Nov 5 2014

Student Report on Planning Commission and Security Cameras

A Report on the Special Piedmont Planning Commission Meeting

– by Jordan Wong, a Piedmont Resident and PHS Student

The City of Piedmont Planning Commission met  on Thursday, October 30, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers for a special session.  This meeting’s purpose was to provide an update on the progress  on the state-mandated Draft Housing Element that all cities in California are required to comply with and submit.The Housing Element document’s purpose is to spell out the housing policies for all California cities from 2015-2022.

The City of Piedmont is small and has no land to further develop for any new housing. With the help of a private consultant, Barry Miller, the Planning Commission is able to include the addition of second units as a way to comply with the Housing Element. Part of the draft process is to allow residents to have the opportunity to provide comments or suggestions. There was no opposition from the Commission or audience about the progress and content of the draft at that meeting.

Barry Miller, a consultant  for  the City of  Piedmont, presented a detailed explanation of the draft and the Commission concurred with his findings and recommendations. Director of Planning, Kate Black, reported that she was happy with the working draft with Barry Miller’s work thus far in finding a way to comply with the State and preserving the landscape of Piedmont. Piedmont resident, Dimitri Magganas, from the audience, commended the Commission for their work on the Housing Element draft and wanted to bring to their attention that there was a lot of unused public space. It is unclear if this comment meant public space could be considered to add more housing or if there was a way to open up some of these public spaces for development.

In an interview with the Director of Planning, Kate Black, she said it was important for the public to be informed about the Housing Element’s progress. The special meeting was an update on the progress of the draft and if the public wanted to make any suggestions on what had been presented, that evening was a good time to do it. The next action of the Planning Commission is to present the Housing Element to the City Council for further action.

The topic I presented was on security cameras and the need for guidelines and/or regulations for their placement and installation. This is an ongoing issue in my neighborhood and I really feel that there is a privacy issue that should be addressed by the Planning Commission.  Director of Planning, Kate Black, acknowledged my concern and said that they will be reviewing and updating the Code soon and will add my request to their agenda. I was a little nervous about speaking in public, but the Commission members were very nice and appeared to pay attention to what I had to say about the security cameras. Personally, I think they were surprised that I was there and had an issue to present.


The following is the text of Mr. Wong’s comments to the Planning Commission.

“Hello, my name is Jordan Wong, I am a senior at Piedmont High. This is an item that is not on your agenda this evening. I observed the Planning Commission uses design review for home remodeling and fences. Do you foresee adding design review for home security cameras in the future? There is a proliferation of security cameras on so many homes in Piedmont. I suggest there should be some guidelines for placement. They are not only unattractive but they stick out like a sore thumb which some may find interesting because there is so much input needed for a fence but nothing for a camera.  I bring this up particularly as I feel there is an invasion of privacy in my own backyard. A home for sale behind my house, currently unoccupied, had security cameras installed. One in particular looks down into our backyard. As you can understand, I feel it is an invasion of privacy and I would like a review of security camera placement requirements of either a permit or a design review. Thank you.”

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