A new seven-story, multifamily housing community is being proposed in the East Whisman area. Though massive by historical Mountain View standards, city planning officials say the proposal is zoning-compliant and consistent with the city’s vision for the largely undeveloped East Whisman Precise Plan (EWPP) area.
Proposed for 320 Logue Ave., the project would construct 366 apartments, according to project plans. The building would consist of a below-grade, three-level garage with 412 total parking spaces.
According to the project plans, the complex would be “conveniently located adjacent to the Middlefield VTA light rail station and planned open space (as part of Google’s development), as well as other nearby jobs,” and would offer “an important piece of the pedestrian and bike oriented neighborhood envisioned in the EWPP.”
The project is still in the early stages of the approval process, having only been seen by the city’s Development Review Committee (DRC) so far at a virtual July 20 meeting, which was not recorded or posted for public review.
At that meeting, committee members recommended that the developer make some minor changes, such as expanding plans for a multi-use driveway to allow different types of vehicles to get around more smoothly, and increasing the amount of landscaping along the side of the building that would face the VTA tracks.
While zoning compliance wasn’t discussed at the meeting – the committee is tasked with making recommendations on site architectural design, not adherence to the city’s zoning laws – Deputy Zoning Administrator and DRC member Rebecca Shapiro said the planner assigned to the project, Edgar Maravilla, has indicated that the proposal adheres to zoning standards in the city's precise plan, which allows for high "bonus" densities.
Shapiro said the project is allowed to achieve a high intensity with a floor-area ratio (FAR) of 3.5 and, per the city's review, the project complies with those rules.
Generally, any concerns related to zoning compliance of a proposed project would come up later once the project reaches the public hearing and decision-making stages, Shapiro said.
The project is also compliant in terms of parking. The precise plan includes parking maximums, meaning it doesn’t allow projects to have more than a certain number of parking spaces, depending on the number of housing units.
“The project is complying with those maximums,” Shapiro said. “The project plans include 412 parking spaces and the precise plan standard is a maximum of one space per unit for studios and one-bedrooms, and a maximum of two spaces per unit for two-bedrooms and up.”
The 320 Logue Ave. project includes a mix of 294 studios and one-bedroom apartments, 65 two-bedrooms and seven three-bedrooms. The 412 parking spaces proposed falls below the 438 maximum allowed for that mix of units.
The proposal also complies with Mountain View's affordable housing requirements, stating in the project plans that it would include 15% onsite affordable units at 50% and 80% AMI (area median income).
While a housing development with this many stories and units is out of character in other parts of Mountain View, Shapiro said it’s in line with other projects that have been proposed in East Whisman. A recently approved development just a block away at 400 Logue Ave., for instance, will have a little more than 400 units, she said.
“The unit mix that 320 Logue has isn’t out of character,” she said. “There I believe are two larger residential developments (in East Whisman) that have already been approved.”
Even so, the project is still in the early stages of the review process and will have to go through a few more hoops before it can be considered for approval.
The project will return to the DRC for one final review “where we’ll see any changes that they were able to make based on our first review,” Shapiro said. That will be followed by a neighborhood outreach meeting, a public hearing before the Environmental Planning Commission and ultimately come before the City Council.
Shapiro added that the project also needs to go through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, a major factor as far as timing is concerned. The precise plan already has an approved CEQA document, allowing most proposals within the area to go through a streamlined environmental checklist process, which typically takes around six months, Shapiro said.
“So the project is unlikely to be at the public hearing stage until maybe early next year,” she said.