Cupertino Matters

Happy Lunar New Year, welcoming the Year of the Tiger! Restaurants are busy as families and friends celebrate.

Cupertino continues to generate negative press for its anti-housing actions, as cited on the front page of the Sunday, Feb. 6, Mercury News:  As new Bay Area housing applications grow, so does rift between suburbs, developers SB9 is sparking backlash in anti-growth communities  San Jose civil engineer Terry Szewczyk states “The interest from homeowners has encouraged him, but the response from some cities has been discouraging. ‘Cupertino,’ he said, “is a lost cause.” That’s a stark statement considering the headlines the town of Woodside received for its effort at defeating the effect of SB9 by declaring the entire town mountain lion habitat. In the face of public derision and a threatening letter from the Attorney General, Woodside immediately backtracked. Between Attorney General Bonta’s direct action, and the state’s rejection of virtually all Housing Elements in the Los Angeles area, enforcement of state housing law to address the housing shortage is ramping up.

Just how bad is the housing shortage? Why are real estate agents flooding your mailboxes with offers to sell your home?  The San Francisco Chronicle quantifies the issue in both the San Jose and San Francisco areas:: One home, 1,200 potential buyers: The Bay Area’s daunting real estate math after COVID


Each year the council develops its Work Plan for the upcoming year. The city work plan approved by this city council for the current fiscal year is unrealistic given the impact of COVID-19 and turnover of senior staff. It will be revised for the next fiscal year. Many items are required to maintain the city and comply with state legislation. The city council members will propose their pet projects. The commissions are also polled for their recommendations. For the first time this year, the community is being surveyed to  submit projects of interest. Readers may submit suggestions by Sunday, February 13 by taking the two-question survey at Walk-Bike Cupertino provides examples of projects important for their advocacy. Multiple projects can be proposed.

The increase in homelessness has become a hot topic in Cupertino. The City is inviting the public to provide input to a City Plan to End Homelessness. This will help  identify homeless needs and direct decisions about funding and programs. This community meeting  will be held on  Thursday, February 10 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and is open to all by registering for the meeting.

Finally, the Mayor of Cupertino traditionally gives a State of the City address to provide the community with plans for the upcoming year, usually with the public invited. This year, Mayor Paul chose to record his official city statement in front of a very small group of attendees. This was then edited and released to the public. Mayor Paul used the opportunity to introduce the new city manager and new city attorney. Overall, the rest of his speech contained little of substance. More importantly, it did not mention the two major challenges to the city this upcoming year: (1) the state mandated Housing Element revision to plan for 4,588 new homes in the next 8 years, and (2) the impact of Vallco development on our community.

CANCELED – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues., Feb. 8, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session
CLOSED  – CITY COUNCIL – Mon., Feb. 7, 2022, 8. a.m.

The subject is Public Employee Performance Evaluation (Gov. Code § 54957(b)(1)); Title: City Manager. This matter will occur monthly, in addition to monthly closed sessions on litigation plus regular city council meetings.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Feb. 1, 2022, 6:45 p.m., Regular meeting, 5:30 Study Session; 5:00 Special Meeting

YouTube:  3 hr. 15 min. (shortest council meeting in years, ending at 9 p.m.)

Council held the Special session to finalize selection of appointees to 7 commission vacancies. There was an unusually low number of applicants–only 20. Despite this, the process was drawn-out due to communications and the absence of Councilmember Jon Willey for the second round of interviews. The city released the final list of appointees on February 8. Congratulations to all!

Study session to discuss the awarded PDA Planning Grant funds from the Association of Bay Area Governments/Metropolitan Transportation Commission (ABAG/MTC) for the Heart of the City Specific Plan Update in conjunction with the Housing Element Update. Council was asked to approve an award of $400,000 to defray city costs to amend the Heart of the City Specific Plan to accommodate the next cycle of the state-mandated Housing Element. However, some council members raised concerns about “strings” attached to such funding. Staff confirmed that the only special requirements for the funding were review by a citizens advisory committee and a technical committee to ensure sufficient feedback. The item was then referred to the Planning Commission, which is even less qualified to evaluate the matter. Why would a council reject reimbursement for costs that the city will incur anyway? Is this responsible fiscal management?

During City Manager Jim Throop”s  Item #5 City Manager Update, City Attorney Chris Jensen reported on the status of the Vallco  Department of Environmental Health (DEH) on permits for soil remediation. Apparently, there is some movement as a result of numerous letters from residents complaining to the County Board of Supervisors.

Item #11: Consider second reading and enactment of an Ordinance approving the Rezoning of two parcels from Planned Development with General Commercial Uses (P(CG)) to Planned Development with General Commercial and Residential Uses (P(CG, Res))” to allow the Canyon Crossing development (Application No(s): EA-2018-06, Z-2018-02; Applicant(s): Dan Shaw (SCR Enterprises); Location 10625 South Foothill Boulevard; APN#s 342-16-087, -088). This item was approved unanimously.

Item #12: Consider second reading and enactment of an Ordinance approving the Rezoning of three parcels from Planned Development Zoning with General Commercial uses (P(CG)) to Planned Development Zoning with General Commercial and Residential uses (P(CG, Res))” to allow development of the Bateh Brothers site (Application No(s): EA-2020-001, Z-2020-001; Applicant(s): Alan Enterprise LLC; Location: 22690 Stevens Creek Boulevard; APN#s 341-14-066, 342-14-104 & 105).  This item was approved unanimously.

Item #13: Consider an amendment to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22 Fee Schedule C – Planning Fees to add a Miscellaneous Ministerial Permit fee pursuant to Urgency Ordinance No. 21-2235 regarding the ministerial processing of up to two unit projects pursuant to Senate Bill 9. This was a new fee of $3,926 for small residential project applications filed under SB 9. The fees would cover processing costs for the city. Council approved unanimously.

Item #14: Consider an extension of an Interim Ordinance to implement new state legislation (Senate Bill 9), that provides for ministerial approval of up to two units and/or a lot split in a residential single-family zone (Application No.: MCA-2021-005; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: Citywide in all residential single family zones). Council approved the extension of the interim measure unanimously.

Item #15: Consideration of Notice of Intent to Vacate a Public Pedestrian Walkway Easement through Tract 9405 (Campo De Lozano.)  With minimal discussion, this approval for the next steps in the process was approved unanimously.

Item #16: Consider adopting the proposed 2022 Legislative Platform. Council approved the matter with little discussion. The Legislative Review Committee (LRC), a relatively new function, is a costly expense to the city and has been generally ineffective. It consumes 400 hours of scarce staff time annually. Only the Parks and Recreation and Planning Commissions require more time. That cost is over and above the $72,000 annual contract for a lobbyist to provide information at LRC meetings and to draft letters supporting or opposing state legislation.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are 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.

CUPERTINO COURIER, February 4, 2022

The front page photo and community brief on page 5 are titled Award-Winning Taste:  Cupertino winery brings home gold in competition. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) Plan to end homelessness and (2) Road safety plan. Page 6 is Cupertino Chambers Bridge Awards honor educator, restaurateurs. No legal notices appear.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor