Apr 9 2016

For Profit Businesses in Public Zone B, Reduced Parking Requirements, Setback Changes, Staff Approved Variances: Planning Commission Hearing Monday, April 11

Extensive changes to Piedmont building requirements and zone uses proposed-

  • Should public property be rezoned to allow for-profit uses?
  • Should variances be easier to obtain?
  • Should parking requirements be reduced?
  • Should lot size requirements be reduced?
  • Should zoning code be changed to allow a local newspaper to occupy a City building as noted in the March staff report?

Staff proposals offer leniency and reduced restrictions for variances and other building standards. 

The Planning Commission will discuss significant revisions to the City’s Chapter 17 “parking space dimensions, secondary structures, setback measurements, for-profit enterprises in Zone B, and other topics.

Piedmonters who want to participate in changes to Piedmont’s Chapter 17 will need to wait until an undetermined time on Monday night, April 11 for the “public hearing” that follows the Planning Commission’s regular business on Design Review and variance applications.  Regular business starts at 5:00 p.m. 

Planning Commission Agenda item 11 at the end of the evening is the “public hearing” on revisions to the City’s Zoning Code (Chapter 17) and Residential Design Review Guidelines. The agenda item to consider the changes is listed as a “public hearing,” however if history repeats, few, if any public individuals will be present when proposed changes are reviewed. Publicity on the proposed changes has been limited.

The Planning Department staff typically does not make outright recommendations; however, as in this instance and for many matters that come before the Planning Commission, only one alternative is provided and pros and cons are rarely presented. 

Regarding For-Profit Enterprises in Zone B the staff report states:

“Currently only public agencies and nonprofit enterprises are permitted in City Buildings in Zone B. The Commission may want to consider allowing for-profit enterprises that provide a valuable service to City residents to be located in Zone B as a conditional use. A local newspaper or child care center might fit this criteria.”                                 

March 16, 2016 staff report

Some revisions to Chapter 17 are mandatory in order to comply with the Council and State approved General Plan and Housing Element. Other revisions are voluntary. The proposed  Code amendments are “extensive and complicated” according to the City’s Interim Planning Director, Kevin Jackson.

Read the proposed revisions to be considered  Monday night here and here.

Revisions focusing on second units include:

Incentives to support development of new second units; monitor opportunities for units in homes that do not yet have them; collecting information on occupancy and rents charged; monitor vacant units; reduce off-street parking requirement; and maintain an inventory of available units for extremely low income families.

Parking Requirements:

An off-street parking place is currently required for a second unit. Changing laws regarding parking requirements may impact neighborhoods where quality of life and safety are concerns.  Parking is an issue in many areas for homes, businesses, schools, parks, and public uses.

Setback requirements, lot size and frontage requirements, and other long standing standards are proposed to be changed.  The proposed changes are in the staff report. 

AirBnB :

In September 2015, the City Council determined that house swaps should not be regulated, but short term rentals (including online peer to peer such as AirBnB) should be prohibited in second units and apartments.  In November 2015, the Planning Commission recommended prohibition of all short term rentals in Piedmont.

At the public hearing the Commission will take testimony from members of the public on the revisions under consideration. The Commission may then provide comments or direction to the staff on updates and revisions to the City’s Zoning Code  and Residential Design Review Guidelines.

“The purpose of the hearing is to take public testimony on the subject. Citizens are encouraged to submit comments to Interim Planning Director Kevin Jackson, City of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611 or via email @ kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us.”

The Planning Commission meeting starts at 5:00 p.m. with a dinner break around 6:30 p.m. The entire meeting will be broadcast via Cable Channel 27 and also streamed live on the City website under videos.

All actions by the Commission are recommendations to the City Council, who will make the final decisions on the matter.

No stand-alone public hearings have been proposed as of this writing.

Listed below are City links to various documents related to this project:

Staff Reports, in chronological order:

Follow this link to find the Minutes for the above Planning Commission meetings.

One Response to “For Profit Businesses in Public Zone B, Reduced Parking Requirements, Setback Changes, Staff Approved Variances: Planning Commission Hearing Monday, April 11”

  1. The essence of zoning is what use is permitted in a particular zone. A commercial business is not one of the permitted uses in Zone B (PCC Ch 17.6.2). A zone change requires a city wide vote. Unfortunately these important issues are again being buried at the tail end of a lengthy Planning Commission Meeting.

    The staff report also states: “At the regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting on May 9, 2016, staff will return with a subsequent report outlining additional potential revisions to the Code, such as: changes to the uses and/or regulations for Zones B, C, D & E;” Perhaps Staff will schedule the hearings on zone changes at a more convenient time for the May 9th Planning Commission hearing?

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