Nov 1 2022

COUNCIL: Urgent Housing Element Decision at Special Meeting Nov. 15th

Undiscovered by Piedmont Planners and Consultants, the deadline for State approval of the Piedmont Housing Element (HE) is NOT the previously relied upon May 2023 date.  The required State and City approval date is January 31, 2023.  This recently recognized date has required great urgency to promptly submit an HE plan to the Housing and Community Development Department for their prompt consideration and comments.  The new HE is not available at the time of this publication.

Following the November 8th City Council Election, on November 15th the City Council will move ahead to authorize the revised Housing Element and submit it to the State.  The time of the meeting was not provided nor the staff report.

The Piedmont Planning and Building Department has scheduled an informational, in person, November 9, Open House the day after the City Council Election to inform the public of the revised Housing Element.  This is NOT an occasion to gather public input for the City Council.  Broadcasting for home viewing access has not been announced.

Since August 1, 2022, Piedmonters have waited to receive information on the numerous changes and answers to questions regarding the proposed Piedmont Housing Element (HE) prior to consideration by the City Council and the subsequent HE submittal to the California Housing and Community Development Department.

Changes to the prior HE proposal have been kept well away from the public and the Planning Commission.  The newly proposed HE was not found on the city website.  An exception to public direct mail was an election influencing all city mailer along with various fliers found on the City’s heavily touted website 

At the November 15, 2022 City Council special meeting  the City staff, Planning Consultant and City Administrator will seek City Council authorization to submit the City’s Draft Housing Element to the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) for review.

The Planning & Building Department will host an informational open house on Wednesday, November 9th where community members can learn about proposed updates to the Draft Housing Element as well as timelines for submittal, certification, and implementation process.  This event is not noticed as an occasion to take public input on the proposed changes to the HE.

On August 1st, 2022, the Piedmont City Council directed staff to analyze the viability of potential changes to the Draft Housing Element, including:

• Increased reliance on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to meet State-mandated housing production targets
• Relocation of affordable units in the sites inventory from the Civic Center area to the mixed-use zone on Grand Avenue
• Expansion of the Moraga Canyon Specific Plan area to include all City-owned property along Moraga Avenue

Staff and consultants have completed the analysis directed by the City Council and will be
presenting a revised sites inventory that reflects the results of that analysis to the City Council.

The official State deadline for cities to adopt a compliant Housing Element is January 31, 2023.  Once the City submits a Draft Housing Element for review, HCD has up to 90 days to return comments with requested revisions. Working actively to minimize any potential period of non-compliance, Planning & Building staff are in regular communication with HCD reviewers. “The City is optimistic that once submitted, Piedmont’s Draft Housing Element will move through the review process swiftly.”  Piedmont Press Release.

“Informational Open House November 9
In person community members can learn more about the proposed updates to the Draft Housing Element
and next steps at an upcoming informational open house:
Wednesday, November 9, 5-6:30pm
Piedmont Community Hall in Main Park
711 Highland Avenue”

No new information was released with the announcement.  The open house is NOT scheduled to be an opportunity to take public input on the revised HE.  Given the location in the Community Hall and general format of the meeting, it is unlikely that home viewers can participate in the Informational Open House.

At the event, Planning & Building staff will share their information and answer questions about:

• proposed changes to the Draft Housing Element sites inventory
• timelines for Housing Element adoption and implementation
• what to expect over the next three years, as the City implements the policies and programs outlined in the revised Draft Housing Element.

 Only if the City meets the deadline approval of January 31, 2023 will there be 3 years for implementation, otherwise the City would have under a year for implementation.  Implementation of HE proposals will require zoning changes and trigger the voter approval per the City Charter according to numerous informed readers of the Charter.  Voter approval of zoning changes has been denied by City officials, who attempt to convince voters they have no right to vote on proposed zoning changes, including turning parkland and all single-family zoning into multi-family high density housing units.

The open house will also provide information about consequences for non-compliance with State deadlines and how they impact Piedmont, including the process known as the “builder’s remedy,” which limits a city’s ability to deny applications for new development while its Housing Element is out of compliance.

For more information about the Housing Element update process, community members can, the City’s online hub for housing policy issues in Piedmont.

Staff are continually updating the site as part of the City’s ongoing effort to make the Housing Element update process more accessible.  The newly revised HE proposal was not provided with the City Press Release. Interested individuals are directed toward the city website 

Comments about the Housing Element can be emailed to 

To send comments to the City Council as a whole, please email  or send via U.S. Mail at the following address:

City Council
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue Piedmont, CA 94611

READ the City Press Release below:

2022-10-31 Housing Element Special Council Meeting and Informational Open House

4 Responses to “COUNCIL: Urgent Housing Element Decision at Special Meeting Nov. 15th”

  1. AGAIN: No public input! I refuse to comply!
    So what is the Council going to do about this? Arrest me?
    Don’t expect me to agree!

  2. Its hard to tell who’s at fault for this snafu with the filing deadline – cities other than Piedmont seem to have been caught off-guard. Nonetheless, there was community expectation that there would be time for public comment after HCD recommendations on the first draft and that just doesn’t appear possible with the new deadline. And don’t forget the other documents that have to drop before January 2023 – the EIR, the analysis of how the HE conforms with the General Plan.

    The EIR may well raise issues that need to be addressed but there appears to be little time for that. The City tries to assuage timing concerns by noting the three years it will take to develop the necessary ordinances but that is predicated on its position that no vote is needed. A rushed decision.

  3. The whole Housing Element process, when combined with CEQA, along with public vote requirements, potential litigation and referendums, and/or initiatives has evolved into a bureaucratic quagmire.

    The current HE process which relies on cities being coerced into giving up local control to do things they don’t want to do, is flawed. It provides sticks but no carrots.
    If the state wants below market rate housing to be built, which for-profit builders won’t build, then the state needs to fund that housing. The current HE process produces a charade of disingenuous policies and programs. Unfortunately, the current legislative leaders are increasing the quagmire.

  4. This opinion piece is erroneous in one respect, and the same error is there in some of the other opinions elsewhere on the website as well. To clear the confusion:

    — The City needs to ADOPT the Housing Element by Jan. 31, 2023 in order to not be subject to builders’ remedy AND a whole host of other challenges in no longer having a compliant General Plan in place. There is no requirement that the City submit the Housing Element to the State prior to adoption, or even ever. State certification provides a “presumption of validity”.

    — If the City gains State certification within a 120 day “grace period” (that is, May end), it gets three years to complete rezoning, and if it doesn’t, one year.

    Editors’ Note: Thank you for the correction and clarification.

Leave a Comment