Town Square

Guest opinion: In support of SB 9

Original post made on Aug 15, 2021

In a guest opinion, Mountain View resident Ilya Gurin writes why the California housing bill SB 9 warrants support.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, August 15, 2021, 8:15 AM


Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2021 at 9:25 am

ivg is a registered user.

I have a comment on the illustration provided by the Voice. Although apartment complexes like the one pictured are an important solution to the housing shortage, SB9 does not affect them.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2021 at 2:16 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

It's more of the current fad of virtue signalling to think that SB9 is any sort of positive step. We have an affordable housing shortage. Adding more apartments won't even help, because the ones added are only affordable if they are subsidized. Ok, so the need is to add more subsidized apartments. So why a bill that will try to split lots locally and build more $2 Million houses on the same land? It would likely not even have that effect, but to the extent that it might add a few, how doe the extra $2 Million brand new stand alone homes help those who can't afford to rent an apartment?

Posted by Community Minded
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2021 at 2:39 pm

Community Minded is a registered user.

Thank you, Ilya, for your helpful explanation of housing issues and infill development. Using infill development creates more housing that is affordable by design (because it is smaller and not on a big patch of land). Infill development has been shown by UC-Berkeley’s City & Regional Planning Program to create meaningful additional density, which can help Mountain View and other neighboring cities attain their assigned targets for new housing units. Infill development can happen fairly quickly because there is no need for complicated land development projects and financing to come together, or for lengthy public approval processes either. It’s something we can all do, and should support.

Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 16, 2021 at 2:41 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

My father went to Stanford in the 40's. When I told him I was going to live in Mountain View, he said "Nobody lives there - that's just where they work." Of course that wasn't true, but it does indicate that the jobs/housing imbalance is nothing new. I moved here in the 80s after living in south San Jose. It was MUCH more expensive back then, too, and for good reason. That was the cost of an hour or more less commuting. The commutes have gone up and so has the cost premium of being in the middle of the jobs market.

City borders are invisible now - the cities all flow one to the next. Its pretty silly to try to enforce some kind of balance within that artificial construct. Even if you doubled the population of Mountain View, the prices wouldn't drop, except as it becomes a less desirable place to live due to excess crowds and traffic and loss of amenities (we used to have 2 bowling allies within easy reach).

Focus should be on moving jobs out closer to where people live and the pandemic has done some of that, if it lasts.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2021 at 5:05 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The blending of city borders is a real concern. In the 1970's plenty of people lived in Mountain View even if there were less employed here. Lots of Stanford people would live in Mountain View. That's what got so many apartments built in that era--demand from Stanford activities.

Now we have Stanford finally stepping up to build more on campus housing than ever before, even as a fraction of its expanded size. But we have Mountain View adding way more office space than it creates housing. Worse still, Sunnyvale is even more out of balance in this regard, creating even more office jobs and a smaller fraction of housing. Then, Santa Clara is even more out of balance compared to Sunnyvale. It's a domino situation. Lots of people who live in Mountain View work in numerous other cities all over the place.

The bogus issue is the premise that SB9 will in fact create more in fill housing. That's unlikely. Consider that it removed potential for an ADU or two ADU's with every unit it (SB9) succeeds in creating. It's all virtue signalling with no real basis in fact.

Posted by Raymond
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 16, 2021 at 10:30 pm

Raymond is a registered user.

The virtue signalling is done mostly by those who will be dead & gone before much additional housing is built. They will not experience the damage caused by a denser population. MV is already very short of park space and will soon need additional schools. There is no solution to the housing "shortage"; there are only trade-offs. More housing of any kind reduces our quality of life.

Posted by Seth Neumann
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 17, 2021 at 10:28 pm

Seth Neumann is a registered user.

The answer is to cut demand: no more office space until supply catches up. Encourage business to hire and expand elsewhere. The market is speaking: housing in the Bay Area is at the point of diminishing returns.

Posted by Tech
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 19, 2021 at 6:25 pm

Tech is a registered user.

If you want more people to live on the same land, you have two levers at your disposal. You can increase the average FAR, or you can decrease the floor area per resident. There is no option that preserves both neighborhood character and quality of life. The exploding demand is a self-imposed bind from commercial upzoning.

I also wonder if this type of infill development doesn't just exacerbate class difference. Duplexes and ADUs are unlikely to have a co-ownership structure. And pretending there are cheap housing solutions without tradeoffs - whether ADUs or microflats - also tends to create an underclass.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Re- "The housing shortage also hurts businesses. Speaking just from my own experience in the tech industry, my company is outsourcing more and more high-wage jobs to Italy (not known for a business-friendly environment) and Taiwan. Despite our world-famous talent pool for high tech, major employers have recently made headlines by moving to other states. Talk about a "tech exodus" may be premature, but expect trends to continue unless housing costs decline."

What an amazing comment. Apparently the author is not aware of Silicon Valley execs embracing outsourcing for decades to places like China and India, because the COST OF WORKERS there is cheaper than the cost of workers here. I was asked to train a replacement in India not once, but twice since the turn of the century (geez, do I sound old or what?) Also, public schools get blamed for not turning out graduates with sufficient skills, lol. It was/is all just a ruse to increase corporate profits. Housing costs here had zero to do with it, but hey, what a great new YIMBY talking point!

Want to know an important reason why foreign workers are cheaper? THEIR countries have national health-care systems, which means that employers (and workers) don't have to pay for outrageously priced health insurance policies as they must here.

BTW, did you know the CA Dem Party shelved a single-payer healthcare bill rather than ask a Dem governor to sign it into law Web Link ? Over FOUR YEARS AGO, Anthony Rendon called SB 562 "woefully incomplete" ... what have CA Dems done since then to fix it? Nothing. Why?

Dems pretend they want "universal healthcare," but they REALLY want donor money from the health "care" industry ... and to prevent Medicare For All.

They get away with it because most voters are impressed by pretty words, but don't pay close attention to actions, which SPEAK LOUDER. Also four years ago is ancient history now, who remembers THAT?