Cupertino Matters

The aftermath of the high winds and power outages last week continues, with many downed trees, road damage and fallen fences causing road closures and property damage. Our public infrastructure was no exception. Monta Vista HS, Lynbrook HS, Homestead HS, and the FUHSD district office all suffered lengthy power outages. The majority of the CUSD schools experienced significant power outages as well as property damage.

On a very sad note, the community lost a widely respected education leader with the passing of  Roy Rocklin, a Fremont Union High School District Trustee, on March 19. His death creates a vacancy on the District’s Board of Trustees. The board has 60 days to decide whether to fill the vacancy by (1) appointment through an application process, which would potentially swear in a new trustee by May 16, or (2) holding a special standalone election which would cost an estimated $2.8 to $4.2 million with a longer timeline. The board met on March 24 and opted for an appointment process.

At the same meeting, the board approved a contract with a consultant to evaluate changing from at-large elections to trustee area elections. The district is physically large and contains over 117,000 voters so campaigning is expensive. Reaching approximately 25,000 voters in a district is more reasonable and lowers barriers to new candidates.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues. March 28, 2023, 6:45 p.m. Regular Meeting

Agenda and Presentations 

Item No. 2:Consider the proposed development of a 282,320-square-foot office building with a detached parking structure and removal and replacement of 113 trees and exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act. (Application No(s): DP-2021-001, ASA-2021-003, TR-2021-020; Applicant(s): Apple, Inc.; Location: 19191 Vallco Parkway; APN #316-20-117). This application proposes demolition of an existing two-story 141,024 office building built in the early 1980s that is functionally obsolete, and its replacement with a four-story 282,320 sq. ft. office building with 2,300 sq. ft. of commercial space and 213,080 sq. ft. six level parking garage (two below ground and four above ground). The building is located at Vallco Parkway and North Tantau Avenue immediately across the street from the office building currently leased by Apple at Main Street. Increasing the number of office workers at this location plus additional commercial and public plazas benefit the retail businesses on Vallco Parkway as well as  Main Street. The project’s improvements will also trigger new assessment, providing significant new revenues to the city. Though the application is lengthy, the project complies with the General Plan and is therefore not expected to be controversial.

Item No. 3: Review of the Fiscal Year 2023 – 2024 Capital Improvement Program proposal for consistency with the City of Cupertino’s General Plan. This is a proforma review of the Fiscal Year 2023-24 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects presented to the City Council on March 7. Only the six new projects are on the agenda; other CIP projects have already been approved. The commission’s role is to evaluate consistency with the General Plan, so modifications are limited.

Item No. 4: Consider renewal of a Conditional Use Permit and CEQA exemption for an existing mono-pine wireless communications facility (U-2011-07). (Application No: U-2023-001; Applicant: John Merritt; Location: 22475 Rancho Deep Cliff Drive; APN: 356-02-999). This item is the renewal of a ten-year Conditional Use Permit, which expired in 2021, to bring the facility into compliance with the Municipal Code. No changes in the permit are proposed.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues. March 21, 2023, 5:30 Closed Session Meeting, 6:45 p.m. Regular Meeting

YouTube:  Part 1 – 3 hr. 4 min; Part 2  – 1 hr. 26 min starting Item #8

Agenda and Presentations (Note the new order for the agenda)

At the beginning of the Regular Meeting, there was a moment of silence in memory of Fremont Union High School District Board Member, and former Lynbrook science teacher, Roy Rocklin. There were “no reportable actions” from the 5:30 Closed Session Meeting.

Three items were pulled from the Consent Calendar. Item No. 6, to consider authorizing execution of an On-Call Tree Maintenance Services Contract with West Coast Arborists, Inc., was time-sensitive and so was heard immediately, then approved unanimously. Item Nos. 3 and 5 were postponed to the next regular meeting when meeting time ran out.

Item No. 7: Consider petition for reconsideration regarding the City Council decision of February 7, 2023 to uphold the appeal in part, approve one of the two requested freeway-oriented signs, and deny the requested sign exception. Application No(s): EXC-2022-003; Applicant(s): David Ford (All Sign Services); Location: 20565 Valley Green Dr.; APN #326-10-044. This item consumed over two hours of council timeLegal counsel found no grounds for reconsideration of this petition by Rhoda Fry to overturn council’s prior decision on an appeal of a legally conforming freeway-oriented sign for the Public Storage building which faces I-280. There were about a dozen speakers, with only two speakers from the complex across the freeway from the sign. Public Storage has failed to turn off their freeway-facing false halfway interior lights at 11 p.m., but as previously underscored by Councilmember Fruen, this is a separate code violation, unrelated to the sign ordinance. Staff confirmed that a notice of violation has been issued to Public Storage on the matter. Major Wei, Vice-Mayor Mohan and Councilmember Fruen emphasized their responsibility to conform to the Municipal code, while Councilmembers Moore and Chao grasped at reasons to reconsider the approval.  After two attempts by Councilmembers Moore and Chao on motions to support the petition without the requisite legal and evidentiary grounds, a competing motion to accept staff recommendation denying reconsideration passed 3-2 with Moore and Chao (reversing herself from February 7) voting nay.

Item No. 8: Consider adoption of a Resolution approving Tamien Innu (Tamien Trail) as the officially recognized trail name for the I-280 Trail. Council approved unanimously.

Item No. 10: 2022 General Plan Annual Report and Housing Element Annual Progress Report (APR). (Reordered) This item has a deadline of April 1 for submission to the state in order to avoid potential penalties. Consideration of this report started at 10:30 p.m. with a staff report. There was limited council discussion, focused primarily on process, with the tables clearly articulating the lack of housing production in the city of Cupertino. Approved 4-0-1 with Moore abstaining.

Item No. 9: Consider submitting a letter in opposition to the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (Initiative No. 21-0042A). The Legislative Review Committee had previously submitted a letter of opposition in an earlier legislative cycle.  Council voted 4-0-1 with Chao abstaining (again, a change in position from her prior vote) to approve submitting a letter.


The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Eye of the beholder: High school finalists for ‘Unarmed Truth’ – themed competition on display. Sunnyvale, Cupertino students’ artworks reveal ‘Unarmed Truth’. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Distracted driving town hall, and (2) Rebuilding Day sign-ups. The sole legal notice on page 20 is a Bid Invitation for the De Anza and McClellan/Pacifica Drive Intersection Modifications Project.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor