In Support of Sustainable Development

by Anthony Chang

The proposed Minton’s development represents a great opportunity for interested OMV residents to engage in determining what Old Mountain View will look and feel like for many years to come. Many opinions have already been expressed on the OMVNAtalk listserv. To express your opinion to the City of Mountain View, please visit http://www.mountainview2030.com/.

Here is my personal story about why I support high-density development near the downtown Mountain View train station and why I think it will add to our neighborhood:

My wife and I moved to downtown Mountain View about 4 years ago specifically to live in a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. We love to walk to restaurants and cafes, parks, the library or bank, and retail shops. And with great access to public transit, I hop on Caltrain to work everyday. Then after renting in OMV for 2 years, we bought a townhouse at Bryant and California in what planners call a high-density complex (almost 40 units per acre), but we call it home. It has great features: doors and stoops that face the street and a courtyard that is perfect for impromptu playdates for our 2 year old daughter and her neighborhood friends. I find it an absolutely wonderful place to live and welcome more similar developments like the Minton’s development in OMV.

Some people have expressed concerns about the proposed Minton’s development, and I believe many of these (such as parking) can be addressed without radically changing the basic nature of the development. I support the proposed new homes because I believe they will add to the character of the neighborhood, promote economic (and socio-economic) diversity in our communities, reduce greenhouse gas pollution and enhance our general quality of life. When we walk instead of drive to the places we want to go, my wife and I are making healthy choices. This is a unique opportunity to provide homes for people across the street from great public transit (Caltrain, light rail and buses) and blocks from a vibrant downtown.

In addition, I believe the following features of the proposed development make sense:
• Neighborhood friendly design with porches or stoops that help promote community
• Adjustment to neighborhood feel with 2-story buildings on Villa (where it will complement single family houses across the street) and 4-story buildings facing Evelyn and the train station (facing the Caltrain parking lot)
• Good land use with an underground garage (which has seemed to work really well in many other apartment, condo and townhouse complexes in downtown, including the one I live in)
• Bicycle parking spaces
• Green building design to ensure water and energy conservation and participation in the Green Point Rated program by Build It Green

As a comparison point, the Crossings near the San Antonio train station serves as a good example of a close-knit development. Single-family homes, townhomes and a large condo complex provide a nice mix of housing near transit choices. Several friends of mine who have lived at the Crossings for years tell me they really enjoy living in the neighborhood and don’t find parking a problem. If you consider the proposed Minton’s development in combination with the rest of the surrounding area (nearby townhouses and single family homes), the area near the downtown MV train station taken as a whole seems to closely mirror this successful mix of housing.

Just like many OMV residents, I care deeply about the character of this wonderful neighborhood we share. And I believe the proposed Minton’s development can be a great addition to our neighborhood – just like developments like Park Place and the complex that I live in have done previously. Development that encourages walking, biking and riding transit and provides homes for families that will get to enjoy and become part of our vibrant, walkable community – sounds great to me.

If you are interested in joining a group of Mountain View residents interested in advocating on behalf of vibrant, walkable neighborhoods in Mountain View, please consider getting involved with the Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning by contacting me at anthony.chang@gmail.com.

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