Jan 21 2020

Council Moves Ahead with ADU Ordinance: Next Consideration February 3rd

Piedmont City Council approved the first reading of a binding ADU ordinance while leaving open a number of outstanding questions. The required Second consideration will be on Monday, February 3, 2020, 7:30 p.m., City Hall. 

ADU applications that comply with a new binding ordinance will be approved by city staff without neighbor notification or public participation.  ADUs will be approved “by right.”  Parking, privacy, and views will not be allowed to be considered.

Planning Director Kevin Jackson and City Attorney Michelle Kenyon acknowledged that it had been difficult to determine the ramifications of the various State laws and their impact on Piedmont’s proposed ordinances. 

Numerous outstanding issues remain: safety requirements including street width and existing parking, driveway widths, fire safety, distance from a bus stop by foot, clarity on design review requirements, landscaping, enlargements to garages on the property line, risks of waiting to approve an ADU ordinance until information is provided by the state, deed restrictions, opaque window requirements, balconies, etc.

The Council supports increased Piedmont density by adding more ADUs approved by staff.   There will be no public notice or consideration by the Planning Commission on conforming ADUs.  Higher and taller ADUs over 16 feet were also sought by the Council. 

The Council seeks to meet regional housing needs, especially for below market rate housing, through increased ADUs. The Planning Department was praised for their efforts.

City Planning Consultant Michael Henn of Piedmont spoke to the Council on January 21 asking for a more considered approach on the ADU ordinance by awaiting  the California Department of Housing and Community Development guidelines assisting cities on ordinances regarding ADUs. 

Henn carefully explained his approval of ADUs and his prior role drafting ordinances.  He recommended a delay in ordinance approval by the Council pending further information on what other cities are approving for appropriate Piedmont ADUs.

Below is the Henn letter sent to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

I am a city planning consultant in the East Bay. I am following the creation of local ADU ordinances. I have been told that HCD is preparing new guidelines to assist cities with AB 68& 881& SB 13.
If so, when do you expect them to be available?
Michael Henn, AICP
Piedmont CA


Attached you will find our guidance memo. We are working on an ADU booklet (similar to the previous HCD ADU Booklet), which will have a sample ordinance, a summary of the recent legislation, and an FAQ section. Expect that booklet out in the next month or so. In the meantime, feel free to send in any questions you may have. Thanks!

  • Jose

READ Information from Housing and Community Development > ADU TA AB 881 others 01-10-20

Despite the long processes to amend ordinances, the Council did not want to delay the ordinance.  There appeared to be no consideration of how other small cities were dealing with ADU requirements.

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