Neighborhood Association Update
The following are the highlights of the August 11, 1999 Steering Committee Meeting:
Please note: due to a scheduling conflict, the September OMVNA Steering Committee will be held on Tuesday, September 14. All are welcome!
Chair: Garth Williams
*These offices will be voted on at the General Meeting on Saturday, October 23, 1999. More details to follow.
Let's start with the quickest-yet summary of the very productive Community Meeting on August 12. The City placed three options pertaining to a limited area of Downtown on the table for discussion. Attendees were then invited to give feedback.
Option 1 is the current Downtown Precise Plan. Option 2 reduces some building height maxima. Option 3 additionally reduces some allowed residential density. While Option 3 was generally favored, a number of people said they preferred "Option 4," which entails even greater reductions. Remember: it is expected that the final result will be a mixture of choices, not just one option's specifications across the board. This makes support of Option 4 even more critical. For example, Option 3 for the "central business core" area on the east side of Castro (the other boundaries being California, Mercy, and Hope Streets) has 5 to 6 stories along Castro, and 3 stories along Hope -- up to three stories' difference across an alley! Fortunately, this is the worst example I could find, in a sea of really significant changes from Option 1.
Other comments at the August 12 meeting touched upon the need for basic retail services downtown; i.e., places to buy stationery supplies, general grocery items, and pharmaceuticals, for instance. Personally, that all of these businesses were part of the downtown area 15 years ago and have now vanished, is frustrating. However, it may not be appropriate to assume that because these stores didn't "survive" in the past, they won't in the future -- such an assumption should not be the starting point for this part of the discussion when it resumes full force next year. A better starting point is that we need to find a way to attract businesses of this type that will flourish because they are critical to the viability of the level of residential development in and near Downtown that is envisioned.
"Parking" was also mentioned. Almost all parking for the additional multi-unit housing proposed will need to be provided onsite. Recognizing the increasingly limited supply of land available, the rules for commercial development may need to change. Car-reduction, whether through incentives such as making non-car transportation as attractive as possible or disincentives is also likely to be a good investment in dealing with any parking shortfalls ... and in reducing traffic!
A Word From the Landels Lion
We recently were asked to submit a column in each issue of the OMVNA Newsletter, and are pleased to have this opportunity to inform you of what is happening in the Old Mountain View Neighborhood's elementary school. Throughout the year, we will keep you informed of activities and fundraisers that are taking place at the school. We invite you to get involved and be a part of our community here at Landels.
A message from our Principal:
City Board, Commission and Committee Positions Available
Please note: there may be incumbents who wish to be reappointed. These are volunteer positions and serve in an advisory capacity to the City Council. Appointments are available on an equal opportunity basis. Call the City Clerk's Office at 903-6304 for further info and application forms.
What to Know About Applying for City Boards and Commissions
Terms for most Commissions and Boards are two or four years, with many incumbents choosing to serve a second term. However, even if an incumbent decides to continue his/her service, I would recommend that interested persons go forward with the process. You will "learn the ropes," and there's always the possibility that an incumbent will decide NOT to serve a second term.
Don't be discouraged if it looks like you have a great deal of competition. While there usually are many people applying for these positions, not everyone is a viable candidate. In fact, many an applicant is a "one-issue" person who has experienced something s/he doesn't like ... and views getting on a Board or Commission as an opportunity to change that one thing. The screening committee looks for people with a broad range of interests and overall willingness to serve - not someone with an "axe to grind," so to speak.
Spotlight on Ronit Bryant
In this issue, we return to our series of profiles on neighborhood residents involved in civic activities such as City Council and Commissions, with this spotlight on Ronit Bryant, current member of the Parks & Recreation Commission.
Ronit is in her second year of service as a member of the Parks & Recreation Commission. "I wanted to participate in the process of making recommendations to the City Council regarding park planning," she explains.
An advocate for the preservation of heritage trees, Ronit also wanted to do what she could to ensure the survivability of these community treasures. "If you look at two comparable streets, the one with the most heritage trees truly is the most inviting," she says. (Note: a heritage tree has a trunk circumference of 48 inches or more, or is a redwood, oak or cedar tree with a trunk circumference of 12+ inches. They may be trees that City Council has deemed of special historical value or of significant community benefit).
Ronit is no stranger to community service. Prior to serving on the Parks & Recreation Commission, she was active in the PTA and was one of the early members of OMVNA, serving as newsletter editor for a number of years. She credits her participation in the Leadership Mountain View Class of 1996 as opening the door to more "formal" civic involvement. "I learned that I had the requisite skills to get more involved in civic causes," she says. Perhaps by way of "payback," Ronit is current editor of the LMV Newsletter.
Ronit and her family moved to Old Mountain View almost 13 years ago. "The neighborhood has undergone enormous changes since we moved here," she says. "With the sale of many City-owned homes, Dana Street has really changed."
Some interesting background information about Ronit: she was born in Israel, and moved to the United States in 1980. With her father in the Foreign Service, the family traveled a great deal. As a result, Ronit is fluent in six languages including French, Italian, German, Portuguese, English and Hebrew! She and her family enjoy vacationing in England. When she's not busy with community concerns, her family and contract employment as a technical writer, Ronit enjoys gardening and reading.
To get in touch with us:
The opinions printed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee.
Last updated: 9/8/99