News

Council candidate Lisa Matichak seeks to preserve city's character

After an introduction to Mountain View politics through her neighborhood's opposition to a housing project at 450 Whisman Road, and spending the last four years on the planning commission, Lisa Matichak is now seeking a seat on the City Council in the November election.

"I'm concerned about the future of Mountain View so I've decided to run," said Matichak, who works as a marketing executive and has owned a home in the Wagon Wheel neighborhood for the last eight years, renting in Mountain View for seven years before that. "We've had a lot of growth in Mountain View and growth brings a lot of good things with it but it needs to be balanced with great quality of life for residents in Mountain View."

Matichak was the first elected president of the Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association seven years ago, created as the neighborhood fought off a housing project along the Hetch-Hetchy bike and pedestrian trail that would have blocked her view of the Santa Cruz mountains with 64, three-story homes. The Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance and environmentally minded residents supported the project as a way to reduce commuter traffic to the neighborhood, which is also home to large office campuses for Google and others.

Since then, Matichak has taken a stance for relatively slower housing growth as a planning commissioner, including her vote against the possibility of zoning for 1,100 homes in North Bayshore proposed as a way to house Google employees. She said the potential environmental impacts to Shoreline wildlife outweigh any benefits that would have come from reducing commuter traffic.

Matichak says her top priorities include balancing the city's budget, transportation improvements, making sure police and fire services are adequate and bringing park space to underserved areas to meet the city's goal of 3 acres of park space per 1,000 residents. The neighborhoods known as "Rengstorff, Sylvan-Dale and San Antonio are the three that are most below that metric," Matichak said.

If Mountain View is at a crossroads between its suburban past and becoming a more urban place to make room for employees in its booming tech industry, Matichak isn't advocating for the latter.

"There are certainly a lot of young folks want to live in San Francisco but they maybe want to work for companies who have offices in Mountain View," Matichak said. "I don't think everyone who works in Mountain View wants to live in Mountain View."

A major difference between Matichak and candidates Ken Rosenberg and Pat Showalter is that Matichak is less interested in balancing office growth with housing growth within the city's limits. Calling it a "regional issue," she says other cities need to take responsibility for building housing for Mountain View's growing workforce. "There are a lot of cities who do have land that could have homes built on it. I think the key here is having efficient transportation," she said.

When asked which cities could be expected to take on housing needs for Mountain View's many proposed office developments, given the similar housing shortages in Redwood City, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, Matichak suggested coordinated efforts with the South Bay and East Bay, saying "We need a stronger organization to get all of the different communities, including the South Bay the East Bay, to coordinate their efforts. I don't view this as Mountain View's issue."

Matichak said that regional coordination is key. "I could imagine it would be a separate group of individuals that represent the different communities who could come up with creative ways of adding housing," she said. "There are some organizations that already exist but I don't think they have any enforcement capability."

The Association of Bay Area Governments is one such organization, and council members in the past have cried foul for receiving an F grade for not meeting housing production goals in ABAG's "regional housing needs allocation" for Mountain View.

Matichak says she has developed insight into how the city works after joining the planning commission in 2010 and serving as its chair last year. "I have a great network of people throughout the city," Matichak said.

A key part of Matchak's campaign is preserving Mountain View's "character," a word that has been echoed by many residents who want to see the city slow its growth. She says she is glad to see the City Council begin to scale back the massive amount of office growth in the city's planning pipeline, as the council did for a large office project last month -- one of several in her neighborhood -- at 700 East Middlefield Road. And she wants to see small businesses stay in the city, such as the Milk Pail market, despite many pressures now driving them out. She says "shared parking" is key not just for the Mail Pail, but for small businesses on El Camino Real that are losing parking lots in redevelopment projects.

It is important that proposed development fit in with character of existing neighborhoods, Matichak said. "It is that character that attracted a lot of people to live in Mountain View."

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by m
a resident of Whisman Station
on May 13, 2014 at 7:12 am

This woman obviously only has self interest in preserving her view, not doing what is best for the community. We obviously need significantly more housing in Mountain View. There is so much under-utilized area and everything is so expensive.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Best
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 13, 2014 at 7:24 am

What is best for the community is to preserve the city's beautiful and vibrant character. Paving it over with mixed use high rise ghettoes will destroy it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Holla Dolla
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 13, 2014 at 7:32 am

Incorrect thinking:
- Building more roads will reduce traffic
- Building more houses will drive the cost of housing down.

Supply and demand is what is driving the prices, and sadly for many, there is simply way too much demand from people willing to step in a drop $1.5M cash on a place.
Oh sure, there will be developers looking to build houses, but ONLY because they can get top dollar for those places. Don't ever expect to see so much housing in MV that it affects the overall price of a home. Even if they did offer nice places for 600-7ooKK, the competition for those places will drive the price right up.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Amelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 13, 2014 at 7:54 am

I think she is right about about balancing business and housing growth. Encourage people to live in other communities and use public transportation to get to Mountain View. It's too bad that public transportation in this area is more expensive than taking your own car and that folks are actually fighting companies who have their own public transportation systems for employees.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm

I am getting tired of quality of live issue, many of the workers are stick commuting because housing prices have soared. This has left lots of people of that have chosen not to have babies or get married. Read this on SF Gate.

