Town Square

Post a New Topic

Switching gears, LASD seeks to condemn Federal Realty site

Original post made on Jun 11, 2018

Los Altos School District officials announced last week that they plan to use eminent domain to acquire land located on the eastern side of the San Antonio Shopping Center for a new school, ditching plans to buy the site of the Old Mill and former Safeway across the street.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 11, 2018, 8:45 PM

Comments (53)

Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm

Long Time Resident is a registered user.

This is so wrong. That property belongs to someone. Condemning it to seize via eminent domain is evil. Kelo vs New London was decided incorrectly.

Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2018 at 9:01 pm

LASD has no chance to succeed. Federal Realty is a huge REIT with deep pocket, seasoned lawyers and extremely diverse and strong local governmental connections. LASD is out of its mind to pick a fight with Federal Realty.

LASD should simply give up and send all Mountain View students to Bullis Gardner. Let those parents ask City of Mountain View to fight for LASD. If City of Mountain View continue to play chicken as it has been for the last ten years their residents will just suffer.

Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 11, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Juan is a registered user.

Is this a joke? I just shopped at Kohl's last week, it's a perfectly fine building, and the small restaurants nearby are nice also. How can you condemn perfectly good buildings and small businesses to make way for Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents to attend a charter school? Here's a better idea, how about you condemn some land in Los Altos Hills instead, leave Mountain View alone. This is sickening, I am disgusted.

Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2018 at 11:24 pm

Lenny Siegel is a registered user.

"Condemnation" is a misleading term. It's my understanding the Federal Realty is friendly to the proposal.

Posted by Huge loss
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 11, 2018 at 11:28 pm

The map includes the current Mountain View Super Sport location. That f’n sucks!!!! That’s a major amenity to the neighborhood. How will that loss be mitigated??

LASD should just rethink this whole silly idea. Give BCS Covington and move on!

Posted by Kohl's is a flop
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2018 at 12:20 am

Kohl's is a flop is a registered user.

Kolh's gets little business. It reminds me of Sears: more employees than customers. But spending $100 million in Mtn. View city assets on a site mostly for a school that will be for mostly rich kids attending Bullis Charter is a gigantic and foolish waste. San Antonio should get a public school for students in the neighborhood OR forget it. Something smells funny here. Not funny ha ha but funny suspicious.

Posted by Save Trader Joe’s!!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2018 at 5:53 am

This map includes Trader Joe’s. And 24 hour fitness (both of them). This is getting to be too much. There is land in the hills or at Covington for Bullis Charter. Please buy there and let MV have their stores. We all love them. Let’s not tear every single one down for housing or a school!

Posted by Karl
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 12, 2018 at 6:30 am

This is nothing more than a ruse to push through the Greystar development. Once done, this idea will be tossed.

@Lenny Seigal

Tell us what you know Lenny. We are tired of the getting spoon fed the truth while the likes of you have a better understanding. I call that corruption and along with all your other socialist ideas and activism I'm feeling like I'm back in a communist country.

And this has never been about the people of Mountain View. These deals are swung in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills in conjunction with our handlers on the MV City Council. The town is been either given away or bought.

Posted by Ed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2018 at 11:54 am

For those as confused as I was about why the Los Altos School District has anything to do with Mountain View, this map helps. Web Link

Posted by I shop at Kohls
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2018 at 11:54 am

I shop at Kohl's a lot and when I go in the evening after work it's pretty full with customers. It would be a bummer to lose those stores, but if it's true the land owner is in favor then I guess that's their choice. Hopefully Kohl's and Trader Joe's will open a new store in the area.

Posted by Leave TJs alone
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm

I will throw my body in front of the last box of Joe’s O’s and refuse to leave if they try to take away Trader Joe’s! Find another way!

Posted by Kohl's is a flop
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Kohl's is a flop is a registered user.

Nobody regularly shops at a department store except employees. And employees cannot afford to buy much. Trader Joe's is lots of places and another location for it will be found if the demand justifies. But whine all you like.

Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Lenny Siegel is a registered user.

Hopefully, Kohl's (where I bought my Warriors shirt) and JoAnn Fabrics will find new homes nearby, but neither Trader Joes's (and its Daily Bread) or 24-Hour Fitness are within the proposed school/park property.

Posted by Hello!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2018 at 12:57 pm

So the students will be right next door to a mall, where they can hang after school and/or pester parents to buy them stuff... hmmmm

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Sounds like what is know as a friendly condemnation, which has tax advantages for FRT.

Posted by More TDR's
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:11 pm

It's a whole pile more TDR's per acre. They'll get a chance to do the TDR process over with bids.

Posted by Why?
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Well written article.
It mystifies me that LASD delivers a message this way, there's no explanation. Why are they doing this? Why are they not explaining it? Why is Mr. Siegel the spokesperson for LASD? If LASD has a good reason for moving this direction, it would help the community if they explained it.

Posted by JB
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Moving the potential school site from what was already a terrible location requiring litigation (one of the busiest streets in the area, next to railroad tracks, eminent domain required...) to another terrible site requiring litigation is no improvement at all.

How about the old Adobe lodge location on Moody road near Foothill College - it's 46 acres (6 acres are flat), and it's for sale for $25m right now? Oh, right, LASD doesn't want the school anywhere near Los Altos Hills....

Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Los Altos School District is seeking community input! The district has launched an online forum called ThoughtExchange regarding the plan for the new school and students that will attend it.

The Exchange is convenient and confidential, and will run through June 19. To participate, please visit Web Link

Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:42 pm

I thought condemnation for was nuisances and eminent domain was for the government to take private property.
Will there be another bond issue?
How will this benefit current residents?

Posted by frisbee
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:54 pm

frisbee is a registered user.

This is good news -- a local school so all the new families moving into the new housing will have a place to go to school where they can bike or walk without having to cross dangerous El Camino. We already have plenty of retail and this adds a park and open space, which are in short supply for residents in this area. The TDRs enable more housing in Whisman, further addressing the lack of housing in Mountain View. A win for everyone.

Posted by Half Full Half Empty
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 2:58 pm

24 Hour Fitness has at least two locations one inside the LASD zone and one outside it.

Posted by Travis
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 12, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I think this is great and all the new building near San Antonio is really cleaning up that area and will soon be a desirable place to go as an alternative to Castro. I've been living here for 7 years, 3 of those on California near the new San Antonio and I would have loved to have what is there now / will be there soon. The neighborhood is also in desperate need of more parks. Part of why I love living in Whistman now is huge park and trail access.

I hope plans for more bike and pedestrian trails are being thought of as well, Mountain View is finally becoming a bike and pedestrian friendly city. Keep up the good work!

Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 12, 2018 at 3:03 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

The best site for a school is within a residential neighborhood, not bordered by huge, traffic ridden streets.

I vote to utilize eminent domain but instead of the California Street / San Antonio / Showers road site put the school in the middle of a residential, Los Altos neighborhood. Use LASD's eminent domain power to seize real estate and build a new school.

Palo Alto has multiple schools along Charleston Ave. Why not do the same thing with El Monte in Los Altos. The area between Santa Barbara Drive and Hawthorne Street would be perfect. Set the school well back from El Monte to help with traffic incursion.

The other site / seizure spots could be on Mora Drive, to wit: the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. Surely the seizure ability of the LASD is superior to any private school abilities.

And the Los Altos Golf and Country Club has lots of fine acreage too. Loyola or Fairway Drive are two examples.

And when it's all done, with Loyola Corners or El Monte / Rinconada / Dracena Lane property owners ready to run the entire school board out of town on a rail, you'll discover (to your chagrin) that the student numbers have DROPPED and you . . . gasp . . . don't need the new school anymore.

I suggest that the LASD Board be conservative and cautious. The demographers are rarely right and I suspect that three or four years from now, when the new school is ready to open, you might not need it. A savage waste of $150,000,000.

