Cupertino Matters

Father’s Day marked the official start of summer and a June heat wave. The restaurants were bustling this weekend, celebrating the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on June 15. A community farewell for our City Manager Deb will be held on Friday, June 25, at 3 p.m. in front of Community Hall, 10350 Torre Avenue. Please join in wishing her well. Though city hall should be relatively quiet, with the next city council meeting scheduled for July 20, council does have a closed session today to discuss litigation matters, including the potential initiation of three lawsuits.

The city housing survey continues ( available until June 30) to collect feedback from residents regarding housing. Designed by Vice-Mayor Liang Chao, Councilmember Jon Willey, and two Housing Commissioners (Tessa Parish and Govind Tatachari), the survey takes an anti-housing/housing-skeptical approach by omitting any of the benefits of denser housing—such as increased affordability, diversity, walkability/bikeability, reduced environmental impacts (including increased energy and water efficiency), community amenities, and community vibrancy. Instead, it steers respondents to a particular mode of thinking (i.e. community character) in order to suggest a result. Nonetheless, taking the survey and adding additional commentary is useful since the city is likely to try to use this data in their housing decisions. For those so inclined, Cupertino for All has released a point-by-point examination of the survey with suggested potential responses based on that analysis.

As our community emerges from COVID-19, the broader issues of adequate healthcare still remain. Join the League of Women Voters on Healthcare Choices – This is Your Life – A Civil Discourse Forum, on Saturday, June 26, at 2:00 p.m via Zoom.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION Tues., June 22, 2021  6:45 p.m., Regular Session

Item #2: Vesting Tentative Map to replace a previously approved Vesting Tentative Map (TM-2018-03) for the Westport Cupertino development project to create a separate parcel for the age restricted senior below market rate building. City approval would be a Vesting Tentative Map; (Application No(s): TM-2021-002; Applicant(s): KT Urban (Mark Tersini). This project has been approved, but the applicant is requesting a change to the parcel map to facilitate financing of the affordable senior housing. However, this also includes elimination of some of the bike improvements included in the original plan. As a result, this application may see some challenges.

Item #3: Consider an appeal of the Community Development Director’s approval of a Two-Story Permit to allow for a new 2,922 square-foot two-story home with a 746 square-foot attached accessory dwelling unit and a Minor Residential Permit to allow for a new second-story balcony. This project was approved by the director, neighbors are challenging this project. Absent unusual circumstances, this appeal is likely to be denied.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL, Tues., June 22, 2021, City Council, 6:15 p.m., Closed session

Mayor Paul has initiated a regular council closed session on the 4th Tuesday of each month to review litigation. This session includes one case of existing litigation and three potential cases of anticipated litigation. Should a city the size of Cupertino be contemplating so much litigation?

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Fri., June 18, Special meeting, 6:15 p.m.

YouTube: 1 hr. 15 min. 

This was a last-minute Friday night special meeting with two non-controversial items. The meeting ran short.

Item #1: Discussion regarding the County’s Office of Supportive Housing’s consideration of a 2016 Measure A funded potential development located at a vacant parcel south off Interstate 280 and west of N. Wolfe Road (APN 316 20 088), formerly the northernmost parking lot for the Vallco Shopping Mall. This meeting provided an opportunity for the city council and the community to provide feedback on developing this site for supportive housing. Establishment of feasibility will take at least six months.

Item #2 Consider Authorization of the Mayor to Sign a Letter to the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors (Board) Regarding City Support of the Board Granting 1972 Ridgeline Protection Easement Enforcement Rights to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The entire council needed to vote to provide this letter of support.  Approved unanimously.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, June 15, Regular meeting, 6:45 p.m; Study Session, 6:00

YouTube:  Part 1: 3 hr. 46 min  Part 2: 2 hr. 9 min. Start Public Hearings

The study session was Consider whether to authorize the formal submission and processing of a General Plan Amendment Authorization for a change to the Land Use Designation from Low Density (1-5 DU/Ac.) to Low/ Medium Density (5-10 DU/Ac.), which would allow construction of four small lot single family homes where one single family home currently exists. Applicant(s): Homestead Homes; Application No(s).: GPAAuth-2020-001; Location: 19820 Homestead Road APN# 316-04-064 (Continued from the April 6, 2021 meeting). Once again, council dithered on “gateway” approval to apply for a zoning change for this half acre lot from agricultural to low-density residential zoning. After running out of time, the item continued after the end of the lengthy consent calendar. Finally, at 9:55 the application was approved unanimously. Now the applicant can commence with the next hurdles of planning the project and being subjected to yet more lengthy meetings before the Planning Commission and the City Council. Is this a productive way to encourage new housing? Last year only 19 ADUs and 1 single family home were added to Cupertino’s housing stock.

The Ceremonial Matter and Presentation was an excellent presentation by Destination: Home’s Supportive Housing and Innovation Fund regarding their work in preventing homelessness. Lacking formal recognition, Oral Communications turned into a tribute to City Manager Deb Feng, as ten community leaders, including three former mayors, spoke to her leadership and contributions to the city during this pandemic year.

The Consent Calendar was time consuming, with councilmembers pulling minor items including Councilmember Moore questioning renewal of the popular Math Olympiad youth education program. Finally, at the last minute, details from the closed session on Sunday night were posted for the last three items. Item #24, appointment of City Attorney and execution of employment agreement: The new in-house city attorney is Chris Jensen, who will start July 27. He presently serves as an assistant city attorney with the city of Berkeley. Item #25, authorization to execute an agreement with a recruiting firm for permanent City Manager for an amount not to exceed $25,000 was approved unanimously, allowing the city to begin a serious search for a new city manager. Item #26, appointment of Interim City Manager and execution of employment agreement: Greg Larson, a retired city manager for Los Gatos and Milpitas as well as Director of the Santa Clara County Leadership Academy was named as interim city manager. He brings strong credentials to this appointment, including stints in the city manager’s team in San Jose, as Chief Deputy Controller for the State of California, and as a city council candidate himself in his home city of Santa Cruz. Each item received unanimous approval. Councilmembers generally offered their congratulations and extolled the bona fides of their new appointments, though Mayor Darcy Paul struck a peculiarly self-congratulatory note, commenting on how the new city attorney matched his own skills and experience–a fact he thought would not be possible.

Item #27: Public hearing to consider the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and the Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22; consider Adoption of the Budget for FY 2021-22; consider Establishment of the Appropriation Limit, and related actions; or take other action to approve interim expenditures. Council spent less than an hour in discussion about this three-in-one-item for next year’s budget: (1) Capital Improvement Program, (2) the operating budget, and the (3) appropriation limit. The staff reports describe the changes made from previous study sessions. The major change is the reduction of the city manager contingency fund by $518,250 for no other reason than that there weren’t any major unanticipated expenditures for FY 2020-21. Council approved unanimously.

Item #28: Consider approving the FY 2021-22 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Annual Action Plan. Council approved unanimously.

Item #29: Consider substantial amendments to the FY 2019-20 Annual Action Plan and FY 2015-20 Consolidated Plan to provide funding to assist unhoused members of the encampments located along Wolfe Road near Interstate 280 (Wolfe Road encampment) to mitigate safety hazards including COVID-19; and to provide funding for the Senior Meal Delivery Program, which are eligible Department of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) activities in response to COVID-19. Council approved unanimously.

Item #30: Consideration of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21 and FY 2021-22 Fee Schedule Amendments to Schedule A – General Fees to add an Annual Lobbyist Registration fee pursuant to Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 2.100 regarding the regulation of lobbying activities. Council approved unanimously.

Item # 31: Consider Designation of Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) Zone on Serra Street from Canyon Oak Way to the End. Just before midnight, council approved unanimously.

EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are  encouraged to email individual members of the council, the council as a whole, the city manager, and the city clerk. Note that emails to the 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: These become part of the public record. Contacts at


The front page photo and article on page 5 is Getting Ready for the holiday: #CupertinoCares is offering Fourth of July Celebration for local residents. Also on page 5 is an article, Grant will aid end-of-life care for local Chinese Americans. Community briefs on page 6 are (1) Cupertino Pride, covering the flag raising at Cupertino city hall, and (2) Author talks apricots, noting a talk by Lisa Newman entitled, Love of Apricots and Memories of Santa Clara Valley sponsored by the Saratoga Historical Society in tandem with the Cupertino Historical Society. Those interested can attend the next Zoom talk on the topic on June 28.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor