Cupertino adopts housing plan for 4,588 homes, seeks to allow zoning for high-density projects

Cupertino is one step closer to adding 4,588 homes in the next decade.

The City Council Tuesday night adopted its housing element, which is a blueprint submitted every eight years to the state outlining how the city will add a specific number of local homes at a range of price points. The document, which proposes creating new zoning categories to allow for high-density projects in residential areas, will head to the Planning Commission for deliberation in June.

The state Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) endorsed 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 compliant with the endorsement and avoid penalties, including being subject to the builder’s remedy, a legal mechanism that allows developers to push through projects that are larger than local zoning laws would otherwise permit.

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

Cupertino identifies 36 sites to accommodate the units, which are mainly located along Stevens Creek and De Anza boulevards and single-family neighborhoods in the western portion of the city. More than half of the 4,588 units will be built at The Rise, a housing project approved by the council last month on the site of the former Vallco Shopping Mall.

Despite months of intense planning, not every councilmember was on board with the plan. Kitty Moore was the only councilmember who voted against the adoption, concerned that factors, including the environmental impact of the city’s housing plan, were not examined throughly.

“My greatest concern is that this approach would not result in an attainable solution to the housing affordability problem,” Moore said Tuesday. “I believe we have a council majority and other forces strongly urging us to rubber stamp this housing element.”

Liang Chao, the only councilmember to abstain from the vote, said she understands that HUD compliance is important, but could not support the housing element because of an “undemocratic” and “non-transparent” planning process by city staff. Chao claimed that there have been no “substantive” deliberations in public meetings on the proposed housing policies and densities since 2022, when the council first assessed housing sites.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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