By Len Ramirez

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — The city of Mountain View is sending a clear message to developers: no new office buildings without an equal amount of new homes.

The city’s decision is specific to the East Whisman District, a 400-acre swath of land roughly bordered by Highway 101 and Whisman Avenue.

City officials said it’s a move to help fix the city’s jobs/housing imbalance.

“I think a lot of people definitely see housing at a crisis level right now,” said City Planner Eric Anderson.

Anderson said the city’s formula calls for three housing units for every thousand square feet of office
space.

The city says the area is planned for an eventual two million square feet of office space and about 5,000
housing units.

“That ends up being a roughly 1:1 ratio of jobs to employed residents,” Anderson said.

The move is being applauded by tech workers.

“I have eight people living in my house; not because I want to, but I have relatives and friends who can’t find housing,” said Jan Narkiewicz, who commutes from San Jose.

Abhijit Mishra, another worker who also lives in San Jose, said the drive is getting longer everyday because so many are doing the same.

“Someone like me, who lives in South San Jose, it takes an hour and 15 coming in, sometimes even longer to get home,” said Mishra.

But the policy could end up scaring away some developers, because building office space is more profitable than
building housing.

The Mountain View school district is expressing concerns that it could lead to thousands more students and no place to put them.

Even city council members who support the plan are worried if the city can follow through.

“It’s sort of a global experiment for Mountain View trying to figure out how we’re going to ge this to work,” said City Council member John McAlister.

But some of the pieces are coming together. The city says it has both office and housing developers waiting in the wings.

Anderson said the city is also working with the school district to identify potential sites for new schools.

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