Jan 10 2022

OPINION: Plan Commission Should Retain the Inherent Character of Piedmont

Planning Commission
c/o Kevin Jackson, City Planner
Re: SB9 Implementation Planning Commission Meeting on January 10, 2022
Dear Planning Commissioners,
 SB9 has created a clear path to satisfying RHNA requirements and retaining the essential character of Piedmont. The choice is clear as by embracing SB9 the City can retain Piedmont’s rigorous Design Review for new housing.  Design Review importantly retains both essential aesthetic character and protects resident light and privacy.  By-Right ADUs afford no such protection.  Sadly the City is moving in a direction of allowing front lot zero setback mini-tower ADUs over existing garages and invasion of existing resident privacy if a new ADU is a mere 10 feet and 1 inch away which then allows window placement directly over and into existing living areas and bedrooms.
     The City seems to be ignoring the potential of satisfying the Housing Element by not doing analysis that demonstrate what percentage of existing single-family zoned land parcels have the potential for increased redevelopment by adding duplexes. In reality SB9 has rezoned all single lots into higher density.  With a minimum of 800 sq ft residences allowed, the City can show that middle and moderate income housing mandates are satisfied.
     Planning Commissioners can make a critical decision now to retain the inherent character of Piedmont and comply with our RHNA. I urge the PC to direct Staff to submit comments to HCD as to the significant additional potential that is a result of rezoning by SB9 and the ADU legislation. My layman’s reading of SB9 indicates there is nothing in the legislation that HCD [California Housing and Community Development Department] can cite to deny our ability to count the potential of many possible split parcels and increased housing numbers.
Rich Schiller, Piedmont Resident

2 Responses to “OPINION: Plan Commission Should Retain the Inherent Character of Piedmont”

  1. The rushed passage of so much pro-housing legislation has apparently produced significant confusion as to how the various state-mandated measures mesh with each other. The applicability of counting SB9 duplexes and by-right ADUs toward the city’s RHNA needs to be confirmed before the city rushes down the wrong path in its Housing Element process. I commend Mr. Schiller for his research and analysis.

  2. Not including the potential of SB9 to provide for housing in the 2023-2031 Housing Element would be a big mistake. It would force the plan to make other more impactful changes to piedmont’s housing character.

    One of the core principles of the development of low and moderate income housing in Piedmont is that it be equitably distributed throughout all zones. As it proposes with ADUs, the Housing Element could incentivize such housing all over town through granting variances on minimum frontage and setbacks if the developed housing was rented for low and moderate incomes for 10 years. Such incentives would distribute such housing more equitably throughout the community.

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