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Filling the housing market's hole

Original post made on Apr 13, 2017

Mountain View's roll-out of new housing has a gaping hole. New residential development is essentially nonexistent for moderate-income families -- those earning roughly between $85,000 and $130,000 a year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 13, 2017, 11:42 AM

Comments (92)

27 people like this
Posted by CHW
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 13, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Enacting legislations to fill the "housing donut hole" is to legislate against the market forces. It will never work. This is not new. Every major city in the world has experienced this. What is their solution? Their solution is a public transportation system that moves people fast and cheap from their homes to their 'expensive' city destinations.


49 people like this
Posted by No surprise
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 13, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Well, when you keep tearing down existing housing that IS AFFORDABLE, guess what? You get high density expensive housing. Add in rent control, but only for the older lower cost housing, and guess what? You've just completely jammed up the housing and paved the way for more developers to turn Mountain View into Stepford. Lovely, isn't it?


23 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm

I'm skeptical that there's insufficient demand and return on investment to support non-luxury apartments: no gym, no restaurants, no pool, no skylights, no vaulted ceilings, no granite, just a reasonably nice place for families who want to rent an apartment and not a lifestyle.


47 people like this
Posted by Alex M.
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:34 pm

"Just like a luxury condominium, a middle-market apartment project must also pay a variety of city impact fees..."

WHY must there be a "middle-market APARTMENT project"? Why not a middle-market home-ownership project? Why must Mountain View focus on yet more rental housing in a community that has a minority of the population actually owning their home? The City Council has been rubber-stamping new rental projects like a kid eating cookies. JUST SAY NO to new rental housing proposals. Please.


36 people like this
Posted by Its Obvious...
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Let the market dictate supply and demand rather than the regulators and politicians "redistribute wealth schemes" for their pensions and votes.


16 people like this
Posted by Ora
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm

To Its Obvious..., CHW
Mountain View residents need to get rid of: Ken S. Rosenberg, Leonard M. Siegel, Margaret Abe-Koga, Christopher R. Clark, Lisa Matichak, John McAlister, Patricia Showalter before they will turn Mountain View into East Palo Alto. They are suing Mountain View property owners (for rent control), destroying vegetation by imposing astronomical water fees (to prevent homeowners from watering trees), destroying education (casually moving school district boundaries), creating a homeless emergency, increasing parcel taxers. They are on a suicidal mission and arguments like market forces have no meaning to Mountain View Council.


35 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 13, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

Rentals only benefit developers. They convince cities that they serve a real need in MV (presenting data that new workers prefer rentals), but they are wrong, they only funnel profits towards investors, all the while MV residents pay the costs.

Rather, it's new home-owner-units that benefit not only the construction industry, but build equity for the residents, and also deepened our civic community with more long term stakeholders.

Why can't housing be like cars, where you start with an economy model and you upgrade (or downgrade) as your life changes? Rather, housing for new Mountain View residents is like renting a car (at rental daily rates, not leasing rates), and then being offered only one option, to buy: a luxury car with what little you've saved after paying your rental.

I wish the city would incentivize micro-housing near work centers and transit, but home-owner-units of all sizes would be welcome since any robust supply increase would drive down the cost at all levels. The city should envision a future community where there are diverse entry points from modest to extravagant, and everything in between, where residents rich or poor have the dignity of building equity rather than being exploited. That future should sound familiar to old time residents, since that was what MV used to be.


23 people like this
Posted by MC
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 13, 2017 at 6:27 pm

What seems to be missing in both the article and the comments is the concept that Mountain View should not approve any further developments that do not increase the supply of middle income housing. PERIOD. If a developer cannot or will not provide the type of housing Mountain wants, needs, and requires, they should move aside until a willing developer comes forward. In other words, don't waste the city's time pushing developments that do not provide middle income housing. Other Bay Area cities need to do the same. WHEN EVERY DEVELOPER REALIZES THAT MOUNTAIN VIEW WILL ONLY APPROVE MIDDLE INCOME HOUSING, THAT IS WHAT THEY WILL PROPOSE IF THEY WANT TO BUILD IN MOUNTAIN VIEW.

The last paragraph of the article is an example of why we have this problem: . . . "the senior planner said his team is trying to figure out the right balance to encourage Google to dedicate a higher percentage to mid-market units." Simple concept: tell Google they can build their 10,000 housing units, however, 15 percent must be low income (let's "encourage" more than the 10 percent mentioned in the article), 45 percent middle income (do you really think the majority of Google employees are high income earners?), and 40 percent high income. LET THEM FIGURE OUT HOW TO ACCOMPLISH THIS!


27 people like this
Posted by Monta Loma
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 13, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Chris, your first 3 paragraphs are 100% on target. The 4th is terribly misguided. I simply do not buy the proposition that micro-housing residents would choose not to own cars. They will need parking and roads like everyone else, and that is the biggest obstacle that reality presents to dreams of overdevelopment.

Alex M., I agree completely. We do not need more "luxury" apartments sucking up tech salaries and offering residents no chance of ever building equity. Enough is enough.


37 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 13, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Developers will propose to build any housing that is most profitable for them. Right now, that happens to be luxury apartments. Right after they are built, the developer can turn around and sell the apartment to Wall Street, and make big bucks. Then turn around and propose another project...

As long as the city council continues to rubber stamp every housing project that comes along, this won't stop. Your city council is bought and paid for by developers. They work for developers, not you, especially if you are a "middle income" resident of Mountain View.


13 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 13, 2017 at 9:49 pm

We don't need to build new affordable housing. Housing becomes affordable as it ages and shinier new units come onto the market. The state Legislative Analyst has debunked this myth.


23 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2017 at 10:37 pm

The majority of these comments are painful to read. High-Density housing is not inherently expensive, and if you think it is then that's because you bought your house 30 years ago and, insulated from rising housing costs, are shocked when you take a look at the current market rate that housing is going for. You know what's more expensive than a condo in a high-density development? The house you're living in.

How do you expect people to be able to buy a place around here if apartment supplies are so low that just renting a place around here leaves nothing left to save for a down payment? You have to build a mix of rental properties and properties to own.

You can't just build middle-income properties. Prices are what they are because there's so much unsatiated demand to live here in the Bay Area and nowhere near enough housing supply to accommodate it, so even the crummiest of closets for rent/sale gets multiple bidders competing and driving up the cost. Just because you build something that is intended to be middle-income doesn't mean that those who are high-income won't also bid on those properties and drive the cost up. The only way to get prices down so housing is more affordable is to add more housing supply to spread out the competition for housing.


19 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 14, 2017 at 8:03 am

" The only way to get prices down so housing is more affordable is to add more housing supply to spread out the competition for housing."

Housing has skyrocketed because of the explosive growth of the tech companies who scoop up every square foot of real estate they can get their hands on. Building yet more housing will only give them an excuse to continue bringing yet more people to our region. We're already bursting at the seams. More growth will only cause even more imbalances. And who benefits from all this growth? The jobs don't go to locals; they go to the never-ending stream of people brought in to fill them. Local businesses become unprofitable and must close. Our schools are in worse shape than ever. We have to keep adding new taxes just to avoid getting even more behind on funding for transportation. Tech company executives and real estate developers get even richer while the rest of us slog along in the daily bumper-to-bumper traffic.


13 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 10:14 am

I'm a local, born and raised in the Bay Area, with a job in tech and very appreciative of the hot job market here. Your distaste for non-natives is very telling, though.


24 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 14, 2017 at 10:46 am

@YIMBY, interesting! Please do tell what you appreciate about the hot job market. I'd love to see something positive to contrast with the ever-worsening overcrowding, the ever-worsening commute, one local shop after the other closing, the ones that stay open unable to find or retain employees, school districts unable to hire and retain teachers, and so on and so forth. Please enlighten me.


13 people like this
Posted by Kevin W
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 14, 2017 at 11:01 am

The best way to provide housing for our middle-income residents to build more housing. Every brand-new luxury apartments frees up the tenant's previous rental.

We've seen this in our community: rents have dropped in the past year as new buildings have opened up.

This explainer from Vox says it better than I ever could:
Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 11:29 am

@Anke

Every downside you're pointing out is directly tied to the constant unending NIMBY resistance to any development needed to accommodate this growth. We could build high density near businesses and transit hubs while also improving our transit infrastructure to accommodate more people. But instead it's a constant fight with people who want it to be 1960 and will accept nothing but detached single-family homes.


16 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Slater
on Apr 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Yes as a native Bay Area person who has lived in Mountain View since 1996 I regret the decisions our pro development city council has and will implement in the coming years. They try to refute your comments at city council meeting and have the developers on a first name basis.
Ultimately you have to tell businesses like Google there is no more room to expand here, the quality of life for those homeowners who have paid taxes for years is decreasing.
There is no more land to built, not more transit options unless you want to see every downtown torn up with that boondoggle high speed rail. The VTA only serves El Camino Real efficiently. Some middle class renters have moved further out to be part of a highway 25 mph commute. Meanwhile middle class restaurants like El Torito, Marie Callendars, Sizzlers and Fresh Choice have moved away. Roads cannot be expanded and more schools will be built when housing is added in areas that were commercial, all to be paid by homeowner taxes and rental property increases.
Mountain View is just a place to work. The city council does not care, probably wants upper class tech people paying property taxes and a poorer servant class to remain (babysitters, housekeepers, gardeners) like England, no need for a middle class. It would take a referendum to recall council members, something Palo Alto recently accomplished, but the citizens are not motivated. Unfortunately, a bleak future for those who remain, not a place to retire.


57 people like this
Posted by Dogma
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 1:14 pm



@Anke,

Talk about someone entrenched in their dogma. YIMBY should have jumped at the opportunity to extol the virtues of the hot job market. It's telling that YIMBY instead chose to change the subject and post a diatribe about 'NIMBYs'.

What I have learned from YIMBY:

1) Disdain for homeowners, and particularly any homeowner who has owned a home for more than a year or two.

2) Disdain for prop 13, which follows the disdain for homeowners because they are evidently not paying their "fair share"

3) Disdain for anyone who believes the pace of corporate expansion in Mountain View should be checked, or slowed down.

4) Disdain for anyone who believes that that the city should focus on more a) middle income housing as well as b) ownership housing.

5) Disdain for anyone who believes that many of the new developments are a) grossly underparked and/or b) removing currently affordable housing from the market and displacing those people in the process.

6) Disdain for people who have concerns about the very real problem of classroom and school overcrowding.

7) Disdain for people who have concerns about the clear deterioration of the quality of life in Mountain View overall that is a direct result of the corporate expansion, and the fallout caused by that unchecked growth.






17 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm

In what world do you live in where a hot job market needs a bulleted list of pros to justify itself? It means plentiful jobs with competitive wages. Do I have to also explain why being able to easily find a job with a high wage is a good thing? How much should I break this down for you?

The deterioration of the quality of life in the area is entirely the fault of NIMBYs who are not letting the region develop to accommodate growth. This causes strain on existing infrastructure and shoots property costs through the roof from the massive amount of competition over what little housing stock there is, driving up the cost of living while driving out teachers and service workers who then can't afford to live here.

People like you are incredibly selfish and only care about your own personal wants and needs. It doesn't matter to you that there are good, high paying jobs here, and it doesn't matter to you​that shouting down new housing development means increasing existing housing costs and pushing people with less income out of the valley. Your concerns are solely on keeping this region a suburb because that's how you personally like it.


34 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@YIMBY - I think you're forgetting about many of those who are on fixed incomes, unable to work; or are not fortunate enough to have been able to afford a 4-6 year degree or connected enough, to obtain a 6 figure job.

Also, there is no area that can sustain unlimited growth. It is made even worse when policies are implemented that are designed to make traffic congestion even worse such as road diets, dedicated VTA lanes, toll lanes, reduced parking spaces, etc.

Even now, the Council is looking at adding housing (good) and at the same time adding more offices that will result in a net negative for housing even after the new housing is built! (WTF?)

In my opinion, this indicates that the goal is not to provide adequate housing, or to lower rents, it's to provide more money for the city's tax base.


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


49 people like this
Posted by Future world
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 2:51 pm


The deterioration of the quality of life in Mountain View is entirely the fault of massive unchecked corporate expansion. And one part of this was due to the formula used to calculate number of employees per square foot. This formula that the city was using to approve projects was not remotely close to the actual number of employees per square foot that is standard today in most tech companies. To be fair, the tech companies were not very forthcoming about their calculation of employees per square foot when directly asked, so the city used their previous go to number. The tech companies knew that number was WAY off/low. This unchecked corporate expansion destroyed numerous small restaurants and businesses in the city, and essentially drove many others out of business with lease non-renewals and rent hikes, designed to get the tenants to vacate.

I just did a quick scan of one bedroom apartments listed as available in Mountain View, and in all the new construction developments (last couple of years) the rent starts at $3,300 and goes up to over $5,000 a month. How is that remotely considered affordable, or helping teachers and service workers? Those developments are targeted for high income folks to the detriment of those being displaced by the older units that are sometimes being removed to make room for these rental units.

What happens in a few years if/when young employees begin to mature (in many senses of the word) and perhaps decide to start a family, and they begin to realize that maybe paying $5,000+ a month to raise their children in a two bedroom apartment isn't what they want for their children. Maybe they begin to realize that they would like to have an opportunity to own something, a town home, a duplex, a single family home, something where they can spread out a little, maybe have a small yard for their children to play in, and perhaps build a little equity?

Are you speculating that young workers of today should simply forget about ownership in their lifetime, or just forget about ownership here in Mountain View, because Mountain View shouldn't even try to think of a way to provide ownership opportunities for anyone other than the very wealthy, to own in the city? Or, does ownership opportunity not matter because employees should be viewed as disposable and transient and not valued members of the community anyway?

You are kidding yourself if you believe we can build our way out of this. It will never happen. However, we can do some strategic planning by providing more ownership opportunities as we continue to build, and providing more units available for moderate income levels. Demand it of the developers.




16 people like this
Posted by Jealous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 14, 2017 at 3:13 pm

YIMBYs just pissed he can't afford to live here, didn't make the big time (he may also be on staff for the voice, none of his posts get deleted but this one surely will)

And he has the gall to call everyone who has invested here selfish. What a joke.


16 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm

How do you think rents are set? They're based on the maximum value the complex thinks they can get people to pay, and that's dependent on the amount of competition there is for housing in an area. If there are 1000 people looking for an apartment but only 10 available, then the competition over those units will be fierce and the rent can go very high. If you increase the number of units available, the demand spreads out and the competition for each unit goes down. If you build enough, then the competition per unit goes down to the point that apartment complexes need to then compete for tenants and start lowering rents to attract them.

