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Neighbors, council clash on Minton's project

Original post made on Jun 18, 2009

The City Council differed with about a dozen neighbors Tuesday about the merits of building 214 apartments across the street from the Caltrain station on the current Minton's Lumber site.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 2:21 PM

Comments (13)

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Posted by Bernie Brightman
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm

It will be sad to see Minton's go. I don't know if people realize it, but they used to build houses all around Mountain View. Some of the best looking houses in the Old Mountain View neighborhood such as those on Loreto and Velarde were built by them in the 1920s. It will be a tragic irony if Minton's itself is replaced by a bunch of bland, cookie-cutter houses such as those currently seen on Dana east of Calderon.

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Posted by Ben
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga called it "probably one of the best places to put a high-density project" because of its proximity near the train station.

Inks agreed, "Larger scale development makes sense and is justified."

There is no data to show that the resident will use transit more that the general public (about 5 percent). In the early morning and in the evening they will be using their cars and add to the traffic congestion.

Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga is not trained to pay attention to data. Councilperson Inks has no excuse. He is a trained engineer. He should rely on data to make decisions instead of his wishful thinking.

The data (what there is) shows the Crossing housing across from the San Antonio Train Station shows little usage, about 3 rider per 60 people when asked at a meeting how many people use the train. The Council refused to consider my suggestion that they monitor or survey transit usage at the Crossing and the HP high-density development. They know that their argument for high dentistry near transit is not supported by data. A survey or yearly monitoring will take a stupid argument. We all know the more people means more traffic congestion and green house gases from cars and heating homes or other human actives.

Mountain View is going sustainable and GREEN, green for developers; green like money.

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Posted by Bernie Brightman
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm

One note about using data from The Crossings stop. The train stops there much less frequently than it does at the Mountain View station. There may be people there who would like to use it, but do not just because the times are so inconvenient. That will probably skew the data quite a bit.

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Posted by Shirley
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2009 at 5:35 pm

You can add as much high density housing as you want to that area, you just can't force the residents to abandon driving then you just add more problems to an already very congested area.

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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Four story buildings along Evelyn sounds like a terrible idea, Why does it have to be high density? Why can't they just put up town houses or single family homes similar to those on Evelyn Ave (across from Farmers Market)? The character of Old Mountain View should be preserved. The area south of San Antonio, high rise condos, haphazard design of shopping center, high density, lots of traffic; not something to be repeated.

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Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm

This thing sounds awful. I can't believe they are still using the proximity to the train to justify these ill-conceived projects. Residents will be taking the train to--where? instead of driving. What a laugh! Of course all the city council members use the train constantly and probably don't even have cars--likewise the principals of Prometheus Development. Anything to put one over on MV residents I guess, for the sake of greedy developers.

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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:00 am

Sounds similar to the Mayfield development. That was also sold as a 'transit friendly' development with no data to back it up. These are just talking points so the Council can along with the developers. But what do you expect when we re-elect high density advocates like Mike Kasperzak who has never seen a high-rise, in someone else's backyard, that he does not support.

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Posted by took 'urban design'
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:57 am

I'm so glad some think engineers know 'all the numbers'. Though an engineer, I did take an urban design course at Berkeley and studied the area out where a BART station was going to be built. Guess what? Thirty years later there is more transit-related high density housing there and many people who choose a home (or rental) just because of that fact. My brother-in-law did so so he could commute to Concord (it had been a BART commute to the financial district in SF).
This is entirely appropriate high-density, transit & wakable living style development (IMO). I also like the similar higher multi family development (2 story over parking platform) that was recently put on Bonita near El Camino.
If your backyard is near a hundred year+ old transit line, you should sort of expect transit related development (or HSR) in the future. Let the buyer beware! (of course I voted for Mike!)

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Posted by NIMBY nonsense!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2009 at 11:52 am

It won't be long before gas prices inevitably send train ridership through the roof, even with faster trains on the tracks. Everyone will want to live near the train and many already do. It won't be long before all the real estate in the neighborhood fetches top dollar. Then all you NIMBY's could get a nice deal selling your home so you can move somewhere you don't have to worry about growth, like Stockton.

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Posted by Fear of heights
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Reading through the posts above, it's striking how the kneejerk reactions of some vocal project opponents can steer the discussion so far off course. People write about "high-rises" as if what Prometheus is proposing here is a "high-rise". Ridiculous!

The proposed development would at its tallest be four stories above underground parking facing the train station and two stories facing Villa. Where except Mountain View, Los Altos, Palo Alto, etc. would 2 to 4 stories be called "high-rise"? In most other parts of the country, cities large and small approve buildings of 10, 12, 20 stories near major transit stations. Here in Mountain View, we have buildings of 6 & 12 stories right on Castro Street, and amazingly enough, we've survived -- in fact, we even have a remarkably pleasant, livable downtown. Those are mid-rises and high-rises. This development is not.

Those of you who support this project, who are concerned about reducing our carbon footprint, who want to see a wider variety of housing options in Mountain View -- don't let the NIMBYs control the language of debate. Call this project what it is -- a low-rise building, incrementally higher than its immediate surroundings.

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Posted by MV-my-home
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 21, 2009 at 9:11 am

When council members make remarks like they don't care about the appearance or style, we know we have a problem. Why did we elect these Philistines in the first place? If they had their way, they would plaster every square inch of Mountain View with concrete.

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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 21, 2009 at 10:10 pm

USA is a registered user.

MV-my-home -- Yeah, these are the same ones that want to concrete over a chunk of Cuesta Annex to put up a museum about what life was like before every square inch of Mountain View was plastered with concrete. It sounds like a Seinfeld episode, but it is really true. They actually want to do that.

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Posted by took Urban Design
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 23, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I think those who wanted to vote for 'no growth' and 'nothing over 2 story' got to vote for their favorites and 'Fear of Heights' and the rest of us who have lived outside the burbs got to vote for those who we think will advance our view of suburban center growth. I only cast two votes for the council - and I'm pretty happy with the work of both my choices. Hail democracy!
Stocton/Mantica is a logical choice for those who want to stay with that type of low density/single family development. SF for those who want very high density - and I just went past a nice new 3 story apartment in Cupertino (Homestead and Wolf) - many of us will stay here and help the civil fight for what we consider appropriate urban design and development.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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