Monday, March 28, 2011
Mountain View Voice Staff – by Nick Veronin

A former work furlough facility next to the Middlefield light rail station will soon be razed to make way for a new three-story office building. The city approved a gatekeeper request to have the plot rezoned to accommodate a structure with a higher floor area ratio.

Both the city and the developer, San Francisco-based Four Corners Properties, are optimistic that the location of the new offices at 590 E. Middlefield Road, along with its high-intensity designation, will attract a promising company whose employees will use public transportation.

By approving Four Corners’ gatekeeper request, the city has allowed for a change in the zoning ordinance currently in place on the land, bumping up the permitted floor area ratio from 0.5 to 0.65. The higher floor area ratio will allow for a higher intensity building — a designation that refers to the capacity of a given office or retail space.

“In key areas where there is adequate infrastructure, there is an interest in higher intensity structures,” said Peter Gilli, zoning administrator for the city. According to Gilli, 0.65 floor area ratio is higher than many other buildings in the area.

Gilli said that the zoning change is in line with the city’s forthcoming new general plan, which is scheduled to be complete by 2012 and calls for reducing traffic congestion and increasing use of public transit.

Giving a large number of people the opportunity to work directly adjacent to a VTA light rail station — as this zoning change will do — will encourage that goal, Gilli said.