In the last Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) cycle– 2007 to 2014– the City of Cupertino approved the development of 69 new affordable units, only 12% of its RHNA goal.  This may be about to change.  On March 28th, Sand Hill Properties became only the second developer in the State to use new Senate Bill 35 streamlining and administrative approval provisions, submitting an application for the Vallco Town Center project.  SB 35 enables a development that meets local plan requirements to move forward after a 180-day window, as long as it meets a list of requirements, including housing affordability.

The Vallco project proposal envisions a mixed-use development, with retail, office space, and 2,402 total new homes on the site of the now defunct Vallco mall.  Of this number, 1,201 would be affordable, with 841 of the units affordable to low-income households making below 80% of area median income, and 360 of the units affordable to very low-income households making less than 50% of area median income.

The public debate around the redevelopment of Vallco has been long-running, with two competing 2016 ballot measures that sought to enable or block development, respectively, both failing at the polls.  A planning process for the site kicked off early this year, but the threat of further ballot box zoning actions remained a concern.

At the April 2nd City Council Meeting, SV@Home led a diverse group of residents and advocacy organizations in expressing strong support for the 1,201 affordable units on the Vallco site.  Although there was not a formal agenda item, affordable housing supporters turned up in force, with over 30 speakers coming out in favor of the project’s housing plan, many sharing personal stories from the community.

As the SB35 process continues on its fixed 180-day timeline, Opticos, the City’s planning consultant, is proceeding with the parallel community engagement process, including a series of charrettes. SV@Home partcipated in the week-long charrette process in good faith to reinforce community desires that any project at the Vallco property include a significant affordable housing component. We appreciate that the draft Guiding Principles have been revised to include housing for people of all income and abilities.

ACT NOW: Make your voice heard and join us today to express our appreciation for the process thus far and to urge the City Council and the broader Cupertino community to uphold all the Guiding Principles without sacrificing affordable housing. The council hearing starts at 6:45 p.m.

If you are unable to make it, please take a moment to email the Cupertino City Council to let them know that affordable housing should continue to be a priority for the City.  Please send correspondence to the entire Council and cc Pilar at pilar@siliconvalleyathome.org

Opticos will convene a second charrette from May 20-24.

The precise plan is a crucial opportunity to make significant towards addressing Cupertino’s housing affordability needs. Do you want to be a part of the coalition of partners holding the City accountable? Email David at david@siliconvalleyathome.org to stay abreast of opportunities to act.

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