There are ancient, poorly maintained apartments in SF that go for $3000. Are these units therefore luxury apartments because of the price? No, they're that high because the demand for places to live is so high that complexes can jack up the rates sky high because someone will still be willing to pay it.

Are many of the new developments being built considered luxury apartments? Yes, but that's because that's the most profitable thing to build right now (especially considering how difficult it is to get any development through all of the hurdles it takes to get anything built here in the valley). However, a "non-luxury" complex isn't going to be that much cheaper when you consider that spare bedrooms around here go for $1500. And even if luxury apartments are being built, it's taking demand off of "non-luxury" units which will help lower rents. Plus, even if you built non-luxury complexes, high-earners are still going​ to compete for it and keep the rents for it high.

Don't confuse the issue of housing costs with an issue of building luxury vs non-luxury units. This is a problem of not enough supply at every income level to satiate the demand for housing.


40 people like this
Posted by Future world
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm


Here is an article referencing how helpful our tech neighbors were when the city was trying to plan for growth:
From a Voice article published 4/17/2014

Web Link

"With Mountain View facing a possible avalanche of traffic congestion and gentrification from 5.5 million square feet of office growth in the development pipeline, the question of how many employees companies choose to pack into their buildings is as important a factor as ever, and one that city officials say is hard to pin down.

Despite the overwhelming consequences for nearly every resident of a city, Mountain View's largest employer, Google, refuses to say exactly how many employees it has in Mountain View, or even how many it tends to house in 1,000 square feet. Both city officials and the Voice have had requests for such information turned down.

When asked about the issue, Mountain View's community develpment director Randy Tsuda said that "it's tough to pin down because companies don't necessarily openly share that number. But we've been asking that question and we've been monitoring that over the last two to three years. The range we're hearing is 4.5 up to 6 employees per 1,000 square feet."

Snip...

"The Commercial Real Estate Development Association did a survey in 2012 of 500 corporate real estate executives, asking how many square feet was allocated to employees. It concluded that "the metric has changed from 225 square feet (per employee) in 2010 to 176 (square feet) in 2012, and is projected to reach 151 in 2017, with 40 percent of survey respondents indicating they would go below 100 by this period."

If the average were to go below 100 in Mountain View, that could mean space for 55,000 jobs in the city instead of the estimated 42,500. Tsuda said he's seeing it as low at 166 square feet per employee now.

"So much of it is determined by who the eventual tenant is, which nobody knows for some of these buildings," Tsuda said."

More...


35 people like this
Posted by Future world
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm


@YIMBY,

Thanks for schooling me. I'm feeling better now. However, I think I missed your thoughts about the importance of providing ownership opportunities here in Mountain View...

What happens in a few years if/when young employees begin to mature (in many senses of the word) and perhaps decide to start a family, and they begin to realize that maybe paying $5,000+ a month to raise their children in a two bedroom apartment isn't what they want for their children. Maybe they begin to realize that they would like to have an opportunity to own something, a town home, a duplex, a single family home, something where they can spread out a little, maybe have a small yard for their children to play in, and perhaps build a little equity?

Are you speculating that young workers of today should simply forget about ownership in their lifetime, or just forget about ownership here in Mountain View, because Mountain View shouldn't even try to think of a way to provide ownership opportunities for anyone other than the very wealthy, to own in the city? Or, does ownership opportunity not matter because employees should be viewed as disposable and transient and not valued members of the community anyway?




32 people like this
Posted by mv renter
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 4:37 pm

@YIMBY,

"In what world do you live in where a hot job market needs a bulleted list of pros to justify itself?"

Answer: one in which the bullet list of cons of this particular hot job market is lengthy and affects many, many people in our community

" It means plentiful jobs with competitive wages. Do I have to also explain why being able to easily find a job with a high wage is a good thing? How much should I break this down for you?"

Answer: Please do break down for us how overcrowding, crushing traffic, increasing loss of local businesses, overcrowded and underfunded schools, inability of renters to become homeowners, and all the other imbalances are a good thing?


16 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm

@Jealous

I make a high income and have a much easier time affording the costs of living here than others who chose to be teachers, EMTs, and service industry workers, who all have roles to fill in our society. I'm pissed that a regressive and selfish minority are actively pulling up the ladder, bemoaning a good economy and preventing needed development, resulting in an artificially high cost of living and forcing out anyone who isn't making a six figure salary. Your generation will be remembered as the one that clung so hard to the ladder that it could freely kick at everyone below it.


13 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 5:09 pm

All of those issues are directly caused by strained infrastructure that is not being allowed to grow. Just because you prevent any new development from happening doesn't mean that people aren't going to still move here and pack in where they can, and that means the existing infrastructure becomes strained and prices for what little is available skyrocket from the competition. If you allow development to happen and let infrastructure upgrades go through, then schools are built and expanded, mass transit is upgraded, housing is built, and the growing population is then able to be accommodated.

NIMBYs prevent needed development from happening and then try to complain about how strained the infrastructure is as if it isn't directly their fault.


12 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 5:23 pm

If you want the next generation to be able to buy anything here in the Bay Area, then we need to start building lots of housing of all types targeted for all income levels. Not just detached single family homes, but also townhouses and lots of condos in high density. You also have to build more rental properties along with this so that rents aren't so high that they eat away any potential income that could go towards a down payment for these properties. If your suggestion is to just build a bunch of detached single-family homes then that won't solve anything because it will be too few units to make any reasonable dent in the market.


34 people like this
Posted by Mirror mirror
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 14, 2017 at 5:28 pm

YIMBY: "I am pissed that a regressive and selfish minority are actively pulling up the ladder, bemoaning a good economy and preventing needed development, resulting in an artificially high cost of living and forcing out anyone who isn't making a six figure salary. Your generation will be remembered as the one that clung so hard to the ladder that it could freely kick at everyone below it."


Ah yes, it must be nice to live so piously, never casting aspersions on a single group (well, groups) of people simply because they happen to own a home or, evidently be over a particular age. It seems like in addition to disliking homeowners, you really dislike anyone over about 50. Ageist much?

You might want to tread lightly, lest that high horse your riding on should come up lame.



19 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Here's the thing, I don't begrudge anyone for owning a home here. I begrudge those who actively prevent others from doing so.


5 people like this
Posted by YNMBY
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 14, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Yes Near My Back Yard - Hey Mr. Chiang - what about Moderate Income Housing for moderate income public school teachers on Public Land? Even make 50% owner occupied (deeded restrictions on keeping employment in MVWSD, like Stanford does with it's residential lands). There is No Way to do 100+ apartments in The MVWSD's Cooper property of 10 AC. But - that darn Questa Park Annex near me? Perfect! Walking distance to Bubb, Huff and Graham schools, short bus or bike to Landels and Castro.

Chris - you know 'the comparables' that several district Have Done and the Public Policy reasons (one being - get our darn teacher retention rate at least 'slightly above county average'). Council members - you can step up and support swapping 7 AC of MVWSD's Cooper site property, actively used for parklands (district income $0, ZERO DOLLARS) for 7 AC of Questa Park Annex (the side away from those pesky NIMBY neighbors - put near the parking lot).

