Pete Heller & 21 Residents' Letter to Mayor to Restart Vallco EIR
Oral Communications for the Cupertino City Council Meeting, December 20, 2016
To the honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor, City Council members, City Manager, and City Attorney, please accept this letter delivered during oral communications for the City Council meeting on December 20, 2016.
My name is Pete Heller. I’m a 26-year resident of Cupertino. Tonight I come before you representing a group of residents concerned that Vallco is now on a path to closure. We are coming to you this evening to suggest a path forward for Vallco’s redevelopment. For the record, I have zero connection to or financial ties with Sandhill.
Let me begin by making three points:
When the last tenants of the dead Vallco mall close their doors, we will have an abandoned 50-acre property in the center of our community—potentially for years to come. A vacant property of this size will be a liability to the City.I.e., it requires a sense of urgency by the Council.
The residents of Cupertino desire a suitable solution at Vallco and are aware and engaged.
The City Council will (and indeed must) play a key leadership role to resolve the difficult issues impacting the attractiveness and prosperity of Cupertino, especially given the unsettled political climate.
So how do we move forward? First let’s analyze the election results. The resounding defeat of Measure C, together with the defeat of Measure D, provides clear guidance to the Council and to Sandhill that the citizens prefer city planning decisions be made through the traditional public City process. The election’s outcome also reinforces that the majority opinion is Vallco needs to be redeveloped. This is consistent with recent opinion polling, such as the Godbe study.
With that backdrop, the City Council now has the citizens’ backing to make progress on Vallco. Recalling that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) foundered prior to the election, the most effective next step is to now complete the EIR. The council, the citizens and Sandhill all need this information to factually identify the impacts and mitigations required.
Furthermore, to ensure the EIR fairly addresses the issues and concerns of all stakeholders, we recommend that an Advisory Committee, reflecting the spectrum of citizen viewpoints, simultaneously be empaneled. Its goal would be to critically evaluate the objectives, methods, and findings of the EIR consultant, and to ensure citizen viewpoints are incorporated into the EIR itself. Once the EIR data set is in hand, the Council will then be in a position to make an informed decision regarding Vallco’s future.
Therefore, we respectfully request that the City Council instruct the City Manager to proceed with completion of the EIR. Of course the study needs to examine the full range of office space alternatives, as it is designed. If this process requires Owner approval and/or funding, we request the City Manager immediately secure such agreement.
Thank you for your attention and for honoring the will of the majority of citizens.
Shannon Patrick Lee
JoAnn K. Leonard