Cupertino Matters

The big news in Cupertino is local election results. For the three seats on City Council, the leading vote-getters were Sheila Mohan (5151 votes) and JR Fruen (4786 votes). For the third seat, the race is close between incumbent Liang Chao (4328 votes) and Claudio Bono (4260 votes). The other candidates are Steven Scharf  (3918 votes), Moon Kyu Choe (1269 votes), Govind Tatachari (3277 votes) and Yuko Shima (1269 votes). The results may change as more votes are counted with only 51% tallied as of Wednesday afternoon. Results are updated daily, currently 5 p.m. It may take several weeks and a recount to determine the winner of the third seat. Exact turnout figures are not yet known.

Our local school districts were also on the ballot. There were three contested seats on the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) board. The two incumbents, Jerry Liu (15,445 votes) and Satheesh Madhathil (13,084) appear to be winning reelection alongside newcomer Ava Chiao, who sits in second place with 14,627 votes. Current Cupertino mayor, Darcy Paul, is finishing last with 11,191 votes. The race for the three seats for the Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) had clear winners with  incumbents Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto  (23,208) and Rosa Kim (19,719 votes), and newcomer Stanley Kou (18,368) all well ahead of the other two contenders, Linda Price (13,816 votes) and Andrew Arness (4,841 votes).

Oral Communications turned lively at the Tuesday, Nov. 1, City Council meeting, with the uncalled for appearance of four sheriff’s deputies. Most of the speakers were concerned about the delays in developing the state-required Housing Element plan due by Jan. 31, 2023. Sixteen speakers spoke about the breakdown in the process, with the timeline clearly articulated by Cupertino For All. There were an additional 27 letters to council expressing similar concerns.

Hiring a consultant to finalize the draft Housing Element has to be top priority for the new council. Then the timeline starts: a draft element must be available for public review for 30 days, followed by a 10-day period to incorporate that public comment. After that, the city may submit the draft Housing Element to the state  HCD, which then takes 90 days to review and comment back. The full period is a minimum of 130 days. That’s just for the first submission, which is usually sent back at least once for modification. This delay means that effective Feb. 1, 2023, the city will be exposed to  the “Builders Remedy,” which allows developments of any residential density, to move forward on almost any parcel in the city–and the city council would be powerless to stop them.

UPCOMING  – Planning Commission – Thurs. Nov. 10, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

Other than approval of the minutes from the previous meeting, there is only Item #2, the consideration of a Development Permit, Tentative Map, and Architectural & Site Approval to consider the demolition of approximately 44,000 sq. ft. of existing commercial and the construction of three mixed-use buildings with approximately 41,268 sq. ft. of commercial space and 206 condominium units and a Tree Removal Permit to allow the removal and replacement of 92 trees. The applicant is also requesting a density bonus, and density bonus waivers for height, setbacks, and common open space; (Application No(s): DP-2022-001, ASA-2022-002, TR-2022-026, TM-2022-003; Applicant(s), located at 10145 N. De Anza Blvd, 10118 Bandley Dr.  Redevelopment of the Marina Foods Plaza was initially approved in Sept., 2016, with a 5 year limit, which expired on Sept. 20, 2022. The original project included a hotel, but the market changed, so the project was updated to include more housing. This is the modified project which has substantially the same footprint on the 5.1 acres as the original project. It’s a good location for moderately priced housing with access to transportation on Stevens Creek Boulevard, and nearby shopping at Target and Sprouts.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Nov. 1, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

YouTube: Part 1 – 2 hr. 26 min.through Reports ; Part 2 – 3 hr. 5 min. 

This meeting ran until 12:40 a.m. Council did not start consideration of the primary item on the agenda, #15 regarding the permanent SB 9 ordinance until 11:10 p.m.. Only one lonely resident with a project impacted by SB 9 remained in the chambers.

Oral Communications was lengthy, with 33 speakers, both on Zoom and in person at the council chambers. Voices from the public were primarily concerned about the delays in the Housing Element as referenced above.

The Consent Calendar should have been routine, but Item #11, to consider approval of the Electric Vehicle Parking Expansion Request for Proposals (RFP), was pulled.  Council then spent over an hour delving into premature site selection, instead of approving a standard RFP (Request for Proposal) to initiate discussions with multiple vendors.

Item #14: Second reading: Amendment to Title 16, Buildings and Construction, of the Cupertino Municipal Code adopting the California Buildings Standards Code and Fire Code as mandated by the State of California and making local exceptions to those standards as warranted. Council approved unanimously.

Item #16: FY 22-23 City Work Program item: Student Internship Program. This questionable item was reordered, then the council spent over half an hour, with no clear direction, straying into fingerprinting policy. A member of the public suggested coordinating with high school work-study programs, rather than reinventing the wheel.  Vice-Mayor Chao and Councilmember Hung Wei were assigned to a subcommittee to develop policy and procedures.

Item #15: Consider an ordinance to implement 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. Council needed to finalize this ordinance at this meeting to meet the year end deadline, but placed it last on the agenda. The major issues were (1) disallowance of balconies on SB 9 units, and (2) limitations to change in grade elevation on slopes. Council then added a questionable limitation of 3 feet on retaining walls, rather than allow them to be site specific. The extensive restrictions on these Urban Lot Splits remain, with the effect of chilling interested property owners. Council approved unanimously, despite reservations by Councilmember Hung Wei.

Item #17: Consider approval of formation of Council Subcommittee on the Legislative Aide interview process; selection of Councilmembers to serve on Subcommittee. This was put on the consent calendar and unanimously approved, appointing Councilmembers Kitty Moore and Hung Wei.

CUPERTINO COURIER: November 4, 2022

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Animal attraction: Exhibit celebrates creatures great and small; Cupertino’s Euphrat celebrates animal world with new exhibit. Community briefs on page 8 include (1) Veterans Day celebration and  (2) Natural connection.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor