Cupertino Matters

Where did the summer go? Labor Day is next weekend marking the beginning of a full slate of fall community activities.

Election campaigns are starting up and will be in full swing after Labor Day. Cupertino continues to be in the spotlight for poor governance by the incumbent city council members as evidenced in the Mercury News Letter to the Editor, August 18, 2022:

Cupertino leadership has hobbled the city

 

When will the Cupertino City Council approve a proposal for development at Vallco? The community has waited six years for the City Council to approve something. The developer has made several proposals that all fail.

 

In November two new City Council members will be selected by the voters. Darcy Paul will be gone in 2023. Hopefully, Cupertino residents recognize that “Better Cupertino” has been a failure, especially when it comes to Vallco. The lost revenue to the city and schools runs into millions of dollars.

 

During the last four years when Darcy Paul has been mayor, six city managers have come and gone. The management structure on the City Council seems to be causing plenty of problems.

 

Jon Ramos
San Jose

Staff turnover below the top level is also problematic, particularly the loss of senior planners in the Planning Department. Residents complain about the time that it takes to get approvals for any size of projects, from single family home remodels to large projects. Only the senior affordable housing project at the former Oaks shopping center shows visible progress, with other permitted projects, including  the  Vallco/The Rise project, showing little or no progress. Another example is the Marina project which is being reviewed by the 3rd senior planner since submission in March, 2022. It’s not surprising that San Jose civil engineer Terry Szewczyk states  “Cupertino is a lost cause.”  In the meantime, delays in approvals increase construction costs, making housing even more unaffordable.

City Council is finally reviewing the draft Housing Element site inventory for approval and submission for environmental evaluation. This item was on the agenda for the Aug. 16 meeting, but council spent over two hours discussing the process, rather than the actual agenda item, then decided to hold two special meetings to do the site-by-site review. Seven hours have been allocated on Mon. Aug. 29 starting at 5, then an additional 7 hours have been scheduled for the following day, Aug. 30. The process of public input is unknown. The staff report and accompanying attachments are available on the city website. The PPT presentation for the meeting is the most understandable. The 138-page Attachment B has the detailed list of public input from the EMC Survey, in addition to documents previously provided for the Aug.16 meeting.

In June, the joint Planning/Housing commissions took two long sessions to review all of the sites, so the council will likely need two sessions, if not more, before approving the site inventory which provides the plan for where 4,588 housing units would be built in  the next 8 years. Note that the sites are presented in two categories: (1) nine pipeline projects which have been approved or are in the planning process, and (2) sites in the rest of the city that are 0.5 to 10 acres in size, that were identified by staff and reviewed by the joint Planning and Housing Commissions. Sites are further divided into Tier 1, the primary sites, and Tier 2 sites, which can be used as a buffer. Sites are subject to discretion, so readers should carefully review sites in their neighborhoods, particularly for allowable density. 

Property owner interest is another factor utilized by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to assess likelihood of development. Only 22% of proposed Tier 1 sites have expressed owner interest, and 40% of Tier 2 sites have owner interest. The most controversial property is 4 parcels on Linda Vista Drive, known as the Evulich property. The owner has expressed interest in developing this property at 15 du/acre or 20 du/acre for townhomes or similar housing which would fit the neighborhood of single family homes. However, the Planning/Housing commission chaired by Chair Steven Scharf and Chair Tessa Parish arbitrarily designated the parcels at 30 du/acre. Public comment on this site was overwhelmingly negative with only 18% support. Will council heed property owner desires for development?

This site inventory continues to rely heavily on approved (“pipeline”) projects without substantiating the likelihood that they will be built in the 8-year planning period, as legally required. San Francisco’s draft Housing Element was rejected by HCD for making the same mistake. Will Cupertino learn San Francisco’s lesson?

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Mon., Aug. 29, 2022, 5:00 p.m. Special Meeting (in-person/Zoom) and Tues., Aug.30, 2022 Special Meeting 

Item #1: Consider the appointment of two City of Cupertino representatives to the Santa Clara County Unhoused Task Force. This met in Jan. 202, with Councilmembers Steven Scharf and Rod Sinks who are no longer on the council  representing the city. Mayor Paul is recommending that he and Vice-Mayor Liang Chao represent the city for the Sept/ 16, 2022 meeting.

Item #2: Discuss Priority Housing Sites for the 2023-2031 Housing Element update (Continued from August 16, 2022)  Two months after the joint Planning and Housing Commissions approved the Site Inventory for the Housing Element, the city council will finally review the plan.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers may speak at council meetings, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers typically have three minutes, and coaching is available! Readers may email individual councilmembers, 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 become part of the public record. Contacts are available at CupertinoMatters.org/express-your-opinion.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Thurs,  Aug. 25, 2022, Closed Session

Conference with real property negotiators pursuant to Government Code section 54956.8 Property: 21801 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino Agency Negotiators: Matt Morley and Christopher D. Jensen Negotiating Parties: ETNB Holding Co. LLC Under Negotiation: Price and terms of payment. This was a last-minute closed meeting to consider acquisition of this property as a city-owned affordable housing site.

CANCELED – PLANNING COMMISSION: Tues., Aug. 23, 2022
RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Aug. 16, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular; 5:30 p.m. Special Meeting (in-person/Zoom)

YouTube: Part 1 –  2 hr. 49 min.; Part 2 – 3 hr. 7 min.

The subject of the Special Meeting is Consider conducting the first reading of an Ordinance related to regulation of single-use plastic foodware and single-use carryout bags (Continued from May 17, 2022). Approved unanimously.

The Consent Calendar was approved with Councilmember Kitty Moore pulling two items, which were considered at the end of the meeting. Consent Item #12 was to consider adopting the Climate Action Plan 2.0 (CAP 2.0) and GHG Emissions Thresholds. With minor wording changes, the item was approved unanimously. Item #17 was consideration of the Library Commission’s Recommendation of Keiko O’Leary for appointment of the new 2023-2024 Cupertino Poet Laureate, which council approved unanimously with a request to update the manual.for the poet laureate, which is already on the work plan.

Item #20: Consider conducting a second reading of an Ordinance amending Municipal Code Section 2.88.100 (Audit Committee – Duties-Powers-Responsibilities). Council approved unanimously.

Item #21: Approve the July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2025 Memorandum of Understanding setting the salary and terms and conditions of employment for the Operating Engineers Local No. 3 Union, AFL-CIO (OE3). Council approved unanimously.

Item #22: Approve and update the salary and terms, conditions of employment, and new job classification for the Unrepresented (Management and Confidential) Employees and Appointed Employees. Council approved unanimously.

Item #23: Approve the July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2025 Memorandum of Understanding setting the salary and terms and conditions of employment for the Cupertino City Employees’ Association (CEA)/IFPTE Local 21. Council approved unanimously.

Item #24: Discuss Priority Housing Sites for the 2023-2031 Housing Element update This is the major project for this city council, but the process has lagged due to council delays. There was some public input about a handful of specific sites, but the major discussion was regarding the process, with council belatedly requesting a formal PowerPoint presentation of the information contained in the staff report. The item was  continued to the special meetings on Aug. 29 and 30.

CUPERTINO COURIER, Aug. 26, 2022

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Distinguished Guests:  Authors address gender gap, nutrition, fantasy in third annual county library series, in person this year. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Drive carefully around Cupertino schools and (2) Global Elegance. Legal notices include 1) Notice of the second reading of an Ordinance amending Municipal Code Section 2.88.100 (Audit Committee – Duties-Powers-Responsibilities) and (2) Notice of the first reading of an Ordinance related to regulation of single-use plastic foodware and single-use carryout bags.

CUPERTINO COURIER, Aug. 19, 2022

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Making noise for peace:Third annual bell ringing commemorates end of WWII. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Shredding, recycling event on Saturday, (2) Citywide garage sale,.and (3) Affordable Connectivity Program. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor