Oct 20 2021

Virtual Community Workshop October 21, 2021, 5:30 pm

Pre-approved architectural plans, taller and larger ADUs permitted, allowing two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

“Objective” Standards and Incentives for Multifamily Housing and ADUs –

On Thursday, October 21, 2021, the City of Piedmont and Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) will host a virtual event, entitled “New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop,” starting at 5:30 pm, to discuss new objective standards for multifamily housing and new ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) incentives.

State of California laws, such as SB35 and SB 330, require cities to apply standards that are objective and “knowable in advance” to applications for multifamily housing developments, such as apartment buildings.

Discretionary design review or conditional use permits are no longer allowed.

Last year, the City and LWC consultant began to prepare objective design standards for future multifamily housing developments, including the citywide Fair Housing Survey conducted in March 2021 and presentations to the Housing Advisory Committee in May and June 2021. The results of this work will be described to the Piedmont community on October 21, 2021.

State laws, including AB 671, require cities to develop incentives for the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that can be offered at affordable rents to residents with very low, low, and moderate incomes.

The October 21 event will also include a discussion of possible new ADU incentives. New incentives would generally be available to homeowners who choose to rent their new ADUs at very low or low rents for a period of 10 years.

Currently very low or low rents for a one-bedroom apartment with two occupants is a maximum of $1,370 to $2,193 per month, and the maximum incomes of the tenant households are $54,800 and $87,700, respectively.

Possible ADU incentives could include changes to City regulations to offer pre-approved architectural plans, permit taller and larger ADUs, or allow as many as two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

The City and LWC have developed plans for ADU and JADU construction with Openscope Studio, an architectural firm based in San Francisco. With some modifications, these new plans can be used to quickly obtain Planning Division approvals and streamline the building permit plan review to construct a new ADU.

Participants in the virtual meeting on October 21 on the Zoom platform can share their ideas, take part in online polls during the community workshop, and hear from other Piedmonters on these important issues.

To RSVP for the New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop, please email Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information, please visit the Get Involved webpage at Piedmontishome.org

Members of the Piedmont community are invited to send their comments on the draft new objective standards and ADU incentives to the City of Piedmont Planning & Building Department by November 19, 2021. Comments can be emailed to Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov or mailed to: Fair Housing Programs, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94602. The draft new fair housing programs are funded in part by a California SB 2 planning grant.

Link to draft plan > https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/Housing%20Programs/LWC_Piedmont_New%20Fair%20Housing%20Programs_101821.pdf

Contact 510/420-3050 or 510/420-3040 for further information.

2 Comments »
Oct 13 2021

Some of the 28 appealing jurisdictions are: the cities of Tiburon, Ross, Lafayette, Belvedere, Sausalito, Saratoga, Los Altos, Alameda, Palo Alto. and the counties of Marin, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and Contra Costa.

In addition to the 28 appeals submitted, Moraga, Mountain View, Napa County, San Bruno, San Rafael, and St. Helena sent comment letters about RHNA in lieu of submitting an appeal.   Read more about the ABAG Housing Allocation Here

The Piedmont City Council acted to not appeal the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) proposed allocation of 587 new housing units in Piedmont.  The Piedmont Planning Department under the direction of the Piedmont City Council moved ahead to maximize new housing production and headed off citizen pressure to seek a reduction in Piedmont’s housing allocation requirement.

Piedmont has to date not received its official final Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) of 587 new housing units.

On March 1, 2021 the Piedmont City Council approved the issuance of a Request for Proposals for Professional Services to Update the Piedmont Housing Element to fulfill the yet to be approved ABAG housing allocation for planning period 2023-2031. Subsequently, on May 3, 2021, the City Council approved a $691,230 consulting contract to update the Housing Element and provide for the ABAG housing allocation.

