Thursday, December 7, 2017

URGENT! Vallco Mall Is Already Rezoned to Include 2,000,000 sqft Office Space and 2400 Housing Units


Very depressing news. Urgent action needed.

If the Cupertino City Council does not take any immediate action, the General Plan, as it stands today, would permit a massive development twice as large as Measure D (rejected by Cupertino voters in 2016) under the new laws. Such development would include 2,000,000 square feet of office space AND 2000 or more housing units and only 600,000 square feet of retail. The retail portion would be only 8% of the entire project! And the City Council might not be able to reject such massive project without facing legal challenges. Such shocking invasion of Cupertino's autonomy is made possible by a series of pro-housing bills adopted in September 2017. As a result, Vallco Mall Is Already Rezoned to Include 2,000,000 sqft Office Space and 2400 Housing Units, as of Jan. 1, 2017.

Unfortunately, the City Council is unwilling to take action to protect Cupertino's General Plan from exploitation due to pressure from the developer and out-of-town pro-housing advocacy groups.
Please sign this petition to urge the city council to take immediate actions to clarify zoning standards at Vallco by openly discussing the potential risks of these laws and its unintended consequences!

https://www.change.org/p/cupertino-city-council-we-urge-our-city-council-to-clarify-zoning-standards-for-vallco-asap

Saturday, November 18, 2017

CALL to ACTION: Attend the Tuesday, 11/21/2017, City Council Meeting to Support the Repeal of the 12/4/2014 GPA that Affects Vallco

Date: Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 4:30 PM
Subject: CALL to ACTION: Attend the Tuesday, 11/21/2017, City Council Meeting to Support the Repeal of the 12/4/2014 GPA that Affects Vallco


Hi Everyone,

The Tuesday, 11/21/2017 Cupertino City Council meeting is exceptionally important.

Please plan to attend and speak during oral communications to demand that the Council repeal the portion of the 12/4/2014 General Plan amendment affecting changes to entitlements at the Vallco Shopping District site.

On 12/4/2014, the majority City Council gave the developer of the Vallco Shopping District site an office allocations and permission to write its own rules regarding how dense it will build at the venue that was previously retail only.

Probably when the majority City Council gave away its planning authority at Vallco by creating the provision for a "Vallco Specific Plan", it expected that it would have discretion to reject any outrageous plan if a majority felt the plan was not aligned with the best interests of the City or would be harmful to the environment.

According to the current General Plan, allocations and density at the Vallco Shopping District site (51 or 58 acres, depending on who's counting) include:

Maximum Residential Density
35 units per acre (389 units maximum)

Maximum Height
Per specific plan (“developer, you choose the maximum height!”)

and

Office Square Footage, Buildout
2,000,000

Office Square Footage, Available
2,000,000

In October, the Governor signed a bundle of housing laws, including AB 1515, which law firm Meyers Nave describes thusly:

"AB 1515 directs courts to give less deference to local government determinations of a project’s consistency with local zoning and general plans."

and

"(AB 1515 is one of three new laws that) strengthen the State’s Housing Accountability Act, often referred to as the 'Anti-NIMBY Law', which limits the ability of cities and counties to disapprove proposed housing developments unless specified findings are made."

Finally, under AB 1515, there appears to be one way to retain local control at each development site: ensure that the General Plan specifies the absolute maximum density permitted at each site.

Specifically, AB 1515 states:

"...Under the act, the local agency may disapprove or condition approval of a housing development project or emergency shelter if, among other reasons, the housing development project or emergency shelter is inconsistent with both the jurisdiction’s zoning ordinance and general plan land use designation, as provided...."

Under the current General Plan and in light of by-right , it appears the developer for the Vallco Shopping District site could present a plan with a minimum amount of affordable housing (and 90% market-rate, for-rent housing) at 35 units per acre + 2 MILLION square feet of office + 600,000 square feet of retail. And, because the site includes affordable housing, it could qualify for a 15% density bonus (5 additional units per acre) or 20% density bonus (7 additional units per acre) if senior housing (no affordable units required).

Under AB 1515, if such a Vallco Specific Plan (aligned with the General Plan and including minimum affordable housing allocations) were presented to the City Council, it appears the City Council would have no authority to reject the plan because only violations of the General Plan and zoning laws--not environmental reviews, community disapproval, or City Council discretion--can be used as justification for rejection of a developer's plan that includes even a minimum amount of affordable housing.

It is imperative that the City Council restore the land use and density allocations back to what they were on 12/3/2014:
+ remove the office allocation
+ restore the retail/entertainment/dining allocation (Vallco Park South total buildout: 1,902,546; or Vallco Shopping District site: 1,207,774)
+ restore the maximum density specifications (1.5 feet of setback for every 1 foot of building height; 45 foot maximum building height or 60 foot maximum building height if the structure includes a retail component)

NOTE: The 2000 - 2020 General Plan allocated housing at the “Vallco Park South” development area, which includes the Vallco Shopping District site. Housing density at Vallco Park South under the 2000 - 2020 General Plan was 35 dwelling units per acre, same as it is under the current General Plan, though the available allotment was just 241 units. Today’s available allotment is 389. However, to push the point (rollback from 389 units to 241 units) will likely be very, very unpopular.

Please plan to attend the Tuesday, 11/21/2017 City Council meeting and speak during oral communications to demand the City Council restore local control of the Vallco Shopping District site by repealing the aspects of the 12/4/2014 General Plan amendment that affect the Vallco Shopping District site before the new housing laws are enacted on 1/1/2018.

Invite friends and family to attend and speak out, too!

Thank you,

Liana

REFERENCES
+ Meyers Nave, fact sheet for 2017 housing legislation: http://www.meyersnave.com/broad-affordable-housing-bill-package-signed-governor/

+ Sierra Club California Legislative Priority List 2017:

+ Legislative Information, AB 1515 2017-2018:

+ Legislative Information, SB 35:

+ City of Cupertino, General Plan, 2015-2040 (see “Chapter 3: Land Use and Community Character Element”, ‘Figure LU-1 Community Form Diagram’ pp LU-13 LU-17):

+ City of Cupertino, General Plan, 2000-2020, last updated 6/1/2010 (see Community Form Map, Maximum Building Heights Map, Table 2-A Development Allocation, and chapter “Land Use and Community Design” Policy 2-30 ‘Vallco Park South’ p 2-26, 2-27):

PATH: http://www.cupertino.org/ > “Records” > “Search” > “Custom Search = Name” > “Name = enter ‘general plan document’” >  click the Search button > select the general plan document with 332 pages

“An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Event Alert - Better Cupertino Forum Sunday October 29, 3-5pm





Dear Friends of Better Cupertino.

We would like to invite everyone to join the Second Better Cupertino forum on regional planning on Sunday October 29, 2017 from 3pm to 5pm, to be held in Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014. Register at BetterCupertino.org.

The panelists include Assembly Member Kansen Chu, San Jose City Council Member Chappie Jones, Palo Alto City Council Member Tom Dubois and former Planning Commissioner and Chamber president of Sunnyvale Richard Bernhardt, who Is also the CEO of Berhardt Communications and Strategies Co. The moderator will be Yang Shao from Fremont Unified School Board in the city of Fremont. The second hour will be Q&A to accept questions from the audience.

   Although many housing bills have passed this year, are they enough to help with housing crisis if there is still a lack of regional planning? Housing crisis is a symptom of deeper problems caused by a lack of regional planning, in my opinion, on office growth and transportation. Building more affordable housing is only a band-aid. Band-aids won't be sustainable if the root problem is not treated and continue to get worse.

    We hope that a dialogue on regional planning could help us face the root cause of the housing crisis today so that we can start addressing them. We have a balanced panel with an independent moderator for a much needed discussion on regional planning for office, housing and transportation.

Besides those on the panel, the follow elected officials or their representatives will also attend. 

Tom Pyke, representative of Congressman Ro Khanna, CA-17 
Yvonne Chao, representative of Jim Beall, SD15 
Patrick Ahrens, representative of Evan Low
Lydia Kou, Palo Alto City Council
Steven Scharf, Cupertino City Council
Michael Goldman - Sunnyvale City Council
Rishi Kumar, Saratoga City Council (most likely)
Teresa O’Neill - Santa Clara City Council 

Many grassroots groups from nearby cities will also attend. It's a chance to network.


Looking forward to seeing you there.

Below is a flyer of the forum. Please register at BetterCupertino.org to help with planning and for updates.

Better Cupertino Team



Event Alert - Better Cupertino Forum Sunday October 29, 3-5pm






Dear Friends of Better Cupertino.

We would like to invite everyone to join the Second Better Cupertino forum on regional planning on Sunday October 29, 2017 from 3pm to 5pm, to be held in Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014. Register at BetterCupertino.org.

The panelists include Assembly Member Kansen Chu, San Jose City Council Member Chappie Jones, Palo Alto City Council Member Tom Dubois and former Planning Commissioner and Chamber president of Sunnyvale Richard Bernhardt, who Is also the CEO of Berhardt Communications and Strategies Co. The moderator will be Yang Shao from Fremont Unified School Board in the city of Fremont. The second hour will be Q&A to accept questions from the audience.

   Although many housing bills have passed this year, are they enough to help with housing crisis if there is still a lack of regional planning? Housing crisis is a symptom of deeper problems caused by a lack of regional planning, in my opinion, on office growth and transportation. Building more affordable housing is only a band-aid. Band-aids won't be sustainable if the root problem is not treated and continue to get worse.

    We hope that a dialogue on regional planning could help us face the root cause of the housing crisis today so that we can start addressing them. We have a balanced panel with an independent moderator for a much needed discussion on regional planning for office, housing and transportation.

Besides those on the panel, the follow elected officials or their representatives will also attend. 

Tom Pyke, representative of Congressman Ro Khanna, CA-17 
Yvonne Chao, representative of Jim Beall, SD15 
Patrick Ahrens, representative of Evan Low
Lydia Kou, Palo Alto City Council
Steven Scharf, Cupertino City Council
Michael Goldman - Sunnyvale City Council
Rishi Kumar, Saratoga City Council (most likely)
Teresa O’Neill - Santa Clara City Council 

Many grassroots groups from nearby cities will also attend. It's a chance to network.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Below is a flyer of the forum. Please register at BetterCupertino.org to help with planning and for updates.

Better Cupertino Team




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

CALL to ACTION: Wear RED TONIGHT (8/1/2017) to Protect Oaks Shopping Center







CALL to ACTION: Wear RED and ATTEND the Tuesday, 8/1/2017 Cupertino City Council Meeting!

Subject: Redevelopment of Oaks Shopping Center, across from De Anza College, into high-rise towers


Greetings Better Cupertino Supporters!

It's time for us to take a stand to protect our beloved Cupertino from being exploited and transformed into congested hybrid-urban centers in a transit desert. ATTEND the Cupertino City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 to COMPEL the City Council to FOLLOW the General Plan and REJECT requests from the property owner of the Oaks Shopping Center to increase the density beyond the 45 feet (approximately 4-stories) permitted there today.

Your presence at the City Council meeting is very important since the City Council represents the citizens and they need to hear your voices.
Together we can COMPEL the City Council to REJECT requests from the property owner of the Oaks Shopping Center to add office and hotel uses to the site.

Plan to WEAR RED and attend the meeting Tuesday night and speak on Agenda item 16, even if just a few sentences to say that you SUPPORT the EXISTING density maximums and land use specified in the General Plan for the Oaks Shopping Center site! The builder can add housing and 4-5 times the density built out on the site today with NO ACTION required by the City Council!

Cupertino City Council Meeting
Cupertino Community Hall (next to the Library)
10350 Torre Ave
Tuesday, 8/1/2017, 6:45 pm
Note 1: The meeting agenda is FULL and the Oaks Shopping Center will not be discussed until Item 16. Consider following the meeting from home until Item 14 or 15 is introduced, then join the meeting in person. You may email BetterCupertino@gmail.com with your email and/or cell phone and we will email and/or text you to send you updates.

Note 2: Wear your Better Cupertino T-shirt or other RED clothing to show your respect for Cupertino’s General Plan. RED’s not your color? Then please wear any color other than BLUE. The opposition plans to attend in their BLUE clothing on Tuesday. No BLUE!


Why Attend?

  • Cupertino is our home. Most of us put our lifetime investment in Cupertino because we love the suburban, family-friendly lifestyle offered here.
  • The supporters of high-density development will be relentless in their efforts to urbanize Cupertino. Today it is the Oaks, but where does it end?
  • If we don't speak up and protect Cupertino from being exploited by mega-wealthy developers and investors, who will?
  • Without any changes to the General Plan, the Oaks property owner can already  build to 4-5 times the existing density. But they want to build up to 14 times the density, by requesting exceptions. Who benefits from the traffic, strained resources, and over-crowded schools that are sure to come with such dramatic density increases?

