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City Council Wrap-Up

Items on the Council's agenda included Stevens Creek Corridor, Rodrigues Avenue Bike Lanes, Sports Center Tennis and Lehigh Southwest Cement

The Cupertino City Council met Tuesday night in its first regular session, tackling several issues, including the Stevens Creek Corridor, new bike lanes on Rodrigues Avenue, the Sports Center tennis contract and Lehigh Southwest Cement.

Below is a wrap-up of what happened. You can watch the entire meeting on the city's website.

Stevens Creek Corridor Progress

The council voted unanimously to amend the scope of work for a company creating detail plans for and extension of the Stevens Creek trail along the Blackberry Farm Golf Course. The amendment allows SSA Landscape Architects to do up to $380,000 of design work.

Cupertino Historical Society member Donna Austin expressed concern about the trail alignment through the Stocklmeir orange orchard. She asked that it be kept as close to the creek and protect as many orange trees as possible. Public Works Director Timm Borden said the proposed alignment does cut through the eastern portion of the orchard closer to the creek, but far enough away to protect the creek habitat and keep trail users away from errant golf balls that sail over the creek.

Austin also was concerned that the orange trees are not getting any irrigation; Borden said there would be irrigation in place by this spring.

Rodrigues Avenue Bike Lanes

A council majority gave the go ahead to city staff to add new bike lanes on Rodrigues Avenue between De Anza Boulevard and Blaney Avenue, as part of the city’s Bicycle Transportation Plan, at a cost of $16,500.

Adding the lanes means re-striping the street, in some portions possibly removing left turn lanes to make room for the bike lanes. Council member Gilbert Wong expressed serious concerns about removal of the center two-way left turn lane between De Anza and Torre Avenue, because of the high number of driveways for two banks and adjacent office buildings.

Wong abstained from the vote, but the rest of the council members said they were comfortable allowing staff to make decisions about where to remove left turn lanes.

In some sections of Rodrigues, the bike lanes will also mean a loss of some daytime parking. In those sections, parking will only be allowed between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. on the south side of Rodrigues from Blaney Avenue to about 700 feet to the west.

Sports Center Tennis Contract

The city will be sending out a “Request for Qualifications” (RFQ) for a possible new contractor to provide tennis instruction at the Cupertino Sports Center, after a unanimous council vote on Tuesday.

Parks and Recreation Director Mark Linder said the city hasn’t issued a RFQ since 1994, when it began using Lifetime Tennis as its contractor. He said the department is happy with Lifetime Tennis, and hopes the company will submit a RFQ. Although their partnership has been positive, he said that staff felt it would be prudent to submit a new RFQ to all tennis instruction companies in Northern California. Cupertino’s current contract with Lifetime Tennis ends this year on June 30.

In November Linder told the council that Lifetime Tennis could possibly move to the City of Sunnyvale to run its tennis center program.

Tennis lessons are very popular at the Sports Center, according to a staff report.  In Fiscal Year 2010/2011, there were more than 5,000 participant transactions, leading to a profit for the city of $243,226.

Lehigh Southwest Cement

A concern over the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s (BAAQMD) handling of new EPA requirements for cement plants is landing the issue on an upcoming city council agenda.

Councilmember Barry Chang, a harsh critic of the Lehigh Southwest Cement plant and quarry outside of Cupertino, requested that the council send a letter to the BAAQMD urging that it change its classification of the cement plant. At a December community meeting, BAAQMD officials said they were currently classifying the plant as an existing plant, not a newly modified plant. If it were considered modified, Lehigh would have to adhere to specific stricter air quality standards when new rules go into effect in 2013.

New Councilmember Rod Sinks, who is involved in a group Chang founded, Bay Area Clean Environment, said he had already sent a letter making a case for Lehigh as a modified plant. He advocated the council exploring the issue in a study session or public hearing, and possibly sending a letter “reflecting on the science and the law” to the BAAQMD.

Frank Geefay January 19, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Though Lehigh Cement and Quarry are outside Cupertino's jurisdiction pollution in terms of air, and water directly impact Cupertino residents. It seems that City Council should better represent its citizens in such matters as toxic pollution within its jurisdiction. I hope that the new city council will take this issue more seriously than in the past. The city cannot pass any laws or restrictions upon Lehigh Cement but it should represent the concerns of outraged residents. It is good that Rod Sinks will add another voice alongside Barry Chang's for the residents of Cupertino on City Council to address this important concern. I think that the health and safety of residents should be among the most important issues to be seriously addressed by any city council. Citizens are not asking the City to change the laws. They are only asking the City to represent them by expressing concerns about health, safety and environmental concerns and issues impacting residents to the various regulatory agencies. I cannot understand their past reluctance to more strongly express their concern with nonbinding declarations. That is all that is really being asked. What possible negative consequences could result from such actions on the part of the City? Could it perhaps be political concerns on the part of individuals on City Council?
Susan January 19, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Regardless of what BAAQMD says, state of the art equipment is a condition of the cement plant's 1939 Conditional Use Permit (Uploaded PDF): "Said proposed plant is to be the most modern design…" Does anything else need to be said?! No. Page 2, "Failure to comply with all the aforementioned provisions and conditions will be cause for the cancellation of this Use Permit by the County Planning Commission…" Page 3, " That when there is a violation of the above provision or of any other provision of law or ordinance it shall constitute cause for the Board of Supervisors to suspend the Use Permit to operate said plant…" Long before the cement plant was built, the valley grew produce. Obviously, there was great concern over cement plant pollution and dust destroying the crops. Lehigh is required by law to live up to the conditions of their permit, and the County is required to enforce the law.
Frank Geefay January 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Why in the entire history of Lehigh Cement has not the County collected one cent of fines from its numerous Notices of Violations ("NOV") from the County? Why are fines levied by BAAQMD not stopping Lehigh from further violations and why does it take years and some cases decades to resolve NOVs issued by our regulatory agencies? Why are regulatory agencies agreeing with Lehigh that they are In Compliance even after the issuance of an NOV? The system does not appear to be working regardless of what laws or ordinances have been passed. If driving citations did not have the backing of swift and significant enforced penalties would most citizens obey traffic laws? The system of enforcement is ineffectual and broken. The fox is guarding the chicken coop.

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