News

City Council rejects plans to replace Milk Pail with eight-story office building

Decision creates 'uncertainty' for proposed San Antonio school, LASD officials say

The Mountain View City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to sink a proposal for an eight-story office building in the San Antonio shopping center, calling it too tall, too dense and the wrong fit for a city striving to build more housing.

The narrow vote blocks the developer Merlone Geier from moving forward with plans to construct a 230,000-square-foot office building at the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street. The building would have replaced the former Milk Pail market and other remaining low-density commercial buildings near the corner.

The vote at the Sept. 17 meeting was not for approval of the project -- it would have allowed the city to work with the developer on the so-called gatekeeper request -- but council members argued it was a fundamentally flawed proposal for the area and requested zoning exceptions far exceeding what they were willing to tolerate.

The preliminary proposal exceeded the density of what's allowed in the city's San Antonio Precise Plan by more than twofold, and would essentially pack all of the remaining office space allowed in the area on a parcel less than 1 acre in size. The precise plan also has provisions to spread out office development in and around the shopping center, which would need to be amended to allow Merlone Geier's office development to move forward.

"This is just way too much of an exception," said Mayor Lisa Matichak. "I'm not willing to make all those changes to the precise plan to accommodate this."

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Matichak, joined by councilwomen Margaret Abe-Koga and Alison Hicks, voted in favor of blocking the project, while council members Chris Clark and Ellen Kamei voted against. Council members Lucas Ramirez and John McAlister both recused themselves on grounds of a potential conflict of interest.

Abe-Koga said she believes the proposal runs contrary to the city's vision for the San Antonio area, which was intended to be a destination shopping center with just enough offices to support retail development in the area.

"My concern is that it's becoming more of an office park than a shopping center," she said.

A long time coming

Since at least 2013, Merlone Geier has sought to buy the properties near the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street to complete its higher-density vision for the mixed-use shopping center. The location includes the Milk Pail and the so-called Pilling property, which today stand in stark contrast to the nearby offices and Showplace Icon theater.

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Buying out the corner property has been tricky, as Milk Pail owner Steve Rasmussen was reluctant to relocate the European-style open air market and refused to sell the property. He eventually accepted a buyout earlier this year for an undisclosed amount, and permanently shuttered the market in June.

The sheer size of the proposed office building is fueled largely by a complex deal with the Los Altos School District, whereby Merlone Geier agreed to purchase the ability to overbuild on the San Antonio property in exchange for nearly $20 million.

The process, known as the Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs), allows the Los Altos School District to buy land for a school in the San Antonio area and build below the density allowed on the property. The district can then "sell" to developers the remaining density in exchange for about $130 per square foot.

Earlier this year, the school district announced its plans to purchase 11.65 acres of land from the real estate company Federal Realty for $155 million. The property is located at the corner of California Street and Showers Drive and is currently occupied by several commercial tenants, including the Kohl's department store. It's also a short distance away from Merlone Geier's proposed office building.

A 2-acre portion of the land will immediately be resold to the city of Mountain View for use as a park.

In order to defray the massive cost of the land purchase, the district lined up several agreements to sell 610,000 square feet of development rights -- including 150,000 square feet to Merlone Geier -- for a total of $79.3 million. The sales are contingent upon the council's approval of any projects using TDRs.

While the big boost in density helps finance a new school practically next door to the office project, city officials cautioned that the council should not view TDRs as a free pass. The city still has full discretion over any development that runs afoul of the zoning standards in the San Antonio area, and council members are free to reject special exemptions requested by Merlone Geier.

The transition from a cozy community market to a large, eight-story building with ground-floor retail and seven stories of offices didn't sit well with nearby residents, said Matt Raschke, a resident of the Crossings neighborhood. He said he was happy to see the school district moving forward with plans for a school, but the monolithic shape and size of the proposal wouldn't be pedestrian-friendly and would block the view of the newly built theater.

"We're very disappointed in the loss of the Milk Pail, we're very sad that that left," Raschke said. "And to be presented with this giant box of architecture to replace it is quite a shock."

Council members Kamei and Clark, who voted against denying the gatekeeper proposal, made a pitch that the project could be revised to be more palatable, bringing down the building height and stark, boxy appearance. Clark said the high density is the result of the TDR program and simply moves office space within the San Antonio area rather than exceeding what was initially planned for the area, and that Merlone Geier's proposal would hit the area's office cap and prevent further office development.

Kamei said the council put forward the TDR program in good faith, and that the city ought to allow the proposal to move forward in the interest of bringing a school to San Antonio.

"Given all the discussion, I want to be committed to the area getting that open space, getting that park and getting the school," she said.

Under the framework of the deal between the city and the Los Altos School District, any TDRs sold can be resold by the developer on a secondary market. Merlone Geier is also free to submit another gatekeeper proposal that meets the council's expectations. Despite these options, Superintendent Jeff Baier said the denial Tuesday brings uncertainty to a school district on the cusp of making a $155 million land purchase.

"Uncertainty creates complications for us," he said. "As purchasers, we are looking for certainty in order to have the confidence to close our sale, so this is an important piece for us."

Abe-Koga said she wanted to go back to the drawing board and consider housing on the corner property, rather than dense offices, and do a better job spreading out office development. While she acknowledged the school district's concerns, she said the city has already done more than its fair share to help build a new school.

"There has to be a balance, and I think that we have frankly gone above and beyond to try to make this school site happen," Abe-Koga said. "But it really needs to be balanced with our community's and our residents' interests."

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City Council rejects plans to replace Milk Pail with eight-story office building

Decision creates 'uncertainty' for proposed San Antonio school, LASD officials say

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Sep 18, 2019, 11:19 am

The Mountain View City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to sink a proposal for an eight-story office building in the San Antonio shopping center, calling it too tall, too dense and the wrong fit for a city striving to build more housing.

The narrow vote blocks the developer Merlone Geier from moving forward with plans to construct a 230,000-square-foot office building at the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street. The building would have replaced the former Milk Pail market and other remaining low-density commercial buildings near the corner.

The vote at the Sept. 17 meeting was not for approval of the project -- it would have allowed the city to work with the developer on the so-called gatekeeper request -- but council members argued it was a fundamentally flawed proposal for the area and requested zoning exceptions far exceeding what they were willing to tolerate.

The preliminary proposal exceeded the density of what's allowed in the city's San Antonio Precise Plan by more than twofold, and would essentially pack all of the remaining office space allowed in the area on a parcel less than 1 acre in size. The precise plan also has provisions to spread out office development in and around the shopping center, which would need to be amended to allow Merlone Geier's office development to move forward.

"This is just way too much of an exception," said Mayor Lisa Matichak. "I'm not willing to make all those changes to the precise plan to accommodate this."

Matichak, joined by councilwomen Margaret Abe-Koga and Alison Hicks, voted in favor of blocking the project, while council members Chris Clark and Ellen Kamei voted against. Council members Lucas Ramirez and John McAlister both recused themselves on grounds of a potential conflict of interest.

Abe-Koga said she believes the proposal runs contrary to the city's vision for the San Antonio area, which was intended to be a destination shopping center with just enough offices to support retail development in the area.

"My concern is that it's becoming more of an office park than a shopping center," she said.

A long time coming

Since at least 2013, Merlone Geier has sought to buy the properties near the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street to complete its higher-density vision for the mixed-use shopping center. The location includes the Milk Pail and the so-called Pilling property, which today stand in stark contrast to the nearby offices and Showplace Icon theater.

Buying out the corner property has been tricky, as Milk Pail owner Steve Rasmussen was reluctant to relocate the European-style open air market and refused to sell the property. He eventually accepted a buyout earlier this year for an undisclosed amount, and permanently shuttered the market in June.

The sheer size of the proposed office building is fueled largely by a complex deal with the Los Altos School District, whereby Merlone Geier agreed to purchase the ability to overbuild on the San Antonio property in exchange for nearly $20 million.

The process, known as the Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs), allows the Los Altos School District to buy land for a school in the San Antonio area and build below the density allowed on the property. The district can then "sell" to developers the remaining density in exchange for about $130 per square foot.

Earlier this year, the school district announced its plans to purchase 11.65 acres of land from the real estate company Federal Realty for $155 million. The property is located at the corner of California Street and Showers Drive and is currently occupied by several commercial tenants, including the Kohl's department store. It's also a short distance away from Merlone Geier's proposed office building.

A 2-acre portion of the land will immediately be resold to the city of Mountain View for use as a park.

In order to defray the massive cost of the land purchase, the district lined up several agreements to sell 610,000 square feet of development rights -- including 150,000 square feet to Merlone Geier -- for a total of $79.3 million. The sales are contingent upon the council's approval of any projects using TDRs.

While the big boost in density helps finance a new school practically next door to the office project, city officials cautioned that the council should not view TDRs as a free pass. The city still has full discretion over any development that runs afoul of the zoning standards in the San Antonio area, and council members are free to reject special exemptions requested by Merlone Geier.

The transition from a cozy community market to a large, eight-story building with ground-floor retail and seven stories of offices didn't sit well with nearby residents, said Matt Raschke, a resident of the Crossings neighborhood. He said he was happy to see the school district moving forward with plans for a school, but the monolithic shape and size of the proposal wouldn't be pedestrian-friendly and would block the view of the newly built theater.

"We're very disappointed in the loss of the Milk Pail, we're very sad that that left," Raschke said. "And to be presented with this giant box of architecture to replace it is quite a shock."

Council members Kamei and Clark, who voted against denying the gatekeeper proposal, made a pitch that the project could be revised to be more palatable, bringing down the building height and stark, boxy appearance. Clark said the high density is the result of the TDR program and simply moves office space within the San Antonio area rather than exceeding what was initially planned for the area, and that Merlone Geier's proposal would hit the area's office cap and prevent further office development.

Kamei said the council put forward the TDR program in good faith, and that the city ought to allow the proposal to move forward in the interest of bringing a school to San Antonio.

"Given all the discussion, I want to be committed to the area getting that open space, getting that park and getting the school," she said.

Under the framework of the deal between the city and the Los Altos School District, any TDRs sold can be resold by the developer on a secondary market. Merlone Geier is also free to submit another gatekeeper proposal that meets the council's expectations. Despite these options, Superintendent Jeff Baier said the denial Tuesday brings uncertainty to a school district on the cusp of making a $155 million land purchase.

"Uncertainty creates complications for us," he said. "As purchasers, we are looking for certainty in order to have the confidence to close our sale, so this is an important piece for us."

Abe-Koga said she wanted to go back to the drawing board and consider housing on the corner property, rather than dense offices, and do a better job spreading out office development. While she acknowledged the school district's concerns, she said the city has already done more than its fair share to help build a new school.

"There has to be a balance, and I think that we have frankly gone above and beyond to try to make this school site happen," Abe-Koga said. "But it really needs to be balanced with our community's and our residents' interests."

Comments

Thank you
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:54 am
Thank you, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:54 am
49 people like this

The last thing the San Antonio are needs is another giant box blotting out the sky. Thank you city council members who voted against this.


Ron
Waverly Park
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm
Ron, Waverly Park
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm
26 people like this

I would not rest so easy that it will not be "another giant box blotting out the sky". They just rejected it because it was an office building. They probably would have passed it if it has been an apartment building providing more housing or retail mix. That spot is NOT going to stay empty.


Yes!!
Monta Loma
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm
Yes!! , Monta Loma
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm
13 people like this

They do know how to say no!


Phil
The Crossings
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:56 pm
Phil, The Crossings
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:56 pm
38 people like this

I wouldn't put too much credence in the spokesperson words or beliefs of Matt Raschke, the quoted resident of the Crossings neighborhood, who also sits on the HOA Board. His board currently contracts with a tow company that sneaks into the neighborhood each night and snatches residents's vehicles and hauls them all the way across the bay to Newark. A hellish commute and $450 later you get your car back. Almost 100 cars have been towed away under his neighborly watch. He hardly represents the pulse or interests of the neighborhood.


Resident
The Crossings
on Sep 18, 2019 at 3:51 pm
Resident, The Crossings
on Sep 18, 2019 at 3:51 pm
27 people like this

No matter what the nearby residents think about the building, Raschke's is not the one to represent them. Not only they snatch residents' vehicles, they also stole parking spots from town home residents that had been approved and are in the original building permits and dictated by the city's ordinance, and illegally redistributed them. Zero integrity. 


Lynn
Shoreline West
on Sep 18, 2019 at 4:41 pm
Lynn, Shoreline West
on Sep 18, 2019 at 4:41 pm
28 people like this

I am glad that Abe-Koga voted against the massive office building. What I see being built along San Antonio is darn right ugly, large, and looming. I used to see the beautiful mountains and trees when driving along San Antonio, now I just feel claustrophobic and hemmed in. I would like to see something with architectural beauty, not an 8 story monstrosity.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 5:24 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2019 at 5:24 pm
4 people like this

Lucky it was so greedy that there could be so many votes no. If it had been only 6 stories and 150,000 sq ft it would probably have gotten a thumbs up. But would
neighbors have been happier???


LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 5:40 pm
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 5:40 pm
13 people like this

Let me get this straight...

LASD was able to buy the school site on San Antonio VERY inexpensively because it sold 610,000 square feet of development rights for $79.3 million?!

In another words, it's GUARANTEED that there will be extremely dense housing or offices next to the school...610,000 square feet to be exact.

People were outraged at the idea of having a school next to a shopping center. This sounds even worse...a school next to 8 story offfice buildings.

LASD Superintendent was quoted as saying "the denial Tuesday brings uncertainty to a school district on the cusp of making a $155 million land purchase." So, LASD WANTS this eight-story building!?


Not a spokesperson
The Crossings
on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Not a spokesperson, The Crossings
on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm
25 people like this

Piling on - Matt doesn't speak for me either. With that said, I believe the eight story building should be built. We need more grid locking traffic on San Antonio road.

The current 20+ minute duration of traversing the one mile stretch between the 101 to San Antonio & California could be so much longer! After the new 632 unit building goes up on the other side of California, I'll get at least an extra 15 minutes to catch up on my emails and texts during the one mile drive.

And all that additional healthier smog and pollution from idling cars on the roadway will be so much better for the neighborhoods (and the eventual school). It will be much more productive time spent on the road, in traffic. And with the extra gas burn, I'll feed the local economy more and pay more money in taxes because I'm visiting the pump more frequently.

Build it I say!


J
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:11 pm
J , another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:11 pm
1 person likes this

@LASD baffles me

The development rights were sold for use in another part of Mountain View, not at the same plot of land.

I didn’t see this quote from Tuesday- can you point us in its direction?

MV makes up 1/3 of the Los Altos school district, so it makes some sense that MV helps pay for their education (IMO- I’m also not a spokesperson). There would also be a fairly large park and gym along with the school. Also, since it would replace most of the stores there, there would no longer be a shopping center (unfortunately).

If you’d like info on the upcoming community workshops and charettes where you can make your opinion heard on this land deal and moving of schools PLEASE comment here and I will paste all the details.


LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:34 pm
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:34 pm
7 people like this

@J

Thanks. Following the link "several agreements", I see that the rest of the 610,000 sq feet will be used in another part of Mountain View, which is a relief. However, 150,000 sq ft will be used near the proposed new LASD school, adding to the many dense structures that are already there. How many additonal cars will that bring?

I would imagine the timeframe for getting to work in these office buildings (old and new) would be around 7:30 to 8:30. The timeframe for the 600-900 students that will be going to the new LASD school would probably be around 8:00 to 8:30, depending on the type of school.

I hope LASD has conducted traffic studies - or else there will be lots of tardy slips at this new school.

The quote "the denial Tuesday brings uncertainty to a school district on the cusp of making a $155 million land purchase." is MV Voice's paraphrasing of what LASD Superintendent said, and it's in the paragraph starting with "Under the framework..."


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm
5 people like this

These comments lack a lot of knowledge. Within 1500 feet of the proposed school site reside at present around 700 LASD students. The number is going up with construction of new apartment buildings. It shows a complete lack of empathy to kvetch about car traffic when a new school could easily have the entire student body coming to school on foot.

Similarly, you imply a school can't exist in that area owing to the height of the buildings in the area. But the kids LIVE here. You are dumping disdain on their residences and discriminating against them when you say they should be denied a neighborhood school.

Also your numbers on Mountain View's contribution to the composition of LASD is off in a couple of important ways. First it is about 28% of LASD, not 33%. But second, about 500 of the Mountain View LASD students attend Springer Elementary which is within the city of Mountain View! Well actually some of Springer's students do come from Los Altos but then so too do a comparable number of Oak Avenue Elementary School's students reside in Mountain View even though it is in Los Altos near Mountain View High School.

So it's not like Mountain View contributes no school sites to LASD. They have one already well established. What is underappreciated by the uninformed is just how important are the 700 current students from RIGHT BY the new school site. Those kids are split 3 ways to justify continued operation of THREE different schools in Los Altos even though those schools are 2 or 3 miles away from the kids. Somehow those schools are still called neighborhood schools even though so many of their students are drawn from SO FAR away. The conundrum for LASD is that it CONTINUES TO DENY these kids any sort of neighborhood school!

Think about traffic if there is no neighborhood school created for those kids. What do you think happens now? They mostly make car trips FROM THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD and have to deal with the local traffic from the get go. A new school just means they don't have to travel as far, and they don't HAVE to go by car. The traffic for them is the same EITHER WAY. WAKE UP!


RJ
Shoreline West
on Sep 18, 2019 at 9:49 pm
RJ, Shoreline West
on Sep 18, 2019 at 9:49 pm
14 people like this

They need to change the name of the city to Apartment View.


J
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:09 pm
J , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:09 pm
3 people like this

@ long resident

It seems like you have some strong feelings on the issue. I imagine the land purchase is a welcome one for the NEC area. It would be great to have children be able to walk to school.

My apologies- I said 33% when it might be 28%. Pretty close :).

I understand that you feel the district is denying children neighborhood schools but please understand that the point of purchasing the land is to fix that issue, IF that is what the community wants.

As far as I know, from friends living there, classmates are happy to drive from the crossings to Covington because it is a wonderful school in LASD.


LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:21 pm
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:21 pm
8 people like this

Developer Geier agreed to purchase from LASD "the ability to overbuild...in exchange for nearly $20 million." So, a HIGH-RISE will eventually be built there - just not this 8-story version.

@LongResident - you said "a new school could easily have the entire student body coming to school on foot." Your statement is only accurate if the proposed new LASD school is an ELEMENTARY school. If it's Egan or Bullis, then there WILL be car traffic. From what I understand, LASD doesn't want it to be an elementary school. Also, having an elementary school there will have the effect of concentrating virtually all the economically disadvantaged kids in one school, which may cause LASD to be accused of segregation.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:41 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:41 pm
2 people like this

The plans for a new school will affect the school assignment for kids starting no sooner than 5 YEARS from today and lasting for 50+ years after that. It doesn't matter what today's students parents want. The whole point is that there are people who have not yet moved in to 2000 to 5000 new apartments being built over the next 1-20 years. A lot will change. The Crossings won't change but it's already a minority of the total number of students living in the overall area. The growth is all OUTSIDE the Crossings. The people who need to be considered are about 4 to 5 times the number of students who will ever live in the Crossings. It's clearly a mistake to over emphasize the wishes of the CURRENT Crossings residents. Not only that but even The Crossings attendance area also includes the Old Mill Condominiums--another subareas unlikely to see much development in the future due to condominium style ownership.

So don't judge the FUTURE plans just by 80 or so The Crossings students from today. There are 800 students in the boundaries at present, split into 3 large attendance areas feeding THREE different Los Altos schools. The ones which will see the biggest influx are Almond and Santa Rita, not Covington. Yeah, it's muddied by LASD's excellent obfuscation.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:45 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:45 pm
2 people like this

On the matter of traffic, using the site for a Jr High school would be traffic-neutral. In the future about 50% of the kids at the Jr high will come from that area. So if the Jr High is in Los Altos, then 50% of the students will commute FROM the NEC area. If the Jr High is in the NEC area, then 50% of the students will commute FROM Los Altos TO the NEC area. It's an equilibrium.

Put Bullis Charter school there and only about 10% of the students at the school
will live in the area. Bullis Charter school draws students from every part of LASD and so naturally MOST do not live in the NEC area. Plus, the site is not big enough for 1200 students. It could be pressed into service for at most 900
students, preferably if ALL 900 are local neighborhood residents.


LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 12:51 am
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 12:51 am
8 people like this

@LongResident

Where does the 2000-5000 apartment estimate come from? The Dean has a little less than 600 apartments total, including studios and 1 bedrooms. Assuming that only the 2-3 bedrooms will have families, it means that only a maximum of 200 of the apartments can have k-8 children.

Web Link

The former Milk Pail site may end up developing office buildings (instead of apartments). 11.65 acre of the shopping area (including Kohl's) will be taken up by the new school, so no new apartments will go there.

1. As you said, putting Bullis at the new school won't work.
2. Relocating Egan there is problematic because of the large number of bikers having to cross El Camino from Los Altos, and
3. Putting an elementary school there has segregation issues.

I'm just not convinced that purchasing the shopping area for a LASD school is a good idea.

And now we are learning that putting a school there means that a high-density office building may be built there as part of LASD's deal, exacerbating the traffic that's already there.


I would never live there
Blossom Valley
on Sep 19, 2019 at 7:29 am
I would never live there, Blossom Valley
on Sep 19, 2019 at 7:29 am
29 people like this

I do not understand why anyone thinks that housing would be good for that site.

Who would want to live next to the other office building, the movie theater, and the busy San Antonio street.

Not for me.


J
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 9:54 am
J, another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 9:54 am
9 people like this

@ long resident + @ LASD baffles

We seem to all be on the same page. Purchasing the land feels like a bad idea. Please feel free to send comments to the Board. [email protected]

When I gave he example of the Crossings, I was trying to avoid a vast sweeping over generalization that would likely get my comment deleted from the Voice. I think you summed it up with the district being in triune for discrimination, if you can read between the lines.

Please make your voice known by emailing or otherwise contacting the board. A NEC school might be great. Can we afford it right now?

I disagree that NEC kids are “guests” at other schools. They are absolutely not. No one knows where most kids “come from”. They are 100% just as much of the school as a child that lives next door to it.


PA Resident
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 11:34 am
PA Resident, another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 11:34 am
2 people like this

The question about the size of the 8 story office building should really be asking how many potential workers would be housed? Where would they park? How would they get on already full Caltrain which has a service that rarely stops at San Antonio? Would they be expected to arrive by bus?

Bringing that number of people to that area would be calamitous for an already traffic loaded San Antonio.

I see no mention of any of these issues in the discussion. Unless of course the workers are expected to be the people who already live in walking distance from the site. Rather doubtful in my opinion.


Observer
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 12:14 pm
Observer, another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 12:14 pm
15 people like this

It wouldn't surprise me if LASD wants to pull out and will use this as their excuse to do so. Frankly, a lot of LASD parents and taxpayers would be thrilled if they did exactly that.

Their plan should be:

-Close Covington and move BCS to that campus
-Move 6th grade to Egan/Blach middle schools
-Spend the $150M Measure N bond funds to upgrade existing schools


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 1:03 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2019 at 1:03 pm
3 people like this

You can't get there from here. People are so short sighted and unimaginative. No kids live in apartments. Yeah, right. With 5000 new apartments going in, you just need 1 kid in every 10th apartment to get to 500 more kids, or 1 kid in every 20th apartment to get to 250 more kids. Apartments might not be an ideal home for kids, but there is not much choice in the future. There will be kids in the apartments. Don't expect the number of kids in the area to stay static when 5000 added new apartments are built to replace older buildings that are there now.

The apartments will be largely occupied by Google workers, and Google buses will pick them up and take them to work. Caltrain is going to have more cars per train and run more trains each day. Caltrain is not full, for what it matters. One factor is that 15% or more of the apartment units will be reserved for lower income occupants, and those are more likely to have kids.

When planning for a new school, it's not wise to assume that there will be another one added later to deal with growth that we can forecast now. THIS IS IT!


neighbor
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2019 at 3:23 pm
neighbor, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2019 at 3:23 pm
13 people like this

I'm glad that the council also blocked the propose building of another Eyesore in the sky. I am in agreement with Lynn who mentioned that they could no longer see the view of the mountains. Why call your city "Mountain View" when there are no Mountains to view at all???

Anyhow, we can't just decide to plop buildings wherever we please. These developers are not looking at the overall benefits of how these buildings will impact the surrounding areas of the city (including the beautiful background). Everything has to blend in and have some sort of culture or identity. When you see something, it has to mean something and not even cause a "WTF is THAT doing there" moment.

That area used to be so simple when our family first moved in back in 2004. Sure, Sears was on the decline as you can see how empty the huge parking lot was, CVS pharmacy had partially filled parking lots and the Ross was probably the most messiest department store I've ever walked into (that needed to go). The area went from "simple" to "intimidating" and at times "unwelcoming". Milk Pail drew many folks into that store and now the giant has finally stomped over the tiny ant.

We can't cater to building more of those luxury apartments because when the next recession will hit, I will guarantee you that those folks currently living in those nice places will skip town and turn those units into a ghost-town. We need more affordable housing to break the tide of gentrification and bring balance back to the city.


Lynn
Shoreline West
on Sep 19, 2019 at 4:10 pm
Lynn, Shoreline West
on Sep 19, 2019 at 4:10 pm
13 people like this

I just LOVE what Neighbor has to say about this city of Mountain View and all the construction that just has no beauty, or heart. I have lived here a long time as well, and have seen this city go from a friendly place to live and shop, to an unsightly mess of green fencing and ugly destruction and demolition. City Councils love of demolishing naturally affordable housing, and kicking renters to the curb, is repugnant to me. I could get on board with some of this construction, if it added beauty and thoughtfulness to Mountain View. This is not the case. I might also add, that putting a School smack in the middle of an area that has many large stores and traffic, is not a great idea, or a thoughtful plan. I can just see the news report now, "Child killed by speeder anxious to get to work". Get a clue, City Council.


neighbor
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2019 at 4:35 pm
neighbor, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2019 at 4:35 pm
17 people like this

I couldn't agree with Lynn more about how the plans to place a school in a commercially zoned location is beyond me. It makes no sense at all!!

Schools are supposed to be strategically placed within a neighborhood housing community where streets can be safely navigated by children who either live nearby and can walk, bike, ride home without having to worry about the busy traffic or potential hazards that are looming within that area.

Streets are for housing, avenues are for traffic thoroughfare. Streets are not avenues. Streets are properly posted with speed limit signs that fit that location (California/Showers Dr. at 35mph is usually 45mph for some drivers). If you've ever played "Sim City" you would understand this perfectly.

The mindset of the driver driving through that area is not one who even thinks that a school is nearby therefor caution is probably the last thing on their mind. Too many cars, too many dangers, kids are potential moving targets ironically near a Target. Our city lacks school bus service (something that is an utter embarrassment to when comparing other school systems in different states within the U.S.) so frankly if not most but probably ALL of the kids at this school would probably be on foot.

Having a school here is strictly something that's clearly out of place and everyone knows it.

We are not in the smack-dab middle of a large city like San Francisco, where there is no choice but to drop a school in the middle of mix zoning. We live in the suburbs for crying out loud!! We have more flexibility to properly locate facilities where they should belong. No offense to those folks who decided to move into their trailers and parking on the Walmart lot nearby but having that near a school would be really sketchy in my opinion. That's why affordable housing needs to be addressed so these folks wouldn't have to live in these as well.


Lynn
Shoreline West
on Sep 19, 2019 at 4:48 pm
Lynn, Shoreline West
on Sep 19, 2019 at 4:48 pm
1 person likes this

Right On, Neighbor!! :-) Your words are beauty to my ears. You have explained it, perfectly.


Look
The Crossings
on Sep 19, 2019 at 6:22 pm
Look, The Crossings
on Sep 19, 2019 at 6:22 pm
5 people like this

1000 kids love right there. New apartment buildng almost done by Target. KOHLS was real close to Target. Many kids in HUGE SET OF OLD APARTMENTS ON CALIFIRNIA STREET and on GABRIEL AVENUE. More coming. The kids cannot leave home without traversing that area. The closest kids are at school right after leaving home. It is as close as the bus stop. Huge new park with the school ten times the size of Klein Park.


J
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 8:05 pm
J, another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 8:05 pm
2 people like this

@ neighbor and Lynn

Please email the BOD your feelings.

[email protected]


LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 10:08 pm
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 10:08 pm
13 people like this

From what I heard, LASD originally wanted the shopping center school to be designated for Bullis. They hate having to compete for students with Bullis, and the fact that Bullis is winning the battle for students is embarrassing to them. They knew the shopping area is an undesirable location for a school - they were hoping that moving Bullis there would make Bullis less popular.

But, it's clear now that Bullis can't move there, so why are they still going ahead with the new school?

1. Putting Egan there will outrage Los Altos, but
2. designating it as an elementary school will mean that the 7 current LASD elementary schools will have about 0-3% economically-disavantaged students, and the new school will have 25%+.

I wonder if MV City Council is withdrawing support for this deal because of the community outrage about moving Egan there.


Look
The Crossings
on Sep 19, 2019 at 10:20 pm
Look, The Crossings
on Sep 19, 2019 at 10:20 pm
4 people like this

An elementary school there would be no more than 15% low SES but it would then be twice the enrollment of those in Los Altos. The LASD also promised the city a new gym, a track and a city sports facility with lockers and adult sports equipment storage. Just what every elementary school needs.