We are home to the mega commuters, people that drive more then 70 miles each way, funny thing is these people want to work hard, do well within the company they chose to work for. Long hours, long drives home, not much of quality of live doing that.

We need housing, we also want the jobs, we want a our businesses to do well but we also want the newest, the biggest and the best kind of shopping or services. Can't attract if you are trying to keep the 1950's.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Best
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 13, 2014 at 1:59 pm

"I am getting tired of quality of live issue, many of the workers are stick commuting because housing prices have soared."

Ah, you are sick of having a quality of life. Poor you! I now understand why you want to destroy this city.

Many workers are "stick"[sic.] commuting because housing prices have soared. That is very ignorant. For as long as I can remember, most people do not work in the same town they live in. If you were to add 10,000 homes to MV, a minority of the people moving in would also work here. Unless you make it a condition of occupancy, it just doesn't happen. It has never happened. You are just making a big unproven assumption that turning MV into downtown SJ would improve our traffic problems.

Sorry buddy...why don't you go ruin someone else's city?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

@Garrett,

There are still many of us who live in Mountain View, commute to work outside of Mountain View, and do not want to live in high rise ghettos. If you, and others, want to live in a high rise ghetto, then I suggest that you move to Manhattan. That way. you will not hear about Quality of Life.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Garrett. Dude. For the umpteenth +1 time, no one I know thinks this is about returning to the 1950s. What a tired meme that is.

Quality of life is a very, very real issue, though. Sorry if you don't want to hear about it.

Lisa Matichek is one of the few people in city government who has not been kowtowing to developers. She's got my vote.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by m
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

There are thousands of geeks living in crappy apartments waiting for a decent place to buy in MV, myself included. There is simply not enough supply. This basically reduces to homeowners who are greedy and want no further development in MV vs renters who want more options to buy. "preserving the city's character"? What a joke. The population skyrockets while the number of options to buy basically stays the same due to greedy existing homeowners such as this woman.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm

3 to 4 story is not a high rise, when people have to chose to commute they spend 5 days working and commuting. Doesn't give them much time to enjoy expect on the weekends. While one person wrote it takes them 15 minutes get them from one end of MV to the other. It that in traffic or not.

But if you work in Mountain View and need to rush home, the rush home might be 2 hours away. I am not saying ruin a city but we can't keep thinking it is like 1950.
1950's
Land is plentiful, and cheap.
Auto centered development good.
We can just go out and built a freeway.
Gas is cheap.

Present.
Land is not plentiful, open land has other uses.
Miles of strip malls, fast food and the same kind of auto centered development can go on for miles.
Lawsuits, freeways revolts and green issues hold up freeways.
Gas keeps going up.

Other cities have to take some of the development but those quality of life issues also apply to other cities. Not just Mountain View


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Garret is serial troll that makes absolutely no sense.

Prometheus et al needs one more seat, and Kapy can run wild. We will have no worries about quality of life in Mountain View. There will be none.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by oldabelincoln
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 13, 2014 at 11:42 pm

I'm reminded of a time in New York City when there was a move to build a 4th airport for the city, JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark not being enough to handle the growing traffic. Somehow, sense prevailed, and people realized that if they did not build a 4th airport, the traffic would simply go elsewhere. So they did nothing, and the traffic went elsewhere.

We don't need more jobs and more housing here. Many of use were here long before Google existed, and if it chooses to leave, that's fine, too. If we don't build the houses here or get the jobs here, all that will go elsewhere.

Housing prices might come down, but for those of us who bought houses here because it was a nice place to live weren't planning on selling anyway.

Let's be at least as smart as the New Yorkers, who simply let things go elsewhere.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by happy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 12:08 am

"When does quality mean strip miles, sitting in cars on hot days or spending long hours at work. when does quality of life mean spending more money for rent or high priced tract housing. When does quality of ling mean coming home at late hours and plotting yourself in front of the tube."

What a condescending statement! If someone has more than a 10 minute bicycle ride to work, then they are free to change their own situation. The largest employer in MV is Google and I can tell you that so many are commuting in from San Francisco not because they can't fin something "affordable" in MV, but because San Francisco is one of the best cities in the world to live in. Have you been? They have museums. They have the Bay, the Ocean, a bazillion parks that are far better than MV's.

I don't understand how adding a bunch of crappy high density buildings in this city will improve the situation. We need to invest in more parks, historical buildings, recreational facilities, etc... Density junkies can troll forums all day long and complain "what about the people that can't find a place here..we need more housing!" Where does THAT end. Add 5,000 units..they fill...then what about the the next wave of people that want to come in???? So, it won't end, will it?

