Cupertino Matters

Housing continues to dominate Cupertino news as outlined in a press release:  Vallco Project Update – Second Modification to the Rise Development Approved which provides details on city staff’s approval of the project. The number of housing units has increased to 2,669 units, including 45 townhouses, a modification from the original project. There will be more market rate homes than the previous project, with 890 subsidized units, a decrease from the earlier project as permitted by the State Density Bonus Law. As with the original SB35 project, approval was ministerial, with no council involvement and no public hearings. San Jose Spotlight highlights the background, Cupertino greenlights housing development at former Vallco mall.

As shown on the website, the modified design for The Rise is significantly different from the original towers and green roof. The mix of residential and commercial space has changed to adapt to the new realities of the real estate market, particularly commercial real estate. The good news is that the financing seems to be secure to start construction this year, unlike many other stalled or downsized developments.

In additional housing news, the City of Cupertino has revised the 2023-2031 Draft Housing Element to address comments received on the revised Second Draft from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in December 2023. The Third Draft Housing Element is available for review on the City’s website at engagecupertino.org/public-documents. The City will resubmit the Third Draft Housing Element to HCD for review on Friday, February 23. Comments on the Third Draft Housing Element can be submitted via email: housing@cupertino.org or by mailing or delivering handwritten comments in person to the Department of Community Development, Attention: Luke Connolly, 10300 Torre Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014.

Cupertino, as well as other bay area cities, has struggled to get approval from the state Housing and Community Development (HCD) for the Housing Element, which seems to be a moving target. This revision is oriented toward getting approval thus forestalling “builders remedy” projects which would bypass local control.

Over 200 people celebrated Mayor Sheila Mohan’s State of the City Address on Thursday, February 15, at Quinlan Center. Readers who missed the event can view the celebration on the city’s YouTube channel. The San Jose Spotlight highlighted her speech in this article entitled, Cupertino mayor optimistic about city’s future. This is the  full transcript of the mayor’s speech.

Less than two weeks remain to vote in the March 5 primary elections. Ballots may be mailed in, deposited in a drop box (Cupertino City Hall) or turned in at a Vote Center (Cupertino Library). Details are listed in the paper County Voter Information Guide or located using the Registrar of Voters site. For more information on voting, the League of Women Voters website https://www.vote411.org/ can be used to  check on registration, as well as personalized voter information.

Local candidate forum recordings  are available on the League of Women Voters Cupertino-Sunnyvale website.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Feb. 21, 2024, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting: 5:30 Closed Session

Agenda and Presentations

Closed Session 
Item No. 1: Subject: Conference with legal counsel – existing litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9 (City of Cupertino v. California Department of Tax & Fee Administration). This item addresses the ongoing dispute between the state’s sales tax authority and the city over the allocation of sales taxes in Cupertino.

Regular Session
There are no Ceremonial Items. Postponements include Item No. 2 Cessation of Hybrid Commission and Committee Meetings (Postponed from February 6, 2024). The Consent Calendar contains five routine items. Agenda Item No. 7 is extension of the   Coffee Society Lease Agreement, at 10800 Torre Avenue, in the library building for an additional 5 years. Members of the public may speak on any or all consent calendar items when the mayor asks for public comment on the Consent Calendar. If a member of the council pulls an item from the Consent Calendar, it will be addressed after all action items. Members of the public may comment on that item when it is considered.

Item No. 8: Potential November 2024 Revenue Tax Measure Opinion Research. At the Dec. 5, 2023, meeting, council directed staff to conduct outreach to the business community in particular before spending additional money to explore the feasibility of putting a revenue tax on the November ballot to partially address the city budget shortfall. The staff recommendation is against putting a measure on the ballot for this election, due to mixed community reaction and competing tax measures.

Item No.9: Accept the City Manager’s Mid-Year Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2023-24. The Mid-Year Financial Report, as of December 31, 2023, is a critical assessment to evaluate the City’s current revenue outlook and make necessary adjustments to the budget in response to changing spending priorities. It provides an overview of the City’s budget status, including its revenue outlook, expenditure patterns, and other key financial metrics. Additionally, the report helps the City ensure that it stays on track toward achieving its goals and objectives by providing valuable insights into the City’s financial performance. There are minimal adjustments to the current budget, as the City moves into the FY2024-25 budget cycle.

Item No 10: Amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 3.22 (Purchase of Supplies, Materials, Equipment and Services) and Chapter 3.23 (Public Works Contract and Bidding Procedures) of Title 3 (Revenue and Finance). The initial Moss Adams internal audit report, Enterprise Risk Assessment, dated Dec. 10, 2020 rated Procurement and Contracting as the highest risk category for the city, with low-to-moderate preparedness (pg. 2). The city has now hired a Purchasing Manager to correct these deficiencies beginning with revisions of the Municipal Code dating back to 1992. The proposed code edits will introduce improvements, clarity, and codify best practices for the purchase of goods, services, or public work contracts. The changes will introduce standardization in the procurement process, improvements that demonstrate best practices, clarity in the purchasing process and support for staff through the various procurement actions.

Item No. 11: Council Reports (now submitted in written form) are provided by all council members.

Informational Items include Item No. 12 Receive the Monthly Treasurer’s Report for January 2024, Item No. 13 Receive the Monthly Treasurer’s Investment Report for January 2024, and Item No. 14 Receive the Treasurer’s Investment Report for the Quarter Ending December 31, 2023

RECAP – Planning Commission – Tues., Feb. 13, 2024, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting

YouTube :  1 hr. 52 mIn. 

Agenda and Presentations

Item No. 2: Election of Planning Commission Chair and Vice Chair, and Committee representatives and 2024 meeting schedule. David Fung was voted Chair of the Planning Commission and Seema Lindskog was voted Vice-Chair.

Item No. 3: Discuss Recommendations for City Council Work Program Items for 2024 Which Are Within the Jurisdiction of the Planning Commission. Due to the city budget situation and previously approved items, commissioners were limited to proposing three additional items. After discussion, these were (1) expediting home repair and minor projects permits, (2) prioritizing the Complete Streets project, and (3) developing small business initiatives.

CUPERTINO COURIER: February 16, 2024

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled ‘Voices of Silicon Valley’ California History Center awarded $150K federal grant for project: NEH funding will go toward preserving, recording local oral histories. The California History Center is located on the De Anza Community College campus. Briefs on page 5 are (1) Music teacher honored, and (2) Council appointments. Legal notices on page 15 are (1) Invitation for bids for DeAnza Blvd Buffered Bike Lane project, and (2) Public hearing before the Planning Commission on February 27 for a hillside exception at 22777 San Juan Road.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor