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Bills to encourage housing density near transit advance in Senate

Original post made on Apr 6, 2019

Two state bills that would allow more housing density in transit corridors cleared their first legislative hurdles this week, though each proposal will likely see significant changes before either becomes law.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, April 6, 2019, 8:23 AM

Comments (4)

108 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 6, 2019 at 9:26 am

We shall see what deal can be made in Sacramento. But a deal (when signed into law) that would empower developers to build 4-8 story condos or apartments (their choce) on virtually every parcel in Mountain View they can buy should be challenged by statewide REFERENDUM (see Article 2, section 9 of the California Constitution). Most cities in Silicon Valley are waking up to the threat. I do not yet know what, if anything, Councilmembers in Mountain View have done or plan to protect the city from the impending onslaught. But councilmembers read posted comments and are free to comment themselves.


2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2019 at 1:15 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

The City of Mountain view considers SB 4a threat because of the following information:

“Another difference between the two bills is that SB 4 would only apply to jurisdictions that have built fewer homes than jobs in the past decade, while SB 50 would cover all cities and towns. And while SB 50 also provides incentives for housing near "high-quality bus corridors," SB 4 only provides building incentives in areas near rail and ferry terminals and exempts site in architectural or historically significant historic districts, coastal zones, flood plains and "fire hazard severity zones.".

This is exactly what Mountain View has done for more than 20 years.

In reality, the City has been an operational failure regarding local governance. In effect, the City government has been playing a game regarding housing development on the public. The City Council claims it is making a great deal more housing than in reality. I remember past stories of as much as 9000 new units to be built. But these are vapor.

And assuming that mixed housing and job developments are going to reduce traffic and environmental impact is completely false unless the housing units are restricted to employers in that site. That is going to result in empty housing because employers cannot force employees to pay high prices for housing to be employed “COMPANY TOWNS”.

Employers cannot induce employees to live in only the housing that the employer built. The employees must be free to buy whatever housing it wants, wherever it is. And the commercial locations are not good locations for housing due to the commercial traffic and other activities occurring in the area. A great example is “North Bayshore”. In the end, the idea is simply unrealistic.

And until the City Council gets SERIOUS about balancing homes and jobs, they are vulnerable regarding state laws forcing it to change practices.


28 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 8, 2019 at 5:21 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

In SB 50, is there a clear, legally unequivocal statement defining precisely what criteria determine "transit-rich" and "jobs-friendly" areas??? Those are feel-good weasel words. If not, then it it's junk law and won't stand up to court challenges --- or shouldn't, since we can't trust CA courts to uphold civil law.

As for SB 4, it would allow developers to decimate a good part of Old Mountain View, as well as modern, tasteful single family housing near the San Antonio station. Still, there is a loophole around SB 4. MV could legally declare those districts affected by SB 4 as "architectural or historically significant historic districts". Still the devil is in the details. Exactly WHO defines what constitute "architectural or historically significant historic districts"? This should be the City of Mountain View, and not just a bunch of ignorant, idealistic State bureaucrats desperate to force their pipe dreams upon cities along Caltrain.

Also re SB 4, any light rail lines and stations must be exempted from SB 4's bureaucratic over-reach. Why? Light rail is nearly a total failure in Northern Santa Clara County. The land could far better be used as pedestrian and bike corridors than for "choo choos from and to nowhere". Heck, we could even put in electric scooter and electric bike lanes --- as long as lanes are kept physically separate to protect pedestrians from speeding fools.


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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2019 at 7:13 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to William Hitchens you said:

“In SB 50, is there a clear, legally unequivocal statement defining precisely what criteria determine "transit-rich" and "jobs-friendly" areas??? Those are feel-good weasel words. If not, then it it's junk law and won't stand up to court challenges --- or shouldn't, since we can't trust CA courts to uphold civil law. “

My only question is what proof do you have that SB50 would be determined as unconstitutional? You make a conclusion but you do not provide any legal basis for it? I am only asking you to substantiate you opinion with some kind of evidence to prove it. Your statement of the courts needs to also be provided some kind of proof. What case can you discuss that proves the courts cannot uphold civil laws? I simply want it provided so I can consider your point of view. But you also said:

“As for SB 4, it would allow developers to decimate a good part of Old Mountain View, as well as modern, tasteful single family housing near the San Antonio station. Still, there is a loophole around SB 4. MV could legally declare those districts affected by SB 4 as "architectural or historically significant historic districts".”

Please demonstrate a situation where that proved to be effective? There are a lot of legal requirments to establish a place as being “architectural or historically significant historic districts” They typically require as defined by the State of California (Web Link):

[Portion removed due to copying from a website]


Again, this is not a simple process. William, did you even know about it? It looks like you assumed it was as simple as a “city council vote”. It is not and it is not in the jurisdiction of the City. You went on to say:

Still the devil is in the details. Exactly WHO defines what constitute "architectural or historically significant historic districts"? This should be the City of Mountain View, and not just a bunch of ignorant, idealistic State bureaucrats desperate to force their pipe dreams upon cities along Caltrain. “

You may be correct, but unfortunately the State laws are superior to the city policies. The City just cannot ignore them. Otherwise there are other laws that will put significant damage to the City if it attempts to ignore them. You said:

“Also re SB 4, any light rail lines and stations must be exempted from SB 4's bureaucratic over-reach. Why? Light rail is nearly a total failure in Northern Santa Clara County. The land could far better be used as pedestrian and bike corridors than for "choo choos from and to nowhere". Heck, we could even put in electric scooter and electric bike lanes --- as long as lanes are kept physically separate to protect pedestrians from speeding fools.”

Again, I simply ask what authority do you have to make such a determination. That decision may be made by a judge. On what legal basis do you have to make such a determination, what laws, cases, or other legal resources did you use to make this decision?


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