Cupertino Matters

Summer is moving along quickly, with most of us doing staycations and house projects.  Schools face major decisions this month regarding how they will operate this fall. It’s easier for college students to function in the online world. High schools have to figure out how to provide classes so their students can graduate, but can generally adjust to minimal in-person instruction. K-8 schools, however, endure major challenges with trying to provide some type of hybrid education. In addition, parents really do want their kids back in school with their friends, so they can concentrate on their jobs. The same is true for childcare in general. The sudden necessity of working from home underscores the importance of childcare and the full range of services schools provide.

In the meanwhile, Santa Clara County’s variance from Governor Newsom’s order shuttering a large array of businesses due to increased coronavirus case counts was approved. Various businesses will be able to resume some form of business activity starting on July 13, including gyms and nail/hair salons.

A second Community Forum on Policing, this one aimed at a discussion with CUSD and FUHSD students and alumni, has been scheduled on July 8. The City of Cupertino will host this meeting in collaboration with the Fremont Union High School District, Cupertino Unified School District, and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office-West Valley Division. The City, FUHSD, CUSD, and Sheriff’s Office have received inquiries about policies and training regarding use of force, as well as the purpose of School Resource Officers. This forum comes on the heels of a student and alumni-hosted town hall on racism in high schools that included about 500 attendees on Monday.

On Friday, July 3, Councilmember Liang Chao, Bicycle-Pedestrian Commissioner Muni Madhdhipatla, and Fine Arts Commissioner Sudha Kasamsetty staged a small rally at Civic Center Plaza, together with Republican Congressional candidate, Ritesh Tandon, to protest Proposition 16, which would repeal Proposition 209–the 1996 ballot initiative that banned affirmative action. Organizers claimed hundreds of attendees; eyewitness reports put total attendance at approximately 40-60 people at its peak.

The city continues to update the community via email posted on Mondays and Wednesdays with information on city services. You can sign up for email notifications or go to the webpage

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., July 7, 2020, 5:30 Study Session,  6:45 Regular Meeting – Teleconference

The 5:30 Study Session regards the General Plan Amendment Authorization Procedure adopted by the City Council in September 2015 by Resolution No. 15-078. Vice-Mayor Darcy Paul and Councilmember Liang Chao requested this review of procedures approved by the previous council. This is the so-called “gateway” process which requires that large development projects that require an amendment to the General Plan receive city council authorization before being examined. The objective was to provide preliminary public and council input prior to the use of staff time considering the application. In practice, this extra process (in essence, an application to make an application) has inhibited all General Plan amendment applications. Instead, current projects have relied on other processes: Vallco on SB 35 and the current Oaks project application on existing entitlements. Council has dramatically more negotiating power relying on General Plan amendments than it does when applicants rely only on existing entitlements.

Item #1: City Manager’s update on COVID-19 response efforts. This item provides an up-to-date snapshot of the current situation, and city actions to restore services, and provide aid to the community. The county continues to revise guidelines. You can find updates here.

Item #2: Presentation on Civic Center Parking Analysis and Recommendations. Parking has been an ongoing complaint of library patrons as well as city hall and community hall users. This study by an outside consultant identified options and provides recommendations for managing parking to improve utilization. The library expansion project would have a major impact. While the study has a great deal of detail on costs of different options, actual user data (vs. employee) is quite limited. The library patron survey consists of a single intercept day on Tues., Oct. 15, 2019. There was NO day-of-week, or hourly analysis, which is quite important for the library. The heaviest patron usage is Sunday afternoon, per data readily available from the library, but not included in the study. The same information should be available for usage of community hall, which was also not included. On the brighter side, the projection does show that construction of the Regnart Creek Trail should reduce parking demand at the library.

Item #3: Councilmembers’ reports on Committee assignments should be minimal due to the Fourth of July holiday. Following this item, the consent calendar appears routine.

Item #8: Municipal Code Amendments to regulate Short-Term Rental activity in the City. A new Chapter 5.08 (Short Term Rental Activity) is proposed and amendments are proposed to Chapter 3.12 (Transient Occupancy Tax), Chapter 19.08 (Definitions), Chapter 19.12 (Administration), Chapter 19.20 (Permitted, Conditional and Excluded Uses in Agricultural and Residential Zones) and Chapter 19.120 (Home Occupations), of the Cupertino Municipal Code. This item is likely to generate public comment as well as extensive council discussion. Short Term Rentals (STRs) are rentals lasting 30 days or shorter made popular by Airbnb and HomeAway. Prior to the Shelter-in-Place order, there were 500 STRs operating in Cupertino; now there are about 242 STRs. This is less than 2% of housing stock, yet council is likely to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing regulation of this activity. Three options are presented: (1) proactive at a cost of $408,689, (2) semi-proactive at a cost of $283,889, and (3) reactive at a cost of $159,089. Given the handful of complaints currently handled by Code Enforcement, does it make sense for the city to incur the additional expenses of enforcing regulation? Note the letters from Expedia and Airbnb outlining the hassles of enforcing proposed regulations given the fluidity of the marketplace, particularly since the pandemic. Community survey data is from fall of 2018.

Item #9: Approve renewal of the following fees: 1. Continue to charge existing (1992) Storm Drainage Service Charge, to be collected on the property tax bills for each parcel, at the following rates which include no increase in rates for FY 2020-2021: $12/single family parcel, $144/acre for commercial/apartments/industrial parcels, $36/acre for unimproved parcels; and 2. Continue to charge the 2019 Clean Water and Storm Protection Fee calculated for each parcel and collected on property tax bills or billed directly for any parcels that cannot be collected on County tax bills, for FY 2020-2021 at the rates shown in the table with no increase in rates. This should be a routine approval of current fees for property tax bills with no increase for 2020-21.

Item #10: Approving an Internal Audit Charter. The City’s Audit Committee proposed this addition as part of the FY 2019-20 Work Plan to improve effectiveness of risk management, fiscal control and governance processes. This should be non-controversial.

Item #11: Adopt a resolution approving the purchase of the Lawrence-Mitty property, located along the westerly right-of-way of Lawrence Expressway between Calvert Drive and Bollinger Road (APNs 375-21-001 and 375-22-001), from the County of Santa Clara, in the amount of $2,690,000, and authorizing the City Manager to execute all necessary documents and take all necessary steps to complete the acquisition of the property. The city has been trying to acquire this approximately 8 acres of property since at least 2007. The site is owned by Santa Clara County, but is within the city limits of San Jose, adjoining Cupertino. There are access restrictions (no public access) to the site from Lawrence Expressway, and the property is subject to losing land if the expressway is expanded in the future. There is also an existing 30 year joint use agreement for the San Tomas Aquino-Saratoga Creek Trail. If the County Board of Supervisors approves this purchase, it will be funded by Apple and the previously approved capital budget. Approval should be non-controversial.

Item #12: Ordinance adding Chapter 2.20.120 to the Cupertino Municipal Code requiring online or electronic filing of campaign statements; Update on City website tool for publishing campaign finance data. Traditionally, campaign statements were filed on paper, and the city clerk then manually processed them to make them available electronically. The Innovation Technology Applications Division developed a website tool to allow candidates to file electronically. Other cities have made the same transition, so this would be a welcome change. Approval should likewise be non-controversial.

As usual, listen closely to full council reports at the end of the meeting.


The front page photo and article by Anne Gelhaus appearing on page 5 is Change of Summer Plans: In response to pandemic,camps can have no more than 12 in a group, describing the City of Cupertino Parks and Recreation adaption to COVID-19 restrictions for their summer camps. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) Emergency relief grants from the city of Cupertino to small businesses and (2) National Merit Scholarship winners. On page 6, the article Aqui closes outdoor patios after Campbell employee tests positive affects the Cupertino Aqui restaurant. Evidently, customers disregarded social distancing and facemasks. Legal notices on page 24 is yet another public hearing regarding the Westport (The Oaks) Mixed Use Project to be heard by the Planning Commission on July 14.

Hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July, however you celebrated!. 

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor