The Mountain View City Council last week signed off on a plan to transform the North Bayshore area dominated by Google Inc. into an urban center filled with high-rises, 3.6 million square feet of office space, mixed-use development and nearly 10,000 new housing units.
Councilmembers Dec. 12 approved a final environmental impact report and updated land-use and zoning maps as part of the city’s North Bayshore Precise Plan, a plan envisioning a future less “car-centric” and more dependent on alternative transportation.
A key element in the 9,850 multifamily housing units in 15-story structures across three new neighborhoods is a 20 percent requirement for affordable housing among 70 percent of the units planned for studio and one-bedroom apartments.
Housing advocates lauded the unanimous council decision, backed by Google’s support, as a major step forward in addressing the North Bayshore area’s notorious jobs-housing imbalance. Construction will likely follow over the next decade, city officials said.
The decision comes as Google builds its 600,000-square-foot Charleston East campus, expected to accommodate 2,700 employees when it opens in 2019.
City officials picture the North Bayshore area’s future with buildings “taller and more urban than other parts of Mountain View, with simpler yet well-designed building facades,” stated a staff report for the Dec. 12 meeting. “Buildings will be located closer to the street so they face public streets and sidewalks, making them more accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users. Parking will be ‘hidden’ by being placed behind buildings, underground or in well-designed parking structures.”
The precise plan also allows for hotel, entertainment, retail and service uses. The North Bayshore “gateway” area at Shoreline Boulevard and Highway 101 features the “highest allowed intensities” in the area, the staff report noted, where new movie theaters and a shopping center with retail and restaurants would be located.
The staff report further states that the plan incentivizes affordable housing development by allowing developers bonus higher density, supports local school development and increases “habitat overlay zone” protections along with the new residential uses.
The North Bayshore plan also is designed to make alternative transportation “comfortable and convenient,” according to a staff report, which notes that “the large area blocks will be broken up into smaller, more walkable blocks. Streets will include new pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure. New, and bike and pedestrian-only, greenways will weave through the area.”
City officials acknowledged “significant and unavoidable” traffic impacts on roads and intersections serving the area. The Highway 101/Shoreline Boulevard intersection will be especially affected, requiring a redesign and reconstruction of the current roads that will require the involvement of Caltrans. The state agency’s timeline for taking on such a project is currently unknown.
The North Bayshore area is bordered by 101 to the south, Charleston Road to the west, Shoreline Boulevard to the east and Shoreline Park to the north.