- The Mountain View (CA) City Council is deciding on the number of housing units to build in the city’s North Bayshore business district, home to Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Intuit. That number will land somewhere between 6,700 and 9,100, the densest option presented to the council before a straw vote, the San Francisco Business Times reported.
- The decision sets an upper limit for residential units, requiring a change to the existing, year-old land-use plan, which allows up to 3.4 million square feet of net-new office space but no housing in the 500-acre business development. The plan was met with protest, which was the impetus for a housecleaning of many anti-housing city council members.
- Mountain View has long suffered from a commuting logjam during peak hours, as the only housing in North Bayshore is a 350-unit mobile home park. The tech giants' employees must travel from all over the Bay Area, creating major traffic congestion.
Google supports adding housing to the area, and reduced area traffic is expected to smooth the way for the search engine behemoth to build additional projects. Google will most likely build most of the new housing, whatever that number turns out to be, and the company has suggested that the builder of any residential projects should be the beneficiary of freed-up office capacity due to less traffic.
The council’s goal, the Business Times reported, is to create enough housing to support neighborhood businesses and create a walkable community. Council members said they are leaning toward building 12-story residential towers with mostly studios and one- and two-bedroom units. The smaller size might deter families from moving in, but the council said it is trying to maximize the number of units available for residents who work in the area.
Mountain View's housing policies require developers to either designate 10% of a project to affordable housing units or pay a fee. Google said this week it would choose to integrate affordable housing units along with the market-rate options instead of opting for the fee.
The tech giant also told city officials that its developments would not be restricted to only Google employees. "Rather, projects would be designed to encourage any North Bayshore worker to reside in order to accomplish traffic mitigation and help achieve a better jobs/housing balance in North Bayshore," the company's real estate executive Mark Golan said.