Oct 19 2019

Paving Costs, Appeal of Planning Commission’s Denial of Accessory Unit, City Council Monday, October 21

The Piedmont City Council will meet on Monday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue. The meeting will be broadcast live on the City website and Cable Channel 27.  Recordings of the meetings are available on the City website.

Ceremonial Items

Presentation of Proclamation Regarding Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Presentation of Proclamation Regarding Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Regular Agenda

  1. Approval of Council Meeting Minutes for 09/03/19 and 09/16/19
  2. PUBLIC HEARING Regarding an Appeal of the Planning Commission’s Decision to Deny an Application for a Design Review Permit for an Accessory Structure at 89 Maxwelton Road (Read staff report)   Staff recommends that the Council overrule the Planning Commission’s denial of a design review permit for a new accessory unit.
  3. Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the City Administrator to Sign an Agreement with East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) for Cost Sharing Associated with Pavement Restoration on Sunnyside, Olive, and Oakland Avenues   (Read staff report.)  The City’s maximum share includes the base amount of $152,251, as well as a contingency amount of an additional 10% to cover any potential unanticipated overruns, bringing the total maximum amount to $167,476.  The paving is in connection with the pipeline replacement project.  EBMUD is scheduled to begin this project on 10/21/19 at 7am on Sunnyside, Oakland and Olive Ave.

4 Responses to “Paving Costs, Appeal of Planning Commission’s Denial of Accessory Unit, City Council Monday, October 21”

  1. I am a resident in the area where the paving will commence. Olive and Sunnyside streets have been a total mess since EBMUD finished with the project about a year ago. I really don’t know why EBMUD isn’t responsible for repairing the mess they left, but am nonetheless happy that this work is finally being completed. $300,000 seems like a very large amount to repave these streets, considering that Oakland Avenue doesn’t appear to be in nearly as bad a shape as the other two streets.

  2. Speaking from both sides (applicant and council member), these appeals are difficult and complex. That said, this recommendation from staff would seem to be unprecedented – has planning staff ever supported a reversal of a Planning Commission recommendation? In that regard, the majority faction of the Commission in this case has at least two very experienced, long-tenured members who know city code and standards very well (Levine and Ramsey). Hopefully Council members have spoken with them to understand their interpretation of city code in this matter.

    Do ADUs really not count towards floor area ratio? It seems the Commission twice rejected this project for that and other reasons. Is this ADU just an attempt to claim back area for the house? In my experience, Planning Commissioners have seen it all and get very good at sensing when there’s an end run.

  3. Unless I missed it, there is no mention of the city’s Complete Streets policy in the staff report. This policy commits the city to upgrading pedestrian and bicycle use of the street every time a street is replaced. This policy may be the basis for the pending installation of bollards around town. Are any bike/ped improvements being undertaken with this repave?


    First, the sour grapes: at its 10/21 meeting the City Council voted unanimously to overturn a denial of design permit by the Piedmont Planning Commission . A rare event. The decision was, in my opinion, based solely on political expediency centering on “ADUs”- an important civic consideration – that was a never part of the consideration by the Planning Commission and sets a problematic precedent for future residential development in our city.

    Without relitigating the details of that decision I’ll point out that seven separate Planning Commissioners- most leaders in their fields of architecture, design and the like, Piedmont residents voted against these similar designs on three occasions over a three year period of time- neighborhood opposition has been consistent throughout the process. For the reversal of the Commission’s decision stood: two Planning Commissioners, nonresident Staff who opined on design elements and related matters outside their purview and not burdened by any evident qualification, the applicant, one non-profit advocacy organization and three non neighbor character witnesses.

    The advent of ADUs as a civic issue in our State and Piedmont is a legitimate one. I’m not sure there’s a housing crisis so much as an affordable housing crisis but that’s almost beside the point- the fact is it’s political catnip today and not going away tomorrow. I hope we have the civic wisdom to evaluate and plan for the infrastructure changes necessary to accommodate the additional population those ADUs will generate over time; and also to guard against those who would exploit the issue to circumvent the principals articulated in our General Plan and Design Guidelines.

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