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Planning commission supports four-story office development on North Bernardo

Original post made on Mar 24, 2023

While the four-story office development proposal on N. Bernardo Avenue came with some drawbacks, including the removal of 61 heritage trees, commissioners were encouraged by its community benefits and publicly accessible open space.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 24, 2023, 12:55 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 24, 2023 at 1:57 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

oh boy! more office space! more loss of green space! how exciting!

"New office developments proposed within the East Whisman Precise Plan are typically beholden to the jobs-housing linkage strategy, a program the city created to try to balance office and housing growth. The jobs-housing linkage requires a certain amount of housing to be built for every 1,000 square feet of office space being developed.

But this project is exempt from that housing requirement because it’s part of a transfer of development rights (TDR) program established in January 2018, more than a year before the East Whisman Precise Plan, and the jobs-housing linkage program, was finalized."

Because of course it is.

Posted by Free Speech
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 24, 2023 at 2:53 pm

Free Speech is a registered user.

What only 61 heritage trees to be removed? The council is slipping. Mountain View will be treeless before the end of the decade if this bunch have their way. Even the council logo has gone from three trees to one. Says a lot.

Posted by DoctorData
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 24, 2023 at 7:28 pm

DoctorData is a registered user.

I usually avoid posting in comment threads because almost everyone's opinion (including mine) is uninformed garbage... but in this case I thought I'd point out that if any of the previous posters had bothered to use Apple or Google Maps to go look at existing site, they'd see it is occupied by an existing set office buildings of debatable architectural value. Rotating the street view, we _also_ see a stand of new housing within walking distance cross Central Expressway. There are worse ways to redevelop existing office space.

It's tougher to argue over the loss of the trees... but given that we all implicitly agreed that living in car-dependent suburban tracts was a good idea, we have all implicitly agreed that open space is a great idea until we want to put a single-family home on it. Plus, Street View reveals that at least 5% of those trees are already dead.

Posted by Seth Neumann
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 24, 2023 at 9:47 pm

Seth Neumann is a registered user.

well we did make a deal for TDR, (I assume Los Altos is actually going to build a school at some point) but we really need to take another look at anything that creates more office space. More office space allows more good jobs, good jobs draw more people in and we can't house, school or water the people we have. Why can't these jobs be exported to Texas or Colorado or Idaho or someplace that wants them?

Posted by Invariant Caller
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 25, 2023 at 12:36 pm

Invariant Caller is a registered user.

More than anything else, I’m baffled that the economics of an office development make sense. Going back to Street View shows a “for lease” sign; setting aside the larger social questions of office:housing ratios and such… how do the developers expect to recover their investment?

Also, if the various lifestyle trend pieces are any guide, while statehouses in Texas and Idaho may want Californian… actual Texans and Idahoans don’t want Californians moving in next door, finding them to be overly wealthy and entitled. One sympathizes.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 26, 2023 at 2:33 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@DoctorData, may I try to share some truths with you?

One of the top issues today is the “housing crisis”. Many think the rent is “too d*mn high”. This situation has actually been true for decades and decades, housing has been far more expensive in CA than in other parts of the country. In the past, we used to joke/cry about the “sunshine tax”. Our area is highly desirable for many reasons, the conventional wisdom of the past was “location, location, location” is the reason housing costs were high. Great weather, great cultural scene, world class universities (including Stanford) producing top tech talent, a highly polished venture capital industry. Silicon Valley is a uniquely magical place in the world. People want to live here, businesses want to be here.

It is only recently that politicians have been telling us housing costs are high because “we have been doing a bad job at producing housing”. Weird that this was NEVER identified as an issue in the past. Also weird: policies being pushed to solve the crisis are designed to maximize the production of expensive, market rate housing … housing that is UNAFFORDABLE to the majority of folks who are suffering.

Politicians say that we have a “jobs/housing” imbalance, they want to force density on residents. But there are two sides to that coin. Another way to solve the problem is to slow/stop the production of new jobs. Question: if the housing crisis is TRULY a CRISIS, shouldn’t slowing the production of new HIGHLY PAID jobs also be one of the tactics that is pursued?

I think State politicians aren’t really trying to “solve the housing crisis”. The fact that they aren’t serious about the JOBS part of the imbalance is a tell. Building new office space during the housing crisis is kind of like watching fire fighters battling a raging forest fire and allowing lots of flammable material to be added to it WHILE THEY ARE WORKING. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2023 at 7:23 am

ivg is a registered user.

We never talked about it before, so it's not a real issue? Can you imagine making that claim about, say, police brutality?

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 27, 2023 at 1:38 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

ivg, your comment is fascinating at first, but soon flickers out when one takes any time to think about it.

Do you seriously believe that police brutality was never discussed before the last few years?

Do you seriously believe that the high cost of housing in CA has never been discussed before the last few years? That nobody felt it's pain before the current generation of young tech workers?

Do you think that everyone in previous decades were idiots? Do you really believe that if efforts were being made to "block supply" in order to keep housing prices high, that those alive in previous decades would never have noticed and spoken out to object? That no journalist would have written a story about that topic?

Have YOU not noticed that the majority of efforts from the CA YIMBY movement are focused on maximizing the production of expensive, market rate units? Who benefits THE MOST from such policies? Low income and average workers? No. The biggest winners are those who DESIRE an increase in production of market rate units, namely developers and Big Tech companies who were previously having problems hiring workers, that is before they started laying off workers. Developers make more $$$ on market rate units, duh. Under capitalism, a worker is never hired unless the employer will make a profit from doing so. Google pays FABULOUS salaries, can you imaging the profits that Google is making in order to pay those salaries? But young workers who understand that those fat salaries won't buy a house in Silicon Valley were saying no, which interfered with Google's bottom line. Rather than making an effort to hire workers in more affordable locations, Google has chosen to conduct a whisper campaign to demonize the residents of MV in order to get what it wants.

Those who truly care about the plight of teachers, service workers, and kids who don't code understand that building at a rate of 9 market rate units for every 1 affordable unit is a path to failure for them. MATH.

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2023 at 7:36 pm

ivg is a registered user.

Also, the people who benefit the most from today's supply-constrained environment ("seller's market") are incumbent homeowners. But move right along, nothing to see here.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2023 at 12:28 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The city has plans for a lot of new housing to be built in the East Whisman area. On the other hand they have always had plans for way more new office space to be built there. The new housing that is produced is not going to be sufficient to affect housing costs in general, but it will include 20% or so regulated BMR units which will increase the supply of housing where rent is controlled to be affordable for households of lower income levels.

It's not going to reduce the price for market rate housing, and certainly not for single family homes. What the new apartments will do is to push up the price of single family homes, so those homeowners stand to benefit price wise from increased population density. What the city is doing is to try to compete better with San Jose at attracting business growth to occur up here rather than down there by Bart.

Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2023 at 3:36 pm

ivg is a registered user.

Yes, it would have been much better to get more housing into the East Whisman plan.

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