Major housing projects contributing to City’s state targets, according to report

Photo courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook page.Photo courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook page.

At least on paper, the City of Cupertino is meeting its state-mandated housing allocation goals thanks to some major projects, according to a report headed to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

The City Council reviewed the annual Housing Element progress report during its meeting on March 19. The Housing Element requires state jurisdictions to plan every eight years for more housing in the city. This effort leads to the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, a targeted number of housing units in cities at varying affordability levels.

According to a report given to the council by City Senior Planner Kerri Heusler, the City’s RHNA goal is 1,064 new units. The City says it has “far exceeded” its RHNA obligation to date in three of the four housing unit affordability categories. These categories include: extremely low/very-low income, low-income, moderate-income, and above-moderate income units.

Cupertino is meeting these targets on the backs of major housing development projects that have been entitled by the City, but not yet built. The report includes the Vallco Town Center project, which alone will yield 2,402 units, half of which would be reserved for extremely low/very-low income levels. Demolition on portions of the mall recently began to make way for the development, which was approved in September without City Council review through new legislation called SB35.

The Vallco project has been the subject of the City Council’s Housing Element planning for many years, though it remains unclear if all units at Vallco Town Center will house residents before the next Housing Element eight-year planning cycle.

Additional entitled projects that have not yet been built include units at The Hamptons apartment complex and a project at the site of Marina Foods. Those projects would yield 600 and 188 units, respectively. Combined with the Vallco project, this totals to 3,190 units.

Heusler told the council that the only type of units that have not been fully entitled to meet RHNA goals are moderate income units, of which another 140 are needed. Many of the moderate income units that have been entitled are accessory dwelling units, Heusler said.

Cupertino’s most recent Housing Element was adopted in 2015. Each jurisdiction must prepare an annual progress report on the status and progress in implementing its Housing Element. The report is due April 1.