Grassroots group tries to stall new development

Judge rules in favor of taking the issue to the voters

Two referendums drafted by a group of Cupertino residents and designed to stop two areas of redevelopment will remain on the November ballot, a Santa Clara County judge ruled July 14.

Cupertino resident Dorothy Stow wanted the referendums disqualified for legal technicalities, but Superior Court Judge William Elfving denied the request.

Stow filed the lawsuit in response to two ordinances drafted by Cupertino residents who've formed a group they call Cupertino Against Rezoning or CARes. The group is hoping to overturn city council approval of two mixed-use projects--Toll Brothers and Vallco Fashion Park.

The Toll Brothers project includes retail businesses and 380 condominiums at Stevens Creek Boulevard and Finch Avenue. The Vallco project includes 137 condominiums as part of a new shopping and movie theater complex.

In January and March, Cupertino's council approved rezoning at both sites to allow for the mixed-use projects.

CARes members would like that rezoning overturned. They worry about how growth will affect school enrollment, traffic flow and city services. With several new residential projects under way in Cupertino, the group would like the city to wait on approving new developments.

Cupertino's attorney Charles Kilian said the city is officially neutral on the lawsuit. "It's up to [Toll Brothers and Vallco attorneys] to appeal or not. If they don't appeal, the referendums will go ahead and be on the ballot."

"[This] clears the way for voters to decide themselves how they want Cupertino to develop," said Bern Steves, CARes' attorney.

Stow's attorney, Marguerite Leoni, did not return calls for comment.

Cupertino Courier
Wednesday, July 26, 2006