The Cuesta Park Annex is underutilized land. It is a waste of resources in my own neighborhood (it's 2 blocks from my home of 25 years). The 7 AC of bare ground there is not mythical. The 7 AC of Cooper land is also not mythical - it is actively USED by the neighborhood as parklands (playing fields, open fields, and dog-walk field).

City council members: Do a DEAL with MVWSD! A "straight swap" 7 AC for 7 AC. Maybe we can 'bury another secret reservoir' under the parking lot? :)

google maps of CPA and Cooper MVWSD site used as parklands
Web Link

MVWSD is all area mis-marked "Cooper Park" and includes all of the two baseball fields North to Eunice.
Only the 5 AC to the south starting at the tree shadows is MV City Parkland. (really!)
Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by RMV
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 14, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Addressing problems of overcrowding by enabling more overcrowding is like someone using stimulants during the day to get over the sleeping pills they use at night.


37 people like this
Posted by Mirror mirror
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 14, 2017 at 6:13 pm

YIMBY: "Here's the thing, I don't begrudge anyone for owning a home here. I begrudge those who actively prevent others from doing so."


If that is a true statement, then you might want to check your writing, because just about everything you write seems to imply that every homeowner - by the fact that they are a homeowner - is not only a 'NIMBY' but they are also not paying their "fair share" (as someone noted in an above post) and for both of those reasons you hold them in contempt. If you honestly don't mean to project that about all homeowners, then you truly should be more careful in your writing.

I'm not sure if you have been paying attention or not...but I don't think any homeowners have prevented any recent apartment developments from gaining approval in the last several years. There may have been homeowners who expressed concerns over size and massing, traffic impacts or loss of affordable housing, but those are all legitimate concerns. And, as far as I know those concerns never derailed a project, in fact they may have helped make the projects better.

And, finally, I'd be willing to wager that if you asked homeowners about a new project proposed at xyz location, and the project did not request any zoning changes, and the only thing that was up for debate was are these going to be apartments or ownership units...my guess is most people would support reasonably priced ownership units, condos, townhouses, or whatever over more unaffordable apartments.




11 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm

A NIMBY is someone who goes to a council meeting and throws every possible argument out for why a development shouldn't be allowed to be built, from it not fitting into the "character of the neighborhood" down to it impacting their view. You're extrapolating my arguments against Prop 13 as being against all home owners, when it's really against a mechanism that enables and outright rewards NIMBY behavior, because with property taxes practically frozen for owners, there's no cost for them to impede development and cause the market value of property to increase from artificially restricting the supply of housing.

I'd wager that you're wrong, because if such a smooth pathway for new developments following that pattern existed then we wouldn't be having this discussion.


10 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 6:39 pm

@RMV

You cause over-crowding by trying to freeze everything in place and pretend that population growth isn't a thing.


18 people like this
Posted by mom of 6
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2017 at 7:14 pm

@YIMBY you are so right and these naysayers just don't understand. Of course we need population growth. I come from a family of 9 and now have a growing family of my own. Housing needs to be affordable for all income levels, and t would be so easy to build plenty of housing for everyone. We simply need to replace all those space-wasting single family houses with efficient 20 or 30 story high-rises where each family could own their very own studio. Of course, people will complain about what that will do to traffic, but with the internet for communication and everything imaginable available for home delivery - Amazon drone directly to your 27th story window! - who needs to leave the house anyway? And with no one going out to shop anymore, who needs local shops, so who cares if they're all closing? Problem solved! Homeschooling is the best education, so schools and teachers problem solved! It's so easy; I just don't understand what all the whiners are on about.


11 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm

@Mom

It doesn't work when you try so hard that your example becomes outlandish. Not even Tokyo lives up to that description.


9 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Also, you misunderstand the problem entirely. The population growth is happening regardless. Even if you slow the job market, the population growth will continue because this is a desirable place to live. Those single-family homes will be stuffed with people in every room, people will live in motor homes, and makeshift dormitories will pop up. Not building housing hasn't prevented population growth at all, it's just made it expensive to live here. Building the housing and improving the infrastructure is entirely about accepting the growth and building what's needed to accommodate it so things aren't over-crowded, people can get around easily, and people who fill roles in the city besides Software Engineer can afford to live here.


13 people like this
Posted by No more rentals!
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Please. People will want to own their own home or apartment, whatever. But building so many rentals doesn't help people put down roots, want to improve the community and have a safe place to age in a home they own - or will own. I absolutely do not understand why the council keeps approving these massive rental buildings. This helps no one but the developer. Just stop. If you must build ugly apartments, at least make it something people can eventually own!

Also, does someone know how much "progress" other cities are making towards their housing "goals"? Why does it feel like Mountain View is the only city building anything? We can't possibly be expected to house the entire bay area workforce. The Voice is constantly pushing this topic, are they also pushing this in Palo Alto via their Palo Alto paper or are we the only lucky ones?


17 people like this
Posted by DDD
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2017 at 10:17 pm

@No more rentals!
Building apartments helps only the developers? Really? The renters who live in them don't count as people? Beside you're wrong that they're only building apartments; plenty of condominiums are also being built.

The housing situation got so bad that it became a political issue, and the council was elected in 2016 to fix that by building more housing. So they're doing exactly what the majority voters wants.


1 person likes this
Posted by YNMBY
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 15, 2017 at 12:05 pm

I voted for one of those new council people. YES - mainly doing add residential. But Lisa M. what ABOUT those multi-family built-to-OWN? Please stick to your (former?) rhetorical guns. That means- some NO votes on rental-ONLY multi-family projects.

Near My Back Yard - and 'approved by R. Bryant' are the urban corners designated along El Camino Real. ECR right near Miramonte 4-5 story multi-family (fine - for a Rental on transit line, walking distance to downtown/Caltrain). YES - fine for what it will be. Also the ECR/ Castro Street multi-fimaly mixed use building nearing completion.

The better transit will be, the more we can move into the 21th century of city design. (OH GOD, depend on VTA?)


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Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Home owership is owerrated.

Growth does come with problems, including road congestion. But all of those problems have other solutions. The only way to fix the housing crunch is to build more housing.

For instance, Caltrain now has a big problem: they need to expand capacity to keep up with growing demand, but the electrification project just lost $650M of expected federal funding. Solution: build more housing near stations and direct some of the impact fees to Caltrain. 30,000 units * $22,000 per unit = problem solved.

"Also, does someone know how much "progress" other cities are making towards their housing 'goals'? Why does it feel like Mountain View is the only city building anything?"
It's true that the pace of construction in MV is higher than in neighboring cities. But that doesn't get us off the hook. And Palo Alto last year elected a moderately pro-growth city council, so things are changing over there.


3 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:49 pm

One more thing about transit: we need to get over the idea that all transit has to be provided by government agencies. Chariot in SF is a good example of a privately operated "common carrier" transit service.

It may be true that the city could do more to encourage condo construction over apartments, but they can only do so much before the market takes over. If only condos were built, the owners would rent them out individually.

Also, don't forget that broad-based home ownership requires homes that ordinary people can actually afford. If MV stopped building completely, we would still have homeowners, but they'd all be executives and lawyers from the big tech companies who can spend $3M on a house.

"I don't think any homeowners have prevented any recent apartment developments from gaining approval in the last several years."
That's a welcome change from the past 30 years.


