Jun 1 2019

Changes to Design Guidelines to be Decided Monday, June 3 by Piedmont City Council

Every property, home, business, landscape, zone, fence, and development is potentially impacted by the proposed Design Guidelines. 

“It would be really helpful if some sort of an Executive Summary was provided briefly describing exactly what these changes are relative to existing guidelines. An explanation
regarding the need for these changes and what impact they will have on specific sites ( Valero Gas Station, for example ) should also be included.” PCA Commenter

To try to understand the new Design Guideline changes residents will need to spend hours reading the proposal and checking it against the existing guidelines. 

As an aid to understanding what will be different in the future, community members requested an Executive Summary of the voluminous pages in the proposed Design Guidelines.  None was produced. 

Upon an inquiry by PCA made to Planning Director Kevin Jackson, he stated,  “The report itself is an executive summary. If you are interested in what is changing in the guidelines, I suggest you review pages 4-6 of the report and Attachment 2-A on pages 13-21.” 5/23/19

Below is an entire list of the various Chapters of the proposal as posted on the City website:

Within the proposed Guidelines, there are numerous professionally taken color photos of “YES” AND “NO” designs either meeting or failing the guidelines. 

Readers might find it interesting to see if their home is pictured as a YES, meeting proposed Design Guidelines, by clicking the Chapter links above. 

Changes to building requirements were considered by a staff chosen group of individuals, plus two Planning Commissioners, Behrens and Ramsey, who met a number of times with the City consultants and Planning staff.  No neighborhoods were included in the deliberations and no public notice or general public participation was included in the development of the Guidelines.  The proposed Design Guidelines have been presented as a package to Piedmont decision makers – Planning Commission and City Council. 

The Planning Commission has recommended approval of  the Guidelines.  The City Council will give a one time consideration of the Guidelines at their meeting Monday, May 3, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting is open to public participation, and the meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and the City website under videos/ City Council. 

Throughout the Guidelines, there are  references to prior documents – General Plan and Zoning Ordinance.  Those not regularly working with the planning process will find it difficult to ferret out the changes proposed and their impact upon their property or neighborhood. Most residents will learn of the Guidelines when projects are considered by the Planning Department. 

If you have the time or interest to read the proposal, the Design Guidelines are available at:

Staff report for 6/3/19 is below:

06/03/19 – Consideration of the Adoption of Design Guidelines

Below is the City notice regarding the proposed changes.

At its meeting on Monday, June 3, 2019, the City Council will consider updates to the city’s Design Guidelines, which provide a framework for actions of staff and the Planning Commission in making decisions regarding planning applications from residents. During this meeting, the City Council will receive a presentation from staff, take testimony from the public, engage in a discussion, and consider adoption of the updated Design Guidelines.


In April 2018, the Planning Commission appointed a subcommittee comprised of two commissioners, City staff and planning consultants to draft updates to the Design Guidelines, which were originally adopted in 1988. At the end of March 2019 the subcommittee completed its work and draft updated Guidelines were posted on the City’s website. The Planning Commission considered the document during its meetings of April 8 and May 13, at which the Commissioners unanimously voted to recommend that the City Council adopt the updated Design Guidelines.

This project to update and reformat the City of Piedmont Design Guidelines is the fifth and final phase of policy updates undertaken in response to the adoption of the General Plan in 2009 and the Housing Element in 2011. The first four phases were related to revisions of City Code Chapter 17 (the Zoning Ordinance) and were completed between 2012 and 2017. Specifically, Action 28.E in the Design and Preservation Element of the 2009 General Plan calls for the City’s Design Guidelines to be updated.

Draft updated Design Guidelines

In addition to updating and reformatting the guidelines for single-family residential construction, the draft update includes new guidelines specific to multi-family residential construction, commercial and mixed-use construction commercial signage, and landscaping. A chapter that includes design guidelines for wireless communication facilities will be added at a future date.

The draft Design Guidelines are available on the City’s website at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/design-guidelines-update/. Printed copies are available for viewing at the Public Works counter in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

Public Engagement

Public comment is invited throughout the process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to read the draft Design Guidelines and staff report, and attend the City Council meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 3, 2019 in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

For questions on the contents of the Design Guidelines, please contact Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov or (510) 420-3039.

If you wish to write to the City Council regarding the proposed updated Design Guidelines, please send an email to citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or send a letter to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s office 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

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