To Create A Sustainable And Engaged Future For Sunnyvale!
I think Sunnyvale is a wonderful city, but it is facing many challenges. I want to improve the quality of life for Sunnyvale residents and employees. I have the skills, knowledge and determination to help Sunnyvale achieve a more sustainable, healthier, and enjoyable future for current and future residents.
Challenges facing Sunnyvale
Traffic is the #1 concern of Sunnyvale residents based on a recent survey. It is being driven by rapid commercial development which is exceeding the capacity of our roads and degrading everyone's quality of life.
Many residents are unhappy with the rapid development in various parts of Sunnyvale. Many of the homeowners say they bought a house in the suburbs when they purchased their home here. They feel the rapid urbanization is dramatically changing the character of Sunnyvale and bringing too much traffic and more downsides than upsides.
Many residents are concerned about the growing affordable housing crisis and how it is forcing many residents to leave Sunnyvale or forces them to become homeless. This is being driven by rapid commercial development in Sunnyvale and nearby towns and the lack of new housing to support all the new jobs. Many of the new jobholders are hightech workers who are willing and able to pay much higher rents or house prices than current residents.
Many residents feel surprised by changes, especially new developments and want to be made of aware of these sooner, and be able to provide input more easily and earlier in the approval process.
Many residents agree that climate disruption is a threat to everyone in Sunnyvale, and that Sunnyvale should be doing more.
Reduce congestion and slow office development.
Increase affordable housing so more seniors and middle class workers can stay in Sunnyvale.
Create a more sustainable Sunnyvale.
Increase community engagement so Sunnyvale residents can have more impact with our city council.
Continue Sunnyvale's outstanding record as one of the safest cities in America.
Be fiscally conservative. Maintain our record of financial stability.
1. Reduce congestion and slow office development. My six prong plan.
Increase the traffic impact fees for new commercial developments to generate more funds for shuttles and other traffic mitigation efforts.
Support a more substantial business license or other fee on large employers to fund transit improvements. The new jobs they create are making the commutes worse and they should help to pay to reduce the congestion.
Provide more and better transportation alternatives for everyone including more bicycle lanes, better sidewalks and more shuttle services.
Change land-use planning to enable more housing closer to work. We need more mixed use housing in our transit corridors so residents can walk or bicycle for more of their errands and to commute.
Require future commercial developments to incentivize more commuters to use alternative transportation to get to work.
Enable more children to be able to get to school safely without being driven by expanding the Safe-Routes-To-School program.
2.Creating more affordable housing
The most important factor affecting affordable housing is zoning more space for it and increasing the density allowed. Sunnyvale is actively re-zoning areas of the city for more housing, mostly in obsolete business parks like One AMD place and Moffet Park. It is also investigating allowing denser housing in the transit corridors and other locations like the Lawrence Station Area Plan. I support these efforts to increase the quantity and affordability of housing options in Sunnyvale.
I support making it easier for homeowners to add small living units in their backyards by changing our zoning requirements. We also need to review our permitting fee structure so it is less costly to add these types of units.
We need to change our developer incentives so they build more smaller units instead of only large one. For example, in my neighborhood, a developer redeveloped an R3 zoned lot. He is required by the R3 zoning to build between 14 and 11 housing units. He built 14 4 bedroom townhomes. We need to change the incentives so he would be more willing to build more smaller units instead of only large 4 bedrooms units.
Increase the 'below market rate' requirements and incentives. Communities work best when there is diversity across it. We need to increase our 'below market rate' requirements from 12.5% to 15% and give developers incentives to go even higher. We should also make it more expensive for them to pay 'in-lieu' fees instead of including BMR units in their projects.
Sunnyvale needs to do more to help eliminate homelessness in Sunnyvale. Sunnyvale should partner with other local jurisdictions in the 'Destination Home' project to eliminate homelessness. This is both the morally responsible and cost-effective use of public resources.
Sunnyvale currently does not have any ordinances to protect apartments or mobile home owners from unlimited rent increases except for those few residents who are lucky enough to be enrolled in our Below Market Rate Program or another subsidized rental program. Sunnyvale should develop and implement a policy that helps keep current residents in their homes and still encourages the development of more housing.
3. Create a Sustainable Sunnyvale
Transportation is the #1 cause of GHG (greenhouse gas) in Sunnyvale so everything we can do to reduce traffic will help create a more Sustainable Sunnyvale.
The biggest opportunity to reducing GHG's after transportation is by powering our electrical needs with more renewable forms of energy. Sunnyvale is on the right path with the newly formed Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority. I will promote that Sunnyvale adopt a 100% renewable energy goal by 2030.
Sunnyvale imports 50% of its water from the delta. This is not sustainable or desirable long-term. I will push for Sunnyvale to reduce its dependence on imported water by more conservation, increased use of recycled water and capturing more stormwater to recharge our aquifers.
Currently, Sunnyvale plans to implement the California state building standards to require net-zero energy commercial development by 2030. The technology for net-zero buildings exists now and is in place in buildings throughout the Bay Area. The current development projects will have a long-term, lasting impact, so we should be serious about reducing Sunnyvale's carbon footprint by requiring net-zero development much sooner than 2030. The California state goal year for net-zero energy housing is 2020, and the city should be advancing energy-saving technology in home building faster too.
4. Create better engagement between Sunnyvale and residents
Sunnyvale needs to adopt twenty-first century communication technology to enable city council, commissions, and staff to improve communication with residents. Everyone should be able to watch all public meetings from any web-enabled device. More importantly, residents need to be able to provide inputs more easily.
Sunnyvale should adopt technology so residents can call into and/or video conference to all public meetings to be heard without having to drive to city hall.
Sunnyvale needs to increase outreach and polling of the residents on important issues like the civic center modernization.
5. Continue Sunnyvale's outstanding record as one of the safest cities in America.
Continue efforts to keep Sunnyvale's public safety fully staffed and equipped to protect residents.
6.Be fiscally conservative. Maintain our record of financial stability.
Sunnyvale has taken many steps to ensure our city's finances are well managed. Recently the council enacted a Pension Trust Fund to contribute toward pension costs when there is excess funds at the end of a fiscal year. It also uses its own actuary instead of relying on CALPERS to recommend how much the city should contribute toward pension costs. Bothe of these steps are examples of how Sunnyvale manages it finances to protect city services.