Posted by Crossings resident
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 12, 2018 at 3:11 pm

dear frisbee,

It does sound like good news, except, there is no guarantee or even hint that it would be used as a neighborhood school. But you're right, where are the kids from the new 600 unit development at Old Mill + the other current 350 kids in the area going to go?? Oh, that's right they will continue to be driven back and forth across Mountain View and Los Altos to get to Covington, Santa Rita and Almond, while the BCS kids are driven back and forth from Los Altos and LAH to get to the Kohl's site. Good job LASD!! Until LASD agrees to a neighborhood school this continues to be a nightmare for the MV families. (and no, the kids in this area are not too underprivaledged to have their own school).

Posted by long time MV resident
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 12, 2018 at 3:33 pm

In the many stories regarding LASD's need for land to build their school and needing MV to help fund it because some MV kids attend the LASD, I have yet read what ever happened to the plots of land that LASD sold off years ago when they closed down their schools? Where did the money go? Were the money from the land sale shared with MV? MVWSD has kept a lot of their land instead of selling them like LASD did, so now MV needs to chip in to help LA pay for a their charter school?

Posted by confused
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:24 pm

@ Karl

Just exactly which part of this sounds like corruption or communist country?

Is the original site better? So you're saying Federal Realty bribes the mayor to move to the new site?

Or are you saying that neither site should be used for school? In that case where do you suggest the school be located?

How does socialism factor into this? Or should there not be any public schools at all?

Posted by Crossings Guy
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 5:20 pm

Crossings Guy is a registered user.

The latest 10th site for Egan perhaps? The entire community would benefit from having a gym and high school track that would come with a district junior high/middle school. Don't count on any benefits like that with a K-8 charter school which would be built on the cheap without a gym or track. Imagine having an additional, brand new gym in the area that all of the sports programs can use. Just not sure how the district can afford this site any more than the site across the street. They will have to buy out Kohl's lease and any other tenants. Good luck affording that with our tax dollars. Will MV even allow them to use the same TDR's? There are a lot of layers to this onion that will likely not be publicly shared.

Posted by Switch to VOICE site in PA
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 12, 2018 at 7:50 pm

One more time. Switch to the site of the Mountain View VOICE in Palo Alto. They won't mind.

Posted by Ana
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 12, 2018 at 7:54 pm

LASD has people in charge who are mean and exploitative. They are pushing around mountain view. It's bullying. Mountain view students ought to get the same school services without being bullied into turning over land to Los ALTOS. It's almost criminal in intent.

If our mountain view students were the top priority we would not have to give over any land, not lose anything. Our children are used as pawns, it reeks of corruption, deceit and blackmail.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 8:02 pm

There are 300000 more TDRs on the Kohls site. Most likely the condemnation will leave behind a lot of the development rights. FRT can use them itself! That is what makes this friendly.

Posted by jay Ess
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 9:08 pm

Why dont you guys think about the kids? crossing El Camino for years has been awful. this project may allow kids from the "below" El Camino to have a neighborhood school. why should they have to go to Santa Rita when they could go to this new campus?

Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2018 at 9:40 pm

Wishful thinking is a registered user.

@ jay Ess..seems logical, right? The school district does not want to create a neighborhood school for students in the corner of the district since they are stereotyped into being "low income" and an NEC school will hurt their test scores. It's terrible isn't it. Perfect example of reverse segregation in one of the wealthiest communities in the country. The school district has been very public with their feelings. For them, it works better to integrate these students into their other LASD schoolsl. Neighborhood elem school is not going to happen unless the district is pushed to consider an Egan site on the *newest and greatest* Kohls site. Maybe it can be renamed Kohls Junior High. The district only has eyes for BCS to land there.

Posted by DoctorData
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2018 at 10:17 pm

DoctorData is a registered user.

As a point of information, Kelo vs. New London covers the seizure of property through eminent domain for transfer from one private owner to another. While I personally believe that to have been decided wrongly (and the seized land is still vacant because the developer wasn't able to get financing), it has nothing to do with the present case.

Posted by Nancy Morimoto
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 13, 2018 at 9:54 am

Nancy Morimoto is a registered user.

I think it's fabulous that the neighborhood is getting even more park space and possibly even some other athletic amenities! Like it or not, the San Antonio area is being transformed. If the land does not become a school and park, it will only become more apartments, office and retail. I personally shop often at Kohls and eat at Pearl Cafe and hope they can be relocated somewhere nearby. After all, all the new developments are supposed to have retail on the ground floor to "activate" the streets for pedestrians. But they would be gone from there sooner or later in this giant redevelopment process. We need to stop thinking of the place as a "shopping center" and start thinking of the area as a blank slate and make it the most attractive and liveable community we can.

Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

psr is a registered user.

The district needs more space and anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. Since most of the new kids will come from the massive building projects in Mountain View, then it is only fair that the new space be in Mountain View. There is nothing mean-spirited about what LASD is doing. The kids need more space and they are getting in the area where the bulk of new kids will come from.

All parties seem to be good with this arrangement, so why anyone would complain is just personal preference. Everyone is not going to get exactly what they want. It's called compromise and it seems to be a lost art these days. Everyone gets something they can live with but not everything they would prefer. It isn't meant to make one party happy at the total expense of another. Only toddlers expect that.

If you have an opinion about what school should be on the site, feel free to make your opinion known. However, you shouldn't feel slighted if what you want isn't what ultimately happens. There are many considerations including cost, programs, staffing and space that affect the final outcome. As long as the kids are winning, I'm good with it.

By the way, all the buildings in that area were probably going to be demolished soon anyway to build yet more massive buildings. I far prefer a school and a park to another soulless high-rise building. We already have plenty of those. This is a much better option.

Posted by Kohl's is a flop
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 13, 2018 at 10:17 am

Kohl's is a flop is a registered user.

The decision to place Bullis Charter in Mountain View has been made. The request for input is a scam. You might as well send a letter to RUSSIAN dictator Vladimir Putin telling him what you want him to do. It will get you nowhere except maybe on an ENEMIES LIST.

Posted by New school
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2018 at 1:07 pm

New school is a registered user.

Mountain View City Council voted last night for a first preference to be a neighborhood school on this site or 2nd preference is Egan junior high. I vote they call the new neighborhood school the Nancy Morimoto School being that she is clearly in charge.

Posted by Why?
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2018 at 1:11 pm

LASD student population has declined for last 3 years, down 200 students in 2017 and could have another steep drop coming this fall because we had a big 8th grade class graduated.The need for more space is not urgent.
So, we should understand that this is a good deal for Mountain View. We can trust MVCC and LASD Board but we should also verify that it is a good deal. I don't think we know enough to say right now that it is worth $100 million from MV. I'd like MVCC and LASD to tell us why it is a good deal for MV?

Posted by Member
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:32 pm

The Hillview site in Los Altos should be retained as a neighborhood elementary school before any site is condemned in Mountain View. The site was land banked by the City of Los Altos for a future school site. In addition, the elementary school kids may be bussed to school to reduce traffic congestion. Please see Los Altos Politico's website. Web Link

Posted by Joseph
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 13, 2018 at 5:01 pm

As a resident of The Crossings, I like the new plan. Having other residential with open green belt will be much better than a neighborhood school with lots of kids and noise. Also, thought it was odd to even consider a school right next to the railroad and busy San Antonio Road! Having a larger park and community center across the street, next to retail and restaurants will be wonderful. Thanks, Lenny for helping this to happen for us! Bravo!

Posted by David Moore
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 14, 2018 at 7:33 am

So why the change from the other side of the street and Old Safeway area? How big does this school have to be? The project sign has been posted for months, and now Jeffrey Baier and the rest of the board have to once again pull an audible on the community. Is this project even on the ballot for this year’s election?

Posted by TW
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2018 at 4:20 pm

If you want someone to blame, blame the city of Los Altos who has refused LASD use of a facility that was already a school - which is now Hillview Community center. This had the perfect set-up and the perfect location - but the mayor and city council refused use and discussions on this in favor of a community center that no one wants.

Posted by Info
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2018 at 8:19 pm

The development signs on the Safeway site are for a mixed use project with 641 apartments and 20,000 sq ft of ground floor commercial, including some open space. That is going ahead. It has nothing to do with the school district's plans, now that they are across the street. LASD was going to kill the Greystar apartments. At this point the Greystar apartments will start building a year or more before LASD does across the street. All the tenants in both locations know there is development coming that will change their respective properties and make them move. Some are on longer leases than others.

Posted by @TW
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Why should Los Altos get a Senior Center/Community Center. Los Altos does not deserve these. Mountain View should have the only Senior Center and the only Community Center. Los Altos does not deserve these. The 3 acres with the former Hillview School buildings on them are something that should be taken away from the city of Los Altos. How dare they operate a community center on this land for the past 50 years.

Posted by Elena
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 15, 2018 at 7:37 am

I’m sorry, that is an horrible spot for a school just like I thought the previous spot acrros the street was horrible! I don’t want my Trader Joe’s taken away for a damn charter school! Whoever agreed to this is an idiot and is most likely getting paid for their vote.

Posted by @Elena
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 15, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Elena, you have your facts wrong; therefore, you noun is misplaced and should stay at home.

Posted by Rita
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2018 at 11:07 am

I hope this doesn't happen. I shop at Kohl's (the only nearby clothing store, other than Target). If Kohl's go away, I have drive on the freeway to get to another. As is, I drive 280 to San Bruno to shop at Sears and Penny's, both of which used to be close by. So more cars on the freeways; more time wasted. Sorry... I don't buy clothes online.

Posted by Shane
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Given a choice between the Old Mill site and the Kohl's site for the school, I think the Kohl's site is the better choice. It's farther away from the busy San Antonio Road, and it is not in the way of the pedestrian corridor between the Caltrain station and the rest of The Village.

I hope that the businesses in the plot (Joann, Super Sport, Kohl's, and the other business in the Kohl's building) can find a home in the 20,000+ sq ft of commercial space in The Village Phase II and the commercial development that will be built at the Old Mill site with this plan.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Don't be ridiculous, there are lots of options for shopping already in the area and nearby. We need a school and a park. Not more shops.

Posted by the way contract lawy works
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm

There is some misplaced belief that Los Altos City had "land banked" the former LASD Hillview Ave property. Los Altos Politico site - posed some newspaper clippings 'proving' that contention. It should not be brought up again because it seems there is no legal (recorded land contract) instrument proving the Los Altos City Council had to give or sell Hillview back to LASD!

@Shane, I hope this effort at compromise between LASD and the MV City Council (representing all of Mountain View) can result in another exemplary MV version of city-school district cooperation. Look at how well the MV City maintenance of the fields and playground structures at LASD's Springer Elementary works!

Web Link

Posted by Realist
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:41 pm

There are some pretty nice fields at Santa Rita School. That is a bigger park than Springer, and Los Altos does not pay to maintain it at all. All the taxpayers of LASD fund that maintenance.

Web Link

Meanwhile, there are multiple issues with Hillview, not the least of which is that it is less than 8 acres of land. LASD sold off the land separately that now holds office buildings on San Antonio Road. On 2 sides of the oddly shaped piece of land are single family residential homes built right up against the school lot. There would be hell raised if a 2 story building were built on the old Hillview School site.

Posted by Acronym Explainer
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2018 at 9:32 pm

Web Link

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

The Economics of Residential Rooftop Solar
By Sherry Listgarten | 49 comments | 4,820 views

Neighbors feeding neighbors: Rebyl Food connects Coastside community
By The Peninsula Foodist | 4 comments | 1,945 views

Dating/Dating Profile: Say What You Are Looking For
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,917 views

Why Give Up Delicious Things?
By Laura Stec | 13 comments | 1,730 views

Business tax in Palo Alto
By Steve Levy | 0 comments | 1,443 views