Council reluctantly approves razing of 116 rent-controlled apartments | Town Square | Mountain View Online |

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Council reluctantly approves razing of 116 rent-controlled apartments

Original post made on May 20, 2020

More of Mountain View's older, rent-controlled apartments will be demolished to make way for new ownership housing, after the Mountain View City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve a rowhouse redevelopment along Middlefield Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 12:50 PM

Comments (24)

15 people like this
Posted by Cog
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 20, 2020 at 1:35 pm

The blame begins with the city council, not sure why they are looking around to find someone else.


25 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on May 20, 2020 at 2:13 pm

This article is almost a carbon copy of the December 2018 article about Rock Street.... over two years ago!

Same old "our hands are tied"/"we don't have enough local control" complaints, same empty pledges to tackle displacement or calls "for some kind of future restrictions on developments that caused a net loss of housing".

Over two years later and during a historic health emergency, the City still claims to be powerless...

Clearly, "When there is no will, there is no way"


48 people like this
Posted by "Unintended consequences?!?"
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2020 at 2:20 pm

'landlords are seeking to exit the rental market because of limits set by the city's rent control law. . . Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga referred to "unintended consequences" that have resulted in a spree of redevelopment projects.'

Nonsense. That phrase is a politician's throwaway excuse. Owners exiting the rental market -- and redevelopment that reduces total rental housing -- are normal and utterly predictable effects of rent control. It has happened countless times before, and everyone concerned with the topic either knows it full well, or hasn't done their homework.

When an effect is entirely predictable with a long-demonstrated history, calling it "unintended" is misleading.


189 people like this
Posted by Winston C.
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm

I wholly welcome ownership housing. Displaced renters are welcome to compete on the buyer's market or move somewhere more affordable. Nothing lasts forever.


17 people like this
Posted by roaksinri
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm

"Our hands are tied"...Then why was there a vote to "approve" the project? If one opposes the project on general principle, then disallow it. Ramirez seems to want it both ways-" I don't like it, but I don't want these rich developers (who might donate to my future campaigns for office) to be mad at me if I come across too strong. I know! I'll blame "other forces" that have tied our hands. That's the ticket!" And the 5 Yea votes stay quiet so as not to attract attention, preferring to attract campaign contributions from rich developers- as for the displaced people- Let them eat cake!.....


20 people like this
Posted by drslb
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 20, 2020 at 3:05 pm

So who are going to provide the services for all the tech people in the city. I guess robot police, fire departments, robot teachers and nurses, robot plumbers, robot gardeners and robots in nursing homes. Will be perfect for next pandemic.


4 people like this
Posted by roaksinri
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 3:19 pm

Hey drslb- that explains the robot traveling the sidewalks at Eagle Park- it is in training for the eventual takeover. Self Driving cars, robot servants, the future is here! Where will it lead? Recommended viewing: 2001:A Space Odyssey, West World, and Ex Machina....


11 people like this
Posted by Rex Major Res
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 20, 2020 at 3:44 pm

Wasnt there a recent development in Los Altos whete the city was trying to block redevelopment. They got sued and lost. The loose regulations dont allow for city councils to take a harder stand if the criteria are met.


175 people like this
Posted by Jake O.
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 20, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Having grown up in MV and now a renter, it's sad to see the changes but it is what it is. I know one day I'll be priced out of the area and have to move but it goes against my principles to agree that the local government can tell land owners what they can and cannot build. These land owners are also business owners, if they choose to cash out, that is their choice


21 people like this
Posted by Allie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2020 at 3:57 pm

Disgraceful. Where is human decency, especially at such an already scary and vulnerable time? I'm terrified my building will be next. For those who say , "If you can't afford to compete in the housing market, it's time to move"... I ask you, how easy would it be for you to pick up and move away from what has been your home most of your life, leave family and friends, uproot your children, find a new job??
Mountain View has changed drastically. Gone is the community feel, the celebration of diversity, the tolerance. It is being sold off to the rich, and the City Council either doesn't care or has no backbone. I am so very saddened and, again, terrified by all of this.


8 people like this
Posted by Tina
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Don't worry too much. It's disgusting enough people that they're all leaving for Texas anyway, vulnerable or not.

Who will you be rezoning for when everyone moves to Austin? Gonna year down the houses and rebuild affordable apartments instead?

What are you left with when the market dries up?


16 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 20, 2020 at 8:09 pm

No hands were tied. The staff report stated that the Council could reject the project. Two councilmembers voted against approval. Much more rent controlled housing will be lost if tenants get too far behind in rent payments and cannot make them up later. On lawful turnover, the rent can be raised on the unit as high as the market will allow. It is called VACANCY DECONTROL and is a chief source of landlord profit.


18 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on May 20, 2020 at 8:55 pm

I am going to encourage the State to sue the City for this travesty.

Then new housing state laws are being ignored by the city.

We are going to be sued like Huntington Beach.

And the City is going to lose.

Also the tenants should also sue the City.

Sunnyvale tried the same stunt and caved after they learned they made such a disastrous decision.

This is the City Council trying to attack the City Citizens, plan and simple after Measure D failed.


247 people like this
Posted by comet48
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 9:07 pm

Rent control - there goes rental properties! What did these fools expect?


269 people like this
Posted by KTT
a resident of North Whisman
on May 20, 2020 at 9:19 pm

Not surprised the redevelopment of housing continues. As long as Measure V- rent control is in place, we will continue to see older properties call it a day.

Housing advocates should embrace this project since homeownership is the medicine to true housing stability. You can’t keep renters as renters forever. Eventually people aim for homeownership even though homeownership may be in other areas where renters’ wallets meet reality.

In a time where we’ve seen more apartments get built, this ownership project is a welcome change. Kudos to the city council.


19 people like this
Posted by ex-Hooli person
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 20, 2020 at 10:08 pm

I'm surprised that property owners would willingly exit the residential rental market. Between the resentment of the community and the non-payment of rent, what's not to like? I wish I had more money to invest in toxic, non-performing assets.


11 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 20, 2020 at 10:19 pm

The pro-landlord city council majority has approved some ownership housing in place of rental housing. The Council could have disallowed the projects. Approval is a function mainly of the money to be made in new ownership housing here and the councilmembers going along. The same pro-landlord councilmembers will blame rent control because they oppose rent control. But without rent control, rents would soar and most existing tenants would be priced out and forced to move elsewhere that is less in demand. In any event, the next big item on the rental housing front will be placement of the landlords' sneaky repeal of local rent control on the November ballot. There now is statewide rent control that is a backstop. But it could be repealed or replaced by the state legislature and governor whenever they choose. .


9 people like this
Posted by Lyn
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 21, 2020 at 2:32 am

It is clear that the only concern the Mountain View City Council has is to gain revenue. Mountain View City Council does not care what happens to the middle or lower class people. They have the power to stop the landlords, but they do not. What a sham.


18 people like this
Posted by Rent control is a failure
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 21, 2020 at 7:56 am

If you want to control rent, I suggest you build your own apartments, then you can control rent.

Forcing others to limit their return on their investment is anti capitalistic. It's pure evil communistic. It's like limiting your jeweler how much he can make on his merchandise. Pretty soon we will be having food control, people telling us what we can or cannot eat. See where this is leading?


14 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on May 21, 2020 at 8:33 am

In response to KTT you said:

“Housing advocates should embrace this project since homeownership is the medicine to true housing stability. You can’t keep renters as renters forever. Eventually people aim for homeownership even though homeownership may be in other areas where renters’ wallets meet reality.”

You are simply wrong in many ways. Home ownership is NOT FEASIBLE for all given the way work requires people to potentially move in as short as 7 years. You simply want to claim that home ownership solves housing. What PROOF do you have? The reality is that we do not have the safe and available land space to build enough NON-Apartments to satisfy the demand of housing. The soil is so polluted, housing is building “clean houses” with air control systems in them because of the TCE problems. NO ONE SHOULD MOVE INTO ANY PLACE WITH THIS INSTALLED. IN FACT THEY SHOULD BE MOVED OUT. NOR can people commit to being in a place for say more than 10 years. You must be a REALTOR trying which that business is hitting one of the worst periods in recent history.

As far as what Rent control is a failure said here:

“If you want to control rent, I suggest you build your own apartments, then you can control rent.”

Not much of a conclusion with no evidence to back it up. You went on to say:

“Forcing others to limit their return on their investment is anti capitalistic. It's pure evil communistic. It's like limiting your jeweler how much he can make on his merchandise. Pretty soon we will be having food control, people telling us what we can or cannot eat. See where this is leading?”

Here we go again with the “anti-communist” argument. It doesn’t fly.

The U.S. Constitution Nor the California Constitution provides REAL private property rights at all. In the Kelo v City of New London case found here (Web Link) of the U.S. Supreme Court said, a government is not liable for transferring ownership of anything to a PRIVATE party. As long as the Government doesn’t take the property, eminent domain doesn’t apply NOR does taking apply.

In reality all people’s claims of private property rights are made by economists, politicians and attorneys that are well aware that the laws don’t work that way. But they want to sell their Services. What you are describing is the return of Feudalism, which the U.S. explicitly abandoned after the AMERICAN REVOLUTION, kinda like the SOVIET REVOLUTION. Same problem, monarchy or elite oligarchy rule on the people.

Again let the lawsuit start.


11 people like this
Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 21, 2020 at 10:12 am

@Allie

It hasn't been an easy decision to leave, but we just can't afford to live here any longer. We'll miss the people we're leaving behind, but the financial reality is that we can't stay.


3 people like this
Posted by Kimberley
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 22, 2020 at 6:04 pm

I wrote to Margaret Netto, the planner, on two occasions and never received a reply about the development. I had asked her why the city would allow a SMALLER number of homes to be developed along with the destruction of 54, yes FIFTY FOUR heritage trees. Summerhill Homes are wreaking economic and environmental war against the citizens of Mountain View. I think we should oppose them. Apart from the highly distasteful ousting of low income residents, has anybody calculated the environmental cost of sending 116 homes to a landfill, not to mention the energy and materials to build 115 McMansions? It is heartbreaking to witness this loss of affordable homes, trees, wildlife and character. The citizens of Mountain View overturned a council decision to remove vehicles from the streets. I think citizen power should be enlisted to oppose this development. I wonder if we have any redress at the state level? At the very least we should insist on a full environmental impact statement that includes the loss of biodiversity. Finally, if the city were truly apologetic, maybe they should make an offer to buy the apartment complex? As residents leave the homes could be offered to essential services workers. There is an alternative solution to this act of environmental and economic vandalism.


7 people like this
Posted by Stable Genius
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 22, 2020 at 6:18 pm

It is probably too late to object to this development but you might ask candidates for city council where they stand on this kind of tradeoff. As to living in RVs on MV streets, that will be on the November ballot in MV as a REFERENDUM. It has not been decided by voters. More specifically, voters will be asked to approve or reject an ordinance passed by the city council last year banning RV overnight parking on most streets (I think it was any street under 40 feet in width but correct me if wrong). Opponents secured enough voter signatures to suspend the ordinance pending a vote in an election. The City Council then placed the question on the November 3, 2020 ballot.


8 people like this
Posted by Lyn
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 23, 2020 at 11:06 am

People to organize, and VOTE these bad City Council Members, OUT!


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