OMVNA Steering Committee Minutes, August

Minutes recorded by Robert Cox

Attending: Jack Perkins, Becky Reyna, Kim Copher, Laura Lewis, Robert Cox, Carter Coleman, Deb Keller; Aaron Grossman, Ronnie Falcao, Annette Nielsen, Manny Ramirez, David and Susan Burwen, Larry Rosenberg.

(1) Call to Order:

a.       Laura Lewis called the meeting to order at 7:39AM.

(2) Approval of Minutes:

a.       Jack Perkins made a motion to approve the minutes from the July meeting.  Robert Cox seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.

(3) Co-housing project:

a.       Introductions: David and Susan Berwin, who live on Blue Lake Square near the high school, came to give us a short presentation on their plans for a co-housing development on the 445 Calderon site.   They also presented a book on co-housing as a gift to the neighborhood association.

b.      Concept: Susan began the discussion by introducing the concept of co-housing.  “The idea is to build a neighborhood within a neighborhood.” Neighbors know each other and interact with one another and the surrounding neighborhood. The co-housing plan allows for common space for shared activities. This encourages informal and spontaneous interactions between the community members.  The neighbors share a common house which is similar to a clubhouse.  The common house provides a place for them to share meals together, enjoy visual and audio media, and have a fitness area for yoga, other exercises, and crafts.  Those who enjoy gardening will have an opportunity on the grounds. To maximize open space, parking will only be provided underground.

c.       History: David notes that  there are currently 19 units planned for the site.  The Burwens decided five years ago that they wanted to try a co-housing experiment, but the lack of land for a suitable site and high costs prohibited their going forward. The choice of downtown Mountain View as a location was on the top of their list. They liked the proximity to shops, the Stevens Creek Trial, and transit.  They had sent the owner of the 445 Calderon parcel, Mrs. Bakotich, a letter , expressing their interest, and got a response from the estate attorney after she died. The estate attorney has actually contacted several other developers before talking to them.  Their plan was to have 24 units/acre.

d.      Viability: Manny Ramirez, who lives in the View Street condominiums next to the post office, noted that his complex had some of the features of a co-housing development, but that the neighbors did not tend to meet with each other much or socialize. David replied that people interested in co-housing choose this option because they want to interact.  He added that ten of the families who plan to live in the project have actually worked together to design it as a group. Susan noted that all of these people currently live in the area and own their own homes.  They look upon it as a way to downsize and stay in the area. Each unit would be on a single level, but the complex itself would be three stories tall.

e.      Cost: Robert Cox asked about the size and price of the units.  David said that they would range from 1350 to 2000 square feet and would cost between $750,000 and $1,250,000 each.  Annette Nielsen asked about the home owners association fee. The Burwens said that it would be between $300 and $400 per month.

f.        Residents: The Burwens said that most residents would be people in their late 40s and older, including people in their 80s. It is envisioned as a place where caregivers could have easy access.

g.       The Bakotich house: The Burwens noted that they had offered the Bakotich house, one of the oldest houses in Mountain View, to the city.  The city noted that the house was not originally put on the inventory of historic houses, most likely because it was set back from the street and easy to miss. It would require about $60,000 to move the house to another location, if the location were within a mile and a quarter of the original location. Currently there are no takers, but they are still looking for someone who is interested in taking it. Kim Copher wondered if what happened to the house would set a precedent for other historic homes in Mountain View.  Laura Lewis added that the preservation of historic homes is not sacrosanct, and Kim added that the Bakotich house itself was not in good shape.  Kim suggested that Google’s support might be enlisted, and that this might move the city to support any plan they have for moving the house. She also suggested that the Burwens could run an ad stating that they were willing to help pay toward the moving of the house.

h.      Real estate perspective: Kim Copher noted that co-housing seemed similar to a coop.  The Burwens replied that the units would be sold on the open market.  Buying in would be a self-selecting process. Advertising could be done through a co-housing network.

i.        Variances: The key variances they are looking for are a reduction from the 2.3 parking spaces/unit dictated by the city code and a reduction in the setback requirement from 180 to 150 feet.  Aaron Grossman suggested that in arguing for variances, that the Burwens could make zip cars available. The Burwens asked if the neighborhood association would support them in their request for variances.  Carter Coleman replied that the neighborhood association has a policy of not taking a stand on developments in the neighborhood, but that the Burwens were free to seek the endorsement of any individuals on the steering committee. Aaron Grossman offered his support for their project and their request for variances.

(4) CERT

a.       Membership and budget: Aaron Grossman noted that CERT would be losing one person because the family had another baby.  Aaron has spent $480 out of the $600 allocated to him for medical supplies.

b.      Radios and supplies: Two radios are currently broken.  Aaron is trying to take them apart and fix them. Aaron has some of the CERT supplies in his garage and is working with Ronnie Falcao to organize them. The range of radios is a concern.  Aaron’s plan is to have the strongest radio located in the center of the neighborhood. Ham radios could be purchased for $50-$300 each, but would require a operator’s license. Simply buying better radios will not solve the problem. Additional inquiries about CERT can be sent to Aaron at

(5) Ice Cream Social

a.       On site meeting: A meeting was held before the steering committee meeting at 7:00PM at Eagle Park to plan for the event. Becky Reyna, Laura Lewis, Jack Perkins, Kim Copher, Robert Cox, and Annette Nielsen attended. Becky handed out a spreadsheet with assigned duties.

b.      Supplies: Nametags will be provided. For the dunking chair (a.k.a.  Pitch Burst), Laura has 200 balloons.  Annette Nielsen suggested keeping the balloons in water once they are filled to minimize breakage.  Laura, Jack, and Becky volunteered to fill up balloons.  Laura will provide a rope for the tug of war.  Aaron can bring a portable PA system.  The OMVNA banner is in the CERT trailer, and Aaron will bring it, as well as sample release sheets.

c.       Music: Laura said she would follow up with the boys barbershop group. Jack will talk to Charlie the mailman, who will perform as Elvis. The plan is to have him perform at least two 15 minute sessions.

d.      Dunk chair and raffle: Aaron suggested listing the people to be dunked on an A-frame board. The plan is to charge a dollar for three balls. Carter will provide $200 in singles for change so that people can purchase dunk tank and raffle tickets. Two jars can be used to hold the money.  All of the current council members and city council candidates should be contacted to participate in the dunking. Towels should be provided so that people can dry themselves off. The suggested price for the raffle tickets is 1 for $1, 6 for $5 and 13 for $10.

e.      Kids’ events: Laura confirmed that the balloon twister would be there.  Jack Perkins is still working on getting jugglers. Annette Nielsen suggested that she and her daughter could provide temporary tattoos. Carter suggested that Annette get 100 and that he would reimburse her. Laura Lewis said that her husband will provide the prizes from Wells Fargo.

f.        Bales of hay: Laura has found a place in San Jose that will provide 6-8 bales of hay for $75. After the bales are used they could be donated for composting or given to Deer Hollow Farm. 10 bales of hay seemed like a good number to get.  The hay would provide ambience, as well as a place for people to sit.

g.       Organizations: The fire and police have confirmed they will attend and will bring a new fire truck.  Tables can be provided for CERT and the Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail. The Crunchfuls cereal people will also be there and provide samples.

h.      Schedule: Kim Copher noted that tickets be used for ice cream and that hand stamps also be used. Laura, Becky, and Jack volunteered to help maintain an orderly schedule of events. Iva Cox and Barbara Ruzgerian will keep the children in order and organized for the events.

(6) Nominating committee

a.       A nominating committee is being formed to find candidates to run in the next OMVNA steering committee election. At this point, the most likely participants will be Laura Lewis, Max Hauser, and Anthony Chang. Paul Lansky may serve as a backup. Candidates are expected to be selected for positions during the month of September.

(7) City council candidates forum

a.       The candidate forum is planned for the first week in October.  Some suggested that Dana Street Roasting Company on a Saturday morning might be a good venue. The biggest negative about this choice would be lack of space.  Other possibilities are St. Joseph’s Church, Shoreline Community Church, the Day Workers’ Center, City Hall, and Landels’ school. Robert Cox and Deb Keller suggested that the best time would be Monday evening, October 4.  Laura Lewis agreed, and volunteered to look into the best place to hold it.

b.      Voting on the bylaws amendments will be held after the candidates forum.

(8) Newsletter

a.       Deb Keller reported that a larger edition of the newsletter is expected because of city council campaign ads and articles about candidates.

(9) Treasurer

a.       Carter Coleman reported that our finances are in good order.  We currently have $9515, and expect to get more after candidate ads are paid for and we are reimbursed from the city for the ice cream social.

(10) Adjournment

a.       The meeting was adjourned at 9:24PM.

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