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OMVNA Newsletter

January, 2003
Volume 15, Number 1

From the Chair: Celebrating Trees

City CarShare is Coming!!!

The Downtown Beat

Limelight Saga Continues

Coming Soon: The Downtown Shopper

Kevin Duggan to Address OMVNA Winter Meeting


From the Chair: Celebrating Trees
By Ronit Bryant

The City of Mountain View will celebrate Arbor Day 2003 on Saturday, March 15, in Pioneer Park with a tree planting, a tree-climbing demonstration, advice from Master Gardeners, a tree walk in Pioneer Park, children's activities, and more. And did you know that Mountain View has received the title "Tree City USA"?

What is your favorite tree? The gnarled, majestic, centuries old oak? (You know you bought the house because of the tree.) The redwood that your kid planted ten years ago? (Did you know how fast it was going to grow?) Your neighbor's flowering cherry?

Let us know: send us a description, let us have a picture. In honor of Arbor Day, we will publish a list of best-loved neighborhood trees. Or perhaps you know of a really interesting specimen tree in our neighborhood? Tell us about it. In the fullness of time, we might even come up with a neighborhood tree walk leaflet. (Have you seen the Pioneer Park Tree Walk leaflet?)

Send pictures and tree nominations to me at chair@omvna.org or ronitb@ix.netcom.com. If you want to talk some more about this subject, call me at 964-1966 or send an email.

City CarShare is Coming!!!
By David Andrezjak

City CarShare, the Bay Area's non-profit car-sharing program, will soon be expanding its services to Mountain View. City CarShare currently has 85 brand new Volkswagen Beetles, Jetta Wagons, and electric Ford Thinks parked in more than 30 locations throughout San Francisco, the East Bay, and Palo Alto. In October of last year, the City of Mountain View approved providing City CarShare with two parking spaces in one of two lots in Old Mountain View. Most likely, City CarShare will locate in either lot #8 or lot #9, next to the transit center. Mountain View can expect to see two shiny new City CarShare Volkswagens in April!

The concept behind City CarShare is simple. Think of it as a neighborhood based, time-share car rental service that allows its members to reserve and use vehicles whenever they need to and pay based on how much they drive. This convenient alternative to private car-ownership is not only environmentally sound, but it also saves its members money.

According to AAA, the average Bay Area resident spends about $500 each month to own a car. In contrast, the average City CarShare member's monthly bill is just $60. Members pay $3.50 per hour (capped at $35 per day) and $0.37 per mile, including gas, maintenance and insurance. They can reserve cars 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for as little or as long as they like and are billed monthly for their usage.

In its mission to promote car sharing as a viable transportation option, City CarShare is working to reduce traffic, congestion, and pollution while improving the livability of the Bay Area. If you're a two-car family who really needs a car and a half, or if you're sick of the hassles associated with owning a car, consider joining City CarShare. Check out their website at www.citycarshare.org or call them at (415) 995-8588 for more information.

The Downtown Beat
By Julie Lovins

A joint half-day workshop of the Downtown Committee and Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) on December 12 focused on the broad outlines of what may be the shape of the future for parts of the downtown Mountain View area. This second phase of the Downtown Precise Plan revision covers the three "historic blocks" along Castro Street between Villa and California Streets, and, at the "other end" of Castro, the area bounded by Mercy Street, Hope Street, El Camino Real, and on the west side, Franklin Street (north of Church Street) or Shoreline Boulevard (up to High School Way or the west edge of the parcel on the southwest corner of Castro and El Camino. You will be hearing these areas referred to as Area H (the northern one), I (on the west side of Castro) and J (on the east side).

One proposal being considered would actually expand Area J, which currently does not include the lots on the west side of Hope St. between Church and Fairmont (only), but might in the final plan. This would enable more coherent planning (in effect, zoning) for the area.

Starting with a wide range of possible planning outcomes that covered concepts--both goals and strategies for obtaining them--such as building height, parking modalities, and neighborhood character (including historical preservation), workshop participants were was able to reach almost unanimous consensus on which of the possibilities presented for consideration should be studied in more detail, for each of the three areas. In fact the degree of consensus, developed by splitting the group in half randomly, for independent discussion in separate rooms, amazed the planners who had prepared the discussion points--the two subgroups came up with essentially identical outcomes.

Remembering some of the discussion that surrounded Phase I of the Downtown Precise Plan revision several years ago, I think we can look forward to plans for a more diverse urban landscape this time. For example, a different use on each floor of a three story building, or residential on the upper two stories, is now very much on the table. Many people are interested in promoting improvement of the backs of buildings, as well as the fronts. There was vigorous discussion of what "pedestrian-friendly" means, what types of businesses should or should not be encouraged along our main street (including shops attractive to Center for the Performing Arts patrons along that section of Castro), the need for urban open space - and so on!

During February, tentatively the 18th and 24th, there should be two
"community focus group meetings"; the first comprised more of downtown business/property owners and homeowner (and neighborhood) association
representatives, the second "community-wide". Please watch for announcement of the exact dates, and participate if you can. This is a very exciting discussion of issues that will affect all our lives for years to come. The City Council will ultimately approve a final version of the new plan on the basis of input from the Downtown Committee, the EPC, and, very importantly, anyone else who joins the process. I encourage you to look at the materials that will be provided either before or at the meetings and give the City feedback on them.

Limelight Saga Continues
By Julie Lovins

City staff members I've talked to say that the Limelight is not adhering
to at least some of the conditions that the Zoning Administrator set last October, and that the Council upheld in December.

According to neighborhood residents, the nuisance factor associated with the Limelight's recent mode of operation has abated somewhat of late, but not to the point that those who live nearby can set aside nostalgia for the good old days, before the ownership change early last year.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control agency (ABC) is reported to be in the process of revoking the Limelight's current liquor license (intended for establishments that get at least 50% of their revenue from food). This will bring into play a license-replacement process that will take some months. The business will be required to get a "21 and over" license.

It is very important for people familiar with the situation to attend the next Zoning Administrator hearing on this item, January 22 at 4 p.m. in the Plaza Conference Room at City Hall, listen to the official reports, and speak about their experiences. We can also write, or send email to, the Zoning Administrator, and these communications will be entered in the official record.

At some later point, the City Council will revisit (as they requested in
December) the whole issue, with respect to both the downtown milieu and the desire to have an appropriate "teen night" venue.


 

Coming Soon: The Downtown Shopper
By Velva Rowell

Do you have a favorite place to buy vegetables downtown? Where can you get the best tacos? Is there someplace within walking distance of your home in Old Mountain View where you can buy envelopes or get a copy made?

In an attempt to answer these and other burning questions about what's available in Old Mountain View, we are instituting a new feature in the OMVNA Newsletter.

Starting next month, "The Downtown Shopper" will provide an opportunity for our readers to submit a couple of paragraphs about their favorite shopping spots. All that we ask is that the business you write about is someplace that you can walk to, and that it is in or very near to Old Mountain View.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Kevin Duggan to Address OMVNA Winter Meeting
By Velva Rowell

OMVNA will be holding its Winter General Meeting on Saturday, February 1, 2003, from 12 to 2. Please note the date change from that which was announced in the December newsletter.

For our winter meeting, we have chosen to discuss the services offered by the City. Kevin Duggan, Mountain View's City Manager, will be our featured speaker.

One purpose of OMVNA is to serve as a bridge for our neighbors to become active and involved participants in the life of our city. At this meeting, we hope to increase familiarity with the services offered by the City and the ways residents can work with the City.

Lunch will be "semi-potluck." The OMVNA Steering Committee will provide pizza and beverages, and OMVNA members are asked to bring a salad or dessert to share. All are welcome--come with or without potluck contributions!
 


The OMVNA Newsletter
is published by a volunteer editorial committee & distributed to some 2400 homes and businesses by volunteers.

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The opinions printed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee.

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Last updated: 2/20/03