References

Home: BetterCupertino.org
Paid for by Better Cupertino Action Committee, FPPC #1395411, PO Box 1132, Cupertino, CA 95015


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Who Will Shape Cupertino's Future Growth: Residents or Developers and Big Business?

Who Will Shape Cupertino's Future Growth: Residents or Developers and Big Business?

The November General Election will decide whether Cupertino will grow and change according to the needs and interest of residents (Measure C for Citizens) OR urbanize according to the financial interests of developers, their global investors, and big business (Measure D for Developer).

All viable campaigns need funding. The developer behind the Vallco office park project has spent millions to support Measure D for Developer and to discredit Measure C for Citizens and all who back Measure C for Citizens.

On September 12, the developer dropped another $1,000,000 into the PAC that supports its campaign goals. I expect we will see more big cash drops like this one before Election Day.

If we are serious about ensuring that residents have a voice in the future development of Cupertino, we must raise funds to support that commitment. Talk with family, neighbors, and friends about making substantial contributions of $250 or more to our essential campaigns.

I encourage all to think about what you value about your life in the West Valley and how it will change based on whether or not Measure C for Citizens passes in November.

You have permission to forward this message to others who support sensible growth in the West Valley.

Vote YES on Measure C for Citizens. Vote NO on Measure D for Developer.

Please give generously to our essential campaigns today:

+ Measure C for Citizens

+ Better Cupertino

+ STEVEN SCHARF for Cupertino City Council
(PATH: Go to Scharf4Cupertino.com then click Donate.)

+ LIANG CHAO for the Cupertino Union School District board (grades K-8)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

BC-News: Fight Against Bullying by Developer-Employed former Council Members



** Urgent Request: Immediate action appreciated. **
Fight Against Bullying by Developer-Employed former Council Members
     - Don't Let Sand Hill Censor Our Ballots! Again.

Dear Cupertino Area Residents,

On August 25, 2016, two former Cupertino Council Members, employed by the developer to promote Vallco office park Initiative, filed a lawsuit to try to censor voters' arguments about Measure C from the November ballot. Measure C is formerly Cupertino Citizens' Sensible Growth (CCSG) Initiative, submitted by citizens to encourage sensible growth for the citizens of Cupertino and to give citizens a voice in the future direction of growth in Cupertino.
  • One plaintiff is a paid consultant of Vallco’s developer, Sand Hill Property Co. (SHP), and the other is the paid Public Affairs Manager for Vallco.
  • Besides these two individuals, other former Cupertino Council Members have also been actively lobbying and promoting the massive office park at Vallco in a competing Measure D, sponsored by Developer SHP.

The CCSG Initiative (now Measure C) gives the decision power for the future direction of growth back to the Cupertino voters. Unlike citizens in other cities overflowing with massive developments, Cupertino voters have a chance this November to make a choice:
Sensible Growth versus Growth determined by City Council and special interests.

We need to protect our right to make such a choice without interference from developers and their lobbyists. The City Council already adopted a misleading and deceptive ballot question for CCSG Initiative following requests of SHP’s attorneys. Now the developer-employed former Council Members are suing the grassroots citizens to silence them again. Enough is enough!

Let’s stand up together with the supporters of CCSG Initiative.
Their actions represent people power, at the core of American culture. When facing strong opposition, we don’t give up and we fight back.

  • If you support their actions to advocate for true community engagement, please donate to show your support.
  • If you appreciate their dedication to fight against powerful and resourceful developers against all odds, please donate to show your appreciation.
  • If you want to send a message to City Council that citizens' voices matter, please donate to give your voice power.

If you stand by and let other citizens be bullied by developers and their attorneys, who will be bullied next? You and me, who simply want Cupertino to retain its charm and lifestyle.
The massive office park at Vallco is just a beginning. There are 7 other projects waiting to be approved or to submit their proposals.

Cupertino residents. Do we get pushed aside by big developers who spend millions to force more and more massive projects down our throat? Let’s stand up and say
Enough is enough!

Let's take our city back. Donate and volunteer at BetterCupertino.org.

Paid for by Yes on C for Citizens. No on D for Developer. Committee supporting Cupertino Citizens’ Sensible Growth Initiative, PO Box 1132, Cupertino, CA 95015, FPPC# 1381645.