Cupertino Matters

COVID-19 continues to dominate the news. Infection rates and testing in schools, as well as medical facilities, are hot topics with constantly changing guidance. Keeping schools open is a challenge with lack of substitute teachers to cover absences. Hopefully, the situation will improve shortly.

In other news on the educational front, Fremont Union High School superintendent, Polly Bove, has announced her retirement before the end of year. Polly has done an outstanding job in leading FUHSD for the past 15 years, and a strong contributor to our community. Her steady leadership will be missed.

There is good news that Cupertino Library To Resume Full Service Hours, beginning Jan. 24, along with the anticipated opening of the Library Expansion with meeting rooms. The popular Sunday hours will return after a hiatus of nearly two years.

Council, bound by state law,  approved the two small in-fill projects on their special meeting agenda: one for 9 units of housing (Bateh Bros. at 22690 Stevens Creek) and one for 18 units of housing with mixed use.(Foothill Market, aka Canyon Crossings, at  10625 South Foothill Blvd). Many more projects like this will need to be brought forward for the city to reach its allocation of 4,588 new homes in the next 8 years. Housing of any type takes a minimum of 2 to 3 years to go through the planning process, then actually getting a project built and on the market can take a minimum of another 2 years. This is the perspective from the developer of another small project, CUPERTINO LIVE + WORK, also on South Foothill Blvd;

“Formerly a gas station site, the property was optioned for purchase in 2012.  After navigating Cupertino’s challenge ridden entitlement process to acquire approval for 6 single family detached homes, the site was remediated to remove environmental soil contaminants left over from the property’s prior use”.

It was approved in 2014, but did not reach the market until 2017.

Despite these approvals, there is no indication that this council recognizes the barriers to approvals and construction of housing in Cupertino. Both of these projects conformed to state law and municipal code, yet Councilmembers Jon Willey and Kitty Moore took the position that both projects should have required General Plan Amendments, a process which would have further delayed approval, wasting city planning and legal resources, as well as increasing the overall cost of construction. Vallco is yet another example of delays, as this Mercury News story underscores, owing to the overly-long process of what should be garden-variety remediation and removal of long-known contaminated soil there.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Jan. 18, 2022, 6:45 p.m., Regular meeting

Ceremonial Matters and Presentations are (1) Proclamation recognizing the Cupertino Library Foundation for its efforts through the pandemic in outreach and programming, as well as for their work on supporting the Library Expansion efforts, and (2) Proclamation to the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangth, USA Inc. non-profit supporting the “Health for Humanity – Yogathon” also known as “Surya Namaskar Yajina” (Sun Salutation Yogathon) held from January 15 to January 30, 2022.

Oral Communications then follow immediately. Reports should be routine. City Manager Jim Throop will be responsible for Item #5 City Manager Update. Though lengthy, the Consent Calendar appears to be routine.

Item #14:Abatement of public nuisance from weeds or other fire hazards pursuant to provisions of Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 9.08 and Resolution No. 21-112; hearing for impacted property owners to contest the matter of proposed abatement  This is an routine annual process to ensure properties do not become a fire hazard.

Item #15 Consider Development and Architectural and Site Approval permits that would allow the replacement of seven (7) storage buildings, with three (3) new buildings between one (1) and three (3) stories in height to allow for a 166,845 sq. ft. storage facility; Consider a Fence Exception request to allow electronic vehicular gates and a Tree Removal Permit request to allow the removal and replacement of eight (8) protected trees. (Application No(s): DP-2019-05, ASA-2019-05, EXC-2019-04, TR-2019-048; Applicant(s): Emilia Samudio (Jordan Architects); Location: 10655 Mary Ave.; APN: 326-06-050). The project proposes replacing an existing 59,546 facility with a 166,845 square foot facility. It’s located next to the sound wall on SR-85. Given the increase in state mandated housing units in the next 8 years, the market for storage units will increase. It includes a 20 foot easement adjacent to the Mary Avenue Bridge and pathway for multi-use trail access to a future I-280 trail as a community benefit.  The project was approved 4-0-1 with Kapil absent.

Item #15  Athletic Field Use Policy UpdateThere were a number of changes to use permits for the athletic fields in 2021, and council requested an update on community acceptance of the changes.  Parks and Recreation is recommending a minor change for Sunday uses, plus some language clarification, but overall, the changes have gone smoothly.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are encouraged to speak at Cupertino public meetings, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers ordinarily 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. 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–these emails become part of the public record.

RECAP –  CITY COUNCIL – Thurs., Jan. 13, 2022, 6:45 p.m., Special meeting

YouTube: 3 hr. 24 min.

This meeting ended at the reasonable hour of  10:05 p.m. The Historical Society requested  the signs from both properties to add to their collection. A member of the public requested use of native plants for landscaping. Both developers agreed to these conditions..

Item #1 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). After discussion, this project to redevelop the Foothill Market site for mixed use was approved unanimously.

Item #2  Consider a development proposal to demolish an existing commercial building and construct a new nine (9) unit single-family home development including 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 is the site of the old Bateh Brothers Liquor store at Stevens Creek and Foothill Boulevard. It’s a small 3/4 acre site that lost 20% of the parcel to required city improvements. City parking requirements mean it’s not viable as a commercial site, in addition to a notoriously poor commercial location as noted in the assessment for the Work+Live” development in 2013:

“Tate told the commission that the commercial property in question along Foothill Boulevard has not been a successful endeavor since Highway 85 opened to motorists. The former gas station and automobile service shop was a victim of this change in traffic flow, he said.


“If you can’t get a gas station to work on a commercial site, you can’t get anything to work because it’s about the most bulletproof commercial development you can do,” Tate told the commission.”

The overall reaction to the project was positive, but there was controversy over the inconsistency between the zoning map and the General Plan.  Mayor Paul requested an increase in the partial BMR in-lieu payment set in the code from $18,000 to $150,000, despite the project already spending $2 million in city improvements.   Finally approved unanimously.

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues, Jan. 11, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

YouTube: 1 hr. 56 min.

Item #2  2021 General Plan Annual Review/Implementation Plan. The Planning department reviewed progress on General Plan items. Mixed use continues to be a source of confusion for these inexperienced commissioners.

Item #3 2022 Mayor’s Meeting with Commissioners. Commissioners set their calendar.

CUPERTINO COURIER, January 14, 2022

The front page photo and community brief on page 5 are titled ‘Enough about me’: Cupertino Library hosts discussion of Richard Liu book, as part of Silicon Valley Reads 2022, an annual event kicking off Jan. 27. Community briefs on page 5 also include (1) Shredding, recycling event set for Jan. 22 and (2) Mature workers webinar is Jan. 27. Legal notice on page 16 is Public Hearing Amending Schedule C of the 2021-22 Fee Schedule, scheduled for the Feb. 1 council meeting.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor