Perhaps partly motivated by public comments and the letters they had received ahead of time, Commissioners Fernandez, Clark and Trontell all said that they supported the idea of studying a higher intensity alternative, so that we could make the best decision about the General Plan possible, based on the most information. The members of EPC engaged in a spirited debate on this topic, with Commissioner Matichak expressing that the current preferred alternative already included densities above and beyond what was in the original draft General Plan and that she did not feel comfortable studying something beyond this alternative. All commissioners had excellent points. The consultant for the EIR got up and stated that it would be very unusual for a city to study a higher intensity alternative to its preferred draft General Plan alternative. Usually an EIR just looks at the proposed project, a "no project" scenario (aka keeping the 1992 plan) and one lower intensity alternative.
But guess what! With SB375, and the Sustainable Communities Strategy happening, cities in California are now going to have to start thinking about the environmental impacts of their planning decisions beyond their own borders. If Mountain View doesn't build the housing it needs, the City's emissions might be lower, but those houses will still need to go somewhere. We can no longer just put them in cities on the outer ring of our region. That promotes commuting patterns that are totally unsustainable. The old way of thinking about the impacts of planning is outdated. Mountain View is totally ready to think about how to plan with the whole region in mind. We could be on the cutting edge of planning! MVCSP believes we can do this while still prioritizing the quality of life for our residents.
We're pretty sure that planning staff got that same message from the majority of the EPC. Assuming the City has the time and money to do it, we think they might study a high intensity alternative. This is very exciting! Good job MVCSP! Thanks Commissioners and staff!