Doesn't work
another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 10:31 pm
Doesn't work, another community
on Sep 19, 2019 at 10:31 pm
13 people like this

LASD can't put an elementary school NEC without closing a Los Altos neighborhood school. There's no budget (and no need) for an additional elementary school. They don't have the enrollment numbers. They could close Covington and give it to BCS (the obvious solution to the current problem) but there's still no need for a new school. If they move 6th to middle the enrollment at all elem schools stays small.

It's not fiscally responsible to spend money on land + new school just so some kids don't have to commute a short distance to school. Everybody that moved to NEC knew the schools were in Los Altos, not their neighborhood, and I think they're mostly happy to drive considering the strength of the schools they get to attend.

It's actually too bad that MVWSD can't annex that whole NEC area into their district considering that they keep approving plans to add more kids to LASD. Let MV build them a school!


LASD neighbor
another community
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:34 am
LASD neighbor , another community
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:34 am
Like this comment

@ doesn’t work

BINGO. please please please email this to those making the decisions!!!

[email protected]


Sophie
Gemello
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:05 pm
Sophie, Gemello
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:05 pm
7 people like this

With the speed of building more new offices and new residential, Mountain View is more like an urban than suburb. Do you know why? the utilization of all land/space is increased, and it generates more income for city, however, I doubt how these extra income will be distributed to residents here, even worse, residents have to tolerate worse traffic, more crowds, noise, dust from new constructions, parking shortage, transients, etc. The least we want is Mountain View becoming another San Francisco.


Jean
The Crossings
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:48 pm
Jean, The Crossings
on Sep 20, 2019 at 11:48 pm
Like this comment

I went to look at Greystar blueprints at Mountain View town hall for old Safeway site.
Employees struggled to help me. Nobody can tell me what will be the height of the building.
Building is the second row from California Avenue and #4 on their map.
Plans are under lock and key. Can't take picture. Contractor's name for demolition hard to get but
they got it for me.
San Antonio shopping center is gone for good along with Crossings property values.
I think 8 story office building is the best use of that lot at Milk Pail site.
10 would be even better.
We at Crossings along Pacchetti Drive got really bad treatment by the City Council.
3 years + of in your face construction!


LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 21, 2019 at 12:00 am
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 21, 2019 at 12:00 am
Like this comment

So, a new school being built at San Antonio area means that there will be an 8-story at Milk Pail or equivalent.

If there's no new school (somehow LASD backs out), does it mean that some of the shopping will stay, and the new apartments/offices will be low/medium density, like 3-stories?

Is this info publicly available somewhere?


Hmmm
The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 12:09 am
Hmmm, The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 12:09 am
1 person likes this

Nope. Look right by the corner. 6 stories. Maybe it will only be 5 but not 3.


Greystar story
The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 12:25 am
Greystar story, The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 12:25 am
LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 21, 2019 at 1:00 am
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 21, 2019 at 1:00 am
2 people like this

Thanks for the Greystar link. The old Safeway site is almost the same size as the Kohls site. So, if there's no school, then Kohls/Milk Pail site may be developed similar to the Greystar/Safeway site? The Safeway/Greystar rendering looks a lot nicer to me than the current 8-story office building.

1. Safeway/Greystar Plan: no school + 632 unit apartment + 20,000 sq ft ground floor commercial (retail?) + 4 acre park

2. Current Kohls/Milk Pail plan: LASD school + 8-story office building (230,000 sq ft offices) + 2 acre park

If it were up to me, I would choose #1 for the Kohls/Milk Pail site, especially if some of the apartments are allocated to teacher housing.


Hmmm
The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 1:14 am
Hmmm, The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 1:14 am
1 person likes this

No, Kohls site is allowed 30 % more density than the Greystar site. Other differences in play too.


Jean
The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm
Jean, The Crossings
on Sep 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm
Like this comment

Greystar made appearance here. My question is: how tall will be the building #4 at Old Safeway site?
Blue prints say 6 floors high. The link you post says 3 to 5 floors.
City never sent us to scale plans. Nothing.
The border between Crossings and Greystar not marked.
Could you help us Greystar?


Sparrow
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2019 at 12:06 pm
Sparrow, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2019 at 12:06 pm
Like this comment

Jean,

The plans are available on the City website at:

Web Link

Check out the Greystar website at www.2580californiastreet.com also.

Please e-mail any questions or comments:

Robin Yovianto
Assistant Project Manager - Greystar
[email protected]

Eileen Campbell
Project Coordinator – Greystar
[email protected]


Sparrow
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm
Sparrow , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm
Like this comment

Oops. That City link didn’t work correctly. The plans are in the EPC meeting archive for June 6, 2018. You need to click on the folders to get to them.


Jean
The Crossings
on Sep 23, 2019 at 2:34 am
Jean, The Crossings
on Sep 23, 2019 at 2:34 am
1 person likes this

My question still remains: how many floors in building #4?
Blue prints are precise. Marketing plans are promotional materials.


