The Cupertino City Council has paved the way for a new mixed-use, multifamily development at the Vallco Shopping District Special Area if the SB 35 project does not move forward. On September 3, the majority of the City Council enacted two ordinances establishing standards for residential and commercial development for the approximately 50-acre Vallco site.
This is just the first step in an ongoing process to ensure much needed housing can be built at the site.
The City Council’s vote follows an August 20 decision allowing residential development by-right on 13.1 acres of the Vallco Shopping District Special Area. These changes allow the property owner to build up to 620 residential units—including state density bonuses for affordable housing—without a Specific Plan. Previously, the General Plan required the approval of a Specific Plan for the Vallco site before any housing could be built.
The City Council’s decision to rezone a portion of the site followed a letter from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) stating that while the City is in compliance with state housing law, additional steps would need to be taken if the current SB 35 project for the Vallco Shopping District Special Area does not move forward.
The City Council also removed the General Plan’s allocation of 2 million square feet of office for the site. While the General Plan required a Specific Plan before any office development could be built, the Vallco SB 35 project bypassed that community planning process. The City Council has expressed concern that the jobs-heavy project creates the need for more housing than it provides.
The City Council directed staff to initiate a Specific Plan process for the entirety of the Vallco Shopping District Special Area that would include up to 1,500 housing units and reduce the retail allocation to 400,000 square feet.
The City Council also authorized City Manager Deborah Feng to begin negotiations with the property owner on alternative development plans for the site.