Home Electrification Expo

Homeowners, renters and construction professionals can learn how to reduce the Carbon footprint of their homes and buildings by transitioning their energy use away from natural gas to clean electrical power.

  • Hear from industry experts on ways to make your home cleaner, greener and safer
  • Learn about rebates that help you save money
  • Meet with manufacturer representatives and learn about technologies that can add value and comfort
  • Chat with residents and experts about the benefits of shifting to electricity

Two events are being held this month:

Thursday, October 10
2:00 – 7:00 PM
Mitchell Park Community Center
3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
Register

Saturday, October 12
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Tech Interactive (formerly the Tech Museum)
201 South Market Street, San José
Register
Attendees must register to receive complimentary access to the Tech Interactive.

Via: https://bayareaexpo.org/

Caltrain Electrification Public Meeting at Washington Park

Caltrain will host a community meeting to discuss the continued construction activities for the Caltrain Electrification project in Sunnyvale.

In the coming months, crews will continue foundation installation and begin the installation of poles along the rail corridor in Sunnyvale. In addition, work continues on the Paralleling Station facility near the Sunnyvale Caltrain Station. The meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the project, including the scope and schedule of upcoming construction activities.

Thursday, October 10, 2019
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Washington Park
840 West Washington Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA

The Caltrain Electrification project is a key component of the Caltrain Modernization Program that will electrify the corridor from the San Francisco Caltrain Station at 4th and King Streets to approximately the Tamien Station in San Jose, replacing diesel-hauled trains with electric trains. Electrification will improve Caltrain’s system performance, enable more frequent and/or faster train service and minimize long-term environmental impact by reducing noise, improving regional air quality and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Caltrain Electrification is scheduled to be operational by 2022.

For more information, visit www.CalMod.org.

Via: https://www.facebook.com/events/679185935913743/

Accessory Dwelling Unit Resource Fair

Residents interested in adding an ADU or “Granny Flat” to their existing Single Family Homes are invited to join Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s upcoming ADU Resource Fair. An ADU is an Accessory Dwelling Unit added to a plot with a single-family home. Regulations for ADUs have been liberalized in recent years, to address the statewide housing shortage, and more reforms are in process.

Housing Trust Silicon Valley’ s Small Homes, Big Impact program invites homeowners for this opportunity to discuss your ADU project with builders, design professionals, consultants, lenders, insurance agents and city staff. You will be able to recieve information and make connections to services and information to start and finish your ADU project.

Sat, August 17, 2019
1:30 PM – 3:30 PM PDT
Orchard Pavilion, Sunnyvale Senior Center
550 East Remington Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Free Registration

Walking and Biking Tours for Sunnyvale’s Active Transportation Plan

The city is engaged in a year-long Active Transportation Plan to address the needs of bicycle riders, walkers, and children who need Safe Routes to Schools. A series of walking and biking tours have been announced:

Crosstown Biking Tour
When: Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Plaza Del Sol, 200 W. Evelyn Ave. (at the corner of Evelyn Ave. and Francis St.)

El Camino Walking Tour 
When: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Peterson Middle School, 1380 Rosalia Ave. (Parking lot at Rosalia Ave.)

Moffett Park Biking Tour 
When: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Where: Columbia Park, 739 Morse Ave. (Parking lot at Morse Ave.)

Fair Oaks Park Walking Tour 
When: Friday, Aug 9, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Fair Oaks Park, 540 N. Fair Oaks Ave. (Parking lot at corner of E. Maude Ave.)

Interested residents are asked to RSVP.

Community Workshops will be scheduled in October and January.

Two Young People were Struck by Vehicles and Injured while Riding Bicycles in Sunnyvale on Tuesday Night

Per reports via Sunnyvale Scanners, two children riding bicycles were struck by vehicles in Sunnyvale on Tuesday night.

The first incident, reported around 6:30pm, occurred at Remington and Sunnyvale Saratoga. A 13 year girl old sustained minor injuries and complained of leg pain.

The second incident, reported shortly after 8:00pm, occurred on Fremont at the 85 highway ramps. A 15 year old boy was struck by a car, reported conscious and breathing.

 

Two-Injuries

The roads in Red are identified as Sunnyvale’s High Injury Network. Injuries were sustained by young bicyclists on Tuesday night at the highlighted intersections.

Both of these incidents occurred on Sunnyvale’s High Injury Network, which the city has identified as those roads where most injuries occur, and which should be redesigned to improve safety under the city’s Vision Zero policy.

The City Council will hold a Vision Zero Public Hearing on Tuesday, July 30, at 7pm, at City Hall.

 

Planning Commission: July 22, 2019

Municipal Link: https://sunnyvaleca.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=661666&GUID=DCAE2522-D7B8-492A-8D12-F7C58784DA3C

Study Session

The Planning Commission reviewed progress on plans for the new City Hall, which draws inspiration from a “treehouse” theme. The structure is pursuing LEED Platinum certification and will be Net Zero, with a photovoltaic roof. Exterior elements to evoke wood have evolved to wood-colored metal, and the structure will need to be steel and concrete, as structural timber did not meet the fire requirements for the lower floor. The path between Olive and the building entrance will be paved in a flowing water pattern with granite. Commissioners were concerned that the pavement ought to be permeable and perhaps softened a bit with additional landscaping.

The facade of a hotel approved for construction at 1120 Innovation Way is being modified. Earth tones are giving way to ridged metal.

Sunnyvale Lumber

Trumark Homes petitioned for a General Plan Amendment Initiation request to study changing the General Plan designation for the Sunnyvale Lumber site at 870 W Evelyn to build townhomes. Staff recommended against this initiation, owing to the area being the only C-4 zoning in the city, which permits lumber yards, fabrication, and other consumer-oriented light manufacturing that is otherwise not commercially viable under a different zoning designation.

Several neighbors objected to the proposal. Concerns included traffic, parking, safety, privacy, and a general sentiment that they liked having the lumber yard as a neighbor. The Planning Commission voted to recommend that the City Council deny the General Plan Amendment Initiation request.

Morse and Ahwanee

A second General Plan Amendment Initiation request was heard for 828 Morse and 560 E Ahwanee. The site is an apartment complex that is not in great shape. The applicant states an ambition to rebuild the complex, in phases, to avoid displacing residents. The site was downzoned in the 1990s, so to rebuild, the site would need to be changed back to medium-high or high-density zoning. The site is adjacent to the Columbia Park, Middle School, and Neighborhood Center, adjacent to the freeway, and a short walk from bus stops on Fair Oaks.

Several residents came forward with concerns that the rental agreement was being modified, and it was difficult to understand the changes. Staff recommended that the city has partnered with Project Sentinel, which will be happy to help tenants understand their legal rights. The Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the General Plan Amendment Initiation, but that the city should also pursue an agreement with the landlord to avoid displacement and reduce the number of relocations residents might experience during reconstruction.

Climate Action Playbook

 

CAP-2.0

Alternative scenarios for Sunnyvale’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Source: Sunnyvale Climate Action Playbook 2.0 Final Draft

 

Sunnyvale is unique in having a Climate Action Plan, which is undergoing revision. The Planning Commission reviewed the final draft of the “CAP 2.0” Playbook. The Planning Commission voted to endorse modifications proposed by other Boards and Commissions. This includes a recommendation from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission to prioritize implementation of a high-quality bicycle network, as well as more aggressive efforts to reduce Vehicle Miles Travelled. The Planning Commission made additional recommendations to enact policies to promote infill residential development, review minimum parking requirements, and develop a plan to maximize the number of trees that can be planted, which can help make the city more comfortable on hot days, while also serving as a method of carbon sequestration.

Selection of Chair and Vice Chair

The Planning Commission voted to retain the current Chair, Vice Chair, and seat assignments. Daniel Howard will serve as Chair and David Simons will serve as Vice Chair again for the next year.

A Right to Lease for Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale is facing a housing and displacement crisis. Working people are having difficulty paying rent, and are increasingly being forced to leave our community. Yet we offer little in the way of tenant protections above those required by state law. 

This July, at the urging of Livable Sunnyvale, our City Council agendized a study issue calling for a right to lease ordinance that would require landlords to offer their tenants a six- and twelve-month lease at terms equal to or better than any month-to-month lease that they offer. This proposal does not impose controls over the amount landlords can raise rents; it only requires them to offer longer term leases at favorable terms compared to their shorter leases. This proposal is modeled after the ordinance Mountain View had prior to the passage of rent control by ballot initiative in 2016.

That’s a mouthful. So let’s talk about why this is needed, and what it would mean for our city.

One of the most alarming things I’ve heard as I’ve become more and more involved in housing activism is from working people who’ve told me that they’ve faced more than one rent increase in a year. Most landlords at the upper end of the market already offer twelve-month leases at favorable terms, since that means that they can go longer without having to fill a vacancy. After all, large corporations value stable cash flow, and every day an apartment is left empty is lost money. At the lower end of the market, however, many landlords appear to only be offering their tenants month-to-month leases. Their goal appears to be to simply extract as much rent as possible from their tenants.

Life on a month-to-month lease makes it impossible for tenants to plan their future. They’re left in limbo, never knowing when the next rent increase will come, never knowing when they’ll be forced to pick up and move. Moving and apartment hunting costs time and money that is in scarce supply. The average intrastate move costs over $1,100. Even without hiring movers, people will need to take time off and recruit help. And there is no guarantee that one will be able to find an affordable home within range of one’s job.

Moves aren’t cheap.

Frequent moves are especially damaging to children. Frequent moves during childhood are associated with increased risks of depression and anxiety and poorer academic performance. When a student switches schools during the school year, the effect can be hugely disruptive, both to the student and the classroom that they move to. A British study has shown that students who move even once midyear suffer distinctly impaired educational outcomes.  This disruption is even greater when it affects a teacher or staff member. Now, it is no longer one student whose education is at risk of disruption, but dozens.

Every time their landlord raises their rent, renters are faced with the choice of the disruption and expense of a move or accepting the rent increase. This leaves them in a distinctly weaker negotiating position with their landlords and could allow landlords to extract even greater rents than our already desperate market would allow.

A right to lease ordinance would reduce the frequency of moving expenses and help protect children from the disruption of being forced to move during the school year. It would leave renters in a better negotiating position with their landlord, and make it easier for them to plan a life for their family. Finally, it grants them some small degree of peace of mind. The rent increase might still come, but at least you’ll know when it will come and have time to prepare.

It’s worth taking a moment to discuss that second clause, which requires that the offered leases be at terms equal to or better than any month to month lease offered. This is really, really important. Without this clause, landlords could simply offer the required leases at a prohibitively expensive rate, to force tenants back onto the month-to-month. The ordinance would be toothless.

The costs of this proposal are modest. Other than enforcement and education, it imposes no costs on the City of Sunnyvale. Nor does it impose an unreasonable burden on landlords. Because this proposal does not control how much landlords can increase rents, it avoids the potential economic problems associated with rent control. Nor does it impose any burdens on tenants, who would still be free to take a shorter term lease if that better suited their needs. Indeed, the ordinance would require six-month leases be offered as well as twelve-month leases.

Adopting a right to lease ordinance won’t solve the housing crisis, not by a long shot. But it will give some much-needed stability and protection to tenants and will have no substantial negative effect on landlords. Adopting this ordinance should be a no-brainer.

So what’s next? Next February, the city council will prioritize the study issues it wants city staff to work on. If the right-to-lease ordinance is going to become a reality, we need to show up and advocate for it to be ranked as highly as possible on the list of next year’s study issues. If we’re going to make this ordinance a reality, we’ll need the good people of Sunnyvale to let our Council know that this is a priority during the public hearing on study issues.

Want to get involved? Livable Sunnyvale meets the third Wednesday of every month at Toyota Sunnyvale from 6:30 to 8:30. We hope to see you there!


(Image credit: http://www.jbsa.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001770707/)