at 3:10 pm

I've always been in favor of having more homes that people can own rather than rent.

I'm curious what is meant by "affordable" housing in that area, though. Affordable to whom?

My financial adviser has what I always thought was a good measure of affordability in relative terms: Divide the price of the house by how much it would rent for annually. Ideally (and this is true in most of the country), home prices should be 10-15 times annual rent. Here in the Peninsula we're looking at 20-25 times annual rent. Even the small condo I live in would sell for 25 times its rental rate.

Another way to look at it: rents around here are WAY LOW compared to the price of buying a home. That, ironically, never occurred to the rent-control advocates. Rents are high in absolute terms, but rents here are a bargain relative to purchasing. So stop whining about high rents.


8 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2019 at 3:32 pm

@MV Renter

Don't feel bad- nobody can predict the market, the future but sometimes when we feel it may be a good time to do something, we are afraid to take a gamble, get cold feet and back out. A lot of it has to do with just the right timing as well.

These over-priced, ridiculous real estate prices only attract those who have higher incomes (mostly tech workers) and when the economy takes a downturn, those jobs disappear and housing values drop significantly. The salaries of these individuals are what is encouraging gentrification. Many of the folks that are working in lower-paid professions are being driven out.

If you haven't noticed lately, take a look around and you'll see many of those Mountain View notice signs posted in front of some apartment complexes around town. The signs are notices that those buildings will be erradicated and replaced by Townhouse/Condo's. The owners of those apartment properties are wise to sell their property now, take the money and run before the economy takes a dump for the worse and then leave it up to the new housing developers hands to deal with the issues of having a property that would be difficult to sell if a downturn were to happen in the near future.

Housing in our city should be affordable to attract many diversities, first-time home buyers, people looking to fulfill that American Dream of home ownership, those with young families with small children looking to be a part of the community in the long term, and not to mention those who are living in their trailer homes on the streets.

Perhaps these housing developments will minimize the number of those ridiculously-looking employee-privileged white buses that cause jacknife traffic jams and clog intersections. Each bus alone is equivalent to about 3-4 car lengths.


28 people like this
Posted by Rethinking Shoreline Park
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 6, 2019 at 3:34 pm

The Casey Avenue site for the school is ridiculous, what are they thinking? I wish the city would partner with the school district to build a school adjacent to Shoreline park like they did with the new athletic fields. Shoreline park has a huge amount of wasted space that could be put to a better use and allow children to enjoy a little more open space at their school. Don't even get me started on the golf course, what a waste to have so much of our valuable park land dedicated to a golf course that serves a fraction of a percentage of the Mountain View community. I think we could make much better use of the space in Shoreline if we re-imagined it for our modern needs rather than sticking with the antiquated 60's era design.


23 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm

@Neighbor

Just to be fully accountable, I'm in a strange kind of pickle in that I do make enough to afford rent in Mountain View, as exhorbitantly high as it is; and even through the hard times and dot bombs and real estate collapse, rent here still increased; but yet I was able to get by (even if only just barely).

In other words, I wouldn't consider myself to be low income. Nor did "the system": when I was forced to move out of the apartment I had been in for 13 years because it was bulldozed to be rebuilt into rowhouses (which I won't be able to afford), I make just a few more K than the income limits on relocation assistance. I got not a cent of assistance, and relocated (thankfully still in Mountain View) on my own dime.

Anywhere else in the country, I'm outright rich. But I'm not rich enough to afford to buy a one bedroom condo, which in an older building in Mountain View is upward of $800K (before the bidding war), which breaks down to $300K to get into it. I don't have $300K lying around. I doubt any of the new owner housing we be any cheaper.

Now, conventional wisdom would say I should live somewhere cheaper, to save my pennies to accumulate $300K to get that $800K condo; but that kind of obsoletes having stayed here being part of the community and developing loyalty to the city and its residents.

Even more conventional wisdom would say that I should live somewhere cheaper, period. Save the pennies, get into owner housing somewhere cheaper. Living within one's means and all that.

Except... it's been 26 years. This is home to me. I'm part of the community, I know my neighbors, the people who work at the grocery store, etc etc etc. I don't live hear to be close to the workplace (I don't work for Google), or simply because it's the best commute (it is, but I'd be paying far too much money for the commute). It's a tough call.

Now, I'm quite aware that society doesn't owe me anything; if anything it's the reverse. I'm glad that the new housing development will benefit some.

I'm just bummed that, if the redevelopment projects which are currently in progress is any indicator, it likely won't benefit me. And I actually love this city, I'm not just here for work and convenience.


11 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2019 at 4:13 pm

@MV Renter

I totally agree with you that conventional wisdom (and also common sense) would say that if we were remotely living outside of this area (eastward by about 250 miles or more, aka Reno), retain our incomes and/or increase them a bit more, we can live comfortably in a real house, that has a real backyard and a real garage and not a carport nor street parking for that matter. We wouldn't have to resort to having to deal with playing street-games with your neighbors to see whoever gets the last open spot close to the front of your housing unit. That's just silly that we have to resort to those sort of tactics, but it is what it is.

For a person that's been here for 26 years, I sure wished you had bought a house back in the late 90s because you deserve it for being a resident in this community for that long. Heck, you would be close to downright paying it off. If I could turn back the clock, I would be proud to be the one to hand you the keys if I was your realtor who helped you make that purchase.

I'm also glad that you've hung in there and did what you can to stay in this community regardless of the increases in pricing and other challenges.

I couldn't fathom living anywhere outside of California and if I were to venture out and go farther eastbound (the farther east you go and away from the coast, the cheaper it gets), I would probably stop around Reno since I can still be within driving distance of California. As tempting as it may seem, I always remind myself that even though you just moved into a brand new house, brand new city/community, enjoying the furnishings of your new humble abode, step outside your front door and try to soak in your environment. It just isn't the same. There's nothing like living in Mountain View.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 7, 2019 at 7:54 am

I've been living here for 21 years, quite a while too. The Bay Area's high housing prices, particularly here on the peninsula, are the fault of city governments for being resistant to change, and not allowing housing to keep pace with population growth. Like it or not, we're gaining population, and our cities have chosen to make housing unaffordable, instead of allowing them to get denser. It'll only get worse as the population grows and the tech industry grows, allowing tech workers to displace everyone who makes less. It's not a given that housing grows in value, in most of the country, a house is a depreciating asset.


5 people like this
Posted by big mistake
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 7, 2019 at 8:16 am

This is a big mistake. This will guarantee a permanent loss in commercial property. Better to try as rental units and see if it works. If not you can go back to commercial property. Adding owner residents near commercial property will create permanent conflicts. ( ask the MH community) What happens if google decides to leave? The residents will oppose any new development to them


11 people like this
Posted by not a mistake
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2019 at 9:42 am

Google is not leaving and even if they did that would not necessarily be a bad thing. Mtn View needs more permanent housing.


7 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 7, 2019 at 11:11 am

@Neighbor

Thank you and I appreciate you.

You kind of make my point for me, I'm afraid. Mountain View has a lot of good people in it; the kind of people that makes me proud to call my neighbors. I hope I can hang in there for the long haul.

But as the years pass, I do have to be concerned about when that time comes that I'm no longer able to battle it out in the workforce. For those who own homes, the sale of their home will pay for the rest of their lives to live in retirement somewhere else.

Just as food for thought, with respect to conventional wisdom and common sense, there is this point to consider. If for example one were able to save a static percentage of their income (for the sake of the example, let's say 10%), then the cost-of-living versus income plays a huge factor. Say someone made $100K here and saved 10%, that's $10K a year multiplied by time in the workforce. Now, say someone lived somewhere more affordable; commensurately one might make less for the same job (economies of scale) and made $50K; but yet is able to own a home (with a yard, etc). Ignoring for a moment the impact of materials and maintenance of property (the prices of which may not scale to region), let's say they also saved 10%. That's $5K a year multiplied by time in the workforce.

We're not even including things like compound returns on 401(k) or a Roth IRA or anything.

In other words, working your whole career here, living month-to-month, frugal like a college student, never owning a home or any kind of property equity, at the end of your working life you have enough money to retire somewhere cheaper. But living somewhere cheaper, working that same career... at the end of your working life, all you've got to retire on is the equity on your house which isn't worth much.

And the picture is even rosier for a homeowner here in Mountain View. If you sell your property, even at a slight loss, you get enough to retire, go on a cruise or two, go into assisted living, eventually to managed care, eventually to hospice and palliative care, and still have enough money left to be buried (which also isn't cheap).

Kind of a sobering thought exercise.


11 people like this
Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 7, 2019 at 11:51 am

Lenny Siegel is a registered user.

Google's decision to include ownership housing on its North Bayshore property opens up the opportunity to create community land trusts, where first-time homebuyers could buy their own units but not have to invest in a share of the expensive, underlying land. Then, when they sell, they could collect the equity that they have accumulated in their mortgage payments as well as appreciation on the living space, but they would not benefit from the appreciation of the land.


3 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 7, 2019 at 11:53 am

@Former Mayor Siegel

I'm afraid I know nothing about community land trusts. Thank you for mentioning it, I will certainly research what I can about it. Thanks again.


17 people like this
Posted by #itsjustmath
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 7, 2019 at 9:41 pm

I don't understand when people like @Neighbor complain that "ridiculously-looking employee-privileged white buses" ...cause "traffic jams and clog intersections." And even that "Each bus alone is equivalent to about 3-4 car lengths."

You're kidding me, right?

Keep in mind that each of those "ridiculously-looking" buses replaces 40 to 50 single-occupancy vehicles, which cause exponentially more traffic.

Which would you rather have?

We need more people riding buses (and bikes), not less.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2019 at 8:27 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

JUst understand this:

New state law will require that 30% of the new homes will have price controls of affordability at the 120% averarge median income range for 45 years. Or 600 units.

15% will need to be affordable to 80% AMI for 45 years, or 300 units.

and 5% will need to be affordable to 50% AMI for 45 years or 100 units.

1000 units of state law price controls.


9 people like this
Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2019 at 10:22 am

Mountain View = google company town.


Like this comment
Posted by State law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 8, 2019 at 11:05 am

Mountain View is a charter city. State laws like BMR will not apply. The city will have to negotiate w Google. Also without owning the land, the land owner will capture any land price increases. No one makes equity owning a depreciating asset. Similar to owning a MH.


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2019 at 12:12 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State Law:

You should research further, the new laws apply to Charter Cities.

All you have to do is read them, they specifically state that Charter vCities are required to comply


Like this comment
Posted by State law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 8, 2019 at 7:37 pm

I agree that these state laws are drafted to be considered a "statewide concern" and thus override a charter cities concern over "municipal matters".

"Adopting a charter gives a city control over its municipal affairs, charter cities are subject to the same state laws as general law cities on matters considered to be of “statewide concern.” What constitutes a municipal affair as opposed to a matter of statewide concern is a fluid concept."

Charter cities are represented by the LCC and will sue if the state tries to enforce these new laws. Huntington beach recently sued the state and made the exact same argument that local housing is a municipal concern and not a state concern.


1 person likes this
Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 8, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Current trend nearby for affordable housing

Sunnyvale condos 1.2 million up. Low income affordable units for income $150,000 family of 4 single 105,000


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2019 at 9:43 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State Law:

Yes there will be lawsuits.

But price controls are constitutional and will be allowed. The Ca Supreme Court already ruled in the Birkenfield case along with many others.

Especially since the new laws recognize the energency issue of affordable housing shortage.

This is just going to delay the inevitable.

As a major footnote, if ANY state funds are provided to the City of Mountain View, the inherent fact is that establishes that the state can dictate any practice regarding the City of Mountain View. Unless the City wishes to forgo any state funds. The state can withold all grants and funds from the City until the City will comply with the law.


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2019 at 9:49 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

You withheld some information from the statement you provided. The complete statement went on to say:

“Over time, what was once viewed as a municipal affair can subsequently become a matter of statewide concern. If the State legislature or the voters of the State declare a matter to be one of statewide concern, any local charter provision or ordinance governing that area becomes preempted by the subsequent State legislation.”

In effect, since the legislation signed is of “statewide” concern, the local charter is preempted by State legislation.


2 people like this
Posted by State Law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 9, 2019 at 8:33 am

These are new laws that have not been tested in the courts. The statement you quote contains a big "IF". Cities have sued and won on these issues.


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2019 at 9:22 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

State Law:

Just understand the new laws legislated wrote language in it explicitly stating clearly in black and white declared the housing problem is a state issue.

You simply are promoting fruitless courses of action.

Since the state legislature has declared a housing crisis in its legislation, the Birkenfeild case specifically is enforceable.

That case in effect states that price controls are constitutional as long as the existence of a housing crisis is in effect. And even the idea of “investor expectations of ROI” are not considered until the housing problem is in fact solved.

Please understand that the housing industry has a serious systemic problem, and it will need to solve it.


3 people like this
Posted by State law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm

"Just understand the new laws legislated wrote language in it explicitly stating clearly in black and white declared the housing problem is a state issue."

you are missing the point State legislators can say and write whatever they want. Some cities will sue and win in court. Housing supply and control is clearly a municipal interest no matter what the state says.


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2019 at 7:08 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

That is your opinion.

You have that right to express it and beleive it.

But you are not the authority in the matter, I will simply not be surprised if the courts will not agree with you.


6 people like this
Posted by A techie
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 10, 2019 at 12:33 am

@Kevin W

I don't think this will do anything to help the imbalance. It is possibly not making it worse. I'd love to see the math and I'm surprised more city planning is not data-driven and the data is not transparent.

A 4:1 ratio of new housing to new office sounds reasonable, assuming offices will have one employee per 180 sqft and an upscale one bedroom apartment for a tech employee is 720 sqft. Some units will be smaller, some will have more bedrooms, some will have more occupants, the new retail will also need workers, all of these new workers will have on average some number of stay at home family members, children, etc, and will need schools, healthcare, city services, which need more workers. I don't know what any of these multipliers are, so I can't say for sure, but I'm going to stick with asserting that this is not paying down any of the already accumulated housing imbalance.

@MV Renter

Your story about being on the wrong side of the welfare cliffs is one of the most frustrating parts of the dysfunctional housing market and politics. A select few low-income people who win a lottery get nicer places than many middle-income people can afford. On the other end, couples with two Google incomes will feel the pain but essentially don't have to worry, plus once they own, they get Prop 13 protection and mortgage deduction. And, as in many areas, a "middle class" defined by an ever-increasing cutoff is squeezed and foots the bill. Even an engineer at Google well into their career could conceivably be overburdened, according to the 30% rule, if they insist on things like ground wiring to their outlets (which will also mean they're not in a unit subject to Measure V rent control).


5 people like this
Posted by State law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2019 at 9:12 am

"But you are not the authority in the matter"

And neither are you but the courts have ruled in favor of cities. This will all come down to whether the courts buy into the statewide concern argument of a housing crisis. There is certainly a housing crisis in some cities of california, but not in the majority of cities.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2019 at 12:42 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to State law you said:

“And neither are you but the courts have ruled in favor of cities.”

Please present any state law that was ruled unconstitutional regarding a City challenge regarding housing? You said:

“This will all come down to whether the courts buy into the statewide concern argument of a housing crisis.”

What evidence do you have to prove that the housing crisis is NOT a statewide problem? The Cities will have to PROVE that the Cities are the cause of the problem in order to prevail and negate the State laws. Aren’t you aware of this? You said:

“ There is certainly a housing crisis in some cities of california, but not in the majority of cities.”

The cities challenging such a law will have to PROVE that their housing is providing ample affordable housing if you use your logic. If you look at the reports provided by the State and the various governmental reports that seems to be difficult to prove. But most importantly, in order to negate a STATEWIDE issue, the standard of proof will be that the Cities challenging the laws will have to prove that there is NO HOUSING CRISIS in the state as a whole. Given that state laws are required to apply to ALL citizens equally.

Your simply making a claim with no evidence. Please provide something related to this issue as an example. I provided the Birkenfeild case as proof that the Ca Supreme Court will not invalidate price controls.


5 people like this
Posted by State Law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2019 at 5:06 pm

First of all , I am not your research assistant. You can look up the cases. However, an appeals court did find for Huntington Beach a few years ago that the city was exempt from a part of a state housing law because they are a charter city. The same charter exemption was applied to exempt charter cities from the state sanctuary law in a recent case.

Somehow you fail to understand that state law exempts charter cities from state mandates. legislators can ignore the constitution and pass laws requiring charter cities to follow state mandates but they will be sued. There is a higher bar required to include charter cities and the state has not met the burden wrt to housing .

Second do you really think cities in the central valley are experiencing a housing crisis in their city? Have you been to Stockton, Modesto, or Fresno. I have. None of these cites have a housing crisis and houses are priced low enough to allow low/ medium income buyers affordability to live there.


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2019 at 5:51 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

Boy you are really off the mark. The case you discussed is the sanctuary law that was passed.

It has no relationship with the current laws because that law simply stated that the city police cannot act to assist ICE.

The case stated:

“A judge has ruled that California can’t require the city of Huntington Beach to follow a state law limiting local police collaboration with federal immigration agents.

Superior Court Judge James Crandall said Thursday that cities that create their own charters have a greater degree of autonomy, the Orange County Register reported.”

This simply is irrelevant regarding housing. And you really knew it. You just did not want the City of Mountain View to know the accurate truth.

Specifically the case stated:

“Michael Gates, the city attorney for Huntington Beach, said Crandall’s ruling doesn’t just exempt his city from the law but all California cities that make their own charters.

“It violated charter cities’ charter authority,” Gates said. “Telling our local police what they should be doing, or need to be doing, or not to do as relates to their work in the field by the state is a tremendous overreach.”

The Police Department said it continues to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

However, “we have not, and will not, be conducting immigration enforcement in our community,” the department said in a statement. “There are times when immigration matters become important to ensuring the safety of our community, but our focus will continue to be overall public safety.”

WOW you really stretched the idea that that case would apply to housing or land use laws.

LAND use laws are clearly in the hands of the State of California.

LAND laws applies to all cities


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2019 at 5:54 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

NO decision regarding housing has been made yet in the current case regarding SB35.


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2019 at 6:19 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

A recent report I found says thatby the League of California Cities stated:

Virtually every reference guide on Municipal Law begins with the premise that a city has the police power to protect the public health, safety and welfare of its residents. See Berman v. Parker, (1954) 348 U.S. 26, 32-33. This right is set forth in the California Constitution, which states “A county or city may make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations NOT IN CONFLICT WITH GENERAL LAWS.” Cal. Const. at. XI, section 7. The ability to enact ordinances to protect the health, safety and welfare is important in the land use context because it confers very broad rights to adopt regulations that implement local land use vision and values, SO LONG AS LAWS ENACTED BY A CITY ARE NOT IN CONFLICT WITH STATE GENERAL LAWS. This concept is critical because new practitioners often look to cite to a specific statute as the legal authority to adopt an ordinance when, in fact, a city’s broad land use authority flows directly from the constitution IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTORY PROHIBITION OR PREEMPTION OF THE CITY’S OTHERWISE REGULATORY AUTHORITY.

And:

Many public agencies have enacted inclusionary housing ordinances which either encourage or require developers to include a certain percentage of affordable housing units within projects. Many inclusionary housing regulations include the ability to pay an “in-lieu” fee to account for fractional affordable housing requirements or as an alternative to a set-aside requirement. Although inclusionary housing programs have, for the most part, withstood judicial scrutiny (see BIA of Central California v. City of Patterson, (2009)171 Cal. App. 4th 886; Home Builders Assoc.’n of Northern California v. City of 24 Napa, (2001) 90 Cal. App. 4th 188), fairly recent case law has held that the Costa-Hawkins Act has preempted the field of rental restrictions. Palmer/Sixth Street Properties, L.P. v. City of Los Angeles, (2009) 175 Cal. App. 4th 1396

And

The California Supreme Court, in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, (2013) 307 P. 3d 878, will decide whether inclusionary housing requirements need to be justified by a nexus study or can be adopted based on the police power. Given the uncertainty of the standard of review, many practitioners in this area are advising that it seems prudent to complete a nexus study so that the program can continue in the event of an adverse ruling.

The California Supreme Court decided in favor of inclusionary housing requirements, and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected opening a case to review it.


5 people like this
Posted by State Law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 11, 2019 at 6:41 am

You fail to understand a simple argument. You asked for evidence that charter cities are exempt from state law. I obliged w a housIng example and a another state law regarding sanctuary cities. In fact your own quotes show that charter cities are exempt from the state sanctuary law. It’s relevant because it shows that city charters are exempt from state law in most cases.

Your quote from LCC. Supports my point. Charter Cities must not violate state law but are exempt if they don’t. It is the burden of state law to show a state interest if they want a law to apply to charter cities. You have failed to show how the housing crisis applies to all charter cities.

Charter cities have enacted their own BMR ordinances because they are exempt from state BMR laws. Based on recent court cases, Palmer and Patterson, city BMR laws are no longer in effect, which is why cities have to negotiate BMR units. Most nexus studies are deeply flawed.

Again, you fail to understand my point that states can try to impose laws on charter cities, but they will ultimately fail.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2019 at 7:46 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

Just understand that if ANY charter city acts to prevent equal enforcement or protection of state law, it woudl both violate the California and the Federal Constitution.

Simply put no citizens rights to the state laws can be interfered with simply because of their city being a Charter City.

We just have to wait until the current Huntington case is decided.

But if the court employs the analysis above, and the court is being asked to cut off the rights of citizens of a Charter City, the burden to prove that the Charter City has dominion on the rights of its citizens is bad.

The previosu case involved non-citizens, "illegal aliens". Thus they are not citziens and do not has constitutional rights. The housing issue is completely different. So your advocates are arguing that a Charter City Citizen is not entitled to the same treatment under the law.

If any Charter City succeeds in this case, they will be subject to entire loss of both federal and state funds or subsidies becasue these are granted only where the city complies with state and federal laws. They are not entitled to any funds where they violate a citizens rights.

The cost of that clearly outweighs the cost of compliance with the law.

It will be in effect a divorce from the state by the city.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2019 at 7:51 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

On top of that, the rule you claim only applies in a limitied scope as stated here:

"Cities that adopt their own charter, may adopt their own procedures for matters that are considered “municipal affairs.” The California Constitution grants charter cities the power to make and enforce all ordinances and resolutions with respect to municipal affairs (California Constitution Article XI, Section 5(a)). This is commonly referred to as the “home rule” provision. Typical examples of municipal affairs include the manner of conducting local elections and the city’s dealings with its municipal officers and employees."

If this is the case, the land laws are completely unrelated to conducting local elections, municipal officers, and employees. You are completely missing that point.

Land laws must be uniformly applied in the entire state, and most lawyers already know it.


7 people like this
Posted by State Law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 11, 2019 at 8:04 am

It’s you that has missed the point. Land laws are clearly not uniform in all charter cities. Charter cities adopt different densities, FARs and other regulations. Your claim is absurd. Just read the state constitutionn regarding charter cities.


10 people like this
Posted by State Law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 11, 2019 at 8:05 am

It’s interesting how BM pastes stuff and then proceeds to misinterpret his own quotes.


8 people like this
Posted by Yimby #2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2019 at 9:41 am

Good to see more housing being added
This is the most practical to address the supply/demand imbalance and normalize price
I know City Council is also working on transport; this is good.

I suggest the pro rent control perspective result negative results:
1. $2.6 Million bureaucracy
2. Processed 13 petitions so far; this = $200,000 per petition (!@#$%%$#)
3. Piling on more and more stifling bureaucracy
a) Pay for tenant relocation if you want to occupy your own property
b) They are talking about enacting laws to restrict when you can sell your property

That $2.6 M comes out of housing provider pockets and into the pocket of retired
judges and lawyers. This is not a good use of funds. But *some* pro rent control
advocates suggest that this is OK. Almost as if it is not real money since it
comes from a housing provider pockets. I would suggest it is more useful for this money from housing providers goes into the pocket of roofers, painters, plumbers,
electricians. These people do useful work.




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Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 11, 2019 at 12:26 pm

@A techie

Thanks for your observations. In fact, I guess you have pointed to something I have noticed but never put into words, which is of great concern to me. It's not something I'm up in arms about: the market is the market, and things cost what they cost. No sense in complaining about it.

But today, and for several years now it seems, in Mountain View the "middle class" is a renter. And I think that deserves some thought. If the middle class is a renter (who does not have 8 people crammed into an apartment), based upon the prices of a current lease; then perhaps we need to just call a spade a spade and admit that we are becoming an affluent city (eg. a Los Altos or an Atherton). Nothing wrong with it per se: the market is the market. But it is what it is.

There is a displacement of the "lower-middle" and "lower" class as their rent-controlled units are demolished to build new housing; or as their landlords get out of the rental business. Nothing wrong with it per se. Some of those people become RV dwellers, doing what they can to get by.

Perhaps it would put context around the conversation of the jobs/housing imbalance or the presence of RVs on the streets if we just owned up to it: at the current trend, we're becoming an affluent city. The lower incomes can't make it; the middle income is a renter and cannot own. The end state may be owner-housing (which in a sense is great), but only affordable by multiple-incomes of people who would be considered top 2% anywhere else in the country.

Which is... Los Altos or Atherton or Hillsborough. Very little rental, very high value properties.

Nothing wrong with it. But maybe we should just admit it.

The lower classes' days are numbered and the middle class will never own.

Be that as it may, it's still the best city in the area in my opinion; or it wouldn't be worth the sacrifice it takes to live here.


2 people like this
Posted by A techie
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm

@MV Renter

I am fine with some place like Carmel being Carmel. I think there are two very important differences between Mountain View and Carmel, though, that you are missing.

First, Carmel is a retirement community and not a jobs center. It's one thing to keep everything low density and high price, but it's another to do that with residential while letting commercial grow out of control. We are adding a large number of jobs here and then telling people who immigrate to the region to fill those jobs, sorry, you don't get housing, maybe you can commute from Milpitas. I believe the housing market wealth of Mountain View is largely built on the backs of a middle class which now includes any household making less than about $250k - that is, the high prices are from forced demand, not organic demand.

Second, this is not a Mountain View problem, it's a regional problem. Atherton being only for the exorbitantly rich is one thing, if people can commute from Palo Alto or Menlo Park to jobs in Atherton. But they often can't; the cost of living falls off very gradually as you go out. No part of the Bay Area, and especially the peninsula and silicon valley, is affordable. As Randy Shaw points out in his book (which I only started reading), it's not just interesting that San Francisco is unaffordable and gentrified; it's interesting that Oakland, historically much more affordable and diverse, is now an unaffordable and gentrified overflow market for San Francisco, to the point that black market housing led to the state's deadliest building fire since 1906.


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Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 11, 2019 at 2:59 pm

@A techie

I'm appreciative of the perspective and context you help share.

The thing I haven't figured out a way around is this: even as we build more housing, the "middle class" which as you succinctly state is a household income under $250K in our area..... can't afford it even if we build it.

I mean, I can't. And I make in between $105K (poverty) and $250K.


2 people like this
Posted by A techie
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 11, 2019 at 4:18 pm

@MV Renter

Thanks for your thoughts on this. You state that people will not be able to afford even if we build. Perhaps... I often wonder if California in general, and especially the Valley, are too far gone to fix. I see that as a political problem, not a market problem.

I have very little doubt that if we actually did something at a scale proportional to the imbalance, it would have an impact. But 40,000 net people commute into Mountain View every weekday (last I heard; probably more now). We are not willing to zone anywhere near enough new housing for 40,000 workers, which would have its own set of problems. Almost anything we do get seems to be tied to offices such that it probably still adds, and is at best neutral.

It's difficult to fathom the sheer size of the problem, as well as the political intransigence that digs us deeper. I don't know how Gavin Newsom thinks his 3.5 million is remotely feasible. Especially when a lot of our "pro-housing" policy is used to add offices.


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2019 at 9:44 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

Huntington Beach will not effect the City of Mountain View. Why?

The City charter states:

Section 200. - Generally.

The city shall have the power to make and enforce all laws and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to such restrictions and limitations as may be provided in this Charter and in the Constitution of the State of California. IT SHALL ALSO HAVE THE POWER TO EXERCISE ANY AND ALL RIGHTS, POWERS AND PRIVILEGES HERETOFORE OR HEREAFTER ESTABLISHED, GRANTED OR PRESCRIBED BY ANY LAW OF THE STATE, by this Charter, or by other lawful authority, OR WHICH A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION MIGHT OR COULD EXERCISE UNDER THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. The enumeration in this Charter of any particular power shall not be held to be exclusive of, or any limitation upon, this general grant of power.

Huntington Beach does not contain this language in its charter.

Thus that case has no influence on the requirement of Mountain View to comply with the laws, given the CHARTER SAYS IT HAS TO SPECIFICALLY.


6 people like this
Posted by Yimby #2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2019 at 10:55 am

MV Renter and A-Techie seem to have clear eyed views of the problem (s) we face.
I will extend their views with my 2 cents:
1. Neighborhoods/Cities Change
a) Look at the all the Cities in the Bay Area over the last 20-60 years
b) Massive change;some neighborhood/cities get more expensive, some go nowhere
c) People have the freedom to move where they want
d) MV becoming affluent is consistent with history
e) Change is being driven my trends not well discussed by the current debate
f) I disagree with Lenny with he charges Housing Providers with price gouging
g) Higher Pricing is a function of supply/demand imbalance. "Price Discovery"
is healthy to functioning markets, and is used to allocate resources.
h) I will continue disagree with Lenny: Rent Control and all the subsequent
rules/regulations/fees/$2.6 M bureaucracy are Central Planning distortions
which do nothing to bring supply/demand imbalance into demand and ignore
the reality of what is happening in MV. The result is just taking money
money from one set of pockets and putting it into a bureaucracy in a mis-
guided attempt to alter the evolution of Silicon Valley. It is a rejection
of the change that has been occurring in Silicon Valley since William
Shockley invented the transistor here in Mountain View in the 1950s.
i. Over 20 years ago, my CEO said he would never build another campus in
Silicon Valley because it is too expensive. And he never did, and we built
several campuses across the US and world to house non-core, non-R&D
functions.But Silicon Valley continues to attract the core R&D functions from
every major company in the world. The latest being autonomous vehicles. This is
what is driving demand, and Lenny's continued attacks on housing provider, who
are responding a global demand to put core-R&D functions in MV is misguided.
And the fact that Job Lopez was cited for attempting to suppress other views
by vandalizing campaign signs reflects very poorly on the pro-rent control
advocates.
j) Net/Net: Increases supply to reduce the supply/demand imbalance and normalize
pricing in context of MV becoming a more affluent city.


2 people like this
Posted by Actual YIMBY
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 11:38 am

Yimby #2, please take our group's name out of your mouth. You are simply an angry troll who I suspect is more interested in inciting others than helping people during the housing crisis. The fact that you need to lie about rent control in Mountain View is disgusting.


6 people like this
Posted by @Actual YIMBY
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 12:09 pm

@Actual YIMBY,

Maybe you should follow your own advice. Lying is a strong statement for someone just expressing their opinion. Most of what he says about rent control makes sense for someone who understands how markets work.


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Posted by State law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 12, 2019 at 12:17 pm


“Huntington Beach does not contain this language in its charter.” So what.

“Thus that case has no influence on the requirement of Mountain View to comply with the laws, given the CHARTER SAYS IT HAS TO SPECIFICALLY.”

The charter doesn’t say that. MV writes its own ordinances. They may be different than HB. Both cities are still charter cities. It depends on which state law you are talking about. State law specifically states that charter cities are not to subject to state law except under certain conditions.

As usual BM pastes a quote and misinterprets it. Amazing.


4 people like this
Posted by Actual YIMBY
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 12:19 pm

I'm referring to their unsubstantiated "$2.6M bureaucracy". Setting aside the validity of that number, the RHC isn't funded out of our general fund, and it's entirely self-sufficient through a small fee on landlords. Would you prefer I say "misleading" instead of "lying"? Their intent is clear.


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State Law:

Look at the Mountain View City Charter Section 200. I provided you the actual text.

Simply put, you are unwilling to accept that the City of Mountain view City Charter requires the City Council to comply with the stat laws.

Just in case here is the city charter link:

Web Link

the Huntington Beach charter text is different than Mountain View, their charter simply states:

Section 103. POWERS OF CITY.

The City shall have the power to make and enforce all laws and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to such restrictions and limitations as may be provided in this Charter or in the Constitution of the State of California.

Simply put the City of Mountain View adopted all state laws in the Charter, but the City of Huntington specifically dismissed all state laws. By not providing any acceptance of state laws in the city powers. In effect no state laws apply to Huntington. But the laws must be complied with in Mountain View.

You want the public to beleive in what is not true.


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Posted by State law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 12, 2019 at 1:48 pm

you Are misinterpreting the MV city charter.

“The home rule provision in the California Constitution allows cities to adopt a charter and ordinances that replace state laws in areas related to municipal affairs, subject only to the limitations within the charter. At all times, the City is subject to the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, the California Constitution, and state laws regarding matters of statewide concern”

So criminal statues would still apply to all cities. And you still fail to prove that housing is a statewide concern for all charter cities. Doesn’t even apply to general cities. Use your common sense and don’t paste stuff you don’t understand. Your not a lawyer


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Posted by @Actual YIMBY
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 1:51 pm

So the RHC does have a 2 plus million budget and it does have bureaucrats. And he states where the fees come from. Try and read his post more carefully before you say he is lying.


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2019 at 2:05 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

The Mountain View Charter simply states it will conform to all state laws.

That is the end of the argument.

I have legal training from San Jose State University, from a practicing lawyer.

Simply put, the City of Mountain View will have to alter the City Charter to remove the obligation to comply with ANY state laws as written in the charter.

And I have been successful in court 75% of the time.

no one is perfect, but that statistic is definitley at least NOT BAD.

Maybe you should contact an attoreny to review your claims. Especially when a "lay" person can identify significant assumptions not based on evidence, like the ones you present.




2 people like this
Posted by Yimby #2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2019 at 2:06 pm

Web Link
See section 5-13
This is the City of Mountain View web site where you can see the budget
for CSFRA. I never said that its budget comes out of the general funds.
So your statement is inaccurate. Here is where we agree: A fee is charged to housing providers, and that is where the CSFRA budget comes from. Adopted budget for 2017 to 2018 is $2.6 M, or $2,590.915 to be precise. Which is a more precise figure than "a small fee". Which leads to another issue: The original ballot initiative called for "a small fee" on landlords. But never represented that it would be in the multiple million dollar range. Did voters vote to establish a multi-million bureaucracy? It was only represented as a small fee, so nobody really knew how much it would cost. I don't think you are lying. I think you just haven't done very good research on this subject, and have not been paying attention, since the $2.6 M figure has been reported multiple times citing official sources such as the City of MV link I have provided you.I would suggest improvement in your accounting and finance skills since "a small fee" does not sufficiently communicate the actual financial position. In the private sector, we would not be able to get away with this level of financial reporting.


4 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 12, 2019 at 2:30 pm

@Yimby #2

Thank you. I think what you've shared is exactly the situation, feelings and reactions aside:

"j) Net/Net: Increases supply to reduce the supply/demand imbalance and normalize pricing in context of MV becoming a more affluent city."

At the end of the day, I think it is what it is. Some of us will make the affluence cut. Some of us won't. Some of us will try to hang on as long as we can; hopefully planning our next set of life circumstances and decisions as responsibly as we can.

I think one might empathize with the position that some of us middle-incomes are in. But fundamentally we bear our own responsibility on how to handle the situation.

But really, I think I would feel better if we just took bullet point j) and made it part of the conversation, and just talked about it openly. Call a spade and spade and all that.

I think it would be heartless not to respect and understand the plight of the middle-income. But that's the effect of chlorine in the gene pool. Not all of us are going to make the cut. What's gotta get done is what's gotta get done. I do sometimes feel frustrated when it's candycoated.

Just my $0.02.


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Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 12, 2019 at 2:41 pm

I did forget one other point.

To my neighbors who empathize with the plight of the lower incomes, thank you.

But let's also call a spade a spade on this point as well. If you own your house/condo in Mountain View, no matter how salt of the earth you were when you came here: you are now wealthy. By every metric of value of property owned, regardless of how humble your income was or how you worked three jobs to raise your children: you are now wealthy. Your net worth is among the highest in this great nation.

Please try to be understanding when you empathize with the "middle class" and look at things like rent control or affordable housing or whatnot. No matter if you were an hourly general contractor who worked themselves to the bone to raise your kids, shopping at K-Mart and looking for the blue light, ironing toughskins onto the holes in the knees of your children's corduroy pants: today you are wealthy. Your views and suggestions are the views and suggestions of wealthy people.

I'm not judging it. You earned it.

But please understand that you may not see things the way the "middle class" of 2019 sees it.


4 people like this
Posted by Actual YIMBY
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 4:09 pm

"The original ballot initiative called for "a small fee" on landlords. But never represented that it would be in the multiple million dollar range."

Wait, do you think that the budget for the RHC comes from a single landlord? Because no individual landlord has a multiple million dollar fee...


6 people like this
Posted by Actual YIMBY
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 4:11 pm

MV Renter, the money they used to buy the house is certainly earned wealth (probably), but the wealth accrued simply by owning property is one of the clearest examples of unearned wealth. It's wealth that came to be through no labor on the part of that person.


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Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm

@Actual YIMBY

To be honest, I've wrestled with that notion for years now. As a concept, I've never really grasped it because of the individual case circumstances.

But just to share with you a perspective, at this point what I've come up with is this:

They played the (real estate/ownership/investment) game and won.
I'm still playing the game. I haven't won yet. Perhaps I never will.

Which is rather like the stock market or mutual funds or any other kind of property or securities or investment.

So... they did earn it somehow. By the combination of the seed capital (maybe; for all I know it was a loan or an inheritance or they pooled money or whatever), and by making good decisions with that capital.

Again, full disclosure, there was a four-year period from 1995 to 1999 when I might have made the same decisions, and "won" the game. It's not like I didn't have an opportunity. I was having fun in my twenties.

So I can hardly tell the property owner that they have unearned wealth.

Anymore than I could tell the white collar worker that their salary is unearned wealth when a blue collar worker busts their butt, perhaps physically, perhaps with risk to their health and safety for an hourly rate that they then get to kiss goodbye to a portion of in union dues.

Again, as I consider my position and that of other people in a similar boat, I don't see the need or productivity in acrimony.

Being at the right place at the right time, by personal diligence or blind luck, is "earning it" in the way that I understand it. I couldn't blame a lucky person for my being unlucky.


6 people like this
Posted by Yimby #2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2019 at 4:44 pm

Don't be disingenuous.
Everybody knows that each housing provider does not pay $ Millions to fund RHC
But not nobody expected the establishment of a $2.6 M bureaucracy.
Taken out of the pockets of housing providers
and is a poor use of funds.


6 people like this
Posted by Actual YIMBY
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 5:00 pm

I think we're discussing something different when we talk about earned vs unearned wealth. To my mind, unearned wealth is return on capital, while earned wealth is return on labor. Your definition would seem to include buying a lottery ticket and winning "earned" wealth. I can't see anything besides maybe an inheritance being considered "unearned" in your definition.


2 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 12, 2019 at 5:15 pm

@Actual YIMBY

I kind of get your point. As I said, I've never really been comfortable with delineating it. Your definition of unearned wealth as return on capital definitely as opposed to earned wealth being return on labour definitely makes sense to me.

Except doesn't that mean that "unearned wealth" is the goal of most folks? Maybe I just have a knee-jerk reaction to the term, and maybe I should think that through. Maybe I'm predisposed to being judgmental with the use of the term, and I know that for myself it's both unproductive and potentially dangerous in fueling feelings of entitlement.

But I do know a lot of hard working people who took risks and made it. And I know hard working people who took risks and lost. Earned or not, lucky or not. I guess that's the perspective that my mind can grasp the most easily.

But thanks for the food for thought, regardless.


2 people like this
Posted by State Law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 12, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Again you misinterpret the city charter statement. You fail to understand basic writing as a posted.


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2019 at 6:36 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

State Law:

you have to show proof of misinterpretation in order justify that claim.

IO simply stated the ACTUAL TEXT. The courts simply apply the Charters as written, THe California constitution states:

"(a) A person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law or denied equal protection of the laws; provided, that nothing contained herein or elsewhere in this Constitution imposes upon the State of California or any public entity, board, or official any obligations or responsibilities which exceed those imposed by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution with respect to the use of pupil school assignment or pupil transportation. In enforcing this subdivision or any other provision of this Constitution, no court of this State may impose upon the State of California or any public entity, board, or official any obligation or responsibility with respect to the use of pupil school assignment or pupil transportation, (1) except to remedy a specific violation by such party that would also constitute a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and (2) unless a federal court would be permitted under federal decisional law to impose that obligation or responsibility upon such party to remedy the specific violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution."

And the Federal Constitution states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Thus if any court must wiegh the rights of citizens to equal protection of the laws any governmental entity trying to prevent this will simply lose.


2 people like this
Posted by A techie
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 12, 2019 at 9:03 pm

Re: Mountain View becoming more affluent, that's something to consider. Or more generally, how does a place make itself more attractive and who benefits from that and who doesn't? But I think I addressed that.

Bay Area housing price increases are caused primarily by one thing, market imbalance directly attributable to tech expansion, enabled and encouraged by our city planning. As more wealth moves in, that money may be spent on things that make the city more attractive independent of the job market. But I do not think that is the primary or a significant component of the increase.

In fact, I think Mountain View is less attractive and less livable versus a decade ago. Retail and amenities are not growing with the city, and are becoming less diverse and moving to a concentrated corridor on ECR. Google is encroaching on everything. Our downtown inexplicably has a bunch of new office buildings with no ground floor public amenities. Traffic is a mess and so is transit.

In addition, while some city-center areas are jobs-rich and have outlying rings of bedroom communities, that is not the Valley model. Every city likes to think it's San Francisco, but there is no outlying bedroom community. Drive 20 miles from an unaffordable jobs center here and, surprise, you never left the unaffordable jobs center.

Re: rent control and market distortions, I agree. But given the current situation, all else being equal, I'm okay with rent control and development fees. They are serious distortions and ideally would be less necessary.


4 people like this
Posted by Relative terms
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 12, 2019 at 9:25 pm

@actual Yimby, totallyget most of what you’re saying but the key thing you’re not acknowledging here is the risk of investment. there needs to be a value placed on the risk of investing!


6 people like this
Posted by Actual YIMBY
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 10:15 pm

I fail to see the distinction between "investing" in a lottery ticket and the return on purchasing a single-family home. Both have risk, and a possible downside and upside. Long-term renters live in and contribute to their communities just as much as a homeowner, are they entitled to some reward for their investment in their communities? Is that monetary return only deserved by capital?


4 people like this
Posted by State law
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 12, 2019 at 10:29 pm

I did provide evidence. You just don’t undersrand the plain and simple reading of state law regarding charter cities.


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2019 at 10:11 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Whats the point of discussing this story?

Google just announced that it is moving operations to Nevada, Ohio, and Texas, at a purchase of 13 Billion dollars


This project has been nothing but a scam to entice Mountain View to give google all kinds of "gifts"

But it will never be started.

The discussion has gone for more than 5 years.

WHEN ARE THE CITY COUNCIL GOING TO GET IT, THIS PROJECT WILL NEVER BE STARTED.


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2019 at 11:39 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

State law:

Please also consider this information:

“Exception to Preemption: Charter City Powers

Under California’s Constitution, certain kinds of cities have an additional measure of protection from state preemption. Charter cities have an extra measure of authority over municipal affairs.5 If a matter is a "municipal affair" (and not a “matter of statewide concern”), a charter city has power to act, even to the extent that the city’s action may be at odds with a state law. The chief restriction on local action under these circumstances is whether the action would be inconsistent with the city’s charter or the state and federal constitutions.”

This leaves open the idea that if a City Charter in fact incorporates the state law as being a fundamental right to its citizens, then the Charter has ADOPTED the state laws and their ability to control the actions of that specific city. It goes on to say:


In a charter city, the residents adopt a charter. This charter functions as a local constitution that provides for the organization and structure of the city. It also can create limits on city powers and functions. SOME CHARTERS HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF DETAIL; others are quite brief. Either way, when residents have determined that their city should be a charter city, their city then HAS THE OPTION DEVIATING FROM STATE LAW WITH RESPECT TO MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS.”

But if the language of a city charter in effect ADOPTED the state laws, like in the case of Mountain View, the city chose NOT to DEVIATE FROM STATE LAW as WRITTEN. It goes on to say:

“Courts, rather than the Legislature, are the ultimate deciders of whether a subject is a municipal affair or a matter of statewide concern.6

This determination is made on a case-by-case basis, which means that it frequently takes litigation to determine the scope of charter cities’ exercise of authority.