3 people like this
Posted by Corporate Greed
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2017 at 2:02 am

I certainly agree on the problems caused by Google stuffing more employees than ever before into existing office space, as well as space newly constructed. The impact of the employee density is considerable.


But the biggest problem with the corporate drive for profits lies in other corporation who control the housing market by virtue of their access to capital. They only build units which they feel they can start out renting at $5000 per month. There's not as much profit in designing something that might rent at a lower price point. This causes the gap of which the article speaks, and nothing else.

Once the problem was with affordable (e.g. low income housing). That discrimination on the part of development proposals was tolerated and finally there grew forth affordable low income and very low income housing unit incentives or requirements. But now the pendulum has kept on swinging, and there are no middle class housing units available, and also no incentives to bribe developers into creating them. State law is incredibly generous in the rewards it gives to developers for very tiny numbers of low income units. That also needs to chance. In an area like this, the profit off the "normal' units" which exclude middle class are downright obscene. They can afford to do more for their "density bonus" reward for the 5% of units being low income. As for the non existence of middle class unit development, this will NEVER be cured by market forces, unless you think you can possibly exhaust the demand for the populate high end housing complexes occupied by tech company employees. Not much chance of this with all activity by Google in Mountain View.

There should be long and hard thought before authorizing any increase in office space. That just makes never ever take still longer....


6 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2017 at 2:16 am

@Corporate Greed

Spare bedrooms are renting for $1500 a month, so what exactly would a "middle class" rental unit look like? Also, saying that market forces can't build enough to get prices back to some semblance of affordable is a hollow argument to make when we have one of the most impeded development processes in the country right here.


5 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2017 at 7:09 am

As I already mentioned, the idea that housing construction causes rising prices (and displacement of people who can't afford it) is a myth that has been debunked by the Legislative Analyst.
Web Link
Web Link

TL;DR: Look at figure 3 in the second report. Or explain to me why rents in Oakland have skyrocketed in the past 5 years even though hardly anything has been built.

Some people are so detached from reality that they mistake the cure for the disease.


5 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2017 at 7:14 am

Here's another lesson from the first report I posted (Figure 2). As of 2013, rents in San Jose were 2x the national average, but home prices are almost 5x. So much for the story about greedy apartment builders.


11 people like this
Posted by No more rentals!
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm

@DDD

Ha! Well, I was trying to look out for my fellow neighbors, thinking they wouldn't want to have to rent for the rest of their lives. But since you seem to think that's not a big deal, then fine. Build only rentals, but then I don't want to hear people complaining that they are 80 years old and still renting, struggling to pay increasing rents on a fixed retirement income.

How you twisted my words around to suggest I don't think renters are people is really silly, and not productive to the conversation. But I suspect you don't really care about helping people, right? You just want to gripe. So go for it.


8 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

Homeownership is the single most reliable path for working class families to reach the middle class.
While prices will always be high in the Silicon Valley, a homeowner can recoup that when they sell, not to mention the benefits from government protected loans and tax deductions.

For most, renting only benefits the landlord/investor, never the tenant. A city of rentals would make MV a "company town" that intentionally or not exploits its workers.

This issue isn't too different from global warming, some towns around us refuse to do their part, thereby pass the buck, all the while benefiting from it as scarcity increases home values. Yet there are many who believe there are solutions that can lead to a better future for current and future residents. That better future is built around more home-owner housing (houses/condos/micro-flats, all of it). Just a generation ago, most of MV, like Rex Manor, were first built to create a new generation of middle class Americans, this should still be our city's DNA.


5 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2017 at 11:44 pm

You need cheap rents as well as cheap properties to buy, otherwise expensive rent eats into any savings for a down payment. Build high-density apartment complexes and high-density condominiums in concert.


13 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 17, 2017 at 6:41 am

I'm a renter. When I decide it's time for me to buy, I can look out for myself. I don't need my neighbors to tell landowners what they can and can't build on their land.


1 person likes this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm

ah C. Chiang - The development of all the two story apartment housing in Mountain View, in the 60's and 70's (particularly along and around Middle Field/ California) was to feed the housing demand for the Cold War Lockheed defense industry. Lockheed was the largest single employer in this County at least into the 1990s. The equally large and growing semi-conductor industry (Intel / Mountain View startup 1968) also caused the demand for rental housing.

Web Link Intel
Web Link Lockheed Missiles &Space

MV thus became a renter town, the largest percent in the SF Bay area after San Francisco. (ask Mike K.)


15 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm

psr is a registered user.

@YIMBY

It is a shame that you don't seem to consider that quality of life is an important factor for many people where it comes to where they live.

For you, it is all about making sure that the maximum number of people be squeezed into the space available, without regard for the fact that, maybe, those people might want to have more than a set of walls to live within. Some people want their children to be able to walk to school rather than take public transit. They want those children to have a yard to play in with the dog that they wouldn't be allowed to have in an apartment. They want to look out a window and see something other than a cookie-cutter "downtown" built on a miniature scale. They might prefer a REAL town, not the developer's fake version of one.

There is nothing "regressive" about wanting the type of lifestyle you prefer and getting upset when others move to your area and actively disrupt that lifestyle. It is particularly annoying when those same people try to demonize the original residents.

You are welcome to like what you want, but you are not welcome to think that your choice should be forced on those around you. I'm a fan of real plants, real neighborhoods, real cities and natural development. Your Hollywood version doesn't appeal to everyone.


4 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2017 at 9:04 pm

@psr

It's a shame that you don't seem to consider the impact that you're having on everyone else just so you can have a specific level of neighborhood density. The only reason you're able to comfortably disregard everyone else you're externalizing these costs onto is because Prop 13 shields you from the resulting property value increases that come with restricting supply in a market with high demand. You're welcome to think that you are entitled to have Mountain View be of a certain level of density, but you're certainly not deserving of being subsidized while you continue to intentionally raise the cost of living for us all.


4 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:14 pm

@psr,
The developers don't build those apartments as dystopian aesthetic exercises, and people don't pay $3000+ to live there because someone holds a gun to their heads. You can't keep people from living here just because they have different tastes than you do.


13 people like this
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:21 pm

YIMBY strikes again with his Prop 13 argument. Sigh.

You don't care, and won't even try to understand, that people bought here for a very specific reason. We don't WANT high density. We LIKE our suburban feel. We paid for that, we invested in that, we have every right to want to continue this lifestyle. We didn't ask for property values to skyrocket.

Prop 13 has nothing to do with the reason I bought in this community.

YIMBY, If you can't afford to live here, what is so wrong with moving somewhere less expensive? What's stopping you other than your perceived "right" to live whoever you want?


11 people like this
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:25 pm

@IVG, I would argue that people who have bought here, invested here, most CERTAINLY can make decisions on how their community is developed. Most ABSOLUTELY they can.


6 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm

@Enough

You are not entitled to a "suburban feel" in a city just because you bought a house there. You bought a house, not the city that the house resides in.


4 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Also, criminy, it's the Bay Area! Silicon Valley! You act like you bought a house in a quiet mountain town that all of a sudden had a random surge of people. No, you bought a house in the middle of one of the hottest economic regions in the world. Don't act surprised that others are going to take issue with you costing everyone else by trying to stop things from growing instead of you just moving somewhere that isn't going through a major economic boom.


