May 13 2014

Piedmont Encourages New Housing

Facts show Piedmont is not acting to constrain housing production according to the City’s planning consultant, Barry Miller.

Piedmont’s design review, site improvement requirements, bonding requirements, permit fees, impact fees and permit processing fees, while all potential constraints are not functioning to constrain new housing production in Piedmont. It is not the Charter or City zoning, but the restricted land available, cost of construction, single family housing demand, etc., that limit housing production. The City’s fees are lower than the fees of surrounding communities and the requirements are simpler and more streamlined.

Piedmont’s second units were a focus of the consultant’s presentation: the occupancy levels of legal units; how to identify the illegal units; and preventing displacement of low-income renters in second units. Some of the rent-restricted affordable second units produced during the current 2007-14 period will expire during the upcoming 2015 -2022 period.  Staff will develop ways of encouraging the owners to continue the rent restrictions voluntarily to avoid expelling the low-income renters. Staff suspects there are also unregistered second units and vacant permitted second units. There will be an outreach program to suspected illegal second units to bring them into the program. Piedmont prohibits short-term rental of Air B& B type units, but some are listed online.

Although Piedmont is required to submit an updated Housing Element to the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) by January 31, 2015, compliance is not required to be completed by that date. Piedmont’s current Housing Element was approved three years ago, four years after the beginning of the period.

The Planning Department wants input on the Draft Housing Element.  On June 26, a community meeting is scheduled to be held in the Emergency Operations Center of the Police Department.  Since the meeting is not expected to be broadcast, interested individuals should attend the meeting.

A suggestion was made to send June 26 meeting invitations to second unit property owners and their tenants, requesting attendance at the meeting to describe their experiences with second units.  Notifying second unit neighbors was not suggested. 

By October the consultant hopes to have a review letter from HCD on the working draft of the updated Housing Element, as staff moves ahead to have an approved Housing Element ahead of schedule.

Leave a Comment