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City begins talks on redeveloping older apartments

Original post made on Oct 6, 2017

Perhaps a glimpse of things to come — an attractive new housing project came before the City Council on Tuesday that seemed tailored to fit the city's wishes to a tee: a proposed new neighborhood of small-sized rowhouses priced for middle-income families to buy as starter homes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 6, 2017, 12:00 AM

Comments (85)

59 people like this
Posted by Reality
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 8:27 am

This isn't surprising at all. The rent control advocates said people who said this kind of thing would happen were using scare tactics.

It might be scary because it's happening, but those folks were speaking the truth.


25 people like this
Posted by Class Warfare
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 6, 2017 at 9:10 am

This is class warfare being waged by the city council, pure and simple. They could have required more units be placed on the redeveloped property, but instead they simply chose to displace these poorer tenants with richer ones. They should be ashamed!


63 people like this
Posted by Man of his word
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 6, 2017 at 9:47 am

The managing owner of Moffett Manor was quoted in this fine paper prior to passage of measure V that the outcome of rent control would be the sale of the property to a developer since the added overhead (cost of compliance and aging building) lack of upside, no downside protection and ultimate devaluation of the asset leads to only one logical place. The irony here is that his father developed the property in the first place to provide affordable housing to the working class.

As the article notes, the property is still in good shape and the rents are affordable in a quiet neighborhood next to Whisman Park and the Hetch Hetchy Trail, a great value for renters even before rent control, exactly the type of housing the City should encourage rather than discourage. This is what happens when the free market is messed with, you get some nasty unintended consequences. The majority of the 15,000 units targeted by rent control were run with good intentions by small business people that needed no additional regulation such a shame that a new bureaucracy has been created and good people will be forced from their homes.


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 11:07 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Just a reminder:

New state laws require the following:

“Pushing developers to build and preserve more low-income housing

Because ofa 2009 court decision involving a Los Angeles developer, cities are not allowed to force builders of apartment complexes to reserve a portion of their projects for low-income residents. Those policies were called an illegal expansion of rent control.

Now, Assembly Bill 1505changes the rules so that cities can once again implement low-income requirements. San Jose already is considering a policy that would force developers to set aside 15% of their projects.

Typically when developers agree to build low-income apartments, that agreement lasts a certain time, often between 30 and 50 years. Afterward, owners of the property can charge market-rate rents. The California Housing Partnership Corp., a nonprofit low-income housing advocate, recently estimated that 14,000 low-income units in Los Angeles County are at risk of losing their income restrictions in the next five years.

Assembly Bill 1521requires owners to accept a qualified offer to purchase the apartment complex from someone who pledges to continue renting the homes to low-income residents.

The state now runs a tax credit program giving large banks and other investors incentives to help finance housing for farmworkers. Assembly Bill 571expands that effort with an eye toward making it easier for developers to bundle it with other sources to build farmworker housing.

Forcing cities to plan for more housing

Every eight years, cities and counties have to plan for enough new homes to meet state projections of population growth. This process, however, has not led to sufficient housing production to meet demand.

Three new laws expand requirements for cities to plan for housing. Assembly Bill 1397forces local governments to zone land for housing where it could actually go, instead of putting sites they don’t intend to approve in their housing plan. In one example, La Cañada Flintridge rezoned a big box commercial property for apartments or condominiums, but city officials later told residents any new homes on the site would be almost impossible to build.

Senate Bill 166 makes cities add additional sites to their housing plans if they approve projects at densities lower than what local elected officials had anticipated in their proposals. The goal is to make up for the housing units that weren’t built.

Assembly Bill879 instructs cities to analyze how long it takes developers to actually build their projects once they’ve been approved, and then take steps to shorten that time.

Penalizing cities that say no to housing

The Housing Accountability Act passed in 1982 prohibits cities from saying no to housing projects that meet zoning requirements simply because they don’t like them. But such cases are hard to prove. Three measures, Senate Bill 167, Assembly Bill 678and Assembly Bill 1515, will beef up the existing law by making it easier for developers to prove a city acted in bad faith when denying a project, and by upping a city’s penalty to $10,000 per unit they rejected.

Assembly Bill 72 gives the state housing department more authority to investigate cities that don’t follow through with their housing plans and refer cases to California’s attorney general for possible legal action.”( Web Link)

Thus, it would seem that the City of Mountain View has a choice, either force affordable housing/rentals be built, force replacement of any affordable rental housing be part of any new project on the site, or face major losses in regards to non-compliance with state housing plans.

The City will choose to comply because it allows for state and federal money to be subsidizing such building.

The likelihood of the rentals being converted to townhouses in the city has just been greatly impaired by state laws.

THE STATE LAWS MOVED THE CHEESE


37 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Definitely a taste of things to come when you implement rent control. Property owners will seek ways to maximize their investment and converting to condos/homes is a natural way to get the capital out that will be eroded by rent control.

It's a little chilling to hear Ken Rosenberg say "Which rent-controlled locations are (we) willing to scrap?" So now the City gets to decide when and if property owners can sell their property?


10 people like this
Posted by MVFlyer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm

So is this the fallout from the rent control law? How is this different than 'going condo'? The net result is renters will get forced out, housing prices will continue to rise, and the number of available potentially rent controlled apartments goes down, making it even harder for normal folks to live here. Is that a good thing?


Like this comment
Posted by MVFlyer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm

So is this the fallout from the new rent control law? Fewer apartments for rent; continued escalation of housing prices; and renters forced out to make room for people who have the means to buy. Sorry, this doesn't work.