12 people like this
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:17 pm

Yeah, sorry, I know exactly where I bought and why I bought here. And I didn't just buy a house, I bought into a community. A community you have the gall to want to CHANGE. To suit YOUR needs, very selfish of you. And frankly you have no vested interest or right to tell me how to change my investment.

Quit being a sore loser. If you can't afford to live here look somewhere that you can afford. Because honestly YIMBY? If you can't afford the housing costs? Then you likely can't afford all the other associated costs that go with it.


8 people like this
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:19 pm

You're describing a country club, not a city.


12 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm

psr is a registered user.

@Enough

Trying to reason with YIMBY is an exercise in futility. The word doesn't seem to be in his vocabulary.

@YIMBY

Nobody is subsidizing MY lifestyle. You are paying for YOUR lifestyle, since you want the over-development and the high-tech solutions needed to solve the problems caused by your high-density lifestyle. I don't want that stuff. You do. Since you do, then you should foot the bill.

This is California. We've had Prop 13 here for decades. If that is a problem for you, then I suggest you go elsewhere. I paid plenty for all my Bay Area houses and my family has been here for the past 120 years. I didn't move to the "hottest economic region" in the country. YOU did. Prop 13 was enacted so that I could afford to KEEP living here for as long as I like.

Prop 13 is in place to protect the desirable place you came to live. If you had any concern for the community, you wouldn't speak so dismissively about the people who built that community. The thing is, you are so concerned about your own needs that you ignore the rights of others.

The selfish person you claim is causing the problem is the person who lives in your house, not mine.


11 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 3:50 pm

"Prop 13 was enacted so that I could afford to KEEP living here for as long as I like."

Exactly. You're being subsidized so you can keep living in the area while the cost of living explodes due to the actions of others like you blocking new housing. Everyone else deals with higher rents and more expensive purchase costs while you get your own version of rent control and sit cozy.


21 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm



@YIMBY,

Can you please cite the specific housing projects in Mountain View, in say the last 15 years, that never came to fruition because of residents "blocking" said projects?

Links would be nice, but I'll be good with the project name(s), location(s) of where they were proposed and the year it/they was/were proposed and/or "blocked" by residents.





Like this comment
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:01 pm

"The seven-member city council agreed with a neighborhood association that fought the development plan as “too massive.” The plan had been endorsed by environmentalists who see the high-density housing development as a way to cut the number of commuters."

Web Link

""I'm really torn about this," said council member Mike Kasperzak of the apartment project, which could have created one of the largest complexes in the city. The proposal called for replacing 294 units in aging two-story buildings with 448 units in four-story buildings with underground parking, leaving 104 units along Dana Street untouched. "Given the age, the location and what surrounds it, this is actually a perfect candidate for intensification. The light rail station is right across the street. But considering staff time and the fact that this is not in a 'change area,' I'm struggling with that.""

Web Link

Waiting for you to shift the goalposts on what you mean when you say "residents" in case neighborhood associations don't count, and in case the change area, despite being pushed for by residents, also doesn't count.


5 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Going to also point out that I didn't "move" here. I was born here. This is just as much my home as it is yours, Enough and psr. And you can be sure that I'm going to make room here for when the next generation of kids grow up and start needing places to live, and I'm going to tell them about how things used to be when my generation was at their same point in life.


9 people like this
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Too bad we don't still have a council who stands strong and blocks projects.

I'm really tired of YIMBY and his cohorts shaming people for not wanting more development. I'm not sorry to say NO MORE DEVELOPMENT.

I'll stand and yell it. Ive emailed Council. NO MORE DEVELOPMENT. Stop, take a breath, for gods sake for once pull back and PLAN, create supporting infrastructure, STOP WITH THE BUILDING.


6 people like this
Posted by Enlugh
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Well then, make sure to tell them how too much development took away and ruined the very lifestyle THOUSANDS invested in, moved away from the City specifically for. Tell them why their parks and wildlife are gone, why traffic is a parking lot. And please, by all means, encourage them to be empowered and feel lofty and stronger in their ability to force others unto their will just because, well, because it's their RIGHT. And because hey, they CAN.

Great message there YIMBY. My kids? I'm teaching them to reach for the stars, be the best they can be, earn what they can. And that sure, there are people with more, way way more, there always will be, and yes there are areas you want to live but you can't afford it so hey, move on, feel proud of what you've achieved. But nothing is owed you, nothing is your "right".

And you know what? My kids are going to great. They won't be able to afford to live here where they're growing up most likely but they're going to do just fine. Go head and continue to lecture about how great you were at making other people change because you wanted something. Hey, why not have successive generations who think they're entitled to what they want, the hell with what anyone else may feel.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Of course you're not going to stop. Doing anything else would imply having motivations outside of pure self-interest. You're the car that forgot it had to turn left at the light and would rather block three lanes of traffic to cross over instead of just doing it at the next intersection.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Oh yeah, I'll be sure to let them know about all of those precious backyard views we ruined just so we could have a place to live. I'm sure they'll empathize with your plight.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:57 pm

And to be clear, you are neither owed, nor do you have a right, to have Mountain View be your special exclusive club house. Practice what you preach.


17 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 11:00 pm


@YIMBY

Do you know if the Bruce Burman development ever went through, in any iteration, or was the proposal scrapped in it's entirety? (I am not able to do a lot of digging for the info right now, but might be able to have better access tomorrow to research.) That's an interesting one, and I don't recall the kerfuffle at the time.


Regarding the second article you linked, it seems to me that city council put those on hold.

I pulled this from the article you linked in your post above..

"Council members said both proposals were too much for planning department staff to handle on top of the current workload. There's been a flood of development proposals in the city, along with intense planning work to develop the San Antonio, North Bayshore and El Camino Real precise plans this year to guide future growth in those areas. Planning director Randy Tsuda said the city could add contract planners, but ultimately there wouldn't be enough oversight of the work. "There's only of me and only one planning manager," he said after the meeting."

After reading the entire article, it seems like it boiled down to a couple of things, lack of city resources to handle the work and proposals that were for increased intensity but were outside the precise plan areas.


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Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2017 at 1:13 pm

The plan area being a construct of resident pressure to restrict development. Curious as to why the plan area wouldn't include land directly adjacent to mass transit.


4 people like this
Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Darin is a registered user.

@YIMBY @Sunshine

Don't forget the Mayfield project that was delayed repeatedly, until the developer finally gave up. Now there's another Google office next to the Monta Loma neighborhood instead.


13 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2017 at 3:51 pm



So, from what I have been able to discern, the 450 Whisman proposal was not resubmitted by the same developer, but in 2014 Summerhill received conditional approval for a planned unit development on the same parcel of land. The development is for 37 two story attached and detached row houses. The land use designation is medium-low residential, and the zoning is R-2. From what I can tell, it appears as if this project is nearing completion.

Also, I don't believe the precise plan areas are simply a construct borne of resident pressure to restrict development. Have you read the ABAG guidelines regarding PDA's and the restrictions regarding making changes to designated PDA areas? There are of course instances where precise plans and PDA's overlap, which means it's not so easy to simply make changes on a whim.

From the same article you posted above, where Planning director Randy Tsuda basically said the city did not have the bandwidth to handle the additional work at this time...

"Council member Margaret Abe-Koga said of the Terra Bella precise plan proposal from Mark Calvano: "We probably could have added this into the North Bayshore precise plan we are doing but he just came in too late. He should have done this a year ago."





12 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 21, 2017 at 4:54 pm

psr is a registered user.

@YIMBY

It is the actions of those who are moving here that are causing the prices to rise, not those who were already here. Those who were already here are not stressing the system. It is the addition of new people that is doing that. There is nothing unfair about the new people paying to provide the improvements that would not otherwise be required except for their presence. Those who were here first should not have to leave because others have caused the community to be disrupted.

In all your rants, you have never once explained why the current residents should blithely give up their lifestyle in order to allow newcomers to have everything the way they want it. You can't explain why what they want should come before what community-builders want. Until you can provide a reasonable argument for your point, I will continue to advocate for those who build the community and not for those who only wish to exploit it.


2 people like this
Posted by Emotion
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Apr 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Here comes @psr making emotional arguments since they can't use logic or reason. @YIMBY has exhaustively made a rational argument, and all you can do is appeal to emotion. It's pretty clear who's right.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

@PSR

Spare me your Nativist Trump-isms about foreigners coming in and ruining the good thing you have going. We're an economic hot spot with great jobs and we attract incredibly intelligent people to move here and collaborate together, build new companies, and solve cool problems. I can't believe how lucky I was to be born here in the tech mecca of the world and have the opportunity to be a part of this. And rather than be proud that the community you belong to was the one that gave us these great jobs and great opportunities, all you care about is how it's impacting your neighborhood density.


3 people like this
Posted by ZIMBY
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2017 at 3:36 pm

This area has a high job creation rate only because of quirks found inside Google's operation, which is not
typical for a c corporate monopoly of its size. It's crazy to think it can cram unlimited employees into one
HQ location, even when it does at least spread out a little to Palo Alto. It once tried Sunnyvale, but it
seems to have swapped with Microsoft/LinkedIn to hone in again on North Bayshore.
This is not a long-term stable situation. Anything could happen. If the nationwide economy has a downturn
this will affect Google too. Having so much density concentrated on Mountain View will mess them up.
Other corporations eschew real estate holdings because real estate prices are cyclical too. This has
nothing to do with their core business.

People shouldn't get so wrapped up in property tax rates. That's not really part of the housing shortage. There is a true shortage nationwide, but Prop 13 is only in California. That proves Prop 13 is not the root cause. California is different than average, but it also has different weather and historical demographic makeup. You can't point to just one difference like Prop 13 and say that's the whole issue with its differences. In any event, there's a real nationwide shortage. it's probably caused by the monetary policy and national and international politics, along with loose regulations on investment banking.

Small issues like this Middlefield Road projects are worth addressing even if it runs counter to some perceived need for more local housing. A bad project is still a bad project. Ironically, none of the comments have pointed out that the same property had a much lower density proposal in a preparation status. The city wouldn't even let it go to gatekeeper and said that it needed to be more dense. Now they've gone too far in the way of density. They sold it off to different developers. Keep working, and they can work out something more reasonable. It's not really so very far off. This is not a good place with lots of transit options close to lots of walkable city amenities. No need for high density here. But no need to keep it as light as it was in the 1970's either.


3 people like this
Posted by RMV
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 23, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Ok YIMBY, I'll bite. It's undeniable that tech companies continually bring things to the world that it didn't have before. But what are these cool problems that they're solving? (Other than giving clever minds something to work on?) And which problems - cool or not - are they solving that they haven't created in the first place?


5 people like this
Posted by property tax question
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2017 at 5:07 pm

A common complaint against growth is that infrastructure hasn't kept up with growth, so growth has brought all the pains of more people, without any of the benefits of deeper public services (like nicer libraries and parks). Question, do new homeowner units bring in the same or more/less local property tax than new apartments? Thanks!


Like this comment
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2017 at 6:09 pm

@ZIMBY

What "quirks" about Google are you referring to? Also, Google is a huge employer, but it's not the only one. There are plenty of other tech companies in the area hiring heavily.

Even if the economy goes through a recession, this isn't 2000. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and others are all mature companies with absurdly huge and secure revenue streams. Even during the Great Recession these tech companies weathered things rather well. VCs in the past few years have already stopped throwing absurd amounts of money at every possible startup and things are still going strong. If we hit Great Recession Part 2 you'll see fewer Juicero products getting funding by small VCs, but all of the huge established tech companies are going to stick around, likely continue to expand, and they'll continue to be a major funding source for other startups.

Housing prices are high in urban areas across the country, but California is uniquely expensive everywhere. Web Link

California also has the 3rd lowest rate of homeownership in the country compared to New York and Nevada. Web Link

On the face of it, Prop 13 is an obvious culprit because it shields property owners from the impacts of rising housing costs which would usually push them to sell and move to a cheaper market, or at the very least disincentivize them to block the construction of new housing units which would take spread out demand more and take pressure off of their home. Even in data, the effect that Prop 13 has had on the housing market is measureable: Web Link


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Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm

@RMV

Sure, you have plenty of companies like DoorDash that just make it slightly easier to order food, Yelp which is just a business review site, LinkedIn which is just Facebook for work, and all of the other companies that are some variant of "It's like X for Y!", but the biggest and most impactful thing that pretty much all of the big tech players are investing in here is Artificial Intelligence.

Aside from the more subtle applications like Google using it turn its Search feature into the computer from Star Trek, Self-Driving Cars are one application that will have the biggest impact on society in the short-term (dramatic reductions in traffic congestion and driving-related deaths and re-shaping how cities are built). Artificial intelligence in general has an incredibly broad range of applications from improving correct medical diagnosis rates, design aid and optimization, all the way to automating labor and producing a general artificial intelligence, which will be the greatest feat humanity has ever accomplished. Google, Facebook, Intel, NVidia, Amazon, Microsoft, and others are investing heavily in this field right now, and the Bay Area is a major hub for this kind of research. It will touch and impact everything we use and everything we do.

Even outside of that, there are multiple bio-tech companies in the area doing everything from direct-to-consumer genetics tests to massive research initiatives to cure aging-related diseases and "solve" aging itself. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are both going to change how we interact with and see the world (you already have doctors using dinky things like Google Glass to assist them during surgery, but being able to have all manner of 3D imagery overlay you real-world perspective will impact how people work, where they walk, how they shop, who they meet, etc). 3D printing is moving from a hobbyist arts and crafts platform to a manufacturing tech on an industrial scale + the equivalent of the Star Trek replicator in your home (making custom specialized pieces of hardware on-demand for whatever purpose you can think of).

Even the things we take for granted today! I have a device in my pocket that understands english and executes whatever verbal command or query I give it (except it won't open the pod bay doors), can translate spoken language between me and a non-english speaker in near real-time, can navigate me around a city that I've never visited before in my life using real-time data to find the quickest way, can let me transmit live video from wherever I am (well, as long as I'm in range of a cell tower, but even that's being worked on!), and more! All of that isn't done being worked on, it's still being enhanced daily by engineers who work right here in the valley.

Even the things as simple as a messaging client have big impacts. WhatsApp is how people communicate all across India, from remote urban locations to in the middle of the biggest cities.

TL;DR lots of things but the biggest is artificial intelligence


1 person likes this
Posted by RMV
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 23, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Color me impressed with your response, YIMBY! Well thought out and well written. If you're not in marketing, you should consider it; you'd be very successful (and wealthy!)

