Feb 11 2023

Fair Housing Policy – Planning Commission Monday, February 13, 5:30 pm

Fair Housing Policy

Prior to hearings on requested Variances and Design Reviews of  individual private property projects, a verbal report will update Commissioners on the activities of staff and the City’s housing consultants related to the development of a fair housing policy.  (Item 3 on the agenda.)  This is an informational item only, not for Commissioners’ action or advice.

Read the agenda here.

The draft proposal included:

1. Support equitable distribution of affordable units across the City. A diversity of  housing choices, including new affordable multi-family housing, new mixed-income  multi-family housing, new residential mixed-use development, converted units, ADUs,  and JADUs, should be considered throughout the City’s neighborhoods, corridors, and  zoning districts.

2. Promote and enhance community design and neighborhoods. Infill development  should be compatible with the neighborhood context. Development and design standards  should ensure that new construction “fits in” in terms of building scale, placement, and  design; and is sensitive to impacts on the neighborhood, including impacts related to  sunlight access, privacy, and roadway access. Each building must exhibit high-quality  design and play a role in creating a better whole.

3. Remove barriers to development and access to housing through clear and objective  standards. Development standards and procedures should guide development that is  equitable and feasible and that lead applicants through procedures that are transparent and  predictable.

4. Facilitate the development of new housing units through strategic partnerships  between the City and the broader community. Partnerships to facilitate development  include reaching community consensus for desired designs; and achieving community  support for new incentives, standards, and tools to meet housing goals.

5. Social equity. Work with the Community to proactively facilitate greater social equity  by considering City incentives and programs that will enable new homes and apartments  for a range of income levels, creating opportunities for all persons regardless of race,  religion, ethnic background, or financial ability.

Read the Memorandum on Consideration of Fair Housing Guiding Principles here.



One Response to “Fair Housing Policy – Planning Commission Monday, February 13, 5:30 pm”

  1. Your synopsis of the Guiding Principles obscures an important aspect of these principles – they were intended to apply only to the 2015 Housing Element (5th cycle) which will end shortly with the adoption of the 6th Cycle Housing Element. From the June 21, 2021 staff report for the meeting where Council adopted these principles:

    “EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In accordance with California law, it is critical that the City ensures that new programs developed to implement the current 2015 Housing Element help facilitate the production of affordable housing. In early 2021, City staff drafted Guiding Principles for the research and preparation of new housing programs that consist of state-mandated ADU programs, regulations, and incentives and state-mandated objective design standards to implement the City of Piedmont 2015 Housing Element. The draft Guiding Principles were introduced to the public with the release of a web-based survey in March 2021. The Housing Advisory Committee has reviewed both the draft Guidelines and public comment on the Guidelines, and on June 15, 2021, voted unanimously to recommend the Guiding Principles, noted above, be considered for adoption by the City Council.

    The goal of the guiding principles is to guide the development of ADU programs and development of objective design standards for multi-family apartment buildings, as directed by the current 2015 Housing Element, recognizing that state regulations and social conditions today are different than those in effect in 2015. The Guiding Principles are not intended to be a broad mission statement guiding the far-reaching policy discussions that must occur as part of the next Housing Element Update.”


    In some ways the Guiding Principles were toothless, especially #1, as no affordable housing was developed in Piedmont during the 2015 Housing Element. And contrary to what some Planning Commissioners assert, principle #1 – the equitable distribution of affordable housing units across the city – has been completely ignored in the 2023 Housing Element. The Housing Map for the 2023 Housing Element shows that all affordable housing development is proposed for lots on city borders with Oakland rather than distributed “across the city”. Staff and Council now assert Piedmont is a “high resource area” so any new housing is equitably distributed. Apparently home is where the resources are, not the housing.

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