Dec 20 2016

Planning Commission Approves Second Unit, Addition of Second Story on one House and Basement for another Approved

   On November 14, 2016, I attended the Planning Commission meeting.  The Commission meets on the second Monday of every month at 5:00 p.m. to make decisions regarding proposed modifications or construction to homes and buildings in Piedmont. Some of the major issues that were brought up at the meeting were modifications that people wanted to make to their homes requiring the Planning Commission’s approval. The first project brought up was at 26 Littlewood Drive, where they wanted to add a second unit, enlarge a deck, and make modifications to windows and doors at the back and left side of the house. This was approved by the Planning Commission.

The second modification that was brought to the meeting for approval was at 108 Moraga Avenue.* The project was the most controversial one that was brought up because these homeowners wanted to build a second story onto their home, however it would obstruct the views of the neighboring home. The owners that wanted to build the second story did as much as they could to compromise with their neighbors by making several changes to their design as to not block their neighbors views. The project was approved because the homeowners did so much to try to compromise and in reality the only windows where views would be obstructed were two windows in a hallway and one in a bathroom. The homeowners, the architect, and neighbor all spoke on this topic. The homeowners explained the project and their reasoning for it. The architect was able to provide more specific details about the project and answer questions about the design. After the owners spoke and all of the questions were answered, the neighbor spoke and explained her concerns about the project. After this was done, the Planning Commission discussed what they thought of the project, keeping both sides of the argument in mind and came to the decision to approve the project.

    During the dinner break between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m., I interviewed Paki Muthig. Muthig attended the meeting seeking approval from the Planning Commission for the addition of a basement to his home at 306 Magnolia Avenue. He is both the owner of the home as well as the architect. Muthig said that if the project is approved, he will move forward with the project but if it is not he will “address the reason and come back.” After presenting his proposal to the Planning Commission they discussed his project and reviewed his designs and approved his project.

Josh Wood, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. * The 108 Moraga Avenue Planning Commission decision was appealed by a neighbor at the Dec. 19, 2016 City Council meeting.  The appeal was denied by the Council thus allowing the renovation to the house as approved by the Planning Commission.  The Council staff report can be read here. 

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