Cupertino Matters

Festivals and outdoor events are slowly returning to the city, with several in Memorial Park during September. Attendance generally is lower than at pre-COVID events, but attendees report enjoying being outside with friends. Shakespeare in the Park also returns this week though in a hybrid mode, both online and live.

This week, Council will hold its first study session on the Housing Element revision after having chosen a consultant to help the city manage the process. As readers will recall, Cupertino is off to a late start relative to neighboring cities. This state-mandated planning process will require Cupertino to determine where to site 4,588 new homes throughout the city and what policies to enact in order to facilitate their construction over an eight-year period. Cupertino currently has approximately 20,000 homes, so this represents a roughly 20% increase. Enabling the production of this number of homes is a significant change for a city which only added 20 net new homes in 2020: 19 ADUs and 1 single-family residence.

In order to help facilitate community conversation and awareness of the Housing Element revision process, West Valley Community Services and Cupertino for All are jointly hosting a community-centered introduction and discussion on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.:  Envisioning an Inclusive Cupertino—Housing Element Town Hall. The new Housing Element will shape Cupertino for decades to come. Participants are invited to join elected officials, affordable housing developers, housing policy experts, community residents and neighbors for an interactive conversation about Cupertino’s future. The town hall is free and accessible via Zoom. You can sign up at WVCS’s webpage:

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Oct. 5, 2021, Regular session, 6:45 , Closed session, 5:30 p.m.

The 5:30 Study session is an Update on Housing Element Process and Housing Survey. The Santa Clara County Planning Collaborative spearheaded three public joint sessions, but there has been little-to-no city-initiated outreach and visible action until now. With the consultant approved at the Sept. 21 council meeting now onboard, outreach meetings and the development of a site inventory, Cupertino can start to get back on track. Included in the presentation is a rough timeline for ensuring that Cupertino can timely submit a Housing Element for the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s review. Results of the housing survey are also included on the agenda. This survey lacks statistical validity, and does not reflect required outreach under state law (AB 686), so it is not clear what value it will have in informing the Housing Element process.

The regular meeting agenda is short, so the session may end well before midnight. There are two Ceremonial Matters and Presentations: (1) Proclamation recognizing Cupertino High School’s 50th annual Tournament of Bands (TOB) and  (2)  Proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Oral Communications follows immediately. Reports should be routine. The Consent Calendar is minimal, though Item #8 Consider adopting a resolution authorizing remote teleconference meetings of the legislative bodies of the City of Cupertino for the period October 5, 2021 through November 4, 2021 pursuant to Brown Act provisions may get pulled for discussion.

Item #9 Consider an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision to uphold the Director of Community Development’s approval of a Two-Story Permit to allow a new 2,992 square-foot two-story home with a 746 square-foot attached accessory dwelling unit and a Minor Residential Permit to allow a new 115 square-foot second-story balcony. (Application Nos.: R-2020-035, RM-2020-023; Applicant: Smart Lily, LLC.; Property Owners: Tariqul Khan and Chaman Hafiz; Appellants: Jitesh Vadhia and Chih-Lung Lin; Location: 1506 Primrose Way; APN # 366-15-018). After several modifications in response to public comments, this project was approved by the Planning Department as compliant with the Municipal Code. However, this  approval was challenged and appealed to the Planning Commission, which denied the appeal  and upheld the director’s decision on a 5-0 vote. Now, it’s been brought to the city council for yet another appeal, though there appears to be no proper basis for the council to grant an exception.

Item #10 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 a new Section 19.56.080 providing that the Density Bonus Ordinance will be interpreted consistent with state density bonus law. (Application No: MCA-2021-003; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: Citywide.). This is a cleanup item to modify a local density bonus ordinance initiated by the city council in Dec. 2020  and deemed non-compliant with AB 2345 by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The ordinance has consumed excessive planning and legal staff time, as well as multiple council and Planning Commission meetings. Faced with a lawsuit from YIMBY Law as well as potential legal action by the Attorney General, the Planning Commission on Sept. 14 finally approved this change on a 3-2 vote with Chair Wang and Commissioner Madhdhipatla voting against complying with state law and avoiding a lawsuit. Will council be more cognizant than the Planning Commission of the responsibility to comply with state law, regardless of personal opposition?

Item #13 Consider Conducting a First Reading of an Ordinance Related to Municipal Code Amendments to Mandate Organic Waste Disposal Reduction and Edible Food Recovery, as Required by Senate Bill (SB) 1383 and its Implementing Regulations.  

By January 1, 2022, SB 1383 regulations will require all cities and counties in California to adopt and enforce an ordinance to implement relevant provisions of this new law. Staff had anticipated this regulation and incorporated it into the renewal of the Recology franchise agreement last year. This ordinance updates the Municipal Code to conform to SB 1383. This item is expected to be non-controversial.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are encouraged to speak at council meetings, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers have three minutes, and coaching is available!  You should introduce yourself and have a clear statement of your position. Readers are also 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

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues, Sept. 28, 2021, Regular meeting, 6:45 p.m.

YouTube: 1hr. 15 min.

With Vice Chair Scharf absent, this single major agenda item generated little substantive discussion about environmental protection by the commissioners. Instead Chair Wang advocated for retroactively applying changes in city ordinances to approved developments, despite advice from the city attorney that such action would be illegal. Does the city need more lawsuits? The actual item was Consider adopting amendments to the Cupertino General Plan to add clarity to existing language in Chapter 3 (Land Use) in Figure LU-2, Policy LU-1.1 and Goal LU-13, and to add emphasis to existing language in Chapter 6 (Environmental Resources and Sustainability) (Strategy ES-6.1.1), and Cupertino Municipal Code Title 17, Environmental Regulations, to add a new Chapter, Chapter 17.04, to adopt standard environmental protection requirements for construction, development and other similar or related activities. (Application No(s): GPA-2021-001, MCA-2021-004; Applicant(s): City of Cupertino; Location: citywide). This item ultimately passed 4-0-0 with Scharf absent.

CUPERTINO COURIER, October 1, 2021

The front page photo and community brief on page 5 are titled Simple Comforts: Via Services 8th annual Community Fall Festival is Oct. 9. An additional Community brief on page 5 is CREST Award winners on Oct. 14. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor