Cupertino Planning Commission stalemates on Vallco site changes

After hours of back and forth between divided camps, the Cupertino Planning Commission hit a stalemate and failed to pass several major proposed changes to zoning at the Vallco Mall site.

The Commission agenda was a ‘downzoning’ of the site to place much stricter limits on the number of housing units that could be built on the site, and to remove any new office space from the location. Both of those efforts failed on a 2-2 vote. A fifth commissioner, Kitty Moore, recused herself from the debate as she is suing the project currently approved for the site.

The Vallco Mall parcel is currently owned by Sand Hill Property Company, which has approval – under a state regulatory law known as SB35 – to build Vallco Town Center with 2,402 units of housing, including 1,201 with below market rate rents, in addition to office and retail space.

The failed downzoning proposal debated Tuesday evening would not have immediately led to any changes in Sand Hill’s plan for Vallco under its SB35 approval, which is outside of local control. But a local anti-growth group known as ‘Better Cupertino’ – which Commissioner Moore is a party to – is suing the Vallco Town Center project. If that lawsuit is successful then the changes the Commission reviewed Tuesday would have had major implications.

In the end, the only significant change approved by the Commission after its more than six hour meeting were on building height restrictions of 60 feet for residential-only buildings and 75 feet for buildings with residential units above commercial spaces, both of which could be increased if those restrictions make a development economically infeasible.

According to the Vallco Town Center redevelopment website, demolition at Vallco is expected to resume on Monday, August 5th.