May 16 2021

Piedmont Plans to Add 587 New Housing Units

AGENDA and Ways to participate in the May 19th meeting of the Housing Advisory meeting.  Click below.

On May 3, 2021, the Piedmont City Council approved a proposal from Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) for approximately $700,000 to prepare updates to the Housing Element of the Piedmont General Plan.

State requirements have challenged City officials to find sites and policies to promote the construction of 587 new houses and apartments by 2031.

The cost of the next Housing Element policy document and associated General Plan amendments is estimated at $691,000, with $172,000 earmarked for public engagement and outreach.

Planning and Building Director Kevin Jackson stated, “With approval of LWC as the lead housing consultant, the City moves forward with planning to meet the mandates set by the State of California, starting with meetings of the new Piedmont Housing Advisory Committee on May 19 and June 15, 2021. We are confident that the Piedmont community will come together to share ideas and expertise to solve the region’s housing crisis.”

The May and June Housing Advisory Committee meetings will feature results of the citywide fair housing survey and pinnable map tools, which closed for public comment mid-April. The citywide fair housing survey and pinnable map were funded through a $160,000 grant awarded to Piedmont by the State of California SB2 planning grant program.

LWC is expected to present their analysis of Piedmonters’ ideas, design preferences, and understanding of new housing laws, as well as LWC’s recommendations for guiding principles for new tools to accelerate Piedmont affordable housing production.

The Piedmont community is invited to attend. The agendas and instructions for participating in the meetings on May 19 and June 15, 2021 , which start at 5 pm, will be posted at

The May and June Housing Advisory Committee meetings will be televised live on KCOM-TV, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site

For more information and project updates, please visit the City of Piedmont’s web site at

52021 Revised City of Piedmont Press Release May 4 2021

3 Responses to “Piedmont Plans to Add 587 New Housing Units”

  1. The State Mandates (Regional Housing Needs Assessments or RHNA) imposed on Piedmont are a cookie-cutter approach to solve the state wide housing shortage. There is little (if any) concern about retaining the character of unique small cities such as Piedmont; it’s a numbers game. Piedmont can comply with the mandate by creative thinking as it has done to date.

    To comply with RHNA, the City has to create potential for significantly more housing. The challenge is to comply with legal requirements and commensurately retain the character of Piedmont. 95% of Piedmont homes are in Zone A which has an 8,000 lot size minimum for a single home. With about 3,850 homes in Piedmont, there are about 2,620 existing homes in Piedmont on lots smaller than 8,000 square feet (“sf”). There are homes in Piedmont on lots as small as 2,000 and 2,250 sf. There are about 420 existing homes or about 11% of the housing stock, on lots 4,000 sf or less.

    The intrinsic character of Piedmont can be maintained by lowering the minimum buildable lot size to 4,000 sf. Larger lots in Zone A can be subdivided without a cumbersome zoning variance each time and allow many more single family homes. Floor Area Restrictions (FAR) would remain which will limit the size of the homes making them relatively affordable, especially if ADUs are constructed commensurately. Apartment buildings are undesirable and creative solutions can be found.

  2. What are the penalties/consequences for not complying with the state requirements?

  3. Rick’s comments are correct. The state and ABAG use distribution formulas which bear little resemblance to the facts on the ground. Piedmont is largely built out. We were told in the past that our city’s housing stock is, on average, the oldest in the state. Regardless of what type of magic numbers get put in the upcoming Housing Element, all that can reasonably happen is an increase in ADUs and possibly some new apartments on Grand and Oakland avenues. Piedmont’s high property values and relatively small lots make the likelihood of a developer assembling several lots to create a building site for a large apartment project very low.
    In response to the question of what might happen if Piedmont were to ignore the housing law, the answer is uncertain. Orinda ignored doing one in a recent cycle and nothing happened. In theory a suit could be filed against Piedmont which could, depending on outcome, prevent Piedmont from issuing any building permits. Alternatively, affordable housing developers could propose projects, and the city would be limited in its ability to deny or even condition project approval. It’s clearly better to play the game and get a Housing Element approval from California Housing and Community Development (CA HCD).

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