Cupertino City Council kills Vallco ‘Specific Plan’

Developer says it will forge ahead on SB35-approved plan

The Cupertino City Council rescinded three Vallco-related items Tuesday night, rather than put them before the voters for an up or down vote.

Meanwhile, the owner of the Vallco site says it will continue with its SB-35 approved plan and the affordable housing units it will bring to the community.

After a presentation of the background from city staff and a short debate from the councilmembers, including comments from Councilmember Rod Sinks echoing his Facebook post from earlier in the day, the council voted 4-1 to rescind each of the three items. Sinks was the sole no vote in each case.

The actions came despite past promises from several councilmembers to have a public vote.

Jean Bedord, a Cupertino resident, showed the council a campaign flyer from last year urging a ‘public vote!’ on Vallco. “Let me remind the new councilmembers that they ran on the platform of letting the voters vote on Vallco,” Bedord said.

How did Cupertino get here

Last September, the City Council adopted a series of resolutions approving changes to Cupertino’s General Plan that approved the ‘Specific Plan’ for the redevelopment of Vallco Town Center.

Under the ‘Specific Plan,’ Sand Hill Property Company, the owner and developer of Vallco, negotiated a development agreement with the city that included funds for a new City Hall, traffic mitigation efforts, and significant financial support for local schools.

Following the approval of that ‘Specific Plan’ last year, Better Cupertino – a group opposed to Sand Hill’s plans – collected signatures on referenda petitions to put those changes on the ballot.

In his comments prior to the vote, Sinks highlighted that members of the council didn’t seem to have done outreach to the Vallco property owner to find a plan that might mollify their concerns.

“I called up Peter Pau, called up Reed Moulds, asked them if they have received any calls from any of you to even have a conversation about how we’d move forward?,” Sinks said. “Not a one. Not a one.”

What comes next

The owner of Vallco Town Center, Sand Hill Property Company, chose last fall to move forward with redeveloping the property pursuant to SB35 regulations. After Tuesday night’s vote to rescind the ‘Specific Plan’ approach, Sand Hill confirmed it plans to continue moving forward with its SB35-approved proposal.

“Last night’s City Council action has no bearing on our Vallco Town Center project approved pursuant to SB 35 last fall,” Reed Moulds, Managing Director at Sand Hill said in a statement. “We are on the verge of obtaining additional demolition permits, with construction to follow soon thereafter.”

Demolition at the site is ongoing and the project, once built, is slated to include more than 2,400 total residential units with 1,202 at affordable levels.