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Bierhaus owner sees trouble brewing

Original post made on Jan 5, 2018

Mike Finley's downtown beer garden Bierhaus is considered one of Castro Street's most successful businesses. But then why is he feeling pressure to close it down?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 5, 2018, 1:33 PM

Comments (59)

93 people like this
Posted by Dave Classick
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 2:17 pm

This is not ok... we need places for people to congregate, to keep downtown vibrant... not more office space!!!!!

Bierhaus is one of my favorite places to grab reasonably priced food and beverages and enjoy what i consider to be the mtn view lifestyle.

I was born and raised here, and have just recently moved back... im starting to really resent the city i call home.


181 people like this
Posted by RECALL THE CITY COUNCIL
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm

If you think we should recall all members of the city council and change the direction of which the city is heading, give this comment a LIKE


82 people like this
Posted by Squido
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm

NOT GOOD AT ALL. I love the place and share the exact same concerns. We need to act now or else we will end up with an office park as our downtown.


54 people like this
Posted by Longview
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Longview is a registered user.

I hope the Council can find a way to make any downtown redevelopment only be approved with long term moderate price leases for retail only, on the street. Let the landowners make money on the upstairs office leases, but don't allow them to price out the ground floor retail. Also - no reason for Council to approve narrow sidewalks - wide sidewalks should be required on retail streets.


74 people like this
Posted by Old Man In Old Mountain View
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Mr. Findley is a long time Mountain View resident (about 20 years) and one of Mountain View's most successful restaurateurs. He deserves our council's and our community's support. When the Greystar project at 801 West El Camino was developed, that council made sure that popular businesses like the Rose Market and Peet's Coffee would be able to come back into the new development at similar rents. Council needs to do the same for businesses in our downtown.


20 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Let's all tell our City Council our position on this. Here's their contact page:

Web Link


138 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Our rent went up triple in Mountain View last year so we had to move our business to Sunnyvale. Now with the highest minimum wage in the area we are getting killed in our profit margin. We simply cannot raise the rates of our services as customers are already complaining we are too high. Most are using underground economy services for labor or 1099 workers. I wish Mountain View city council members had a business point of view. There is no balance here.


44 people like this
Posted by lycosmom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Agree with (most of) the comments. We don't need another 4-story office building at the expense of restaurants and other retail. One of the things I love about Mountain View is its walkability and wide array of non-chain businesses. I am a customer of both Bierhaus and Cognition and would hate to see either shut down in order to make room for more office space.


138 people like this
Posted by Kevin Burke
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Well let's be fair here. Did anyone come to think that Bierhaus would be the restaurant that does occupy the bottom floor of the "would be" building?
I'm from the area, I went to Mountain view Academy, I've seen that site go up and back down again. Honestly, that site is a site for sore eyes. Maybe if it looked like the other corners and still had Bierhaus, it'd be a win win.


2 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:50 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


11 people like this
Posted by Ludwig Von Patel
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I am disturbed by what is happening to castro with all them boring buildings going up for boring computer people doing boring jobs and driving boring cars. Soon there will be no place left for people to pee on the street


73 people like this
Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

These are the stages in the cycle:
1. Place is rundown and neglected.
2. People start to make improvements, maybe with city help. It becomes fun.
3. Because it's fun businesses locate there.
4. Businesses need more room so they convert the fun places into businesses.
5. Place becomes boring.
6. Place becomes rundown and neglected.


228 people like this
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

The only solution is to get rid of most high density zombies on the city council.


93 people like this
Posted by Mary Hamilton
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:39 pm

We have lived in MV for almost 33 years and we also love Bierhaus, which we visit about once a week. It's a warm, friendly place to congregate on the patio, so much like genuine German biergartens. It is a place for families and friends of all ages and species to savor life, in such a beautiful climate as we have here. So many people walk on Castro Street now that MV has become a place to go and to enjoy life. More rectangular-style office buildings detract from the eclectic, unique character that has, for the past 25 years, flourished in MV. Please, MV city council, let us encourage a balance between offices (we have enough, IMO) and places for residents to go downtown for food, drink, retail clothing and books, and entertainment. I also like that MV downtown is not full of chain stores. A few years ago, I felt annoyed that CVS was preferred over a grocery store, but now am happy we have Ava's. The character of MV has changed a lot since I first encountered it nearly 40 years ago. Downtown redevelopment of the civic center, theater, wide sidewalks, and landscaping really improved walkability and created desirable destinations for residents and visitors alike. The "pollution" of too much money/real estate appreciation could really ruin that magical character if we aren't careful.


72 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Speaking of boring, just drive in El Camino between Castro and San Antonio and see how many boring boxy buildings have gone up.

They all look almost exactly the same down to thier paint scheme.

To think that someone somewhere thought that this was a good idea is astounding


35 people like this
Posted by Ross Heitkamp
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm

This has obviously hit a nerve - finally over the line, I guess. And I, too, hope that the Bierhaus, with its mascot, Stout, will continue in this location for a good long time. So, I am making this suggestion for the hope it might be of use for some other redevelopment, though it is certainly inspired by Bierhaus.

I hope the city council will continue to require ground floor retail in the downtown area - at least Castro and one block each side. And they need to put teeth behind the requirement so What'App or similar companies cannot pay the lease to keep it for private use - it needs to be rented and for public use and should have enough teeth that it will cost them in growing penalties such that they will lower the cost to be sure it is rented. I also think they should prescribe what type of business goes in, but allow that to be traded with other locations, to insure we don't become a restaurant-only downtown. And to provide that the rent someplace supports essential services, like a downtown grocery.

But, let's not limit the public use areas to the ground floor. When I visited Athens a number of years ago, many restaurants had rooftop restaurants. That was a great experience. I have also been to a rooftop bar in Napa - split between ground floor and the roof. Such an arrangement would be ideal for a restaurant like Bierhaus - Sunny rooftop area for the nice days and indoor area for kitchen and additional seating on the cold or rainy days.
Imagine, having a Mountain View in this town?


164 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm

Mountain View (and Palo Alto, and other cities) is on track to become a homogeneous city consisting solely of offices and newcomer techies. Will our city councils ever figure out that cities need a spectrum of businesses and community members to thrive and prosper?


13 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 5, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Anke, what do you suggest council do? Even if the site is kept as-is, Bierhaus's rent is going up. Should council institute rent control for businesses? Should we give my tax dollars to these businesses so they can afford rent?


18 people like this
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 5, 2018 at 5:13 pm

I remember the raging inflation of the '70s (Prop 13), and the pre- and post-inflation of the '60s and '80s. People living on fixed incomes in those days were devastated; many well-to-do widows in the '60s became indigent by the '80s.

Inflation cooled down in the '90s and has been very low in the 21st century--SO FAR!

Mr Finley sees himself as living on a fixed income (gross sales) while his costs (rent, labor, etc) go up, up, up. He realizes that he will have to raise his prices (and has little hope to keep his sales volume high) or give up and switch to another business where he sees an opportunity to make a decent profit. I wish him good luck, whichever way he decides to go.

Having said all that, this problem is not caused by the City Council or their willingness to increase the height of buildings, including mixed use buildings with varying combinations of retail, office and residential spaces.

The General Plan as amended through June 16, 2015, which guides development in the city through 2030, specifically expects the population to increase by 14,710 to 88,570 in 2030, compared to 73,860 in 2009, a 20% increase.

In contrast, the number of jobs in the city is expected to increase by 20,360 to 80,820 in 2030, compared to 60,460 in 2009, a 25% increase.

This is very bad. The ratio of jobs to people is out of whack in 2009 and even more out of whack in 2030. I do not believe it is reasonable to expect Google and other big employers in the city to shrink their workforces (and doing so would be devastating to our retail businesses); so we must increase our population well above the planned 88,570. How much above depends on what happens to jobs. I would not be surprised to see the number of jobs well above 80,820 in 2030, so I'm guessing the population will have to be well above 110,000.

The only way to keep both population and jobs in the city down is by enforcing low building heights and enforcing limits on jobs by limiting job-intensive buildings such as office buildings. This would mean ever more expensive housing. Even small single family detached homes on small lots, already well above $1 million will become truly outrageously priced, in the $5-$10 million range. Now that is real inflation, and I expect it to pull the prices of everything else up with it.

This is why housing is already so expensive in the city; there is not nearly enough of it. Furthermore, since it is not practical to increase the area devoted to any aspect of city life--housing, business, industry, parks, schools, and government--the density of the city must increase; and, that means buildings must go up.

This is why I support high rise buildings in Mountain View. I don't see any practical way to keep our population and jobs down, and there is no more land area to build new construction on. We already see this on Castro street, where many of the new buildings require tearing down old ones to make room.

The General Plan has foreseen all this, and limited growth to specified "change areas", one of which is downtown. These are the areas where high-rise buildings are needed.



5 people like this
Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 5, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

@ Ross Heitkamp: I really like your suggestion of ground floor and rooftop restaurants. In addition to Europe, I have seen this in Charleston, SC, a vibrant tourist city.


118 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm


Quoting @Doug Pearson

"I would not be surprised to see the number of jobs well above 80,820 in 2030, so I'm guessing the population will have to be well above 110,000."


Thing is, if we have housing for 110,000 people, google will increase jobs to 150,000 or more. No matter how much housing we build, google will add far more jobs and housing costs will continue to rise and the crush will continue to grow more suffocating.


Like this comment
Posted by B. Roberts
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 5:56 pm

They need another junk store, travel shop, or acupuncture store. That will fit better with the atmosphere. Maybe another fish taco stand!


4 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2018 at 6:00 pm

@Anke

That's a very interesting idea of how businesses handle hiring. I would think that Google would hire as many people as it would make sense from a business point of view given demand for their services.


8 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 5, 2018 at 6:02 pm

There you go again, Anke. Is there any situation for you where "no-growth" isn't the solution?

What do you suggest council do? Even if the site is kept as-is, Bierhaus's rent is going up. Should council institute rent control for businesses? Should we give my tax dollars to these businesses so they can afford rent?


14 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Same thing is going on in downtown Palo Alto. Retail stores are being kicked out and replaced by tech offices. Customers have less reason to shop downtown, so the remaining retail businesses suffer. Residents have been begging the city council to require redeveloped buildings to preserve ground floor retail space, but you still have the problem of landlords jacking up rents to kill lower priced retail businesses.


9 people like this
Posted by E.B. Chavez
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 5, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Reduce traffic and lower housing coats by building the housing near businesses, preferably high rise condos people can buy, not rent (or rent with subsidies). Zone other locations for commerce (resturants, stores, etc.). Right now we are creating a mish/mash business/commerce and putting housing on the very outskirts of the cities, or farther.


18 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 5, 2018 at 7:07 pm

Juan is a registered user.

Ridiculous! If Bierhaus is getting evicted then no small business is safe. The City Council better say NO WAY to any proposal that closes down Bierhaus.

"Bulldoze Bierhaus to build four story office building" --> NO! Learn to say NO! Is it that hard?


5 people like this
Posted by Ken M
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 7:10 pm

It is unfortunate for this establishment, but a high rise building is the right thing for that location. It should have been done years ago. I would prefer it be condos for sale to increase ownership in the city though.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 5, 2018 at 7:27 pm

@Ken M - the developer can build a new building and keep ground floor retail space for the restaurant.


90 people like this
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 5, 2018 at 8:34 pm

It's going to be ugly when we have the next tech downturn, and make no mistake about it there will be a downturn.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2018 at 1:44 am

And as we all know, if there's a tech downturn, it's permanent and tech never comes back.


30 people like this
Posted by zap
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2018 at 2:54 am

Such outrage. Good thing none of you live in houses built on land that a farmer decided to sell to developers.


88 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 6, 2018 at 10:46 am


@MV Resident warns:

"It's going to be ugly when we have the next tech downturn, and make no mistake about it there will be a downturn."

@YIYBY retorts:

"And as we all know, if there's a tech downturn, it's permanent and tech never comes back."



Recent history lends abundant credence to both of you. The .com bubble was fueled by reckless abandonment of common sense on the part of tech VCs leading to an inevitable collapse (which was repeated in the years following, reskinned as predatory mortgage lending and securities fraud). Meanwhile, Big Tech has rebounded more pernicious than ever before with new names and players. We have little reason to believe that pattern won't repeat itself.


173 people like this
Posted by Living
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jan 6, 2018 at 11:17 am

So Mountain View needs housing, Why doesn't the developer plan a building that is common in european cities, housing above stores and restaurants. But it seems that the city council only wants to build offices and replace all garden style apartments with high density housing. And bring the traffic to a complete stop. Oh yes we are all going to walk or ride bicycles everywhere. Just remember that every ueber or lyft trip takes two trips, picking up and delivering. You can not build yourself out of a housing shortness if you keep building office buildings. Also the north bayshore plan has big problems, global warming and earthquakes, and limited resources like water.


16 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 6, 2018 at 11:43 am

@Anke, I'll ask you yet again, since for some reason you keep ignoring my questions:

What do you suggest council do? Even if the site is kept as-is, Bierhaus's rent is going up. Should council institute rent control for businesses? Should we give my tax dollars to these businesses so they can afford rent?


5 people like this
Posted by Kyle
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 6, 2018 at 5:05 pm

Why only four stories? Build higher and ban the presence of in-office restaurants.


5 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 6, 2018 at 5:57 pm


@Living observes:

"Also the north bayshore plan has big problems, global warming and earthquakes, and limited resources like water."


Not to mention that it has a ridiculous amount of your other observation:

"You can not build yourself out of a housing shortness if you keep building office buildings."

The north bayshore plan includes a scant 10,000 housing units and 17,000 additional google jobs. That means at least 7,000 more local families will be displaced, pushed out, lose their homes, possibly forced to live in illegal RVs.



14 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm

@Anke, I think you might have missed my questions. I certainly don't think it's because you don't have an answer to them, so I'll pose them to you again:

What do you suggest council do? Even if the site is kept as-is, Bierhaus's rent is going up. Should council institute rent control for businesses? Should we give my tax dollars to these businesses so they can afford rent?


11 people like this
Posted by Kyle
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 6, 2018 at 7:53 pm

If you’re asking if we should subsidize bratwurst and beer steins, imma say F yeah.


6 people like this
Posted by KB
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 7, 2018 at 12:15 am

Inside scoop from a friend of a friend:
Bierhaus was offered to stay, the developer proposed to move them to a temporary location and then back, once the property was built. Unfortunately Bierhaus doesn't want that either. A roof top establishment would be in the works too.
If there was a roof top like the 23andMe building that would be amazing. I cant wait to see the mixed use for this site. Wish should have been done YEARS ago.


10 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2018 at 3:41 pm

@LOL

Your question likely has Anke thinking of some very uncomfortable truths regarding his personal positions, so I doubt you're going to ever get an answer out of him.


5 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 7, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Office spaces being built equals more commuters and congestion.
If the property owner gets permission to build something new, it
should not include office space.


14 people like this
Posted by lan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 7, 2018 at 9:12 pm

I lived in Mountain View as a child and Castro Street was not a downtown destination. There was no downtown destination. Any time my family went shopping for anything other than groceries, or went out to a restaurant, we went to Palo Alto or Los Altos. Mountain View was simply boring.

When I returned to Mountain View in 1998, I was pleased to see the growth of commence on Castro Street and loved the diversity of shops and restaurants.

Now Castro Street is destined to returned to the 1970s, albeit with expensive buildings. Many shops have already left. Used bookstore is gone. Bike shop is threatened, etc. The Mountain View City Council needs to either a) get a backbone and stand up to these developers who don't care if they drive businesses out, or b) admit that revenue is more important than city character and diversity.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2018 at 10:03 pm

@Ian

How are developers driving business out? Developers aren't the ones raising rent on businesses. The owners of the land the businesses are on are the ones raising their rent. It's been said before by LOL, do you want rent control for businesses?


8 people like this
Posted by facts matter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

facts matter is a registered user.

"Used bookstore is gone... The Mountain View City Council needs to either a) get a backbone and stand up to these developers"

Let's be clear about what happened to Bookbuyers. The landlord was extremely philanthropic. They had been propping up bookbuyers for some time-- not only charging reduced rent, but even covering their electricity costs so they could stay and try and turn things around. Ultimately they just weren't driving the numbers to literally keep the lights on.

What's happening with Bierhaus is very sad. This landlord is closer to predator than philanthropist. Bierhaus turns a reasonable profit, and the landlord reacts by increasing rent, capturing most of the value. My understanding is they are paying well over $20,000 a month in rent.

With that said, what is Council supposed to do about it? It is out of their hands to dictate the terms of a lease. We are lucky to have the benevolent landlord who owns the Books Inc space. What's happened in Los Altos is is also very interesting-- Sergey holds a substantial real estate presence downtown, and he uses his power to rent to family-friendly shops at a low rate, so businesses can survive. Wish we could be so lucky.


6 people like this
Posted by Ross Heitkamp
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 8, 2018 at 12:35 pm

@LOL, you ask "What do you suggest council do? Even if the site is kept as-is, Bierhaus's rent is going up. Should council institute rent control for businesses? Should we give my tax dollars to these businesses so they can afford rent?"

What we should do is to stick to the zoning. Office buildings are different than retail. A zoning change is needed to replace Bierhaus with a multistory office. Just like you can't tear down your home and put up an office in place. How a place is zoned affects its value. When the council allows a zoning change, that can be a jackpot for the owner. When you hear of a "Gate Keeper" request or proposal, read that as a developer requesting a zoning change to allow an increase.

Zoning is our best tool for keeping a diverse variety of businesses. If there is enough retail space, that keeps the rent down and it isn't competing with tech companies and office buildings.


2 people like this
Posted by RSCD
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 8, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Why in the world do we need more office space? None of these small businesses probably couldn't afford the price of the lease anyways.

Restaurants is what gives life to downtown Castro from the morning hours to the late dinner evenings, not a 9-5 office.

We cannot allow anymore large-scale buildings to overtower what is the uniqueness of the downtown. There's already a large structure that is hiding St. Joseph's Church from Castro St. Having another one of these monstrosity structures down the street is just downright uncharacteristic of this location. Don't turn it into an ugly mess up the El Camino we call "The Village at San Antonio Center".


2 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 8, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Love that a simple concept like Bierhaus has been a huge success, they have made the best of a weirdly renovated fast food restaurant and have created a community gathering place. Years ago when that place re-opened as a restaurant (after Wienerschnitzel) we were amazed that the City approved the 'design' which was a weird combo of doric columns and balustrades set on top of the old fast food building. Several restaurants have come and go (some better than others) Bierhaus has made a go of it, kudos to them! But now that its future is in jeopardy maybe the patrons can drink beer at one of the corporate break rooms taking over downtown street level space (Quora, WhatsApp, whatever that building is next to Chez TJ and others). The City of Mountain View definitely caters to developers and corporations over small business owners. As you-know-who would say...SAD, it really is.


4 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 8, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Ross, thank you for attempting to answer, something that Anke has, for some reason, been unable to do.

You missed a key part of my question, however, which is "Even if the site is kept as-is, Bierhaus's rent is going up." What is the proposed solution to the simple fact that Bierhaus's rent will rise in a small amount of time regardless of whether the site is redeveloped?


Like this comment
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 8, 2018 at 5:30 pm

@RSCD of Whisman Park, well said, agree on all points. You are right, we don't need more office space, but companies with deep pockets do and developers can get higher rents from a VC funded startup than from a local talented chef opening a new restaurant. In addition companies want to be downtown as it is hip to be near the restaurants that are being driven out of business! A conundrum, looks like o more Bierhaus, no more Tied House, will be slim pickings pretty soon.

If downtown street level space was zoned only for restaurants-retail,the rents would adjust but in the meantime we get to look at obscure glass windows emblazoned with a hokey logo.


6 people like this
Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

It would be really interesting if all these people would have the same opinion if they owned the property. This all comes down to a question of property rights. Do we want to live in a government controlled economy? Seems that is what many are crying for. Apparently they all skipped out of history class, because that system has been tried and failed all over the globe.

