Mar 19 2017

Zoning: Conflict with City Charter Explained in Declaration by Former Mayor

According to former Mayor Alice Creason, the “revision” of Chapter 17 of the City Code includes zoning language and intent contrary to the 1980 voter approved Piedmont City Charter requiring changes of use/classifications and zone sizes to be approved by Piedmont voters. Voter approval for proposed zoning changes is not being sought by the City Council.

On March 17, 2017 Creason submitted a notarized declaration to the City Council and others showing the correct interpretation of the City Charter, as approved by voters.  See detailed explanation below.

Creason a former Piedmont mayor (1982-84), Planning Commissioner (1976-78), liaison to the Planning Commission, participant in the development of the revised City Charter (1977 – 1980), and Council member (1978 -1986) states that the City is not adhering to the intent and actual language of the City Charter which requires Piedmont voter approval for specific zoning changes. The City Council has been or desires to change uses within Zone B (public) and Zone D (commercial) without Piedmont voter approval.

In a cover letter to the Council, Creason states that the City Council can:

  1.  Submit the proposed zoning changes to Piedmont voters for approval OR
  2.  Revise the City Charter to allow the Council to make the desired changes without voter approval.

The Creason cover letter to the City Council can be read by clicking > img023 .

The Creason Declaration explaining the City Charter intent and required voter approval can be read by clickingimg025.

The opposite interpretation by Piedmont’s new contract attorney can be read by clicking > img026 .

Actual zoning language in the City Charter below:

ARTICLE IX. General Provisions

SECTION 9.01 GENERAL PLAN The City Council shall adopt, and may from time to time, modify a general plan setting forth policies to govern the development of the City. Such plan may cover the entire City and all of its functions and services or may consist of a combination of plans governing specific functions and services or specific geographic areas which together cover the entire City and all of its functions and services. The plan shall also serve as a guide to Council action concerning such City planning matters as land use, development regulations and capital improvements.

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof; provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a singlefamily dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.

 Read the > City Charter 

One Response to “Zoning: Conflict with City Charter Explained in Declaration by Former Mayor”

  1. In 1996 the American Planners Association working with six Federal Agencies produced the Land Based Classification Standards (“LBCS”). That seminal work “extends the notion of classifying” into multiple dimensions of “activities, functions, building types, (and) site development characteristics .” The LBCS is referring to classifications only as use and not boundary changes.

    Zones establish use and use establishes the essential character of a City. Both defining the boundary of a zone and allowed use within a zone are the two essential elements and the City Charter is explicit in requiring a City wide vote for either a boundary or use change. Zoning is no more and certainly no less.

    The City’s opinion states only a boundary change requires a vote and that uses within a zone, the essential element of control within a zone, can be unilaterally changed by City Council despite the language of the City Charter. Resident’s legal right to control zoning by vote, as stated in the City Charter,is not being respected.

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