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Huge housing development raises hopes and fears

Original post made on Oct 18, 2016

At face value, it's a proposal packed with exactly what Mountain View leaders want -- a colossal new apartment complex that would single-handedly boost the city's affordable housing stock by about 15 percent.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 17, 2016, 4:48 PM

Comments (31)

Posted by george drysdale
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2016 at 10:11 am

Are you beginning to see why no rent controls. Look to all the other communities and what they demand of property owners for necessary production of apartment units. Virtually nothing but build those new units fast.
Geroge Drysdale a aocial studies teacher

Posted by Reside
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Oct 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

This project is not a good fit for this area, three times plus more units. Anybody who voted for this has not spend any time in our neighborhood. Where is the traffic analysis for all those extra units? The notification area for project approvals like this is not big enough. Let's not forget that the military wants to build a big complex on the corner of Moffet and Middlefield, how much more traffic can this area take. And the council voted to cut us off from downtown by closing off Castro Street. The intersection at Shoreline and Middlefield is way past capacity.
Why is Mtn View only building high density apartments. This town is becoming what is was in the seventies and eighties, a city of renters. Renters eventually want to buy something, probably I guess not in this town.
Cities that build high density do it downtown, that's were transit is located and not in neighborhoods. Enough is enough, let's see how that ougly apartment building at the corner of Moffet and Central Expressway works out.

Posted by Member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm

For the love of god stop building giant complexes already!! Just stop this insane out of control madness! Is the council so blatantly corrupt that they will pass anything without hesitation? Keep citing housing needs or this will help with rent? Because it will absolutely not, it will only cause more extreme raises and crashes, traffic, pollution, crime, homeless gathering spots and worsen the quality of life for all. But who cares, the developers made their money and everyone involved in passing it got paid. When did we set out to be NYC? Build a park, build a school but stop building freaking super dense high rises. We don't need it, we don't want it and anyone who thinks it will help is a fool.

Posted by Marty Brewer
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 18, 2016 at 2:41 pm

It is rather laughable when the number of "affordable units" is mentioned in context with a new building. It that to say, then, that the rest of the units can be labeled "unaffordable"? For sure, the average apartment-seeking resident will not be able to afford the rest of the proposed rents. How will adding more and bigger buildings help to reduce our impossible climb in housing prices?

Posted by NW Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 18, 2016 at 2:41 pm

I wonder what the current definition of "affordable" is for MV housing. I spoke with a neighbor of mine who is leaving MV after this week due to his housing cost. He lives with his son and grandson in the North Whisman area at $2,600/month, which he said they can no longer afford. They are headed to the Sacramento area at $1,600/month.

Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Rents are skyrocketing because demand has skyrocketed.

The demand is driven by the growth in jobs, which is the result of the unbounded approval of office space started last decade and continuing today. Now Mountain View is bursting at the seams. The Chronicle recently ran a story about Detroit, describing how land there can be had for a song (they quoted both $1 and $100 for an empty residential parcel and $1500 for a parcel with a house on it). What if Google et al did more of their growing in areas that have space and desperately need jobs? They keep saying they want to grow here because here is where the "talent" is, but then they bring in a never-ending torrent of people from everywhere else.

Posted by Sitting in traffic
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Anyone who has driven downtown knows it is too crowded already. There is no parking available. This is before the monstrosity at Central and Moffett has been completed which will just make things worse. Why does Mountain View have to supply all this housing? Not everyone who lives here works here. Just sounds like greed and corruption on the part of the city council.

And wasn't it just a few months ago we are all discussing closing traffic at Central to support CalTrain? That along with the mega millennial housing units between here and San Antonio is just bring traffic to a stop. Looks like no one is thinking this out.

Posted by Google only apply
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 18, 2016 at 3:07 pm

So what percentage of people working in Mountain View work for Google? 50%, 20%, whatever it is, why do people assume all the new building is to accommodate only them? Because they can afford to pay high rent and renters are greedy?

Drive around Google and look at the people who are there. Are they all employees? Maybe. Do they look like they grew up in Mountain View? Not many of them. Why did they come here? If Google were in Texas or Ohio, they would go there.

What would happen if Google moved away?

Posted by Maria
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 18, 2016 at 5:53 pm

What would happen if Google went away? Why, we'd go back to being the lovely community we once were. Before all the traffic, before the never ending construction, before all the gentrification, before all the stupid self-driving cars, before when you could get fast/good service anywhere you went (now there are no clerks b/c they can't afford to live here), before all crazy-assed people driving (cars and bikes) like shit just to get ahead of you, before when you could go downtown and actually park there, before you could enjoy driving Shoreline down the the bay and it wouldn't take you 30 minutes to go 2 miles.
I could go on, but only those of use who have been here for more than 10 years would even know what I'm talking about, and that's few and far between these days.

Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 18, 2016 at 7:05 pm

@Maria, I've been here for far, far more than 10 years and I know EXACTLY what you're talking about :-)

I wasn't suggesting that Google (and others) leave Mountain View entirely, just that it stop expanding so wildly here and instead spread out to areas that need and can benefit from that kind of growth. Mountain View has a long history of being the home of what we now call tech companies, and there used to be a harmonious symbiosis between residents and industry. However, nowadays things have gotten out of control and the "solutions" are only making it worse.

Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 18, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Hey Maria, I know what you mean. I have lived in Mountain View since 1964!!! Mountain View used to be a sleepy town where Shoreline Blvd.(Then Stierlin Rd/Bailey Ave) used to be a two lane road. And Middlefield Rd. was a two lane road as well. And El Camino did not have a center divider. A lot less people, still some orchards around.

It's 52 years later and what is going on now is progress---massive traffic On Shoreline backing up beyond Middlefield Rd. And in the mid morning hours, the massive amount of cars on the Shoreline dedicated roadway ramp is packed in the far two right lanes. But where the 4 lanes actually meet, and I'm coming from N85 onto that ramp, just how do I get over to the 2 left lanes without getting hit by a car zooming by in those two left hand lanes? Perhaps a reworking of these 4 dedicated lanes should happen? How about that city council?

Posted by Traffic Planning
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm

No more new or housing...without a concrete plan for traffic. Not a wish and a prayer..which would actually be an improvement over what we've done. Concrete plans with a timeline and sources and uses of funding.

Enough with blowing off all of the ancillary impacts. My city services have not improved with all this supposed new income. No new parks, traffic is horrible, and my garbage pickup might get cut back.

Posted by Reside
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Oct 18, 2016 at 10:36 pm

Who are the no growth candidates running for a seat on the council this year? It's time to vote for them. By the way, the same thing has happened before. Including providing enough parking for every new unit built. But this council thinks everyone will ride a bike or take ueber. But every ueber ride takes two trips, go and pick you up and take you to your destination, lots of extra miles. Vote for no growth candidates.

Posted by Double Decker Roads
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 18, 2016 at 11:44 pm

I have lived here all my life (60+ years) and seen all the changes you have mentioned. We thought it was bad when they got rid of Stierlin Road, changed Bailey to Shoreline and extended Middlefield to Sunnyvale-Alviso.

And now we not only have to deal with traffice from that new building going in across from the Adobe Building, we have that new construction at ECR at Castro where we used to have a Rose Market and Peet's Coffee. And now they want another 700+ units at Middlefield and Moffett.

Maybe we need double decker roads to handle twice the traffic.

Posted by Hope
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 19, 2016 at 10:10 am

Nearly all the candidates for city council are pro-growth. Coldonaldo said at a candidate's forum that businesses who own property should be able to do what they want. We definitely don't need another Libertarian on the council.

The only two Lisa Matichak, who will say she's concerned and Margaret Abe-Koga. Remember most of the current council and most of those running support 10,000 housing units in North Bayshore, which could add over 20,000 more people in Mountain View. Do not believe that most people living in a "Planned Community" will not be driving over 101 everyday.

Time to attend city council meetings, or at least call them and say no.

Posted by george drysdale
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2016 at 10:31 am

It's all about where people want to live. Because Google and others have changed the demand for housing more relatively less expensive housing is being dense packed. When the price of land becomes even higher traffic will be alleviated by underground rail systems. Silicon Valley the new Manhattan. I too want the orchards back, but especially before the orchards and the lovely oak land and I don't even have indian blood in me (I think). George Drysale an economics teacher

Posted by Albert
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Oct 21, 2016 at 3:50 am

Why is it assumed that something built 50 years ago has to be demolished and not remodeled? Village Lake is one of the most attractive apartment complexes in Mountain View, and replacing it with 4 superblocks would be a real loss for Mountain View. We update our houses all the time without tearing them down. Why can't the same be done to apartments? Oh, but then the developers wouldn't be making so much money. Stanford is in the process of building a new neighborhood where companies used to be on California Ave. That's the only way to address the job-housing imbalance we currently face.

Posted by Kacey Carpenter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

I'm running as candidate for Mountain View City Council since we need smart, sustainable growth.

The boom/bust economy is driving up costs of living (rent and other services), creating traffic jams and congestion as well as public safety problems near our schools, and is not sustainable.

I am fortunate to telework and many of the high tech workers could do so as well. We need more shared services such as lyft/uber passes for seniors and students to help fill the gaps in our limited public transportation.

Posted by What?
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm

What? Are you actually saying the City Council are actually leaders for people of Mountain View? They are nothing but a bunch of sell outs for developers. But, where does the money go? Too bad I do not have enough of it to move to Los Altos.

Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 21, 2016 at 5:37 pm

@Kacey, surely you've noticed that Mountain View is bursting at the seams no matter how you slice and dice it. Why do we need to continue to stuff in ever more people, traffic and high rises? We have way too many tech jobs already for a city our size. If we stop that growth, the housing situation will ease and along with it the traffic, and we may even be able to get back some of our favorite shops that have had to close.

Posted by jean struthers
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Not one person has mentioned the impact on school populations. Where are the kids going to go to school? Is every renter not having children. For every new worker there is an impact on schools, hospitals, roads, police and fire protection. and traffic. but the new income from taxes rarely will cover those extra expenses. think carefully before adding more units.

Posted by george drysdale
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:40 am

The higher the population density usually the higher the income of the city. Look at Singapore, London and Manhattan. I know it's unpopular to teach economics but one must observe history. No controls: minimum wage laws etc. but especially no rent controls.
Geroge Drysdale a social studies teacher

Posted by Luke
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:23 am

I can't believe the people who think that 50-year old apartments are preferable and good. Have you ever read an engineering book? Or an earthquake safety book? These buildings built before 1970 are built with extremely little regulation, and are considered very dangerous and unsafe in the presence of a large earthquake. They are also built with toxic lead and asbestos. If you enjoy paying 2K a month for unsafe housing that will literally collapse on you in an earthquake, and then catch on fire from the old gas pipes snapping, then please continue to support the old Village Lake apartments.

And don't be uneducated and say there will be no earthquake. Recent findings have raised the risk of a 7-or-higher to 30% in the next 30 years.

You know, I always had great respect for old timers. But when your old-school values and traditions literally go against morality and safety of people, I really can't support that. Please go read some books and try to understand why new and safe housing is a good thing.

Posted by live in mv
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2016 at 10:27 am

Just listened to comments about the future of rental and ownership housing by an expert who analyzes the housing market. This is what I took away from it is the following: millinials in their early thirties are getting married and have children, and don't want to raise their children in apartments. Plus they like to build equity for themselves and know what their monthly housing cost is. The house building industry is reacting and building homes in the outer outer rings. And companies are moving to their employees. Who wants unhappy employees.
Village Lakes apartments were build in the sixties, but so were a lot of other apartments in Mountain View.
To compare this city with London, Singapore more than a big stretch.

Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Why not let Google and Facebook build company towns and leave the rest of us in peace?

Posted by Citizen for Traffic Sense
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:55 am

This housing development at 440 San Antonio will bring San Antonio Road to utter grid lock and must be stopped. The 583 unit apartment will add close to 6000 trips a day (approx. 10 trips/ household per Federal estimates) to a section of San Antonio that is already extremely busy. Far worse though, the plans for San Antonio road include a 1700 seat movie theater a 160 hotel and 400,000 feet of office space (for a new Linkedin Office) which will are estimated to employ some 3500 people. These buildings are all under way and located within a quarter mile or so of the proposed Apartment complex. The 3500 employees will easily generate another 7000+ trips (more likely 14,000). That’s additional 13,000 to 20,000 trips a day dumped on only a ¼ mile section of San Antonio Road that can barely handle the current traffic levels. This alone will bring that section of San Antonio to complete grid lock during working hours. Then you add an additional 3400 to 6800 trips in the evening for patrons of the movie theaters and you extend the grid lock well into the late evening hours. Despite the obvious impact of these numbers, there are no plans to accommodate the additional traffic load through additional lanes. The failure to take such measures is incomprehensible and grossly irresponsible as is allowing the project in the first place.

Who will be impacted? All those who use San Antonio to get to and from 101 for work, work on San Antonio, or take their children to school (there are at least three schools off San Antonio within about a two mile stretch), take their children to the Community Center for the Arts or the JCC or do their food shopping at the San Antonio shopping center. Given the amount of increased traffic drive times during rush hour from the intersection of San Antonio and El Camino to 101 could easily take 45 minutes to an hour or more. This will likely also create significant congestion on Eli Camino near San Antonio as well as the section of San Antonio west of El Camino, bringing those sections to a standstill during rush hour as well. The city may need additional housing, but not this way when so many Mountain View citizens including school children will be so adversely affected. Unless measures are taken to mitigate the drastically increased traffic, the housing project at 440 San Antonio should be cancelled.

Posted by george drysdale
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2016 at 9:23 am

One must get away from the low density idea on the peninsula of the present and the past. When the price of land goes way up like in Mountain View a city builds upward and downward. The commute is a thing of the past. Because of high rents in cities fertility rates go down. This is good for our planet.

Posted by old timer
a resident of Slater
on Oct 26, 2016 at 5:17 pm

come on people get your head out of the sand. This city has let Google ruin our beloved town.
I'd like to see Google head a town meeting and here our concerns.

Posted by I_Got_Mine
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 27, 2016 at 4:27 am

Be careful what you wish for. You might get it and regret it. Google is building a campus in Boulder, CO. The city is already bike friendly and has many of the highly skilled people they need right now. Recreation areas are much closer and easier to get to. You don't have to pay as much to get housing and just might have actual income to spend on yourselves. No Russian style monolithic housing buildings, either...

Posted by Andy
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 22, 2016 at 1:30 pm


When we heard of the proposal to remove the 208 unit 777 Village Lakes and replace it with 711 apartments our reaction was incredulous.

We live close to the 100 Moffett apartment complex that is finalizing construction. It's a monster, out of scale with and overshadowing the neighborhood. The effect on local traffic, parking and property values have yet to be felt: but they are likely to be negative. Shoreline is already busy and will get worse when the buildings are occupied. And now another 500+ units are being considered for the same general area! This is development run amuck!

We are resoundingly opposed to this project. No new development in our area should be considered until: the effects of 100 Moffet are known and Shoreline Ave. has undergone its planned upgrades.

We are 25 year residents of Mountain View, owning both a residence and rental property here. Until recent years, it has been a pleasant place to live, thanks partly to the City of Mtn. View. Recently however, we have seen over-development, rent control, subsidized housing, etc. These don't benefit residents like us at all! We feel our interests are not being represented by our MV City Council, which is instead focused on development and social welfare.

Posted by Social Justice
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Development like this is just what our town needs. Will provide social justice and sustainability to our housing stock. I couldn't be more proud of our town and city council.

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