The housing crunch that has sent prices soaring in San Francisco is a Bay Area-wide issue, and yesterday Mountain View took a step toward adding thousands of new units to its North Bayshore neighborhood—the same neighborhood where Google and other big tech companies like LinkedIn are located. Plans for new housing in North Bayshore have been in the works all year, but the amount of units has been in flux. Yesterday, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the city council took a straw vote during a study session on size. A range of 6,700 to 9,100 units—the densest of four development scenarios—came out the winner.
The vote doesn't allow housing right away in North Bayshore, but it does inform an environmental review and set the upper limit for what could, in time, be built. An initial plan from a previous set of city council members called for building new office space in North Bayshore without any housing, causing an outcry from housing advocates over issues like commuting and sprawl. The new plans are now aimed at getting Mountain View's housing-to-jobs ratio back in balance. Google has long been in support of adding housing in its neighborhood and currently owns much of the land where housing is now allowed. Google could become a major housing developer in the area.
It remains to be seen how that housing will be built and what it will look like, but it could be different from much of Silicon Valley's current housing. The council is supporting buildings that rise up to 12 stories, far above the area's signature low-slung look.
· 9,100 Housing Units Next to Google? Mountain View Council Signals Support for Sweeping North Bayshore Housing Plans [Silicon Valley Business Journal]