Jan 16 2020

ADU Zoning Changes Without a Piedmont Vote

Piedmont City Council, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, 7:30  p.m., City Hall – viewable on the City website under videos.

At the Piedmont Planning Commission on Jan. 13th, numerous questions arose regarding changing Piedmont’s ordinances for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to conform to City staff interpretation of newly passed state laws.  Some of the issues raised were parking, notice, public input, number of people living in an ADU, safety, distance from public transit, staff review process, design review considerations, plantings, landscape requirements for privacy, construction plans, necessity to act prior to complete information, etc.

Four of the Planning Commissioners, voted to recommend approval to the City Council, with one opposed (Levine).

An important question has arisen regarding the necessity of moving ahead with a new Piedmont ordinance prior to the California Department of Housing and Community Development issuing a directive on how the new laws are to be implemented.  Piedmont’s Planning Staff acknowledged publicly it had been challenging to meld three new statutes together because of conflicts and lack of clarity.  Some community members have indicated the proposal includes unnecessary items while excluding items as noted above.

Nowhere in the staff documentation is there a direct correlation between the new state laws and the proposed changes to Piedmont’s laws. 

Given that the new state laws may (unless Charter cities are ruled exempt on zoning) preempt any conflicting Piedmont ordinances not complying with the new state laws, it has been stated that a hasty adoption of an incomplete new ordinance is not in Piedmont’s favor and should not be enacted by the Piedmont City Council until issues are resolved.

According to the Piedmont Planning Department, State laws place limits on a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs).  The staff report does not quote the relevant State law language for each inconsistency it cites.

READ the proposed Ordinance  HERE.

Comments can be sent to the Piedmont City Council for their first consideration on Tuesday, Jan. 21 by clicking below. 

citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov.

To send comments via U.S. Mail, use the following address: Piedmont City Council c/o City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

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The staff recommended revisions to Piedmont’s ADU ordinance to address the identified inconsistencies with state laws are:

a. Once an application for an ADU has been deemed complete, the City has 60 days to take action on it, rather than the currently required 120 days.  What action does state law require and does it require the proposed changes immediately? 

Contrarily, if approved by the legislature and Governor, SB 50 would require beginning after January 1, 2023 creating new inconsistencies:

A local agency must notify a multi-family development proponent if the application does not qualify for ministerial approval within 60 days.  (However, a local agency could exempt a project from streamlined ministerial approval if the project will cause a specific adverse impact to public health and safety.)  To qualify, the project must be constructed on vacant land or convert an existing structure that does not require substantial exterior alteration into a multifamily structure, consisting of up to 4 residential dwelling units and that meets local height, setback, and lot coverage zoning requirements as they existed on July 1, 2019.

b. ADUs must be allowed in every zone in which residential use is allowed. In Piedmont, this is every zone.

c. A requirement for owner occupancy on the property is no longer allowed, at least through 2025.

d. Architectural review of construction related to an ADU is allowed, but it must be done ministerially without public hearing.

e. Any minimum size standard for an ADU must allow 850 square feet for studio or one-bedroom units, and 1,000 square feet for an accessory dwelling unit that provides more than one bedroom. (The current code limit is 800 square feet.)

f. When a garage or carport is demolished or converted for the purpose of creating an ADU, no replacement parking can be required, and existing nonconforming setbacks and coverage can be retained.

g. In addition to a regular ADU, the City must also allow a JADU. Both an ADU and a JADU can be constructed on a single lot.

h. There are four categories of ADUs the City must approve by right:

1. One ADU and one JADU within the existing building envelope of a single family dwelling, with an expansion of up to 150 square feet for ingress and egress.

2. On a lot with a single-family dwelling: A detached ADU that is not more than 800 square feet, that is no more than 16 feet in height and is set back at least 4 feet from side and rear property lines.

3. Within existing multi-family residential buildings: multiple ADUs converted from areas not currently used as living space (at least 1 ADU and not more than 25 percent of existing dwelling units).

4. Not more than two detached ADUs on a lot with an existing multi-family residential building that are no more than 16 feet in height and are set back at least 4 feet from side and rear property lines.

BACKGROUND: Current Regulations

The City adopted the current regulations for accessory dwelling units in May 2017. In brief, the current regulations require an owner of a single-family dwelling to seek an accessory dwelling unit permit to create an ADU as a dwelling unit independent of the primary residence. Except for Exempt ADUs (those created before 1930) either the primary or accessory dwelling unit must be owner occupied. The ADU may be attached or detached, but must have a separate exterior entrance.