Stop now! Save our City!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 12:35 am

Quoting Garrett:

"Thought of quality of life is spending time in the back yard, spend time with family, spend time with the neighbors on a warm summer evening after work. Getting together and watching the kids play sports. Decided to spend time at the local eatery, supporting the local businesses..."

If only!.

"Luxury" apartments are what's being built right now, because that's where the money is for developers (latest rents at Madera: 1-BR, $3400-$4000/month). They have no backyards. They are specifically NOT designed for families, and absolutely not for families with kids. Local businesses? Local businesses are being driven out because they can't afford the rents any more, only chains with deep pockets can.

Here's a concept of "Quality of Life" that we can still hope for: Smart, limited development. No gridlock. New ownership housing. Ped/bike-friendly streets and decent public transit, but not attempting to achieve this by purposely making driving as miserable as possible. A City Council that actually serves MV residents, instead of developers.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2014 at 1:00 am

Thousands upon thousands of jobs have been created, jobs created so fast that housing hasn't kept up with demand. Yes they have built some nice new apartments for the high income earners, of course not everyone is a high income earner.

They do have a 4th airport in the NYC area, Stewart Airport does have regular flights to other cities, cargo and small aircraft, the number of airlines have been shrinking so the terminal space has shrunk, but the amount of passengers are still growing.

Do we add thousands upon thousands of new units in the central valley, the only place we can add more. You can't grow north, you can't grow south or west, growing east means getting further and further away.

Lets turn it around another way, lets say companies grow to the east bay, how would you like to sit in traffic all day, sitting in hot car, wasting gas and time. Watching gas prices rises, more and more time at work while.

I am not saying built crappy tall buildings, 4 stories is not that tall, not build in single family home areas. In fact in time California St, Latham St might be ripe for other development. Maybe as apartments get over built, then maybe some owners ship housing can get built.

The car won't go away, but maybe time to build other options other then fast food strip malls. Tell you the truth they way super stores are laid out, you don't need strip malls. Everything in one spot, all under one roof.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Blossom Valley Resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 14, 2014 at 9:02 am

I'm sure the people who actually own houses in MV or rent their houses to others for an arm and a leg, would want to have a woman like this in office because they want their property values to continue skyrocketing. But there are plenty of good people who deserve decent housing who can't get it because it's prohibitively expensive. Sad, because Mountain View used to be a place I was proud of living. Now it just seems like an extension of Los Altos--a place peopled by paranoid, rich snobs.

She wants to "preserve" the spirit of Mountain View? Seriously? Half of El Camino is rank old parking lots and moldering businesses. What in the heck is worth preserving there? There are plenty of places for an enterprising city to build beautiful townhouses or apartment complexes with lots of green space. You don't have to sacrifice a city's character if you have a bit of brainpower and some imagination.

Also, the fact that so many people here are all up in arms about the "ghettoization" of Mountain View is hilarious. Seriously? Have you actually seen a ghetto? Trust me, there's no part of MV that's a ghetto. Not even close. And as another poster said, a 3 story house does not a ghetto high rise make. God forbid we build houses that are affordable for teachers or police officers or students!

Truth is, I'd love to see Google move their offices to San Francisco or elsewhere. Not because it would decrease traffic, thought hat would be great, too. I'd just like to watch the faces of all the greedy M.V. homeowners when their property values tank.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @Blossom Valley Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 9:12 am

So, how many apartment or townhouse units added to Mountain View will it take to drop the price of a townhouse so a student can afford it? How about a teacher on a starting salary?

Please provide a number. So far, the very few that spout off in this forum about doing a massive development push have failed to answer this very basic question.

Thank you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2014 at 9:50 am

It's dumbfounding how often people - many of whom probably invested their life savings in order to purchase their home - are being demonized and vilified for wanting to maintain the character of their neighborhood, eg. opposing the up-zoning of property and/or developer plans for a behemoth four story apartment compound which will literally back up to the property lines of one story single family homes.

Yeah, definitely, the homeowners who complain about something like that must be greedy, selfish people.


As an aside, since when is it an obligation of ANY city to provide housing for everyone employed in a given city? And, since when is anyone "entitled" to live in the city where they happen to work?


Grow up. Seriously.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greedy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

I would love Mountain view to rezone my beautiful quiet neighborhood to 5 stories! I could cash out at 3x it's current value and move a community that protects the current residents from paving over everything.

But of course that is what is at the heart if this push. Not to make affordable housing, but to maximize profits!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

I would love Mountain view to rezone my beautiful quiet neighborhood to 5 stories! I could cash out at 3x it's current value and move a community that protects the current residents from paving over everything.

"I would love Mountain view to rezone my beautiful quiet neighborhood to 5 stories! I could cash out at 3x it's current value and move a community that protects the current residents from paving over everything."

~~~~~~~~~~


You are deluding yourself, if you believe that's true true.

Once your property has been "up-zoned" your property would then be considered "non-conforming use" and you would be unable to make any significant changes to your dwelling. Eventually, you would most likely opt to sell but at a significantly reduced price from what your home would probably have sold for had the zoning not been changed. Buyers looking for quiet residential neighborhood will not be interested in a home that is zoned for high density use, and those willing to make an offer will not be making the same offer they would make for the home a block over that is still zoned residential only. So that would leave you with the option of hoping to sell to a developer, and if you think a developer is going to pay you what your home could have sold for prior to the zoning change, well your even more delusional than I thought, or your comment was tongue in cheek. Up-zoning of residential neighborhoods should be considered subtle cover for "eminent domain", 2014 style.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Slater
on May 15, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I constantly see this false conclusion that we can build enough housing to bring down prices. I've only seen housing costs come down during a sizable recession I've never seen prices in MV come down due to added housing stock. I suppose if you added half a million units you might affect housing costs but when you destroy the character of the city to achieve these goals will Google and other companies that settled here want to remain in Mountain View?
I suppose if they wanted the big city they would have started their companies there- Yes? In short, She's go my vote


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greedy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm

"Eventually, you would most likely opt to sell but at a significantly reduced price from what your home would probably have sold for had the zoning not been changed."

MVResident67, that is a very ignorant statement. The more people you can stuff on a lot, the more the property is worth. The higher you are allowed to build, the more it is worth. The developer cannot force you to sell and will be willing and able to offer more than a single family homebuyer. For example, the holdout property at Costco next to krispy kreme was offered more for his property by the developer than other homebuyers. Another example would be a 1/4 acre lot in downtown manhattan can be sold for a higher price now than when it only had single family homes on it.

Hope that helps you understanding!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

Greedy:

"The developer cannot force you to sell and will be willing and able to offer more than a single family homebuyer. For example, the holdout property at Costco next to krispy kreme was offered more for his property by the developer than other homebuyers."

~~~~~~~~~~

Can you please provide me with the offer details and source documentation for your above claim. Thanks.

BTW, what makes you think that all a homeowner cares about is how much they might be able to SELL their home for? Maybe a home owner simply wants to stay in their home because they like it, or perhaps the home was purchased several years ago and the homeowner is now retired and/or on a fixed income and the home is paid off...so, even if the homeowner was to sell, they would be unable to afford to purchase another comparable home nearby, or maybe the homeowner would like the home to remain in the family upon death so the home owners children can live in the home, or.....???

You are making sweeping generalizations about why someone may prefer to retain their hard earned private property and these generalizations betray your disdain for home owners.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greedy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

Yet another fact-free statement from MVResident67:
"so, even if the homeowner was to sell, they would be unable to afford to purchase another comparable home nearby, or maybe the homeowner would like the home to remain in the family upon death so the home owners children can live in the home, or.....???"

Why would the homeowner sell and want to live nearby??? What fantasy MV are you living in? "Uh, sure..I sold my house and moved next door..." Never heard of ANYONE doing that in MV.

If the single-family R1 downtown neighborhood is rezoned for 5 stories, then in this made-up scenario of yours, your imaginary friend could sell their property for several times what it is worth today. They could then take that extra money and move into a community that protects their residents neighborhoods. See? All is well...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 10:20 am


What Greedy quoted:

"so, even if the homeowner was to sell, they would be unable to afford to purchase another comparable home nearby, or maybe the homeowner would like the home to remain in the family upon death so the home owners children can live in the home, or.....???"

~~~~~~~~~~

What I posted:

Maybe a home owner simply wants to stay in their home because they like it, or perhaps the home was purchased several years ago and the homeowner is now retired and/or on a fixed income and the home is paid off...so, even if the homeowner was to sell, they would be unable to afford to purchase another comparable home nearby, or maybe the homeowner would like the home to remain in the family upon death so the home owners children can live in the home, or.....???


--> Editing comments to suit one's narrative is a tired schtick on forums. Try taking a comment in it's entirety.



~~~~~~~~~~

Greedy: "Why would the homeowner sell and want to live nearby???"


--> Any number of reasons...perhaps the home owner isn't happy that their neighborhood has been upzoned for high density development when they purchased their home in neighborhood zoned for single family use and they would like to stay in Mountain View, in single family home neighborhood? In reality it does not matter what one's reason is for wanting to remain in their private property...it's their privately owned property. Period.

~~~~~~~~~~


Greedy: "The developer cannot force you to sell and will be willing and able to offer more than a single family homebuyer. For example, the holdout property at Costco next to krispy kreme was offered more for his property by the developer than other homebuyers."


--> Still waiting for you to provide me with the offer details and source documentation for your above claim. Thanks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JakeB
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

MVResident67 still has not explain how upzoning a neighborhood can force a homeowner to sell at well below market rate and is instead making rude attacks. No examples, nothing. Just a baseless claim. Let's all ignore her statements as vacuous attempts to participate in a serious conversation outside her domain of knowledge.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm


"MVResident67 still has not explain how upzoning a neighborhood can force a homeowner to sell at well below market rate and is instead making rude attacks."

~~~~~~~~~~

Please show me where...

a) I have stated that "upzoning a neighborhood can force a homeowner to sell at well below market rate"?

and

b) I have made "rude attacks"


And, once you are done finding those items perhaps you could help "greedy" find the offer details and source documentation for the claim it made below...

greedy: "The developer cannot force you to sell and will be willing and able to offer more than a single family homebuyer. For example, the holdout property at Costco next to krispy kreme was offered more for his property by the developer than other homebuyers."

TIA



 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 17, 2014 at 12:11 am



Zoning To Protect The Neighborhood Commons
(BRADLEY C. KARKKAINEN)

Web Link

"This article contends that both supporters and critics of zoning have misconceived the nature of zoning. Zoning is only partially about protecting individual property owners against the effects of "spillovers" or negative externalities that adversely affect the market values of their property.[79] Specifically, zoning protects a homeowner's consumer surplus in a home and in the surrounding neighborhood, that lies above the market value of that home. This consumer surplus has essentially been overlooked and is fundamental to an understanding of zoning.

...snip...

Zoning in urban neighborhoods is not merely a system for protecting the market values of individual properties,[86] but rather is a device to protect neighborhood residents' interests in their entirety, including consumer surplus in their homes, as well as their interests in what this article calls the neighborhood commons.[87]

Although typically not addressed in the literature, which generally discusses only objectively measurable market values, the notion of consumer surplus in an individual parcel of property is quite straightforward.[88] The concepts of "home" in general, and "home ownership" in particular, are areas where consumer surplus are particularly important.[89] What distinguishes a mere "house" from a "home" is the consumer surplus we have in the latter. "Home" provides continuity, security, familiarity, and comfort for our most intimate and satisfying life experiences. The intimately bound ideas of home and family strike deep emotional chords in our culture. Since most people feel that these values cannot be reduced to dollars, people tend to be especially sensitive when the use and enjoyment of the home is threatened.[90] In part, this reflects the importance of a homeowner's financial stake, which typically represents a substantial part of that homeowner's net worth. If the only concern were to protect financial investments, however, monetary compensation for any loss of market value would be acceptable. Part of zoning's appeal lies in the fact that it allows homeowners to protect all the value we place in a home, including the consumer surplus that lies above and beyond the market price of the home.

The failure of zoning's critics to account for the importance of "home" to the homeowner suggests that their critiques are based on an incomplete cost-accounting. But the notion of individuals' consumer surplus in their homes, by itself, is not sufficient to explain or justify zoning. An adequate account of zoning must also deal with the collective values zoning seeks to protect. Zoning is a device that protects a neighborhood from encroachments by land uses inconsistent with its character, regardless of the positive or negative effects of a proposed development on the market values of individual properties.

...snip...

These features together make up the "character" of a neighborhood. They are what give the neighborhood its distinctive flavor. A purchaser[94] of residential property in an urban neighborhood buys not only a particular parcel of real estate, but also a share in the neighborhood commons. Typically, differences in the neighborhood commons may be as crucial to a decision to purchase as differences in individual parcels.[95]

...snip...

For many people, a high level of consumer surplus may attach to particular features of a neighborhood commons.[97] I may be particularly attached to my church, for example, or to a particular local club or political organization, or to a particular spot in a local park where I am accustomed to walk at sunset. These values are highly subjective and may not be widely shared by people who have never lived in the neighborhood, so they may add little or nothing to the market value of the property. Moreover, these resources are for the most part non-fungible and therefore irreplaceable. To me, enjoying the use of these resources is precisely what it means to live in my neigh borhood. In addition to protecting the market value of my home and my consumer surplus in that particular piece of real estate, I will naturally want to protect those collective resources of my neighborhood that I care about most, whether they are reflected in the market value of my property or are part of my consumer surplus.[98] These values can be almost priceless, especially for long-term neighborhood residents. Like one's home, one's neighborhood may be centrally bound up in one's definition of self and sense of his or her place in the world.

...snip...

Some neighborhood differences are simply inconsistent. For example, I might prefer a quiet, neighborly, low-density neighborhood of single-family homes, with access to parks and good neighborhood schools; you might prefer the faster pace, excitement and anonymity of a high-rise condominium in a high-density neighborhood featuring interesting restaurants, bistros, music venues, and trendy boutiques. Yet my house and your condo may have identical market values because some people are willing to pay the same price for my house as others are willing to pay for your condominium. In this example, the individual properties are themselves not interchangeable, but additional subjective value attaches to the features of the neighborhood that we each find desirable.

However, some of the same neighborhood features that add value to your property in your neighborhood might detract value from my property in my neighborhood. A hot new jazz club, for example, might be a welcome addition in your lively, trendy neighborhood, but would be a nuisance in my quiet neighborhood. To some extent, the spillover effects on your individual property are different; noise, traffic congestion, and heavy pedestrian traffic are presumably of less concern to you.

This example illustrates that some land uses are incompatible with the neighborhood commons that current property owners have come to rely on. It further illustrates that negative externalities are contextual. A land use that would have severe negative externalities in my neighborhood may be an amenity in your neighborhood.[99]

It is not always the case, however, that inconsistent uses will lower market values. Suppose my quiet single-family neighborhood is located within a few blocks of some successful high-rise developments. Absent some system of land-use control, a developer might acquire the previously single-family parcels adjacent to mine, and proceed to put up more high-rises. The value of my house may go down because of spillover effects from the new high-rise, but the value of my land may increase, as my property becomes attractive as a potential site for additional high-rise developments.[100] Under a market value based system, I would be entitled to no relief since my property is worth exactly what it was before. Yet under these circumstances many homeowners would feel aggrieved by this devel opment. In part this is because the direct spillovers (e.g., noise and aesthetics) would interfere with the use and enjoyment of my home. To recoup that loss by selling my home would subject me to the additional cost and inconvenience of moving.[101] More importantly, however, my loss of consumer surplus in this particular home would go uncompensated.[102]

Additionally, my neighbors and I may be equally concerned about the effect of the new high-rise development on the neighborhood. The coming of the first high-rise means, at least initially, more intensive uses of the neighborhood commons (e.g., streets, side walks, on-street parking, public transportation facilities, etc.) which means that more people are competing for diminishing shares of fixed resources (e.g., on-street parking). Again, since land prices may rise, the result may be that I suffer no net financial loss.[103] But what I suffer now (in addition to my uncompensated loss of consumer surplus in my own home) is a loss of consumer surplus in my interest in the neighborhood commons. In short, the neighborhood is taking the first step toward becoming something other than the neighborhood where I chose to live. Although difficult to place in quantitative terms, the loss is great.

What's wrong with this? Well, nothing, I suppose, unless you were that homeowner who had been quite happy with your home and neighborhood but now find them to be no longer what they were. Of course you can move, but it may not be easy (and in some crucial respects is impossible) to replicate those features of your old home and neighborhood that made your life what it was.

Zoning is aimed at preventing, or at least limiting, precisely these kinds of changes in the use of property that are disruptive of a neighborhood's character because they are inconsistent with current uses of the neighborhood commons.[104] These include changes in density, as well as shifts from residential to commercial or industrial uses.[105]

...snip...


V. CONCLUSION

This article has argued that, by limiting their analyses of zoning costs and benefits to monetizable values, both defenders and critics of zoning have substantially missed the mark. While zoning does have significant effects on the market values of individual parcels, and larger-scale economic consequences as well, a complete cost accounting must also consider zoning's role in protecting crucial, non-monetizable values. These include each homeowner's surplus in his or her home, as well as neighborhood residents' interest in preserving the unique set of common neighborhood resources—the neighborhood commons—upon which they rely. Far from being trivial, or mere ancillary values, "home" and "neighborhood" are central components of our identities. Precisely because these values are notoriously insusceptible to objective valuation, we afford them property rule protection in the form of zoning laws.

Thus conceived as a means of protecting the legitimate interests of current neighborhood residents, zoning regulations should be flexible to change over time, sensitive to unique neighborhood concerns and contexts, and based upon a participatory process. Citizen participation both gives voice to the interests of current neighborhood residents and provides the most effective safeguard against corruption of the zoning process.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 17, 2014 at 12:18 am

greedy: "Why would the homeowner sell and want to live nearby??? What fantasy MV are you living in? "Uh, sure..I sold my house and moved next door..." Never heard of ANYONE doing that in MV."

Neighbors on my street neighbor sold their house and purchased the house next door to it. Well technically, they purchased the house next door first then remodeled it and moved in, then they put their old house - the one next door to their new house - on the market. It's a fact, Jack.

Next.

(And, no I am not going to identify the person or even the street by name, however I imagine the details wouldn't be too difficult to find do some basic public records searches. Have at it.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greedy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 17, 2014 at 6:07 am

" they purchased the house next door first then remodeled it and moved in, then they put their old house - the one next door to their new house - on the market"

Sounds like such a common scenario. "yeah, had to go buy my neighbors house and own two houses for a few years. Life is just so difficult at times..."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 17, 2014 at 8:39 am

greedy:

"Why would the homeowner sell and want to live nearby??? What fantasy MV are you living in? "Uh, sure..I sold my house and moved next door..." Never heard of ANYONE doing that in MV."

~~~~~~~~~~

You said you had never heard of anyone doing that, now you have. As for why my neighbors wanted to do that, try...because they LOVE the neighborhood they live in, but were in need of a larger home.

Aaaaand...

First you were incredulous at the thought of someone actually selling their home so they could move next door, and now you begrudge someone who actually did as much because they had the financial wherewithal to do what they did?

Thank you for tipping your hand. I hope you find a way to enjoy, what appears to be, your bitter and envious life.


Good day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greedy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 17, 2014 at 9:19 am

I can't wait until the city zones our neighborhood for high density. I'll be able to cash out very wealthily and the many new residents that live on my lot can crowd together and say they live in "beautiful mountain view."

There are quite a few disabled individuals that could move in and be by the post office. Why can't we help our unfortunate brothers and sisters out?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BvP
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

"There are thousands of geeks living in crappy apartments waiting for a decent place to buy in MV..."

I thought most "geeks" working in MV made pretty good money. I've always tried to find jobs with a reasonable commute. If you don't like the commute, look for work elsewhere. Don't expect a community to change just for you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

Apparently this needs to be said again and again:

We could build 10,000 more apartments in Mountain View, and rental prices would not come down, given the number of new jobs in the pipeline. Developers will not be building much low-cost housing, either. Why should they, when they can get a far better income stream from "luxury" apartments?

The same dynamic holds for ownership housing. Anyway, not much of that is getting built.

The "build, build, build" argument benefits only developers. We could ruin the city trying to chase that illusion. At this point, I'll be looking for Council candidates who might exercise some damage control.

I've been to a number of EPC meetings. Ms. Matichak's record on the EPC has been one of trying to moderate some of the stupider excesses in the proposals that have come before the EPC. And she has NOT been against all development - just a voice of moderation, IMO.


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Posted by G. Jefferson
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

Am I the only one who detects "fear of the other" in the "preserve neighborhood character" argument? I hesitate to use the "R" word but I can't help but hear it underlying the tone of some of these comments.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by former mtn view resident
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 5:09 am

@ G. Jefferson,

you are exactly right about "fear the other" . I was told by one former council member that the no growth side council has made the following statements;

1 - "I'll decide who lives in my neighborhood"

2 - "We need to be more picky in who we let in town"


Amazingly , these comments were printed in the MV Voice and so one raised a concern.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @former mtn view resident
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 8:40 am

I have searched this website for the two comments above attributed to council members. I could not find any articles with those quotes. Could you please provide a link?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 20, 2014 at 9:45 am

"R word?" "fear of the other?" This is an obvious attempt to degrade the discussion.

This is trolling, and a pretty nasty example.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 20, 2014 at 10:17 am

@Bob,

The trolling has become so prevalent and obnoxious that, for the most part, I have opted out of responding/engaging with those types of folks. Funny how apparently some folks feel so threatened by people with different opinions from their own, that evidently they have resorted to posting inflammatory and disparaging comments about others

I am familiar with the species = don't like the conversation...try to derail it. Trolling 101.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Former Mtn view resident
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm

@@foemer mtn view resident, a resident of another community


Ask Mr Debolt. I am not you research assistant


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @former mtn view resident
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm

That's what I thought. A troll and a liar, and not very good at either.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph Blough
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I would be surprised if s/he was anyone's research assistant, s/he cannot provide support for the claims s/he made.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't have the time
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Make me an offer and I will find the quotes. Otherwise it's just not worth my time. Put your money where your mouth is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @former mtn view resident
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Sure, find the quotes and you get credibility, of which you have zero right now. Your mouth got you into this mess, not mine. A councilmember would be a complete fool to make those quotes, let alone make them publicly. This site makes it quite easy to perform searches and I did not find either of those.

The quotes don't exist. If you "find the time" and actually locate them, I'll be more than happy to acknowledge you are right. I won't hold my breath though.

Either back up your claim or drop it or keep up with the excuses. But I'm not going to bother with this ridiculous back and forth. In my original post to you, I politely asked for a link as I couldn't find the quotes. Your reply was somewhat rude and more importantly told me that the quotes don't exist. The "I don't have the time" or "do your own homework" replies are tired, old excuses that have been used for years. Like I said, if you locate them, I will be happy to acknowledge you are right. Otherwise, further discussion is pointless.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No excuses
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm

You have as much credibility with being unable to locate the source. You claim the quotes don't exist but only offer your silly excuse of not looking hard enough. I could care less what you think and you offer no incentive except a pat on the back. When I have lots of extra time I will locate at least one of the quotes but could care less how you feel.

Again your excuses are no better than mine


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Last Reply To You
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm

"You claim the quotes don't exist but only offer your silly excuse of not looking hard enough."

I never said I didn't look hard enough. Again, you're making things up. I said the quotes don't exist.

"Again your excuses are no better than mine"

I never made any excuse.

Your lack of logic is mind numbing. Bye.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by More excuses
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2014 at 6:44 pm

So because you can't find the quotes, you claim they don't exist.. How silly. You are arrogant to assume things only exist if you observe them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Lisa M. is the best candidate running. She is intelligent, learned in planning (having served on the EPC as its chairperson), and not bought by the huge developers who are actually driving the rental prices ever upward.

"To preserve the quality of life" still allows growth, just not plugging huge high rise infill into every little nook and cranny of already existing neighborhoods. Lisa actually knows better where to really go for some new housing. Surrounding areas will match each other in their number of floors to preserve privacy on the properties that cost plenty to purchase when private, but become worth less to their inhabitants when seemingly endless construction results in ugly stuff that mismatches in style and height to everything already there.

I've met her long ago, long before she became a candidate, and I discussed with her her ideas. The result of an actual dialog and continuing observation of her performance on the EPC results in trust in her and her ability to add housing without ruining MV. Vote for her, and when she wins = win-win for all of us.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 22, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Note to "Greedy":

If zoning changes in your neighborhood to allow high density high rise building, you will find your property has become worth a lot less to you. Not just because it is less enjoyable to you, but simply because you will now be non-conforming, and grandfathered in only if you do not modify in any way or substantially repair your building.

You think this doesn't matter because you plan to sell out or demolish and build high rise yourself? But you cannot. Why? The big developers alone can afford to build, as condos & apts. sell from the top down, so the whole thing must be finished to re-coop any $$. Only the really big guys have enough money to do this. No money will ever be loaned from any institution to you for such a project. Too much risk in going with a small, novice developer.

And the big developers can offer you less for your property once it is non-conforming than they would have to without that status. And the small buyers won't want to buy anything with all the issues the nonconforming status carries.

Catch on and be careful what you wish for!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greedy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Linda, it sounds like you have some knowledge that I do not. If my R-1 neighborhood is re-zoned to R-8 and I want to take one of my three bathrooms and convert it into a walk-in closet, are you telling me that the city will deny my permit? That doesn't make any sense.

Our neighborhood won't be rezoned without a specific development project in mind and it will be lucrative for myself and my neighbors. I've had many friends and associates over the years go through this before. Finally, my turn!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @Greedy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Money isn't everything. Most of us would rather have a decent place to live. I don't think that's asking too much.

With a decent city council, this city might not go downhill quite so fast.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Matt C
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2014 at 11:36 am

Folks,

Please forgive the intrusion, I am not a MV resident and was sent the URL to this article from a friend and MV resident who is a Google-ite and has been almost all his career. He and I have been buds since grad school (since abt. 20 yrs. ago), so I have heard from him re MV's issues as it has become the ever-expanding home to start-ups.

I used to live in the Washington DC area. For diff. reasons, DC has the same probs it sounds like MV has been having. As the population of the US has asked for and gotten more and more services from the federal gov't, they have had to hire more and more ppl and seek out more and more non-gov'tal sources of services and goods: i.e., contract workers and vendors. Almost 1/3 of my employed time in the DC area was with contract service cos. So the reasons for the rapid demand increase for workers was different, but the result was the same -- insanely-long commutes, mega-commuting for some (e.g.: Leave no. Jersey by commuter rail to Philly, connect to DC by another commuter train, then DC metro from the city to the nearest metro stop, then from there, walk. The less-fortunate may have to add a bus ride from a metro stop to a suburban area in so. MD or no. VA, then to walk from there. 4 hrs. to a job, 8+ at it, then 4 hrs. back. Life? None, exc. weekends, when you probably just slept all day), crazy housing prices.

Fortunately for me, I found a house when prices in no. VA hadn't gone totally insane yet, but $188k was still high for the typical townhouse, which is what I bought mine at. The sellers had bought it 20 yrs. prior for abt. $70k.

After 7 years there and enduring 2-hr. commutes by car from no. VA (no. Fairfax county in fact, very close to DC) into DC, I had had it. I didn't want to live in DC and grew weary of constant unpredictable disruptions in downtown such as crazies doing things like driving a tractor into the National Mall pool, protesters blocking traffic, the president's coming and going blocking traffic around 16th and Con'n, etc. So I moved, despite the lucrative job market and seemingly endlessly-appreciating value of my home. But for every one of me, there were 10 others glad to take my place, if even temporarily (until they too had their fill).

Housing prices in DC still are rising despite the continued dev't in MD and VA, insane congestion, price of goods, etc.

So my point's this: If you build it, not only will they come, they'll keep coming, and ever-more of them, until the job market is sated. That's how it works. But keeping limited the no. of avail. housing units in the area will only keep driving up prices further and faster than if more dev't was allowed in MV. But ppl who remark that demand will still be increasing as will prices even if dev't is less restricted than today are also right. It's a matter of degrees. Do you want to be dropped into a vat of boiling oil or get into a vat of hot oil sitting on a fire and let it kill you slowly as it gets hotter and hotter? It's death or death-by-woof-woof*, take your pick.

_____

*"Woof-woof", or "Death by woof-woof", is the punchline to a joke. "Death by woof-woof" refers to the commission of unspeakable forms of assault on a person including but limited to ____(redacted in the name of good taste)____. You get the idea. Despite the far-from-funny nature of "woof-woof", the joke itself is actually quite amusing in its own way. But I'll refrain from repeating it here, again, in the name of good taste.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV_resident
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:08 am

I am one of the few I guess that lives and works in town.
Mountain View did not used to be 5 stories high everywhere.
So... the character of MV is changing, or has already.
Start putting up 5 story buildings south of ECR and see how fast development stops.

I understand the cost of housing is going up... beyond what most can afford.
People will do what they have always done when this happens, more people per house or apartment. It is simple math, too much cost, share the cost with more people.
I am not arguing whether it is good or bad, but it is what is happening, like it or not.
Unless You are willing to put up 40 story buildings, You are not going to create enough housing to make a difference.
I do not know what the answer is, I don't think anyone does.


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