3 people like this
Posted by Soft Story
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm

These old buildings look like some of those soft story garage buildings that
are so dangerous in an earthquake. It would be expensive to retrofit them.
The new buildings will be built according to modern day earthquake standards.

Don't be so sure this is due to rent control, or if it is, that this is a bad thing.
This might save the residents living in a pile of rubble after the next big one.


13 people like this
Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Darin is a registered user.

@MVFlyer

It's different from "going condo" because the old apartments are being torn down, so the result will be more-desirable new homes, rather than less-desirable converted old apartments.

And it works just fine. It isn't new, really. Old rentals were being torn down and replaced with new for-sale homes in our neighborhood before Prop V passed. It seems to be accelerating since then, of course. But that's to be expected. When property owners consider their various options, the option of continuing to rent the property to tenants is now less desirable thanks to the reduced income and the increased bureaucracy. It shouldn't be surprising when property owners choose other options instead.


4 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I don't see any advantages to the MV need for truly affordable housing esp for renters. This seems like a card trick to me... an illusion of doing the right thing. I don't trust this route at all.


4 people like this
Posted by My Neighborhood
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

I live in this neighborhood - right around the corner from this site, in fact. It's laughable (meaning, down right depressing) that a "one-bedroom unit expected to cost upward of $700,000" is what's considered a starter home for a middle-income family.


31 people like this
Posted by I Love It
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Cue the whining from the Tenants Coalition and other sympathetic groups complaining about gentrification. Unfortunately for them, the decision on this project is not subject to popular vote and the City Council has no valid reason to oppose this, especially since they were also against rent control in the first place and recognize the importance of increasing the tax base with housing ownership. Keep in mind existing tenants will receive a relocation windfall once this is approved, so it is not a total loss for them.

What will happen once this property is developed, is other property owners in the neighborhood will see the wisdom in this and the dominoes will start to fall. One by one, the balance of Mountain View voters will shift from renters to owners, the scarcity of rentals will raise rents while the new voter demographics will allow rent control to be repealed.


4 people like this
Posted by Sticker Shocked
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm

I just moved here from FL and the notion that a $700,000 one bedroom house is "affordable housing" is so bizarre to me, it is unbelievable! In FL I could buy a 20 room mansion, on a lake front with a dock and have money left over to buy a boat, a new car and furnish the entire house! How did people in CA let this happen? Can't people see that if you don't refuse to pay these outrageously high prices, the prices will just keep going up? If no one would pay it, they'd soon lower the prices of the houses or be stuck with them. No one is satisfied to make a living anymore; everyone wants to make a killing. How can families starting out ever become homeowners? I am stunned at the mentality out here. Not everyone works in the Silicon Valley and has a high 6 figure income, but the prices sure don't reflect that. I guess I should have stayed in FL, but the alligators got to be too much!! Didn't know they would follow me here!!


15 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

It's quite disgusting the amount of glee some posters here are taking with the displacement of their neighbors. Is this the community we live in? Are these the people we want to be? Is enriching the already wealthy the only thing our community cares about?


14 people like this
Posted by Steve Old Town
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Steve Old Town is a registered user.

...and my prediction that rent control would result in fewer affordable apartments comes is sadly coming true. Not that one needed to be at all prescient to see the writing on the wall

Now I suppose there will be a push to introduce laws to prevent 'affordable rentals' from being sold or converted. There is a group of people who will not be happy until the government seizes property from one group of people and gives to a more 'deserving group'.


4 people like this
Posted by Steve Old Town
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Steve Old Town is a registered user.

...and my prediction that rent control would result in fewer affordable apartments is sadly coming true. Not that one needed to be at all prescient to know that this would happen.

Now I suppose there will be a push to introduce laws to prevent 'affordable rentals' from being sold or converted. There is a group of people who will not be happy until the government seizes property from one group of people and gives to a more 'deserving group'.


13 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:38 pm

That sucks for those losing their home, but that's terrific that people will be given a chance to build equity. I hope the Council realizes that the key to helping people prosper and have a better future is through building equity and not renting. Though by saying that I might have started a new debate on subsidizing home purchases. Ooops!


6 people like this
Posted by DON KENSIL
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

As the article reported, this project will displace folks living in rent-controlled units who, apparently, will need to find probably non-rent controlled housing at a substantial cost increase. Approval of this project will worsen the gap between rich and poor in our city. Why, then, consider approving it? Many will suffer while few will likely do quite well.


7 people like this
Posted by S.C. Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm

City council says they will review proposals "on a case-by-case basis"? What a terrible way to govern. Develop the precise plan, set the zoning, and create development requirements. Then let go. Why is city council meddling in every single development proposal? None of them have any substantial in land use, architecture, economics, or design standards, and it creates so much angst for the community.


19 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Even more to the point, why is council allowing them to redevelop to create only 4 additional units? We're kicking out our less wealthy neighbors to get more rich people in, and we're not even getting a significant amount of additional housing stock. Something stinks about this move by council.


24 people like this
Posted by You don't get it
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm

What an interesting comment Mayor Rosenburg made when referring to the development that was approved to level 56 units. "We have 56 households in Mountain View who are in naturally affordable housing". Naturally? I don't think so. The owners personal property rights were taken and Measure V was allowed to UNNATURALLY manipulate a rent roll- back creating far below market rents for all the tenants in that building. When you unnaturally mess with market economics it has a domino affect on the viability of a real estate investment. This complex was affordable before Measure V was passed. How sad the tenant advocacy groups have shot themselves in the foot.


28 people like this
Posted by I Love It
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm

There is nothing in this proposed development that violates the current zoning and building codes in spirit, they are asking for a reasonable waiver on the orientation of the buildings given the dimensions of the lot, this waiver allows them to build the maximum number of units.

If changes to zoning were made, they could build with more density, but is that what we want? The charm of this particular neighborhood is the lower density and quiet park like setting.

Aren't property owners and existing residents who desire to own their homes and build equity members of the community as well? Why should a select group of complainers be assigned below market housing at the expense of everyone else?

The free market does as fair of a job as anything else in distributing places to live. Would I like to own a home in Atherton or Woodside or Menlo Park? Absolutely, but I know the only way that happens is by continuing to bust my butt with some luck along the way. If not, I will live someplace within my means and be content, would never consider taking from others, I am accountable for my personal situation. I think that's honorable representative of traditional American values, but I realize we may not be living in America anymore.


11 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm

My word, the poster above says "I Love It" to their neighbors being displaced. I'll repeat this, since that poster is only concerned with the almighty dollar, which may be a representative of "traditional American values," but modern American values actually care about people over money.

Is this the community we live in? Are these the people we want to be? Is enriching the already wealthy the only thing our community cares about?


23 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 6, 2017 at 5:15 pm

@Shame

The glee you referenced is what others see as economic justice (including myself). Rent control took away the ability to earn above market returns on cash flows and created the need to quickly monetize via a sale. Otherwise, everyday an owner of a rent controlled property doesn't sell he/she falls behind a bit relative to the market. That may not be a big deal for a month, but over years the loss will be massive. The ability of these properties to appreciate is stunted because of the immense capital required to unlock the value (redevelop). The new development will be pointed at folks who want to begin building equity to better their lives. They deserve a chance as well.


Like this comment
Posted by Entitlement is not American
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2017 at 5:21 pm

[Post removed; posting on the same thread using multiple names violates terms of use.]


18 people like this
Posted by I Love It
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Any organization/government can never make everybody happy as there is something called constraints in the physical world we live in.

No glee is taken from the suffering of others as result of established rules (laws of free market economics) being followed. America was based on and became the economic powerhouse it is in a very short period of time, based on reward for hard work, not entitlements. Wanting to better your lot in life is a powerful motivator, though it should not lead to demanding stuff from others. You have to earn it and be accountable for yourself.

The economic justice Bored M refers to is all most of us expect.

If you don't like it, have another one of your demonstrations, disrupt a City Council meeting, do what you need to do to make yourself feel good. Maybe you can apply for a measure on the ballot of the next election to preserve all pre-1995 rental housing, I wish you luck.


9 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2017 at 6:17 pm

I see the CAA trolls are posting under multiple names here. Tsk tsk.

It's telling that "I Love It" talks about a free market, yet in the same breath refuses to consider upzoning since it'd ruin the "character" of the neighborhood. The hypocrisy puts to lie their true beliefs: they want a rigged system where neighbors can enrich themselves by putting a halt on new development, and to remove the poor from the neighborhood. At least be honest about it.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Again, please read this:

“Assembly Bill 1521 requires owners to accept a qualified offer to purchase the apartment complex from someone who pledges to continue renting the homes to low-income residents.”

Thus, those trying to cash out are going to be required to sell to those not intending to raze the property and replace it with luxury property. As long as someone has the cash to purchase the property, they simply cannot discriminate regarding the buyers. This provision in a sense locks up the affordable properties from being dismantled.

“Now, Assembly Bill 1505 changes the rules so that cities can once again implement low-income requirements. San Jose already is considering a policy that would force developers to set aside 15% of their projects.”

Thus the city can mandate affordable properties on any projects. Of course if the city refuses to do so then:

“The Housing Accountability Act passed in 1982 prohibits cities from saying no to housing projects that meet zoning requirements simply because they don’t like them. But such cases are hard to prove. Three measures, Senate Bill 167, Assembly Bill 678 and Assembly Bill 1515, will beef up the existing law by making it easier for developers to prove a city acted in bad faith when denying a project, and by upping a city’s penalty to $10,000 per unit they rejected.”

So if a project is rejected with 50 units, the City will be liable for $500,000. This is a significant problem if the City of Mountain View decides to play favorites, like preference for home ownership versus apartment development. The burden of evidence to prove bad faith has been made much easier now.

“Assembly Bill 72 gives the state housing department more authority to investigate cities that don’t follow through with their housing plans and refer cases to California’s attorney general for possible legal action.”

If the City tries to grant favorable approvals to projects that remove existing affordable rent controlled units for new homes or condos, this will certainly draw an investigation by the state. Given that the City of Mountain View is already more than 1,000 units short of the required affordable apartment needs as stated by the ABAG report.

It would appear that the State has taken just action to control the outrageous behaviors that were threatened during the Measure V campaign. It is almost amazing timing. They shut the barn door when the last cow entered it.

I would think the City will be VERY CAREFUL to not violate these new RULES.


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 6, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Gary is a registered user.

The City Council could just say: no thanks. I can see it now. If they want to build new apartments instead, great. Some, let's say 80%, would need to be reserved for low income tenants with a form of rent control as a condition of the development. But wait. I woke up. Dreaming is over. This City Council will just approve the proposal with no serious conditions attached. And the approval will illuminate one road around rent restrictions.


6 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 6, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

Swapping 56 lower income rentals for 60 upper income homes won't help the housing crisis.

Yet, it's awful economics to force private businesses to operate against their own interest.
So why not encourage micro homes, which could increase the number of homeowner units, at a lower price (expanding MV's housing diversity), all the while preserving the investor's profit margins?

Swapping 56 apartments for a 100 entry level micro homes where residents can begin to build equity, that would be a solution worth supporting.


4 people like this
Posted by Soft Story
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

So it doesn't matter if these older buildings are going to fall down in
an earthquake? Who's going to pay for the damage? Replacing the units
now makes a lot of sense. These are middle income homes being built, not
upper income. The old apartments had a purchase value of $500K each. That's
not exactly low income housing either. So now they are talking about newer,
much larger units (double the space in each) and they say they will sell
for $700K to $1.1M. This seems like an even swap to me. Smaller middle income
rental units in danger of falling down for larger middle income
ownership units which can hold larger groups of residents in each,
but still middle income to upper middle income. Micro units are not econmically
proven, and who's going to take the risk? Unfortunately, 500 sq ft units
might end up selling for $500K each anyway!


3 people like this
Posted by A member of the "missing middle"
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 6, 2017 at 11:51 pm

I've been watching lower cost housing getting torn down and replaced with fancy townhomes for the past couple years. It was heartbreaking watch families move out of their homes en mass, since a whole section of the block was evicted at the same time. It also made me nervous, because we also live in an older, lower cost home. It was also disheartening when the new, beautiful homes went up along with the sign proclaiming that they were definitely outside of our price range. Mountain View has been our home for 15 years, and we love it, but I'm not sure if we can hang on much longer.

I know I'm a hopeless romantic, but it all makes me wonder if it would be possible for the people who currently live on a property to be "grandfathered" into a new housing development? I know some people wouldn't be able to come back after moving out so that building could begin, but some of us love our community and neighbors, and would want to come back. The new housing being put up is so dense, surely room could be made. There is already a stipulation that builders should include low-income units. Why not middle-income too? Middle-income folks aren't going to be able to buy into the new units when, "A one-bedroom unit is expected to cost upward of $700,000..." One bedroom?!? $700,000!?! Somebody is making out like a bandit.

So, to those of you lucky enough to either own your own home here already, or rich enough to rent at these high rates without stress, what do you want Mountain View to look like in 10 years? Will you mind that all of the store clerks, restaurant employees, teachers, librarians, auto shop employees, police officers, psychologists, fire fighters, nurses, hairstylists, doctors, gardeners, etc. all have to drive in from Gilroy or Union City to come to work every day? These are the "people of your neighborhood," but we won't be for long unless we change the direction we're going in.


23 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Whisman Station
on Oct 7, 2017 at 8:03 am

Welcome to the realities of economic and functional obsolescence. Two very basic principals of real estate. Impose economic hardship on the investor, and vote in a higher and better use for the land as unintended consequences. Voters have brought this forthcoming tidal wave of redevelopment on themselves. And the city council owes it to their community to provide first-time buyer affordable home ownership.

For the mayor and vice-mayor to vote against home ownership, and use preservation of rent controlled apartments as an excuse to deny a worthy, albeit disruptive redevelopment application, is grounds for a recall. Placating their constituency much? It wasn't even the subject of the study session!

75% of new housing in Mt. View is for renters. Communities strengthen when residents own their home. Let's get on with the business of building a better community of homeowners.


1 person likes this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 7, 2017 at 8:55 am

Interesting corner the city has painted themselves into.
Rent control has started the investment money moving in a different direction than intended. Oh my, what to do?
Can't go back and repeal because rents would immediately go up 20%. Oh my, what to do.
Hey, let's get rid of Google, yeah, that's the ticket. It's their fault.


15 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 9:44 am

This bigotry against renters is disgusting and needs to stop. They strengthen our community just as much as homeowners. Just because someone chooses to live a different way than you doesn't make them any worse community members.


3 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2017 at 10:35 am

As the vise closes in on what amounts to be the biggest land swindle in American history in dollar terms: rent control in California, the best lesson plan in economics and perhaps also political science (anthropology too?).

George Drysdale initiator and educator


8 people like this
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

The old apartments were destined to be re-developed whether MV had rent control or not.


3 people like this
Posted by rainbow38
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 7, 2017 at 11:20 am

One way to help increase housing is to mandate that any commercial development that includes housing must build the housing first. When the housing is ready for occupancy, then the commercial buildings could be built.


27 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Reduction of total rental housing stock. Disappearance of traditional tenant turnover, reducing available vacancies to near zero, and many of those few turning over "off market" (so, good luck if you ever must move for any reason at all: you likely won't be staying in Mountain View). Delayed and substandard maintenance.

None of these are "unforseen" consequences of residential rent controls. They're as predictable as the night following the day. They are widely known. I experienced them elewhere as a renter. They are part of what voters voted for who approved Measure V, whether they bothered to think through the consequences or not. Those voters certainly had plenty of warning from folks who'd seen it all before.
Now they'll live with the consequences.

It's not that Mountain View's fast-rising, demand-driven rents weren't a serious social problem. It's that rent control doesn't fix the causes at all! It just pushes the underyling problem around; now you are starting to see its effects manifesting elsewhere.


