California’s Largest SB 35 Project Moves Ahead in Cupertino

An urban development with 2,400 housing units, 2 million square feet of office space, and what is slated to become the world’s largest green roof is set to break ground in Cupertino in 2022. 

Wendel Rosen land use attorneys played a significant role in the project approval, serving as special land use counsel to the City during administrative processing. With more than half of its housing units designated for low- or very-low-income residents, the project qualified for streamlined procedures under Senate Bill 35, a legislative effort to address chronic housing shortages in the state. 

California statute SB 35, in effect since 2018 and now set forth at Government Code Section 65913.4, provides for ministerial, streamlined approval of affordable housing projects that meet qualifying standards. The Cupertino project was challenged by opponents in a lawsuit and eventually prevailed in a 2020 Santa Clara County superior court decision.

Project developer Sand Hill Property Company envisions The Rise as a car-optional, walkable city with residential, retail and business space, as well as green space, trails, and bike paths. Located on the site of the former Vallco mall, a mile from Apple Inc. headquarters, the project plan includes 429,000 square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment space and a 29-acre green roof that will be open to the public.

Wendel Rosen land use attorneys advise private and public sector clients in development and permitting issues related to SB 35 and other land use matters in cities, counties, and special districts throughout California. The firm recently represented the developer in helping secure the approval of the first SB 35 project in Santa Cruz in December 2021. 

A series of recent decisions, including an upheld CEQA exemption in Newark, show continued court support for the legislature’s desire to provide much-needed housing in California. 

For more information about the processing of projects under SB 35, contact the Wendel Rosen land use group.