Cupertino Matters

Enjoy the lull in traffic before local schools return for regular sessions on August 16. It’s been a year and a half since schools closed abruptly for the COVID-19 shutdown, so traffic patterns may be different than pre-pandemic. Will we see more people walking and biking to school?

The “Let’s Talk Housing with Santa Clara County’s Planning Collaborative” meeting on Aug. 9  attracted 43 Cupertino community members (of 82 total including Los Altos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno). In addition to an overview of the Housing Element requirements, this was an opportunity for the community to interact with the Cupertino Planning Department, which will be responsible for developing the plan. Though much of the discussion has centered on subsidized affordable housing, senior housing and De Anza student and staff housing also received significant mentions. The city has yet to hire a consultant to do the grueling work of identifying potential housing sites; doing community outreach, and drafting the plan that is due in less than a year.

The Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) will meet on August 12, 6:00, for a regular board meeting. In addition to routine board business, additional studies of enrollment patterns and school capacity will be presented in a study session in preparation for restructuring schools. Also notable for local school systems: the Santa Clara County Board Education selected Cupertino resident Tara Sreekrishnan, who ran for city council in 2016, and who serves as a policy advisor to Senator Dave Cortese, to the open position on the seven-member board of trustees vacated by Kathleen King.

The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for August 17, though last minute closed sessions continue to be scheduled. The city continues to expand reopening of city facilities, and is experimenting with transitioning to hybrid city meetings utilizing both Zoom and physical spaces.

>UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION Tues., August 10,  6:45 p.m., Regular Session

The single substantial item on the agenda is to consider amendments to Cupertino Municipal Code Sections 19.56.030 (Table 19.56.030), 19.56.030F, 19.56.040, and Table 19.56.040A and the addition of Section 19.56.080 (Density Bonus Ordinance) to allow density bonuses and other incentives as provided by state law and also to add a subsection in Section 19.56.040 providing additional incentives for affordable housing and a new Section 19.56.080 providing that the Density Bonus Ordinance will be interpreted consistent with state density bonus law. In December, 2020, despite public protest, including threats to sue, city council passed a resolution to avoid compliance with Assembly Bill 2345–a revision of the state’s density bonus law–which became effective on Jan. 1, 2021. Staff then formally prepared an ordinance to implement the December resolution. That draft ordinance went before the Planning Commission on Feb. 23, 2021. City council first took up the ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on April 20. Local advocates called attention to guidance from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on similar provisions in an ordinance of the city of Encinitas, and warned that the Cupertino ordinance would likewise violate state law and expose the city to litigation (see correspondence from J.R. Fruen to the Cupertino City Council dated April 20, 2021). 

The council passed the ordinance on a 4-1 basis (Hung Wei dissenting). On its second reading at the May 4th session of city council, the ordinance passed on the same vote. At each meeting and afterward, local residents raised objections and litigation was threatened by housing advocacy groups, including an organization called Californians for Homeownership (see their letter here). On the day prior, May 3, the California Department of Housing and Community Development had issued a technical assistance memo advising Cupertino that its Density Bonus Ordinance would violate state law under AB 2345. That letter was not placed before council for its deliberations. This item claims to amend the previous ordinance by tossing out the April revisions and replacing them with density bonus and incentive formulas that match those in AB 2345. In addition, the draft ordinance appears to restate or codify existing city policy on affordable housing. This item is expected to pass under legal pressure.

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


On page 6, Naomi Baron, a Homestead High School student, contributed an article Bay Area high schools report rise in failed grades during pandemic. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Final summer concert, (2) Open Space training and (3) Safe at Home. Legal notices on pages 34-35 include (1) Public hearing on Aug. 17 for the council to consider Changes to the Municipal Code’s Density Bonus Chapter that will be heard at the Aug. 10 Planning Commission session, and (2) Notice of unclaimed funds from the Finance Department at the city. Does the city owe you money?

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor