CUPERTINO (KPIX 5) – Officials in Cupertino have extended debate for a second day as residents battle a mixed-use project that would include more than 2,000 homes on the former Vallco shopping mall site.

Developer Sand Hill Property Company said it has the right to expedite this project thanks to Senate Bill 35, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed at the beginning of the year to help build more housing.

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Sand Hill is proposing a mixed-use project that would include about 2,400 housing units, half of which would be designated affordable.

Artist rendering of development at site of former Vallco Shopping Mall. (Sand Hills Property Co.)

The developer said because of this new law, it can move ahead with its plans, as long as it meets the state’s criteria.

Tuesday night’s meeting at City Hall, which lasted into the wee hours of the morning, was packed with people from Cupertino who wanted to voice their concerns about the project’s potential impact.

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“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.

Neighbor Shaheen Husain was also concerned. “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,” she said.

The development is the first major test case of SB 35, which was designed to make it easier for developers to build more affordable housing faster, and make it harder for cities that have historically resisted low-income housing to block it.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, who authored SB 35, said in a statement to KPIX 5, “Cupertino, like the entire Bay Area, is in desperate need of housing of all kinds. 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.”

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The council is expected to reconvene at 5 p.m. to see if the developer’s plans do fall under this law. Officials hope to make a decision on it Wednesday night.