Online “NIMBY” vs. “YIMBY” fight regarding future of Vallco

The Cupertino Housing Commission is seeking a new member.The Cupertino Housing Commission is seeking a new member.

A recently launched petition by local organization Better Cupertino has led to a discussion on online platforms regarding the future of Vallco. The petition was launched a couple of weeks ago and has not reached its goal of 1,000 signatures so far.

Better Cupertino is a “group of concerned residents who act together for a more responsive and responsible Cupertino government.” According to their website, their focus is “engaging residents and city government to balance growth and quality of life.” Since the group’s creation, Vallco has been an import topic. Better Cupertino was the driving force behind last election’s failed Measure C, which sought to keep Vallco Mall a place for retail only.

With this new effort, a petition that was signed by 920 people at the time this article was written, Better Cupertino wants to “prevent an unwarranted increase of office and residential density at Vallco Shopping Mall site.” With these signatures, Better Cupertino is seeking to pressure the City Council to discuss the risks of new California laws that address the statewide housing crisis and go into effect on January 1, 2018.

On the Better Cupertino Facebook page, where the petition was advertised, the group’s initiative recently received a number of reactions from people throughout the Bay Area who support more housing.

Some Facebook users criticized the organization and the petition, saying, the “purpose of this group is usually just to no longer improve anything,” calling them “selfish” for blocking housing, “afraid their quality of life may fall 0.1%”. Lots of people expressed their concern about wanting to avoid more housing in a city that in fact really needs it. “Wouldn’t that mean more homes for more people? Why would you discourage such a thing? Thank goodness those who came before us in Silicon Valley didn’t block the homes we’re all living in,” one person commented.

“Bay Area home prices raced upward again in November, climbing 12.5 percent beyond their levels of a year earlier,” a recent Mercury News Article said. Difficult market conditions, a very low supply, high demand and hardly any affordable options, the median price of a single-family home in Santa Clara County rose 27 percent to $1,282,500, according to the article. Many Bay Area cities are working towards finding a solution to the current housing crisis. In Mountain View, not far from Cupertino, the City Council approved a plan on Dec. 12 to add nearly 10,000 housing units to the area, including 1,970 units priced at below market rate, according to the Daily Post.

In Better Cupertino’s holiday newsletter, the organization fights back against the people who support more housing, explaining that YIMBY (Yes in My Backyard) supporters “oppose traditional affordable housing groups by promoting the belief that market-rate housing will ‘trickle-down’ to affordability eventually” and argues that building more housing won’t solve the current housing crisis.

Earlier this week, the Cupertino Today staff reached out to Better Cupertino to ask them what they would like to see happen at Vallco, but they did not respond by the time of this posting.