Jan 8 2017

Concerns over City Council Consideration of Significant and Expansive Revisions to the Planning and Zoning Provisions of the City Code

Wednesday, January 11, 7:30 p.m. in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center is the first Study Session.


  • Lack of usable/comprehensible public information and citizen input
  • Eliminating requirements for construction on public property
  • Changing land uses without voter approval per the City Charter
  • Charging the Planning staff with approvals for projects under $125,000 rather than the Planning Commission
  • Allowing construction up to a property line
  • Reducing the number and size of parking places required
  • Leaving the Appeal process uncorrected
  • Handling of short term rentals
  • Neighborhood and emergency concerns over density and commercial increases next to homes, schools, and public property

No broadcast or recording of the Council meeting will be available.

The Council is to be educated on proposed zoning changes on January 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center.  This room has no equipment to visually memorialize or broadcast the proceedings.   Meetings regarding the City budget are typically held in the room, also without public broadcasting. 

The meeting is open to the public.  How the public can participate in the discussions, navigate the proposals, or query the presentation by Planning Director Kevin Jackson is unannounced.  

The volume and organization of the content is not listed under staff reports on the City website. The proposed changes are unclear relative to existing law.  Some members of the public have asked that specific items be identified and publicized so the public can come and speak to items as they arise.  No public workshops, surveys or study sessions have been organized. 

The factor most often mentioned regarding the Chapter 17 changes has been lack of public involvement in the Planning Commission recommendations, which were not unanimously approved by the Planning Commission. Surveys for recreation facilities and waste management have been widely publicized unlike the impactful changes to Chapter 17.  What the City, you, your neighbors, developers, can do with public and private property in Piedmont fall under Chapter 17.   The proposed changes generally originate from the staff. 

A few Piedmonters, the City, and developers have pushed to further densify the City, change zoning, and remove restrictions on use of public property.  A few knowledgeable Piedmonters have voiced objections to rezoning and changing land use without a public vote, allowing fewer and smaller parking spaces, encouraging buildings next to property lines, and removing approval processes from public consideration.  Voices expressing the preference to uphold Piedmont’s small town feeling appear to have been negated.  Appeal processes, Planning staff decision increases, commercial development intensity next to emergency facilities, homes and schools, involvement of the residents on a broad base have been issues.

Read City documents on the proposed changes here.



Study Session, 7:30 p.m.,Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Study Session, 6:30 p.m., Monday, January 23, 2017

Regular Meeting, Monday, March 6, 2017

At Study Sessions on January 11th and 23rd, 2017 the City Council will begin the process of considering a recommendation from the Planning Commission regarding updates to the Planning and Zoning Provisions of the City Code, the City’s Design Guidelines, and Policies and Procedures related to Planning matters in early 2017. No action will be taken at the study sessions.

Study Sessions:

7:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 11, 2017, EOC, 403 Highland Avenue – [This location typically precludes broadcast of the session.]

6:30 p.m., Monday, January 23, 2017, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue – [There has been no announcement regarding broadcast of the session.]

Following the study sessions, the Council is tentatively scheduled to take the first step in considering the recommendation for adoption at its regular meeting of March 6, 2017.

Regular Meeting: 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 6, 2017, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue


The City of Piedmont General Plan, adopted in 2009, and the 2011 and 2014 updates to its Housing Element include actions and programs that mandate revisions to Chapter 17 of the City Code, otherwise known as the Zoning Code. Additional revisions to consider are voluntary but equally important to improving and streamlining planning services in the city. Beginning in 2012, the Planning Commission and City Council held a series of meetings resulting in the adoption of planned revisions in 2012 and 2013. In addition, in 2014 and 2015, the Planning Commission and City Council separately discussed regulations of short term rentals.

Current Effort and Planning Commission Recommendation

The larger goal mandated by the General plan is a comprehensive update of the zoning code. In 2016, in a concerted effort to achieve this goal, the Planning Commission has held and completed discussions about a variety of topics related to potential revisions during five regularly scheduled meetings and two special meetings. At a subsequent special meeting held on November 10, 2016, the Planning Commission unanimously adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council adopt a revised Chapter 17,

Planning and Land Use, adopt an Interim Design Guidelines, and repeal policies incorporated into the Code or Guidelines.

Documents on the City Website

The staff report to Council dated March 6, 2017 and other documents related to this project are available on the City’s website at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us. The webpage also contains links to previous staff reports, meeting minutes, the General Plan, the current Zoning Code (Chapter 17) and the Zoning Map.

Public Engagement

The opportunity for public input is available throughout this process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend the study sessions and regular meetings at which the City Council will consider this item. Questions about the project and requests to receive email notification of activities related to Zoning Code revisions should be directed to Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us or (510) 420-3039.

Written comments to the City Council on this matter may be submitted to citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

As noted in previous email notices, the City Council will be considering the Planning Commission’s recommended revisions to Chapter 17 of the Piedmont City Code, which contains land-use and planning regulations, including regulations of short term rentals. The Planning Commission also recommended adoption of an Interim Design Guidelines. Prior to its consideration of the revisions for adoption, the City Council will hold two study sessions regarding the matter. The meeting dates are as follows

  • Study Session: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 – 7:30 p.m., EOC, 403 Highland Avenue
  • Study Session: Monday, January 23, 2017 – 6:30 p.m., City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue
  • Regular Meeting: Monday, March 6, 2017 – 7:30 p.m., City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the study sessions and the regular meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the Council via email at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or via US Mail addressed to City Clerk John Tulloch at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

Please visit the City’s Webpage dedicated to the proposed revisions to Chapter 17 and Interim Design Guidelines for more information, including the report to Council and my recommendation on how to navigate the report.


Kevin Jackson, AICP, Planning Director, City of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

Tel: (510) 420-3039  Fax: (510) 658-3167

One Response to “Concerns over City Council Consideration of Significant and Expansive Revisions to the Planning and Zoning Provisions of the City Code”

  1. Every word of every idea proposed regarding the business of our city should be recorded and streamed to our citizens.We have just been notified that the January 11th meeting will be held in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center and that no equipment to visually memorialize or broadcast the proceedings is available and that the meetings regarding the CITY BUDGET are also held in this technologically medieval public info dead zone. We need, not only openness, but the appearance of squeaky-clean openness, and at a time when virtually any Piedmont 5th grader could record and stream any meeting, anywhere,at any time,this situation does not pass the sniff test. Move the meeting to a connected location or call in a 5th grader to demonstrate how our expensive Piedmont Schools have delivered the goods in equipping our children to be leaders in the world of tech.
    The issues to be discussed at this meeting are some of the most important ever considered regarding the future safety and character of Piedmont. They are defining issues and require the distilled collective wisdom of EVERY Piedmonter.
    Sunny Bostrom-Fleming

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