May 11 2017

The May 15 City Council meeting will include consideration of expending $10,000 for a pilot program placing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at strategic Piedmont locations to provide live video feeds.  The City Council deferred further consideration of cameras at Hampton Park based on privacy issues.

The staff report can be read here.

The ACLU has reservations about Public Video Surveillance except in high profile terrorist targets, concluding that its benefits – preventing at most a few street crimes, and probably none – are disproportionately small. It’s arguments against most installations are:

1. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN EFFECTIVE

2. CCTV IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO ABUSE

3. THE LACK OF LIMITS OR CONTROLS ON CAMERAS USE

4. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE WILL HAVE A CHILLING EFFECT ON PUBLIC LIFE

Read more details from the ACLU here

Read the May 15 City Council agenda here.

May 11 2017

The Piedmont City Council continues the practice of working on the City Budget without benefit of recordings or broadcast. The public is welcome to come to the meeting and speak to the various issues related to the budget: capital expenditures, revenues, taxation, employee benefits, new projects, roadways, sidewalks, trees, recreation, public safety, Schoolmates, planning, sewers, or any other issue related to City budgetary matters.  

Special City Council Budget Meeting

Saturday, May 13, 2017

9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

East Wing, 801 Magnolia Avenue (across from Piedmont High School)

Agenda:

1. Overview of the Proposed FY 17-18 Budget by the City Administrator

2. Presentation by the CIP Review Committee of Project Proposals for FY 17-18

3. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 17-18

a. Police

b. Public Works

c. Recreation

d. Fire

e. Administration

f. Other Funds Budgets

City announcement:

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held in the East Wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue on May 13, 2017 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 5 and June 19, 2017.

The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year.  Click to visit the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget page, where all sections of the budget are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Interim Finance Director Jim O’Leary via email at joleary@ci.piedmont.ca.us or by phone at 420-3045 with any questions.

If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

May 3 2017

The Capital Improvement Project Committee, plus interested individuals, will participate in a “potential” project tour on Saturday morning, May 6, 2017 to view and discuss projects currently under further consideration.  The Committee will make recommendations to the City Council for their action during the annual budget process.  The activities and tour are open to the public. 

Regular Agenda:  [All times are approximations.]

1. Tour of Sites to be Considered by the CIP Review Committee starts at 8:00 Piedmont Park Tea House in Piedmont Main Park.

8:15 – 8:45 –  Crocker Park Path Improvements (Corner of Crocker Ave & Hampton Rd.)

9:00 – 9:30  –  St. James Lanterns (Corner of La Salle Ave. and St. James Dr.)

9:45 – 10:15  – Wildwood, Winsor, Warfield, and Wallace Avenues Intersection Improvements

10:30 – 11:15  –  Linda Beach Tot Lot and Park Improvements (Linda Beach Playfield)

11:30 – 12:00 –  Coaches Field Turf and Lighting Improvements (898 Red Rock Road)

Times are approximate. Map and project descriptions will be available at all tour stops.

2. Working Lunch at Tea House in Piedmont Park  [Discussions and considerations of projects will occur.]  The public may attend.

READ THE  AGENDA AND SEE THE MAP WITH PROJECT LOCATIONS BY CLICKING  >>>>>>>>>    CIP Tour Meeting_May 6, 2017_Complete

For transportation details, contact the City at 42o-3040.

May 1 2017

Based on reader inquiries, PCA asked City Clerk John Tulloch to provide answers to questions regarding the installation of cameras at Hampton Park.  Below are the questions and answers followed by an excerpt from the minutes of the April 3, 2017 City Council meeting.

Please see the following responses to your questions about the proposal to install Public Safety Cameras at Hampton Park. Please note that at its meeting of April 3rd, the Council did not approve the installation of public safety cameras at Hampton Park. The Council did approve a policy governing use of public safety cameras for the City’s existing cameras in and around the Police Department. John Tulloch, City Clerk

Q:         When will the matter be considered further by the Council?

A:         There is no date set at this time for further consideration of Public Safety Cameras by the Council.

Q:         Who first proposed the installation of cameras at Hampton Park?

A:         The installation of cameras at Hampton Park has been a matter of discussion between the Police and Public Works departments for several months.

Q:         Who is in charge of the proposed camera plan?

A:         The Police and Public Works Departments are jointly managing the proposal.

Q:         Will there be any community outreach on the proposal other than at a Council meeting?

A:         If this matter is taken up again, additional outreach would be at the discretion of the Council.

Q;         How much will the cameras cost to install and maintain?

A:         Please see page Agenda Report Page 2 of the staff report on this matter on the city’s web site at: http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2017-04-03/public_safety_camera.pdf

Q:         How will the recordings be preserved?

A:         Please see Agenda Report Page 5 of the aforementioned Agenda Report.

Q:         Have there been incidents at the Park indicating security problems?

A:         The City and its residents invested a tremendous amount for the refurbishment of Hampton Park. The cameras were intended as a preventative measure, as well as evaluation of the technology available. Subsequent to Council consideration of the item on April 3rd, there was a vandalism incident at the park.

Q:         Are cameras proposed for any other parks or recreation facilities?

A:         Please see Please see Agenda Report Page 3 of the aforementioned Agenda Report.

Q:         Have there been security concerns at any other City facilities?

A:         The City continually evaluates security at each of its facilities.

Sincerely,  John O. Tulloch, City Clerk

City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, California 94611
Phone: (510) 420-3040
Fax: (510) 653-8272

~~~~~~~~~~~

Below are the approved City Council Minutes of April 3, 2017  regarding Public Safety Cameras: 

Public Safety Camera System at Hampton Park

City Administrator Benoit explained technology serving as a tool to the Police Department and enhancing public safety. With the recent renovation of Hampton Park and relative affordability, staff was proposing leasing a camera system to monitor Hampton Park to evaluate the use and efficacy of Public Safety Cameras in Piedmont. If approved, staff would report back to the Council after a year of use.

Chief Jeremy Bowers discussed the ways in which public safety cameras enhanced public safety. Cameras at Hampton Park would provide the opportunity to protect the significant investment made at the park. He reviewed the implications of public safety cameras and proposed policy explaining that the use of cameras and balance of personal privacy rights. He stated the purpose was to evaluate, strategize, analyze data, and provide a recommendation to the Council after a year of use. He explained the components of the technology and policy regarding use by other than Police personnel.

Public Testimony was received from:

Susy Struble stated her belief that substantial justification had not been presented for the installation of Public Safety Cameras. She stated her desire for a long community discussion regarding the use of cameras which would include parents, children and high school students.

Rick Schiller expressed concern about installation in parks as a surveillance tool. He stated additional discussion was necessary, but that he was strongly opposed at this point.

Councilmembers McBain and Wieler indicated support for the cameras, on a trial basis, for the purpose of protecting the City’s investment at Hampton Park.

Councilmember Rood suggested adopting the policy to govern the existing cameras and to forego any approval of installation at Hampton Park until more community input was received. He suggested alternative installation of Public Safety cameras on the commercial stretch of Grand Avenue.

Councilmember Cavenaugh stated she was open to technology and focused on public safety but wanted to ensure that this was not a solution implemented prior to a strategy being approved. She stated her desire for a great deal of public input on this topic prior to approval.

Resolution No. 23-17

RESOLVED, that the City Council approves implementation of Public Safety Camera System at Hampton Park and a Public Safety Camera Policy.
Moved by McBain, Seconded by Wieler
Ayes: McBain, Wieler

Noes: Cavenaugh, Rood Absent: King MOTION FAILED

Resolution No. 24-17

RESOLVED, that the City Council approves of the proposed public safety camera policy.
Moved by Rood, Seconded by McBain
Ayes: McBain, Rood, Wieler

Noes: Cavenaugh Absent: King

Apr 27 2017

The Piedmont Planning Department and Planning Commission have been reviewing the recently revised regulation of City Code Chapter 17 to assure compliance with Government Code Section 65852.2 governing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), also known as Second Units. The City Council will consider the matter on Monday, May 1, 2017, 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

The following PCA questions in bold black were submitted to the City Planning Department and the answers are in blue; questions and answers are reproduced as presented. 

Questions and Answers regarding Accessory Dwelling Units in Piedmont: 

Response to Questions from the Piedmont Civic Association regarding proposed revisions to the regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units for compliance with State laws. Received April 24, 2017.

  1. Will the City have to add more staffing to oversee affordable ADU compliance?    No additional staffing needs are anticipated.
  2. Some cities require affordable ADUs to remain affordable for 20 years rather than Piedmont’s term of 10 years. Why did Piedmont pick a 10 year term for affordability?   Ten years was determined to be appropriate and was sufficient for the State certification of the City’s Housing Element.
  3. Once an ADU no longer falls into the affordable category, will the forgiven parking or other requirements continue to be forgiven or will existing ADUs return for a new permit?   If, after ten years, the termination of the recorded deed restriction is not automatic (by its terms), the City shall record a document terminating the declaration of rent restrictions, upon the written request of the property owner. The accessory dwelling unit permit is not terminated in this process and the ADU will not be required to add additional parking otherwise required by the City’s ADU ordinance.
  4. Does the City have adequate public services for increased demands – street widths, parking needs, public safety, city staffing, schools, etc.?   The City will respond to any needs for increased public services when they arise.
  5. How will ADUs be taxed ?   As an accessory unit to the primary dwelling unit, ADUs may contribute to a parcel’s value and assessment thereby impacting property taxes. If occupied by a tenant, the property owner will need to pay the City rental tax.
  6. Will all Piedmont taxpayers be required to pay more for any increase in public services or will new ADUs trigger a new property tax assessment based on a reappraisal by the County?See responses to questions 4 and 5.
  7. How many new ADUs are projected in Piedmont in the next 5 to 10 years?   From 2005 through 2016, 43 accessory dwelling units were approved. Five of these were never constructed. Thus, the precedent is that 3.45 accessory dwelling units have been developed annually. An increase in the number of applications for accessory dwelling unit permits might be expected in response to the State laws, but the amount of that increase is unknown at this time.
  1. Should the Council and public have been informed State Law 65852.2 would be inconsistent with recently revised Chapter 17 by the Council and Planning Commission such as: parking space sizes, covered parking requirements, parking spaces required, allowing tandem parking, setback requirements, etc.?    Yes. Information on the recently adopted State laws modifying Government Code Section 65852.2 was provided to the City Council and separately the topic was brought up during the study sessions Council held in January on the comprehensive Chapter 17 updates.
  2. If a garage is removed to build an ADU, must the existing house meet the standard parking requirements?    The City can require that the “removed” parking spaces be replaced on-site, but the State laws require local jurisdictions to allow those spaces to be in any configuration (e.g., uncovered, tandem, any location). See Section 17.38.060.B.5.a in the proposed ADU regulations.
  3. Can an accessory structure be built on a property line and then converted to an ADU without a variance?    No, not for new construction. See Sections 17.20.040 and 17.28.040 of the City Code regarding setbacks to accessory structures. However, State laws requires local jurisdictions to allow for the conversion of existing accessory buildings, such as garages, into accessory dwelling units. See Section 17.38.060.B.5.b in the proposed ADU regulations.
  4. What techniques will the City use to identify traffic or safety issues when applications are presented to the City?    State laws prevent the City from requiring on-site parking for accessory dwelling units when the proposed ADU is within 1⁄2 mile of a transit stop or when a proposed ADU is within an existing building. The entire City of Piedmont is within 1⁄2 mile of a transit stop. As a result, vehicular and pedestrian safety are not included in the development standards for accessory dwelling units. See Section 17.38.060.B in the proposed ADU regulations. However, if exterior features are proposed to be modified or newly constructed, a design review permit is required. As set forth in Section 17.66.060 of the City Code, which provides the standards for a design review permit, the proposed design must not adversely affect pedestrian or vehicular safety. Safety concerns are also addressed as part of the review of a building permit application.
  5. With no required notice procedure, how is a neighbor to know if an ADU application has been filed or how to appeal a decision?    California Government Code Section 65852.2 requires that local jurisdictions consider an application for accessory dwelling unit permit ministerially without discretionary review or a hearing if it meets all the standards for approval. Notification of neighboring property owners would occur if the application for accessory dwelling unit permit did not meet all the standards for approval, and might occur if there was a concurrent application for design review permit, depending on the level of proposed design modifications.

13. How will the City know when a neighborhood is overly impacted with additional traffic issues from ADUs?   City staff and Council Members often hear from Piedmont residents on such topics.

14. What will the application and permit fees be for an ADU?  The current fee for an application for accessory dwelling unit permit is $750. Fees for applications for design review permit range from $170 to $1,630 depending on the cost of exterior modifications. Fees for an application for a building permit are approximately 2 percent of the total cost of construction.

15. What are Piedmont’s covered parking requirements for existing and proposed buildings?  Parking requirements are outlined in Division 17.30 of the City Code, which is available on the City’s website and at the Public Works counter in City Hall.

16. Since the School District only taxes parcels, does this mean ADUs will not be taxed for School Bond costs or other previously approved additional property taxes?  ADUs will not be subject to separate parcel or property taxes from those of the primary dwelling unit.

17. Did the City Council take a position on State Law 65852.2 when it was being considered by the legislators and governor?   Assuming that you mean AB 2299 and SB 1069, the two 2016 bills that amended Government Code Section 65852.2 (originally enacted in 1982), no.

The City Council will consider the matter of Accessory Dwelling Units on Monday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.  Interested persons may observe the First Reading of changes to Piedmont’s recently approved Chapter 17 on the City’s website under videos or on Cable Channel 27. 

The City’s announcement and the actual language of the proposed ordinance can be read below:

Monday, May 1st – 7:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers

In September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law changes to Government Code Section 65852.2 resulting from the enactment of Assembly Bill 2299 and Senate Bill 1069. These changes limit a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as Second Units. The provisions affected by the changes to state law include, but are not limited to, off-street parking requirements, unit size limitations, and application approval timelines. The State laws permit cities to adopt ADU ordinances as long as the ordinance is consistent with the State laws and imposes certain local standards. Click to Government Code Section 65852.2.

Planning Commission Recommends Changes to City Code

On April 10, 2017 the Planning Commission voted to recommend proposed revisions to the regulations in the City Code related to Accessory Dwelling Units. Click to read the Planning Commission staff report and minutes of their discussion on this topic. The report prepared by staff for the Planning Commission outlines the proposed code revisions. On May 1, 2017, City Council will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation to adopt the proposed code revisions. Click to read the Council staff report for this matter.

Residents are invited to engage in this process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to read the staff report and attend the City Council meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on May 1, 2017 in the City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue. Written comments may be submitted to the Piedmont City Council at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or by US Mail to John Tulloch, City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611.

Requests to receive email notification of activities related to revisions of City Code provisions related to Accessory Dwelling Units should be sent to Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us. Comments on paper can also be submitted by hand or by mail to the Piedmont Planning Commission, 120 Vista Avenue,Piedmont,CA 94611.

Comments to be read by other PCA readers may be submitted below.

Apr 23 2017

Blight, Commercial zone, winter impacts, paving, and solar panel installations.

On the twentieth of March, 2017,  the City Council discussed at their meeting  the rundown house of 954 Rose Avenue,  the dates to discuss Zone D in the City Code,  the City’s response to the winter storms,  the paving project, implementing solar panels, and actions regarding the damage to Cavendish Lane roadway.

The rundown house was an important and key point at the meeting as it was claimed there was a lessening of neighborhood value by hazardous, safety concerns. It had been over a decade and the property had not changed indicating to the City there was a need  for the City to take action. The property owner had started to make progress and had asked for an extension from the 27 of October to the 6 of January, but no further progress  was made.

Currently, the homeowner’s hut is falling in the neighbor’s driveway. Also, there is a big hole about four to five feet from the sidewalk; the staircase and chimney are broken; and there is a hazardous tree. In this meeting, many neighbors spoke upon these matters. One neighbor who is putting her house on the market expressed that she had to play guard for the house on Halloween as children think it is a haunted house. She also has to help the delivery guy to deliver packets to the owner and stated that people ask her: “Is it a crack house that you live beside?”

The difficulty in this case was that there was no previous similar case making the situation new territory. The Council realized the nearby property owner needs help as his renters are leaving and no progress is happening.  The City needs to pay their staff and there is no magical money coming from the issue. Therefore, a daily hundred dollar penalty will occur from the twentieth of March for three months. If there is no progress occurring such as repairing the stairs and chimney or having a construction schedule, then the City will take this to court on July first.

It is my opinion that this will bring Piedmont greater safety and a less blighted place, especially on Rose Avenue which has been a hurting street.

