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OMVNA Newsletter

March 2003
Volume 15, Number 2

From the Chair: Updating the Downtown Precise Plan

OMVNA CERT Update

Bicycle Safety Rodeo

February General Meeting

Noise Update at the SFV Hall

My Road to OMV


From the Chair: Updating the Downtown Precise Plan
By Ronit Bryant

Ten Downtown areasThe Downtown Precise Plan was first formulated in 1988 to stimulate and attract development. The Plan divides the downtown into ten areas (A-J, see map). Beginning in 1999, the zoning regulations for areas on either side of Castro Street were revised to emphasize residential development. The City has started the second phase of the update, revising regulations and guidelines for the areas abutting Castro Street — H, I, and J. The following issues are being addressed:

Uses: Permitted vs. conditional uses; retaining open space; increasing economic diversity.

Design guidelines: Gateways to Downtown; standards for side streets, backs, alleys, and service areas; preserving the pedestrian scale; ensuring diversity of building types.

Parking: Parking standards, particularly for changes in use; reducing the demand for parking.

Historical preservation and administration: Establishing design review standards for historical buildings; integrating the City’s interim historical resource ordinance into the Precise Plan.

Updating the Downtown Precise Plan will involve much discussion and many meetings — to which the public is invited. The Environmental Planning Commission and the Downtown Committee have been merged into a Joint Committee to provide direction on the update. The Joint Committee has held two meetings already and at least two more are planned. Meetings with stakeholders (in which OMVNA representatives participated) and businesses were held to gather information from people who know Downtown well.

A more general community-wide meeting is planned for May, and City Council will hold a study session. Finally, the revised Precise Plan will be drafted and the public hearing process will begin in the fall. As OMVNA residents, changes to the Downtown impact our lives very directly. Become involved in the process! For more information, go to the City’s website at www.ci.mtnview.ca.us/.

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OMVNA CERT Update
By Aaron Grossman, CERT Co-Chair

CERT local coordinatorsCERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and OMVNA have now activated and equipped 18 members as local coordinators with basic safety gear and 2-way radios. These volunteers will help their neighbors prepare for any local emergencies, and then act as coordinators and communication points during such an event. They will NOT provide water, food, or shelter! That is every households responsibility, and the volunteers can assist with information.

The locations of the 18 local coordinators are shown on the map. While this is a great start, many parts of Old Mountain View are not well covered. We need more volunteers and also more money for supplies (about $100 to equip each person).

Please contact either Aaron Grossman or Ronit Bryant if you are interested in volunteering.

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Bicycle Safety Rodeo
By Lauren Zuravleff

Come out to the Bicycle Safety Rodeo sponsored by Landels Elementary School PTA and the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association (OMVNA).

Saturday, April 12, 2003
1:00 - 3:00 pm
Rain or Shine
Landels Elementary School
115 West Dana Street

Featuring:

  • Bicycle Safety Skill Courses – Helmets, bicycles and parental permission waivers required
  • Bicycle Safety Inspection Stations
  • Bicycle Licensing - $1 per bicycle
  • Mountain View Police Bicycle Officers with lighted police bikes
  • Safety videos in English and Spanish
  • Prizes and drawings

We invite the whole family to bring bikes and enjoy a ride on the Stevens Creek Trail after the Rodeo. Snell-certified helmets will be available for $4.00 and discounted for those families in need. We need several volunteers for this event to help the kids at each of the Skills Course stations. If you can lend two hours, please contact Lauren Zuravleff at 650-967-0674 or llz@sbcglobal.net.

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February General Meeting
By Lisa Windes

About 40 people attended the General Meeting on February 1. OMVNA provided pizza and drinks, while neighbors brought a variety of delicious salads and desserts. Kevin Duggan, City Manager of Mountain View, gave a very informative and entertaining presentation about the wealth of city services provided by Mountain View.

The presentation was a state of the city speech, designed for city employees, seen for the first time by OMVNA. Mr. Duggan used photographs of familiar places throughout Mountain View to summarize numerous projects completed in the last year as well as future projects and the issues associated with them. He discussed the budgetary reductions Mountain View faces because of the recession and California's budget deficit, estimating Mountain View's city council will need to cut $5-8 million from the city budget. This estimate is rough because it doesn't include currently unknown reductions in state programs that would affect us.

Mr. Duggan's very detailed discussion of city construction plans began with projects affecting downtown. Our beautiful old-fashioned train station and Centennial Plaza are complete. The city council will decide the use for the 1,000 square foot interior. Current suggestions include a coffee shop, youth center, and historical exhibits. Mr. Duggan described future building projects throughout the city, such as rebuilding the senior center, and upgrading water storage capacity as an emergency backup if the Hetch Hetchy system broke down.

Outdoor facilities will also be improved and expanded. Mountain View is pursuing the extension of Steven's Creek Trail from Yuba towards Mountain View High School. A Hetch Hetchy Trail is under consideration that would run along the pipeline from Whisman Road to Easy Street and link to the Steven's Creek Trail. Improvements will be made to the Shoreline Golf Course as well.

Recycling changes will be coming to Mountain View in the near future. The new system will replace garbage cans and recycling bins with three identical totes for garbage, yard trimmings, and recycling.

Mr. Duggan told the audience that Mountain View is special because of its concerned citizens and strong neighborhoods. It is also a special place because of his dedication.

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Noise Update at the SFV Hall
By Eric Minden

I write to ask neighbors for additional support of my efforts to resolve the outstanding problem of excessive noise occurring in our residential neighborhood when D.J's or live bands perform at late night events at The SFV Lodge at 361 Villa Street. My home shares its rear property line with the east assembly hall of The Lodge. There has been a dramatic increase in the frequency of use of this hall since new caretakers moved on site some 3-4 years ago. In the past year, late night events occurred there some 9 out of 10 Saturdays through the warm weather months. In prior years, events occurred possibly once each 4-6 weeks. I and my immediate neighbors have a legitimate concern that there has been a change in use and seek a resolution that respects the acoustical privacy desirable in a residential neighborhood.

In December, I learned that a building permit application had been submitted to The City for interior renovation of the east assembly hall of the SFV Lodge. I met with Brad Eckhardt and Whitney McNair of Mountain View City Planning to ask that they use their authority to require that construction include soundproofing of the building. OMVNA Steering committee lent its support in the form of a letter to City officials indicating that an effective resolution of the noise problem will encourage harmonious relations between the SFV Lodge and neighboring residents.

On February 4th, Brad Eckhardt wrote a letter to OMVNA stating that a "most effective resolution of the issue would consist of added sound insulation in the building as well as an electronic sound limiting device that would be automatically employed during all events at the lodge". He further states that prescribed measures should "guarantee decibel levels of 55 db-A at the property line" as is consistent with the General Plan. While pleased with the stated objective, I believe that it remains necessary to formalize this resolution of the noise problem as a part of the annual conditions of dance permits for the SFV Lodge. The OMVNA Steering Committee concurs and has sent a letter supporting such changes to the appropriate City Officials.

The annual conditions of Dance permits are administered by the Police Department. As recently discussed with Lt. Steve Conte of Mountain View Police, it may be possible to add these conditions, but as of yet, the dance permit conditions do not reflect the noise limits prescribed by City Planning. I am soliciting neighborhood support for efforts to formalize the noise mitigating measures by circulating a petition this weekend. I am also organizing an opportunity to show coordinated support during the public forum for non-agendized issues at an upcoming City Council meeting. Those available to participate are encouraged to e-mail me at e_minden@pacbell.net. Thank you for your support!

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My Road to OMV
By Shelly King

I first moved to the Bay Area in late 1994, a refugee from the South (Carolina, not California). Finding a charming apartment in a small Southern town is no great secret. All you do is get to church early on Sunday morning and ask the minister to make an announcement during the service. "Dear friends, we have a young lady here in need of an apartment, preferably living next to a good Christian family with a son or nephew about her age because goodness knows she cooks pretty good and ain't too hard to look at, and pushing 30, doesn't have too many good years left. Short-term leases only, please, because with heavenly intervention she'll be getting married soon." I never was much of a church-goer, but it was better than craigslist.com for finding a place to live. And while their methods seem a bit nosey and intrusive, it’s just people’s way of saying they care about your well-being.

Finding an apartment in the Bay Area is a bit trickier. For years, I hovered along the outskirts of Mountain View in soulless, sprawling apartment complexes where my neighbors looked at me like I had three heads when I introduced myself. And every time I went to the manager’s office, there was a face I didn’t recognize. It was all so…anonymous.

I coveted the lovely, small apartments around Old Mountain View. But every time I went to look at an available apartment, I’d find sixty people in front of me ready to pay astronomical rents while bringing the landlord brownies for the privilege. Landlords laughed hysterically when I asked if I could have a cat and looked disdainfully at my questions about the curious stain on the wall.

Then came the crash. As tragic as it’s been on many levels, I have to say that my rental luck has changed. Rents have dropped, properties have improved, and suddenly even a Saint Bernard isn’t out of the question. But I knew that I'd found home a when I met Dave, the manager of the Garden House apartments in Old Mountain View, when he told me "The neighbors here are what makes this place so great. We get together and have a good time. And some one will know if you're dead." Dave's a little crusty around the edges. But I knew what he meant.

The Garden House is like all of Old Mountain View. People live in OMV for a sense of community, whether living in a house or an apartment. We want to walk to where we're going and notice when something's changed. We want to know our neighbors and care what happens in our neighborhood. It's an emotional investment in where we live. So now, I live in the Garden House, which seems to house more cats than people, including my own. I have cocktails and dinner with the neighbors at least once a week. I plant tomatoes in our communal garden area. I know everyone’s name. Dave always feeds my cat when I’m out of town. And someone will know if I’m dead.

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The OMVNA Newsletter
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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: 4/02/03