Los Angeles Neighborhood News

Cupertino Changes Laws to Allow Eichler Neighborhood Preservation

Things have gotten heated over multiple-story homes that endanger the characteristics of historic Cupertino neighborhoods, so the town council decided to take action. Per the Mercury-News, the Bay Area city recently adopted a process to allow property owners to limit homes in their neighborhoods to single stories.

Eichler Homes / photo by Los Angeles / CC BY-SA

When you imagine neighborhoods created by the 20th century real estate developer Joseph Eichler, think of magazine-worthy, single-story homes donning modern, clean lines. Large glass walls and expansive windows allow the natural elements of outdoors in. If there’s a collection of these homes on one street, you probably have yourself a historic neighborhood — the kind many think needs preserving.

Taking the lead in one-story home ordinances are the multiple Eichler-rich neighborhoods of Sunnyvale. As recently as February, two new neighborhoods — including 25 homes in the first and 54 homes in Panama Park near the neighborhoods of Fremont Manor and Cupertino Villas — were ruled single-story overlay districts

Recently, Eichler homeowners in Cupertino voiced their concerns about views, privacy, and decreasing values. The problem they faced at the time was a lack of defined due process to go about protecting their investments. In August, after residents from the Crestin-Pharlap area, Oakdell Ranch, and Monte Vista all moved to request applicable zoning changes, like sister city Sunnyvale, the Cupertino homeowners discovered they were at a disadvantage.

On April 18, the city voted 4-1 to create an ordinance that gives residents a way to request their neighborhood become a single-story overlay district. The new ordinance designated clear requirements for future zoning consideration, mandating they have 75 percent or more existing single-story homes. Also, neighborhood petitions must have two-thirds of property owners in agreement and affected property owners would have to be involved in a proper mail-in voting process. The new ruling will be in effect as of June 2. 

As of today, Cupertino has four Eichler-protected districts, located near Highway 85 and De Anza Boulevard. That number is likely to increase in the near future.

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