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Want to know what your neighborhood might look like in the future? Here's the latest on Mountain View's multifamily housing update

Original post made on Aug 30, 2022

Mountain View is looking to shift its R3 zoning ordinance toward a less restrictive approach while working to curb displacement and increase the city’s stock of middle-income housing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 30, 2022, 12:50 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by SalsaMusic
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2022 at 3:38 pm

SalsaMusic is a registered user.

So basically their asking the average Joe to surface potential complaints on a proposal that doesn’t exist besides some purple blotches on a map.

The better approach is to put forth a clearer straw man proposal. Otherwise we will assume they are proposing 4stories everywhere (which they are since developers get to add a 4th story if they include BMR housing).

Posted by Frank Richards
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2022 at 4:28 pm

Frank Richards is a registered user.

It seems like it would be a much better use of money, staff time and the time of residents of the city to do this type of "outreach" via a statistically valid survey. Otherwise, as the comments in the article show, they're just selecting for busybodies and retirees that have ample time during the week. If you want to see what the people of Mountain View think, you have to ask them in a representative way! That's even setting aside whether you should ask the people who will end up living in these new homes.

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2022 at 7:57 pm

ivg is a registered user.

Frank, I agree with the spirit of your comment, but this topic is very technical, so that someone spending 5 minutes to fill out a survey just won't understand the options.

Posted by Frank Richards
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2022 at 8:19 pm

Frank Richards is a registered user.

That's a fair point, ivg, but I'm not really convinced the city's existing engagement model achieves a deep technical understanding by the participants. I often find it ends up being an airing of grievances by those with enough time to attend them, and the city's approach is often to prime people towards the status quo. It's so far from representative, too: in a city and neighborhoods with majority renters, these are almost always overwhelmingly stacked with homeowners, but the feedback is presented as being from "the people." A survey wouldn't be perfect, but it would honestly be strictly less bad. But I guess I'm airing a bit of my own grievances here...

Posted by Robin
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 30, 2022 at 9:47 pm

Robin is a registered user.

@Frank and @Salsa, did you attend any of these meetings on Zoom? I did and found it was very well done. The facilitators explained the process and proposals thoroughly, and made sure to engage and obtain comments from every attendee. Guess I'm one of those "busybodies" who has time to attend a 2-hour city meeting held in the afternoon. You are complaining about the fact that the city invited residents throughout MV to offer comments about possible future developments?

Also the title is misleading. It's not what "your neighborhood" might look like in the future, it's what R3 zoned areas might look like. As the maps show, many or most neighborhoods in MV are NOT shaded pink/purple/blue.

Posted by MV neighbor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2022 at 11:32 pm

MV neighbor is a registered user.

I agree with Robin. I thought it was a well organized forum and the facilitators made sure everyone in the breakout rooms had a chance to speak..not just people with strong opinions but those who were quietly listening. There was also no name calling (i.e. “ you are a yimby, developer pawn or you are just a selfish nimby) but thoughtful dialogues and questions about elements of the proposal that aren’t spelled out yet. Having it over zoom made it much more accessible to a range of people unlike some of the public forums dominated by the usual spokes people for various factions (like those who dominate discussions here!)

Posted by Frank Richards
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 31, 2022 at 7:12 am

Frank Richards is a registered user.

My biggest issue is that, in a city where the majority of its residents rent, the overwhelming majority of attendees of these sessions are homeowners. I'm glad it was respectful and everyone felt like they learned a lot, but the opinions are not going to be representative.

As an analogy, it's like if the city decides they wanted to do outreach, and chose to do so by setting up a table in the Senior Center and talking to anyone who walked by. Sure, they're collecting opinions of city residents and I'd be glad to hear that it was respectful, but it's not going to be representative.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 31, 2022 at 11:26 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

There is a saying, "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good".

I think it is lovely and awesome that the city is performing outreach. I think that it is also lovely that they spent time in each little corner of MV, and are publishing the results for all to see. Thanks also to the Voice for this story, and especially reporter Malea Martin. Publishing youtube videos of all of these sessions ... THAT's a level of transparency that is simply wonderful to see.

I was travelling, and was not able to attend, not sure if I qualify as a "busybody" or not, lol. I'm sure that depends on who you ask, lol. I am grateful for the opportunity, to give my feedback via a website: Web Link All interested parties have been given that same opportunity.

I much prefer the City Council listening to a wide swath of residents, and not simply listening to the small subset of persons/activists who have the time and ability to attend city council meetings. Kudos to the city for advertising and conducting these meetings!

Posted by ST
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 31, 2022 at 7:18 pm

ST is a registered user.

While I appreciate the city’s outreach, I found the whole premise misleading. The current municipal code in Mtn View does not specify an R3-A,B,C zoning. Instead it has designations like R3-1, R3-1.5, R3-2.2, etc. There is no one-to-one mapping of the current regulations in the municode to the 2020 descriptions presented at the meetings. In our breakout session, the moderator could not give examples of R3-A; we were told to just imagine it based on the photo examples. So to go from an imaginary 2020 R3-A building to a proposed imaginary 2022 medium scale building is a bit of a leap. The descriptions of medium, large and block scale are also vague, and there was no concrete discussion or examples of how a building’s form changes with the state density bonus allocations. Based on the city’s approach at these outreach meetings, it’s impossible to get a sense of the size and scale of a future R3 building in any of the neighborhoods.

Posted by SalsaMusic
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 31, 2022 at 10:57 pm

SalsaMusic is a registered user.

I went to the Cuesta park one. As I said, it was a bunch of resident commentary on imaginary proposals, nothing concrete. Just pictures pulled from Google.

The facilitators are cleared biased in their approach and proposed nonsensical ideas like retail in a residential area.

And yes. It is in my neighborhood. Just a couple of blocks away! The cars these neighbors will bring will drive by my house every day!

Posted by father of 3 sons
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 1, 2022 at 4:35 pm

father of 3 sons is a registered user.

...Music. So, we know the music you dance to!

I live in the Questa Park area also. Based on the 'splotches of color' on the planning map (they tend to go that way) I do not think there is any problem about how 'all those cars' will travel for most of us in this area. IN FACT it might just be possible that many of then, right next to a bus transit corridor and a short walk from regional transit rail corridors (CalTrain and VTA) will take public transit.

Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 4, 2022 at 1:36 pm

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

Retail in walking distance to homes is commonplace for most of humanity's existence. The "Suburban experiment" is a relatively recent, carefully engineered phenomenon.

I, for one, love having a grocery store, a barber, a health center, and a few restaurants within a block of my house!

If more blocks were like that, we'd all have fewer car trips to put up with.

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