Tue09022014

Mountain View on the Move

MV council ratifies site acquisition


Photo By: Courtesy of City of Mountain View
The city of Mountain View plans to purchase a 1.22-acre lot on Rengstorff Avenue for $3 million, with proposed uses including a park, a garden or senior or low-income housing.

Members of the Mountain View City Council approved the purchase of the 1.22-acre site at 771 N. Rengstorff Ave. for $3 million at their May 7 meeting.

According to a staff report, the property is located on the east side of Rengstorff Avenue, approximately 150 feet south of Old Middlefield Way. It includes a 960-square-foot house, built in 1953, evaluated as in “fair condition.”

The city purchased the property after owner Frances M. Stieper approached officials last November about a possible sale.

Approximately 125 trees on the property “could be eligible for designation as heritage trees,” based on their historical significance, staff members said. Although many are in fair to poor condition, staff members said the trees might qualify for preservation.

Total expenditures for the land, which could be used for a park, among other ideas, include an additional $400,000 in “incidental” real estate and demolition costs and more than $200,000 for a city administration fee.

Following acquisition, staff will schedule public meetings and/or a study session at a future council meeting to solicit public input on possible uses for the property.

Mayor John Inks said options could include “a relatively large park or a park with some type of housing, perhaps a garden, as Mrs. Stieper suggested. It could even be resold – but not likely. She has a good-size garden there now.” 

Inks said he didn’t have a strong preference for how the land is used.

“This is a special case in which Mrs. Stieper approached the city to sell at appraised value. Normally, this would have been a private-to-private transaction,” he said.

While Inks acknowledged that low-income or senior housing could be options for the land, he cautioned that “these projects tend to be as expensive as market rate and extremely slow to develop.”

City staff members said funding for the purchase would be taken from a $10 million Strategic Property Acquisition Reserve. After a decision on land use, other funding sources, such as parkland dedication in-lieu fees, could be used to repay the reserve fund.

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