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Cupertino’s housing element moves forward with city council approval

Cupertino is on track to add 4,588 housing units over the next decade.

The City Council on Tuesday evening adopted its housing component, which is a plan submitted every eight years to the state outlining how the city will add a specific number of local housing units at different price points. The document, which proposes creating new zoning categories to allow high-density projects in residential areas, will go before the Planning Commission for deliberation in June.

The state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) approved Cupertino’s housing plan last month, more than a year after the city missed the original January 2023 deadline to submit it. The zoning process is necessary to keep the city’s plan in compliance with approval and avoid penalties, including the use of builder’s recourse, a legal mechanism that allows developers to move forward with projects larger than what they local zoning laws would otherwise allow.

“That’s really what HCD has conditioned this project on, is that we have to be able to rezone our priority housing sites,” said Luke Connolly, the city’s deputy director of community development.

Cupertino is identifying 36 sites to accommodate the units, which are primarily located along Stevens Creek and De Anza boulevards and single-family neighborhoods on the city’s west side. More than half of the 4,588 homes will be built at The Rise, a housing project approved by council last month on the site of the former Vallco shopping centre.

Despite months of intense planning, not all council members were on board with the plan. Kitty Moore was the only council member to vote against adoption, concerned that factors including the environmental impact of the city’s housing plan had not been thoroughly examined.

“My biggest concern is that this approach does not result in a workable solution to the housing affordability problem,” Moore said Tuesday. “I believe we have a majority on council and other forces strongly urging us to approve this housing element.”

Liang Chao, the only council member to abstain from the vote, said she understands that compliance with HUD is important, but she could not support the housing element due to a process of “non-democratic” and “non-transparent” planning on the part of municipal staff. Chao claimed there has been no “substantial” deliberation at public meetings on proposed housing policies and densities since 2022, when the council first evaluated housing sites.

California Daily Newspapers

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