2/9 UPDATE: 2/14 Meeting @ 5PM, not 7PM as originally posted.
Don’t fall for the trite tradition of dinner and a movie this Valentines day. How about dinner and a City Council General Plan study session? Steer clear of the passive movie-going experience and participate in elevating the Draft General Plan from good to extraordinary. After 3 long years, City Council will be holding its final study session on the Draft General Plan and this is the last big opportunity to provide input. While the Draft Plan outlines a sustainable vision, the policies need strengthening to ensure the vision is implemented.
Why do the policies in Draft General Plan need strengthening? Driving and greenhouse gas emissions both increase by 2030 in the Draft General Plan. The main reason for the increase, according to the independent environmental analysis: too few housing units. While opening the floodgates to unlimited housing development is not realistic or desirable, there are still opportunities to plan for housing that won’t clash with Mountain View’s character. Here are thee points to discuss when addressing or writing council:
- Ask for absolute, not per capita greenhouse gas reduction targets. Greenhouse gas reduction targets are the foundation of effective, sustainable transportation, land use, and housing policies. The General Plan and associated Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan has weakened the city’s greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) targets by abandoning a previously adopted policy to reduce the city’s overall emissions and proposing a per capita, or per person reduction. This means Mountain View’s overall GHG emission for the year 2030 will increase over 2009 levels due to population increase. International and State greenhouse gas plans have stated that absolute, not per capita, reductions are needed to stall Climate Change.
- Identify methods to include more housing in the General Plan: The General Plan Environmental Impact Report studied an “increased housing alternative” which was described as “environmentally superior” since people can live closer to jobs and services, which reduces the demand for driving. Adopting this entire alternative would require rebooting the environmental analysis, which is unlikely, but we can ask for two solutions that will consider more housing: a) Ask Council to fold in as much of the increased housing alternative as possible into the Draft General Plan. b) Ask council to incorporate a policy that will evaluate the need for additional housing every 5 years. Finally, consider emphasizing the need for affordable housing, as affordable housing is an important component of environmental sustainability.
- Plan for residential development in North Bayshore: Locating housing near jobs is a critical solution to reducing GHG emissions, and there's no place better to do that than in North Bayshore. The Shoreline Boulevard corridor in North Bayshore is poised to transform from office park to a vibrant mixed-use corridor with frequent transit, neighborhood retail, and great public spaces. However, frequent transit service and successful retail are dependent on the right number of housing units. If the area remains exclusively offices, frequent all-day transit service and viable retail are difficult to support because the area becomes a ghost town on the weekends and in the evenings.
Hope to see you there!
City Hall (map), Plaza Conference Room