Cupertino Matters

The turnout for the primary election on June 7 was abysmal. Only 33% of eligible voters cast ballots, despite the ease of vote-by-mail voting. As of now, Measure G–a bond measure supporting facilities at Fremont Union High School District schools–is barely passing with just over 55% approval. (55% is required to pass.) Ballots continue to be counted, so it may be a week or two before the count is finalized.

Council’s use of time on the dais continues to raise questions. Council spent more time arguing over the allocation of $69,460.46 for the coming fiscal year for Community Funding Grants than it did discussing the entire $138.6 million budget to govern the city for FY 2022-23. There was no discussion of the impact of The Rise on city staffing, nor risk factors should the city fail to obtain an approved Housing Element–an increasingly likely possibility. Yet council approved two positions for legislative issues and advocacy, at a cost of approximately $570 K  per year for roles handled by council members in similar jurisdictions.

On a positive note, summer concerts in Memorial Park start Thursday, June 16, at 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Park and will run for six weeks. The traditional Fourth of July celebration with fireworks will be  back this year.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION: Tues., May 24, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

Item #3: Consider renewal of a Conditional Use Permit for an existing mono-eucalyptus wireless communications facility (U-2011-10). (Application No(s): U-2022-001; Applicant: Kathryn Leal; Location: 23600 Via Esplendor; APN(s): 342-54-016). This is a wireless facility located at the Forum at Rancho San Antonio, which has to renew the use permit every 10 years. No changes are proposed, so this should be a pro forma approval.

Item #4: Consider renewal of a Conditional Use Permit for an existing mono-pine wireless communications facility (U-2011-02). (Application No: U-2022-002; Applicant: Kathryn Leal; Location: 22475 Rancho Deep Cliff Drive; APN: 356-02-999). Like the item before it, this is a wireless facility–this time located in the common area of Rancho Deep Cliff, which has to renew the use permit every 10 years. No changes are proposed, so this should be another pro forma approval.

Item #5: Consider an appeal of the Community Development Director’s approval of a Two-Story Permit to consider the construction of a new 3,233-square-foot, two-story single-family residence, and an attached 797-square-foot Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) (Application No.: R-2021-023; Applicant: Kyle Chan.; Property Owners: Dung N. (David) Do & Wen Hsiu (Cristina) Hung; Appellant: Sanjiv and Deepika Kapil; Location: 6522 Clifford Dr; APN # 369-24-037). Planning Commissioner Sanjiv Kapil filed this appeal against the Planning Department’s approval of a two-story home with ADU immediately next to his house. It is hard to describe this appeal as anything other than frivolous. The staff report outlines that none of the grounds offered by Kapil allow overturning the decision as they are either preempted by state law governing ADUs, or are otherwise protected by the Housing Accountability Act and Cupertino’s own planning standards. Similar projects have reached the Commission before. As such Commissioner Kapil should be educated on this subject already and should not be asking for improper remedies. Instead, this appeal wastes precious staff time when staff have little of it to waste. What is council doing to rein in the lack of discipline of its appointees?  

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., June 7, 2022, 6 :45 p.m. Regular; 5:30 p.m. Study Session (in-person/Zoom) continued to Thurs., June 9, 8:00 p.m.

YouTube:  June 7, Part 1 – 2 hr. 57 min. , Part 2 – 3 hr.. 26 min. June 9, 3 hr. 42 min.

This was a prolonged session which spilled into a second day, with the most important item–the budget–continued until after the closed session on labor negotiations on Thursday, June 9. Both items have to be approved by June 30.

The Study Session covered a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission to approve funds in the amount of $96,460.46 for the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Community Funding Grant Program and approval of final funding amounts for the Community Funding Program, to be included in the Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 (Continued from May 19, 2022). Discussion on this item ran overtime, so this item was continued to the June 9 meeting. Lack of experience of council members with non-profit organizations was obvious. (Councilmember Hung Wei was recused since she is on board of the Fremont Union High Schools Foundation, one of the recommended organizations which was not funded.) There was little agreement on funding philosophy, with no funding for city partnership organizations with deep reach into the community. After another hour of consideration, the vote was 4-0-1 (Wei recused) to provide $69,460.46 for the Fiscal Year (FY) for Community Funding Grants.

The City Manager Report evoked a discussion on various options for both hybrid and remote City Council meetings. For this meeting, Vice-Mayor Liang Chao and Councilmember Hung Wei participated remotely. There were no members of the public in the council chamber, but public input favored the hybrid approach. Council approved the continuation of hybrid meetings with a recommendation to encourage a few Councilmembers to occasionally take meetings from Zoom.

Consideration of the long Consent Calendar did not begin until 8:37. Most of Accounts Payable items were approved, after Item #14, the Priority Ranking of the FY2022-23 City Work Program was deferred to Thursday. meeting for the budget. Consent Calender Item #36, approval of a construction contract for the Memorial Park Ponds Repurposing Project, which would remove the unsightly ponds in the city’s most visible park, was pulled for an overly long questioning by Vice-Mayor Chao on the minimal project design. Council finally approved since the project has already been out to bid and needed to be approved to do construction this summer. The vote was 5-0.

Item #37: Study Session and Consideration of Design Professional Services Agreement between the City of Cupertino and Dialog Design LLP for the City Hall Annex at 10455 Torre Ave. This discussion didn’t start until 11 p.m. City staff provided an excellent presentation on the current status of the property, which requires major updates, including ADA access. The need for additional space, particularly for planning, is greater than the available 5,730 sq. ft. in the current building. Council approved unanimously.

The following items were continued to the Thursday, June 9, meeting, with #39 reordered to the start of the meeting.

Item #39: Consider approval to renew (with no increase) the 1992 Storm Drain Fee and the 2019 Clean Water and Storm Protection Fee. Council approved unanimously..

Item #38: Public hearing to consider the Capital Improvement Program (CIP); Consider supplemental information for the Capital Improvements Program; Consider the Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-23, adoption of the Budget for FY 2022-23, establishment of the Appropriation Limit, and related actions. The city manager requested that council approve an operational budget at this meeting, so staff could proceed with the work involved for the new fiscal year, which is only 3 weeks away. The total budget is $138.6 million. Twelve new positions were included plus the two last-minute legislative positions for over $570,000. The new positions include a Purchasing Manager (recommended by internal auditor Moss Adams), a Budget Manager, and Community Outreach Specialists. The proposed City Hall project was removed, so the requested Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget for new projects was even smaller for FY 2022-23. Fixed asset funding was eliminated at the request of Councilmember Moore, so approval for a front-loader by Public Works would have to be approved by council.

A number of the objections in the budget concerned funding for favorite projects such as the Volunteer Fair (Mayor Paul), questions about special projects (Councilmember Moore), and sister city funding (Vice-Mayor Chao). At 11:39 p.m., the budget was approved on a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Moore voting nay.

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The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Lehigh Southwest Cement fined millions: Cupertino quarry racked up thousands of violations over 10 years according to county. Community briefs are (1) Golf course survey, (2) Advancing care, and (3) Jazz Age Lawn Party. Legal notice on page 33 is solicitation of a bid for pavement maintenance.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor