Mountain View City Council Meeting December 2017

Adoption of North Bayshore Precise Plan

After nearly three years of work, the Council adopted the North Bayshore Precise Plan revision, which establishes three neighborhoods adjacent to Shoreline Boulevard north of Highway 101 and allows up to 9,850 new housing units. In a marathon session on December 12th, the Council unanimously approved the plan after addressing a number of outstanding policy issues. The plan includes a 20% affordable housing goal, a “Local School District Strategy” to help secure funding or land for the possible development of new schools in the area, and a “local hire” policy to encourage the use of local workforce for the development of the plan area.

A key component of the plan is a program that allows developers to voluntarily provide community benefits in exchange for greater building height and density. All residential projects must comply with the citywide 15% affordable housing requirement. In addition, “Tier 1” projects must provide transportation improvements, funding or land for schools, or some other public amenity. Even larger “Tier 2” projects are required to provide 20% affordable housing and dedicate land for the development of a local school.

The Council also discussed the development process for the plan area. High-level “Master Plans,” which show the “proposed land uses; building locations; street improvements and circulation; and the overall phasing, timing, and improvement” of a given development site, will be required for each of the new neighborhoods. The Council may require Master Plans for other projects at its discretion. Generally, proposals that comply with an approved Master Plan will be allowed to proceed using a streamlined process. If a project is not in compliance with a Master Plan, Council approval will be required.

Addendum to 938 and 954 Villa Street (Weilheimer House Relocation)

On November 28, 2017, the Council voted 4-3 to allow the Weilheimer House to be relocated to 1012 West Dana Street, which is necessary to allow a redevelopment proposal on Villa Street to proceed. The proposal would replace two restaurants, Chez TJ and Tied House, with an office building and new ground-floor restaurant. However, on December 5th, one of the Councilmembers who had voted in favor of allowing the relocation of the Weilheimer House announced that he had reversed his position. This means that a majority of the Council does not support the relocation of the House. The developer may choose to alter the proposal, proceed with an up-or-down vote for the current proposal regardless of the Council’s position, or take some other action.

Potential Revenue Measures

The Council directed City staff on December 5th to prepare a workplan to pursue three revenue generating ballot measures, which would potentially be placed on the November 2018 ballot. The Council expressed interest in a cannabis tax, an increase in the transient occupancy tax (which would apply to hotels and potentially short-term rental services like Airbnb), and an increase and possible restructuring of the business license fee, which has not been updated since 1985. A Council subcommittee will be established to work on the details of each measure.

Temporary Moratorium Prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity

Also on December 5th, the Council approved a temporary moratorium prohibiting commercial cannabis activity. The “urgency ordinance will allow time for studies and community outreach for the development of a permitting and regulatory scheme for the City.” The moratorium went into effect immediately upon approval for 45 days, which options to extend for 1 or 2 years.

The Council also directed staff to prepare an ordinance allowing delivery of cannabis from business entities that have a license from the state and another city. Other cannabis activity will continue to be prohibited until the regulatory framework is fully developed, but the Council directed staff to prioritize the regulation (and legalization) of delivery of cannabis.

— Lucas Ramirez, Observer