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Green Development

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Development and Construction Guidelines

The City of Cupertino Environmental Programs Division administers various requirements that must be included in new or redeveloped private commercial and multi-family housing projects.  Covered projects include new construction, tenant improvements, and/or new or modified development use permits.  These requirements are required to be implemented to conform with State stormwater pollution requirements and solid waste reduction and recycling mandates.  Based on the scope of the project and existing site improvements, all or some of the requirements below must be included in the project submittal.  Environmental Programs Division staff is available to explain and provide guidance concerning any of the required conditions of approval described below.

View/download: Environmental Programs Division Conditions of Approval for Tenant Improvements and Development

New PCBs Screening Mandates: Are you exempt?

Pic of Caulking at Window

As of January 24, 2019, applicants proposing to demolish a building must submit a PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) Screening Assessment Form prior to obtaining a demolition permit.  The Screening Form will determine if the building is likely to have materials containing PCBs.  Structures built or remodeled between January 1, 1950 and January 1, 1981 may contain caulks/sealants, thermal/fiberglass insulation, adhesive/mastic, rubber window seals/gaskets with PCBs concentrations at or above 50 ppm that require abatement before demolition in accordance with state and federal laws.  

PCB Management Policy

PCB Screening Assessment Process Overview

PCB Screening Assessment Flowchart

PCB Screening Assessment Form

Template for Consultant's Report from Pre-Demolition PCBs Building Survey

Managing PCBs-Containing Materials During Demolitions

Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program (SCVURPPP)

Trash Enclosure Modification


All new buildings and all wet waste businesses (defined as a business that produces food, organic and/or liquid wastes) must include a covered trash enclosure to accommodate all waste containers.  Properties with existing trash enclosures that do not have a roof, must include a roof covering the enclosure.  Properties that do not have any trash enclosure must identify a suitable location and include the trash enclosure with the plan submittal.  Trash enclosures for multiple tenant properties, such as a shopping center, must design the enclosure to accommodate all waste containers on the property.  Please refer to the Guidelines for Non-Residential Building Trash and Recycling Enclosures or Guidelines for Multi-Family Dwelling (5 or more units) Trash and Recycling Enclosures specific to your project.

Waste Trios and Cigarette Urns

Waste Trio_IMG_0536

In keeping with the City’s goal of creating a pedestrian friendly community, waste trios and cigarette urns are required to be included with the project submittal.  Waste trios are three, side-by-side waste containers which are clearly labeled Landfill, Recycling, and Compost. These receptacles are required to be located on private property adjacent to the sidewalk for use by the public and are maintained by the property owner as a component of the overall site maintenance program.  Waste trios and cigarette urns must be designed for outdoor use, permanently affixed to the pavement, and have covers to prevent rainwater loading and scavenging animals.  For multiple tenant retail centers, one trio set and cigarette urn satisfies the requirement for up to four adjacent businesses on one property.

Full Trash Capture Storm Drain Catch Basin Inserts

Drain Inlet Marker_IMG_0541

For projects located in medium and high trash management areas or adjacent to a creek, full trash capture storm drain catch basin inserts are required to be included in the project scope.  Fueling stations, automotive, light industrial or other uses which may have fine particulate or liquid based pollutants (including cooking oils and grease) may require an additional media filter attached to the trash capture device for hydrocarbons and/or FOG (fats, oils, grease).  Devices selected must be approved by the California State Regional Water Quality Control Board.  A list of approved devices may be viewed here.

Topographical Storm Drain Map

Topographical flow maps, often found on the civil site plan sheets are required to be included with project submittal.  The plans must clearly identify all storm drain inlets on the site, all storm drain lines and flow, and all connection points of the storm drain lines to the City’s storm drain system.

Storm Drain Inlet Markers

All exterior storm drain inlets on the property must be clearly marked with “No Dumping Flows to Creek” or “No Dumping Flows to Bay”. 

Exterior Copper

The exterior use of copper for roofing materials, rain gutters, downspouts, or any ornamental enhancement is prohibited. Small copper adornments such as door handles or fence post caps are exempted, however, the City discourages exterior copper whenever possible due to copper oxidation contributing to stormwater runoff pollution.

Construction and Demolition Waste Recycling

All construction, demolition, and renovation projects are required to submit a completed Waste Management Plan demonstrating that a minimum of 65% of the waste material generated from the project.  Pursuant to State of California law, the 65% minimum must be diverted; however, the City of Cupertino encourages a greater rate of diversion for projects in keeping with the City’s Zero Waste goal.

Restaurant and Food Establishment

California Assembly Bill 1826 mandates wet waste businesses to divert food waste from the landfill waste stream.  All wet waste businesses, such as restaurants must identify on the plans, the location of all waste containers located within the food preparation area.  Plans should include the capacity of the containers and be identified as “Food” and “Non-Food”.

Conditions of Approval

At the time of submittal, the project applicant must include a signed Environmental Programs Division Conditions of Approval for Tenant Improvements and Development.  This document is designed to provide guidance to the applicant of what conditions must be planned for with the project.  Many of the conditions are in common areas of larger retail areas.  Any building permit application or development permit triggers the implementation of the above conditions and applicants are encouraged to discuss these required improvements with the property owner in advance of project submittal.

Helpful Links

California Regional Water Quality Control Board

Certified Trash Full Capture Systems List of Trash Treatment Control Devices

My Watershed Watch

Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program (SCVURPPP)

City of Cupertino Trash Enclosure Guidelines: Non-Residential

City of Cupertino Trash Enclosure Guidelines: Multi-Family (5 Units or More)

Spec sheets for bins, carts, and truck clearances

Environmental Programs Division Conditions of Approval for Tenant Improvements and Development

Sight Distance Clearance Standard Detail (Controlled Intersection)

Sight Distance Clearance Standard Detail (Sidewalk-Driveways)

City of Cupertino C&D Recycling Requirements

City of Cupertino Municipal Code Section 16.72 (Recycling and Diversion of Construction and Demolition Waste)

Construction Best Management Practices Sheet

City of Cupertino Municipal Code Section 6.24 (Garbage, Non-Organic Recycling and Organic Waste Recycling Collection and Disposal)

Cupertino Municipal Code Section 9.16 (Solid Waste, Non-Organic Recycling and Recycling Areas)     

City of Cupertino Municipal Code Section 9.18 (Stormwater Pollution Prevention and Watershed Protection)

City of Cupertino Storm Drain Map