News

Developer seeks to replace Mountain View auto repair shop with housing

A rendering of housing proposed at 730 Central Avenue in Mountain View. Courtesy city of Mountain View.

The home of the former Motor Car Tune Up off of Moffett Boulevard could soon transform into four-story housing, under a new proposal to convert the site into high-density residential uses.

The plans, proposed by developer Zachary Trailer, call for scrapping the auto repair shop at 730 Central Avenue -- next door to the Shana Thai restaurant -- and fitting 21 single-bedroom units onto the quarter-acre site. The switch to housing will require a conditional use permit, according to city staff.

The developer is leaning heavily on California's State Density Bonus Law in order to ratchet up density and keep parking requirements to a minimum. Under the law, housing projects with enough affordable units can increase density beyond what's normally allowed and win concessions from other zoning rules.

In this case, the developer is requesting a 42.5% density bonus, giving the project enough room to build 21 units on the bite-sized property, each one under 700 square feet. The project would only have 11 parking spaces, just a fraction of the 33.5 spaces that would be required under current zoning, according to planning documents from February.

The developer is proposing three affordable housing units, city staff confirmed in an email Tuesday.

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The project is still winding its way through the city's planning process, coming before the Development Review Committee last week. City planners largely approved of the project's design, recommending small tweaks to the visual appearance of the building. The project has been resubmitted multiple times going back to July 2021.

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Kevin Forestieri
Kevin Forestieri is an assistant editor with the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac. He joined the Voice in 2014 and has reported on schools, housing, crime and health. Read more >>

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Developer seeks to replace Mountain View auto repair shop with housing

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Apr 26, 2022, 11:38 am

The home of the former Motor Car Tune Up off of Moffett Boulevard could soon transform into four-story housing, under a new proposal to convert the site into high-density residential uses.

The plans, proposed by developer Zachary Trailer, call for scrapping the auto repair shop at 730 Central Avenue -- next door to the Shana Thai restaurant -- and fitting 21 single-bedroom units onto the quarter-acre site. The switch to housing will require a conditional use permit, according to city staff.

The developer is leaning heavily on California's State Density Bonus Law in order to ratchet up density and keep parking requirements to a minimum. Under the law, housing projects with enough affordable units can increase density beyond what's normally allowed and win concessions from other zoning rules.

In this case, the developer is requesting a 42.5% density bonus, giving the project enough room to build 21 units on the bite-sized property, each one under 700 square feet. The project would only have 11 parking spaces, just a fraction of the 33.5 spaces that would be required under current zoning, according to planning documents from February.

The developer is proposing three affordable housing units, city staff confirmed in an email Tuesday.

The project is still winding its way through the city's planning process, coming before the Development Review Committee last week. City planners largely approved of the project's design, recommending small tweaks to the visual appearance of the building. The project has been resubmitted multiple times going back to July 2021.

Comments

AC
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:28 pm
AC, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:28 pm

At first blush, this one seems like a good one.

I always worry about creating traffic when density ratchets up. With Castro Street closed, this part of Moffett (and its access to Central Expressway, SR-85 and US-101; as well as to the Stevens Creek Trail for biking/walking) seems to be a good candidate for development. From what I can tell, anyway.


Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:31 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:31 pm

I walk by this property every day. The currently abandoned auto shop is an eyesore. This apartment building will be perfect for people who want a small apartment and don't need a car. It's a short walk to downtown restaurants and train station and the Steven's Creek bike trail is just to the east at the end of Central Ave. I look forward to the city approving this an getting some more housing in MV.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:34 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:34 pm

Rents starting at $3999/mo.


SP Phil
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:37 pm
SP Phil, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 2:37 pm

Not mentioned: Will there be problems building on the site of an auto garage--oil and gas in the soil, problems digging underground parking, etc.?


[email protected]
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Apr 26, 2022 at 3:34 pm
[email protected], Monta Loma
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 3:34 pm

Only 3 affordable units? And the others rent for $4000--for a one-bedroom? Who can afford to live there?


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 26, 2022 at 4:30 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 4:30 pm

More to the point, who would rent a $4K apartment like that when they could group with housemates and rent a house that is 3 times the size for $6K/mo in Los Gatos? Not for everyone.


Proud Taxpayer
Registered user
Willowgate
on Apr 26, 2022 at 5:54 pm
Proud Taxpayer , Willowgate
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 5:54 pm

This project sounds wrong in so many ways.
This adds nothing but problems to the existing neighborhood. 21 units on the corner of two busy streets that already has a lot of jaywalkers. Built on a lot that would normally only fit 1 or 2 single family homes. No new open space. Only 1 parking spot for every 2 units, so we can expect everyone to be parking in shopping center behind the building.
This is the wrong project for that tiny space.


Another MV Resident
Registered user
Willowgate
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:20 pm
Another MV Resident, Willowgate
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:20 pm

Excited for the new neighbors. Can’t happen fast enough. Would love to see this section of Moffet see a lot more development with space for restaurants, shops, and apartments.


Johnny Yuma
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:22 pm
Johnny Yuma, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:22 pm

I call this the "50 pounds of manure in a 5-pound bag" syndrome. More housing, more congestion. Gridlock. It never ends -- unless voters become adamant about "showing the door" to Mountain View's pro-growth council. We must change the revolving door of the same folks returning (e.g., Inks, Kasperzak, Abe-Koga, Lieber). You know what I mean. Mountain View needs fresh faces with new ideas. What a concept...


RMP
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:27 pm
RMP, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:27 pm

I also oppose this plan if indeed the rents will be $4k for 900 sq ft, and only 3 affordable units - not helpful at all. When I first read of 1 bedroom, 900 sq ft apartments, I thought all 21 units would be at affordable or low-income rents. Not having 1 parking space per unit is unrealistic. As much as we might think people will bike/walk to where they need to be, that's not reality, especially if they can afford $4k/mo for rent. Parking will spill over onto the street or into the shopping center.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:31 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 6:31 pm

Beautiful, a local NIMBY posts obvious false information on the article, and the rest of the folks of... a certain generation... eat up the fake news as usual and start complaining about not enough homes for cars, too. Why does the Voice allow people to outright lie here?


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2022 at 7:06 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 7:06 pm

Just wait. Someone will say the abandoned auto shop is "neighborhood character." When was the last time someone fixed a car there?


Jodi
Registered user
Willowgate
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:54 pm
Jodi, Willowgate
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:54 pm

I can't wait for that abandoned, eyesore property to be developed. We need as much density as we can get near downtown and the train station. There is plenty of street parking available on Central Ave so I don't think that will be a problem. And btw, I never thought the $3999/month comment was a lie. I thought it was a joke as that is obviously too much for a small, 1bed/bath apartment around here.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 26, 2022 at 10:33 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 10:33 pm

The comment was serious. Locate any new construction 1 bd apartment of 600-700sf in the city. They all cost just under $4K per month. Why would any owner rent for less than the market rate? It could be a test of the idea that omitting parking would reduce rents. But living in a smaller project has some charm to it, and that might offset the potential discount from the lack of parking. It seems like the accurate estimate would be the rents would equal those elsewhere in the city with more traffic and so forth nearby.

But, these are NOT 900 sf units--they are all under 700sf per the article, same as in large Prometheus projects on San Antonio and others along El Camino Real. You could quibble, but what's the difference if the rate might be a mere $3750 per month?


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 26, 2022 at 10:42 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 10:42 pm

Example, Elan Apartments ECR at Castro. 716sf $3900. Different units will be priced differently and the dovetailing with a departure might get you some discount if you commit in advance.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2022 at 10:49 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 10:49 pm

LongResident gets called out for lying, responds with "Source: I made it up" and thinks it helps his case.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 26, 2022 at 11:01 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 11:01 pm

Forecasting the prices does not connote a NIMBY. Naive guessers that 650sf means a lower rent might want to check out the prices and sizes of available units in any new project. It would be a public service to i.d. places for say a $3K rent of such a new unit. New costs more. That's just the way it is. What's ironic is that this developer might be able to build units for $500K apiece. That's 1/2 the cost or less as seen by new all affordable projects elsewhere. It's more like YIMBY to say that such privileges of zoning variances (conditional use permits) ought to be reserved for all affordable projects. Too bad the city can't snap up these cheap land prices and then convert use to increase density and reduce cost per unit, but that doesn't seem to happen.


Frank Richards
Cuesta Park

Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 11:11 pm
Name hidden, Cuesta Park

Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 11:11 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


Tal Shaya
Registered user
another community
on Apr 27, 2022 at 3:55 am
Tal Shaya, another community
Registered user
on Apr 27, 2022 at 3:55 am

Keep packing those poor people into cheap housing. It's good for the economy.


Cfrink
Registered user
Willowgate
on May 4, 2022 at 5:23 pm
Cfrink, Willowgate
Registered user
on May 4, 2022 at 5:23 pm

I think this sounds like a fantastic project. One of the reasons I like it is the small plaza behind the site could really use a few more regular customers to justify a couple more long term storefronts. The small market there would definitely benefit from the additional foot traffic, as would the taqueria and pizza shop. The traffic would be minimal since it's at the opening of the neighborhood and many of the folks who might live there will likely work remotely, or want to live somewhere they can easily jump on the train to head to work elsewhere in the area. Sounds like a fantastic project. Let's do it!


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 5, 2022 at 11:32 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 5, 2022 at 11:32 pm

These apartments won't be cheap. Where does that come from? How could they be less costly than the competition? Using the train to get to work? Pretty much anywhere you might take the train to work, apartments in that city are already cheaper than in Mountain View? So they work in Santa Clara and they want to live in Mountain View because they can take the train there and pay more? I'm not following that logic. Taking the train to work every day is expensive. Why not build housing that serves people who want to work in Mountain View?


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