Cupertino Matters

I hope you have all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving week with family and friends. It’s been great to celebrate in person again, even with the necessary precautions.

While the Planning Commission recommended two projects for approval by the city council, those projects are a total of 27 housing units, a very small step in meeting the Regional Housing Need Allocation of 4,588 new homes for Cupertino. Speaking from experience, interim city manager Greg Larson’s comments at the end of the Planning Commission pointed out the challenges facing this inexperienced and unprepared commission in developing the Housing Element over the next year.

Readers are urged to engage with this process, which will have a significant impact on our city. The next step for the Housing Element Update is two virtual meetings on Thursday, December 9:

For more information on how to attend the meetings and participate, visit While you’re there, be sure to subscribe for future notifications to stay up to date, participate, and review documents.

In related news, during  the month of October, the City’s BMR (Below Market Rate) Affordable Housing Program opened the waitlist and received a total of 833 applications for the 2022 BMR Waitlist. A total of 416 applicants applied for a position on the Ownership Waitlist and 417 applicants applied to the Rental Waitlist. There are only 142 units in the Rental Program, with a turnover of 15-25 units per year, and 120 units in the Ownership Program with 1-3 turning over each year.

Retail recovery in the city has remained slow, and more restaurants have closed in the last month. As reflected in the 2Q 2021 Sales Tax Update provided by the city, receipts are down though there have been improvements in some sectors year-over-year.

“Sales tax receipts for the second quarter of the 2021 calendar year (April to June) were 4% below the same period one year ago. Results reflected measurable improvement over last year’s lows, which suffered the brunt of coronavirus impacts on sales taxes due to temporary closures and other capacity restrictions.

“General consumer goods grew 88% and restaurants-hotels reported over 127% growth. Though the fully reopened economy spurred much larger returns in June from dining, apparel, electronics, and home furnishings, all of these groups are still below pre-pandemic levels”.

The most striking statistic, however, is that the largest percentage of the $10,935,433 in sales tax comes from the allocation of approximately $2.2 million from County and State pools, which include online shopping such as Amazon and Wayfair. This compares to roughly $400,000 from restaurants. The list of top 25 sales tax producers is indicative of the lack of demand for consumer bricks-and-mortar retail stores. The list includes Gate of Heaven Cemetery, California Dental Arts, Insight Enterprises, and Mirapath.

CLOSED Session – City Council, Thurs, Nov. 30, 2021, 6:00 p.m.

This follows another closed session on Nov. 18. The Consent Calendar is a resolution authorizing continued remote teleconference meetings of the legislative bodies of the City of Cupertino for the period November 30, 2021 through December 30, 2021 pursuant to the Brown Act, as amended by AB 361. There are three litigation items (1) Existing Litigation (Gov. Code § 54956.9(a)): Participation in nationwide opioids settlements; (2) Anticipated Litigation: Initiation of litigation pursuant to Gov. Code § 54956.9(c) (one case) and (3) Anticipated Litigation: Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to Gov. Code § 54956.9(d) (one case). Is this the best use of the $2 million city budget for legal expenses?

The final item is Public Employee Performance Evaluation (Gov. Code § 54957(b)(1)); Title: Interim City Manager, presumably to discuss the transition to the new city manager, Jim Throop, on Jan. 3, 2022, leaving an approximately 2 week gap between managers.

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues, Nov. 23, 2021, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

YouTube:  2 hr. 49 min.

There were only two items on the agenda, which were reordered.

Item #3 Consider a development proposal to demolish an existing commercial building and residential unit, remove and replace four (4) protected trees, and construct a mixed-use development consistent of 18 units (five apartments, five single-family homes, and eight townhomes), and 4,500 square feet of commercial space. (Application No(s): EA-2018-06, Z-2018-02, DP-2018-07, TM-2018-04, U-2018-04, ASA-2018-09, TR-2018-39; Applicant(s): Dan Shaw (SCR Enterprises); Location 10625 South Foothill Boulevard; APN#s 342-16-087, -088). Planning Commissioners generally liked this proposal for a mixed-use project on the site of the now-vacant Foothill Market and Cupertino Bike Shop. Vice-Chair Scharf expressed skepticism about the viability of retail in that location, though the commercial zoning is broader which allows service businesses to occupy the space. Approved 5-0.

Item #2 Consider a development proposal to demolish an existing commercial building, and construct a new nine (9) unit single-family home development with one (1) home containing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). (Application No(s): EA-2020-001, Z-2020-001, DP-2020-001, TM-2020-001, ASA-2020-003, and U-2020-001; Applicant(s): Alan Enterprise LLC; Location: 22690 Stevens Creek Boulevard; APN#s 341-14-066, 342-14-104 & 105). This project was  surprisingly contentious, centering on the General Plan designation as a “neighborhood center” liquor store which is being replaced by badly needed housing. Instead of acknowledging that this Bateh Brothers site has many challenges due to the small size (2/3 acre) and the extensive right of way work required, Chair Wang berated planning staff for a perceived misinterpretation of the Municipal Code, contending that the site should have gone through the arduous General Plan Amendment process, failing to acknowledge that the addition of 9 for-sale homes, and a more attractive gateway to the city, benefits the community more than numerous meetings and reports consuming more staff time and delaying any project. Commissioners received a confidential memo regarding approval prior to the meeting, so the project was approved 4-1 with Wang voting nay, due to his personal objections to the process.

YOU CAN 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.

CUPERTINO COURIER, November 26, 2021

The front page photo and article on page 5 are titled A Friends’ success story: New symbol is a sign of unity for Stevens Creek Trail. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Throop is new city manager, (2) Wilson Park upgrades meeting and (3) in-person appointments for city services. Legal notice on page A32 is a Development Application to modify the mix of assisted living units at the previously approved Westport project.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor