May 22 2017

Discrimination and hateful actions impact park.  

Summer Camp programs have a high rate of registrants. 

by Alex Paton, Piedmont High School Senior – 

I attended a Recreation Commission meeting on the 17th of May 2017. During this monthly meeting, issues regarding parks and recreation throughout Piedmont are discussed by commission members and residents of Piedmont. Fundamentally, these meetings provide an opportunity for the community to discuss and brainstorm potential improvements within the Piedmont parks and recreation system.

During the meeting on May 17th, four main issues were discussed. The first of these issues was the anti-semitism, racism and general hate that has been drawn to attention throughout the community, and how this has manifested throughout the parks. The city and community are working together as a whole to move forward from these incidents and display a positive message for the younger members of Piedmont. Specifically, graffiti at Hampton park is being removed and cleaned up, and older members of the community are being encouraged to speak out and set a positive example of coexistence.

Next, the upcoming summer programs in Piedmont were discussed. There was great optimism throughout the commission as there are now 175 camps offered over 10 weeks this summer and so far, camp registration is up 22% from this time last year. Camps offered range from arts and crafts to cooking to athletics. In addition to more opportunities for campers this summer, there is also more opportunity for counselors and CITs. Greg Wick, Piedmont High Senior,  gave positive reinforcement for the new opportunities for counseling this summer and expressed his disappointment for the lack of working opportunity he experienced in the past. Overall, the Recreation Commission was overjoyed and thankful for the early success.

The recent improvements at Hampton Park were then discussed. The sixth and final basketball hoop was put up since the last meeting and just about every aspect of the park is complete. Trees which fell on and near the basketball courts have also been cleaned up and appropriate repairs have been made. I believe that the basketball courts are nice, however there is a potential hazard when the ball goes off the court and rolls down a hill. I expressed this observation and concern during the meeting, to be met with a nice reply from Carrie Graham Lee. She said they were going to put in a low net to stop this issue from occurring. I am in favor of this much needed improvement. Although not official yet, Elizabeth Smegal Andersen stated that Hampton Park is complete and open for recreation!

Lastly, updates on facility master planning projects and the Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee [CIP] were given. Aquatics are being studied for cost, meetings with the architect for the Veterans Hall have nearly concluded, Beach playfield is being evaluated for updates and Coaches Field is being reassessed for use analytics. The CIP Review Committee is also continuing to review public safety issues, such as the poor lighting at the intersection of St. James and LaSalle.

Once the meeting had concluded, I interviewed a citizen who attended the meeting. This resident of Piedmont, named Garrett Schwartz, was drawn to the meeting because of previous decisions made by the commission that he did not necessarily agree with. He did not have any current issues to be addressed, instead just wanting to “see the inner workings of the Commission and understand their decision making process”. I have to say, if everyone was so involved with the local government as Mr. Schwartz, our society would see great improvement.

 ~~~~~~ A second report on the May 17 Commission meeting  ~~~~

By Olivia Tefft, Piedmont High School Senior –

    At 7:30 p.m. on May 17, 2017, six commissioners met for a Piedmont Recreation Commission meeting. The commissioners were:  Kobi Eshun, Carrie Graham Lee, Betsy Smegal Andersen, Chairwoman, Jeffrey Dorman, and Steve Roland.  Also, present was Recreation Director Sara Lillevand.

   The purpose of this meeting was to go over recreation issues in Piedmont, ranging from summer camps to the maintenance of public parks and fields. This meeting also touched upon public safety in the schools and on the streets of Piedmont.

   One of the main points of this conference was to inform the audience of the summer activities offered through the Piedmont Recreation Department. Sara Lillevand informed the commission and the audience of new programs, like Summerfest ‘17, an affordable summer camp program facilitated by Schoolmates, and Camp Hampton, which will utilize the newly renovated Hampton Field. Lillevand also pointed out that summer camp revenues have increased 22% this year, and over 3,000 participants are registered (76% Piedmont residents).

    Two audience members, Piedmont Seniors Chris Conn and Greg Wick, spoke to Lillevand about the issue of overstaffed PRD summer camps. She acknowledged the difficulty of parsing out the perfect amount of CITS [Counselor in Training Staff] for each summer camp, but also mentioned that this problem should be mitigated this year with the high summer camp enrollment.

    The Hampton Park Improvement Project was also discussed. Lillevand informed the audience that all of the basketball posts have been put up as of today, and that the tennis backboard was put up last week. Hunter Stern, an audience member and senior at Piedmont High School, asked about hate speech graffiti that this field might be subject to, considering the outbreak of hate speech at PMS and PHS. Lillevand told him that no hate speech graffiti had occurred yet, but a conversation definitely needs to take place for the maintenance of this park.

   I agree with Hunter – I definitely think this pristine field could suffer from hateful graffiti, and I think protective measures should be put in place to prevent something harmful like this.

   Some other smaller issues that were brought up were Linda Beach Play Field and Coaches Field Master Planning, as well as uneven pathways at Crocker Park due to old trees that push up the pavement.

    The “4 Corners” intersection was also addressed because safety issues for pedestrians and drivers have arisen due to this intersection. Krysia Olszewska, an audience member, spoke about this intersection, recounting how it is difficult to see cars on the right side of the road, and therefore improvements should be made.

    At the end of this meeting, I interviewed Commissioner Steve Roland. He has been involved with the Recreation Department since 1996, and was also a sports coach for his 3 children when they participated in rec sports. He wanted to stay involved in the community after they all graduated, and the Recreation Commission was the perfect extension to continue his civic involvement. The main issue he focused on is upgrading park facilities like Coaches Field and Beach Field. He understands the difficulties of these renovation as addressed in these meetings because of difficulty getting funding for these projects. He mentioned that Hampton Park was a combination of private donations, East Bay Regional Park Bonds, and City funds.  Coaches Field and Beach Field would require similar funding. The main step he is taking in addressing this issue is continuing to participate in these meetings and trying to raise awareness and funds for these projects.

The Recreation Commission meets once a month to discuss recreation issues.

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
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:





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)


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 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 or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

May 11 2017

Report on May 3rd Park Commission Meeting – 

    On Wednesday May 3, I attended the Park Commission meeting at City Hall. This commission meets once a month to discuss the work being done to improve and renovate the parks and public spaces in Piedmont in order to make it a more beautiful and enjoyable place to live. This meeting was mostly updates on the various projects that have been happening around Piedmont.

The Linda Kingston Triangle is almost done and is quite beautiful. Hampton Park will get padding on the brick wall right next to third base very soon and the maintenance schedule is almost complete. In addition to Hampton, an RFP has gone out for Coaches’ Field in an effort to fix the drainage problem. The goals for Hall Fenway are replanting for more ground cover, replace the trees that were lost in the drought, and install better irrigation in order preserve water. This work will be funded by the Piedmont Beautification Foundation.

Park Commissioner Brian Mahany updated the Commission on the Arbor Day event, which had a fairly good turnout even though it was raining and there were many last minute changes. Next year, he suggested, there should be more public outreach and the activities should be more focused and theme based.

Finally, Dave Frankel gave his monthly maintenance report. The main topic was the fallen trees in the parks, which were mostly due to the heavy rains in the past month. However, these trees also did not have much uphill root growth because they were growing towards where they could reach sunlight. Since the trees have fallen, there is more sunlight, so there will be no replanting in order to avoid a repeat of this situation.

Also, Mr. Frankel discussed the beginning of IPM (integrated pest management) this year. The goal of IPM is to prevent the use of harmful pesticides in the Piedmont parks.

Finally, Mr. Frankel talked about turning on all of the irrigation systems in the parks, which includes drip irrigation systems.  I think it is a bad idea. Northern California, although “technically” out of the drought, still needs to preserve water because California has been in a drought for at least the last ten years. I would much rather have brown grass in the parks than run out of water.

After the meeting, I talked to Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent. Ms. Kent is the staff liaison for the Commission, so she is at every meeting giving updates and proposals for the parks. At this meeting, there were few problems where Ms. Kent indicated concern. Of course, the few potential problems (i.e. Hampton Field) are on their way to being resolved.

