Sep 7 2022

More Housing Concerns and Questions

Piedmonters have called for clearer explanations on what is proposed in the Housing Element.  Helpful explanations would include:

  • Specific diagrams of any new and safer roads near schools and in the Morago Canyon Area where housing is proposed, including cost projections for road improvements.
  • The state is looking for zoning changes to increase housing density. How is Piedmont proposing to comply with the City Charter and Piedmont voters rights on zoning changes increasing density?
  • High density housing in Piedmont is being proposed to a height of 6 stories.  This height is greater than existing buildings in Piedmont.  How does this not change the character of the city and stay in  compliance with Piedmont ordinances and design review standards?
  • Currently, a small number of dwelling units are in the Moraga Canyon area. How will services be provided including: transit, pedestrian access, monitoring of low-income and affordable rents, public safety access, etc. –  for the hundreds of new dwelling units proposed? How will the additional workload and costs be covered ?
  • The Housing Element once adopted by the City and the Department of Housing and Community Development becomes a “property use right. “ On city and private property, what are city and voter controls over development and costs after the Housing Element has been adopted by the City Council?
  • The City is not required to build the housing.  However, the use of City land is essential to meeting the large numbers of dwelling units required of the HE.  What right does the City have to participate in leasing, selling, or assisting in the use of public lands per the State Constitution Article 34 and the City Charter without voter approval of the zoning use changes?
  • Commercial developers paired with government money await the opportunity to build in Piedmont as supported locally by influencers in and outside of Piedmont.   What is the schedule to provide  Piedmont voters with their right to vote on the HE zoning changes prior to final adoption?
  • Outreach efforts by Piedmont have been clouded and confused by partial information and changes to the proposed HE.  Why isn’t or wasn’t a mailed survey sent to every residence in Piedmont to learn of voters concerns and interests?
  • What are the requirements for building high density dwelling units in Piedmont, including: height limits, density, street configurations, utilities, public safety, trees, transit, parks, sewers, water, landslides, fire protection, parking, lighting, open space, etc. ?

3 Responses to “More Housing Concerns and Questions”

  1. Concerning SB9 signed into law Jan 1, why has the implementation and related local guidance been put off for three to four years?

    Why is the City encouraging high density large scale multi-family apartment buildings rather then embracing lot splits and new small homes and ADUs/JADUs spread throughout town? The later approach retains the essential character of Piedmont; large multi-family buildings do not.

  2. It is unfortunate and leads to bad planning for Piedmont, a city with great SB9 potential. It would not be difficult for the city to include an SB9 projection. Other cities have simply used SB9 inquiries and applications from their residents since January 2022 as a basis to project SB9 units over the next the 8 years. And HCD provides guidance on how to do this. Someone should ask city staff to report how many inquiries it has received from Piedmont residents about SB9 conversions. Has any Council member asked publicly for this information?

  3. Right, the city’s approach to utilizing SB9 to help meet the RHNA allocation is inappropriate. We are being told by the questionable consultants that to use SB9, we’d have to have a demonstrable history of public interest and action in SB9 units, i.e. duplexes and lot splits. That position is nonsensical. HCD’s Fact Sheet on how to implement SB9 only came out in March of this year. There couldn’t be any history of public activity on this subject. It’s too new.

    In spite of the publication by HCD on how each jurisdiction can acceptably implement SB9, the consultant claimed that he had had a private conversation with an unnamed HCD official, where he claims he was told that HCD won’t accept SB9 projections in spite of that agency’s published document telling cities how to do those very same projections.

    The Council should demand that this alleged conversation be confirmed in writing by HCD, not from the consultant. SB9 and ADUs can be used to meet much of Piedmont’s RHNA without significantly affecting the character of the community.

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