Balanced vs Unbalanced Development: Contrasting Visions


This email is about two different visions about new development in Cupertino

  • The balanced approach which considers the impact on the residents, the city infrastructure especially traffic & schools, and the viability of the project.

  • The unbalanced approach which focuses on maximizing investors’ profits without regards to impact on the quality of life of residents.


What Balanced Development Looks Like


Westport is the name of the redevelopment of the Oaks Plaza on the corner of Hwy 85 and Stevens Creek Blvd opposite De Anza College. The project had been in the pipeline since 2016, and the original proposal was to build a lot of office space and a hotel. 


The resident oriented city-council elected in November in 2018, collaborated with the developer to redo the project to a combination of market rate homes, senior care, affordable homes and retail. The density of the approved project is less than one third of the original proposal, and it is traffic neutral. You can see renderings of the project on the developer, KT Urban’s website.

Another mixed-use redevelopment project is Canyon Crossing on the corner of McClellan Rd and Foothill Blvd which is a mixture of housing and much needed retail.  The developments approved by the new council balance various competing goals and many are in the process of being constructed..You can read more about the new developments approved by the city here

What Unbalanced Development Looks like

The contrast with the coterie of ex-mayors approach could not be more stark. Lets consider the the Vallco project which they often refer to while denigrating the resident oriented city-council the voters chose.

What the coterie of ex-mayors fails to mention is that the Vallco SB35 plan was approved when the coterie (or their proteges) were a majority in the city-council over the objections of the City Attorney whom they fired.

Or how they scuttled efforts by councilmen Paul & Scharf to add some height limits(November 2017) right before SB35 became law. 

Or how they amended the City General Plan to add 2M sq. ft of office space, right after SHP bought the mall, while removing height limit (2014) in spite of overwhelming resident opposition.

The Vallco project needs site-cleanup to remove toxic waste and contaminants which is being supervised by the County of Santa Clara. The former council ignored residents’ pleas on this topic even though the developer was aware of the contamination as early as 2016, two years before the approval of the plans (2018)

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what balanced vs unbalanced development looks like.

Unbalanced Development: 14 unit buildings on Single Family Lots (SB10)


A new state law, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (real-estate industry favorite), SB10 gives local city councils the authority to permit the building of 14 housing units (10 + 2ADU/2JADU) on a single family lot, as long as the home is in a transit priority area, 


(Rendition from Livable California of a 14 unit building)


A transit priority area is defined as the region within one-half mile of a major transit stop that is existing or planned. In the map below, the blue circles represent the current areas in Cupertino which would become eligible for 14 unit buildings on single family lots under SB10. In the future, more areas can be included due to a change in the route of the existing VTA bus-lines or a new route being added (even if it is just planned). 

For example, Rainbow/De Anza, Stelling/McClellan, Stelling/De Anza or Foothill/Stevens Creek can be the centers of new half a mile circular zones (red circles) which will then permit 14 unit homes on single family lots if an eligible service is planned connecting De Anza College to Los Gatos via 85/Prospect or De Anza College to Foothill College via Foothill Expressway/280.

The silver lining is that local city councils can decide whether to allow such construction under SB10. Unlike other state laws like SB35 or SB9 (lot-split) the law is not mandatory for cities.

JR Fruen: Endorsed by SB10 Author, Sen. Scott Wiener

One of the candidates for Cupertino City Council, who has the strong financial and endorsement support of the coterie of ex-mayors, endorsements by the three CUSD trustees who shut down CUSD schools, and a long association with construction related interests is JR Fruen. JR has been endorsed by Sen. Scott Wiener, the author of SB10, on his twitter feed.


For residents who are interested in preserving the character of their single family homes, a vote for JR Fruen would be a step in the wrong direction, increasing the chances of SB10 approval.


Vote Smart


To preserve home values and our suburban life, please VOTE for Govind Tatachari, Liang Chao, and Steven Scharf for Cupertino City Council, and Darcy Paul, Satheesh Madhathil & Jerry Liu for CUSD Board. They have taken a public stand to keep school closure off the table and roll back the past decisions. They are not funded by special-interests and will keep the interests of residents foremost, supporting balanced growth.



Please do NOT vote for JR Fruen, Sheila Mohan for Cupertino City Council, and Ava Chiao (CUSD).  They have been supportive of school closure and giving the land to developers, and have strong endorsements from the three CUSD trustees who closed the schools.  They also receive extensive funding from construction interests, who covet the land our schools stand on. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top