An immense THANK YOU from the the bottom of our hearts to the numerous volunteers and residents that stood up against the out-of-character monstrosity named Westport Cupertino in our tranquil community; especially without any transit solutions in sight. Your engagement & efforts did have an impact and delivered the outcome you were looking for. The City Council heard you loud and clear; your VOICE registered with them strongly to deliver a 4-1 verdict against Westport GPA request. This is your suburban town and you get to decide what happens here. Kudos to all of you on commendable team work. Keep it up!
Here is the gist of how things unfolded on Aug 1, 2017 City Council meeting.
The City Hall was overflowing with more than 150+ attendees showing up in person to weigh in on much awaited General Plan Amendment (GPA) agenda items
16a : Cupertino Village Boutique Hotel
16b : Cupertino Hotel (Goodyear Tires)
16c : Westport Cupertino (Oaks Shopping Center)
There were more than 55 attendees registered to speak on these 3 GPA agenda items. Items 16a and 16b for hotel allocations with minor infractions to General Plan were uneventful; few residents [less than 5] spoke in support of them and there were literally no objections. Both of these GPA items passed with 5-0 vote in favor; the results were officially recorded as well.
On the other hand, GPA item 16c was full of action as
~35 people spoke against GPA request; mostly residents comprising of older residents, parents and local union labor.
~19 people spoke in favor of GPA request; few residents and local kids; mostly outsiders such as trade groups and consultants.
2 people spoke neutrally asking for housing considerations for low income and special needs kids.
City council did a great job of patiently listening to all speakers and deliberated both of the proposals at length. Almost all council members were sympathetic towards union residents and requested the developer to commit to using union labor on this project; the developer would not commit to this request. After thorough deliberations and feedback for the developer, the city council voted down the GPA application with 4-1 vote against it. Councilman Barry Chang did not have any concerns about height or density or office vs. housing; he was in favor of both alternates presented. The rest of the Council Members and Mayor wanted only housing and retail that adheres to the 45 feet height limit with proper setbacks; in other words, they asked the developer to respect our General Plan and build within its limits.
Unfortunately, this straw poll result could not be officially recorded due to a procedural issue (all three GPA applications were lumped together in one vote, not considering the distinct possiblity of the split vote that happend (2 hotels approved, The Oaks rejected). The straw poll rejection for The Oaks application will be officially recorded at the Aug 15th City Council meeting without any public hearing as the agenda item is not expected to change. But one cannot be sure as the saying goes — it’s not done till it’s done.
Great engagement from community and great outcome from the City Council, who listened to residents. Let us work together on future matters as we did last night; when we join hands, we control the outcome.
We also attached a community member’s thank you letter to our city council members below:
Dear Mayor Savita and Council members,
Thank you for patiently listening to residents inputs last night and carefully weighing in on various proposals submitted for GPA. You did a fantastic job of approving the proposals that benefit our city without impacting the community and sending a proposal back to the drawing board as it had so many negative implications to the community.
Especially your desire to walk the talk was very important and impressive especially when we asked San Jose to respect Cupertino’s 45 feet height restriction. Cupertino is a city that is not on public transit corridors such as CalTrain and BART; that is going to be a limiting factor in what we do with developments in our city. We should encourage and support reasonable development proposals that fit within the character of our city and General Plan.
It is perfectly fine and a welcome thing if our neighboring cities such as Sunnyvale, San Jose and Mountain View build high-density offices and housing along their transit corridors; residents and workers can get in & out of those properties without having to drive. Cupertino will always be more like Saratoga, Los Altos and Los Gatos for lack of public transport despite freeways flowing through it. Freeways are not a reason to allow for high-density office or residence in Cupertino as that only encourages more driving; please don’t fall for the myth advocated by developers and special interests that people live and work at the same location; there is no data to support it. People live wherever they want and work wherever they choose to; they don’t change homes as many times as they change jobs; that is a fact.
A BIG THANK YOU from an active community member that calls Cupertino home.