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Letters to the editor: RV ban and SB 50

 

RV ban won't accomplish anything

I was pleased to learn that the ACLU issued a warning against Mountain View's RV parking ban ("ACLU warns against Mountain View's RV parking ban," May 17). While finding lodging for residents is a complex problem, banning RV vehicles won't accomplish anything. Where are these people going to go?

Recently, news reports indicated that the average cost of renting in Mountain View is $3,200 per month. For vehicle dwellers -- many of whom have jobs -- their RVs are their homes. Not all Mountain View residents have lush, high-paying tech jobs. Yet all of us rely and depend on people (like those who live in RVs) who work in grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, coffee shops, auto repair shops, drugstores and so on.

Why not think outside the box? San Jose has; so have Oakland and East Palo Alto. Some local churches have offered overnight parking. Why not negotiate with big-box stores such as Target? Give them a tax break or some other kind of incentive to entice them to offer overnight parking. Walmart has offered overnight parking for years. That approach could provide a safe environment for RV dwellers and move vehicles off of residential streets. My ideas may not fix the problem, but banning RV vehicles won't either.

Tim Orlando

Marilyn Drive

In support of SB 50

I fell in love with the Bay Area because of the opportunities, optimism, and inclusiveness it represents, but our community is failing to live up to its own values. Every time we use our zoning laws to deny people a chance to be our neighbors, exacerbating displacement and exclusion, we are sending the wrong message.

I'm asking state Senators Jerry Hill and Jim Beall to support SB 50, the More HOMES Act, which would mandate homes near jobs and transit, require affordable housing so that opportunities are shared equitably, and vigorously protect tenants.

This is our chance to decide if we're "full" or if we'll make our community a welcoming place we can all be proud to live in.

Jason Uhlenkott

Sunnyvale

Build homes, not walls

I'm writing to express my disappointment with mayor of Cupertino Steven Scharf's joke during his State of the City address about building a wall around Cupertino.

What we choose to laugh at reveals a lot about our true feelings. Mayor Scharf does not see the irony of poking fun at Trump's border wall while also doing little to reduce the high costs and barriers that discourage fellow Americans from moving to Cupertino.

Our housing shortage is keeping families apart. My immigrant in-laws would like to move closer to me and my wife, but I'm afraid that will never happen if these trends continue.

For decades, too many cities and neighborhoods have been able to exclude people through restrictive land use. The More HOMES Act will open up more communities to more people. I urge state Sen. Jerry Hill to vote for the More HOMES Act (SB 50).

Robert Benkeser

West El Camino Real

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Comments

28 people like this
Posted by @Tim Orlando
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 30, 2019 at 4:42 pm

Whith your outside of the box thinking, did you consider where these RVs, (after spending night in the Target parking lot) will be parked during the day. And why is that some people have to commute (I did that for a number of years), and some just choose to sleep in RV parked in the middle of the town, creating a public nuisance?


16 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2019 at 8:44 pm

During the daytime all RVs can park on Marilyn Drive. Perhaps we should start advertising that street as a good camping spot for RVs and trailers?


18 people like this
Posted by SB 50 on hold
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 30, 2019 at 8:50 pm

SB 50 is on hold in the State Senate. Other foolsgold bills are being pushed at the moment. SB 50 would empower developers to build 4-5 story condo or apartment buildings (their choice) with little or no onsite parking most everywhere in Mountain View and the letter-writer's city of Sunnyvale. New condos and new apartments could be afforded only by high-tech workers. That is why multi-national corporations here in the Golden State are promoting the power grab along with big housing developers.


9 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2019 at 11:41 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

@SB 50 on hold

The only part of your comment that is accurate is that SB 50 is on hold.

SB 50 only relaxes height limits and minimum parking thresholds near high-quality transit like Caltrain stations, where we've already invested public dollars in improvements. It would not change any height limits for the majority of Mountain View, but it would relax limits on the number of homes allowed on a lot, as long as developments conform to existing setbacks and height limits. For example, it'd allow you to build a duplex, triplex, or fourplex in the same space as a detached single family home. Such homes are more affordable than detached single family homes, which are the most unaffordable kind of housing you can build.

SB 50 also sets standards for the minimum number of affordable homes that must be included in a project. So while the majority of homes built would likely be market-rate, there would still be an increase in the number of affordable homes
built. (Mountain View already has a BMR ordinance which is stronger than, and would override, SB 50's requirements.)

At the same time, SB 50 includes controls that prevent developers from destroying existing affordable rental housing, which has been a problem lately here in Mountain View.

Contrary to your claims, by not allowing more homes to be built, we're ensuring by default that only high-income employees can afford to live in Mountain View.


16 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 31, 2019 at 1:18 pm

Last poster: you are incorrect. SB 50 would authorize development as I stated in both "transit rich" and " jobs rich" areas. "Transit rich" could extend to most of residential and commercial Mountain View all by itself. As high-density building occurs, frequent bus stops could be added anywhere - extending "transit rich" territory. But the other basis for building in "jobs rich" areas (to be specified later by a state agency), would, by definition, extend to all of the residential and commercial zones in Mountain View. Nice try, though.


7 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 31, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

@Gary

You might be confusing this with an earlier version of SB 50, or SB 827 from last year.

This graphic probably does the best job of describing SB 50's effects: Web Link

Mountain View would be classified into several different zones:
- 1/4 mile from train station
- 1/2 mile from train station
- Jobs-rich or 1/4 from major bus station (bus at least every 10m during peak period)

Only the train station zones see increased height limits. There are no height changes in jobs-rich or bus zones.


16 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 31, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Wrong again. Proposed (in SB 50 as last amended) Gov. Code sections 65918.51 and 65918.52. Moreover, the buildings can rise to 7 stories with some below-market condos or apartments included.


4 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2019 at 2:23 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

Sure, let's look at the text of SB 50. Reading the bill refutes your opinions. Web Link

Section 65918.51 is short enough to include here directly:

"65918.51. A local government shall, upon request of a development proponent, grant an equitable communities incentive, as specified in Section 65918.53, when the development proponent seeks and agrees to construct a residential development that satisfies the requirements specified in Section 65918.52."


Nothing particularly surprising there, but let's make a note to look at 65918.53, which actually defines what "equitable communities incentive" means.


Section 65918.52 is too long to include in full here, but it defines the criteria necessary for SB 50 to apply: "65918.52. In order to be eligible for an equitable communities incentive pursuant to this chapter, a residential development shall meet all of the following criteria:"

The first bullet point reads

"(a) The residential development is either a job-rich housing project or transit-rich housing project."

but that isn't surprising either. SB 50 would apply to Mountain View, either via the jobs-rich or transit-rich definition. This is what I stated in an eariler comment. Nothing in section 65918.51 or 65918.52 talks about incentives, i.e. how it would apply (such as via changes in height limits).

Those are in 65918.53. Let's look at that section.

"65918.53. (a) (1) Any transit-rich or job-rich housing project within a county that has a population greater than 600,000 that meets the criteria specified in Section 65918.52 shall receive, upon request, an equitable communities incentive as follows:
(A) A waiver from maximum controls on density.
(B) A waiver from minimum automobile parking requirements greater than 0.5 automobile parking spots per unit."

How odd. Like I noted, there are no changes in height limits for a "job-rich housing project,", i.e. the majority of Mountain View and surrounding cities. "Transit-rich" includes bus (from 65918.50):
"(m) “Transit-rich housing project” means a residential development, the parcels of which are all within a one-half mile radius of a major transit stop or a one-quarter mile radius of a stop on a high-quality bus corridor:"
but note that "transit-rich" has the exact same incentives as "jobs-rich".

Let's continue.

"(2) An eligible applicant proposing a residential development within a county that has a population greater than 600,000 that is located within a one-half mile radius, but outside a one-quarter mile radius, of a major transit stop shall receive, in addition to the incentives specified in paragraph (1), waivers from all of the following:
(A) Maximum height requirements less than 45 feet.
(B) Maximum FAR requirements less than 2.5.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1), any minimum automobile parking requirement.
(3) An eligible applicant proposing a residential development within a county that has a population greater than 600,000 that is located within a one-quarter mile radius of a major transit stop shall receive, in addition to the incentives specified in paragraph (1), waivers from all of the following:
(A) Maximum height requirements less than 55 feet.
(B) Maximum FAR requirements less than 3.25.
(C) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), any minimum automobile parking requirement."

There's the near-rail-station incentives. Exactly as I stated in my earlier comments. These are the only zones that see height limits changed and FAR increased.

Note that "major transit stop" is also defined in 65918.50:
"(h) “Major transit stop” means a rail transit station or a ferry terminal that is a major transit stop pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21155 of the Public Resources Code."
"Major transit stop" does not include busses.


I'm not sure where you get the 7-story height limit from. An earlier version of SB 50 allowed "Up to three incentives and concessions pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 65915", but that was removed in recent amendments.


12 people like this
Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 1, 2019 at 11:16 am

Rossta is a registered user.

Consider the unintended consequences of SB50. Wherever transit exists, the zoning restrictions are removed. This will become a new reason to oppose development of any new transit systems. I think most existing residents would rank lack of transit as a bigger issue than lack of housing and also prioritize developing functional transit BEFORE we add more people to the area.

Instead of using a hammer like SB50 to force high density on cities while bypassing their expertise on how to best add housing to their community, why not provide incentives and rewards to those cities for increasing their housing stock and density?


9 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2019 at 3:03 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Yes, the problem is largely that the definition of high transit served area is overly broad. All these roads around here with miserable VTA bus service count, event the ones perpendicular to El Camino. The service on El Camino itself is marginal at best. The main reason is because its a hub with no good spokes. Cities don't get laid out that way. most of the Bay Area is not in a city. Look at Mountain View. The only good transit service is CalTrain, and that's for a narrow class of users who can use a shuttle at one end or the other and then use CalTrain as a spine. Everything else is highly wasting of a rider's time. Rider's don't want their time to be wasted. That's why cars will continue to be more popular than transit. Only in a true city will people have options to use transit to get around WITHIN the city. That's not happening in any city between San Francisco and San Jose. Those should logically be the only places where SB50 would apply, but the definition taps into these pipelines that don't deliver local transit service. They might as well be below ground pipelines for all the good it does the residents of the cities in between...


13 people like this
Posted by @Jeff
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 1, 2019 at 3:20 pm

You cite above proposed section 65918.53 which would create an "incentive" in every transit rich and in every "jobs rich" area. I guess you would concede that covers all of Mountain View's residential and commercial mix-use areas - including where there are now only single family homes and/or duplexes. Then you do not explain the "incentive."

The section you present above states that the incentive is a waiver of "maximum controls on density" and "automobile parking requirements greater than .5...". So, we get the parking - very little could be required. But what does "maximum controls on density" mean? It must mean something.


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2019 at 4:51 pm

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

"Maximum controls on density" refers to how many units are allowed on a lot. Right now in a lot of places you can only build a detached single family home, even if a duplex or triplex (in the same building shape as a SFH) would make sense.

There's another measurement called floor-area ratio (FAR) which roughly corresponds to how intensely you can develop a lot. SB 50 only changes FAR in areas that are within 1/2 or 1/4 of a mile from a rail station.


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 1, 2019 at 8:29 pm

Using Mountain View as an example, maybe Jeff could tell us the height limits in the areas currently zoned for housing. Because, if there is no height limit in a zone, the waiver of any limit on density could get us a 150-story tower on Levin or Bryant or Miramonte. Mountain View, by the way Jeff, is in Santa Clara County and borders Palo Alto, Los Altos and Sunnyvale (which are also cities). Ok. Go ahead.


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Posted by Beautiful
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 1, 2019 at 9:38 pm

Gary, we all know which county we live in and what cities border Mountain View. What's the purpose of that part? [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 12:18 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

@Gary

Density has nothing to do with height limits. As I've stated multiple times (with references to the bill), the height limits are only changed close to train stations, and even there, they are modest (45 or 55 feet, with an optional density bonus if additional affordable housing is included).

It's clear you are not making arguments in good faith, or in any objective basis in reality.


5 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2019 at 12:55 am

LongResident is a registered user.

Ok, that last statement is self contradicting. Density and height limits ARE related. How can you add floors to a building WITHOUT increasing the square footage? You can't seriously say there is no correlation. Your own statement says that height is increased and optionally there is a density bonus as well. There are all sorts of metrics. You can talk setbacks. You can talk undeveloped portions of the parcel of land. Some cities don't even have any specs about Floor Area Ratios. Height increases are directly intended to increase density. You are making assumptions. If you are in a city with no FAR rules, then an increased height limit is flat on nothing BUT a density increase.

The point of this whole exercise in state futility is that there are these people who think that they can INDUCE construction if they increase allowable density. However, if there wasn't money to build a 50,000 sq ft building, allowing the developer to build a 65,000 sq ft building doesn't help. The cost is proportionate to the built out area, and it even increases on the higher floors per square foot.
This is a chicken and egg problem. The idea is if you have land which was limited to SFR use then perhaps someone who bought it earlier will still sell at that price, and then it will be cheaper to use for added density. But land values go up immediately if density is increased, or perhaps there is no effect. So the land will still increase to match the currently allowed land with that density, or perhaps it already was there. Around Mountain View land for SFR's goes for $10 Million or $12 Million per acre. That's pretty expensive. Some of the infrastructure like sewers and water supply are not yet built to support multistory buildings in certain areas of town. It's still cheaper to buy land in San Jose, so long as you stay away from Google's claimed area downtown. So you got out along a bus route and buy the residential land in San Jose that ONLY goes for $5 Million per acre. You might find unused sewer and water capacity if you get to a particular section FIRST, alongside lower density uses. But that's SPRAWL. You can't find such cheap land anywhere in Mountain View or even nearby.


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 1:16 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

@LongResident

Height and FAR are related, but the limits are two different constrictions. If I have a FAR limit of 3000 but a height limit of 25 ft, I'm not going to be able to come anywhere close to a that FAR limit, since I can only build two stories. Similary, if I have a FAR limit of .5 but a height limit of 1000 feet, I'm going to have a hard time building more than a story or two given a FAR of .5.

Desity limits are another constriction. Much of Mountain View is R1, which limits to 1 dwelling unit per lot. SB 50 would lift this limit, allowing duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in the same building footprint.


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 1:26 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

For the sake of anyone else reading along, let's look at R1 zoning in Mountain View. Reference Web Link

The density limit is "1 dwelling per parcel, except where an accessory dwelling unit is allowed in compliance with Sec. 36.12.60."

The FAR (floor area ratio) is defined as FAR = 0.50 - (0.00001 × Lot Area). Again, this defines the ratio of developed square feet against the lot size.

The height limits are defined as
Maximum building height for 1 story structure: 24 ft.;
Maximum building height for 2 story structure: 28 ft.;

How would this be affected by SB 50, assuming more than 1/2 mile from a Caltrain station (the majority of the R1 zones in Mountain View)? We'll look at section 65918.53 again.

"(a) (1) Any transit-rich or job-rich housing project within a county that has a population greater than 600,000 that meets the criteria specified in Section 65918.52 shall receive, upon request, an equitable communities incentive as follows:
(A) A waiver from maximum controls on density.
(B) A waiver from minimum automobile parking requirements greater than 0.5 automobile parking spots per unit."

This means that
(A) you could instead divide your building into a duplex, triplex, quadplex, etc.
(B) you could decide to build less parking if you think you're not going to need it (e.g. if you know your parent is living with you and won't drive).

Notably:
- It won't change FAR.
- It won't change height limits.

So you can't build a taller building, despite what some want you to believe.

Allowing more families to live close to where they work, learn, and play means they'll have the option to walk or bike. They won't have to drive in from miles away. And it'll be more affordable than a luxury single family home.


7 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 2, 2019 at 2:52 am

@Jeff Grafton. Appeciate your efforts to explain the last amended version of an unclear bill written for construction companies to exploit. Construction companies such as South Bay EDC, Inc. where some guy using your name works while living in Dublin, California. SB 50, whatever language it employs, is just the first in what promises to be many steps in transferring the authority to control local land use from cities and counties to private developers-contractors acting for profit. So, one hopes cities and counties will WAKE UP and agree upon an INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT that, if approved by California voters, would secure some local land use authority the state government cannot simply ignore.


5 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2019 at 10:19 am

LongResident is a registered user.

State density bonus law has regularly been used to gain waivers on building height. I can't see why the relaxation of density maximums would not also waive height limits in various areas. So I'm not so sure that Jeff Grafton is right in his legal expertise of interpreting the proposed changes to California law.

But then there's the issue of what the effect would be. In Mountain View neighborhoods around downtown the majority of lots are long and narrow and only cover 1/10 of an acre or 5000 sq ft. Currently the 1950's houses on the land are nearly worthless in value, but the land means the lot will be worth $2.4 Million by itself. So that works out to a land value of $24 Million per acre. The house might appraise at a depreciated value of $150K for the 1700 sq ft building, but its affect on the land value is essentially negligible.

However, to build a new home on the land, waiving density limits, might see a new 2500 to 3000 sq ft building be constructed. That's really the only way to get 4 units out of the parcel, as each would even then only be 600-750 sq ft. These are pretty minimalist units even so. So the question is, given the construction cost to do this of another $1.5 to $2 Million, is it economically viable? Could one then sell the resulting property for $4 Million plus profit owing to the square footage expansion? I think the simple answer is NO WAY. The best profit would be a small remodel adding more building on and rehabilitating the 1950 building. So then you might add 500 sq ft and rehab for a total investment of $500K, and you might then be able to sell the new deluxe house for $3.1 Million, which includes $200K of profit for the $500K construction investment.


3 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2019 at 10:25 am

LongResident is a registered user.

Or, you might even get $3.5M for the house with the small remodeling and expansion investment. It's really a sellers market. So you'd have $600K in profit for a $500K investment. It really argues against creating more units on the land. If you just want a 600 sq ft rentable unit, you could do that under the existing ADU provisions. But even there, the house is more marketable as a 2200 sq ft larger house than it is with a rentable unit on it. The house can itself be rented to roommates==maybe even 4 of them as a SFR.


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Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 10:31 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

Gary, can you please introduce me to this other Jeff Grafton? As far as I know, I'm the only one here in the bay area, so I'd love to meet him, but I'm having a hard time finding him in searches. I'm sure you didn't just make that up to try to attack my character.

As for me, I'm a software engineer and theatre technician who has lived out here in the bay for close to 11 years and has fallen in love with it. I love the climate, the food, the culture, and the people.

I became engaged in housing policy because over the last decade I've watched my friends and fellow artists get pushed out of the area due to increasing housing costs. I've watched the air quality degrade as commuters have to drive from further and further away. I've watched my favorite restaurants and venues close because they can't afford to pay staff enough to live in the area. I've watched more and more people get kicked to the street because that's the only way they can continue to live here where the jobs are.

We can do something about this. With moderate infill development focused near good quality transit, schools, and jobs, we can give people alternatives to grueling multi-hour commutes. We can protect vulnerable communities from displacement while at the same time adding more friendly neighbors to our neighborhoods. Building more housing isn't the only thing we need to do to combat this housing crisis, but we also can't fix the crisis without building more.

Last month, I took a short walk through the North Whisman neighborhood. This is a neat place: there's a mix of detached single family homes, duplexes, triplexes, and small apartment buildings, all well integrated with each other, and walking down the street, it feels like any other welcoming neighborhood. Unfortunately, in large parts of Mountain View, as well as most other cities throughout the bay and California, you're not allowed to build these neighborhoods anymore. SB 50 would allow you to build medium-density neighorhoods like North Whisman again.

One more short anecdote: in March, I attended an anti-SB 50 event at the Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto. As I sat in the audience, I wondered how many people around me enjoyed attending shows at the Lucie Stern Theater next door. I wondered if they realized how those artists can't afford to live in Palo Alto or anywhere close due to poor housing policies. I wondered if they realized that if we just keep the status quo, the thriving bay area theater scene will die.


2 people like this
Posted by planning codes
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 2, 2019 at 10:39 am

Long resident raises some good issues. I would refer to constrictions as restrictions or constraints. Density is the one constraint that refers to units and not square ft or distance. The other restrictions all refer to sq. feet (eg FAR, open space) and linear feet (eg setbacks). Increasing density would lead to smaller units but would still have all of the other constraints binding. In the end you may get a product that consumers do not want and hence would not get built.


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Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 10:41 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

@LongResident

As I noted, there are three main constraints in zoning code
- unit density (how many homes are allowed on a lot)
- floor-area ratio (how intensely you can build)
- height limits

For jobs-rich areas, SB 50 only affects density (how many homes you can have). It doesn't touch floor-area ratio or height limits.

You're right that a fourplex on a 5000 sqft lot wouldn't make sense - the FAR limit for an R1 lot that size is 0.45, so you could only build up to 2250 sq ft. It'd probably make more sense to build a duplex on this lot. Construction costs would be comparable to a detached single family home, but two families would be able to live here instead!

