With nearly 50 speakers during the public comment portion, last Tuesday’s City Council meeting was an exceptionally long one. Lots of people came to the Cupertino Community Hall to express their support for the new Vallco Town Center project application.
Vallco Town Center, the new SB35-compliant plan announced on March 27, proposes 2,402 housing units – half of which will be affordable – and includes a 30-acre rooftop park, two town center plazas, office space and a retail and entertainment district. State Law SB35 streamlines development projects that hold at least two-thirds residential space and comply with the affordable housing minimums that are specific to each city. Even with this new proposal, the community-driven and City-led planning process, which began at the beginning of 2018, is still ongoing, with new meetings happening next week. In the March 27 press release, Reed Moulds, managing director at Sand Hill Property Company, said, “It is our sincere hope that the City process is successful in yielding a project that is derived from the community and addresses housing while also being viable and sufficiently robust to withstand any legal and ballot box challenges in a reasonable time frame.”
The majority of the approximately 50 people who spoke at Tuesday’s council meeting encouraged the City Council to approve the Town Center project application in an urgent manner, within the required 90 days, as a remedy for the city’s and region’s growing housing crisis. A few community members, however, expressed concern about the mixed-use plan, wanting to reduce the 1.81 million square feet of office space proposed in the new plan.
While some speakers agreed they want to see reduced office space, there was unanimous consensus among public speakers about the need for the amount of proposed affordable housing in the project.
“The inclusion of 2,400 housing units, half of which are to be affordable, is an enormous community benefit,” Cupertino resident Paulette Altmaier said. “I really congratulate Sand Hill on creating an economically viable proposal that includes 1,200 affordable units as part of a vibrant mixed-use development. The one aspect that I hope can be modified, but still respecting the need of the development to have an economically viable project, is reduction of the office space.”
After years of delays to the project, Altmaier said the Vallco Town Center plan builds hope that Vallco will finally be developed.
Jason Uhlenkott expressed his excitement about the project and encouraged the continuation of the community-driven process. He said, “It’s my understanding that a community input process is going to continue in parallel, I look forward to participating in that because I have a lot of ideas about how this project might look, I’m sure a lot of other people do too, but it’s great to know that whatever else happens we can get at least get this [SB 35 project].”
The next step in the Vallco community-driven process is the first Design Charrette, a multiple day event from April 9 to April 13. The purpose of the April Charrette is to create an opportunity for the community to collaborate with a “multi-disciplinary team” and create a vision for the Vallco Special Area. The week is kicked off with an opening presentation on Monday, April 9 at 6 p.m. in the Community Hall. Residents are welcome to visit the open design studio from Tuesday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cupertino City Hall.