Final RHNA (Housing Allocations) will be announced in December 2021, following ABAG Executive Board adoption.  A public hearing by the Executive Board will be part of ABAG deliberations.   Read more here

ABAG received 28 appeals from Bay Area jurisdictions by the July 9th deadline. In addition, a number of jurisdictions sent ABAG comment letters about RHNA, in lieu of submitting an appeal.  Housing Element Law requires ABAG to allocate all of the 441,176 units assigned to the Bay Area by HCD (California Health and Community Development Department). If the appeal of a jurisdiction’s draft RHNA allocation is successful, ABAG must redistribute the units to other local governments in the region.  < ABAG

The City Council decision not to appeal the proposed 587 housing unit allocation could result in Piedmont’s allocation being increased if even one of the 28 appeals is successful.  For some jurisdictions, appealing their allocation appears to have been a defensive measure and insurance on their part to avoid even further increases in their allocations.

The ABAG public hearings and subsequent continuations will occur remotely.  Hearing accessibility instructions (Zoom Link) will be posted to the > meetings webpage no less than 72 hours prior to the hearing and the continuations.

Appeals were heard on September 24, 29, and October 8, 2021 (recordings linked at bottom of this article).  Read the complete texts of all Appeals here.

Upcoming Hearings:

Day 4: Friday, October 15 1:00 to 5:00 (Remotely, with In-Person Option)
• Appeal #15: MRN – Ross
• Appeal #16: MRN – San Anselmo
• Appeal #17: MRN – Sausalito
• Appeal #18: MRN – Tiburon

Day 5: Friday, October 22 9:00 to 5:00 (Remotely, with InPerson Option)
Appeal #19: MRN Unincorporated Marin County
Appeal #20: SCL Los Altos
Appeal #21: SCL Los Altos Hills
Lunch Break
Appeal #22: SCL Monte Sereno
Appeal #23: SCL Palo Alto
Appeal #24: SCL Saratoga
Appeal #25: SCL Unincorporated Santa Clara County

Day 6: Friday, October 29 9:00 to 5:00 (Remotely, with InPerson Option)
Appeals #26 & #27: SON – Unincorporated Sonoma County

Appeal #28: SON – Windsor

Appeals Carried Over from Prior Hearing Days

Final Deliberations

Recordings of previous hearings are available and noted below:

RHNA Appeals Day 1 (Remotely)
Friday 9/24/2021, 9:00a to 5:00p

Meeting Recording
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

RHNA Appeals Day 2 (Remotely)
Wednesday 9/29/2021, 9:00a to 1:00p

Meeting Recording
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

RHNA Appeals Day 3
Friday 10/8/2021, 2:00p to 5:00p

Meeting Link
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

1 Comment »
Oct 13 2021

All the Bay Area Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Appeals are linked below and available to read as well as the comments on the Appeals.  Read the complete schedule for Hearings of the Appeals here.

In addition to the 28 appeals submitted (listed below), Moraga, Mountain View, Napa County, San Bruno, San Rafael, and St. Helena sent comment letters about RHNA in lieu of submitting an appeal.   Read more about the ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments)  Housing Allocation Here

Click on a jurisdiction’s name below to read their appeal.

Jurisdiction Appeals

Comments on Jurisdiction Appeals

City of Alameda None Received
City of Belvedere Comments
City of Clayton None Received
City of Dublin None Received
City of Lafayette None Received
City of Larkspur Comments
City of Los Altos Comments
City of Mill Valley Comments
City of Monte Sereno None Received
City of Palo Alto Comments
City of Pleasant Hill Comments
City of Pleasanton None Received
City of San Ramon None Received
City of Saratoga Comments
City of Sausalito Comments
County of Contra Costa Comments
County of Marin Comments
County of Santa Clara Comments
County of Sonoma (appeal #1) Comments
County of Sonoma (appeal #2)
Town of Corte Madera Comments
Town of Danville None Received
Town of Fairfax Comments
Town of Los Altos Hills Comments
Town of Ross Comments
Town of San Anselmo Comments
Town of Tiburon Comments
Town of Windsor Comments
Oct 12 2021

  On July 27, 2021, a robbery occurred in the 300 block of Sheridan Avenue. A Piedmont resident was exiting his vehicle in front of his house when a subject approached him and demanded all his money and an envelope he was carrying.

The victim had just returned from the bank prior to the robbery. Detectives conducted follow-up with the victim’s bank and were able to identify a possible suspect vehicle that matched the description provided by the victim, a silver Acura MDX.

