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This essay looks at land use and planning by focusing on the Vallco Mall site in the City of Cupertino. It addresses the project, the proposal, and its potential impacts on human health and the environment.
Upcoming Meeting Agenda
Vallco Mall site is a major project that will affect land use planning in the City of Cupertino. The City received a notice from the developer, Sand Hill Properties, expressing its intention to proceed with the process of the mall redevelopment. Consequently, the City intends to conduct several public meetings to invite and collect public inputs (City of Cupertino, 2017).
The occupancy of the mall started to decline in the 1990s, and it continued to deteriorate over the years into the present. One major factor responsible for the deterioration and low occupancy was the choice of mid-level retail stores, which did not actually capture the affluence of the surrounding community. It is noted that the plan to redevelop the mall as a mixed-use development with housing, retail, and office spaces seemed to have been aborted when voters rejected the Measure D (the countermeasure repackaging the Hill as a specific plan) on November 2016 (Wilson, 2017).
The Vallco Mall Site Proposal
Following the failed past attempts to redevelop the mall, the owners adopted a new strategy. Sand Hill Property requested the City to restart the planning process on how to redevelop mainly the vacant areas of the mall. The developer has stated that it is not ready to give any projects to the City. Rather, it proposes no further assessments of the mall and prefers to work together with the City on a certain plan that would offer multiple options for further reviews in the future. The developer is now open to all contributions and possibilities.
Nonetheless, the developer wants the City to cogitate the current office-based mixed-use model contained in the initial plan, the housing-centric use to limit the available non-residential space and to study the possibility between housing and office (the middle ground). It has also requested an environmental assessment.
Impact on Human Health and the Environment
Previously, residents had rejected the proposed redevelopment, and the owners realized how much its project could affect the community. Measure C was a community initiative that strived to restrict the use of the mall for commercial purposes only (or any meaningful reuse of the mall). Under Measure D, not every resident welcomed the use of over two million square feet for office space, only irrespective of the perceived benefits and improved design. At the same time, it noted that the mall could not be left as it is because it exerted much pressure on city resources, and that was unacceptable to the community.
Residents are concerned about how the mall would affect their retail, school, transportation, and housing patterns as the population increases. The cumulative effects would ultimately affect their health and the environment in different ways.
Nonetheless, a careful, well-conceived mixed-use approach is seen as the most viable option to address various issues, including housing shortage, the economy, and diversity.
The case of Vallco Mall shows some challenges associated with land use and planning. Nonetheless, community inputs and engagement of all stakeholders could be the key to addressing land use challenges by focusing on the needs of the community and realizing the vision of the City.
City of Cupertino. (2017). Vallco. Web.
Wilson, M. (2017). Vallco Mall owners looking to give redevelopment another shot. The Mercury News. Web.