By Meghan Hall
The entitlement and development process in the Bay Area poses its challenges, and perhaps the most common among them area appeals that call into question the validity of the environmental review process. This was the hurdle that Los Altos, Calif.-based developer De Anza Properties faced with its proposed 155-key hotel in Cupertino, one that was presented after the City Council approved the project’s general plan amendment and development permit, among others in early March.
Designed by Soquel, Calif.-based Winkleman Designs, the project will rise on a 1.29-acre site located at 10931North De Anza Boulevard. The property is currently developed with commercial land uses and a Goodyear Auto Service Center and sits at the corner of the Homestead Square Shopping Center, which is anchored by Safeway and Rite Aid and offers local retail and restaurants for nearby workers and residents. Also nearby is the Cupertino Hotel, a full service boutique hotel with event facilities and 125 rooms.
Plans for the hotel indicate that in addition to the 155 rooms, amenities would include a large, 2,000 square foot roof deck — to be made accessible to the public — conference and meeting rooms, lounge, bar and restaurant. Both at-grade and below-grade parking is also proposed.
“It is not just a rooftop, it’s a well-designed lounge with a lot of gathering areas that will provide community gathering places,” stated Councilmember Liang Chao in the City’s most recent evaluation of the project, which occurred on April 7th. “I think this really provides something Cupertino needs, which is a place to have large gatherings.”
The exterior materials palette will include a mix of dark grey, clear and light grey glazing, smooth concrete finishes, zinc and corten metals as accents.
At a March 3rd meeting, the Cupertino City Council took several steps to move the project forward, following staff recommendation to approve a General Plan amendment that would increase hotel room allocation and the allowable maximum height. The City Council further gave the green light to move forward with the proposed development permit, conditional use permit and architectural and site approvals. The City Council also worked towards the advancement of a development agreement that stipulated the inclusion of the rooftop amenity, meeting rooms, minimum hotel standards and shuttle service in the hotel plans. In addition, De Anza Properties would contribute $500,000 in community amenity funding. The City also approved the project’s development permit.
Shortly thereafter, an appeal was filed, stating that the City Council made its decision based on only a limited number of facts, i.e, that the project may have unmitigated and adverse environmental impacts and that the City should be required to prepare an EIR. Part of the appeal also stated that the noise impacts as a result of construction would be significant.
John Vidovich, of De Anza Properties, did not offer extended comment to the appeal, stating only, “We believe the environment review is adequate.”
Ultimately, the City Council agreed with De Anza, voting 4-1 to deny the petition, with only Councilmember Jon Robert Willey voting in opposition of the denial. With the petition denied, the City Council will focus on solidifying the development agreement in the coming months so that De Anza may move forward with the project.