Cupertino Matters

The campaign season has suddenly burst into full swing, with signs appearing all over the city. The city council candidate forums are an excellent opportunity to hear candidates speak, understand their views and ask questions in an unbiased format.

  • September 21, 11:45 AM, Wednesday, Cupertino City Council – This in-person Cupertino City Council Candidate Forum co-sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cupertino and the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce, will be moderated by the League of Women Voters, Southwest Santa Clara Valley Chapter. It will be held at the Quinlan Community Center on Stelling Road in Cupertino. Registration is required to order and pay for a box lunch and/or pose possible questions for the candidates. Individuals may attend in-person without buying a lunch. A registration link is here.

In addition, KMVT of Mountain View will provide a live stream (the city is no longer providing this service to voters, unlike previous years): Zoom Live Stream Link

  • September 28, 7:00 PM, Wednesday, Cupertino City Council – This forum will be sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Cupertino-Sunnyvale Chapter. A registration link is here.

The first campaign mailer appeared in voter mailboxes late last week. It was sent by the Council of Mayors, expressing dismay at the turnover of 6 city managers in 4 years, plus senior staff. Compared to previous councils, there is a striking lack of progress on resident amenities. Resident opposition to the current council is ramping up as well as underscored in this video on issues that are not being discussed CupertinoBeacon.com 

As a reference guide, these are the candidates who will appear on the ballot for the three city council seats:

The city provides a webpage with current candidate information, which includes a link to the candidate statements that will appear in the ballot pamphlet.

Mark your calendar for a Community Meeting on SB9 – Urban Lot Splits and Duplex Development on Sept. 28, 6-7 p.m, both in-person(more effective) and Zoom.  This is another component of the 5:30 study session. Readers will recall that  Council passed an interim ordinance that  among other things, limits new homes to 2,000 square feet, bans basements and condo conversions, imposes tandem parking garages in some instances, and limits the difference in size between homes. These overly restrictive provisions have chilled interest in this source of new homes as NO actual applications have been made, despite initial interest. These were pointed out in a Mercury News article by Grace Hase: Cupertino: SB 9 ordinance may violate state law, housing group says:  YIMBY Law says limiting new homes to 2,000 square feet could violate the Housing Crisis Act of 2019. This council claims to favor affordable housing, yet deliberately erects legal barriers to building more homes. 

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Sep. 20, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular; 5:30 p.m. Study; 5:00 Closed Session 

The 5:00 Closed Session is Conference with real property negotiators pursuant to Government Code; section 54956.8; Property: 21801 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino. The city continues to pursue this property listed at $6,950,000 that is too small (0.43 acres) to be ideal for either affordable housing or city office space.

The 5:30 meeting is a Study Session to consider potential Municipal Code Amendments to allow properties in Single Family Residential Districts to subdivide properties into two and/or develop properties with up to two units ministerially pursuant to CA Senate Bill 9 Effective Jan. 1, 2022, this state bill allowed ministerial approval of up to two dwelling units on a parcel and two lot subdivisions, effectively allowing up to four units on one existing single family residential lot–one more than prior law allowed. The council adopted an interim ordinance specifying objective standards on Dec. 21, 2021 which was extended to Dec. 19, 2022. This study session only addresses part of the interim SB9 ordinance, retaining the most restrictive components.

Ceremonial Matters and Presentations are (1) Consider a proclamation recognizing September 21 as World Alzheimer’s Day, and (2) Consider a proclamation recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15, 2022 to October 15, 2022. (3) Update on Fiscal Year 2021-22 and FY 2022-23 of City Work Program Item on Homeless Jobs Program. Council requested this $200,000 line item in the city work program.

Oral Communications then follow. Reports should be routine. There is an additional Department Update for Public Works. The Consent Calendar has 9 items and appears to be routine, though some items may be pulled for more discussion.

Item #18: Update on the Status of the Research from the City Council Subcommittee Meetings for the Cupertino Community Funding Grant Program. The City of Cupertino has provided smaller amounts of funding ($70,000 to $90,000 total) to local non-profit organizations since 2013. Though well-meaning, recently these awards have become contentious, with City Council overriding Parks and Recreation recommendations.
This is the latest iteration revising the process which has consumed an inordinate amount of commission and staff time for less than one-tenth of 1% of the city budget.

Item #19: Consider amending the City of Cupertino Conflict of Interest Code for officials and designated employees per State law requirement on a biennial basis; 2022 Local Agency Biennial Notice. This is a routine requirement to amend positions which are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700). An amendment is required biennially. This iteration added 12 positions and deleted 2 positions, plus added the Economic Development Committee.

Item # 20 Consider: 1. Review crosswalk options across Rodrigues Avenue in the vicinity of the public pedestrian walkway easement through Tract 9405 (Campo De Lozano subdivision), located near 20138 Rodrigues Avenue; and 2. Review the proposed language for signage to be posted at each end of the pedestrian walkway easement through the Campo De Lozano subdivision. This is a follow-up to the March 1, 2022 council meeting when vacation of a public pedestrian walkway easement through the Campo de Lozano subdivision was proposed. Vacation was not approved, but council proposed a crosswalk and requested alternatives. Staff does not recommend implementation (if justified) until usage data is collected. In addition, additional signage was requested, and a study of actual usage of the Regnart Creek Trail a year after it opens about Nov. 2022.

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 – Planning Commission – Tues., Sept. 13, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

YouTube: 2 hr. 55 min.

This was the first meeting since July 12. The agenda included routine approval of minutes in addition to two Public Hearings:

Item #4: Tentative Map to consider the subdivision of one 1.25 acre parcel into six parcels ranging between 7,526 square feet and 9,615 square feet, Two-Story Permits and Minor Residential Permits to consider the development of six single-family homes each with a second story balcony.(Location: 20860 McClellan Road; APN: 359-20-030) State laws mandated approval of this development which was first submitted nearly two years ago. There was public support for this project which would add 6 single-family homes with attached ADUs, adding 12 units to the housing inventory. After berating staff for complying with state housing laws, commissioners lamented the requirement that staff was required to evaluate projects for approval within 30 days, with no involvement of the Planning Commission. The vote was 3-2 for approval, with Commissioners Ray Wang and Sanjiv  Kapil voting nay since additional environmental testing was not required under state law. Had the vote gone the other way, the city would have been exposed to a lawsuit for denying the project.

Item #5: Modification of an existing Use Permit (U-2005-04) to allow above ground crypts on a portion of the Gates of Heaven Cemetery. (Application No.: M-2022-002; Applicant: Heather Gloster (Gates of Heaven Cemetery); Location: 22557 Cristo Rey Drive; APN: 342-63-002). This was more controversial than expected. Though the Planning Department had notified all the neighbors, there were public comment objections to adding four above ground crypts (less than 4 feet tall) to meet cultural needs of families. The item failed with no vote.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: 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.

CUPERTINO COURIER, September 16, 2022

The front page photo and community brief on page 5 is entitled Residents invited to ARK Open House: Containers serve as supply caches for community emergency response. The additional community brief is LWV candidate forums. The Legal Notices are for the Sept. 27, 2022, Planning Commission are (1) Removal and replacement of a deck at 22332 Regnart Road and (2) Height exception for Dish Wireless at 10110 California Oak Way.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor