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Guest Opinion: Our housing crisis calls for regional cooperation

Original post made on Sep 7, 2016

The housing crisis in our communities is both an economic challenge and a threat to sustainability. It is defined by the rapid escalation of home prices and rents; it displaces longtime residents; it drives urban sprawl; and it is rooted in the imbalanced growth of jobs without adequate housing for our community.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 1:48 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by Rose
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Growth, change and development are expected, however, the current rate of business growth and new housing does not relieve the pressures current residents feel when trying to save water, cut back on the amount of trash in our landfills or keep our neighborhoods safe and clean. Mountain View residents are very conscious about conserving and good stewards of our neighborhoods. Now, with so many people walking through the neighborhood from the train station, our neighborhood streets are frequently littered with trash. If the current city council's are going to make decisions that allow businesses to expand in our cities and bring more people; bring in a trash can or two so that people don't feel compelled to drop their trash in our neighborhoods! Figure out where the water will come from for all these new people before new expansion is created and just where all the trash is going to go.


Posted by Jeff
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Careful planning means making sure jobs are near housing. Allowing unlimited commercial/industrial growth has created the housing crisis. No amount of housing can satisfy the needs of unlimited job growth!


Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 7, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Mixed and denser development is the way to go. If jobs and housing are located near each other, we're not forcing everyone to take their car everywhere. Anyone who has braved the 101 during rush hour knows that we need new thinking about housing and transportation.


Posted by Mark
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 7, 2016 at 5:21 pm

Nothing but empty words from the class of people that have created these problems in the first place. And what you are proposing is more of the same policies that created these problems in the first place. You want to improve housing in the Bay Area? Simple: stop political and bureaucratic interference, stop subsidies and central planning, and let people and companies build the housing they need and want.


Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 7, 2016 at 10:22 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

quit referring to it as a crisis. It's not a crisis. It happens to be too expensive for some who want to live here but it is not a crisis.

There is no law, no standard, no provision that one must live near their work. How many of you have moved jobs since you started working? In the 15+ years I've lived in the Bay area I've worked in SJ, MV, Santa Clara, Redwood City, SF, and even Oakland (for a very short time). We bought our house close to my husbands office and what happened 2 yrs later? The company relocated 20 miles up the Peninsula. Sucks for him, his commute can be over an hour some days.

Did we expect someone to pay for us to move closer? no
Was it a crisis for us? no. it's been a PITA but it's not a crisis, it's just what happens when living in large city
Did we expect rent reductions when were starting off and wanting to live close to work but couldn't afford it? BIG NO

Stop making this some big huge issue. It's life. Things change. Things get better some times, they get worse some times. Maybe you have to move. Maybe you have to adapt, change, adjust. If you things everything's a crisis you're going to have a helluva lot of stress in your life.


Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2016 at 10:36 pm

It is stupid to think that people who live near their work will never drive anywhere. Couples who live together are unlikely to work in the same place. People change jobs more often than they change homes. People who use bikes or walk to work still will own a car to use for evening and weekend activities.

The best thing to do is to reorganize public transportation all over the Bay Area, make it more efficient and user friendly, clean and affordable. Public transport has to be more efficient than solo driving to make it work, not to be looked on as something for poor people.


Posted by Srihari Yamanoor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:57 am

Anyone can write what they want. Ultimately, MV will do what Google wants.


Posted by DT
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2016 at 2:04 am

I agree with mvresident2003! This is just like the global climate change scare or the 60's moonshot hoax. Please, Citizens! Join mvresident2003 and I by sticking your head in the sand!


Posted by Crossings Resident
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 8, 2016 at 6:01 am

@Rose

While I do agree that the city needs to emplace and be responsible for more garbage cans at and branching out from the San Antonio Caltrain station, the area in and around The Crossings of Mountain View will always look like crap because the current homeowners board refuses to do anything about it. The city is there to help clean up the neighborhood, but help starts at home. It also costs money and the monthly assessments at The Crossings have not even kept up with inflation to raise the standard of maintenance or the landscaping. Yes, some members of the Crossings are too cheap or just don't care. An even bigger problem at The Crossings is that many homeowners don't even live here anymore. Even one of the current board members rents out their home. She likes it so much (for the money) she doesn't even live here! But she sure wants to have a say in how money is spent. In fact, more than 60% of the homes are rented out with a few even on Airbnb which is against the association rules. What would also explain why there is garbage everywhere, and mostly in front of certain homes, is the sense of entitlement among some homeowners who won't lift a finger or lend a hand to keep the area clean and well maintained in front of their home. They want concierge service for their little palaces at rock bottom costs in terms of low monthly assessments. On top of it all is the abysmal parking situation because so many residents have repurposed their garages for storage, man caves, as bike repair shops, or even as extra rooms while the board does nothing about it. Well you get what you pay for and The Crossings is getting it.


Posted by George
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2016 at 9:10 pm

Had it...

Now living in Reno

Housing is affordable, traffic is easy (yes, 4 - 6 pm, some backups, not bad).

Jobs are plentiful for ALL levels of education. Tesla, opening up new plant, with 6,000 jobs.

PLEASE:::: READ the great book of what's coming in America. AGENDA 21 is a novel, but sets forth the govt takeover of our lives. Tight housing, limited access to food, services, etc. It is a scary but prophetic book.

READ IT....

AGENDA 21

George


Posted by UN Agenda 21
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 9, 2016 at 9:29 am

As George said, read UN Agenda 21. Also "Behind the Green Mask: UN Agenda 21" which is written by a local, well informed woman. Get it from the Post Sustainability Institute or order on Amazon, cuz ya can't get it from public libraries since one of the primary tenents of the United Nation's Agenda for the 21st Century is keeping it hidden from the public while all the while instructing governments on how to grow and take full control of imposing it on all of us.

Don't delay in reading this eye opener in time to chose candidates wisely, like avoiding Lucas Ramirez, who pushes this hazardous plan so naively.


Posted by @Agenda 21 Truthers
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Seems like we have our resident crackpots at it again...

Please, people, STOP putting out fringe nonsense. Just. Stop. It.


Posted by @Agenda 21 Truthers
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Some more on the subject on the Agenda 21 Truthers:

Web Link


Posted by Jenny
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 11, 2016 at 10:52 am

Web Link

2006 proposal was for 102 condos. It was cut to 64 the next year with the new council members. Fast forward to 2015 and the project is for 29 houses (displacing 32 households).

Lenny Siegel, one of the authors of this opinion piece, "ended up voting in favor of the project because of its long history with the previous council."


Posted by David in Waverly park
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 12, 2016 at 11:58 am

Please read Jenny's post above and click through to the article.

Web Link

In one article, the housing problem is laid bare. It is simple... fantastic job growth (a good thing!) combined with too slow housing growth... because of city bureaucracy and NIMBY-ism. Why was this site being discussed for 9 years??? Why approve LOWER density when there's a shortage of housing???

We need to fast track increased density housing development. Nothing else (including rent control) will alleviate the housing shortage.


Posted by Time Travel
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Ten years ago when the 333 N Rengstorf was being discussed, the housing shortage hadn't really begun yet. If you look at home prices, they were relatively flat for 6 years until 2012. Then over 4 years, the home prices DOUBLED. If you reduce this to economics the way some people are doing, then that period of doubling of prices is when the shortage actually began.

So, it made perfect sense to reject that proposal back in 2006. Times were very different. In 2008 there came a recession and a home price bubble burst. That didn't affect us much here price-wise, but it case doubt on the potential for any housing shortage, sure thing!

I think where the council over-reacted was in way too much incentive for job growth. It's crazy. They adopted rules for North Bayshore that added an extra 3.4 million square feet of growth, above what was already allowed. THere was no need of that. There was already zoning to permit 35,000 new jobs in the city. And that wasn't enough? They added potential for ANOTHER 15,000 to 20,000 new jobs? It's like the people who get cold and turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees. Pretty soon they realize that they overcompensated. This is just on a longer time line. There was definitely over compensation and too much listening to Google's cries of shortage of space.


Posted by Jenny
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm

While it might have made sense to reject the 102 condos proposal in 2006, it made very little sense to approve the 29 row houses in 2015 when the housing shortage was already a reality and plans already existed for higher density housing.

A couple of quotes from Web Link:
"Siegel said he isn't compromising in his opposition to the city's jobs-rich, housing-poor development pattern."
"These are issues which require somebody to stick their neck out, that's what I'm known for doing"


Posted by Time Travel
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Developers don't work in a vacuum. Over 12 years many things were considered
for 333 N Rengstorff and the turn to the Row Houses didn't just happen in 2014, but rather was the end result of a long process. The council has to take that into account when giving final approval. So there you go. A lot of money had been spent on the planning for this property, for both developer and city, over 12 years of time. It did indeed start back when there was no housing shortage at all.


Posted by robyn
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Our quality of life is destroyed building by building. There are not sufficient natural resources to provide for those of us who are already here. We have ugly brown yards, unwashed car and frequent demands to not use electricity, spare the air, and donate to food banks. It is more like a third world country every day.
Rather than seeing how many sardines fit in a can, why not do something to improve our quality of life?


Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm

The article makes some very good points:

"No single city or company can solve these problems"
"as employment continues to increase, we should plan for, and ensure, the development of housing in quantities that serve that growing workforce."
"build more subsidized housing"
"The San Francisco Peninsula no longer resembles the Valley of the Heart's Delight."

Rose and others point out that the growing load of workers and residents are causing problems that must be addressed, and developers, home owner associations, and cities must respond.

Time Travel said, "[Home prices] were relatively flat for 6 years until 2012. Then over 4 years, the home prices DOUBLED." This is a classic supply and demand situation. The Great Recession (2007-2009) caused people to move away in droves. As apartments emptied, landlords lowered rents to try to get tenants. Since 2012, as we are finally beginning to recover from the Great Recession, people are moving back and rents (and purchase prices) are going through the roof.

We need more--a lot more--housing and the only way to get it is by building MANY apartments and condos TALLER THAN 7-8 STORIES.

I agree with Martin Omander, "Mixed and denser development is the way to go." This existing apartment buildings on California and Latham streets are old enough to be prime candidates for teardown and replacement with much taller apartments.


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