Cupertino struggles to meeting Housing Element deadline

A status update during Tuesday’s Cupertino City Council meeting revealed the City is significantly behind in submitting its state-mandated housing plan.

Community Development Director Luke Connolly maintained that the City still aims to submit a draft by the State’s January 31, 2023 deadline. However, it’s unlikely Cupertino’s draft Housing Element submittal will meet requirements set by the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Housing Element is a state-mandated blueprint requiring cities and counties to analyze how their jurisdictions plan to meet their population’s housing needs. To fulfill the housing element, cities and counties must update their general plans every eight years to include adoption of land use plans and regulations that promote future housing developments.

To fulfill the state’s Housing Element mandate, the City of Cupertino is required to plan for 4,588 new housing units by 2031.

A first draft of Cupertino’s Housing Element was released in November of 2022. The initial draft received criticism from residents and housing advocates for vagueness and outlined what many believed were “unrealistic” goals. The timeline of the draft release also raised concerns about whether Cupertino would be able to meet the state’s deadline.

If the City fails to meet the January 31 deadline, it could result in penalties as severe as losing control over land use decisions.

Cupertino is among many California localities lagging to submit a viable Housing Element, putting these local governments at risk of having to surrender local control over land use and potentially leaving the future of major housing developments in the State’s hands.