by Emily Szerdy,  Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 11 2017

May 3 Park Commission Meeting – 

   On May 3, 2017, I attended a Park Commission meeting. The Commission gathers on the first Wednesday of every month. The meeting was to update the Commission on the status of the parks, including the Linda Kingston Triangle, the Hampton Park Master Plan, the Hall Fenway, the success of Arbor Day, and the monthly maintenance report.

    My addition to the agenda was my proposal to connect the Park Commission with the Piedmont High School AP Environmental Science class. I attended the class last year and really enjoyed it. The class assigns volunteer hours for homework and having attended a past Commission meeting, I had the idea to start a dialogue between the city and the class. Attending the Park Commission meeting I felt that what is taught in the class is brought into reality by the Commission, and students love real world examples. I hope that they can work together so that Piedmont can stay beautiful and educate its future generations.

    The Linda Kingston Triangle is nearing completion, with its ribbon cutting event planned for late May. All that needs to happen is the flip of a breaker switch to turn on the three lights illuminating the landscaping. Once completed, the triangle will add to Piedmont’s already lovely environment.

    I am happy to see Hampton Park coming along. Five of the six backboards were installed on the basketball courts, and a foul pole was installed for the baseball field. In order to streamline maintenance on the field, the Commission is developing a maintenance plan with PRZ. Gillian Peters and Emily Szerdy both spoke out on their concerns for the park. There is a planter built where a rogue base runner could make contact, mentioned by Emily. Gillian added that the lights illuminating the planter are too bright, proving a distraction for drivers. These concerns are likely to be addressed. I’m sure Hampton Park could have some AP Environmental Science students make their mark on this park, also.

    The most intriguing part of this meeting was the update on Hall Fenway. The small park on the corner of Wildwood and Crocker Avenue, was once a section of a commuter railway line, part of the Key System. Knowing that, I looked at a satellite image of Piedmont.  When I looked at the image, it is obvious that houses have been built on the railway, because of how straight and narrow their plots of land are. The Hall Fenway will have work done to replace struggling shrubs and groundcover, renew the mulch and adjust the irrigation system. This park was always a breath of fresh air walking home from school for me.

    After the meeting had adjourned, I had the chance to interview Chester Nakahara. He is the Director of Public Works in Piedmont and was at the meeting because the Park Commission is under his purview. He mentioned that the Park Commission has finally gotten a break from consideration of the winter storms and they are able to move forward. He is pleased that his staff performs “continually superlative work”, and that students like me are attending these meetings. Things are moving swiftly as Piedmont is recovered from the winter.  The meeting surprised Mr. Nakahara by how short and concise the meeting was.

By Mathison Richards, Piedmont High School Senior –

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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.


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:

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 23 2017

Who decides if a street tree should be planted?  Residents or the Commission?

    On April 5th, 2017, the Parks Commission came together for their monthly meeting for the main reasons of nominating a Vice Chairman, talk about the opening of Hampton Field, the Arbor Day Celebration on April 6th, and how the planting of new trees with public works.

    Following the relatively short nomination period, the focus was shifted to the opening of Hampton Field.  Hampton Field was recently renovated turning the field from a grass field to a turf field.  All concurred that the opening ceremony went extremely well and was a huge success.  They also think that it will be an opportunity ripe for donations as families whose kids have played at Hampton Park will want to donate to have their names on benches and such.

    After the success of changing Hampton Field into a turf field, the Park Commission then said they would turn their attention to Coaches Field, another grass field in Piedmont, and evaluate it for a possible grass to turf transition.  Betsy Goodman then asked about the life span of the turf field, as this was a concern voiced by members of the public.  The lifespan of a cork and sand turf field was about 10 years but could also be replenished, a huge reason why this type of turf field was chosen.

    One concern voiced by a commissioner was about the poor condition of trees at the basketball courts near the back of Hampton Park following a rough winter.   A member of the Public Works Department was present at the meeting and said that public works was planning on taking the trees out.

    The next topic on the agenda was the Arbor Day Celebration planned for the following day. Arbor Day is a national celebration of trees.  Though set up was coming along very well, there were concerns about the weather and if it would rain or not.  A citizen attending the meeting just said to make it clear where it would be held inside if there was rain and where outside, weather permitting.

      Then, the public works member, Dave Frankel, started the Park Commission’s report which consisted of how public works has been combating one of the wettest winters in years and how their reforesting projects are going.  Frankel said  85 cubic yards of debris has been cleared from the creeks in Piedmont.  Public works has also been reforesting the streets of Wyngaard, Inverleith, and Lexford, to name a few.  Public works were also looking at trying to plant new types of trees, like Chinese pistachio trees instead of the lateral outgrowth of Cherry trees.

     It was at this point I wondered why there aren’t any trees on my street. So I went up and asked about the process for choosing which streets to plant trees on.  Was it citizen requested or a Commission decision? Frankel responded by saying that the streets used to be chosen by the Commission, but the residents on many street didn’t take care of the trees so they changed the process to citizen requested.

    After the meeting, I stopped Commissioner James Horner. He came to the meeting to talk about the street tree plantings and the upcoming Arbor Day Celebration.  He learned that public works was changing the species of trees that they were planting to Krauter Vesuvius.  When I asked him about his reaction to this meeting, he stated matter-a-factly, “How short it was”.

by Nick Loduca, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed 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.


  • 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)


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 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 >  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.


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.)

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.