Feb 28 2021

Housing Element Update for the 6th Cycle 2023-2031

Piedmont expects a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) 6 of approximately 587 new housing units, compared to 60 units in RHNA 5, representing a 979%  increase from the last planning cycle.

The expected allocation includes:

  • 163 very low income units
  • 94 low income units
  • 92 moderate income units
  • 238 above moderate income units
  • 587 total units

To ensure adequate inventory of adequate sites, City staff anticipates the element update will necessitate modifications to the uses and regulations for each of the City’s five zones.

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th cycle Piedmont Housing Elements were prepared by Barry Miller, FAICP, a contractor who has provided certain long-range planning services to the City since 1991. Mr. Miller has advised the City that he does not have the capacity to be the prime contractor on the City’s 6th Cycle Element, given the significant increase in the RHNA and need for a multidisciplinary team to complete the work.

While a number of important housing issues will need to be considered and addressed through the update process, the most significant work effort is expected to be meeting Piedmont’s RHNA numbers in the site inventory. To achieve that, the City expects the need to consider several approaches, including: amending the site development standards and densities for key housing opportunity sites and for one or more zones, implementing AB 1851 (a bill that allows the conversion of parking areas for religious institutions to housing development), and streamlining review of proposals for the construction and development of affordable housing projects.

Click below to READ the full staff report being considered by the

City Council at 6:00 pm, Monday, March 1, 2021. 

RFP for a Housing Element Update, a Safety Element Update, Other Related General Plan Amendments, and Related Regulatory Modifications as Required by State Law

Send comments to the City Council to> citycouncil@piedmont.ca. gov

Agenda > https://piedmont.ca.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/City%20Council/Agenda/council-current-agenda.pdf

 

1 Comment »
Feb 28 2021

Park Commission will consider Street Tree Plans for Manor Drive March 3, 2021.

Read the Agenda, prior meeting minutes and Street Tree staff report by clicking below.

Park Commission 3-3-2021 Agenda Packet_

Feb 27 2021

Dear Members of the Piedmont City Council,,

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I was just alerted by my neighbor, Sylvia Fones, that Piedmont has evidently adopted something called Reach Codes.  I just now discovered that these are local building energy requirements that go beyond those of the state.    How has this happened?   I am reasonably well informed but have never even heard of this.  Moreover, there was apparently some survey done of the residents concerning adoption of these codes and no one I know had even heard of it, so were definitely not included in the survey.   Sounds to me like a deliberate concealing of this effort from the public.
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This is appalling to me.  This affects every resident.  How can a relatively tiny number of residents  (384 out of 11000) be allowed to provide a distorted consensus of opinion for an entire city?
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There are two issues that are very alarming.
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1) Given the small pool of participants in the survey, there apparently was an effort underway to get this concept adopted without proper input from the residents.  Where  is the democratic process?  How is a tiny cadre of “activists” able to railroad this through without even the knowledge of the whole town, much less its consent?
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2) The end result from a cursory examination of the Reach Codes issue seems to be a limiting of our energy sources, under the guise of some goal that is definitely controversial.  Of all things that require investigation and accumulated knowledge before coming to a decision, this is certainly a prime example.
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Energy is a huge and complicated issue.  Why would we ever want to limit our energy resources?  After witnessing the calamity that just befell Texas and its inhabitants, how can we possibly start down a path like this?
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Sincerely,
Joan Maxwell
Piedmont Resident
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
5 Comments »
Feb 23 2021

Do you have the time and interest in volunteering for the City of Piedmont ?

Deadline: Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The City of Piedmont is looking for a few talented volunteers for vacancies on commissions and committees. Interested residents may view [also linked below] the Commission Description of Duties, download the Application for Appointive Vacancy, and/or apply online on the City’s web site at https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/. 

Applications are due to City Hall on or before the deadline of Wednesday, March 17th.

Interviews with the City Council for these positions will be scheduled for the evenings of Monday, March 22nd and Monday, March 29th. Applicants will be notified of their interview date after the application period closes. No appointments will be made without a Council interview.  All interviews will be virtual. 

The vacancies are as follows:

Commission / Committee No. of
Vacancies
No. of Incumbents
Eligible for Reappointment
Budget Advisory and Financial
Planning Committee
 2 1
CIP Review Committee 1 0
Civil Service Committee 2 1
Housing Advisory Committee 4 or 6 0
Park Commission 2 2
Planning Commission 2 2
Police & Fire Pension Board &
City Investment Subcommittee
1 1
Public Safety Committee 2 1
Recreation Commission 2 0

Commission and Committee Descriptions of Duties 2021-02-17

Commission and Committee Fillable Application 2021

Notice and Procedural Details of Appointive Vacancies 2021

Residents with questions are invited to contact the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040.

2021-02-23 Volunteers for Commissions-Committees

Feb 22 2021

– Piedmont Priorities –

With life as good as it is in Piedmont, it’s hard to think how it could get better. But there’s always room for improvement so in 2007 the City conducted a community survey as a prelude to updating its General Plan.

The response to the 2007 survey exceeded all expectations. Approximately 3,800 surveys were mailed out, and almost 1,300 surveys were completed and returned. That’s a 34% response rate, the highest ever response rate of any community survey of Piedmont residents.  Question 7 in the survey asked “For which types of projects would you support increases in city taxes or fees?”.  The range of responses to that question are in the table below.  

Q7: FOR WHICH TYPES OF PROJECTS   WOULD YOU SUPPORT INCREASES IN   CITY TAXES OR FEES?
Total with Opinion Response Average Strongly Oppose Somewhat  Oppose Somewhat  Support Strongly Support
Additional recreational facilities 1116 2.69 20.2% 17.4% 35.7% 26.8%
Landscaping and tree planting 1155 2.87 13.3% 15.2% 42.9% 28.6
City-owned competitive swimming pool 1124 2.59 28.3% 15.1% 25.5% 31.0%
Undergrounding of overhead utility wires 1159 2.96 18.5% 11.8% 25.0% 44.7%
A parking garage in the City Hall area 1122 2.21 37.9% 21.7% 22.4% 18.1%
More child care centers 932 2.25 29.4% 27.8% 30.9% 11.9%
A teen center 1083 2.87 17.6% 12.3% 35.7% 34.3%
Bike paths and marked bike lanes 1095 2.85 14.8% 16.6% 36.9% 31.7%
A community gathering place or plaza 1080 2.78 17.9% 16.8% 35.1% 30.3%
City arts and cultural center 1067 2.57 22.2% 20.0% 36.7% 21.1%
Wheeled mixed materials recycling carts 1003 2.63 22.1% 20.8% 29.0% 28.0%
Backyard service for recycling/ green waste 998 2.60 23.3% 21.2% 27.3% 28.2%
Free citywide wireless (WiFi) internet  1030 2.80 22.5% 13.5% 25.7% 38.3%

Now 14 years later, what has come of this community survey?

Additional recreation facilities – check.

City-owned pool? – check.

Backyard service for recycling/green waste – check.

City arts and cultural center – half-check.  The city has a classical arts and cultural center. Chamber music only.

A teen center – negative.

Creating a community gathering place or plaza – negative.

Why this lookback matters is because the city is on the verge of missing a golden opportunity to address the two negatives on the list.  A teen/senior center and community drop-in space could easily be run out of the East Wing of the building with access to the restrooms in the West Wing and the placing of city staff in the West Wing office space.  And no additional taxes required – seniors and the community don’t need to be supervised by staff.  They do need a place to freely gather and schedule meetings and an accessible East Wing would facilitate that.  

Instead, city staff has negotiated a lease for the 801 Magnolia Building with the Piedmont Center for the Arts that reduces both city use of and access to the 801 building for the next 7 years. There are significant flaws in the lease (https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2020/11/29/opinion-four-major-flaws-in-proposed-art-center-lease/) and better ideas for true community use of the space (https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2021/02/03/opinion-arts-center-founder-wants-usage-opened-up/ ; https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2021/01/10/opinion-a-false-choice-has-been-presented-for-arts-center-lease/).

So the City has two choices – hold a public hearing on the use of the 801 Magnolia building or a second reading of the flawed lease.  By all indications, city staff is proceeding with a second reading of the lease with PCA.  Unless Council steps up and calls for a public hearing, this opportunity for Piedmonters to achieve long-standing aspirations of a community space will be lost for another 7 years.   To that end, newly elected Councilwoman Conna McCarthy could honor her campaign pledge and call for public meetings on the use of 801 before any lease is approved:

“I want to be part of the leadership that encourages large conversations where all stakeholders thoughtfully plan and manage limited resources for the benefit of Piedmont now and into the future.” 

Elected Council Candidate Conna McCarthy  

https://www.piedmontcivic.org/category/new-elections/page/8/

If you want the City Council to hold public hearings on the use of 801 Magnolia Avenue, you can reach all Council members at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us.

Garrett Keating, Former Member of the Piedmont City Council

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
1 Comment »
Feb 22 2021
If you would like to watch the latest Piedmont Safer Streets community workshop, please check out a recording of that meeting here.
On February 11, 2021, the Piedmont Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) held a public meeting on the results of the community engagement, including the Piedmont Safer Streets Survey and Map virtual exercise. Both virtual events were to help update the Piedmont Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.
You can read the entire report and all the comments received on-line at these links. For more information, please visit www.piedmontsaferstreets.org
As an example of the valuable public input received, Piedmont residents answered the question, “Can on-street parking be eliminated?” See the answers in the graph below.
The next PBAC (Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee) virtual meeting will be held on April 8, 2021 at 5:30 pm. For more information, contact Gopika Nair at gnair@piedmont.ca.gov
Feb 21 2021
– On February 1, 2021, the City Council heard briefings about efforts to improve fair housing programs in Piedmont.
Topics covered at the meeting included the response to the regional housing crisis, California’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process, the SB2 housing programs grant, Piedmont’s adopted Housing Element, and $2.2 million available to Piedmont for affordable housing in the Alameda County’s Measure A-1 bond (2016).
Piedmont residents addressed the Council and offered their perspectives on the City’s role in helping solve the regional housing crisis, including greater support for the construction of affordable housing in the Piedmont Community.
Ideas have included increasing the number of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), converting large homes into multiple housing units, rezoning single-family residential zones, reducing lot size requirements, modifying requirements in the Estate Residential Zone, building multiple housing on Grand Avenue and in the Civic Center, rezoning Blair Park for multiple housing, increasing height limits, and development emphasizing low-income and affordable housing.  Piedmont has indicated an interest in adding approximately 600 new housing units to the existing approximate 3,800 households.
After hearing feedback from residents, the City Council approved a resolution creating a Piedmont Housing Advisory Committee. The Housing Advisory Committee will consist of five to seven members to be appointed by the City Council. Application forms to serve on City committees and commissions, including the Housing Advisory Committee, will be posted to the City website soon.
To learn more about the February 1, 2021 meeting, please watch the video on the City webpage. For more information, sign up to receive housing updates in your email in-box or email from Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald-Powell.
Feb 21 2021

– Piedmont REACH Code problems explained to the California Building Standards Commission –

February 12, 2021

Dear CA Building Standards Commission,

As a resident of Piedmont CA, I have some serious concerns regarding the passing of the “REACH” codes. Here is a copy of my letter to the council that states my concerns. They said there was a survey, but none of our friends were in the survey, so it seemed not to be representative of the residents.

First, Piedmonter’s were not all included in the survey – many friends are upset because they were not included. Many disagree with the Reach concept and do not feel represented thus my suggestion of A ballot vote for all.
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Second is the impact of cost to the residential home owner.  In Piedmont, a normal bathroom remodel will cost say $40,000. If one adds the Reach upgrades, it could add another $10,000. or more.  Or consider the cost of a new roof…then add the insulation etc.. As a designer, I am familiar with those costs. Does this mean homeowners will not proceed with the work?

Third is our local enforcement of the use of less gas. This should be handled by an overall state building code to reduce off gassing. The changes are now being studied for action by the State. (Our use is small in the overall scheme. Consider the air pollution of autos and air  travel.)