21 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 1:22 pm

By the way, "Sticker Shocked" above is only the very latest of many people with that reaction who fail to notice the close linkage link between two simultaneous realities they themselves invoke. In that particular comment: (a) the shockingly bid-up housing prices here, and (b) "I just moved here from FL."

It's pretty obvious how population and job growth affect the housing market (it't been happening conspicuously here for at least half a century, with occasional pauses) yet every new contributor to the process seems surprised by it.


11 people like this
Posted by Soltan
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 7, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Another example of why rent control can become a can of worms.


27 people like this
Posted by Ownership
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 7, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Council should not feel compelled to dance around rent control. In the past 5 years, they've added WAY more apartments than ownership units, and the mix has shifted significantly from historical levels. Time to switch back the other way.

Equity is good. That opportunity needs to be there for people.


14 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm

I love anyone who goes by the name "Common sense."

The "close linkage" is only there because we refuse to build enough housing. We're in the middle of the worst housing crisis in the history of our state, and we have an opportunity here to build more units. Instead, we're building 4 new units because of some councilmembers' fetishes for ownership units. We're displacing poor folks so that rich people can move in, and not even getting the most productive use of the land out of it.


23 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Perhaps the voters in Mountain View should have considered the unintended consequences of imposing onerous economic sanctions against the very people who have provided the most affordable housing in their city--in many cases risking their entire life savings. What did they think would happen? Instant economic and functional obsolescence for pre-1995 multifamily housing! Don't want to see that "naturally affordable housing" disappear? Repeal Measure V.


20 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm

This is a win-win proposal. MV gets more modern entry-level owner occupied housing, and old, deteriorated and poorly maintained apartment complexes get razed in the process. Owner occupied housing would add more stability to MV because owners have a stake in the future of MV and will support policies that best would benefit MV in years and decades to come --- not just short-term bandaids --- "quick fixes" that are destructive in the long run.


11 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 4:02 pm

William Hitchens, please keep your anti-renter bigotry out of this discussion. Renters are just as strong members of our community as homeowners are, and for you to denigrate them like this is disgusting. Why do people think it's an acceptable opinion to advocate for the removal of renters from our city?


6 people like this
Posted by First time wishful
a resident of Whisman Station
on Oct 7, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Perhaps the voters in Mountain View should have considered the unintended consequences of imposing onerous economic sanctions against the very people who have provided the most affordable housing in their city--in many cases risking their entire life savings. What did voters think would happen? Instant economic and functional obsolescence for pre-1995 multifamily housing that's what! Don't want to see that "naturally affordable housing" disappear? Repeal Measure V.


15 people like this
Posted by Positive
a resident of Whisman Station
on Oct 7, 2017 at 5:12 pm

I hope we have more housing available like this. It is affordable for our firefighters, police, teachers, and other professionals who have to commute to Mountain View as they cannot afford to buy a home here. These people are a strong, irreplaceable and a very positive contributing part of our community. We need them!
Cities are stronger, safer and cleaner when residents "buy in" by putting down ownership roots where they live. Hopefully, other areas in Mountain View can upgrade in this way - and benefit our hard working professionals who do so much for our city.


13 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 7, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Wow, even more anti-renter bigotry. Do you folks have any self-awareness? Calling renters unclean and dangerous?


13 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 7, 2017 at 8:32 pm

To Shames last post:
Hey, you should be a landlord and see what you get called. Unclean and dangerous is just for starters.


4 people like this
Posted by Ramble
a resident of Slater
on Oct 7, 2017 at 9:29 pm

Rambling to follow... I live in this neighborhood as a tenant and let me tell you, these units around Slater are slums with the exception of properties that have sold in the past 3 years. As I renter my unit hasn't been updated since the 1960's - I do not even have a garbage disposal, ivy spews out from the crawl space, the floors creek so your neighbors hear every move - it is a low standard of living at $2,200 / month.. cheap for Mountain View. However, my unit is a condo I lease - not apartments. Anyway, landlords around Slater are truly just Slumlords. If Slater Elementary is to reopen the neighborhood needs a serious facelift. - besides, why would you want to live here if you're not in tech, I regret signing the lease. The whole area from Slater to Moffett is a Superfund site - the air and water known the contain triple the normal amount of TCE remaining from the old Fairchild manufacturing.


6 people like this
Posted by Visas are the problem
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 7, 2017 at 9:38 pm

I don't think we mind tenants as long as they appreciate Mountain View and its significance. Silicon Valley was born here. It is all the H-1B visas who are ruining the area - they come without expectation to stay and without any appreciate for our culture. In fact, I would argue big tech is ruining the country due to the H-1B visas. I feel nothing but disrespect from these tech workers and I was born here and lived here my entire life. That feeling comes from them not holding the door open when I'm right behind them, them just leaving my bike in the walkway on the train - the banging on my condo walls from the slightest movement and last, neighbors hate one another. These tech workers are so entitled, when they deserve nothing from our city. Cities change, they grow, they get rezoned... what we need is to replace apartments with condos because at least then residents have some say in terms of rental restrictions within their HOA. Please build condos, not apartments. Please do not let Mountain View become a city of leases.


18 people like this
Posted by The (plagiarizing) Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

AKA, The Copy & Paste Man. Want to read the source of his tautological plagiarizing? Read Liam Dillon's article in the LA Times, "Gov. Brown just signed 15 housing bills. Here's how they're supposed to help the affordability crisis" Verbatim!

Note to "The Business Man": There's a reason you never get any "likes". Try coming up with something original.


