On March 10, members of the Cupertino City Council will take the stage to hear Cupertino residents discuss the new developments in town. According to host and citizen organization Better Cupertino’s website, mayor Darcy Paul will attend, as well as city council member Steven Scharf and planning commissioner Don Sun. Topics to be discussed will include the potential redevelopment of Vallco Mall and The Oaks.
According to Scharf, one of his priorities as a city council member is to ensure access to housing that is below the usual market rate. He believes developing 1,600 housing units in Vallco would help achieve that goal and exceed the city’s obligation to add 1,002 housing units from 2014 to 2022. To him, placing housing units in Vallco would also help to distribute low-income housing more evenly throughout Cupertino.
“I like it when the below market rate housing is included with all the other housing,” Scharf said. “I don’t like the idea of putting all the low-income housing together, I think it should be distributed [throughout the city]. It helps everyone if it’s distributed among market rate housing. … You really want to mix everyone together to lift everybody up.”
Sophomore and co-president of the Cupertino branch of High School Democrats of America Maya Tate has been involved in discussions concerning Vallco’s future, speaking directly with planning committees about what the new Vallco would hold. She wants to ensure that public spaces in Cupertino are inclusive and accommodate teenagers in the community.
“A lot of these spaces aren’t designed with teens in mind, they’re designed with adults and cars in mind,” Tate said. “We can make Vallco a place that caters to teenagers, who are an integral part of Cupertino and are a huge source of income for a lot of businesses. I think [teenage involvement]would just make [public spaces in Cupertino]more inclusive.”
Tate wants to encourage teenage involvement in city affairs, citing the lack of young people at city council meetings as a cause for concern.
“When we went for interviews there were absolutely no other teenagers, it was just me,” Tate said. “So we want to be the voice of how teens in Cupertino feel about this. We want to make sure that every single one of our opinions and views is being expressed.”
Scharf agrees with Tate that it would be beneficial to the city to learn what teenagers need or want, as they would be able to bring new perspectives to the table that the adults that typically attend meetings would not be able to bring.
“I think [teenagers]should come and speak at agenda items that we discuss at council meetings,” Scharf said. “It’s a whole different perspective.”
The forum will happen March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Cupertino Community Hall.