From the New York Times:
Over the last few years, the price of buying a home or renting an apartment has become so burdensome that it pervades almost every issue, from the state’s elevated poverty rate to the debate about multimillion-dollar tear-downs to the lines of recreational vehicles parked on Silicon Valley side streets.
The town of Mountain View, Google’s home, wants to do something about that. Given new marching orders from a reform-minded City Council that was swept into office here two years ago, Mountain View is looking to increase its housing stock by as much as 50 percent — including as many as 10,000 units in the area around Google’s main campus.
… voters across California passed various affordable housing measures along with new transit funding, and, in some cases, rejected efforts to restrict or cap development. In Palo Alto, several pro-housing candidates were elected to the City Council. Residents in Mountain View approved rent control. …
Four years ago — as Google was swelling, rents were exploding and eviction stories were becoming commonplace — Mountain View started looking to redevelop North Bayshore. The acrimonious debate over whether to add housing included both predictions that the neighborhood would fill up with the tech equivalent of Chinese factory dorms and worries that residents would disturb a habitat for local burrowing owls.
One city councilman even suggested that if the city built housing in North Bayshore, it could create a Google voting bloc that would turn Mountain View into a factory town. But after the City Council decided against adding new housing, voters responded by electing three pro-housing candidates, including Mr. Siegel. One of the new Council’s first acts was to instruct the city’s planning department to study ways to add housing to North Bayshore. That decision was unanimous.
Since then the Council has approved about 2,000 new units elsewhere in town. In all, Mountain View is studying how to add a total of 17,000 units. Mr. Siegel said developers submitted more proposals for housing than the city could process, so the town was looking to hire more planners.
There are plenty of desks and a budget to pay them, but few want to take the job.
“They can’t afford to live here,” Mr. Siegel said.