Jul 31 2020

PUSD COVID Virus Learning Landscape For Teachers and Students

The Bell Schedule Committee convened, developed, and found consensus on
the following daily bell schedules in response to the COVID-19 learning
landscape (both distance learning and in-person learning models) and ultimately,
the Board’s adopted parameters.
● Students will attend classes (either in a distance learning or in-person
learning model) 4-5 days per week under a specific schedule that
incorporates both daily synchronous and asynchronous learning
● Minimum Instructional Minutes:

■ 180 minutes of daily instruction for transitional kindergarten
and kindergarten students (as required by Ed. Code
■ 230 minutes of daily instruction for 1st – 3rd grade students
(as required by Ed. Code 43501(b)).
■ 240 minutes of daily instruction for 4th – 12th grade
students (as required by AB 77: 43501(c)).
■ Daily attendance recorded for distance learning sessions
(as required by Ed. Code 43504 (d) (1))
● 30 minute duty-free lunch for teachers and staff.


● Grades K-5, a teachers’ direct instruction (any combination of in-person
and synchronous teaching) cannot exceed 1200 min per week.
● Grades 6-12, a teachers’ direct instruction (in-person, or synchronous)
cannot exceed 20 hours per week.
● Elementary teachers will be provided with a minimum of 1 hour of
preparation time per day.
● Secondary teachers (1.0FTE) will be provided with no less than 475
minutes of prep per week.
● At the secondary level, schedules will include a 10 minute passing period.

May 7 2019

Building and Landscape Design Guidelines Monday, May 13, 2019

Planning Commission to Consider Design Guidelines Update
Monday, May 13, 2019 – Discussion and Recommendation


Receipt of a draft update of the City of Piedmont Design Guidelines, an informational report from the City’s consultant regarding the draft update, and a recommendation from staff that the Commission recommend the City Council approve the Guidelines. This agenda item is continued from the Commission’s meeting on April 8, 2019, and includes an opportunity for public comment and Commissioner discussion.

City Press Release Contact: Kevin Jackson, Planning Director

Planning Commission to Consider Design Guidelines Update Monday, May 13, 2019 – Discussion and Recommendation

At its meeting on May 13th, the Planning Commission will consider updates to the city’s Design Guidelines, which provide a framework for actions of staff and the Planning Commission in making decisions regarding Planning Applications from residents. The draft Design Guidelines were introduced at the April 8th meeting, during which staff answered questions, the public provided feedback, the Planning Commission discussed the proposal and then voted to continue its discussion to its net regular meeting scheduled for May 13th. During this meeting, the Commission will take additional testimony from the public, continue its discussion, and consider a recommendation to the City Council.


This project to update and reformat the City of Piedmont Design Guidelines is the fifth and final phase of policy updates undertaken in response to the adoption of the General Plan in 2009 and the Housing Element in 2011. The first four phases were related to revisions of City Code Chapter 17 (the Zoning Ordinance) and were completed between 2012 and 2017. Specifically, Action 28.E in the Design and Preservation Element of the 2009 General Plan calls for the City’s Design Guidelines to be updated.

Draft updated Design Guidelines

In addition to updating and reformatting the guidelines for single-family residential construction, the draft update includes new guidelines for multi-family residential construction, commercial and mixed-use construction commercial signage, and landscaping. A chapter that include design guidelines for wireless communication facilities will be added at a future date. In addition to the link above to the electronic copy of the draft Guidelines, print copies are available for viewing at Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

The draft Design Guidelines are available online at


printed copies are available for viewing at the Public Works counter in City Hall.

City Council to Consider Adoption

The Planning Commission’s recommendation concerning the draft Design Guidelines will be forwarded to the City Council for its consideration, as it is the decision making body for this matter. The date of Council consideration will be publicized well in advance of the meeting.

Public Engagement

Public comment is invited throughout the process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to read the draft Design Guidelines and staff report, and attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 13, 2019 in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

Written comments and requests to receive email notification of activities related to the Design Guidelines update should be sent to Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov. Comments on paper can also be submitted by hand or by mail to the Piedmont Planning Commission, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

Apr 1 2019

Heritage Trees, Landscape Maintenance Contract, Dracena Park, Street Tree Planting Projects: April 3 Park Commission

Park Commission – Wednesday, April 3, 2019 5:30 p.m.  City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA


Presentation of Piedmont Garden Club Civic Projects Donation

  1. Election of Chair and Vice Chair of the Park Commission
  2. Approval of Park Commission Minutes for March 6, 2019
  3. Update on Landscape Maintenance Contract
  4. Update on Dracena Park Tree Removal, New Tree Planting and Path Restoration
  5. Consideration of Heritage Tree Designations for 2019
  6. Update on Arbor Day 2019
  7. Update on Street Tree Planting Projects
  8. Monthly Maintenance Report: Park, Open Space and Street Tree Update for the Month of March 2019

Read the full agenda and staff reports, plus draft meeting minutes by clicking below:

Park Com 4:3:19

The April 3rd meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and from the City website under videos/Park Commission. 

Sep 17 2015

OPINION: A Tale of Two Landscapes

Garrett Keating urges the City to follow the example of the Ramona/Ronada Traffic Triangle drought tolerant landscape for the Highland Garden Walk:

Landscape 1:  Ramona/Ronada Traffic Triangle.  A traffic island built to improve pedestrian safety that uses drought-tolerant landscaping.  Supported by the neighborhood, the project cost was $185,000 with $30,000 in private contributions ($25,000 from the Piedmont Beautification Foundation and $5000 from the neighborhood).  At this, the peak of the drought, the triangle is in full bloom.
Landscape 2: the Highland Garden Walk.  A drought-tolerant landscape with pathways, pedestrian seating and themed gardens proposed to replace the Sheridan Avenue “crescent”, the swath of lawn where Sheridan runs into Highland Avenue. Supported by a majority of the neighborhood, the project is estimated to cost $90,000 and is in line for $30,000 in grant funding ($20,000 StopWaste, and $10,000 from EBMUD).  At this the peak of the drought, the project would replace an ornamental lawn that uses 600,000 gallons of water per year.
The difference between the two projects?  The Traffic Triangle is completed and is an asset to the community. The Garden Walk is at a standstill and at risk of losing it’s funding.
If you are interested in more details, watch the Park Commission meeting at minute 58 to see staff’s assessment of the project (http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/video/,  Park Commission, September 2 meeting).  The main reasons for the delay seem to be preference for the lush lawn and “50/50” support for the project by the Piedmont Beautification Foundation.  Additional meetings will be held to tweak the project but unless the design is resolved soon, funding for the project will be lost as well as the planting window for a new garden.
The lawn at Sheridan and Highland Avenues is the most water-inefficient public landscape in Piedmont.  This small lawn uses 600,000 gallons of water per year, 4% of municipal water usage, yet goes virtually untrodden on by the public.  Commenters at the Park Commission suggested that the lawn provides a pleasant visual “drive by” landscape for Piedmonters.   I suggest they drive by the Sheridan lawn and the Ramona/Ronada Triangle today and see which provides a better visual drive by.
Drought-tolerant landscaping is the future for California and Piedmont should take advantage of any available funding. Is the city’s legacy for the worst drought in California history going to be that it rejected funds to replace water-wasteful landscaping?   And how can the city honestly ask for neighborhood contributions when it won’t avail itself of these funds?
Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont Council Member
Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association. Comments on the opinions are welcomed.
Sep 23 2013

Blair Park Landscape Future Oct. 2 Park Commission

The Piedmont Park Commission will conduct a public hearing on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue to consider a landscape plan for Blair Park.  Restoration Design Group (RDG), the consultants chosen by the City Council in consultation with the Friends of Moraga Canyon to develop the Landscape Improvement Plan for Blair Park will make a presentation. RDG will report on existing conditions, site constraints, and their investigations and observations. Presentations will be made by the project team composed of Bob Birkeland of RDG and Jim Clark, their Arborist from Hortscience. The information  presented will serve as a baseline from which their plan and ideas will develop.

This is an opportunity for all stakeholders to voice their opinions regarding Blair Park. Comments from the Public Hearing will allow the Park Commission to prepare recommendations to the Consultant for the landscape improvements and maintenance at Blair Park. This is the first of the two public hearings that will be heard by the Park Commission regarding this matter.

The Park Commission meeting, including this issue, will be televised on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government access TV station and broadcast on the City website.

You may write to the Park Commission by e-mail www.mfeldkamp@ci.piedmont.ca.us.

For further information, contact Mark Feldkamp, Parks & Project Manager at 420-3064.  

Aug 17 2013

Blair Park Landscape Design Contract Goes to City Council

A $15,000 contract for landscape design improvements to Blair Park is up for approval by the Piedmont City Council on Monday, August 19.  Public Works Director Chester Nakahara is recommending the contract be awarded to Restoration Design Group (RDG) of Berkeley, in partnership with HortScience, Inc., a horticulture, arboriculture and urban forestry firm. 

Improving Blair Park’s landscape is part of a 2012 settlement agreement between Friends of Moraga Canyon (FOMC) and the City in a lawsuit filed by FOMC against the City’s Environmental Impact Report for construction of a sports field in the park. The settlement called for the City to retain a professional landscape architect “who has experience in creating and/or implementing plans for natural open space parks similar to Blair Park.”

After extensive review, RDG/HortScience were rated the most qualified by City staff and by an FOMC subcommittee, which reviewed proposals from three local firms. According to Nakahara, “Restoration Design Group possesses extensive experience in natural open space restoration, and combines that with a distinct qualitative character that will be brought to their approach in designing a plan suitable for the unique conditions of Blair Park.”

During the 12-week project, RDG and HortScience will assess the health of every tree in Blair Park, recommend risk abatement, such as pruning, and tree preservation. They will conduct a survey of existing pathways and trees and recommend proposed site improvements, plant species, pathway design, erosion control measures, and provide a preliminary cost estimate of the recommended improvements.  RDG will present its plan at a public hearing of the Piedmont Parks Commission on October 2, 2013.

In its proposal letter, RDG stated, “The landscape improvement plan will focus on ‘low impact’ changes to the open space.  However, if the City is interested, the plan could lead to a bolder, more long‐term vision for the site.  Blair Park is at the headwaters of the Glen Echo Creek (sometimes referred to as Cemetery Creek) watershed.  The creek flows below the park in a storm drain.  The landscape improvement plan could set a long term vision to daylight the creek through the site.  The addition of a water feature would greatly benefit birds and create an even more tranquil, soothing setting for park users.  The proposed low impact landscape improvement plan could design the site to accommodate and even stimulate future large scale improvements.”

RDG concluded, “We understand that Blair Park has had competing proposals in the recent past, and we intend to design a project that will help heal relations and reinforce the decision to keep Blair Park in a natural condition.”

Staff report

Jun 19 2012

Council Decides Landscape Ordinance is Not Appropriate

Language, impact, government involvement and principle –

For over an hour and a half on June 18, the City Council considered a controversial landscape ordinance proposed for Piedmont.  A number of residents spoke in favor of the principle of adopting new rules aimed at improving the environment by curtailing water use and transporting less green waste, while other residents found the ordinance unnecessary, inconsistent with existing Piedmont Municipal Code language, and intrusive on private property rights.

Katy Foulkes, former Piedmont mayor and council member, currently Piedmont’s elected  representative to the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board, asked the Council to adopt the ordinance to reduce the amount of water used in gardens.   She acknowledged that she had not read the ordinance and could not comment on the language.  She stated, “It is going to impact so few people; it is important to approve it.”

Others urged approval on environmental principles and implementation of the previously approved Piedmont Climate Action Plan (CAP), although the CAP emphasizes education and incentives, rather than mandates (except in a few limited circumstances related to new construction).  Anne Weinberger, a landscaper, and Margaret Ovenden, a member of Piedmont CONNECT, recognized that the ordinance would apply to a very small percentage of Piedmonters, bucontended it was an important ordinance as a matter of principle.

Speaking against the ordinance was Valerie Matzger, former mayor and council member, current President of the Piedmont Beautification Foundation, and a 20-year local landscape designer.  Matzger noted her longtime commitment to the environment and recommended the use of organic pesticides and fertilizers as one way to protect the environment.  She noted the ordinance was inappropriate, overly bureaucratic, and unnecessary for Piedmont, stating the Council should “Nip this in the bud.”

Piedmont resident Joseph Gold was also strongly opposed to the ordinance based on adding another level of bureaucracy and preferred the Council focus on priorities – police, fire, schools, etc.  He stated, “Keep government out of our gardens.”

The Planning staff composed of Kate Black, Kevin Jackson and Jennifer Feeley had revised the proposal to accommodate issues previously identified by the public and Council.  However, questions and concerns persisted.

Council Member Garrett Keating, Piedmont’s Council representative on the StopWaste JPA, was firmly in favor of approving the ordinance and, to reach consensus, was willing to change or remove language in the ordinance that Council members found unacceptable.  Mayor John Chiang worked to seek a solution to newly presented issues at the meeting.

Council Member Jeff Wieler was the most outspoken critic of the ordinance, finding it so poorly written he was embarrassed for government.  He found fault with the ordinance’s lack of clarity as to rebuilding a home and various wording, as well as the required Checklist.  He questioned the origination of the $22,000 grant funding, which Keating clarified came from the San Francisco. This led Wieler to question why it was not coming directly to Piedmont as our money. Considering the projected few properties impacted by the ordinance, Wieler felt the ordinance was a waste of time.

Council Member Bob McBain stated since it applies to so few, the ordinance has no validity.  He said he had received phone calls and emails from many, many people who were opposed to the ordinance.  McBain felt landscaping education and information was preferable for Piedmont’s good, intelligent citizens who can make decisions on what makes sense to them.  He preferred cooperative efforts, rather than legislating another mandate, and noted that Piedmont does not have the resources for enforcement.

Vice Mayor Margaret Fujioka raised additional concerns regarding poorly drafted language.  She was particularly concerned about overly broad discretion by the Council and lack of specifics upon which the Council could grant a waiver to the ordinance. She advocated education over legislation.

Mayor John Chiang came off “of the fence” after hearing the other members of the Council and City Administrator Geoff Grote  who acknowledged that the majority of the Council was not comfortable with the ordinance as the appropriate approach for the City.  Using a “carrot rather than a stick” could be more effective and avoid many of the regulatory concerns.

After discussion, Council Member Keating’s motion to approve the ordinance died for a lack of a second.

Jun 17 2012

Inconsistency and Confusion Continue for Landscape Ordinance

“Landscaping must conform to guidelines …..”

Revisions to a proposed Piedmont landscaping ordinance drafted by StopWaste.org will be considered by the City Council at its June 18 meeting. Slight revisions to Section 17.18 have been proposed by the City planning staff in an effort to address some of the private property concerns raised by the public and Council Members at a June 4 Council meeting regarding hedges, lawns, plant specifications, local control, and cost.  Perhaps in error, Chapter 17.18.3. (a.ii) still defines all use of the term, “Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guidelines means the most recent version of guidelines developed by Stopwaste.org”

Chapter 17.11 has not been revised and still refers to the “most recent version” of Stopwaste.org rules.  Chapter 17.11 covers “City owned and/or operated” properties, which include the Art Center, Central Park, Moraga Canyon/Blair Park, etc.

The proposed ordinance will require a landscape plan to obtain a permit for any type of new building in Piedmont.  At the discretion of the Public Works Director or Planning Commission, a landscape plan may also be required for other types of permits and variances affecting existing landscaping.

“Automatic” Future Restrictions by StopWaste

Residents expressed concerns about future StopWaste restrictions automatically becoming Piedmont law without hearings within the Piedmont community. The Council directed a revision of this language. The Staff Report notes revisions have removed this language for residential and commercial properties, but not City property:

“If Stopwaste.org makes changes to the criteria under the Scorecard, it would not affect any residential or commercial properties in Piedmont, but would affect very large public projects on public land under the existing Civic Bay-Friendly Landscape Ordinance that affects public properties in Zone B.” (At p. 26.)

The Checklist continues to refer to obsolete language in the original model ordinance.   The ordinance also continues to use terms not entirely consistent with terms used in other parts of the Piedmont Municipal Code.  

Hedge and Lawn Restrictions

Hedge and lawn restrictions were raised as a concern by residents.  (See comments.)  All restrictions on hedges and lawns remain in the ordinance.  Specific plant selections must adhere to the guidelines.  However, the type of projects which must comply with the restrictions on hedges and lawns has been limited.  Revisions limit compliance with the StopWaste Checklist (version 2.1 dated December 2011) to:

(1) Rehabilitated Landscapes and new construction associated with Rehabilitated Landscapes for public agency projects and private commercial developments that require design review and/or a building permit;

(2) Rehabilitated Landscapes and new construction associated with Rehabilitated Landscapes which are developer-installed in multifamily developments that require design review and/or a building permit; and

(3) Construction of a new single-family residence on a vacant property which is homeowner-provided and/or homeowner-hired that includes a total project Landscape Area equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet, and that requires design review and/or a building permit.