If you had a larger lot (say, 10000 sqft), then it might make more sense to look at a triplex or duplex. Currently, if you have a larger R1 lot, you're not allowed to build those.


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Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 10:42 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

@planning codes
yeah writing that post late at night my brain couldn't recall the word "constraints", which is what I wanted to write. :)

But to your other point, if a developer thinks that a duplex or triplex wouldn't make sense, they could still instead build a oneplex. They could still build a four-car garage if they felt that is what people wanted. They just woudn't be forced to do that.


5 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2019 at 11:07 am

LongResident is a registered user.

The fact is that the 1/2 mile radius to excuses for good transit corridors means a 45 foot height limit would be created for large swaths of single family home areas. Couple that with the density relaxations and you've got massive sprawl into areas which don't have infrastructure to support a developer's over-ambition should it manage to appear, even if he ends up going bankrupt to create it.


7 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 2, 2019 at 11:12 am

Here is another bit of uncertainty now that our expert building contractor has gone to sleep or stopped posting. Mountain View"s zoning ordinance is in Chapter 36 of its municipal code. It does not seem to impose building heights in R-1 and R-2, although the local code does contemplate a maximum of two stories in those zones. If the "maximum density" is waived by a new state law in all "transit rich" and "jobs rich" areas covering most of Mountain View and there is no strict "height" restriction in municipal law, then SB 50 (as mostly recently written) would authorize residential highrises in R 1 and R-2 zones currently 1-2 stories. If and when state law empowers applicants to build housing most anywhere they like, the applicants will not need to be respectful of the city government in pursuing interpretations of law and development plans. Indeed, SB 50 is packed full of proposed entitlements that applicants could enforce with high-priority lawsuits in wbich cities (and counties for proposed developments in unincorporated areas) would be required to pay thd applicants' costs and attorneys fees. And again, SB 50 or any bill transferring land use authority to the private sector is just one step in what could well be a short footrace to the complete elimination of all local control. The last amendment of SB 50 temporarily dropped 43 of 58 counties from its main requirements. Only the most populous 15 counties would be fully affected by THIS ONE BILL. Cute trick. Divide and conquer cities and counties. The next bill would take the next step.


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Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 11:59 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

For those looking for a detailed analysis of SB 50, Web Link is one of the better articles I've found. It's fairly approachable, it's well-sourced, it includes maps, and it clearly details any assumptions made in the analysis.


9 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

The link from Jeff is nice but does not adddess the waiving maximum density restrictions in both "transit rich"" and "jobs rich" areas as distinct from local height limits (when the exist). Nor does the linked article address next steps. So unfortunately the bottom line is that different people and businesses have different and sometimes conflicting interests. The giant corporations want more nearby housing for the employees they have imported and want to import to California. Housing developers-contractors want to build and sell housing for as large at profit as they can. Onsite parking costs big money. Skip it. Stacking units is more profitable. Just do it. Local control? Forget it. Existing residents be darned.


4 people like this
Posted by Beautiful
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 2, 2019 at 2:41 pm

This comments section has been worth it to see Gary flounder as his misinformation has been thoroughly demolished. Seeing him bounce around without admitting being wrong is simply beautiful. Gary, FYI, California is a state on West Coast of the United States of America.


1 person likes this
Posted by It's the parking
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2019 at 3:03 pm

SB 50, so be it. Higher density per MVCC deal making, so be it. Transit rich, jobs rich, so be it. 1/2 parking spot per unit is crap. Everyone lies about the number of cars they own. Two couples sharing a two bedroom is 4 cars. 500 1 bedroom apartments with 2 cars could be an extra 750 cars on city owned streets.
I would suggest CC council approve higher density but would require developers to, at their expense, surround the property with 2 hour parking restrictions. Sounds good so long as no one is lying about needed street parking. No begging for parking permits after the fact.. If you can't park within your footprint, you made a poor choice, the city does not owe anyone unrestricted free street parking permits on time restricted streets. MVCC should be focused on sane growth, ample parking and inviting for residents or guests that need to dine or do business 2-3 hours at a time near downtown MV.


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By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,760 views

Cap On? Cap Off? Recycling Bottles is Confusing
By Laura Stec | 41 comments | 1,578 views

Premarital and Couples: "Our Deepest Fear" by Marianne Williamson
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,371 views

Everything you've always wanted to know ...
By Sherry Listgarten | 11 comments | 930 views