Petitioning Cupertino City Council

We Urge Our City Council to Clarify Zoning Standards for Vallco ASAP!

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The door has been left wide-open for our City to be taken advantage of – especially at the Vallco Shopping Mall site! A statewide pro-housing bill package (including SB35, AB 1515 and AB 678/SB 167…...), effective January 1, 2018, will take away legal power from local municipal government as well as local residents. What’s more, the ambiguities in our General Plan will allow unwarranted increase of office and residential density at Vallco Shopping Mall site, since our City development standards will be vulnerable to misinterpretation and legal challenges.


With these new statewide measures to promote market-rate housing at any environmental cost, if the zoning language in a city’s General Plan is ambiguous, property developers may automatically receive large amounts of entitlements which were not included in the original General Plan! (explained here) If nothing is done, the General Plan, as it stands today, would allow a massive development twice as large as Measure D (rejected by Cupertino voters in 2016) under the new laws.


The new pro-housing laws may have these impacts on Vallco Shopping Mall site:


1. Under the new laws, the 2,000,000 square feet office allocation in a conditional rezone of Vallco would be automatically approved. In addition, that large amount of office space (10,000 workers) would significantly increase our city’s housing demands.

2. Under the new pro-housing laws, the General Plan would allow a project with MORE THAN 2000 housing units, which is way beyond previously allowed in the General Plan (less than 400 units), in addition to massive amount of office space. The City Council has no power to reduce the units or negotiate any benefits for the community or mitigation for negative impacts.

3. The new pro-housing laws will allow developers to increase project density and height to unlimited amounts as the current General Plan for the Vallco Shopping Mall site has no height and no setback restrictions.

The City will not be able to deny or negotiate a development proposal that the developer’s lawyers deem to "comply with" the General Plan without the risk of legal challenges or hefty fines – so the General Plan should have clearer objective standards.


Please sign this petition to urge our City Council to take immediate action in openly discussing the potential risks of these laws and its unintended consequences! We are specifically asking the City Council to add this matter to a near future Council Agenda or Special Meeting!

Cupertino matters should be determined by the Cupertino City Council and the Cupertino residents. Please help circulate this petition to prevent unwarranted increase of office and residential density at Vallco Shopping Mall site.

 

——--中文版  --------

敦促Cupertino市府盡快理清Vallco所在地的建築法規!

開發商利用城建法規漏洞,進行瘋狂高密開發的大門即將在庫市被沖開,尤其在Vallco購物中心的開發地段。 2018年1月1日,加州最近通過的一攬子鼓勵解決住房需求的新法律(SB 35, AB 1515, AB 678/SB 167)即將生效。這些法律將削弱甚至剝奪市議會對於城建法規不清晰之處的解釋權。也就是說,所有城市建築法規不清晰的地方,都有可能被開發商利用,自動得到超高密度的住房建築指標,哪怕城建整體規劃的本意並不包含這些。很不幸的是,庫市的Vallco正面臨著這樣的危險,因為那裡的建築法規有很多容易遭到攻擊的漏洞(背景解釋在此)。

這些加州新法律將無條件支持加蓋住房,完全不考慮環境因素。只要一個城市的城建法規語言不夠嚴密,那麼開發商就可以堂而皇之地自動提出大規模項目,雖然那些項目規模完全不包含在原本的城建計劃裡。如果我們城市不盡快澄清自己的城建整體計劃書,那麼一個規模兩倍於D提案的超級高密項目就有可能出現在Vallco,雖然D提案已經在2016年被庫市選民否決。

 

1.這些新州法將使得過去城市撥給Vallco所在地的有條件rezone內容--兩百萬平方英尺超大規模辦公樓--立刻變成硬性指標,無需再度審批。而這樣大規模的辦公面積將給庫市增加超過一萬名員工,並且引發更大規模的”房災”。
2. 有了新州法的支持,開發商就能在現有城建整體規劃框架下蓋出來超過2000戶住房,這個數字遠遠超過過去城市對Vallco地段做出的住房容量規劃(小於400戶)。而我們市議會屆時將很難拒絕開發商的這種要求,更無法跟他們來談提供社區福利的條件。
3. 新州法將讓所有建築法規不明確的地方都可以成為開發商鑽空子增加項目密度的藉口。而Vallco所在地的建築高度和密度都沒有在城建整體計劃裡面設定限制,這種法律漏洞會在新的州法執行後被開發商利用,自動獲得超高超密的項目指標。 

也就是說,只要我們的城建整體規劃裡面沒有清楚規定不能蓋什麼(而不僅僅是規定可以蓋什麼),未來城市必須要冒著很大的法律風險,才有可能去否決一個建築計劃,或者跟開發商討價還價。所以,在城建整體規劃中加入硬性指標限制的緊急性不容忽視。


懇請大家在這份請願書上簽名,敦促庫市政府盡快採取行動,公開討論研究新州法可能引發的危機,並且修訂城建整體計劃裡面關於Vallco地塊的建築法規語言,以防止不可預測的惡劣後果。 Cupertino市的事務應該由本地人民決定,懇請民選官員們也能首先考慮對自己城市的選民負責。期望大家廣泛轉發這份請願書,不要讓Vallco出現城建法規中原本根本沒有包含的巨型建築項目。

 

References:

·        Brief History of the Vallco Site Zoning

·        Alarming Implications of the New Housing Bills

·        League of California Cities Oppose Some Housing Bills - Why?

·        Cupertino’s 2017 Christmas Gift to the Vallco Owner

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