July 15, 2012

Sorry Googlers, no sleeping cubes for you

Google housing axed in city’s general plan

by Daniel DeBolt, Mountain View Voice Staff

120714-googlehousingCouncil members were not moved Tuesday night by last-minute efforts by the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor to keep housing as an option for future development of Google’s neighborhood north of Highway 101.

Council members voted 6-1 in a final approval of Mountain View’s 2030 general plan, a kind of road map for redevelopment in key areas of the city and the culmination of four years of meetings, and a “community visioning” process in 2008.

Largely by increasing allowed building densities and heights, it encourages redevelopment along El Camino Real, in the East Whisman area, North Bayshore (north of Highway 101), Moffett Boulevard and the San Antonio Shopping Center area.

Council members removed an allowance for as many as 1,100 apartments along Shoreline Boulevard between Highway 101 and Charleston Road. The housing would likely have been used by employees of Google and other tech companies in the area and was supported strongly by the Chamber of Commerce, which posted a YouTube video promoting the idea and whose members largely support North Bayshore housing, said president Oscar Garcia.

Here’s the video mentioned above.

But higher density along El Camino Real!  Yay!  Too bad for all the Google employees who thought that walking to work was a good idea.  The City Council is dedicated to making you live in another zip code and buying commuter vehicles.

You can read more about the backstory on the plan and the vote in this article from last week.  The plan the City Council voted in is supposed to guide Mountain View development through the year 2030. 


Comments (42) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

November 23, 2008

Is this letter in favor or against the current plans?

Mountain View Voice Mountain View Voice: Letters to the Editor November 14, 2008

I know a lot of Mountain View people are pleased with Barack Obama’s election, and it has brought them hope. My Mexican neighbor and friend pays about $1,800 a month rent on his townhouse, and he thinks hopes Obama will bring his rent down.

I was a successful “affordable rent” landlord for 35 years in three cities including Mountain View and two counties. Trust me — there is no hope coming in Mountain View.

Obama, like any other reasonable government leader, wants to keep Google employing 10,000-plus people here. Jobs, right now, are far more important than keeping the unemployed, retired or subsidized citizens in high-quality medium density housing.

The City Council has been wise in tearing out the older, cheaper, less desirable housing units that prevent the younger, more educated people with far more financial potential from displacing the “dead wood” people like me who have lived here and stood in the way of “progress” for years.

Mountain View needs higher rents, more tax revenue, higher utility rates, less services and much higher resident turnover.

Just ask our city manager, our mayors past and future, our city staff members or any of the City Council candidates. I think they would all agree with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President-elect Obama: former residents should get out and make room for the future. Go Google.

Donald Letcher

N. Rengstorff Avenue

Maybe I just use too much sarcasm on this site, but honestly I’ve read this twice now, and I can’t figure out if this person is being sarcastic or not. What do you think?

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:43 am

January 24, 2007

Townhouses allow people to work from home…

Mountain View Voice: Stierlin project rejected (January 19, 2007)
Five residents spoke in favor of the 11-unit development at a February 2006 meeting, saying it would provide much-needed housing near major transit corridors and downtown. Developer Steve Lowenthal said the townhouse style homes would allow people to work from home and would be an example of “smart growth.”

In what way would townhouses allow people to work at home better than… say… a loft, a studio, a single family home, a condo?

And, if you were planning to work from home all the time – why move to Mountain View? Why not move somewhere else where you could afford a real home, or spend half as much for an equivalent townhouse?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:51 am

June 3, 2006

WSJ.com – cul-de-sacs Under Siege

This isn’t particularly Bay Area related, but I figure I’d post it because… well… I don’t like cul de sacs


WSJ.com – The Suburbs Under Siege
According to the Census Bureau, the population of American suburbs grew 12% from 1980 to 2000, while the total population in center cities grew by just 1%. Likewise, from 1997 to 2003, the total percentage of American housing units located in the suburbs rose to 62 million, an increase of about 9%. The influx of homes in the suburbs, and the traffic they bring, has become the chief concern of planners across the nation, many of whom are struggling to mitigate the impact of car culture.
City planners are increasingly criticizing cul-de-sacs.

To some of them, cul-de-sacs have come to represent a failed experiment that has produced more isolation and more traffic by forcing people into their cars. David Schrank, a transportation researcher with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, says the old “peak hour” of traffic in many suburbs has been replaced by a longer “peak period.” As new developments spring up, he says, “sometimes the transport network isn’t in place to support them.”

In some growing suburbs, “cul-de-sac” is becoming a dirty word. At a meeting in April with the planning commission in Northfield, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis that has adopted rules preventing the use of cul-de-sacs, developer Lynn Giovannelli of Miles Development says she was “blindsided” by a chorus of objections about a single cul-de-sac she was including in plans for part of a new subdivision called Rosewood. “The land parcel was a funky shape, and I told them the only way to do anything with it is to do a cul-de-sac,” she says. One commissioner told her to put in a park instead. “Preposterous,” she says. “I was rolling my eyes.”

While the plan was ultimately approved, it wasn’t unanimous. “We might be prejudiced,” says Jim Herreid, one of two commissioners who voted against the plan. “But we just don’t like cul-de-sacs because they restrict the ability to get around town easily.”

For all the criticism aimed at them, cul-de-sacs do seem to have one last defender: the free market. Real-estate brokers say that despite the recent opposition by policy makers, homes on cul-de-sacs still tend to sell faster than other homes — and often command a comfortable premium. Ralph Spargo, the vice president of product development for Standard Pacific Homes in Irvine, Calif., says his company charges as much as 5% more for a home located on one. (For a house that sells for the April 2006 national median price of $223,000, that works out to about $11,000).

Rochelle Johnson, a 38-year-old real-estate agent from Lakeville, Minn., who grew up on a cul-de-sac, says she doesn’t worry about the “isolation” — she welcomes it. From her home on a cul-de-sac in a development called Wyldwood Oaks, Mrs. Johnson says the minimal amount of traffic gives her the peace of mind to allow her two children to play soccer in the street. “I don’t know why somebody wouldn’t want to live on a cul-de-sac,” she says.

1. Children playing in the streets? Are you kidding? Who does that? Aren’t they at home watching TV or posting on MySpace?

2. People don’t see a problem with them. Is it because I work 60 hours a week that I’m bothered by every additional minute I have to sit in th ecar?

3. What’s with this desire to get away from everyone? Are we really afraid of ourselves?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am