September 24, 2018

A plan to redevelop Cupertino’s Vallco shopping mall (Vallco Town Center), was approved by City Council by a 3-2 vote September 19. The project is substantially larger than a 2016 ballot measure rejected by voters, Measure D. The newly approved plan has 40% more square footage and is 65% taller than Measure D, but offers less than 4% retail space, and almost no parkland.

Citizens complain that City Council threw aside its own rules — by holding the second hearing and voting on the project the day after the first hearing (instead of allowing the usual two-week gap between council meetings), and by ignoring the twice-yearly schedule it established for approving amendments to the General Plan — in order to rush project approval before the November 6 election, when it could lose its developer-friendly majority. And as notice of what the actual plan to be voted on would include was not made public until a week before the hearing, citizens had no idea what it included. Additionally, they are concerned that the development agreement between city and developer doesn’t guarantee delivery of below-market-rate housing or the community benefits promised, and includes no completion bond.

The project includes:
multiple high-rises up to 14 stories
2,668 residential apartments
1.75 million sqft office space
18 intersections
80,000 new vehicle trips per day
Significant added air pollution, noise pollution and potential exposure to hazardous waste

Local grassroots group Better Cupertino believes residents deserve a say in a project this large, and are preparing for a referendum. Once the City of Cupertino finalizes each document for the approved Vallco Town Center, signatures from 10% of all registered voters would need to be collected in 30 days to place the issue on the ballot.

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