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Council offers support for project at Castro and El Camino

Original post made on Jan 22, 2014

While not yet final, on Tuesday a majority of City Council members gave thumbs up to a four-story apartment project which aims to house most of the existing businesses at the corner of Castro Street and El Camino Real.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 1:28 PM

Comments (84)

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Daniel DeBolt clearly works for Greystar or failed his high school journalism class. The parking numbers he cites are a farce. From the city's own report (link below) on page one states, "The nine parcels are currently developed with commercial buildings totaling 22,380 square feet 134 parking spaces and landscaping."

Good job Daniel, thanks for bringing the concern of losing half the commercial parking to our attention. Is it also concerning that the city's parking study didn't include Madera? Again, Daniel reported that question that Siegel and McAlister clearly understand. Thanks, MV Voice. I know where I go for my news...

1. Web Link


Posted by Are you kidding?!?!, a resident of Castro City
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm

So they are drastically increasing the need for parking spaces, but they are reducing the number of available spaces. Its OK though, the DEVELOPER is saying there should be ample parking.

Good lord people, this is a terrible idea for anyone except the developer who's ONLY goal is to make as much profit as possible. Just add the number of dwellings that will be increased, make mandatory parking avail for them on top of what exists currently for the retail. That's the right plan. It may not be best for the developer but its best for the citizens of MV. Sad the council no longer puts the needs of the citizenry first.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Developer Greystar knew going in that it had 5 votes.
Only Jac Siegel and John McAlister listen to neighborhood concerns.

When are we going to get smart and elect Council members who will listen to residents and not just developers?


Posted by Wording, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

"Residents were split over the project"

I suppose. If you consider approximately 20+ speakers opposed and 3 in favor as "split".


Posted by Milk Pail, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Too bad for the Milk Pail that Ronit Bryant does not shop there. If she did they too would receive the favors of a council person. How is this any different? Disgraceful.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I was at that study session last night and find it hard to believe that this is Mr. Debolt's take of what transpired last night. Seriously? It's like he (DeBolt) was either at a different study session or has some comprehension issues. My statements are not meant to be a personal attack, but to quote Jac Siegal "it scares the bejesus out of me" to think that ANYONE could have left the study session last night and could publish the above article and believe it is unbiased and accurately reflects what went on last night???

IIRC, there were TWO people from the public who strongly supported the project -- as is -- and every other member of the public who spoke had concerns about the project as it currently stands. Not that many speakers were not in favor of the project in general, but certainly not in favor of the project as it currently stands.

Also, the of the three council members were opposed to a 4th floor on Castro street and a 4th council member expressing concerns about the "mass" of the 4th floor along Castro Street as currently proposed. So, council was pretty much SPLIT on the notion of the 4th floor of the project along Castro Street. How did Mr. Debolt miss that part of council's comments? Actually, Debolt apparently missed a LOT of what went on last not...a LOT.

Residents of Mountain View should be very afraid.

In the words of Buffalo Springfield:

"...it's time we stop, hey what's that sound
everybody look what's goin' down..."


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

@Wording,

How about the 555 people who signed the petition opposing the project?

Reality is that 5 council members are proxies for the out of town developers. Every developer knows that any project they want to do in Mountain View is already pre-approved.


Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Sounds reasonable to me. The new project will have 49% of the retail space but 60% of the parking space of what's there now. And Avis will stop using parking spaces, like they do now. And there will be one parking spot for every bedroom built. What's the problem?


Posted by Sean, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

What the heck happened to beautiful Mt. View? It's nothing but traffic! When is someone gonna probe deeper and find out who's getting all the cash kickbacks from the developers? We need some real journalists to come in and uncover what's going on. By the way, the corner of El Camino and San Antonio is an eye sore! Who came up with that gem? Or should I say, who got paid to overlook it? Our city council is as effective as Congress! What a shame!


Posted by More Traffic!?, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm

The traffic light at Castro & El Camino is already the most backed up spot on all of El Camino. It takes 15 min to travel from Shoreline to Grant during afternoon rush hour. How does this project address this growing traffic headache?


Posted by Chick-fil-haay!!!, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Yet again, the city council bends over for the developers. I'm shocked!


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Martin,
Read the first post and you'll see that it's 45% of the parking, which isn't a great way to generate traffic to the small businesses. You can verify that against the link taking you to the city's study. Also, the concern with 1 bedroom and 1 parking space is that at $3k+ a month, there will likely be a number of couples inhabiting the 1 bedroom apartments and two parking spaces will be required.


Posted by let'sgetreal, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Notice how councel members don't leave comments here? I bet they don't even read The View, or these comments. Why should they, they are councel members. Sick.


Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

I looked closely at the drawings. From above the layout looks nice but the elevation from El Camino, wow that's huge. Look at how it dwarfs the little stores next door. I could go with 2 or maybe 3 stories but 4 is too big. Could we please keep the view in Mountain View for the rest of us, not just those who will inhabit the upper floors of these buildings? You know, the rest of us down here on the ground? I'd like to see drawings that depict the amount of sun, or lack of it, that the adjoining buildings will receive during the winter. Plus one has to wonder if all the tall trees in the elevation will actually be there after it's built.

Say NO to over-development, council!


Posted by Bruno, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm

"I go to Peet's (coffee), I go to Rose (market), several times per week," said council member Ronit Bryant of two of the existing businesses that would have new spaces on the first floor of the development. "It's absolutely not acceptable to lose them. The businesses we love and want to keep will be in a new building. If this moves forward, they will be protected."

Hey, if Ronit goes to these places they must stay. Places she doesn't personally frequent are disposable. Maybe I should start sending her some gift cards to places I like, if that's how it works.


Posted by Seeing Clearly, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Now that we've read the story about how the council went happily along with the developer, can we get a story about how the vast majority of the community member who showed up voiced their opposition?

We know the council members are rubber stamps for the developers, but the true story here is how the community is opposed to this and how the council seems to not care one bit.

Do we need to recall some of these termed out council members before damage is done? Developers love to donate to campaigns and I know some ave political aspirations after being council members. Just say yes to big development and the donation check for your County seat election will be in the mail.

I'd also like to see a bit more critical reporting from the Voice on this. The story really ignored or covered over all the opposition as was already commented on.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Correcting my rather garbled last paragraph:

Also, three council members were opposed to a 4th floor on Castro street and a 4th council member expressed concerns about the "mass" of the 4th floor along Castro Street as currently proposed...so, council was pretty much SPLIT on the notion of the 4th floor of the project along Castro Street. How did Mr. Debolt miss that part of council's comments? Actually, Debolt apparently missed a LOT of what went on last night...a LOT.

Residents of Mountain View should be very afraid.

In the words of Buffalo Springfield:

"...it's time we stop, hey what's that sound
everybody look what's goin' down..."

~~~~~~~~~~


Re-reading the article and I am STILL dumbfounded, the word shameful comes to mind. Just, wow.

Below is a link to Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, in case anyone needs a refresher on the tenets.

Web Link

First on the list: — "Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible."


Posted by As Seen Here, a resident of Bailey Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm

The biggest problem with not reporting the entire story is that 1) people will quickly find out they aren't getting the full story, and 2) people will assume there are secret under the table favors being done.

Though the intent may be good, it serves no benefit to try and paint a happy civic face on something that has so many frowning citizens behind it.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm

"Opponents' chief complaints were about a perceived parking problem in the plans."

~~~~~~~~~~

Seems to me that the parking issue was one of NUMEROUS concerns speakers mentioned. Also mentioned, repeatedly, was concern over increased traffic congestion, which goes hand in hand with concern about pedestrian safety (noting that Graham Middle School is just a few hundred feet of this proposed development) Also mentioned, repeatedly, was the inadequate sidewalk width along Castro Street (relates to pedestrian safety concerns as well as enhances the wall/canyon effect the FOUR stories will have when viewed from the street. Also mentioned, repeatedly, was concern about the overall mass of the project, particularly along Castro Street where the current design creates a long (several hundred feet long) four story wall from El Camino Real to Sonia Drive...well, it does step down to two stories before it encroaches onto the single story homes on Sonia, so there's that.

Parking is a big deal...evidently staff keeps falling back on it's recently adopted "parking model" of 1 parking place per bedroom and cites projects which support this model, but when council FINALLY asked the question "were any of the projects in that study mixed use projects?", the answer is "No" So, there you have it, someone is wanting to apply a parking standard for a residential only development to a mixed use project. Sneaky, huh? How about we have the city do parking studies on RECENT mixed use projects, which are not within short walking distance to Cal Train or light rail (since this project is near neither type of mass transit).

Oh, and why does the city provide free parking lots and on street parking for people to patronize business downtown (Castro Street!) yet for some reason certain council members don't seem to believe that the developer should be able to purchase a city owned FREE parking lot, and turn around and not provide adequate free parking for the retail businesses/restaurants and residents that will call this new development home? Woah...


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Sorry, need to try to make more comprehensible:

Oh, and why does the city of Mountain View provide free parking lots and on street parking for people to patronize business downtown (Castro Street!) yet for some reason certain council members don't seem to have any concern over the developer being allowed to purchase a city owned FREE parking lot - that helps provide parking for the retail businesses/restaurants - and then turn around (redevelop) and not provide adequate free parking for the retail businesses/restaurants (and residents) that will call this new development home?

Woah...


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Not just Siegel and McAlister objected to four stories on the buildings not right along ECR, but Margaret Abe-Koga visualized the Castro Street building at four stories and spoke against letting it cut through our neighborhood at that height! So three of the council members came through on the height issue AND all three of them also objected to the parking formula being applied here. It makes no sense. Retail relies on quick, easy, abundant parking to stay alive, especially after moving twice to be there, or being out of business for two+ years while this is to be built (like Rose Market), plus all of them facing the loss of their current rental rates after, what, a 5 or is it a 10 year grace period after their final move? If Ronit loves Peet's and Rose, why didn't she help them? The parking shortage she endorsed (because asking $40K per space for more parking from a developer who is going to get tremendously wealthy from this development) will kill what she loves and uses. Hate to see what she does to what she hates and has no need for! Keep on McAlister, Siegel and Abe-Koga, you three have it right. And Mr. DeBolt, you have it way wrong! I've never seen you miss the whole jest of a council meeting before. What happened? Didn't you see that the two sides of council on these issues were a hair's width apart? Even our new mayor "requested" as opposed to almost "requiring" more retail space, but was still very much for it, which seemed to carry as a strong desire for everyone there. Even Mr. Dan Diebel of Greystar is more neutral in appeasing everyone than your slanted treatment of what occurred last night showed you to be, Mr. Dan DeBolt. The Dan working for Greystar is looking into placing Gochi's fab restaurant on top of Peet's just to squeeze it in. Let's applaud him for that! And with the public speakers at nearly 100% against this plan as it now stands, we can hardly consider this a split in public opinion or done. On top of that, the total count on the petition against it hit 555 last evening just before the meeting and it is still ongoing at:

Web Link

and we will continue to bring it to the attention of everyone we know! This is not over.


Posted by Rodger, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Let's elect City council members this Nov that will vote NO on this kind of density, we are not San Francisco we are a suburb. This could be stopped with more people like Jac Siegel. Don't forget vote the Council members who voted yes on this project out of office in Nov.


Posted by David Speakman, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:05 pm

This is exactly the type of development that should happen on El Camino Real.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Below is the link to the webcast of the council study session that Mr. Debolt has "reported" on in the above article.

I urge anyone who was not present at this study session to watch/listen to linked webcast in order to get an ACCURATE understanding of just what went on at this session and just how strongly some council members felt about the 4th story of this development proposal, as well as the range of opinions on the "model parking standard" - which btw is NOT what is spelled out in the city code - in fact it deviates from city code, yet somehow this "model parking standard" has now become the defacto "standard" that developers are hitching their wagons to and city council continues to approve, at the expense of the residents...all of which is quite simply, wrong.

Watch the webcast and see & hear for yourselves just how many people spoke in favor of the proposed development as currently proposed and how many people spoke expressing numerous concerns about the development as currently proposed.

Once the filter of the journalist bias has been removed, what remains is truth.

City Council Webcast: Tuesday 2/21/14

Web Link


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm

David,
For the most part, people are not against development. The community residents just want to make sure their quality of life is not diminished so that a private developer can maximize his/her profits.


Posted by David 2, a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2014 at 12:08 am

The parking is a concern. A really big concern is funneling all of the egress from the underground and surface parking through the existing alley with no other option. The connection of the alley to Castro is too close to the intersection. It will be a mess. Sure, the alley can be taken back by the existing car wash location and exit to El Camino too, but that's quite a ways away.

The other issue with the parking is that 50 or so of the spaces that currently in use are used for existing businesses that will still be there after the new construction: Frankie Johnnie and Luigi is the biggest one but there are about 5 others. The rent a car franchise has its own parking inside its space and uses almost none of the shared lot. That's in the noise level.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 8:15 am

Posting in great support of this project. Mountain View (and the south bay in general) has long needed more housing, and it's good to see some get built despite the objections of the NIMBYs.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 9:30 am

@Resident,

If you watch/listen to the video as linked above, I think you will find that most speakers did not say that they were not in favor of the site being redeveloped period, but rather, they had concerns over the project proposal as it currently stands.

Care should be taken in an effort to conflate the two issues:

1) being against redevelopment of the site, period

vs

2) having concerns about the proposed development in it's current iteration


Again, watch/listen to what speakers had to say at the study session and I think you will find that most of the speakers fall into #2 category.









Posted by Not in my Mtn View, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

This is definitely NOT a NIMBY situation, its a NIMMV situation. There is city wide opposition to this project by MV residents.. This would be known if the Voice reported about how many people from all over MV signed the opposition petition.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:31 am

@David Speakman,

You make a good point. However, the vast majority of the 801 El Camino Real projects is NOT along El Camino Real but along Castro Street, part of the quiet Castro Park Neighborhood.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:44 am

Folks we can rant and rave till hell freezes over.
The ONLY solution is to work together to elect 4 Council; members to represent us, the residents of Mountain View.

Take Back Mountain View!


Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:46 am

It concerns me that Ronit Bryant would even think to mention which Mountain View businesses she patronizes! That is completely irrelevant to making decisions about what is best for the community as a whole. Should I be losing sleep wondering if she ever shops at Milk Pail?


Posted by Parking, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 23, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Here's an issue I don't think was raised about the parking ratios. The staff spokesperson explained that one reason the parking ratios work is that generally the 1-bedrooms that use more than 1 car are balanced/offset by the 3-bedrooms that don't use 3 cars.

However, this project has an overwhelming majority of 1-bedrooms, and only 4 3-bedrooms. I'm not sure how that compares with other projects, but the "balancing" won't work in this case. Every 1-bedroom unit that uses more than 1 car will flow directly to parking overflow (offset only by the very few apartments that use 0 cars).


Posted by Congestion, a resident of Castro City
on Jan 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Another big issue is the traffic congestion this size development will create. LOTS of left hand turns from and onto Castro by patrons and residents and in creased congestion at the Castro ECR intersection.
It does not have to be 4 stories tall.


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm

It's been a long standing issue here: the city is run by city staff, for their own benefit. Unless we can find a city council with enough vision to recognize that the citizen's best interests are different, and enough backbone to represent the people instead of the hired help, it'll stay business as usual.
Cry all you want... no one is listening.


Posted by Ear, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I'm listening Steve.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Amazing to Me, by OMV Resident

It's amazing to me... how well-meaning people can dump all over a proposal to add a modest amount of housing, when prices have been driven so high by so much un-met demand.

It's amazing to me... that commenters like 'Congestion' can make such presumptuous statements like 'It does not have to be 4 stories tall' when our recently-adopted General Plan called development taller than this at key points along El Camino, and where land values justify so much more.

It's amazing to me that people on my own neighborhood email list repeatedly call 3 or 4-story developments 'high rises.' Have you never visited other cities, that have true high-rises of 25, 50 or 75 stories, to know how small-minded and ridiculous you sound? Have you not noticed that there is a 12-story building (a mid-rise, in honesty), just a few blocks away on Castro, and the world hasn't come to an end?

It's amazing to me... how much my fellow residents can exaggerate about traffic. Seriously, 'More Traffic!?', 15 minutes to get from Shoreline to Grant Road? Pull out a stopwatch the next few times you drive that stretch. I guarantee that it will never take you more than 5 to 7 minutes.

It's amazing to me... that 'Sean' would call the El Camino & San Antonio corner an eyesore, while overlooking the fact that this corner is way worse (vacant lot with remants of a burned-down building).

Most of all, it's amazing to me... that almost to a person, Mountain View residents will say, "I love living here and wouldn't trade it for the world" and in the same breath "if you approve [development x], life here is going to be a living hell." It's worth stepping back to realize that similar things were being said (maybe even by the same people) 5, 10 or 20 years ago in Mountain View, before some other developments were constructed. So everyone flipped out back then, the development came, and viola! - people still love living here. This new development may or may not get approved. Others will get built. People will still treasure living in Mountain View, even as it becomes just a bit more urban. It's part of growing up as a City. Let's keep some perspective.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm


It's amazing to me that evidently some people cannot understand (or choose to dismiss) why residents living in a neighborhood of single family homes and small two story apartment units, and who are considered "stakeholders" as it relates to this development proposal, might have concerns about a development that will is going to dramatically change their lives and their literal "home" every single day for as long as they stay in their residence.

There is a reason these residents are considered "stakeholders" and are receiving notifications from the city regarding this development, and to those who seem to blithely, and often condescendingly, chastise these residents...well, I am embarrassed for you.






Posted by The Milk Pail, a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Hello "Milk Pail",

I noticed you have borrowed the name I have used in this community for 40 years. While I appreciated your thoughts, please don't confuse the erudite readers of the Voice by suggesting you are speaking for me. Maybe you can create the nomme de plume "Pale Beer" or "Cheeze Whiz" as an alternative?
Many thanks,
Steve Rasmussen
Owner,
the Milk Pail Market
ps... I too believe that planning departments and City Councils in many local municipalities are struggling with understanding how developers over-build and under-park projects. The tenants and the community sometimes both lose.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 7:23 am

@MVResident67
I recognize that people living near or far from the site may have legitimate concerns about the development. Many of those concerns have been addressed in this iteration of the proposal, in ways such as stepping down the building height towards the residences in the back and working with the existing small businesses to accommodate them in the new buildings. The productive thing to do is continue to make constructive comments at meetings, send emails, speak with your Council representatives, to lobby for changes to the project

What I was mainly responding to in my post was the huge exaggerations and 'the sky is falling' claims made by a lot of the posters above, pretty clearly to just kill the project. Notice I did reference your posts, which I thought (until the last one) were somewhat more grounded. The folks who deliberately exaggerate and spread false claims, who accuse our Council members of taking kickbacks with no proof whatsoever, to try to get their way - those are the folks who should be embarrassed.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 7:25 am

Edit to the post above, 2nd paragraph:
Notice I did NOT reference your posts, which I thought (until the last one) were somewhat more grounded.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2014 at 8:24 am

OMV Resident:

"I recognize that people living near or far from the site may have legitimate concerns about the development. Many of those concerns have been addressed in this iteration of the proposal, in ways such as stepping down the building height towards the residences in the back and working with the existing small businesses to accommodate them in the new buildings. The productive thing to do is continue to make constructive comments at meetings, send emails, speak with your Council representatives, to lobby for changes to the project"

~~~~~~~~~~


Clearly there is a difference of opinion between what you believe is adequate in terms of addressing the numerous concerns regarding this development proposal and what the majority of residents - and some council members - believe would be adequate when it comes to addressing these concerns.


As far as I can tell, I have very limited recourse when it comes to actually having the ability to influence decisions regarding this development proposal. I tried to sign up for El Camino Real Advisory Committee (was not selected to serve). I attend every city meeting I am able to attend, and the meetings I am unable to attend I watch online. I have spoken out with my concerns about this project at council meetings. I have sent letters to city council expressing my concerns about this project...yet, still, I feel like my voice - and the voices of numerous residents of Mountain View - is either not being heard or is simply being dismissed.

I find it hard to believe that I am the only resident who feels this way.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2014 at 10:33 am

Seeing Clearly:

"Now that we've read the story about how the council went happily along with the developer, can we get a story about how the vast majority of the community member who showed up voiced their opposition?"

...snip...

"I'd also like to see a bit more critical reporting from the Voice on this. The story really ignored or covered over all the opposition as was already commented on."

~~~~~~~~~~



Second.


I was so dumbfounded by Mr. Debolt's article, that I feel compelled to question the propriety of publishing such an article, supposedly as an accurate and unbiased summary of what transpired at the Council Study Session on Tuesday 1/21/14.

Embarcadero Media is the parent of Mountain View Voice. Tom Gibbony is listed as the publisher, tgibboney(at)almanacnews(dot)com

Andrea Gemmett is listed as the managing editor of the Mountain View Voice, agemmet(at)almanacnews(dot)com


Web Link


Posted by Council having cake and eating it too, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

A factor animating some community frustration here is Council's insistence on having it both ways. Promote job growth from big employers, yet when they offer to build convenient housing -- no, that won't do. Instead, build new housing across town. Force people onto the roads daily. (Some on Council even indulge in public fantasy about monorails -- or was it personal 'copters?)

Compare Joe Simitian's approach (from today's new Voice article linked below):

'[MV] City Council ... opposed the 1,000 new homes Google officials asked to build north of Highway 101... where Google, Intuit and others are set to rapidly grow, but where the council majority say homes would cause too many environmental impacts on wildlife and be too much like college dormitories. In contrast, Simitian said that Palo Alto required 3,000 new homes when Stanford proposed 2 million square feet of new development. "I said I can support all that but I want to require, not allow, the 3,000 units of housing," Simitian recalled of the proposal, telling Stanford that "as you grow your facilities, we need you to grow your housing supply." That plan was ultimately approved.'

Web Link


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

OMVResident, you are exactly right when it comes to understanding why the majority of council ignores the no-growthers.

"What I was mainly responding to in my post was the huge exaggerations and 'the sky is falling' claims made by a lot of the posters above, pretty clearly to just kill the project."

Such claims that these projects are destroying the neighborhood fabric are gross exaggerations. Unlike most elected officials, council members live in this community and can see the impact of development.

As to opposition, a survey of 500 signatures ignores the 40000 adult residents that didnt sign the petition. Prometheus turned in a petition of over 2000 signatures supporting the Madera compared to the few hundred the no-growthers turned in. To which the no-growther on the council responded, "anyone can get signatures for a petition. It means nothing." Maybe he feels the same way about your petition but wants to pander to you so he acts like it means something.

Council listened very carefully to the local residents. They just dont believe most of what they claimed and they know from past experience the real impact of development produces more value to the community.

Council is elected is to reflect the values of the entire community, not just the values of those who show up at a council meeting. A council member that panders to the crowd is doing a disservice to our city.



Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

OMVResident, you are exactly right when it comes to understanding why the majority of council ignores the no-growthers.

"What I was mainly responding to in my post was the huge exaggerations and 'the sky is falling' claims made by a lot of the posters above, pretty clearly to just kill the project."

Such claims that these projects are destroying the neighborhood fabric are gross exaggerations. Unlike most elected officials, council members live in this community and can see the impact of development.

As to opposition, a survey of 500 signatures ignores the 40000 adult residents that didnt sign the petition. Prometheus turned in a petition of over 2000 signatures supporting the Madera compared to the few hundred the no-growthers turned in. To which the no-growther on the council responded, "anyone can get signatures for a petition. It means nothing." Maybe he feels the same way about your petition but wants to pander to you so he acts like it means something.

Council listened very carefully to the local residents. They just dont believe most of what they claimed and they know from past experience the real impact of development produces more value to the community.

Council is elected is to reflect the values of the entire community, not just the values of those who show up at a council meeting. A council member that panders to the crowd is doing a disservice to our city.



Posted by Council having cake and eating it too, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Jeez, not only won't it go away, it even posts in duplicate now.

For any visitors who don't know this already, "Political Insider" is long on demagoguery, but unfailingly selective with facts.

The latest example above cites 2000 signatures gathered by Prometheus Real Estate Group, but characteristically omits to mention the context. Those signatures were purchased via paid signature gatherers, working at supermarkets distant from the proposed development, and reported by passers-by to be making completely fabricated pitches, like claiming the proposed development would be housing for the poor or elderly. Those are the apartments the Voice now reports listing at 8000/month for high-end two-bedroom units. Those are the developer machinations that some people are happy to gloss over in Mountain View.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm

@Political Insider.

Well, at last you agree that the majority of council ignores us.