Upon collecting and reviewing several additional security videos from different locations along the direction of travel, detectives determined the victim had been followed home by the suspect. Detectives also discovered similarities to other robbery cases in Berkeley, Oakland, and Castro
Valley.

Upon continued follow-up and collaboration with those agencies, detectives were able to identify the suspect as 27-year-old, El Sobrante resident, Eddie Ray Nute.

Nute is in custody and awaiting trial for the robbery in Piedmont and six other Bay Area robberies involving similar characteristics.

This is another outstanding example of the collaboration between local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office.

Anyone with additional information and/or inquiries related to this case are asked to please contact Detective John Lagios at (510) 420-3013.

Piedmont Police Department Press Release

 

Oct 6 2021

Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee to Consider Recommendation on Piedmont Safer Streets Draft Plan

Thursday, October 7, 2021, 5:30 p.m., Virtual Meeting

AGENDA and PARTICIPATION > HERE

Piedmont’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan consultants Eisen | Letunic significantly contributed to the plan being considered.  The consultant produced  a program  of seven main phases, resulting in the proposed plan under review by the committee for their recommendation to the Piedmont City Council for their consideration and action.

Most comments received during the PBMP planning process were related to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, damaged sidewalks, traffic safety on Grand Avenue and Oakland Avenue, lowering speed limits, wayfinding signage, prioritizing SR2S programs, and offering educational programs for traffic safety and biking in Piedmont.

Key input themes that emerged from the round of public engagement for the PSS plan are described below.

• The primary concern expressed was speeding traffic. Several suggestions were received for curbing speeding such as installing traffic calming measures (speed humps, cushions, stop signs, sharrows), lowering speed limits, increasing police enforcement and offering educational campaigns.

• Related to walking, the main concern among participants was regarding unsafe crossing conditions at intersections including: poor sight lines and visibility, insufficient street lighting, and speeding drivers failing to yield to pedestrians. Gaps in existing sidewalk coverage were another concern.

• Related to biking, all comments pointed to the lack of a comprehensive bikeway network and gaps in existing limited bikeway network.

• The Grand Avenue road diet project received mixed opinions, but with a general consensus that the reduction from four lanes to two resulted in vehicular congestion. However, improved safety for pedestrians and bicyclists was noted by participants.

• In general, the installation of low-cost intersection improvement measures was not favored. The prevailing opinion of participants was that the low-cost installations are effective in slowing down traffic and ensuring pedestrian safety, but that they are unattractive and confusing.

• Finally, the elimination of on-street parking close to intersections and overgrown vegetation on corner lots were a concern for most participants.

Read the complete report and plan with street maps, recommendations, and public input > here.

 

Prior Projects:

Intersection improvements including flashing beacons installed on Oakland Avenue at Jerome and El Cerrito and painted island cross walks
Installing bikeways and marking designated bike lanes on Cambridge way (between Grand and Ricardo Avenue), Sheridan Avenue (between Highland and Caperton Avenue), Magnolia Avenue (between Hillside and Nova Drive) among others.

Road diet on Grand Avenue between the City limit to the south and Greenbank Avenue

Bulbouts at Linda Avenue/Kingston Avenue and bulbouts, flashing beacons and new street lighting at the midblock crosswalks on Linda Avenue around Beach School.

Landscape triangle at the intersection of Kingston, Linda and Rose Avenues.

Safety railings along both sidewalks of the Oakland Avenue bridge. The last phase of the project is scheduled to complete soon.

New and improved curb ramps and street resurfacing projects on locations throughout the City.

Three schools near Piedmont Middle School are enrolled in the Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Program.

In 2019, Piedmont staff featured a second energizer station for the BiketoWork Day event.

In 2017, the City Council adopted a crosswalk policy to better ensure consistency and objectivity in the review of residents’ requests; provide transparency on the process to the public; and allow for flexibility to industry standards in addressing unique conditions on local streets.

5 Comments »
Oct 3 2021

Two million six hundred sixty three thousand and seven hundred twenty nine dollars are Piedmont’s share of the COVID American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds

On Monday, October 4, 2021, the Piedmont City Council will consider how to spend the $2,663,729 in windfall funds arising from  the Federal government to assist with costs.  Read the AGENDA here.

The priority list developed by the Piedmont staff is listed below.

Approve the attached resolution allocating the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds as follows:

A. Devote lost revenue funds to address urgent facilities projects, prioritized as follows:

1. Dispatch Center Relocation\Remodel

2. Initiation of Master Planning Process for the future of Police Department, Fire Department and City Hall

3. One or a combination of the following:

  • City Hall Basement:
  • Digitization of Residential Property Files and Remodel Office Space ·
  • Fire Department Living Quarters Renovation
  • Recreation Department Building Renovation

B. Devote the remaining more restricted funds as follows:

1. Cover the City’s direct COVID-19 related expenses incurred after March 3, 2021

2. Provide premium pay to certain Recreation Department childcare personnel who were exposed on a daily basis to critical health risks while interacting with the public due to the nature of their jobs

3. Provide COVID-19 specific support to the Piedmont Unified School District by providing $100,000 toward funding a temporary full-time school nurse to assist PUSD in its COVID-19 response. Such resource would be available to support the City’s Recreation Department COVID-19 response needs as well.

Read the full October 4, 2021 staff report below:

COVID FUNDS 102021

https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=18049031

Comment links to Piedmont City Councilmembers:

Mayor Teddy King

tking@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Vice Mayor Tim Rood

trood@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 239-7663

Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh

jcavenaugh@piedmont.ca.gov
(415) 215-6933

Councilmember Betsy Smegal Andersen

bandersen@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Councilmember Conna McCarthy

cmccarthy@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

2 Comments »
Oct 3 2021

Piedmont voters in March 2020 approved Measure UU the $19.5 million Piedmont bond measure levied against Piedmont real properties. 

The monies are to be used to develop and construct new municipal pools and an aquatic center.  A requirement of the ballot measure is the establishment of an oversight committee.  A resolution is to be considered by the City Council on October 4 to determine how the chairperson of the committee is chosen, the number of committee members, reporting requirements, oversight charges, etc.

Like the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC), who will have a slot on the bond oversight committee, no written minutes or video archiving of the meetings are required within the resolution.  Release of information is restricted by the Council resolution.  Minutes have never been provided by the somewhat obscure BAFPC. Consequently, it appears those interested in the bond oversight committee and meetings will need to participate in real time during the meetings. 

There is no requirement for conflict of interest filings by committee members to be able to participate on the committee.

Below is a partial list of the committee member requirements.

SECTION 4. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall consist of five residents at large, including one current or former member of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee.

SECTION 5. The City Council shall appoint one member to serve as Committee Chair.

SECTION 6. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall meet at least two times per year or more frequently as the Committee deems it necessary to discharge its duty, but no more frequently than quarterly. At the end of each meeting, the Committee shall identify the next approximate meeting date.

SECTION 7. The term of the Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall extend from the date of establishment to the Committee’s submission of the final Annual Report which reflects the final accounting of the expenditure of the Bond proceeds.

SECTION 8. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code §54950 et seq.) including, but not limited to notice, agenda posting, and public participation requirements.

SECTION 9. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee is an advisory body to the City Council and is not an independent decision-making body. All of its recommendations are subject to approval of the City Council

READ THE ENTIRE RESOLUTION IN THE COMPLETE STAFF REPORT LINKED  BELOW.

>Pool Bond Com 102021

AGENDA OF OCT. 4, 2021 COUNCIL MEETING > HERE.

Oct 3 2021

On Monday, October 4, 2021, the Piedmont City Council will consider moving ahead with improvements on Oakland Avenue to assist pedestrians, especially school age children, crossing the busy street.  Improvements are expected to cost approximately $400,000 to construct “bulb outs” into the thoroughfares reducing the open distance from curb to curb at Jerome and El Cerrito Avenues.

“The Piedmont Beautification Foundation (PBF) has indicated its interest in fundraising for this project with its holiday 2021 campaign. To ensure coordination with this longstanding project, PBF has requested that the City Council indicate if it desires to move forward with the project before the foundation begins its fundraising. Directing staff to proceed with the final design of the project will serve this purpose.”

READ the full staff report with drawings >Oakland Ave Improvements 2021

READ the Agenda HERE.

2 Comments »
Oct 3 2021

How Healthy is Piedmont’s Tree Canopy in 2021?

The tree canopy is like an umbrella sheltering what is below.  Tree canopies vary greatly in their penetrability based on the density of branches.  It is easier to simply count the number of trees than to evaluate their sheltering effectiveness on a citywide or regional scale.  The Region 5 EarthDefine tree canopy >map indicates in 2018 Piedmont had at least 25 trees per person, using the 2010 census population of 10,667. How many Piedmont trees and significant tree branches have been lost in the past three years? 

California’s tree canopy was estimated to contain 173 million trees in 2017; the annual value of ecosystem services from these trees has been estimated at $8.3 billion and the urban forest asset has been valued at $181 billion (McPherson, E., et al 2017).  The tree canopy layer was created by EarthDefine, under contract with the USDA Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE).  See map of 2018 California tree canopy here.

The purpose of the Tree Canopy analysis is to help communities plan to retain or create the Climate Action benefits from trees.

A tree’s canopy cover – its leaves, branches, and stems that provide coverage of the ground – provides numerous environmental, social, and economic benefits:

– reduce summer peak temperatures,

– improve air quality,

– reduce stormwater run-off,

– enhance property values,

– provide wildlife habitat.

Using the California Tree Canopy map can help communities develop sustainability plans, and manage threats to canopy loss.

Sep 27 2021

Make the change to a healthier landscape now!

Piedmont Connect’s Fall FRONT Garden Tour and Related Events

Piedmont Connect’s Healthy Landscapes Fall Front Garden Tour begins Saturday, Sept. 25 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 3. During this period, Piedmonters can get sidewalk views of 14 selected front gardens featuring an array of drought-tolerant and native plant landscapes in neighborhoods throughout the City, from Baja to St. James Wood and from Moraga Ave. to Boulevard Way.

Check out www.piedmontconnect.org for a map [or see below] of the street addresses, plus photos and complete descriptions of the front gardens explaining what, when, why and how the gardens were transformed from lawns or ivy patches into healthier landscapes.

Additionally, join Piedmont Connect for two related events during the week of the garden tour: On Wednesday, Sept 29 at 10:30 a.m., join Dick Carter’s Wednesday Walkers group for a guided tour of some of the gardens on the Fall Front Garden Tour. A special guest from Piedmont Connect will discuss the significant features of the gardens on Dick’s customized walking route. Meet at the Piedmont Exedra to participate in this free Wednesday Walkers’ walking tour.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, from 7 to 8:15 p.m., Piedmont Connect, with City of Piedmont technical assistance, will host a Zoom event “Living With Drought”. Join the live webinar via the link at www.piedmontconnect.org. “Living With Drought” will be moderated by dynamic Piedmont resident and water expert Eileen White, following an introduction by Piedmont Parks Manager Nancy Kent. Our Water Our World’s Suzanne Bontempo will give helpful outdoor water-saving techniques.

For the finale, three Piedmont residents whose gardens are featured on the Fall Front Garden Tour will inspire viewers with their garden transformations, explaining how they use the latest research to sustain healthy ecosystems and maintain chemical-free, water-efficient oases that support a diversity of wildlife. There will be time for viewer questions and answers following the presentations.

For residents wanting to reduce water use, limit garden maintenance work, adapt to climate changes, build drought resiliency, and attract beneficial life to the garden, fall is the time of year when planting is recommended. Hoped-for (and likelier) winter rains help young or relocated plants to establish new root systems naturally, without supplemental water. Cooler temperatures also impede a few common plant pathogens to which some young plants are susceptible.

Make the change to a healthier landscape now!

By Hope Salzer and Marjorie Blackwell, Piedmont Connect

>Healthy Garden Tour Map

> Descriptions and photos of gardens

>CONNECT garden tour 2021