Fourth we also have our regional wildfire electric blackouts which could leave residents without ability to cook and heat our homes if we rely on electric power source.

Years ago, Title 24 was added to the California code requirements and we had a time limit to reduce electric usage by lowering the voltage of electric bulbs. This was handled by the state and the manufacturers were put into a position to create products for the market that fit the bill. We now have those products and enforcement in our building codes. This is a more reasonable course of action.

Sylvia Willard Fones, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
7 Comments »
Feb 21 2021

Nomination period for Piedmont’s Heritage Tree program is now open !

The Heritage Tree program is an opportunity for the Piedmont community to recognize the distinctive trees in its urban forest. 
The community is invited to nominate trees growing on public property, such as parks, medians, and streets.  Nominated trees will be considered based on their aesthetic, educational, or historical merits.
Piedmont’s prior Heritage Trees include:
  • the grove of Eastern Redbuds at the west end of Piedmont Park off Wildwood, nominated by Lisa Kieraldo;
  • the massive Coast Redwood growing in front of 71 Hazel Lane, nominated by Cindy Rafton;
  • the four evergreen Dogwoods that frame the City Hall entrance, nominated by Bobbe Stehr and Mark Enea;
  • the reclining Coast Live Oak in Piedmont Park, nominated by Will, Finn, and Max Brumfiel;
  • the dense grove of 18 Coast Redwoods in the traffic triangle at Wildwood, Nova and Magnolia, nominated by Gail Lombardi and Claire Faughnan;
  • the Coast Redwood outside Community Hall (used as the annual holiday tree), nominated by Sue Herrick and Cameron Wolfe;
  • a group of ten Highland Poplars behind Exedra Plaza, nominated by Jim Horner;
  • a row of seven Dawn Redwoods growing in the former quarry at Dracena Park, nominated by Lyle Gordon;
  • and the Southern Magnolia in the median triangle at Lexford and Hampton, nominated by Betsy Goodman.
Nominations are due by March 19 and the winners will be announced on April 30 at this year’s the Arbor Day celebration, which will be held virtually.

>Nomination Form

  Nomination Forms are also available on the City’s website: https://piedmont.ca.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=13659823&pageId=17431167

For more information, please contact:

Nancy Kent at nkent@piedmont.ca.gov

or 510-420-3064.

Feb 21 2021
Photo of interior construction site
On February 1, 2021, the City Council unanimously approved the Reach Codes Ordinances (Ordinance 750 N.S. and Ordinance 751 N.S.)
Ordinance 751 N.S. includes a new requirement for a Home Energy Audit for residential buildings at point of sale. This rule will go into effect city-wide on March 3, 2021. At the point of listing for the sale of a property, a report from a Home Energy Audit or Home Energy Score must be provided to potential buyers and submitted to the City Building Official.
Piedmont Reach Codes will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Piedmont by encouraging energy efficiency upgrades and limiting natural gas usage in new homes.
Ordinance 750 N.S. amends energy efficiency, solar systems, and all-electric construction in new or existing residential buildings. Ordinance 750 N.S. will go into effect on June 1, 2021, or when approved by the California Energy Commission. Some of the key components of the Reach Codes are:
  • Newly constructed low-rise residential buildings and new detached ADU’s must use all electric building appliances. No gas lines can be hooked up to these buildings.
  • Projects that include an entirely new floor level or expand the total roof area by 30% or more, must install solar panels on the roof.
  • A renovation project on a low-rise residential building that costs $25,000 or more must include an energy efficient insulation or heating system electrification improvement in the renovation.
  • A renovation project on a low-rise residential building that costs $100,000 or more must include two energy efficient insulation or heating system electrification improvements in the renovation. (This requirement can be modified with a Home Energy Score of at least a 7 completed in the last five years. This modification is included so homes that have been already pursuing energy efficiency measures can be recognized for their efforts.)
  • Electrical panel upgrades must include capacity in the panel to accommodate future electrification of all appliances in the residence.
  • Kitchen or laundry area renovations must include electrical outlets for future electrical appliance installations.
Details can be found on the City’s website, or you can talk to a member of the Planning and Building Department when you apply for a permit.