First, we are not "no-growthers", we are "smart-growthers" who are concerned about traffic, parking and the environment.

Second, we all know that 5 of the City Council members do NOT listen to members of the community. Michael Kasperzak disrespects us and insults us. It us well known in the San Francisco Bay area that these council, members go into a council meeting knowing that they are going to rubber stamp each and every development plan.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

@Political Insider:

I find it interesting that you seem to label anyone/everyone who has concerns about the development proposal 801 El Camino Real as a "no growther"...which evidently is supposed to be some sort of pejorative term. Nice.

~~~~~~~~~~

"Council listened very carefully to the local residents. They just dont believe most of what they claimed and they know from past experience the real impact of development produces more value to the community."

~~~~~~~~~~

I didn't "claim" anything when I addressed council. I expressed concerns about the development and asked that council consider those concerns as the project continues down path towards approval.

It's interesting that you seem to be one of those people who have chosen to dismiss the fact that residents living in a neighborhood of single family homes and small two story apartment units, and who are considered "stakeholders" as it relates to this development proposal, might have concerns about a development that will dramatically change their lives and their literal "home" every single day for as long as they stay in their residence.

This is not hyperbole, it is fact.

There is a reason these residents are considered "stakeholders" and are receiving notifications from the city regarding this development, and I'm pretty sure at least part of that reason is to engage these "stakeholders" in the process.

Keep on with the campaign of belittling and castigating those residents who are making an effort to be engaged in the process. I submit that it's people like you who keep the more timid among us from becoming engaged and offering their opinion. Good on you.


Posted by Council having cake and eating it too, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

FYI, I didn't sign any of the petitions mentioned here. But anyone who would seriously compare the tainted signatures procured professionally for Prometheus (which had virtually unlimited funds at its disposal for such purposes) to grass-roots community petition efforts must be either profoundly cynical, blinded by dogma, or paid to do so.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

"The latest example above cites 2000 signatures gathered by Prometheus Real Estate Group, but characteristically omits to mention the context. Those signatures were purchased via paid signature gatherers, working at supermarkets distant from the proposed development"

So what? Whats you point? Did they do a better job at collecting signatures?

"who are considered "stakeholders" as it relates to this development proposal, might have concerns about a development that will dramatically change their lives and their literal "home" every single day for as long as they stay in their residence.

This is not hyperbole, it is fact."

It is at best a subjective opinion, and not a fact. You also fail to understand the meaning of stakeholder.

"First, we are not "no-growthers", we are "smart-growthers" who are concerned about traffic, parking and the environment."

More hyperbole. I and most of the council could claim to be a smart growthers. No one knows what this term means because it is not used in academia. The council always studies the parking, traffic and the environmental impact of a project. Its never sufficient for no-growthers.





Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm

@Council having cake and eating it too

"But anyone who would seriously compare the tainted signatures procured professionally for Prometheus (which had virtually unlimited funds at its disposal for such purposes) to grass-roots community petition efforts must be either profoundly cynical, blinded by dogma, or paid to do so."

Pretty silly thinking but go ahead with the personal attacks. Your characterization as tainted and having unlimited funds shows lack of understanding. A lot of surveys are paid for by hiring individuals to collect signatures.

Try to come up with some better arguments and rely less on hyperbole.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm



"More hyperbole. I and most of the council could claim to be a smart growthers. No one knows what this term means because it is not used in academia."

~~~~~~~~~~

Really? Wow. Maybe I don't understand the definition "academia", either.




Livability and Smart Growth:

Web Link




PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education)
Center for Cities & Schools
at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development
University of California, Berkeley:

Web Link


Smart Growth America:
Web Link


Posted by Adrian, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Does anyone deal with the horrendous traffic in that very spot?? What are city council members thinking to approve this? Can you imagine...165 apartments, if each had a car, trying to get out of that complex onto el camino real. These developers could give a damn about the outcome of this development nightmare. Forget the parking spaces...this is all about traffic, traffic, TRAFFIC! Not to mention the schools, which are already impacted, and will not receive a dime of property taxes from the inhabitants of these apartments. They have already built an apartment monstrosity behind Whole Foods further north on El Camino, and you can already tell traffic is 4x worse. If we give these developers the green light every time, it will be as densely packed as 101--during rush hour, expect to wait 20 minutes at the 4 way lights at every block. Good freakin luck. I wish these greedy developers would go elsewhere. Reading this made my sick to my stomach.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Thank you, Adrian, for perfectly illustrating my point about wild exaggerations and false claims by opponents of the project.

"expect to wait 20 minutes at the 4 way lights at every block"
"you can already tell traffic is 4x worse"
Why stop with just 20 minutes and 4x worse -- why not say people will be waiting an hour at each light and claim traffic is already 17x worse?

"Not to mention the schools, which are already impacted, and will not receive a dime of property taxes from the inhabitants of these apartments."
Completely false claim about property taxes. This site will be reassessed at a much higher value when it is redeveloped, and the land owner will pay substantial taxes that will go to schools, police, fire, and other services. The owner will pass through the cost of the property tax to the residents through their rent.

No wonder why the Council tunes out the ravings of the project opponents... after a while it just turns into white noise.






Posted by Moffett Resident, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 24, 2014 at 11:20 pm

"No wonder why the Council tunes out the ravings of the project opponents... after a while it just turns into white noise."

"Ravings"? Just a little hyperbole here from "OMV Resident," eh?

He's right about the "Council tunes out" part, though. They do in fact seem to regard input from concerned residents as "white noise." I've seen this over and over at Council meetings. Residents get their two minutes each, while most of the Council looks as though their time is being wasted. Residents are just a bunch of NIMBYs, and a nuisance that must be tolerated for 30 minutes or so.

Then, as we all know quite well, they rubber-stamp whatever Planning had worked out with the developer, with bogus traffic studies and parking studies as a fig leaf.

This is why the next election is so important. The only way to fix this dysfunction is to elect new City Council members that actually represent the residents.


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

It's obvious that the developer trolls are on these blogs. They own city council and also want to stifle the citizens and tell us that we really aren't seeing what's going on.


Posted by Bloated Developer, a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jan 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

Hey Mountain View residents..you can keep your white noise comments to yourself. Yes, anything you say is white noise cause I OWN city council. They will do as I say and say as I do cause I gave them all the kickbacks they need to fund their retirement--it's really easy to do, your cheap asses should try it sometime. Now, while you sit there at your red lights fuming, I am taking my bloated self to that Chase bank at the very corner of Castro and El Camino to cash my checks, then merrily driving on 280 to my house in Hillsborough to get out of this congested mess. You think after all these years you insignificant residents would figure out how our US government works...both at federal, state, and local baby!


Posted by Adrian, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2014 at 10:46 am

"Old Mountain View Resident" you can't possibly be living in this area. You completely ignore the first and most important FACT of my comment...how do you add 165 cars going in and out of that complex into an already congested area? I am not exaggerating when I say during rush hour the wait behind the lights take an exceedingly long time. This development will not benefit current residents in any way, shape or form. Only the developers and City Council members who received money from these developers will benefit. Go develop your concrete jungle somewhere else, you can't "develop" on area that's already developed. End of story.


Posted by Lives in the Affected Neighborhood, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2014 at 10:51 am

Could someone please tell me what the name of this neighborhood is part of and why it's not on the dropdown list of choices? I'm talking about from the light at El Camino/Miramonte down El Camino to about the corner where Papa John's is located, then down into the neighborhood past Graham Middle School and on down Miramonte to about Hans and all the areas along Miramonte that are not OMV (behind the ball fields). THIS is my neighborhood and this development WILL impact the traffic, parking, and pedestrian safety. So all you others that don't live in this area really have no idea what it's like having others from other neighborhoods speeding through (in the school zones) and ignoring the safety of the current residents and the difficulties getting off our sidestreets and onto Miramonte/Castro. I literally drive by Rose Market, etc twice a day and usually sit at the light to turn left onto Castro to go home two cycles of the light. The future looks bleak to us that will have to deal with this huge monstrosity and increased traffic being added to the mix.
So...what is the name of our neighborhood? It's not Questa Park, not Blossom Valley, not Old Mountain View.


Posted by It will block out the sun, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

4 stories is going to cause huge prolonged shadows in a broad area. It does not have to be 4 stories tall. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE 4 STORIES TALL!!!!!


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2014 at 11:23 am

Lives in the Affected Neighborhood,

I believe the area you are asking about would all be considered part of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, based upon a CERT map found on the city's website. If you hit this link, then click on the graphic/map you should be able to open a PDF version of the map and zoom in to better view the various neighborhoods.

Web Link

I know people who live the area you describe and they get notifications from the city as part of the Cuesta Park neighborhood and are also on the Cuesta Park list server.

Hope that helps.


Posted by Interested reader, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2014 at 11:25 am

Good question, "Lives in."

Voice's annual neighborhood-guide insert printed by MountainViewOnline.com shows a gap, outside any named neighborhood, bounded by Castro, Miramonte, ECR.

Nextdoor.com's more detailed neighborhoods map (used to invite subscribers) shows most of that, though, as part of Cuesta Park neighborhood -- which extends W. of Castro to Miramonte in that map -- excepting a remaining gap near around the school(s) and the office complex near where Castro meets Miramonte.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Indeed 801 ECR does not have to be 4 stories tall, especially on Castro and behind the first building, the only one actually to be on ERC. This one building that is to be located on ECR might have been expected to go that high, but what of the other two buildings that = walls around those of us next door to them as am I? Right on the end of my street that now has less than 45 total residents, there will be hundreds of new residents, residents who will endanger our children and pets and wildlife when they use our little streets as their ECR since the real one will increasingly come to a stand still as more and more people are added to the mix in this area. All the new folks will walk their dogs on our streets (hope they bother to bring & use their poop scoops), and they will park on our streets, disturbing us every time they come & go, at all hours of the night and day. So I've spent my entire life improving a place I picked because it was calm and quiet. So whatever makes more money for the big guys goes, They can take over anything and change it however they see fit. Property rights no longer mean much.

Of course I must move after 40 years living here to make it nice for myself and those in these four-plexes if I want a quiet street because new folks will need to park here since there will certainly not be enough parking for them in their new digs because:
'
There will be nearly two thirds less parking provided for retail than there is now, with retail sq. ft. cut approximately in half. So, already out of balance (about 1/3 the parking for 1/2 the retail), but it gets worse: The stores leaving are those who are least used & that are using significantly less parking, like Avis or the huge, but under utilized, Persian "Rug Center". Compare this to the long lines at Rose or the place people park for hours to sit in, Peet's. And Gochi's crowd comes only at night so it doesn't compete at all with it's day time neighbor stores, but Gochi's is the one left out???!!!

Now add the 400 to 500+ new residents, & their visitors, to overflow from their inadequate parking allowance into sharing this minimal number of spaces remaining and what's created is insanity. And tragedy for what were striving businesses.

(Add more parking below now, because another floor of underground parking cannot be added later. Mayor Clark said "stacked parking" could be added later, if proven to be needed. but that style of parking repulses most folks as it's difficult to deal with. And how would we ever prove more parking is needed if they don't believe us now? Jac Siegel said that we residents of a neighborhood know it best and to listen to us and the hundreds of voices that are making these points. Setting the record straight: No one has called for no change. All are making very specific valid points that will improve this complex for all of those who will be in it as well as for ourselves and everyone in MV!)

There's to be less parking also from the planned removal of all curb parking along both sides of South Castro Street, which no one has taken into account at all.

There'll be less parking because the one bedroom apts. that each get only one parking space need two. most likely (one for each spouse) and any apt. of any size could be crammed full of roommates who all DRIVE to jobs everywhere, since this is not by the train & the light rail. Those transportation options can comfortably take one to SF or SJ and all points in between, but along ECR, which will be more gridlocked than ever, there are only buses that can take riders uncomfortably along ECR only. The few other connections to other buses are insufficient, and even if more routes are added some day, the inconvenience and inefficiency of transfers negate their practicality. So it is a pipe dream that ECR residents will ever need as few parking spaces as those needed by residents along the rails.

It was said earlier above that the 3 bedroom apts. of which there are only FOUR (=8 parking spaces in total) are not going to balance the parking needs of the 124 one bedroom apts. currently in the plan. I agree totally. Consider the possibilities. What if three couples roommate together in each room of an 3 bedroom apt., with cars for all or even for most? One family might live in a 2 or 3 bedroom apt. with the spouses in the master bedroom and teenagers doubled up in the other rooms, and all of them needing to drive. So the teens will park on the surrounding adjoining streets, which they are entitled to by law, leaving us crowded and congested and disturbed by car engines starting up at all hours. Tough, you say, we need housing to balance the massive numbers of new jobs MV is pushing. I say stop jamming the housing along the main arterial until it is just a clogged parking lot of a street. Instead build closer to the actual huge employers so all streets in MV aren't an aggravation for everyone at rush hour. And, also, there are two possibilities for docking on the Bay on the end of Moffett Field. Develop these and encourage every other city of the SF Bay to profit also from housing development that will allow their residents to ferry across the beautiful Bay to work and back. Heck, Google even ferries their folks for free!




Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Some excellent points made by OMV resident. Council members live and observe the impact of recent developments they approve in this town. They know the benefits outweigh the costs, which is one reason they ignore all of the gloom and doom statements.


Posted by Todd, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

If I was part of the city council I'd probably ignore most of this sort of criticism too. If a proposal was made and people provided constructive input that would be one thing, but its always the same thing "no, don't build anything anywhere". It's bad because eventually something will be proposed that may actually be dangerous or unhealthy, but like the story of the boy who cried wolf...


Posted by Interested, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Whenever anyone DOES raise specific, even limited, issues with new developments, the same rhetoric always surfaces in places like this -- the easy, false, blanket claim that all objections consist of "don't build anything anywhere." I have seen it for many years.

I guess some people actually believe that rhetoric, and aren't interested in looking any deeper.


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm

And just exactly what are the benefits? And to whom. The developers get the benefits, the residents get the cost. Unfortunately council can't or won''t bring themselves together to rein in the developers.


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Just read it again, what an absurd statement by the political insider, who seems to be a developer employee. City council knows the benefits? That's why they ignore residents like Linda Curtis and the San Antonio neighborhood association and approve whatever the developer wants? For the benefits?
And yes any concern is dismissed as "doom and gloom" or insults. Merlon Greer is an example. They could easily share parking with the milk pail, but they won't. They want it all. They also propose to shuttle traffic though the crossings and into their massive parking garages. Is that a benefit to the crossings? Or to merlons greed?


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

@Todd,

We are not "no-growthers', we are for intelligent growth.

We believe that Mountain View should follow the 2030 General Plan. "The General Plan seeks to maintain this high-quality environment by preserving the land uses within most neighborhoods and establishing policies to help enhance and support their distinct characters."

We believe that residents have a right to be concerned about massive, ugly, buildings; tall buildings where people can look into neighbors yards and homes; and increased traffic.

We believe that the financial benefits of developers should be weighed against the effect on residents.

We believe that the City Council members were elected to represent the residents of Mountain View and not just out of town developers.

Take Back Mountain View!


Posted by Amelia, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 28, 2014 at 8:06 am

Personally, I think that block on Castro/El Camino is an eye-sore. I'm happy to see it go, but only if the development coming in isn't crappy cheap construction. The only thing I don't like is that we will have more apartments. We need condos, not apartments.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm

The building in the rear that is near the apartment buildings should be lowered to 3 floors, the El Camino and Castro portion is fine at 4 stories with step downs towards the school is fine.

Those apartment building on Park Dr ever do get torn down, chances are they will be 3 story buildings. Best use is town homes or flats.

1 story homes most likely will be turned into 2 story homes, if needed maybe a rental until should be built.


Posted by More more more, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 29, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Lets add more and more apartments so they can use more of our water and congest our already congested streets. Makes total sense, Not.


Posted by Konrad M Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

@More more more,

You are so right!

Mountain View does not have the infrastructure to support the current population, let alone thousands more. Growth is a regional, not just a Mountain View problem. Mountain View is built out but San Jose has lots of room and wants to grow. Mountain View Council (5 of the members) are attempting to do the impossible - squeeze San Jose growth into tiny Mountain View. It is like trying to pour 5 gallons of water into a a 1 gallon bucket!

A Tale if Two Development Plans

Location: - Mountain View – North Bayshore, San Jose – Golden Triangle.
Are in acres: - Mountain View 180 acres, San Jose 5,000 acres
Additional office and research space: - Mountain View 3.4 million square feet, San Jose 26.7 million square feet
Additional jobs: Mountain View 15,000 to 20,000, San Jose 133,500
Additional jobs per acre: - Mountain View 83 to 111, San Jose 27
Additional Housing: Mountain View –zero, San Jose 32,000 units
Additional retail: Mountain View little, San Jose 2.7 million square feet
Hotel: Mountain View maybe, San Jose 550 rooms


Posted by Rita Nutile, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm

The young couple that started Gouchi Japanese restaurant will lose their life savings when they have to close the restaurant. They signed a lease and were not aware the future of the area. Putting it plainly, they got screwed. City Council said they would help them find another place. Too bad Ronit did not eat there. Could have been included in building project. Rita, Varsity Court


Posted by BadForMtnView, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:08 am

"The young couple that started Gouchi Japanese restaurant will lose their life savings when they have to close the restaurant."...
"City Council said they would help them find another place."

Help them find another place. Great. What a commitment! Isn't that what a commercial real estate agent does? So, the council will just ask an agent to find them a spot. There you go! Council helped them find another place!

Oh wait... the owners will have to sink in $300k+ of startup costs? Where does that money come from...will the council give that to them? Of course not.

Help them find another place....please!

Next year, voters need to help the MV council members "FIND ANOTHER PLACE!"


Posted by Garrett83, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:42 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

How much water does 4 people in a single family home vs 4 people in a large apartment. They keep building hundreds of single family home, large garden style.apartments in the Central Valley. All new buildings must have water saving devices and recycling systems.


Posted by Konrad M Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm

A Blown Opportunity

Greystar could have made 801 El Camino Real an outstanding development. However Greystar's greed won out and, as expected, the majority of City Council members supported them.

What would an outstanding development look like?

First, the development should not be so massive. It could have been right-sized to fit into the neighborhood of Cuesta Park. Three stories with more set-back would have been appropriate.

Second, having retail on the first floor is great. However, it should have accommodated all of the displaced retailers, in particular Gochi, whose owner said he had invested his life savings to fix up the space, not aware of the development plan.

Third, Greystar was limited by the City's Parking Space Rules. They are required to provide inadequate parking for the future residents of 801 ECR.

Fourth, Greystar should have been required to provide satisfactory entrance and egress for the future residents' cars.

Would these changes have reduced Greystar's profits - Of course? They would have still made a satisfactory profit and Mountain View would have had a development to look upon with pride.


Posted by Carless Californian, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2014 at 6:41 pm

I truly don't understand the hysteria about a mere four stories on El Camino. And the idea that this development isn't close enough to transit to get people out of their cars is simply wrong.

It's a fifteen minute walk to the train station, less if you're in a hurry. The train station is also a light rail and bus terminal. The 22 and 522 buses are right outside, provide every fifteen minute service through most of the day and all night service half hourly. Easy walk to groceries, bars, restaurants, post office, salons and other services. Easy fifteen minute or less bus ride to San Antonio with a huge variety of stores and services. It's probably faster to take the 522 to Whole Foods and back than to try and negotiate their parking lot after work.

Being right off El Camino is actually far more convenient for someone wanting to give up a car than say right around the train station, which provide much less frequent service to fewer places. Building houses out in North Bayshore, where there is no transit, nothing to go to except work? That's a recipe for more traffic, because people up there would be unable to live without a car unless you never expect them to do anything but work. Someone right off El Camino, no problem, haven't ever had a car, lived in the neighborhood being affected for ten years.

I do understand the consternation of the people living close to El Camino who will now have more people and more cars in their neighborhood. But living so close to downtown has a lot of quality of life benefits that for the good of the city, the environment, and the future, now need to be balanced with downsides like increased density. El Camino and Castro is perfect for this. It really should have been taller, and I definitely think it should have had more retail. The increased density here, where it makes sense, will ease the pressure on the other parts of the city where urbanization and transit-oriented communities just can't be made to work. If it becomes too much to deal with, I think people will find that their houses will be very desirable, should they want to sell and buy in a more typical suburban neighborhood.


Posted by Moffett Resident, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Konrad - Greystar's proposed parking at 801 El Camino was not limited by MV's "Model Parking Standard." The developer could have, and should have, proposed more. Planning could, and should, require more than the proposed one space per bedroom. Council could still ask for it. But they won't, if past behavior is any indication. The "Model Parking Standard" is meant to encourage greater density, by making it cheaper for developers to build dense projects with less parking. As far as I know, it is policy, but not a legal requirement.

You can view the document that established and attempted to justify the "Model Parking standard" here: Web Link. I urge anyone concerned about inadequate parking in new developments to read it carefully.

You will note that the projects cited in the report have no retail component, and have a far lower proportion of 1-BR units than the 801 El Camino proposal. It should, really, be inapplicable in this project.

Even under the "Model Parking Standard," Planning could ask for 15% additional spaces, "in cases where overflow parking would impact an existing low-density residential neighborhood" (see page 10 of the linked document). Lately, though, Planning and Council have been pretending that this clause doesn't exist. Why they are doing that is, well, a good question.

"Carless Californian" - Congratulations on being carless. It's quite an achievement. However, not all of us are able to do this. I don't think that these projects will be filled by carless occupants. On the contrary, because of the housing shortage and high rental costs, I think it's obvious that that these 1- and 2-BR apartments will increasingly be shared by 2 or more people, most with their own cars. There will be overflow, and street parking will be more congested.


Posted by Carless Californian, a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2014 at 10:21 am

Absolutely, not everyone can go carless. It is a lifestyle change that affects everything you do, especially where you live. But if you live in the right place, this region is actually a pretty good one to go carless in, especially in the era of Zipcar and those new carshare services, that let people give up a personal car, knowing they can get access to a car when they really need it.

The trouble is encouraging those people who have or are willing to have the lifestyle that can support being without a car, to give it a try. Once a person has tried transit, gotten used to walking a mile rather than hopping in the car for everything, appreciated letting someone else do the driving, etc. some folks will realize that going carless, or reducing the number of cars in the household makes sense for them. At that point there needs to be housing conveniently placed near frequent transit and everyday services, so that going carless becomes not a sacrifice out of necessity but a choice people make because the benefits outweigh the downsides.

When more people who could go carless are given the opportunity to do so by intelligent development, the people who can't go carless benefit, and so does everyone else.

The first people to move into this development may all have cars. But they will be perfectly placed to begin to appreciate carless living, and to realize they might want to ditch one of those cars and save themselves thousands a year and a lot of traffic and parking hassles. The younger generation is slower to get cars, and more interested in going without them, and will be looking to move to places where a car isn't needed. So surely over time these places close to transit will have a greater percentage of low-and-no-car households.

In the transition period, there are many, many ways to manage the parking situation. No one is owed the right to park on the street in front of their house. Not people in houses, not people in apartments. Street parking is a public resource, to be managed for the public benefit. So install meters or designated permit areas, and require people who overflow their off-street spaces to pay for the privilege. Then use the money to invest in more of the things that make a community walkable and pleasant. A Castro Street shuttle would be nice. More parks. Better sidewalks and lighting and landscaping.

High density development is an opportunity to change communities for the the better.


Posted by Garrett83, a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Garrett83 is a registered user.

You aren't going to become carless overnight, but the idea is create options to choose not to drive. El Camino Real was never really a great option to become carless, but to car centered. Years ago lots of parking spaces were lost in road widening. The older section of El Camino Real either needs to be redeveloped with parking or local foot traffic with.good bike and pedestrian pathways the the neighborhoods.

I don't see large retailers beating down the doors to build on this part of El Camino Real, car dealers, motels, gas stations, fast food places and repair shops all were housed in and around Castro Street.


Posted by Weird Mountain View, a resident of Castro City
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

progress can't be stopped. but please, oh yee council members, hold the developers to a higher standard. make them build great buildings that are a FEAST for the eyes and worthy of Silicon Valley's most powerful up-and-coming city.


Posted by Konrad M Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm

@Weird Mountain View,


You have the right idea.


How about 3 story buildings with retail on 1st floor so no Silicon Canyon effect?

How about adequate parking based on objective studies instead of a developer's biased study.

How about development that will improve Mountain View instead of development that aims at maximizing developer profits.

The majority of the current City Council either does not understand or does not care about these issues. We need the right people on the Council to guide the city to a livable, sustainable future.


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