New Ordinance in Cupertino for Single-Story Overlay Districts

1This region has a variety of eclectic neighborhoods, many with distinctive architectural styles. In cities such as Sunnyvale and Palo Alto, there has been growing support to conserve historically valuable neighborhoods such as those with Eichler Homes; the classic single-story California ranch home of the 1950s. Many neighborhoods with predominately single-story homes are also seeking to protect their community character, Eichler or not. In Cupertino, a new city ordinance has been put in place to provide guidelines in determining single-story overlay districts (SSOD).

Having a neighborhood designated as an SSOD community provides a measure of continuity for the design features and lifestyle amenities which single-story homes bring; and many residents prefer. With ongoing development and our increasing need for housing, some single-story home owners worry about losing privacy and property value if multi-story homes come into the neighborhood.

By having a SSOD designation, builders cannot construct two-story homes or any structure higher than a set maximum height. In Cupertino, the maximum is 18 feet. The details vary by city, but more and more municipalities are passing ordinances to conserve potentially impacted neighborhoods. In Cupertino, the new ordinance was proposed in response to the growing request for single-story overlay district designations. It was determined better to have a process in place for what can be a sensitive community topic.

2The new ordinance in Cupertino includes a petition and voting process, where two thirds of neighborhood residents have to agree to the request and then vote it through after the city reviews the request to ensure all other criteria is met. One big key criteria is that any neighborhood requesting an SSOD designation must have a minimum of 75% single-story properties.

The San Jose Mercury has published as great review of the Cupertino Ordinance and how it will work The new rules go into effect June 2nd, 2017. If you are ready to sell or buy a home, working with a Realtor® who understands the market and the region, will make for a better experience. We at Haylen Group are here to help you with all your real estate needs! As your agent, we will strive to work together and give you the best support we can. Call Helen Chong at (408) 800-LIST or email at You can also visit us at our website for available listings and additional information.


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