Sparrow
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2019 at 9:41 am
Sparrow , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2019 at 9:41 am
2 people like this

Jean,

The plans available from the City meeting archive link above, show Building 4 is 4 stories tall.


Jean
The Crossings
on Sep 24, 2019 at 12:55 am
Jean, The Crossings
on Sep 24, 2019 at 12:55 am
3 people like this

Sparrow, plans are not blueprints. I'm concerned because sole employee working unsupervised
started grinding our black iron fence. Property line is not marked. Our 3 birch trees have trunks
on other side of the fence. Do they have the right to take them out?
The distance from our Pacchetty townhouses to their future fence and building #4 is not shown on plans.
I was not allowed to copy or photograph blueprints at the city hall.
Why so much secrecy?




Good idea
North Whisman
on Sep 24, 2019 at 6:22 pm
Good idea, North Whisman
on Sep 24, 2019 at 6:22 pm
1 person likes this

Check with the HOA mgmt company. Property lines there are blurred because of the master HOA and cc&r obligations.


Doesn't work
another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 7:16 pm
Doesn't work, another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 7:16 pm
2 people like this

@LASD Neighbor - Unfortunately I don't see the LASD BoT being interested in my practical and fiscally responsible plan. They're on a mission to kill BCS so they'll only respond positively to those that also want to kill BCS. And the LASD parents seem to be mobilized against BCS right now (since they don't want to occupy the NEC location for a Jr High) so I fear we're in for more fighting and more expensive litigation, squandering tax dollars + good will. No end in sight.

It's too bad that all can't recognize that the shopping center is an inappropriate site for any school and choose instead to work with their existing land & facilities...


J
another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 8:45 pm
J, another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 8:45 pm
3 people like this

@ doesn’t work.

Not everyone. There’s a large group of parents who aren’t anti-BCS. We just want to work together to get this resolved. Whether that means building permanent sites for BCS at Egan and Blach, while LASD schools have older buildings, fine. LASD values keeping all our schools open. BCS seems to value permanent structures. Building up on Egan and Blach is a win-win.

We aren’t expecting BCS to go away! We want to work together. If the parents from both “sides” can find some solutions to present to the combined boards, perhaps they can consider them as valuable ideas.

As for buying the 10th site, well we can agree there. Maybe the district can continue leasing it to existing stores until it’s really needed.


LASD Baffles Me
another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 9:04 pm
LASD Baffles Me, another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 9:04 pm
3 people like this

@J

So nice to hear that "there’s a large group of parents who aren’t anti-BCS." I hope they prevail over the small group of BCS-haters (including some LASD trustees) who are tearing Los Altos apart and causing problems at San Antonio area by allowing "overbuilding" of 8-story office building.

Building "up" from Egan/Blach is an interesting idea. However, some things to discuss:

1. If new school is purchased at San Antonio, there will not be enough money left to build "up"

2. There are simply too many students at Egan + BCS right now. Traffic there is crazy.

3. Closing a school is not ideal, but due to the decreasing enrollment at LASD, it really might be a solution that's better for "everyone". Some of the schools are tiny. Here are the enrollment numbers from last year: Web Link

Is that really good for the LASD students? Plus, I really think 6th should go to Egan/Blach. At Palo Alto, MV, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino - 6th graders go to junior high. If I had a 6th grader, I wouldn't want to send him/her to elementary school.


Titanic
another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 9:25 pm
Titanic, another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 9:25 pm
2 people like this

BCS has minimal land as they are now. The classrooms are much closer together with crappy outdoor access ways not even covered as are LASD schools laid out. Example: the portables at Oak are much nicer in layout than at BCS. I think it is postage stamp sized plots of land that pose the biggest evidence of illegal discrimination against BCS students.

These so called not anti BCS parents are ignoring the current discrimination. They woke up late last year and want to wait another 5 years. BCS has 1100 students expanding to fill demand more and to be more inclusive. When the district tried to use 30% of LOYOLA without closing it they protested. Loyola is half the size this year compared to 2008. They have more kids at Blach BCS than at Loyola but only 25% of the land. Its wall to wall portables. Permanent buildings would be just as bad.


Titanic
another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 9:40 pm
Titanic, another community
on Sep 24, 2019 at 9:40 pm
Like this comment

Also at Loyola LASD would have limited BCS to all portables to. 2 or 3 card empty this year and more would be added. The Loyola parents objected to adding portables for BCS because it would take up a little of their 6 or 7 acres of open space.


Jean
The Crossings
on Sep 25, 2019 at 10:30 pm
Jean, The Crossings
on Sep 25, 2019 at 10:30 pm
1 person likes this

Building # 4 of Greystar old Safeway plans has 6 floors after all.
We have to count 2-story garage.
Architect who filed subdivision plans made an error.
Part of our land that was and is our landscaping is appearing as sharp corner
that does not exist. City staffers missed the problem when they recommended approval.
It should have been half circle.


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