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Cupertino Approves New Housing For Vallco Site After Heated Debate

CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – After heated discussion, the Cupertino city council decided to move forward and approve a massive housing development plan on the old Vallco shopping mall site Wednesday night.

The proposal includes nearly 3,000 housing units and retail space.

Officials deliberated for more than five hours Wednesday before voting to approve the plan, following a nine-hour meeting the previous night.

WATCH: Tuesday's City Council Meeting:

Cupertino City Council Meeting (Vallco Public Hearing) - September 18, 2018 by City of Cupertino on YouTube

WATCH: Wednesday's City Council Meeting:

Cupertino City Council Meeting (Vallco Public Hearing) - September 19, 2018 by City of Cupertino on YouTube

The proposal sparked anger among residents who said it would bring more traffic and overcrowding.

"I'm thinking about the traffic and I'm thinking about the schools. What kind of people, if it's a very low-income group feeding into the schools," Shaheen Husain told KPIX 5 Tuesday night.

"I just think this is not something that fits in the scale of the city, it's not the kind of Cupertino that everybody is used to," said John McGuigan of Cupertino.

One city resident told the council Tuesday night, "According to the sales pitch, the new housing units would include low income high density housing apartments. This would mean that we would have uneducated people living in Cupertino. A lot of other residents and I are concerned that this would make the current residents of Cupertino uncomfortable, and would split our city in half."

The comment caused an uproar on social media.

Because the plan includes affordable housing, the city says it has qualified to be fast-tracked under Senate Bill 35, a new state law aimed at increasing housing production. SB 35 is designed to make it easier for developers to build affordable housing more quickly and harder for cities that have historically resisted low income housing to block it.

"The Vallco project includes historic amounts of market rate and affordable homes. It has stalled for years due to local opposition. If we are serious about digging ourselves out of our huge housing deficit, we need projects like this one," SB 35 author State Sen. Scott Wiener, said in a statement before Wednesday's vote.

The approval of the project was applauded by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who claimed that resistance to new housing despite the addition of jobs in communities such as Cupertino was contributing to housing issues in her city. Oakland is a nearly 50-mile drive from Cupertino.

Better Cupertino, a group vehemently opposed the project, had said previously that it seeks to challenge the decision with a possible referendum and lawsuit.

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