Cupertino Matters

Congratulations to the League of Women Voters (LWV) for their 100th anniversary on February 14, marked by a city council proclamation to the local Cupertino-Sunnyvale Chapter. Their theme, “Making Democracy Work,” is particularly significant with the rapidly approaching California primary on March 3; members are active in voter registration and forums on ballot measures.

Two community meetings were scheduled to consider Bird Safe and Dark Sky Design guidelines, The second community meeting will occur Feb. 20 from 7 – 8. At the Quinlan Center. The annual Lehigh Public Information Meeting hosted by Supervisor Joe Simitian occurred on Feb. 13, 2020. The mostly full chamber listened to updates from a baker’s dozen representatives from agencies involved in regulating the Lehigh cement plant. The city of Cupertino has limited jurisdiction since it is located primarily on county land.

Your voice is important.  Information on expressing your opinion via emails and oral communications with the city can be found at

 UPCOMING  CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues., Feb. 18, 2020, 6:45  Regular Meeting, Closed Session 5:30 – Community Hall, 10350 Torre Avenue

The closed session is a performance evaluation for the City Attorney. The consent calendar is routine, though Item #14 Award of Construction Inspection Services, Plan Review Services, and Public Works Inspection Services contracts for the Vallco Town Center SB 35 project, was continued from the Feb. 4 meeting and may be pulled. Council nitpicked the language at the last meeting, so the city manager recommended modifications to the documents and re-submission at this meeting. This item involves three highly qualified consulting services to provide services to ensure the timely and proper buildout of the Vallco SB 35 project. This long-overdue agreement would be administered by the city and reimbursed by the developer. Vallco submitted plans for review in December 2018—over a year ago. It is an approved project, regardless of the status of Planning Commission Chair Kitty Moore’s lawsuit challenging the project. As such, the city is required to complete review of those plans in a reasonable amount of time in order for the city to stay out of legal jeopardy.  Will council be responsible and approve these contracts or expose the city to yet more litigation?

Item #15:  Second reading of Municipal Code Amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code, adopting new policies to regulate the sale of tobacco. The first reading was approved unanimously so this should be a routine approval.

Item #16 Second reading of Municipal Code Amendment to Cupertino Municipal Code Section 2.20.010 replacing the City Clerk with the City Manager as the designated staff official for attending and keeping minutes for closed sessions. The first reading was approved unanimously, so this should be a routine approval.

Item #17: Municipal Code Amendments to Chapter 19.112 – Accessory Dwelling Units; Chapter 19.20 – Permitted, Conditional and Excluded Uses in Agricultural and Residential Zones; and Chapter 19.08 – Definitions; for Clarifications, and Consistency with recently adopted State Bills. The city’s existing ADU ordinance conflicts with state laws that became effective on Jan. 1, 2020. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the recommended modifications on Jan. 28, 2020. The complexity of these new laws is likely to generate extensive discussion council discussion. There are four types of streamlined applications that must be processed within 60 days with reduced impact fees:  (1) conversion of existing single-family spaces, (2) detached structures less than 800 sq. ft. on a lot with a single-family residence, (3) multi-family conversions utilizing existing, non-livable space, and (4) multi-family detached new construction. Both ADUs and JADUs (conversions that may feature a bathroom shared with the principal dwelling) are allowed. The city can’t require parking or correction of existing non-conforming conditions. Notably, streamlined ADUs can’t be used for short term rentals. ADUs that are not eligible for streamlining have other requirements. ADUs do count toward the city’s RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) numbers, a significant consideration. In addition, the city’s current General Plan explicitly cites facilitation of ADU construction as a planning principle. These new ADU ordinances appear to accomplish the bare minimum necessary to comply with state law. Do these ordinances reflect the aspiration described in the General Plan?

Item #18: Adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration, mitigation measures, a mitigation monitoring and reporting program and adoption of the Cupertino Parks and Recreation System Master Plan. This master plan has been in the works for about 5 years with countless public meetings and review. There are 12 attachments for council to review, and finally approve the plan. After this is approved, then other localized Parks and Recreation Master Plans can proceed. Since no funding is involved, this should be non-controversial.

Item #19: Receipt of the Jan. 28, 2020 Public Review Draft Report from the Local Agency Formation Commission of Santa Clara County (LAFCO), entitled “Special Study: Governance Options, Rancho Rinconada Recreation and Park District,” and provide direction to staff. This is a special district that is part of the Rancho Rinconada neighborhood built in what was then unincorporated county land during the 1950s. Cupertino annexed Rancho Rinconada in 1999, but the special district continued to be separately governed. Most recently, this small district with a budget less than $1 million has been embroiled in governance disputes between its board members. This report outlines available options: (1) continue operations as is, (2) merge the District with the City of Cupertino, or (3) reorganize the District as a Subsidiary District to the City of Cupertino. The action requested is to add this item to the 2019-2020 Parks and Recreation and the City Council work plans for evaluation of fiscal and staffing impacts.

Item #20: Project update, report on bids, and contract award for the McClellan Ranch Preserve Community Garden Improvement Project (Project No. 2017-15). This item authorizes expenditures for contracts for community gardens as approved by council in the budget ($1.2 million) in 2019. There will be 93 beds in this project. Though this is a pricey project, it remains a popular amenity for the majority of council.

Item #21: Adopt of FY 2020-21 Council Goals. This item constitutes formal adoption of the goals from the Feb. 10 strategic planning session. Staff will distill those goals into actionable projects and plans at the follow-up strategic planning session next week.

Item #22 Amendment to Council Committee assignments to appoint one primary member and one alternate member to the County of Santa Clara Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee. This is a new committee which merges two other county housing-related committees. The recommended representatives are Mayor Steven Scharf as primary and Vice-Mayor Darcy Paul as alternative.

Oral Communications may be continued after Item #22 depending on volume. As usual, listen closely to full council reports at the end of the meeting.

 RECAP  CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues., Feb. 10, 2020, 5:30 Special Meeting 
Youtube: 2 hr, 11 min. 

This Televised Special Meeting Study Session was the first step in the revised strategic planning process initiated by City Manager Deb Feng.

Agenda Item #1 Review Progress on FY 2019-20 City Work Program and provide any input to staff. Rather than reviewing the 30-page document, progress was well summarized in a PowerPoint presentation of progress on projects. Major progress has occurred despite short staffing in city departments, due to positions vacated by resignations and retirements.

Agenda Item #2 Develop Council Goals to guide the upcoming City Work Program. Council reviewed 5 major goals for the city which are on the agenda for the upcoming meeting on Feb. 18: (1) public engagement and transparency, (2) sustainability, (3) affordable housing, (4) transportation and (5) quality of life.

 RECAP  PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues., Feb. 11, 2020, Regular Meeting 

Item #2: Study Session on the General Plan Annual Review/Implementation Plan and consider General Plan Policies and Strategies that could benefit from clarification. Vice-Vhair Ray Wang was absent as the other commissioners finally finished review of this 107 page document, which started review on Oct. 28. This document will then go to council in 1-2 months.

 CUPERTINO COURIER  February 14, 2020
The cover photo and feature story on page 5 is Aiming for optimal public use: Cupertino has capital ideas for infrastructure improvements, highlighting projects shown on the dashboard for city Capital Improvement Projects Community briefs include (1) coffee talks, (2) the NASA speaker series, and (3) the community shuttle survey. Legal notices on page 19 include the First and Second readings of the ordinances approved by city council on Feb. 4.

Hope to see you at council meeting this week!
Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor