Mar 21 2012

Second Units, Rooms for Rent, Jobs, Very Low Income Housing in Piedmont

ABAG Stipulates More Housing and Jobs in Piedmont – 

At the March 19, City Council meeting City Planner Kate Black explained the new housing and jobs allocations for Piedmont that have been designated by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).  Based on California’s projected needs, ABAG, the regional planning agency for the nine Bay Area counties, apportions specific requirements for each city and county .  Piedmont has historically struggled with meeting ABAG’s requirements because of the lack of  available sites for businesses, parks and housing.

Despite Piedmont’s limitations as a built-out city with little opportunity to expand, ABAG continues to place demands on the City.  In recent years, Piedmont has taken innovative steps to expand its housing stock.  A few of the scarce vacant lots have new houses, and numerous existing homes have added second units. The Council has also encouraged the development of multi-family housing in Piedmont’s commercial zone.  In addition, zoning code language was clarified to allow rooms to be rented in existing houses.  Boarding houses continue to be disallowed.

While expressing an appreciation for making provision for Piedmont’s aging population by “aging in place” in second units, resident George Childs wondered about the unrelenting State demands for new housing units and how many more units the State would demand in the future.

The Council was particularly astounded at the demand for 490 new jobs in Piedmont by 2035.  Attracting large employers to develop suitable business opportunities in Piedmont seems unlikely. New jobs would also trigger the need for more housing units based on State criteria.

Kate Black said she will continue to pursue relief from the allotted requirements with ABAG.  Other cities are also not accepting the demands.  Corte Madera has dropped out of ABAG because of the unrealistic demands.

The Council held the first reading of the extensively rewritten Second Unit Ordinance.  Only minor adjustments were made  by the Council following exhaustive hearings at the Planning Commission and their unanimous recommendation to approve the ordinance.

Second Units have become the primary method of meeting ABAG housing requirements.  With the encouragement of the units, residents have found the option desirable.  The new ordinance specifically addresses the need for income-controlled units.

The Council also voted to approve a categorical exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on the new ordinance.

The second reading of the Second Unit Ordinance is expected at the first Council meeting on April 2.

To read the proposed Second Unit Ordinance and staff reports go to the City’s website at  and click on 03/19/12 – Introduction and 1st reading of Ord. 703 N.S. making changes to  the City Code regarding Second Units by rescinding Chapter 17D and modifying Chapter 17.


One Response to “Second Units, Rooms for Rent, Jobs, Very Low Income Housing in Piedmont”

  1. What are the implications of dropping out of ABAG like Corte Madera has done? Or, without dropping out, what happens if ABAG’s unrealistic demands are ignored?

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