1 person likes this
Posted by Cloverdale Courts
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2017 at 10:12 am

Different neighborhood, Ramble. Moffett Manor is next to Whisman Park. To my knowledge all units have disposals and most have dishwashers. The same family has owned the property since it was built in the 1960's--and no one living there is complaining about their accommodations. Moreover the neighborhood is not part of any EPA superfund cleanup.


9 people like this
Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

@Shame
"They strengthen our community just as much as homeowners"
How much parcel taxes or special assessments did you pay last year?
Rent properties are very bad for the school's income.


10 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm

I'm not a renter myself, I'm just not an anti-renter bigot like most posters in this comments section. Check out "Visas" above who let the mask slip a bit too much.

If we're talking about tax revenues, then the real drains on our community are those Prop 13 beneficiaries, paying pennies compared to the rest of the city. I've heard people say that taxes are passed through onto renters anyway, so they're paying just as much as you and me.


13 people like this
Posted by For Shame
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2017 at 1:05 pm

The renters at the complex featured in this article pay $382/year in property taxes. I just looked it up on the assessor's website. How does that compare to homeowners in Mt. View, even those protected under Prop 13? And why is rent control okay but Prop 13 isn't? Aren't these both social engineering concepts with unintended consequences?


5 people like this
Posted by Alex M
a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Alex M is a registered user.

And so begins the end of any meaning for Measure V. Before we know it, there will be no apartments left that qualify for the Measure V rent controls. As I expected a year ago, so it is coming to pass. Measure V will die a long slow death of numerous cuts.


5 people like this
Posted by Alex M
a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 8, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Alex M is a registered user.

And so begins the end of any meaning for Measure V. Before we know it, there will be no apartments left that qualify for the Measure V rent controls. As I expected a year ago, so it is coming to pass. Measure V will die a long slow death of numerous cuts.

I'm happy these proposals are to replace apartments with housing that people can actually own. A thriving community needs people who have an ownership stake. Renters don't.


16 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm

I'm disputing the anti-renter bigotry that keeps getting spewed by people in this comment section. I'm not making a statement in favor of or against rent control. These bigots are happy that renters are being displaced because they consider them dangerous and unclean members of their community. This isn't hyperbole, these are terms used by various commenters.


21 people like this
Posted by Food for Thought
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2017 at 2:05 pm

If you just won the Mega Millions lottery jackpot for $26.8 million, where would you invest your money? A rent controlled economically and functionally obsolete multifamily apartment building yielding less than 4% annually with intense maintenance requirements and no hope of increased value beyond the CPI index or some other unregulated real estate, growth stock, tax-free instrument or investment yielding twice as much with no personal liability risk?

No one in their right mind would get tangled up in the bureaucratic nightmare of rent control, an unfavorable political climate, hostile tenant coalitions and a million better opportunities awaiting a risk averse investor.

Even more to the point for someone who didn't win the lottery but actually earned the money they're investing.


21 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

The current owner inherited their property from their parents, so winning the lottery is precisely the right analogy.

This goes to the larger point, why aren't we upzoning and requiring more units to replace the existing apartments? Those would no longer be covered under Measure V and would significantly increase our housing stock?


22 people like this
Posted by Kyle
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 8, 2017 at 2:52 pm

No. Tear them down and build 4+ story apartments/condos in their place. These 1-2 story buildings are a disgrace.


7 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to The (plagiarizing) Business Man you said: “AKA, The Copy & Paste Man. Want to read the source of his tautological plagiarizing? Read Liam Dillon's article in the LA Times, "Gov. Brown just signed 15 housing bills. Here's how they're supposed to help the affordability crisis" Verbatim!”

I did place those sentences in quotes, I never claimed to be the author of them. I did make the mistake of NOT providing the web link which is here (Web Link)

I am stating the most sincere apologies. I never meant to imply my information was my original. Yes, I am VERY NOTORIOUS for cutting and pasting. I try not to make statements that cannot be independently verified.

No I am not in any competition regarding “liked articles”, that is simply a false measure of support given that it is done by those not verified as being citizens of Mountain View. Anyone who can read the webpage can like postings. This simply is not a scientific measure of any actual approval, so I simply do not care regarding that measurement.


15 people like this
Posted by clearthinker
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2017 at 11:19 pm

clearthinker is a registered user.

Wow @ Shame, you sure throw around some heavy words! Is someone who wants to get a decent return on their investment, risk and effort an "anti-renter bigot?" And who are you to judge the way an owner received or worked for or inherited their property.This type of vitriol is so unnecessary. Wide sweeping judgments and stereotypes are not helpful. We need to come together more than ever to fix this mess called Measure V.The landlords of pre 1995 buildings certainly did not create this, they are reacting to it.

A group of angry tenants allowed out-of-town pro-bono lawyers to sell them a bill of goods. "Stick it to them! Make those landlords pay!" There was no comprehension of the millions it would cost the city or the loss of affordable housing it would cause. It will not stop until all the older affordable buildings are gone. I think the only way to fix this is to repeal it and start over.


14 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2017 at 11:30 pm

clearthinker, how can you characterize people saying that renters are unclean, dangerous, and do not strengthen our communities as anything other than anti-renter bigotry? Let's leave aside the commenter saying outright racist things. I'm discussing the anti-renter bigotry that gets thrown around by commenters here, which is absolutely undeniable. Do you disagree?


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2017 at 1:06 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

To all for your consideration.

