Mar 27 2019

Piedmont Valero and Shell Service Stations Closing ?

Will the properties be converted to multi-family housing?

Piedmonters are shocked and saddened to learn that by April 30th they will lose the Valero gas and service station in the center of Piedmont at Highland Way and Highland Avenue operated by Simon Ho.

Ho has rented the property for over 10 years and gained a highly regarded reputation for his service to the community and its many vehicles. Although negotiations had been occurring, Ho cannot meet the rental increase demands of owner Tarvinder Bains from $8,000 per month to $17,000.  Consequently, Ho has made plans to relocate his automobile repair business to MacArthur Avenue in the Dimond District of Oakland.

Bains has proposed no new plans for the property, however a significant new factor is a potential change of use allowed by Piedmont’s recent zoning change directly impacting the property.

Without voter approval, although required by the Piedmont City Charter, the property was rezoned from Commercial to Commercial and Multi-family housing (Mixed Use). The zoning change allows multi-family housing plus commercial use of the properties in the former Commercial zone. The zoning change allows housing projects with a height of essentially 3 stories to be built in the zone.

The zoning change approved by the Piedmont City Council not only impacts the Valero Station property in the center of Piedmont, but the Shell Station property recently noted “For Sale” at the corner of Wildwood and Grand Avenues.

A subcommittee of the Planning Commission has been meeting regularly to discuss and consider recommendations on Design Guidelines that would impact all zones in Piedmont including the aforementioned properties.  The meetings have not been open to the public.

“[Planning] Commissioner [Tom] Ramsey reported the subcommittee reviewed a complete draft Update of the Design Guidelines and provided comments. The majority of the consultants’ work has been consolidating information from various sections of the Guidelines and receiving feedback from local architects and Commissioners. Planning Director Jackson advised that draft Design Guidelines will be released for public review later in March, and the release will contain the dates for submission of public comments. The draft Design Guidelines will be presented to the Planning Commission on April 8 for discussion. At its May meeting, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council. Planning Director Jackson thanked Chair Behrens and Commissioner Ramsey for serving on the subcommittee. Chair Behrens remarked that the use of photographs rather than drawings in the draft Design Guidelines gives more reality to accompanying comments.”  Minutes of March 2019 Planning Commission meeting. 

Planning Commission Agenda on Monday, April 8:


Receipt of a draft update of the City of Piedmont Design Guidelines, an informational report from the City’s consultant regarding the draft update, including an opportunity for public comment and Commissioner discussion.

The meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast live starting at 5:00 p.m. on Channel 27 and on the Piedmont website under videos, Planning Commission. 

Once the Planning Commission reviews the subcommittee, staff and consultants recommendations and approves them, their recommended Design Guidelines will go to the City Council for consideration and potential approval.  These meetings will be open to the public.

Valero and Shell Stations:

When there is a proposed change of use, all proposals must go before the Piedmont Planning Commission and the Piedmont City Council to receive Conditional Use Permit approval.  Public notification to nearby property owners is required when changes are reviewed, but, recently, when important changes were made to uses within the city, the city as a whole was not informed. 

Individuals interested in the development of either properties, Valero or Shell, can inform the Piedmont Planning Department and the Piedmont City Council of their desire to be notified when and if new plans are proposed for the two properties.

Planning Department –

City Council –

For more information, contact Planning Director Kevin Jackson:

Leave a Comment