On Tuesday night, Mountain View City Council members unanimously supported the goal of building all ~10,000 homes that were envisioned near Google’s HQ in North Bayshore, supporting the wishes of a throng of public speakers advocating approval of the full amount of housing studied for the plan. But all of that housing won’t be built at once, and Council was deadlocked on how to plan the phases of development.
The Tuesday meeting wasn’t intended to be a final decision – it was a study session where the Council would give guidance prior to a final vote in the fall.
At the meeting, three council members supported defining a “first phase”limited to 1,500 to 3,000 units of housing. Moving beyond that first phase would depend on the performance of the transportation system.
The other three Council Members present preferred using a Master Plan process to review proposals for development that include both office and housing, along with services and transportation improvements. This option give Council the ability to review how the area is developing and evaluate plans, but doesn’t put an extra limit based on number of housing units. This approach was favored by Google, by far the area’s largest landowner.
Mayor Rosenberg, who was absent, had sent in a letter also favoring the Master Plan approach. But since his opinion didn’t count in absentia, the council was deadlocked.
The City Manager offered to do more work over the summer when Council is on recess, and to bring back multiple options when Council reconvenes in the fall, including the original option of a phase defined by number of homes, and an option to phase mixed use development using a Master Plan process.
But the Council Members who supported phasing based on a defined number of housing units did not agree.
So in the fall, Council will reconvene to make a decision without a fleshed out “Master Plan” option. If the Mayor continues to support the Master Plan approach, as he said in his letter, and three other council members continue to support the Master Plan process, then the likely outcome would be that staff would prepare that option starting in September.
The plan would then be approved with 9,850 units of housing as a long-term goal, and a master plan process to manage the phasing, a month or two later than the previous schedule.
In earlier discussions, several council members had expressed unease at approving the full 9850 housing units as the goal of the plan. But with a good crowd supporting the full amount of housing – all council members, including those previously cautious, supported the full number as a long-term goal.