The simple truth is that it would be impossible to require everyone to actually own a home in our economic system. Especially given the constraint of land. But on top of all of this is that it would require one to commit to residing in a particular location for at minimum 10 years. That is because of the economic reality of home mortgages.

The optimum balance of home ownership, condo residential practices, “Mobile-home” parks, and apartments in fact cannot be universal in any way. The simple truth is that the current state of the “balance” of residential types occurred over an evolution based on the economic needs of the area. Except for the established lack of residential resources caused by the industries inability to keep up with such a rapid dynamic economic state we live in today.

The reality is that if any city attempts to purge one type of residential resource for preference of the others are likely to find themselves with severe adverse economic consequences. Unfortunately since our governmental process in the U.S. prefers to promote short term gains in sacrifice to long term stability or prosperity. This is also the current practice in business in general, which results in the ever intensifying cycles of economic downturns.

In the last 30 years, economic downturns outpace the previous economic prosperity. Thus there is no complete recoveries, which has resulted in increased wealth disparity. The poor simply wind up in more deficits, the middle classes suffer more debt, the wealthy profit from the debt as creditors.

Thus you have a growing crisis that seems to have no resolution in sight. The light in front of us in this tunnel is the light of an on-coming train. Until we commit to a long term plan (at least 15 years), meaning everyone, the political industries, the public industries, the private industries, and the citizens, we will never see any improvement. Given that our functional restraints are dissolving, the alternatives of being in a specific locations threaten to attract those away from under resourced locales. This is a great threat to the valley in general.

Will we actually work out the problem before a systemic exodus? This is our challenge today.


8 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 9, 2017 at 9:36 am

Replacing 56 rent-controlled apartments with 60 rowhouses is a bad deal for Mountain View. It will inevitably increase homelessness and drive more workers out of the area. Now, if they wanted to build 120 units, I might see the point: at least that would increase the housing stock in a significant way. But this proposal as written is a loser. This is not how we should be redeveloping!


16 people like this
Posted by No Shame
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 9, 2017 at 9:46 am

@ Shame

There was no anti-renter sentiment in Mountain View until the Tenants Coalition (or whatever their name is) got together and started planning for rent control, effectively and very publicly putting tenants against landlords. Before that, many, probably the majority of landlords covered by this law worked very well with their tenants. Now those relationships are tense at best.

Why can't you just admit you were wrong? Rent-control is a terrible thing for Mountain View. This is what you are seeing reflected in the comments here. Mountain View should and will always have tenants. Everyone is fine with that. People are merely stating what they've been stating for years, rent control will only end up hurting the very people it was designed to help. This is just the beginning. You made your bed (I'm assuming you voted for this horrid law) so now you need to sleep in it. You have only yourselves to blame when low income neighbors get displaced like this. I do feel very sorry for them, because they were manipulated by people like you to vote against their best interests.

And no, I'm not a member of the CAA, nor do I know anyone who is. :)


12 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2017 at 10:36 am

Ok, "No Shame," so you'll admit that there's clear anti-renter bigotry going on here, but it's all the renters' fault? Because the city of Mountain View passed Measure V, we think it's OK for people here to call renters unclean and dangerous? At least we can agree that the bigotry is here, but I'll strongly disagree with you that it's justified.

If you'd read what I've actually written, you'd see that I've never posted in favor of or against rent control, so I'm quite uncertain what I'm meant to admit I was wrong about. Care to enlighten?


15 people like this
Posted by Time to Chime In
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm

All of these references to low income Mt. View residents being displaced is a misnomer. With first hand knowledge of the occupants of these 56 apartments in question, I can state with complete confidence that the majority of tenants living here are foreign born, make in excess of $125,000/yr household income as software engineers, etc., drive expensive cars and choose to otherwise live modestly so they can travel, send money home and enjoy other things besides an expensive roof over their head. Yes, there are a handful of struggling residents and those who barely make ends meet but to position this proposed redevelopment as the displacement of dozens of low income Mt. View residents is a complete fabrication, otherwise known as fake news.


2 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

@The Business Man, I think you missed the point. Currently all 56 units are purportedly low-rent units. Even with the new law only a percentage, say 15%, of the new units will be BMR units. The rest is gone. A big loss of low-rent units.

@Nora S., the developer would be thrilled if city government allows them to build 120 units. Heck, why not a Manhattan style 30-story behemoth of 500 units! They will be glad to donate 100 of them as low-rent units. Win-win, right? It will be beyond their wildest dreams.




Like this comment
Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

@Time to Chime In, if what you said is true, and I don't have any reason to doubt it is not, the housing crisis is even worse than if real low-income families live in these units. When middle class people cannot afford better apartments just image where low-income families can afford to live.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2017 at 2:28 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

What I find happening here in Mountain View is Shakespearian comedy and tragedy.

Those postings made here that criticize the Mountain View Tenants Association do so because they have their own financial interests independent of the CAA and the landlords. They are likely also posting comments here to criticize the landlords at the same time in order to provoke more hostility.

The real enemy of the state of California and the City of Mountain View is laughing at us.

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) and the Mortgage Banks (MB’s) have been the puppet masters regarding getting the Landlords fighting against the tenants.

The CAR is solely responsible for the over inflated costs of properties. Why? Inflating the properties costs greatly increases their sales commissions. In effect the CAR is making money based on only opinions made by their contracted property appraisers. They are not landlords who make properties better or maintain them. They can make as much as 20% on a purchase simply by being the one that is licensed to work in the industry. Imagine a $5 Million dollar purchase, they walk away with $1 Million dollars. They are exploiters that stoke the fire between the landlords and tenants to prevent both from knowing they are being manipulated. And the both fall for it, just look at what you’re saying on this forum.

