December 2023 Newsletter: New Plans for Former Vallco Site, Will Cupertino Raise Sales Taxes? — and more

We thank you for following along this year as we shed light on many critical issues. From changes impacting the face of Cupertino to loss of public resources, we hope to spark dialogue amongst residents who rightfully expect the utmost of their city governance. In this issue:

  • Is Cupertino’s Single-Family Housing at Risk?
  • Will Sales Taxes Go Up in Cupertino?
  • New Plans Revealed for Former Vallco Site
  • County Deems Lehigh Quarry Application “Incomplete”
  • Small Business Spotlight: New Custom Cake Shop Opens in Cupertino

Are Cupertino’s Single Family Homes At Risk?

On November 30, 2023 Cupertino submitted its “Second Draft” (3rd submittal) of its Housing Element (HE) to the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) for approval. Residents should be aware of two decisions that will impact homes across Cupertino if approved:

  1. Any Single-Family Home on a corner lot could turn into an apartment.
  2. Any Single-Family Home behind or around a shopping center on specific roads could turn into apartments.

Example of Cupertino neighborhoods with single-family homes adjacent to retail

These potential changes create uncertainty for current and prospective homeowners, and could drastically alter our neighborhoods. Cupertino has identified and is prepared to re-zone far more HE sites than is required to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) obligation.

Reach out to your representatives now to provide input. The Cupertino City Council has the final say. Here is their contact information:

CityCouncil@Cupertino.org
PlanningCommmission@Cupertino.org
HousingCommission@Cupertino.org

Individual City Council member emails can be found here.


Will Sales Taxes Go Up in Cupertino?

On December 5, 2023, City Council voted to explore raising Cupertino sales taxes by 0.25% (to a total of 9.375%).

City Staff Pushes for Sales Tax Increase

At the December 5, City Council Study Session, staff asked Council for direction on four revenue-raising options. They recommended the Transaction and Use Tax (TUT), but also considered raising the Hotel Tax, Parcel Tax, and Business Operations Tax.

Next Steps

In January and February, the City will poll a subset of voters for their opinions on a higher sales tax. A majority vote on the November 2024 ballot is needed to raise sales taxes by 0.25%.


New Plans Revealed for Former Vallco Site

On December 5, 2023, the property owner of the former Vallco shopping mall (N. Wolfe Rd. and Stevens Creek Blvd.) submitted a new development plan to the City of Cupertino. The plan, called “The Rise,” replaces the old site with housing, offices, shopping areas, and open spaces, similar to previous plans that have been submitted over the last decade.

A Revised Design with a New Architect

The developer recently switched to a different architectural design firm, Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). Via the developer’s announcement, “KPF is a world-renowned design firm known for their innovative and community-driven approach to urban design.”

Will Cupertino Agree to the Modification?

Despite significant changes from the prior plan, the developer claims that this project is only a modification of its SB35 application. If the City agrees that the modifications are minor, then the new buildings can use outdated 2016 building codes, even if the development is built years from now. This may make the new buildings less energy-efficient and less environmentally friendly.

Next Steps

The City has 60 days to respond to the developer as to whether the project is compliant with SB35 or it can be considered a modification to a previously-approved SB35 project. Since the developer intends to subdivide the project and build it in phases, it is unknown when it will be completed, if ever.


County Deems Lehigh Permanente Quarry Application Incomplete

On December 7, Santa Clara County’s Planning and Development Office deemed Lehigh’s Reclamation Plan application incomplete. The 31-page letter listed a number of areas that require clarification such as, appropriately defining the land areas to be reclaimed, fish and wildlife protection, water quality concerns, new truck routes, and additional truck traffic.


Small Business Spotlight: New Cake Shop Opens in Cupertino

A new custom cake shop, Horizon Bakery, has opened in Cupertino. This family-owned establishment boasts a wide portfolio of creations, ranging from intricately hand-painted cakes to elaborate floral and figurine toppings.

horizon bakery

Horizon Bakery’s owners have poured an immense amount of effort into making the space their new home. They spent one year remodeling the location, demolishing and then rebuilding the entire interior.


Wishing you a very happy holiday and new year,

The Cupertino Facts Team

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