In your response I was able to identify a problem that undeniably exists and that technology undeniably helps with, namely medical diagnosis and treatment. And just the other day we all saw technology at work saving lives when the power in SF went out and robust backup power systems took over immediately at SF hospitals, allowing hospital operations, even surgeries in progress, to continue seamlessly.

However, please help me understand other examples of net problem solving. For example, you mention self-driving cars as a solution to traffic congestion and driving-related deaths. Perhaps, but without the tech companies we wouldn't have traffic congestion problems in the first place. Traffic deaths had been decreasing dramatically for many years as automobile companies designed ever safer cars. But the advent of consumer smart phones reversed that gain with the onset of driver distraction caused by those phones. Automating labor is undeniably cool. Designing and building automated systems is interesting and challenging work for clever minds. But what about the countless people who are replaced by machines and now live in poverty? What have we actually gained? You mentioned that little marvel in your pocket (and I'm curious, why on earth would it not open the pod bay doors?) I have one of those, too. Having to lug it around everywhere I go is a pain in the neck. Being tethered to it 24/7 is a pain in the neck. I can no longer leave work when I leave the office because work is with me 24/7 along with the expectation that I am always reachable. Navigate a strange city? We could do that way before smartphones existed. Smart phones have increased traffic deaths, isolated us and taken away our freedom to separate our work and private lives. And that's even before we get to cyberbullying. Remind me again, what problems have they solved?

TL;DR You named numerous technical advances, but I still don't get which net problems those advances solve and how.


2 people like this
Posted by ZIMBY
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2017 at 1:57 am

@YIMBY

2000 wasn't 2000 either in 1999. You can't predict that the next recession will only be like 2008. It may well be worse than 2000. It hasn't even started yet. Precariously hiring as has gone on for the last 3 years sets things up more like 2000 than 2008. But the specifics aren't important. It may not be NOW or NEXT YEAR, but the day will come. So lets not make a monstrous project come to fruition in haste. It will last for 40 years. Just because there are foolish banks that will bet on a poor design in terms of financing it, this doesn't mean that the property won't end up in default.

The downturn isn't going to clean up any mess that is done by creating an awkward overly dense design with no suitable public transit even possible in that location.


3 people like this
Posted by ZIMBY
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2017 at 2:05 am

What will Alphabet do when the Google ad revenue drops off by 50%? How about the venture capital financing so called independent ventures when economic times get tight? It won't matter how potentially wonderful the products would be. The expense scenario with the current real estate prices won't sustain operations that don't really need to be in Palo Alto or Mountain View, or even San Jose. This is a luxury and a waste for Alphabet to amalgamate many different unrelated projects in a single geographic center like Mountain View. There is a much smaller fraction of small independent company employees in the area than was the case back in 2008. What will that mean? It's a mess created by this Google quirk of being so single focused geographically on Mountain View within the U.S. and then on the U.S. itself overall. No national diversity to speak of, unless you count stealing citizens from other countries as diversity.


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Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2017 at 8:35 am

@RMV

Traffic congestion exists and existed in every metro area and every strong economy in the world. It may be specifically caused by tech in the Bay Area, but I'd be hard pressed to think that the Bay Area had no daily traffic congestion before 1980. And your chance of death may have been slowly improving as vehicular safety improved, but the number of people driving would always mean that yearly deaths would be in the tens of thousands simply because humans will constantly lose focus, be tired, forget to look, and so on, regardless of whether or not they have a specific distraction in their car. Self-Driving Cars means we could effectively bring the number of deaths to zero. At a minimum, the number of deaths would be magnitudes less than humans could ever hope to achieve on their own, to where a car crash gets a story on the nightly news next to a plane crash.

Job loss through automation of skilled labor is being debated heavily and will be one of the largest societal upheavals we'll face since the industrial revolution. It's up to us if we use this automation to create a Utopia or a Dystopia, but the societal perception of your worth being your work will have to go away when we don't need nor want to have every human doing a "job" when the existing AI is smart enough to handle it. I'm optimistic that, even if we go through rough times in the beginning from the job losses, we'll be able to come out the other side with a better society that takes advantage of the automation for everyone. Web Link

Some of those perceptions of the smart phone may be generational. I've never felt like I've lugged mine around, it's just an extension of me and goes wherever I go. I feel more connected to my friends than without it. Yes, maps did exist, but there's a friction with navigating from A to B with a paper map that doesn't exist with Google Maps, and that friction was significant enough that, with it gone, so is the concept of ever being lost. People ate before agriculture existed, but it reduced a friction involved with acquiring food and then allowed us to focus on other tasks. With any technological advancement, something gets easier, and a new problem arises, but overall I'd say that we're at a net positive in the smartphone age.


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Posted by RMV
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 24, 2017 at 5:31 pm

@YIMBY,

> [traffic congestion] may be specifically caused by tech in the Bay Area,

It's caused by what ZIMBY said - too much concentration in an area that's already busting at the seams.

> but I'd be hard pressed to think that the Bay Area had no daily traffic congestion before 1980

In the 1970s, daily rush hour meant that traffic got somewhat heavier than during the day. It lasted literally about an hour or so e.g. 5-6pm. It demanded a little more concentration from drivers but there were no delays. (The population then was a little over half what it is now.)


Traffic deaths - I'll let you google your own stats so you won't think I'm cherry-picking results to make a point. The _absolute_ number of traffic deaths had been dropping even as the number of people, cars and miles driven was increasing. Then people started texting while driving and the traffic deaths began increasing again.


Automation and the end of jobs as we know them - we've been there, done that several times and so far it's never worked out quite like we've been promised. Maybe in the end we'll build a robot for every last human-performed task and make humans entirely superfluous.


and so on and so forth. But I'm still looking for those solutions to cool problems you mentioned. You did mention advances in medicine, fair enough. And I'll even give you another example to get things started: Uber (i.e. ride-hailing). Pre-uber there was absolutely a problem in SF with existing taxi service. Taking a taxi anywhere was a miserable experience, if you could even get one. The cars were filthy and the drivers incompetent. Uber et al solve that problem by offering a service that addresses all of those issues. (Notice, however, that smartphone infrastructure is not a necessary condition for such a service to thrive. Low-tech versions of it based on landlines and radio existed decades ago, although not in San Francisco.)

So what are some other examples of problems (cool or not) that Tech gives us solutions to?



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Posted by not so
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm

@RMV: I generally agree with your arguments, but a "problem in SF with existing taxi service" before Uber, and the problem now solved? What universe are you referring to?

Taxi service in SF, which I have used more than occasionally for 30-plus years -- and that means well before the arrival of Uber et al -- served me just fine, with never a problem. And I didn't have to worry about drivers whose criminal and/or driving records hadn't been vetted.

Although I haven't done the research on specifics, I have been a daily SF Chronicle reader for decades, and the number of news stories I've read about criminal behavior and fatal or otherwise serious accidents involving Uber et al drivers far exceeds such stories about taxi drivers. I don't think this example holds up to scrutiny.


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Posted by RMV
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm

@not so, very good points and yes, you're absolutely right. My bad and I'll have to take back my example. (To clarify where that example came from, it's based on my own taxi rides in recent years where the cars have been dirty, the drivers grumpy and incompetent, and they got mad if I only had a credit card and no cash. Uber et al at least have a more efficient payment system.)

I tried to come up with an example to help YIMBY out with his assertion that tech companies "solve cool problems". Guess we're back at square one on that :-)


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