The MB’s are enablers for the CAR because they make more money when they can get buyers to pay the highest price for any property. The compounded incomes generated on mortgages are incredible. So, they are not policing the actual values of properties, they simply have no incentives to make sure the values are not over inflated. And those in this industry also stoke the fire between the landlords and tenants to prevent both from knowing they are being manipulated. And the both fall for it, just look at what you’re saying on this forum.

The real truth is the CAA is in fact a very small player in this very large exploitation of not only Mountain View but the entire state of California.

The humor is that the CAR and the MB’s laugh at us for being so gullible, and they get away with it. It is the best example of a Shakespearian comedy.

The tragedy is that the CAR and MB’s succeed in manipulating all of us, and they get away with it. It is the best example of a Shakespearian tragedy.



11 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Why is council allowing them to redevelop to create only 4 additional units? We're kicking out our less wealthy neighbors to get more rich people in, and we're not even getting a significant amount of additional housing stock. Something stinks about this move by council.

Let's upzone this and generate twice as many units!


9 people like this
Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Darin is a registered user.

@Shame

The only one calling renters "unclean" and "dangerous" in this discussion is you.


6 people like this
Posted by Richard Royal
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 9, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Gee. No kidding. Since when has rent control EVER done when the fools who voted for it done what said fools wanted?

What on EARTH made ANYONE think MV would be any different?


12 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Darin, that is an outright lie. The poster "Positive" above wrote, "Cities are stronger, safer and cleaner when residents "buy in" by putting down ownership roots where they live." Please read through the comments section before accusing me of such an outrageous thing. I'm the only poster who has actually stood up to this anti-renter bigotry, and the poster even has 7 likes for that disgusting statement.


7 people like this
Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 9, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Repeal Measure V! Enough already. I'd rather pay a few dollars more for my place than be given no other option than moving inland to inferior digs and environment. While I respect the right for people to own a home, even at astronomical prices in my world, I hope this project happens for those who want to make Mt. View a long-term commitment. As a renter, I want to remain here too. Hopefully my landlord won't decide to redevelop (unlikely) but I understand the need for better housing options for people. I went to the rental housing committee meeting tonight (left early) and was shocked to learn that around 75% of all housing built in Mt. View over the past 5 years was rental units. The national average for home ownership is 67%. Something is way out of balance in Silicon Valley. We need to fix this! While I'll probably never own a home in this area, I still feel those who want to own a home should be able to do so.


5 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 10, 2017 at 12:30 am

Gary is a registered user.

Before the November election, 6 of 7 councilmembers were opposed to rent control. After the election, 6 of 7 councilmembers are against rent control. Pretty simple.


2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 10, 2017 at 12:34 am

Gary is a registered user.

Before the November election, 6 of 7 councilmembers were opposed to rent control. After the election, 6 of 7 councilmembers are against rent control. This is an end run. One of many plays landlords and developers will run with their super-majority city council support.


3 people like this
Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Darin is a registered user.

@Shame

You seem to think that the only possible way that such cities could be "stronger, safer and cleaner" is by getting rid of the "unclean and dangerous" renters. I'm not sure how many other people interpreted that comment that way. I know I didn't.


6 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Shame is a registered user.

Darin, would you mind walking me through your interpretation then? I can't figure out how someone saying that decreasing the number of renters makes a city "stronger, safer, and cleaner" doesn't imply anything about renters. Could you clue me in?


4 people like this
Posted by MAS
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

You have a proposal to replace 56 units with 60 units. That small gain in units and ownership is worth displacing 56 families and reducing the number of affordable units available?

How does this really help with the housing crisis?

Net 20 additional units might be intriguing, but just 4?


Like this comment
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 18, 2017 at 10:40 pm

I did not see this coming. Those who did see it coming, please let me in on your insight and knowledge.

Somehow, the thought never occurred to me that LASD would propose to sell development rights elsewhere (Rights the City of MV would GIVE them as part of the land purchase!) to help offset the cost of the NEC school they hope to build; or that existing low-cost apartments would be converted to less dense (i.e., more expensive) ownership townhouses instead of much denser (and theoretically lower cost/unit?) apartments.

And I did not see the city proposing to spend $6M/acre for open space land in an area where land is going for $12-50M/acre.

Wishful thinking is not going to get the job done.

What is the NEC boundary, anyway? Is it east of PA, south of Central Expressway, west of Ortega, and north of ECR?

If NEC has 1/3 of LASD's students it should have 1/3 of LASD's schools. Not 1 small school. Maybe 2 big elementary schools and 1 big middle/junior-high school? And considering the already high density of both commercial and residential buildings in the NEC area, maybe these new schools could be sited on a single very large lot (10-15 acres?), which would, yes, include significant open space land.

And maybe the schools could have more-than-1-story buildings? And maybe all the redevelopment apartment buildings in the area could have more-than-5-story buildings? I note that the commercial buildings in the area already account for about half the land. The area NEEDS more residential buildings and all the space now devoted to residential buildings already has an average building height of only 2-3 stories.

The only way to get more residential units in the area is with much higher buildings. And, yes, that means way more kids, raising the percentage of NEC kids in LASD to 50% or more, so why not bring the Bullis Charter School into NEC?

And maybe it's time to combine MVWSD, LASD, and Mountain View-Los Altos High School District into a unified school district?


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