More specific information on charter city authority can be found on the League of California Cities website at www.cacities.org/chartercities.

This location states the following:

“In summary, under article XI, section 7, ALL CITIES ARE FREE TO LEGISLATE ON A MATTER UNLESS IT CONFLICTS WITH A GENERAL LAW OF THE STATE and is, therefore, said to be preempted by the state law. What constitutes a conflict? The California Supreme Court articulated the basic analysis in upholding the validity of a city ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation. In summary, it said:

• Cities have constitutionally granted powers to regulate land use and other traditional local matters. ABSENT A CLEAR INDICATION OF PREEMPTIVE INTENT FROM THE LEGISLATURE, LOCAL REGULATIONS ARE NOT PREEMPTED.

• A local law conflicts with a general state law if the local legislation (1) duplicates the state law, (2) contradicts the state law (i.e., requires what state law forbids or prohibits what state law requires), or (3) enters an area that is fully occupied by general state law. A local ordinance does not conflict with state law if it is reasonably possible to comply with both the state and local laws.

• The courts are reluctant to infer legislative intent to preempt local regulations, AND THERE IS A PRESUMPTION OF VALIDITY OF THE LOCAL ORDINANCE AGAINST AN ATTACK OF STATE PREEMPTION WHEN THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT LOCAL INTEREST TO BE SERVED THAT MAY DIFFER FROM ONE LOCALITY TO ANOTHER.9

However we are not discussing an ordinance at all, but a housing development plan. Thus the ordinance assumption is incorrect.

Simply put, no housing project is an local ordinance.

What you may be demonstrating is a constitutional conflict in the Californai Constitution given the term ALL CITIES was used in article XI, section 7 where your cited constitutional section is Article XI, Section 5(a))

Your research results in:

(a) It shall be competent in any city charter to provide that the city governed thereunder may make and enforce all ordinances and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to restrictions and limitations provided in their several charters and in respect to other matters they shall be subject to general laws. City charters adopted pursuant to this Constitution shall supersede any existing charter, and with respect to municipal affairs shall supersede all laws inconsistent therewith.

(b) It shall be competent in all city charters to provide, in addition to those provisions allowable by this Constitution, and by the laws of the State for: (1) the constitution, regulation, and government of the city police force (2) subgovernment in all or part of a city (3) conduct of city elections and (4) plenary authority is hereby granted, subject only to the restrictions of this article, to provide therein or by amendment thereto, the manner in which, the method by which, the times at which, and the terms for which the several municipal officers and employees whose compensation is paid by the city shall be elected or appointed, and for their removal, and for their compensation, and for the number of deputies, clerks and other employees that each shall have, and for the compensation, method of appointment, qualifications, tenure of office and removal of such deputies, clerks and other employees.

(Sec. 5 added June 2, 1970, by Prop. 2. Res.Ch. 331, 1969.)

But if you read Sec.7 which states:

A county or city may make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations NOT IN CONFLICT WITH GENERAL LAWS.

(Sec. 7 added June 2, 1970, by Prop. 2. Res.Ch. 331, 1969.)

This is a very interesting pickle


3 people like this
Posted by MV Renter
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 14, 2019 at 1:29 pm

@The Business Man

I did a little searching for what you mentioned about Google moving. They are building data centers in the places which you cited, which is no big surprise as the cost of running a data center here is quite high; that plus expansion issues of power, emissions, electric transmission, and the like.

I do feel I have to note that data centers are not high-employee count facilities; so that really don't equate to moving.

R&D, Support, and other functions are not usually located where the data centers are.

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Feb 14, 2019 at 7:54 pm

There is a lot of beautiful stuff in Google's proposal.

(Disclaimer: I'm a software engineer at Google, but I speak only for myself as a Mountain View homeowner, parent, and former renter.)

I'm just concerned about this 6,000-6,600 number of units being floated. The agreed upon number in the North Bayshore Precise Plan is about 9,800 units. Let's not shortchange 3,000-4,000 individuals and families by making their future homes illegal. Let's build up North Bayshore enough so that it has a critical mass to be a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood and new center for Mountain View retail, recreation, work, and nature.


2 people like this
Posted by CastroRenter
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 15, 2019 at 12:32 am

I'm also in the same boat as the other middle class renters. I am in my early 40s and worked the last two decades in the nonprofit sector and education sector. As a result, I haven't been able to save enough for a down payment and have also not started a family. Like MV Renter, one of my biggest fears is related to what will happen to me when I am older and cannot keep working. On a daily basis, I run through different scenarios, different calculations, different trade-offs whether its changing jobs, taking on more risk than I feel comfortable with, moving to a place that does not feel like home, wondering if I will ever be able to have a family, wondering if the economy might crash (but I somehow keep my job) so that I might possibly be able to afford something. I know that I am not alone in this situation and that there are also people much worse off than me, and that even some people who are wealthier are stressed from over-extending themselves too much. Given all that, that is actually not what is most on my mind. While I myself have a self-interest in more construction to ideally lower the prices of housing, I have not heard any discussion at all about how we handle our next drought. As a California native, I know they will come again, and Mountain View struggled a great deal during the last one (and that was before all the additional housing.) Writing this in the midst of a rainstorm may not be the best timing, but I do hope many of these new condos and apartments are recycling their water or putting in the best systems to reduce water usage. While I haven't read the Google plans, I think that would be a very easy win for them on multiple levels.


Like this comment
Posted by Yimby #2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Castro Renter:
Former Governor Brown had a few initiatives:
1. Store more water by raising the height at least one and maybe several
dams that dot either side of the central valley. I think there
are some proposal for new dams, not sure of their status. Have
you noticed the "Drain Hetch Hetchy" crowd has gone away?
2. Improve ground water recharging
Current Gov. Newsome just announced he will support a single tunnel,
not two tunnels, to ship water to Southern CA.
3. There is more going here but I don't remember the details.
4. Is it enough? I don't know. But I think they are well aware
of the state water problems. MV gets part of the water from
some of these big water systems. It is hard to keep up with.

5. Changing subject. You provided a realistic portrait of dealing with
the housing shortage.
a) Governments (city, country, regional, state, national) all recognize that this is real problem and are trying to increase supply. It is really
hard because there are so many variables (NIMBY, zoning laws, building permits ect). But at least they recognize the problem and are trying. Instead of the counter-productive rent control activity.


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