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[whitespace] Rancho annexation: 'the rest is mere formality'

Cupertino--It's finally full-steam-ahead for the annexation of Rancho Rinconada.

Last week, Cupertino crossed the last major hurdle for annexation when the city council officially received the results of last November's election and the ballot results of the storm drainage fee.

"All the rest is now mere formality," said Marc Auerbach, chair of the Rancho Pocket Annexation Committee.

A group of eight Rancho residents applauded the city council after it unanimously adopted three resolutions signifying the will of the neighborhood to become Cupertino residents.

"The city council has not wanted to be seen as supporting or opposing annexation until they were confident of the will of the people," Auerbach said. "Now that it is clear that a majority of residents are in favor, we expect the city council to be much more open in their support."

In November, 55.9 percent of Rancho Rinconada voters passed Measure X to extend Cupertino's 2.4 percent utilities tax to all residences in the neighborhood. Sixty-six percent of Rancho voters soundly approved Measure W, an advisory measure to gauge support for annexation.

Following the election results, city officials took the final step to gauge approval of Rancho residents by sending out mail ballots to determine if the neighborhood would pay Cupertino's annual $12 storm drainage service fee.

Property owners had until Jan. 4 to return the mail ballots regarding the storm drainage fee. Seventy-five percent of the voters voted yes to levying the fee.

The city council is expected to formally initiate annexation proceedings in early February when it sets a date for a public hearing on the issue.

"[Annexation] should be complete by the end of March," said Chuck Kilian, city attorney. "We're waiting for the county to approve certification."

City officials expect to receive a written certification of the annexation map and a legal description from the Santa Clara County surveyor's office in late January.

The Rancho Rinconada neighborhood is a 317-acre area between Stevens Creek Boulevard, Lawrence Expressway, Bollinger Road and Miller Avenue, composed of about 4,200 residents and 1,500 homes.

Although residents currently have Cupertino addresses, Rancho Rinconada is an unincorporated county pocket that is governed by Santa Clara County and the Board of Supervisors, whose offices are in downtown San Jose.
Michelle Ku

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