Opinion

Reuse LASD’s 116 acres and Pursue Old Mill-Safeway land

John Swan says NEC land is a good deal but...
Written by lalahpolitico
John Swan, Los Altos School Distirict

John Swan, Los Altos School District, Enrollment Growth Task Force, Measure N Oversight…

John Swan:  I’d like to respond to LASD’s push to buy land in the high-density-zoned area of Mountain View.  At $2M an acre, the Old Mill site is a tremendous opportunity to pursue. But conflating BCS and NEC growth issues does not seem like a wise course of action. Let me explain.

I was on the 2012-13 LASD Superintendent’s Enrollment Growth Task Force and am currently on the Citizens Measure N Bond Oversight Committee.

I have heard market rates for this land is north of $15 million an acre. I have reviewed the proposed net-net purchase price for the Old Mill Mountain View site.  I estimate if all the Transfer Development Rights (TDR) credits and the Mountain View Park Fund fees are secured, this site could be acquired for around $2 million an acre.  That is a tremendous opportunity.  I vote to pursue it.

…this NEC Old Mill site could be acquired for around $2 million an acre.  That is a tremendous opportunity.  I vote to pursue it. – John Swan

The downside is that it will take time and there is a strong possibility that legal action will be pursued that could tie up the site for years.  One of the owners has already gone on record stating they will fight the acquisition in court.


So consider two options in parallel.

  1. Repurpose the existing 116 plus acres and facilities to accommodate a 10th school.  It is doable now and near-term and is clearly the lowest cost option for a 10th school.
  2. Pursue the Old Mill NEC site for a long-term solution to NEC growth and to acquire an additional site that will become a neighborhood school in that area.
 … a solution near-term for the major source of enrollment growth–namely BCS–in true partnership with BCS should be the primary focus, not a NEC school– John Swan
Old Mill, City of Mountain View, Greystar

The Old Mill office building is one of the assets on the 3-parcel site LASD trustees are trying to acquire with a complex TDR process in the City of Mountain View

Final note, Measure N was passed in 2014 to address existing enrollment growth issues. Let me repeat that BCS is the primary source of that growth.  Addressing a solution near-term for that growth in true partnership with BCS should be the primary focus, not a NEC school to address future (and possibly much lower than projected) growth.

 

Conflating BCS and NEC growth issues does not seem like a wise course of action– John Swan

About the author

lalahpolitico

Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past couple of years.