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A win for nature in Cupertino!

The Issue at Hand
Take Action Now
Who to Contact
Sample Text for Letter

The Issue

February 5, 2015

Dear Friends of the Stevens Creek Corridor,

In a crowded City Hall on Tuesday night, Cupertino City Council deliberated the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan. It was clear that City Councilmembers heard us, and were responsive to our requests for a focus on nature and restoration in the Stevens Creek Corridor. Though some of the final outcomes are still unclear, Councilmembers expressed:

  • Unanimous support for further restoration of Stevens Creek
  • No sports fields
  • No new spine road through the golf course
  • No bridge in McClellan Ranch
  • No new play areas
  • No increased use of the pool, which may eliminate the need for an EIR and additional roads
  • Interest in a new golf course design
The City Councilmembers also hope to add more nature, community gardens, and parks to other areas of Cupertino, and we look forward to a Citywide Parks Master Plan.

We thank all of you for your active engagement in this issue. It is important to let City Council, Parks & Recreation Commission, and Staff know that we appreciate their responsiveness to our concerns and dedication to nature in Cupertino (sample letter below). Together, we have made a difference!

Sincerely,
Irene & Shani
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society


January 30, 2015

Dear Friends of the Stevens Creek Corridor,

Please join us for the most important public meeting on the Stevens Creek Corridor on Tuesday, February 3 at 6:45 p.m., 10350 Torre Avenue. Please also write an email to Cupertino City Council ([email?protected], sample below) to remind them that nature, restoration, and open space in the park is of paramount importance to you and to our community. It is important that we continue to show our support for nature and nature-sensitive projects and oppose destructive elements such as playing fields and spine roads in the park.

At the upcoming meeting, Cupertino City Council will select Master Plan Alternatives to proceed with an Environmental Impact Analysis. Although they have not included Alternative D as an option the staff report, City Staff included a summary table of recommendations from Parks and Recreation Commissioners based on the meeting on January 8th which many of us attended. Based on the commission deliberations and on element-specific recommendations from environmental organizations, staff illustrates in the report a Modified Alternative C. This is an alternative that we can stand behind.

Please encourage City Council to move forward to an Environmental Impact Analysis with a Modified Alternative C (as explained on page 2-3 of the staff report) as the preferred alternative. Please ask them to remove elements which we oppose in our Evaluation of Design Elements from the alternatives that move forward to environmental review.

We couldn't have gotten this far without you, but we continue to need your support and activism on this issue. We hope to see you next Tuesday!

Sincerely,
Shani & Irene


January 22, 2015

Dear Friends of the Stevens Creek Corridor,

City officials and city staff are listening to our calls for the preservation of nature in the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan, but the process is not over yet--please plan to join us at the Cupertino City Council meeting Tuesday, February 3 at 6:45 p.m., 10350 Torre Avenue. This is likely to be the last public meeting for a while, and its important that we attend.

Earlier this month, Cupertino Parks & Recreation commissioners revisited the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan proposals. After extensive public input, the commissioners gave their recommendations on each component of the proposed plans. The commissioners were by and large sensitive to the concerns of park users and environmental groups in their recommendations to City Council. They unanimously opposed the spine road into the corridor and supported habitat restoration of Stevens Creek. They deliberated over many other elements, and we found their work to be insightful and reasonable. Commissioners Geoff Paulsen and Neesha Tambe even suggested that many of the existing land uses be replaced with meadows and woodlands! We thank the commissioners for their thoughtful considerations and recommendations.

Environmental organizations had meetings with City Staff to further discuss proposed elements, and we think that we reached collaborative understandings about most of the proposed habitat enhancements, design elements, and land use in the park.

So now, we need to bring all of this to City Council. After all - they make the decisions, and we do not know what their preferences are. We are waiting to see the staff report and recommendations, and we will send you a new alert on January 30th to inform you of staff recommendations, and to provide talking points for letters to City Council.

We thank you again for your letters to City Council and the Parks & Recreation Commission, and for your support at the public meetings. Together, we have made a difference! Please continue to be active and vocal in your support of a nature-friendly master plan!.

Sincerely,
Irene and Shani
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society


Jan 17, 2015

Dear Friends of the Stevens Creek Corridor,

Thanks to all of you, we have been making great headway with the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan proposals, but the process is not over yet--please pencil the next Stevens Creek Corridor City Council meeting into your calendar: Tuesday, February 3 at 6:45 p.m., 10350 Torre Avenue.

Last Thursday, Jan. 8th, Cupertino Parks & Recreation commissioners revisited the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan proposals. After extensive public input, the commissioners gave their recommendations on each component of the plans. The commissioners were by and large sensitive to the concerns of park users and environmental groups in their recommendations to City Council. They unanimously opposed the spine road into the corridor, supported habitat restoration of Stevens Creek, and directed staff to work with SCVAS to develop a smart trail plan for the corridor.

We thank you again for your letters to City Council and the Parks & Recreation Commission, and for your support at the public meetings. Together, we have made a difference! Please continue to be active and vocal in your support of Alternative D and nature-friendly alternatives to the master plan proposals. We will send email updates as we find out more.

- Shani & Irene


January 5, 2015

Dear Friends of the Stevens Creek Corridor,

At a special meeting at 7pm this Thursday, the Cupertino Parks & Recreation Commission will be revisiting the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan and begin discussions of a Citywide Park Master Plan. Please join us and tell the Parks & Recreation Commission to recommend a nature-oriented Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan to City Council, a plan that focuses on native plants, wildlife, birds and open space.

Many design elements proposed in the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan Design Options belong in other parks in Cupertino. Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, together with the Sierra Club, the California Native Plant Society, Acterra, and the Committee for Green Foothills, has developed an alternative master plan Option D and an evaluation of design elements, to inform the commissioners and City Council in their decisions.

See below for how you can take action. Thank you to those of you who have already written letters or spoken at meetings!

Happy 2015! Remember, your voice counts!

Irene & Shani
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society


Where is the Stevens Creek Corridor master plan area?
The Stevens Creek Corridor master plan area includes Stevens Creek, McClellan Ranch Preserve, the Blackberry Farm pool and golf course, Stocklmeir Ranch, and associated park lands. The Stevens Creek Corridor is bounded by McClellan Road to the south and Stevens Creek Boulevard to the north.

Park history
In the past six years, the City of Cupertino put millions of dollars of tax payer money and government agency grants into the creation of an integrated experience along Stevens Creek. The City developed recreation facilities such as the Stevens Creek Trail, the Blackberry Farm swimming pool, play structures and bocce ball court, and picnic areas, and provided bridges to increase connectivity and circulation. The construction of the trail was completed in Summer 2014, and an Environmental Education Center is still under construction. To balance this development in a sensitive riparian corridor, the City invested in the restoration of part of Stevens Creek (Blackberry Farm and along the Golf Course) and the restoration of native plant ecosystem in the park.

Thousands of children and adults benefit from birding, nature walks, science exploration, and other education programs and habitat restoration activities provided by the City Naturalist and by non-profit partners, including SCVAS. The Stevens Creek Corridor and the many people who visit here are starting to enjoy a synergistic balance of agriculture, history, recreation, education, and nature in the park.

The Master Plan process
In November 2014, consultants from MIG proposed three master plan alternatives (Design Options A, B, and C) for public review. Rather than seeking to enhance unstructured nature-related experiences, the MIG proposals focused on adding trails, bridges, play areas, and other facilities that would diminish the environmental and natural focus of the Stevens Creek Corridor. Based on input from community members and environmental groups, SCVAS developed a fourth option (Alternative D) as a more nature-oriented, wildlife-friendly, and minimalist alternative to the MIG proposals.

At a study session on December 16th, Cupertino City Council spent 3.5 hours on the proposed Design Options for the Stevens Creek Corridor Master Plan. Due to time constraints, City Council decided to defer deliberations and decision-making to January 21st.

In the meeting, staff and the consultants provided a report of the proposed alternatives, and MIG consultants described the results of their online questionnaire. While not acknowledged by the consultants, the results showed that the majority of respondents were in favor of low-intensity options for the corridor (37% chose Option C, 37% rejected all three options) - find the full Public Input report here. City Council members asked questions, focusing primarily on the long term viability of the Blackberry Farm golf course and on the need to renovate current infrastructure. Public comments primarily revolved around access and nature in the park.

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Take Action Now

Please let City Council, Parks & Recreation Commission, and Staff know that we appreciate their responsiveness to our concerns and dedication to nature in Cupertino (sample letter below)

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Who to Contact

Write to the Cupertino City Council ([email protected]) and Parks & Recreation Commmissioners, and bcc the SCVAS Environmental Advocate (advocate AT scvas.org).

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Sample Text for Letter

Copy and paste this text:

Dear Cupertino City Councilmembers and Parks & Recreation Commissioners,

Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful deliberations during the Stevens Creek Corridor study session on Tuesday night. Thank you for listening to me and to others in our community, for sharing my values and for directing Cupertino in a way that protects our gem ? the Stevens Creek Corridor- from overdevelopment. I hope you continue to focus on enhancing nature along the creek, and look forward to the Citywide Parks Master Plan for providing additional recreation opportunities as well as nature play and native plant gardens in our city.

Sincerely,
[NAME]
[TITLE/DESCRIPTION, i.e. 20-year resident of Cupertino, High School Student, etc.]

 

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