Cupertino Matters

This is a week of celebrations with Valentine’s Day, Presidents weekend  and Chinese New Year, the Year of the Ox. And the national scene has calmed down with the conclusion of the impeachment trial for the former President. The return of outdoor dining is welcome, as well as personal services.

Availability of COVID-19 vaccinations is improving, but getting an appointment remains challenging. Local resident and senior technology guru, Richard Adler, was quoted in an article How to master the vaccine-appointment website: A guide for everyone in the Consumer Tech section of the Feb. 10, 2021 issue of the Washington Post. The February 11, 2021 issue of Items of Interest at, has details on the county website, as well as a telephone number for those needing assistance in multiple languages, or setting up appointments without online access.

There was media coverage of the controversial Planning Commission appointments by City Council in the THE FLY column, Cupertino Planning Commission Picks Roil Residents on Feb. 20, 2021 issue of San Jose Inside. Cupertino Today also covered the appointments in Scharf, Wang return to Cupertino leadership on Planning Commission through January 2025. Is this type of reputation good for Cupertino?

UPDATE – CUSD Board Meeting – Thurs., Feb. 11, 2021

In closed session, interim superintendent Stacy Yao was named permanent CUSD superintendent, which stabilizes leadership for the school district. The Registrar of Voters has assigned a designation to the CUSD parcel tax measure: Measure A will appear on the ballot for a May 4, 2021 vote.

Reopening schools remains the hot topic. Agenda Item 12.2 Reopening Schools Update was a  plan to have staged partial openings on a two week schedule as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Agenda Item 12.3  Addressing declining enrollment consisted of a recommendation to table school restructuring for two years (provided Measure A passes). The next year will be essentially startup mode with multiple options in a post-COVID (hopefully) environment, but enrollment and space restrictions are not expected to stabilize for another year.

Note: All board meeting agendas, documents, and videos reside on BoardDocs. Click on “meetings” on the right side of the gray bar at the top to get a list of meetings on the left-hand side. Select a meeting and view the agenda to get to each item (the navigation is clunky, but usable).

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL MEETING Tues., Feb 16, 2021, 6:45 Regular Meeting; Study Session 5:30 

Study Session to compare standards for mixed-use developments and high density residential guidelines with other cities. The council, particularly Vice-Mayor Chao has been critical of the lack of objective standards for mixed use development. The staff reviewed plans from surrounding cities to better understand their regulatory structure for mixed use developments. None of the jurisdictions have one-size-fits-all standards for mixed use projects, which are inherently complex and context-based. Instead, standards are incorporated into Specific Plans. The report analyzes (1) Setbacks, (2) Setback adjacent to Residential Development, (3) Height, (4) Ground Level Design, (5) Maximum FAR and Residential Density, (6) Open Space and (7) Parking Requirements.

Immediately after roll call, listen carefully to the report out from the Closed Session on Tues. Feb.9, 2021: Public Employee Structural Performance Evaluation (Gov’t Code Section 54957(b)). Title: City Attorney.  A “structural” performance review is an exceedingly unusual designation, and may indicate evaluation of the organization of the office of the city attorney rather than a personal performance review of the city’s contract city attorney. But, if reorganizing the office was the topic of discussion, why was it hidden from public view in closed session and called for on last-minute notice? Is this council committed to transparency?

The sole Ceremonial Matters and Presentations is Item #1 Certificates of Appreciation to the Cupertino Citizen Corps for their response and support of the COVID-19 Test Sites, well deserved recognition for these volunteers. Item #2 is the City Manager’s update on emergency response efforts and Item #3 is Report on Committee assignments by council members. Item #4 consists of the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) collaboration discussion update. And Item #5 addresses the FY 2020-21 Interim Budget and Key Projects Update

The Consent Calendar appears to be routine. Note that Item #6 Approve the January 25 City Council minutes documents votes by each council member for members of city commissions selected on Feb. 25. Item #7 Approve the January 26 City Council minutes is the individual votes for the Feb. 26 commission applications. There is no video of the interviews, though it was a Brown Act meeting, and these votes are not documented elsewhere. Item #12 Treasurer’s Investment Report for period ending December 31, 2020 may get pulled for discussion.

Item #14 Consider and act on Ordinance No. 21-2220 adopting Municipal Code Amendments to update existing Mobile Vending regulations, including conforming edits to Titles 5 and 13 in the Municipal Code, for new regulations of Sidewalk Vending in compliance with SB 946. Though previously approved unanimously on Jan. 19, 2021, changes to forbid sidewalk vending near permitted special events were made so this reverted to an approval of a first reading at the Feb. 2, 2021 council meeting, requiring that the ordinance be brought back for a second reading. This should be non-controversial.

Item #15 Consider and act on Ordinance No. 21-2222: “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Cupertino Adding Chapter 2.100 (“Regulation of Lobbying Activities”) to Title 2 (“Administration and Personnel”) of the Cupertino Municipal Code”. This is the second reading of that was adopted unanimously at the Feb. 2, 2021, meeting. Council has not addressed enforcement or fees, nor acknowledged the limited value.

Item #16 Consider and act on the proposed modification to an existing Use Permit (U-2004-01) to amend the conditions of approval to allow 100% non-retail commercial uses where only 50% are allowed. Application No(s).: M-2020-02; Applicant(s): Catherine Chen; Location: 20130 Stevens Creek Blvd. The property owner is seeking to have this property zoned “commercial’, rather than “retail”.  The building has been vacant for five years because by-appointment personal and professional services are not allowed under current zoning. This application was approved unanimously by the Planning Commission and should therefore be non-controversial.

Item #17 Consideration of a Municipal Code Amendment as part of the transition from Level of Service (LOS) to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), for a determining transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as required by Senate Bill (SB) 743. This is a technical change required by the state, but there may be a reluctance to abandon the familiar LOS, which will no longer be used for CEQA. This is likely to be a tedious discussion. Why should projects incur the additional LOS cost?

Item #18 Consider Resolution No. 21-016 approving correction to Building Fee Schedule D – Standard Commercial Foundation with Podium. This item addresses an overlooked fee for a special type of construction that should have been included in a 2016 revision of building construction fees. This is a housekeeping item that should generate limited discussion.

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

EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: As with all matters, feel free to voice your opinions to individual councilmembers, the council as a whole, the city manager, and the city clerk to have your thoughts and views heard. Note that emails to city council as a whole are forwarded to the city manager, whereas emails to individual councilmembers are not. Clearly include in your subject line the topic or agenda item on which you are commenting:

Readers are encouraged to speak at council meeting, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers have three minutes, and coaching is available!  Readers are also encouraged to email individual council members, the council as a whole, the city manager, and the city clerk.  These become part of the public record. Contacts at

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Tues., Feb. 9, 2021, 6:45 p.m.
YouTube: 54 min. (very short meeting)

Item #1: Oath of Office for newly-appointed Planning Commission members; training on Commissioner Handbook approved by City Council on January 19, 2021. This was postponed since the city clerk was attending the city council closed session.

Item #2 Election of Chair, Vice Chair and Committee appointments. The traditional succession was followed with R “Ray” Wang, the current Vice Chair (and Acting Chair) chosen chair, despite his reputation. Commissioner Steven Scharf, former Mayor, was chosen as Vice Chair. Committee assignments were then assigned.

Item #3  Draft Minutes of January 26, 2021. Postponed until former Commissioners David Fung and Alan Takahashi can attend.

Item #4 Hillside Exception application to consider allowing the construction of an 864 square foot deck expansion on slopes greater than 30% to an existing single family residence. Application No(s).: EXC-2020-007; Applicant(s): Curt Cline (Raifi residence); Location: 22637 San Juan Road. City code allows up to 500 sq.ft. of improvements on hillsides, so this was a reasonable request for an additional 364 sq. ft for a structure on a 15,770 sq. ft. lot. No opposition by neighbors. Approved unanimously.

CUPERTINO COURIER, February 12,  2021

The cover picture and feature story on page 5 is Breaking Barriers: Local Scout is in first class of female eagles honored nationally, recognizing Kennedy Middle School student, Erin Handelsman. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) De Anza resolves to be a smoke-free campus, and (2) Events for older adults. Page 20-21 is (1) Notice of Public Hearing for Changes to the Municipal Code’s Density Bonus Chapter to be heard at the Planning Commission on Feb. 23, 2021 and  (2) Notices of First and Second Readings of ordinances approved by city council.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor