BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
A compromise reached just after the stroke of midnight this morning (Dec. 12) will allow the construction of 15 townhouses in Mountain View on a site where 75 people now live in rent-controlled apartments.
Mountain View City Council, during a four-hour hearing, was split over whether to approve the development that would result in townhouses selling for $1.3 million at 2005 Rock St., a block from the corner of Rengstorff Avenue and W. Middlefield Road.
Council members Ken Rosenberg, Lenny Siegel and Pat Showalter voted against the project, while Chris Clark, Margaret Abe-Koga, Lisa Matichak and John McAlister favored it.
Tenants to move
Clark was the swing vote. He decided to support the project after the developer, Morgan Hill-based Dividend Homes, agreed to keep the existing apartments open until Dec. 31, 2019, and relocate the residents to either some place in Mountain View, or if necessary, as far away as San Jose or Redwood City.
Most of the families living there now pay about $2,000 a month, according to attorney Nazanin Salehi, who represents the tenants.
Of the 75 residents, 30 are children, Salehi said. The adults hold working-class jobs, ranging from receptionist to janitor, from housekeeper to Google cafeteria worker.
Showalter, Siegel and Rosenberg all said they didn’t want a project displacing working-class residents, whom they called the “backbone” of the city.
Those in favor pointed out that the council has previously approved similar projects, where apartments are torn down in order for other types of developments to be built.
‘Good for the community?’
But Siegel countered that with the previous approvals, there was not a huge outpouring of concern from residents who would lose their homes, like there was this time.
“As a council member, I think the first question to ask about a project is ‘Is this project good for your community?’” said Showalter. “I think most of you would say that there isn’t a housing project that Pat Showalter doesn’t like. Well the thing is, this is one.”