Cupertino Matters

Congratulations to our newly elected officials! Swearing-in ceremonies for new city councilmembers – Sheila Mohan  and JR Fruen, along with returning incumbent Liang Chao, will be held on December 9, Friday, at  6 p.m., at Community Hall. This is the day after the official certification of election results. A new mayor and vice-mayor will also be chosen at this meeting. It’s historically a festive occasion and food will be served so RSVPs are appreciated, though not requiredrefreshments will be served starting at 5:15, so come early. The event will also be televised, though not available for remote public comment and the agenda, oddly, does not include a time dedicated for the public to welcome the new council or for the new mayor to offer comments. Is this an oversight or a deliberate act on the part of the outgoing mayor?

The swearing-in ceremony for recently elected Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) trustees–newcomer Ava Chao, as well as incumbents Jerry Liu and Satheesh Madhathil–will occur on Dec. 15, 6 p.m., at the District Office at 1309 Mary Ave in Sunnyvale.

The Fremont Union High School District swearing-in ceremony will be held Dec. 13, 4:00 at the District Office at 589 Fremont Avenue in Sunnyvale for newcomer Stanley Kou and re-elected incumbents Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto and Rosa Kim.

The Foothill-De Anza trustee swearing-in ceremony for incumbents Patrick Ahrens and Pearl Cheng will be held Mon.,Dec. 12,2022 at  6 PM – 6:30 PM, at the Foothill College District Office Building 12345 El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, CA 94022.

Readers are also reminded that the Housing Element draft has been released for public comment ending Dec. 23, just prior to the Christmas shutdown. Comments on this 492 page document may be sent to the Community Development Department, Attn: Luke Connolly, Acting Community Development Director, 10300 Torre Avenue,Cupertino, CA 95014, or, clearly identifying Housing Element in the subject line.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Dec. 6, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

This lame-duck council meeting has a relatively limited agenda, and so should adjourn at a more reasonable hour.

Ceremonial Matters and Presentations are to (1) consider a certificate of appreciation to Captain Rich Urena for his years of service to the Cupertino community as West Valley Patrol Captain, and to (2) consider certificates of appreciation recognizing Rudy Lomas and Kane Wolfe for their years of service to the City of Cupertino upon their retirement. Oral Communications then follow. Reports should be routine. There is an additional Department Update – Community Development. The Consent Calendar features 5 items, which appear to be routine, though some items may be pulled for more discussion.

Item #13: Consider directing staff to prepare a City Ordinance to govern the permitting of small cellular facilities within the public right of way. This is a study session about permitting for 5G installations in the city. State and federal law strictly limit city jurisdiction to aesthetic and public safety considerations, but not health concerns. There have been six sessions with similar content about this issue, with council requesting an ordinance rather than the usual guidelines. The city has done extensive outreach with regard to installations already. Due to reliance on a fiber optic network, most small cell installations are located east of 85.

Item #14: Consider approval of a proposed development that will include approximately 41,268 sq. ft. of commercial space and 206 residential condominium units. (Application No(s): DP-2022-001, ASA-2022-002, TR-2022-026, TM-2022-003; Applicant(s): Larry Wang (Tectonic Builders Corp.); Location: 10145 N. De Anza Blvd, 10118 Bandley Dr., APN(s): 326-34-066, 326-34-043. 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. This project was unanimously recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on Nov. 10, 2022. Public comment was all positive.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Nov. 29, 2022, 6:00 p.m., Economic Development Committee Interviews

This new committee, formed by the lame-duck council attracted a largely mediocre slate of candidates. After two hours of interviews, the council discussed selections, ending at 12:20 a.m. Only two commissioners interviewed: Vignesh Swaminathan (Sustainability) and Mukesh Garg (TICC). For hospitality, there were two no-shows, so Susan Chen, an architect, was selected as primary, with Bill Wu, a property owner/manager, selected as alternate. For education, Aegean Lee, a graphic designer with meager education credentials, was selected as primary, and Maria Tzankova, a piano teacher with her own business, was chosen as alternate. For the retail/small business sector, Brion Lau, experienced with startups, as well as large corporate business was selected as primary, with Helen Yang, owner of Visionary Arts, selected as first alternate, and Linda Well, an engineering manager, as second alternate. For the commercial real estate sector, Santosh Rao, an Amazon product manager/investor was named as primary, and Sean Panchal, an office building owner/manager and event organizer, was named alternate.  Andy Huang, an acupuncturist, former high tech entrepreneur and former Public Safety Commissioner was selected as primary..

The ordinance specified members would have staggered two and four year terms, but belatedly, the council realized that terms of the two commissions (Sustainability and Technology, Information, and Communications)  did not coincide with this committee’s appointment duration. In addition, city council committee assignments are normally for one year terms. This means that the ordinance needs to be modified by the incoming council. As a consequence, the council opted for two year terms for all members, to be sorted out by the new council. At the end, the council approved the members 4-0-1 with Councilmember Hung Wei abstaining from the vote citing her concern that the commission’s appointments should not be made off-cycle with a new council being seated within 10 days. This commission is unusual as its purpose is usually handled through partnership with a local chamber of commerce in order to foster open discussion and avoid inevitable conflicts of interest inside a regular city commission.

CUPERTINO COURIER: December 2, 2022

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Ridge celebrates 60: Winery revisits classic pairings from Chez Panisse. The community brief on page 5 is the sole item, West Valley clinic moves forward, as Santa Clara County and Foothill-DeAnza Community College agree to develop a campus medical clinic. Page 10 is an article previously published in the Mercury News, The housing ‘fix’ that almost nobody wants: the ‘builders remedy’ could OK projects in cities behind on their state-mandated plans. A legal notice on page 21 is a notice of Development Proposal for 1655 S. De Anza Blvd. scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting on Dec.13. This is the Coach House site, next to the Valero gas station.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor