Mountain View: Apartment complex overhaul, expansion could see more changes as council weighs crafting community plan

MOUNTAIN VIEW — After five years on the drawing board, the planned overhaul and expansion of a community of rent-controlled apartments north of downtown could go through yet more changes as the city council Tuesday took another look at the plans and left with much to be desired still.

The project by AvalonBay Communities, which was first proposed in 2015, aims to completely transform the 1960s-era apartment complex at 555 West Middlefield Road into a modern community of over 700 homes complete with a public park at its center.

The proposal would bring the existing 402 apartments up to modern standards while the developer construct two new, four story apartments buildings within the 14.5-acre project area by eliminating surface parking taking up about half the site.

A rendering of the proposed development at 555 West Middlefield Road north of downtown Mountain View. 

While the proposal is in line with other developments planned for the area — including one caddy corner to this one which aims to bring 716 apartments to the area –the city council on Tuesday was apprehensive to move forward as they see a “patchwork” of unrelated projects popping up across the area without any kind of central planning.

“We’re developing along Moffett in a way that’s very piecemeal,” said councilwoman Alison Hicks, referring to the 15 separate proposed developments in the area. “I think this should be considered a second half of our downtown. My big reservation about the project is that it’s not included in a precise plan.”

Like in East Whisman neighborhood and the North Bayshore development area, Hicks wants the city to devise a comprehensive community plan for the area around the intersection of Moffett Boulevard and Middlefield Road.

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The project’s close proximity to the Mountain View Caltrain station — which is just 15 minute walk — demands that the development be considered transit oriented and incorporated into the city’s walkable downtown area, Hicks said.

She said the people who have written letters to the council concerned about their rapidly changing community — largely planned out by competing development interests — “are completely right.”

“I don’t want to be developing anything else along Moffett until we do a precise plan,” Hicks said. “I think we’re really at the point where we have to do that.”

Hicks said the density some residents detest about the project will bring the walkability that people desire in the kind of “second downtown” she’s envisioning. Council members agreed the developers plan to keep an existing 6-foot-wide sidewalk along Moffett Boulevard should be widened to accommodate more foot traffic.

But some council members are still weary of parking as a central issue. Residents say Cypress Point Avenue, a tree-lined street that will serve as the main entrance for the proposed complex, will not be able to handle the influx of new cars. Residents say parking is already bad in the area, and if the trend of development continues it will only get worse.

The developer does have a parking plan, which includes three levels of underground parking to replace the area of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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