“Multi-family” will include private homes with legal second units, and also homes with illegal and unintended second units if conversion to a legal unit during the process of obtaining a permit is proactively undertaken by the homeowner or staff pursuant to newly adopted 2011 Housing Element provisions.

Residents are required to obtain a building permit when landscaping plans include installation of a 30 inch retaining wall, demolition of an existing potting shed, erecting fences or trellises, installing lighting, and features common in landscaping.  (See detailed list below.)

In general, ordinance would not apply to existing private homes without second units.

If passed, the law would apply to new single-family residential projects on vacant lots that plan to install 5,000 square feet or more of irrigated plant areas. However, the ordinance would apply to re-landscaping for existing multi-family residential buildings, if the project requires design review or a building permit and if the re-landscaped area is at least 2,500 square feet or more of a 5,000 square foot irrigated planted area. The same requirements would apply to re-landscaping a City-owned area in a park or next to a City facility. 

The Fiscal Impact – Compliance Costs and $22,000 Grant

A “Bay Friendly Landscaping Compliance Officer” must certify compliance. This position is currently defined as the Public Works Director or his designee, but a certification system by independent professionals is envisioned by StopWaste in the future.  StopWaste.org estimates the total added cost of compliance with an independent professional will be $2,500 to $4,000 per project.  Staff costs associated with certification have not been estimated by StopWaste or Piedmont staff.

Piedmont City staff indicates StopWaste.org has reviewed the revisions and assured Piedmont it will receive a $22,000 grant from StopWaste if the ordinance is passed as revised.   Staff noted, “While it is typically not possible to make changes to model ordinances, StopWaste.org agreed to allow Piedmont to make changes to address the unclear language.”

How many private residents are currently affected?

At the last hearing, the Council asked staff to determine how many private properties the proposed ordinance might impact. Staff determined there are 57 privately owned vacant lots subject to the ordinance. Staff believed 34 of these lots would be unlikely to install 2500 square feet of landscaping due to their size. The other 23 lots are larger and would be subject to the ordinance if a single family residence were built on them. Staff noted 6 are landlocked, many are steep and difficult to develop, and others are currently used as pools or garages for an adjacent lot.

According to staff, there are an estimated 117 homes with “unintended” second units and an unspecified number of homes with suspected illegal second units.  If “proactively required” to convert to legal units due to recent 2011  requirements added to the 2011 Housing Element, these private homes would come under the “multi-family” provisions of the Bay Friendly proposed ordinance (in addition to homes with legal units).

Other cities and other regulations

Staff no longer recommends approval of the ordinance, but instead presents the ordinance for the Council’s consideration.

Staff currently maintains and distributes StopWaste.org Bay Friendly Landscape information including Guidelines, a Checklist and a list of Bay Friendly plant materials to all members of the public. Staff indicates they can continue to do so whether or not the ordinance is approved.

The Bay Friendly restrictions are in addition to existing regional and state restrictions on landscaping.  At least four other agencies currently regulate landscaping:  CA-WELO, the Cal Green, the C&D Ordnance, and East Bay Municipal Utility District Requirements for New Water Service. Staff has prepared a spreadsheet comparing the proposed requirements (Exhibit G) of Stopwaste.org Bay Friendly Basics with the existing sets of regulations imposed by four other agencies.  (See below.)

When a Building Permit May be Required

The following types of landscape-related work will generally require permits, though Design Review is often not necessary.  Check the codes listed.

  • FENCES AND RETAINING WALLS, pursuant to Sections 17.20.4(a)(ii) and 17.20.5(b)(ix) of the Municipal Code.
  • ON-GRADE OR BELOW-GRADE IMPROVEMENTS such as walkways, irrigation lines and drainage work, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(iii) of the Municipal Code.
  • CHANGES IN ROOF MATERIAL, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(vii) of the Municipal Code.
  • COMPLETE DEMOLITION OR REMOVAL of an outdoor feature, or architectural feature, pursuant to Sections 17.20.4(a)(ix) and 17.20.5(a)(i) of the Municipal Code.
  • PATH LIGHTS, STAIR LIGHTS AND WALL LIGHTS, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(x) of the Municipal Code.
  • MAILBOXES AND NON-STRUCTURAL DECORATIVE ELEMENTS, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(xi) of the Municipal Code.
  • NON-STRUCTURAL BARBEQUES, BIRD BATHS AND FOUNTAINS, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(xii) of the Municipal Code.
  • GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(xiii) of the Municipal Code.
  • VENTS, FLUES AND SPARK ARRESTORS, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(xiv) of the Municipal Code.
  • PET ACCESS DOORS, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(xv) of the Municipal Code.
  • NEW OR REPLACEMENT FLOORING ON DECKS, BALCONIES, PATIOS, STAIRS AND PORCHES, pursuant to Section 17.20.4(a)(xvii) of the Municipal Code.


Full Text of Landscape Ordinance, as Revised





Comparison of Existing Landscape Ordinances




Dec 3 2011

OPINION: Landscaped Slope or Berm Wall?

A resident asks whether the berm wall along Moraga Avenue will be a landscaped slope or an eyesore –

Members of the City Council,

Attached you will find copies of the brochures of SIERRASCAPE WALLS and TENSAR Earth Technologies, Inc. detailing the system that is proposed by ELS, Architecture and Design in their Final Proposed Master Plan and Additional Detailed Information.

As you can see, unlike the architects renderings and photo shopped pictures depict, this is a system designed as a cheap reinforced soil solution for grade separation > Click to read more…

Jan 16 2023

OPINION: Concerns: Piedmont Moraga Canyon Plan RFP

Hello City Council:

I’ve reviewed the staff report and draft RFP for the Moraga Canyon Specific Plan (MCSP) and submit the following comments and questions. Hopefully you can delve into them.

The MCSP is good planning, but clearly the RFP is being developed to expedite a City application for Measure A funds by 2024.  Perhaps for that reason, the RFP is short on explaining how the plan addresses important city policies.  Table 2 list these policies but the RFP states that these policies “may” be considered and only stipulates that the consultant team will demonstrate “professional experience and knowledge of the personnel general principles and background law applicable to specific plans, land development and affordable housing development requirements”.   There are important sustainability policies outlined in the General Plan and Climate Action Plan and the City should stipulate this a credential it seeks on the consultant team.  Does the team have a sustainability expert like our City does?  Traffic safety is another core credential that should be requested.

The staff report and RFP suggests that additional environmental review beyond the programmatic EIR will be conducted based on the impacts of the specific projects in the MCSP.  That makes sense but is predicated on a robust programmatic EIR which has yet to be released.  Without the programmatic EIR being public at this time, the generalities of that assessment may be used to gloss over specific impacts of the projects at a later date.  One way to alleviate this concern is to assure that the programmatic EIR will have a response to comments process as a project specific EIR does.  Staff should confirm this publicly.  Subsection m. in scope of services should clarify this point as well.

One important EIR consideration is whether an assessment of GHG emissions will be undertaken in the MCSP.   This assessment may occur in the “built out” programmatic EIR so this may not be a factor but without that document, who can say?   To resolve this question, staff should clarify whether these GHG emission calculations are being conducted as a part of the programmatic EIR.  According to state guidance, GHG emissions are to be part of a CEQA analysis: CEQA GHG.  However, based on certain criteria, affordable housing projects under 100 units are exempt from CEQA and staff should clarify this as well CEQA Housing. Indeed, staff should clarify whether CEQA is applicable to all the projects being considered in the MCSP, particularly the low-income housing projects.

The staff report and RFP do not clarify whether the relocation of the Corporation Yard will be studied as part of the MCSP.  The only possible reference to this is that “replacement” of the Corporation Yard be considered.  The City should clarify this in the RFP so as to provide consultants the widest latitude to develop creative proposals for the canyon.  Indeed, this latitude may provide for the subdivisions of parcels and development standards that are attractive to builders of housing at all income levels. As staff envisioned with civic center sites, the City could leverage better housing for the project if the Corporation Yard is moved to less desirable building site in the canyon.

Following are more specific comments/questions to the RFP:

The project timeline on page 5 of the staff report is particularly short on detail.  The City seems not to have identified the type of public process it intend to conduct. 

Under “Specific Plan for Success” there is no mention of field lighting as part of the recreational facilities to be developed.  Is it the intent of the City and this Council not to proceed with the installation of lights at Coaches Field?  There is some precedent for this.

The landscape plan makes no mention that it is to comply with the City’s municipal Bay Friendly Landscape Ordinance which has specific criteria for vegetation and water use.

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont City Council Member

Moraga Canyon Plan Consultant 1.17.23

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.