The Cupertino City Council this week considered the future of busy Cupertino Village and a possible tobacco retail license to combat youth smoking. What follows is a wrap-up of Tuesday night’s meeting.
The council voted unanimously for a two-year extension of a development plan for Cupertino Village at the corner of Homestead and Wolfe roads. The applicant, Kimco Realty, asked for a three-year extension, but council members said they don’t want the company to delay construction.
The original design plan approved in 2008 includes three new retail buildings and a parking structure in the back of the center. The applicants told council they were not able to begin the expansion due to the economy.
The approved plans would have expired in August, had the company not requested an extension. Last month the Planning Commission split 2-2 on the extension, which meant the request was denied.
On Tuesday, council members were supportive of the extension——but not without additional requirements. Besides limiting the extension to two years, the council also required a full driveway maintained near the on Wolfe Road, instead of a planned exit-only driveway.
In addition, Kimco Realty offered to pay more money for a new “Welcome to Cupertino” sign facing the intersection, as well as for an improved traffic signal system.
The council directed staff to create an ordinance establishing a tobacco retail license in the city. Retailers already have to apply for a state license to sell tobacco products, but some cities have established their own licenses as a way of combating underage smoking.
Retailers would be required to pay an annual fee for the license, with the money collected going to pay for enforcement of laws prohibiting sales to minors. Parks and Recreation Director Mark Linder told council the estimate for a licensing fee in Cupertino is $350 each year.
The ordinance could also require retailers to keep tobacco products from view. Three gas station owners urged the council to not consider such an ordinance, saying it would be superfluous to already existing state and federal laws, and called the fee one more burden on small business owners.
They also questioned statistics regarding youth smoking, saying they were dated and inaccurate. Health advocates in turn told council that the ordinance was necessary to protect minors from starting a dangerous addiction.
Some council members said they were torn, but asked staff to draw up a possible ordinance, and come back with further research on the topic for their consideration.
Councilmember Barry Chang said he wanted the fee doubled, with additional monies going to pay for increased Sheriff undercover operations to check on whether retailers are selling tobacco to minors or not.
Council Meeting Schedule
Cancelled the Dec. 20 and Jan. 3 council meetings, due to the holidays, and a City Hall shut down between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.