For Zone D, it has been a lengthy and complex process for residences, but the City has come forward with dates. The short term rentals are going to be scheduled to come back to the City council in April. The Grand Avenue area needs different approaches.  Work Session meeting to take further public input will be held to solicit concerns and issues.

In the City of Piedmont, we have been lucky to have Public Work’s Dave Frankel here 24/7. He is making sure Piedmont stays safe from falling trees, trash filling up the City, or creek overflows. In the winter months, it is hard to get anyone out to help, but Frankel and his staff have always been on the case. The winter months have therefore not been too devastating.  The streets have been regularly and repeatedly had the street sweeper. There have been 800-900 yards of trash picked up on scheduled street sweeping and 500 yard of unscheduled sweeping. The Council thanked Frankel and  his team for the hard work to keep the City clean.

The City’s pavement is being planned by contract City Engineer, John Wanger, who rates the pavement a 63. Since there is a budget for pavement, work is done on pavements which are badly degrading and preventive maintenance on pavements subject to degrading. Magnolia Avenue is waiting for renovation sewer work and Harvard Drive has been delayed. There is a lot more work needed on the pavements because of an increase of water cracks caused by the wet winter. There has been many improvements to come with better pavements, stop signs, pumps, and cycling lines.

The City of Piedmont may soon be clean and renewable energy per Jonathan Whelan who discussed the solar panel assessment. He discussed the location of the solar installation, the interconnection program, and the financials.

Clean renewable energy is something I personally support a lot and I spoke for solar lamps being put in the parks and other locations so that pedestrians can walk safely from athletic practices and other places.

This meeting went over a great amount of points to make our city better. This is why many of our citizens and organizations come to these meetings to get their voices heard and understand their city better.

Public Works Director Chester Nakahara came and was involved in the meeting. He was at the meeting on a number of issues including the paving program.  He talked about the work done to keep the roads clear and the City safe during the storms.

With all these wonderful people making sure our city is at its best and the citizens involved, we continue achieving goals to have a vibrant city.

by Lea Rygg, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

____________

On March 20, 2017 City Council had it’s biweekly meeting in Piedmont’s City Hall. The City Council covered issues pertaining to the City of Piedmont like infrastructure, blight, solar panels, and the job of public works. The meeting began with an honoring of the City’s relationship with the American Red Cross, where Piedmont declared March Red Cross Month.

This was followed up by topic #6 on the agenda which was the Compliance Order Issued for 954 Rose Avenue which took up about half of the meeting. The issue with the home on Rose Avenue is that the front of the house has been deemed unsafe and a blight to the community of Piedmont. The three staff participants in the discussion where City Administrator Paul Benoit, City Attorney Chad Herrington, and the Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara.

The City of Piedmont had issued a compliance order on the house after the homeowner requested one but no improvements were made to his home. The City Council debated possible solutions on what could be done about the home.

Something easily noticed among the Council was how well they worked together to find the best possible solution. For example, they stated they could try to get a work warrant to fix the home, but decided that by the time they had gotten the warrant, months would have gone by.

Also, early on in the discussion, the Council had several neighbors speak about the house. Many of the neighbors stated that the house was an accident waiting to happen. One neighbor described a story of how on Halloween kids believed the house was actually a haunted house.

After hearing these messages the City Council took the neighbors’ consideration of immediate action and deliberated on a possible solution. The City Council agreed on a $100 per day fine until the homeowner obtained a permit with a construction schedule on it.

I agree with the City handling of the house on Rose Avenue because the issue has dragged out for so long that now the fines will grab the homeowner’s attention to hopefully take action.

Later, the City applauded the work of Public Works Department after one of the wettest winters in 60 years. The main jobs that the Public Work team focused on was providing sandbags for people as well as checking on Piedmont creeks to make sure they weren’t overflowing, which affects sewer lines. The main point of congratulating the department is that they do not receive a lot of recognition and to remind them to keep up the good work they are doing for the city.

After the meeting I was able to speak with Chester Nakahara, who is the Public Works Director, and oversees five divisions (streets, buildings, sewers, public works, parks.) For the most part, he thought that the meeting went well and the decisions the Council made, specifically for the Rose Avenue house, were steps in the right direction for the Piedmont community.

By Nicholas Pacult, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions are those of the author.
Apr 9 2017

Changes impact Second Units that are now called Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law changes to Government Code Section 65852.2 (see below) in September 2016 materially limiting parking requirements for the development of Second Units and further enhancing ministerial approval of building permits, bypassing the community and its elected representatives. Piedmont’s ADU code has grown awkwardly with additions in 2003 and 2016 piled on top of the 1983 original language, resulting in numerous contradictions and conflicts.

When Piedmont’s Chapter 17 was recently (March 2017) approved by the City Council and Planning Commission, there was no indication in the volume of documents informing either the Council or Commission that the action they were taking would be impacted by the already in effect (January 2017) State law Government Code Section 65852.2

The new staff proposal is to revise the revised April 2017 Chapter 17 zoning laws which relaxed building requirements such as setbacks, lot size, parking requirements facilitating additional housing within existing houses and structures. 

Residents vary in their opinions regarding housing expansion in Piedmont through Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)/ Second Units.  Many like the changes as a way to stay in their homes as they age or add income through rentals plus allowing Piedmont to meet regional housing needs.  Others question the unassessed and unevaluated impact on public services, neighborhood quality, density, parking needs, community support, and traffic impacts. 

65852.2 includes permission for cities:

… a local agency may require an applicant for a permit issued pursuant to this subdivision to be an owner-occupant or that the property be used for rentals of terms longer than 30 days.

Piedmont’s proposed code states:

Parking. When a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit, any required replacement parking spaces may be located in any configuration on the lot. (Gov’t. Code §65852.2 (a)(1)(D)(xi).)

[No setback is required for an existing garage.]

b. Setbacks. No setback is required for an existing garage that is converted to an accessory dwelling unit. If an accessory dwelling unit is constructed above an existing garage, the minimum setback is five feet from the side and rear lot line. (Gov’t. Code §65852.2 (a)(1)(D)

(7).)3. Owner occupancy. Except for an exempt accessory dwelling unit, the owner of an accessory dwelling unit must occupy either the primary unit or the accessory dwelling unit, if both units are used for habitation. The owner must record with the County Recorder a declaration of restrictions, in a form provided by the city.

 Staff is given authority by state law to make decisions on projects without public input or notification.

QUESTIONS:

  • Will the City have to add more staffing to oversee affordable unit compliance?
  • Some City’s require affordable units to remain affordable for 20 years rather than Piedmont’s term of 10 years. Why did Piedmont pick a 10 year term for affordability?.
  • Once a unit no longer falls into the affordable category will the forgiven parking requirement continue to be forgiven or will existing units have to return for a new permit level?
  • Does the City have adequate public services for increased demands – street widths, parking needs, public safety, and city staffing?
  • Will Piedmont taxpayers be required to pay more for the increase in public services or will the new units be taxed to cover expenses?
  • How many ADU units are projected in Piedmont?
  • How will the units be taxed ?
  • Why wasn’t the Council and public informed  of the upcoming changes based on State Law 65852.2 before approval of the redoing of Chapter 17  by the Council and Planning Commission that lessened parking requirements for existing properties, such as parking sizes, covered parking requirements, allowing tandem parking, etc.. ?
  • If a garage is removed, must the existing house meet their parking requirements?
  • Can an accessory structure be built on the property line and then converted to an ADU?
  • What measures will the City use to identify traffic or safety when applications are presented?
  • If there is no notice procedure, how is a neighbor to know if an application has been filed or how to appeal a decision?
  • How will the City know when a neighborhood is overly impacted with additional traffic issues from ADUs?
  • What will the application and permit fees be for an ADU?
  • What has happened to Piedmont’s covered parking requirements?
  • Will ADUs be reappraised for County property tax purposes?
  • Since the School District only taxes parcels, does this mean ADUs will not be taxed for School Bond measures and voter approved extra property taxes?
  • Did the City Council take a position on State Law 65852.2 when it was being considered by the legislators and governor?

_______________________________________________

City Planning Department announcement:

Planning Commission to Discuss Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

CONSIDERATION OF AN ORDINANCE REVISING THE REGULATIONS FORACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS IN CITY CODE CHAPTER 17

The Commission will hold a hearing to consider an ordinance to revise City Code Chapter 17 regarding the regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). The proposed revisions are in response to the changes to Government Code Section 65852.2 resulting from the enactment of Assembly Bill 2299 and Senate Bill 1069. These changes limit a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as Second Units. The provisions affected by the changes to State law include, but are not limited to, off-street parking requirements, unit size limitations, and application approval timelines. The State laws permit cities to adopt ADU ordinances as long as the ordinance is consistent with the State laws and imposes certain local standards. The Commission may take action to make a recommendation of adoption to the City Council. The proposed amendments do not constitute a “project” within the meaning of CEQA, and therefore are exempt from CEQA, pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21065 and CEQA Guidelines, 14 Cal. Code of Regulations section 15378.

Mon., Apr. 10th – 5:00PM

[ADU’s will be considered at the beginning of the meeting]  held in the
City Council Chambers – City Hall

The meeting will be broadcast on Cable Channel 27 and from the City website under videos.

In September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law changes to Government Code Section 65852.2 resulting from the enactment of Assembly Bill 2299 and Senate Bill 1069. These changes limit a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as Second Units. The provisions affected by the changes to state law include, but are not limited to, off-street parking requirements, unit size limitations, and application approval timelines. The State laws permit cities to adopt ADU ordinances as long as the ordinance is consistent with the State laws and imposes certain local standards. Click to Government Code Section 65852.2.

City staff has prepared draft proposed revisions to the regulations in the City Code related to Accessory Dwelling Units. The revisions are included and outlined in a report to the Planning Commission that the Commission will consider during their regular meeting on April 10, 2017. The Planning Commission’s responsibility is to make a recommendation that will be considered by the City Council, which is the decision-making body. As required by the City Code, public notification will be provided for all Planning Commission and City Council meetings during which the code revisions are to be considered. Click to read the staff report on this topic.

Residents are invited to engage in this process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to read the staff report and attend the Planning Commission’s meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. on April 10, 2017 in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue. Written comments and requests to receive email notification of activities related to revisions of City Code provisions related to Accessory Dwelling Units should be sent to Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us. Comments on paper can also be submitted by hand or by mail to the Piedmont Planning Commission,120 Vista Avenue,Piedmont,CA 94611. 

Interested individuals may also send comments to > editors@piedmontcivic.org  allowing others to read comments on this site also see comment section below. The comments sent to PCA are not forwarded to the City for consideration. 

Read the full staff report, which includes the proposed ordinance at the end.  Click > here.

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The January 2017 State law controlling second units/ ADUs is below:

65852.2.   (a) (1) A local agency may, by ordinance, provide for the creation of accessory dwelling units in single-family and multifamily residential zones. The ordinance shall do all of the following:

(A) Designate areas within the jurisdiction of the local agency where accessory dwelling units may be permitted. The designation of areas may be based on criteria, that may include, but are not limited to, the adequacy of water and sewer services and the impact of accessory dwelling units on traffic flow and public safety.

(B) (i) Impose standards on accessory dwelling units that include, but are not limited to, parking, height, setback, lot coverage, landscape, architectural review, maximum size of a unit, and standards that prevent adverse impacts on any real property that is listed in the California Register of Historic Places.

(ii) Notwithstanding clause (i), a local agency may reduce or eliminate parking requirements for any accessory dwelling unit located within its jurisdiction.

(C) Provide that accessory dwelling units do not exceed the allowable density for the lot upon which the accessory dwelling unit is located, and that accessory dwelling units are a residential use that is consistent with the existing general plan and zoning designation for the lot.

(D) Require the accessory dwelling units to comply with all of the following:

(i) The unit is not intended for sale separate from the primary residence and may be rented.

(ii) The lot is zoned for single-family or multifamily use and contains an existing, single-family dwelling.

(iii) The accessory dwelling unit is either attached to the existing dwelling or located within the living area of the existing dwelling or detached from the existing dwelling and located on the same lot as the existing dwelling.

(iv) The increased floor area of an attached accessory dwelling unit shall not exceed 50 percent of the existing living area, with a maximum increase in floor area of 1,200 square feet.

(v) The total area of floorspace for a detached accessory dwelling unit shall not exceed 1,200 square feet.

(vi) No passageway shall be required in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit.

(vii) No setback shall be required for an existing garage that is converted to a accessory dwelling unit, and a setback of no more than five feet from the side and rear lot lines shall be required for an accessory dwelling unit that is constructed above a garage.

(viii) Local building code requirements that apply to detached dwellings, as appropriate.

(ix) Approval by the local health officer where a private sewage disposal system is being used, if required.

(x) (I) Parking requirements for accessory dwelling units shall not exceed one parking space per unit or per bedroom. These spaces may be provided as tandem parking on an existing driveway.

(II) Off­street parking shall be permitted in setback areas in locations determined by the local agency or through tandem parking, unless specific findings are made that parking in setback areas or tandem parking is not feasible based upon specific site or regional topographical or fire and life safety conditions, or that it is not permitted anywhere else in the jurisdiction.

(III) This clause shall not apply to a unit that is described in subdivision (d).

(xi) When a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit, and the local agency requires that those off­street parking spaces be replaced, the replacement spaces may be located in any configuration on the same lot as the accessory dwelling unit, including, but not limited to, as covered spaces, uncovered spaces, or tandem spaces, or by the use of mechanical automobile parking lifts. This clause shall not apply to a unit that is described in subdivision (d).

(2) The ordinance shall not be considered in the application of any local ordinance, policy, or program to limit residential growth.

(3) When a local agency receives its first application on or after July 1, 2003, for a permit pursuant to this subdivision, the application shall be considered ministerially without discretionary review or a hearing, notwithstanding Section 65901 or 65906 or any local ordinance regulating the issuance of variances or special use permits, within 120 days after receiving the application. A local agency may charge a fee to reimburse it for costs that it incurs as a result of amendments to this paragraph enacted during the 2001–02 Regular Session of the Legislature, including the costs of adopting or amending any ordinance that provides for the creation of an accessory dwelling unit.

(4) An existing ordinance governing the creation of an accessory dwelling unit by a local agency or an accessory dwelling ordinance adopted by a local agency subsequent to the effective date of the act adding this paragraph shall provide an approval process that includes only ministerial provisions for the approval of accessory dwelling units and shall not include any discretionary processes, provisions, or requirements for those units, except as otherwise provided in this subdivision. In the event that a local agency has an existing accessory dwelling unit ordinance that fails to meet the requirements of this subdivision, that ordinance shall be null and void upon the effective date of the act adding this paragraph and that agency shall thereafter apply the standards established in this subdivision for the approval of accessory dwelling units, unless and until the agency adopts an ordinance that complies with this section.

(5) No other local ordinance, policy, or regulation shall be the basis for the denial of a building permit or a use permit under this subdivision.

(6) This subdivision establishes the maximum standards that local agencies shall use to evaluate a proposed accessory dwelling unit on a lot zoned for residential use that contains an existing single-family dwelling. No additional standards, other than those provided in this subdivision, shall be utilized or imposed, except that a local agency may require an applicant for a permit issued pursuant to this subdivision to be an owner-occupant or that the property be used for rentals of terms longer than 30 days.

(7) A local agency may amend its zoning ordinance or general plan to incorporate the policies, procedures, or other provisions applicable to the creation of an accessory dwelling unit if these provisions are consistent with the limitations of this subdivision.

(8) An accessory dwelling unit that conforms to this subdivision shall be deemed to be an accessory use or an accessory building and shall not be considered to exceed the allowable density for the lot upon which it is located, and shall be deemed to be a residential use that is consistent with the existing general plan and zoning designations for the lot. The accessory dwelling unit shall not be considered in the application of any local ordinance, policy, or program to limit residential growth.

(b) When a local agency that has not adopted an ordinance governing accessory dwelling units in accordance with subdivision (a) receives its first application on or after July 1, 1983, for a permit to create an accessory dwelling unit pursuant to this subdivision, the local agency shall accept the application and approve or disapprove the application ministerially without discretionary review pursuant to subdivision (a) within 120 days after receiving the application.

(c) A local agency may establish minimum and maximum unit size requirements for both attached and detached accessory dwelling units. No minimum or maximum size for an accessory dwelling unit, or size based upon a percentage of the existing dwelling, shall be established by ordinance for either attached or detached dwellings that does not permit at least an efficiency unit to be constructed in compliance with local development standards. Accessory dwelling units shall not be required to provide fire sprinklers if they are not required for the primary residence.

(d) Notwithstanding any other law, a local agency, whether or not it has adopted an ordinance governing accessory dwelling units in accordance with subdivision (a), shall not impose parking standards for an accessory dwelling unit in any of the following instances:

(1) The accessory dwelling unit is located within one-half mile of public transit.

(2) The accessory dwelling unit is located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.

(3) The accessory dwelling unit is part of the existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure.

(4) When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of the accessory dwelling unit.

(5) When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the accessory dwelling unit.

(e) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) to (d), inclusive, a local agency shall ministerially approve an application for a building permit to create within a single-family residential zone one accessory dwelling unit per single-family lot if the unit is contained within the existing space of a single-family residence or accessory structure, has independent exterior access from the existing residence, and the side and rear setbacks are sufficient for fire safety. Accessory dwelling units shall not be required to provide fire sprinklers if they are not required for the primary residence.

(f) (1) Fees charged for the construction of accessory dwelling units shall be determined in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 66000) and Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 66012).

(2) Accessory dwelling units shall not be considered new residential uses for the purposes of calculating local agency connection fees or capacity charges for utilities, including water and sewer service.

(A) For an accessory dwelling unit described in subdivision (e), a local agency shall not require the applicant to install a new or separate utility connection directly between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility or impose a related connection fee or capacity charge.

(B) For an accessory dwelling unit that is not described in subdivision (e), a local agency may require a new or separate utility connection directly between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility. Consistent with Section 66013, the connection may be subject to a connection fee or capacity charge that shall be proportionate to the burden of the proposed accessory dwelling unit, based upon either its size or the number of its plumbing fixtures, upon the water or sewer system. This fee or charge shall not exceed the reasonable cost of providing this service.

(g) This section does not limit the authority of local agencies to adopt less restrictive requirements for the creation of an accessory dwelling unit.

(h) Local agencies shall submit a copy of the ordinance adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) to the Department of Housing and Community Development within 60 days after adoption.

(i) As used in this section, the following terms mean:

(1) “Living area” means the interior habitable area of a dwelling unit including basements and attics but does not include a garage or any accessory structure.

(2) “Local agency” means a city, county, or city and county, whether general law or chartered.

(3) For purposes of this section, “neighborhood” has the same meaning as set forth in Section 65589.5.

(4) “Accessory dwelling unit” means an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as the single-family dwelling is situated. An accessory dwelling unit also includes the following:

(A) An efficiency unit, as defined in Section 17958.1 of Health and Safety Code.

(B) A manufactured home, as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code.

(5) “Passageway” means a pathway that is unobstructed clear to the sky and extends from a street to one entrance of the accessory dwelling unit.

(j) Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede or in any way alter or lessen the effect or application of the California Coastal Act (Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code), except that the local government shall not be required to hold public hearings for coastal development permit applications for accessory dwelling units.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 735, Sec. 1.5. Effective January 1, 2017.)

Apr 9 2017

Seniors will be required to move their carts to the curb unless they pay an additional fee.  Waste services for City of Piedmont and Schools will continue  to be paid with resident fees. – 

At the March 3, 2017 Council meeting, the City Council agreed to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new waste collection provider.  The current waste collector, Republic Services of Richmond, had told the City they wanted an increase in the fees.  Hence, the City hired a consultant, contributed hours of staff work, held community meetings, and approved the RFP, which allows further negotiations with the City.

Seniors – 

Seniors will be required to pay an additional charge based on distance from cart locations to the curb and any change in elevations.  Individuals certified to be unable or disabled to transfer carts to the curb will not be additionally charged.

Piedmont’s RFP does not include a senior exemption in the RFP, because Piedmont’s attorney, Michelle Kenyon, advised that State laws do not allow the City to give preferential treatment to seniors requiring other ratepayers to cover their extra service.  As has been presented to the Council and City Attorney, numerous other cities do not require seniors age 62 and over to haul their carts to the curb. Presumably, when cities first started requiring carts to be placed at the curb, consideration was given to seniors who enjoyed backyard service at the same rate as all others, who enjoyed rates reduced by placement of carts at the curb.

The City and Schools are provided free service through the fees Piedmont residents pay.  

Concern was expressed that the Schools do not recycle all of their waste, harming Piedmont’s recycling goals.  Communication with the schools was mentioned in the discussions.

Recycling is threatened by a reduction in the number of carts provided at no additional charge.

Piedmont’s current contract allows unlimited recycling.  This is likely to change with a new contract based on an additional charge for additional carts.  It was suggested residents will place recyclables in their black can rather than pay for additional recycling carts.

Bulk pickups are reduced in volume, but will remain at 4 per year.

More money will accrue to the City through an additional franchise fee on the waste collection provider as well as annual Service Rate Adjustment payment  and Performance Review Payment.

The funds to cover the many new tasks assigned to the City through the contract are not clearly identified or known.  New tasks, include arbitrating rates, determining distances and elevations in regard to backyard rates, and certifying those who are disabled or unable to place carts at the curb. Oversight of the collector will be necessary.

Many Piedmonters have expressed pleasure with Piedmont’s current level of service.  Others have questioned the high fees currently charged.

Despite many iterations and considerations, the RFP appeared open ended and available for negotiations making it impossible to know at this point what the ultimate result will be.

Comments may be sent to the Council via either kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us. or jtullock@ci.piedmont.ca.us..

Readers may also send their comments to editors@piedmontcivic.org for publication or enter below.

Apr 2 2017

Reduced services compared with current waste contract include:

  • End to unlimited recycling in bins.  
  • City employees determine who gets charged for disabled backyard service,  generating privacy rights issues.
  • City employees determine distance and elevation for backyard pickup when challenged by residents.
  • City to receive additional funds from the waste collector while assuming new staff work.

After learning about the proposed contract, some residents expressed concerns are:

  • More work added for City employees with operational costs not evaluated on the long term- retirements, medical, and other employment financial obligations.
  • An invasion of residents’ privacy as City employees determine who has a disability or who is unable to place and retrieve their bins at the curb.
  • The technical task assigned to City staff of evaluating distances and elevations between the bin location in backyard and curb, creating a new cost for the City.
  • Residents decry the idea of massive amounts of bulk waste potentially being placed on the street at a specific time/date, offering an invitation to those from all over the area to come to Piedmont as scavengers.
  • Reduced services will discourage routine cleanup and proper disposal of refuse.
  • Contract changes appear to benefit the City staff rather than the residents.
  • Residents were happy with the current contract work provided by Republic Services.

At the City Council meeting on Monday, April 3rd, the Council will be asked to consider approval of the waste collection/garbage services RFP, which, if approved, will be released on Monday, April 10th. The terms of the waste collection services RFP have been changed from the original the community was asked to comment on.  (See the original draft RFP here and the new staff prepared report and revised RFP here.)

Does the RFP  put too great a burden on City staff by involving them in individual resident’s waste collection and bin location?

The final draft RFP to be considered by the Council on April 3 requires the City staff to get heavily involved in the provision of individually tailored collection services to each resident of Piedmont.  The staff would determine the disability status of any disabled resident.  In order to peg the backyard pickup fee to specific conditions, the staff would have to measure the distance from the curb to residents’ waste barrels in their backyards. Further, staff would calculate the change in elevation involved since the fee for backyard pickup would no longer be flat but would reflect individual distance/height to the curb for those choosing backyard pickup.

The current practice under the existing service contract is to charge an additional flat fee for backyard pickup instead of curbside pickup of waste.  A flat additional fee for backyard pickup does not reflect the variety in yard sizes so some pointed out the discrepancy in waste removal effort and time involved from residence to residence. Others note that a flat fee is simpler and cheaper for everyone since tailoring the backyard surcharge to each residence involves extensive and expensive administration.

The contract as drafted will increase the requirements for hiring and paying City staff to be involved in many aspects of the contract including considering applications for disabilities, measuring distances from curbs and elevations, and other on-going aspects of the contract.  No information on the additional cost to the City and taxpayers is noted in the report.

The City will receive payments in five different categories from the waste collection services provider:

  • Reimbursement for the Procurement Process 
  • Transition Payment
  • Franchise Fee
  • Annual Service Rate Adjustment payment
  • Performance Review Payment

Some of the service modifications from current services:

  • City employees, rather than the contractor, will determine a Piedmont resident’s disabled eligibility for backyard pickup at curbside rate.
  • In the case of disputes between the service provider and Piedmont customer about the distance/elevation charge for backyard pickup, the City will determine the distance/elevation to backyard trash location.
  • Fewer bins provided unless customers pay an additional monthly fee.
  • Green waste beyond the capacity of the green bin will be collected in compostable bags (containing no greater than 50 pound weight) rather than additional bin according to the RFP:

    “Provisioning  of green waste overage bags (compostable bags) by contractor to be distributed by mail or at Piedmont City Hall and to be provided and collected from residents at no additional cost to residents.”

There are other changes, too numerous and complex to describe here, however, for the industrious reader the staff report is here.

The Council meeting is open to the public.  The agenda is here. 

Those wishing to state their views to the Council without attending the Monday, April 3 meeting, can send an email to the City Council via City Clerk John Tulloch by clicking >  jtulloch@ci.piedmont.ca.us .

The meeting at City Hall begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and via the City website under videos.

Mar 30 2017

City Council 2017 Appointments to Commissions and Committees –

Following the Council’s selection of appointees at their March 27 Council meeting, City Clerk John Tulloch graciously withheld the names of the appointees until all applicants and appointees were notified of their status on March 30.

The selection process is a public, open process.  Although few attend, the public can attend the interviews and observe the voting process.

A number of the appointees cycled back to commissions or committees where they have previously served.

The notations beside the appointees’ names below are from available information.  The City did not provide background information on the 29 applicants.  A quick review of the qualifications of the appointees indicates a well educated and involved selection of individuals from Piedmont’s electorate. Additional information on appointees is always welcomed on this site and can be added below in the comment section.

At a special meeting on March 27, 2017, the City Council interviewed applicants and made appointments to fill vacancies on commissions and committees. Drawing on the talents of twenty nine applicants for eighteen vacancies, the Piedmont City Council made the following appointments:”

Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee

Cathie Geddeis – Former President of the League of Women Voters

Deborah Leland  

Shel Schrieberg – Current member of the Committee

CIP Review Committee

Jeffrey St. Claire – Prior member of the Committee, Investments

Bobbe Stehr – Former Planning Commissioner and President of the Piedmont Beautification Foundation

Civil Service Commission

Scott Lawson – Attorney

Park Commission

Eileen Ruby – Former candidate for the Piedmont Board of Education

Robin Wu

Parking Hearing Officer

Tamra Hege – Former Member of the Piedmont Board of Education and Planning Commission, Former President of the League of Women Voters

Susan Kawaichi – Former Member of the Piedmont Board of Education and Former President of the League of Women Voters.

Planning Commission

Aradhana Jajodia – Current Alternate on the Planning Commission, Architect

Jonathan Levine – Former Member of the City Council, Prior member of the Planning Commission  and other commissions, Attorney

Tom Ramsey – Current member of the Planning Commission, Architect

Clark Thiel (Alternate) – Former member of the Planning Commission, Attorney

Public Safety Committee

Chris Houlder

Gina Scialabba

Lori Elefant (Chair) – Current member of the Public Safety Committee

Recreation Commission

Elizabeth Smegal Andersen – Current member and Chair of the Recreation Commission, Attorney

Kobi Eshun – Member of Piedmonters Appreciating Diversity Committee

Carrie Graham Lee – Current member of the Recreation Commission

For more information on the appointees, contact John Tulloch, City Clerk at 420-3040.