Don't get me wrong, I am highly supportive of Mike and Bierhaus and even helped him make some business connections to help transition to the now successful biergarden model. I am also a local merchant that faces an uncertain future since my location will ultimately fall to the wrecking ball in the name if redevelopment. My apartment of 29 years is slated for imminent razing any time now as well. Does this upset me? Absolutely. But, I realize that ultimately it comes down to property rights and the only certain way to control my future at any given place is to own it. If you want to maintain the status quo, buy the property.

This is also why I oppose the misguided support for "save the Sierra redwoods". Want to save the redwoods? Buy the land. If you paid $1.5M for an eighth acre and all of sudden you can't build the lot to its potential because a handful of highly vocal individuals want to save YOUR trees, you'd be pretty angry.

Everybody wants things their way, but at the expense of others. When did our society transition to this ideology of entitlement?


4 people like this
Posted by Castro Street Fan
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Maybe it’s time to have another look at closing Castro Street to vehicles, and turning it into a pedestrian mall. We can have our beer gardens and more in the open space between buildings.


18 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm

@greg david,

While I appreciate your strong support for property rights, what you are in essence implying is that an individual’s right to do what they wish with their property is absolute, and any impact of their actions on their neighbors or community is at best secondary. Moreover, your argument that somehow having restrictions on property rights equals government control of the economy is simply hyperbole.

The fact is that every right has limitations, and that surely includes property rights. The impact of an individual’s decision on such things as the the environment and the quality of life of the surrounding community must be considered. It is why we thankfully have zoning laws, and having lived in a city without them I can tell you first hand that I am glad that we do.

After all I’m sure you wouldn’t suggest that if I wanted to build a 10 story office building on my property in a residential neighborhood that I should be able to do so in the name of property rights? If you agree that I shouldn't, then you agree that property rights are not absolute. At that point the argument is about how much they should be curtailed, and about that reasonable people may debate.


2 people like this
Posted by Balance
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 10, 2018 at 7:22 pm

I am not against development, even in the downtown area. I have no problem with the new developments on the ECR end of Castro -- even those that have displaced some retail. Ditto for the development on some on the side streets & those parallel to Castro. But Bierhaus is in the heart of downtown and I am generally not in favor of development in that area that involves multistory buildings and displaces thriving businesses. Where I would like to see more development encouraged is on Moffett between Central Expressway & 101. That area has been *slowly* improving over the last 10 years but there are still a few empty lots and old eyesore buildings. Since that area is still walking distance to Castro, seems like an obvious place for more residential housing and office space.


2 people like this
Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 11, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

@Steve

Obviously property rights are not absolute, especially in a planned urban environment, but how do you tell a property owner at California and Castro that they cannot develop a multistory, multi-use building on their property, when the other three corners at that intersection have been developed in the EXACT same way that they intend to develop? That's simply not fair.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2018 at 8:55 pm

... otherwise known as domino theory.


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Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

@musical

At what point do you interrupt the dominoes? What is the equitable solution?


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Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 12, 2018 at 9:33 pm

I guess a beer garden must be outdoors since a restaurant sits across the street empty for 5 years...


3 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 15, 2018 at 3:04 pm

@greg David

Leaving aside the fair debate about how well MV conducts its urban planning, because something has been done in the past, and even if it may have even been a good idea at the time, doesn't mean it should be permitted to continue into the future ad infinitum.

It's the old school yard argument of "he/she did it, why can't I?... It's not fair"

If a city decides it no longer needs or wants four story office buildings, then it can chose not to have them built anymore. The city could even choose to put a multi-year moratorium on all development in place- as some have done in the Bay Area (I'm not suggesting this is a good idea).

This is nothing new, and has been going on for ever. Zoning laws change, building rules change, city councils and planning authorities approve or deny construction based on their perceived merits.

In the case of commercial developments in the mountain view, do not the city council have the power to approve or deny developments (I as this genuinely)? If so, then are they not well within their rights to not approve a four story building on that particular lot?


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