As required by state law, an application for an accessory dwelling unit permit must be processed ministerially (without a public hearing) if it meets all the standards required for the ADU permit. New buildings or changes to buildings that are intended to contain the ADU require separate design review and building permits and must meet design review criteria and zoning provisions for buildings, or a variance from those provisions.

Revision of Incentives for Affordable Housing

The current code imposes a limit of 800 square feet on all ADUs and authorizes the Planning Commission to grant an exception to the size limit for units up to 1,000 square feet if the owner agrees to rent the unit to a low income household for a period of 10 years,

Page 2 of 112  – or 1,200 square feet if the owner agrees to rent the unit to a very low income household for a period of 10 years (Sec. 17.38.070.C.1).

Since May 2017, the City has received no applications for an ADU requesting an exception from the unit size requirement and has approved no ADU permits with a rent restriction.

The state law changes the minimum size standards permitted under local regulation, requiring revision of the City’s exception provisions. In accordance with Government Code section 65852.2(a)(3), it is recommended that exceptions to size requirements to provide an incentive to create affordable housing be processed ministerially.

City of Piedmont General Plan Housing Element

The majority of the General Plan Housing Element for 2015-2023 (separately available on the City’s website) is devoted to ADUs (referred to as second units in the Element) because, as a built-out city, ADUs are the main means by which the City is able to provide new housing units, either market rate or affordable.

Housing Element policies and programs that relate to ADUs include the following:

Policy 1.2: Housing Diversity. Continue to maintain planning, zoning and building regulations that accommodate the development of housing for all income levels.

Policy 1.5: Second Units. Continue to allow second units (in-law apartments) “by right” in all residential zones within the City, subject to dimensional and size requirements, parking standards, and an owner occupancy requirement for either the primary or secondary unit. Local standards for second units may address neighborhood compatibility, public safety, and other issues but should not be so onerous as to preclude the development of additional units.

Policy 1.6: Second Units in New or Expanded Homes. Strongly encourage the inclusion of second units when new homes are built and when existing homes are expanded.

Program 1.C: Market Rate Second Units. Maintain zoning regulations that support the development of market rate second units in Piedmont neighborhoods.

Policy 3.1: Rent-Restricted Second Units. Continue incentive-based programs such as reduced parking requirements and more lenient floor area standards to encourage the creation of rent restricted second units for low and very low income households.

Policy 3.2: Occupancy of Registered [Permitted] Units. Encourage property owners with registered [permitted] second units to actively use these units as rental housing rather than leaving them vacant or using them for other purposes. Page 3 of 112

Policy 3.3: Conversion of Unintended Units to Rentals.Encourage property owners with “unintended second units” to apply for City approval to use these units as rental housing. “Unintended” second units include spaces in Piedmont homes (including accessory structures) with second kitchens, bathrooms, and independent entrances that are not currently used as apartments.

Policy 3.4: Legalization of Suspected Units. Work with property owners who may be operating second units without City approval to legalize these units. Where feasible and consistent with the health and safety of occupants, consider planning and building code waivers to legalize such units, on the condition that they are rent and income restricted once they are registered.

Policy 3.5: Second Unit Building Regulations. Maintain building code regulations which ensure the health and safety of second unit occupants and the occupants of the adjacent primary residence.

Policy 4.4: Updating Standards and Codes. Periodically update codes and standards for residential development to reflect changes in state and federal law, new technology, and market trends.

Policy 5.2: Second Units, Shared Housing, and Seniors. Encourage second units and shared housing as strategies to help seniors age in place. Second units and shared housing can provide sources of additional income for senior homeowners and housing resources for seniors seeking to downsize but remain in Piedmont.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE SECTIONS 65852.2 AND 65852.22: In September 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 68, AB 881, and SB 13 into law.  

Read the full Planning Department Report by clicking below

Planning-ADU-Report-2020-01-13

 

Jan 9 2020

Developers Get Their Way in Getting Rid of Piedmont Single-family Zoning

No more single-family housing zones in Piedmont.

Piedmonters who falsely relied on Piedmont’s City Charter and voters rights to protect single-family zoning in Piedmont have lost their authority under new state legislation changing Piedmont and housing in California by opening development opportunities while eliminating Charter City rights and public input in determining  housing requirements.  

Piedmont housing is dramatically impacted by the signing in October 2019 of state legislation AB 68, AB 881, and SB 13.  The legislation was unopposed by Piedmont’s City Council.  The laws essentially eliminate Piedmont’s  single-family zoning which was controlled by Piedmont’s City Charter and voting rights.

While some cities strenuously resist AB 68, AB 881, and SB 13, Piedmont’s City Council guided by the Piedmont Planning Department has stepped in line to become a different city by discarding Piedmont voters’ rights specified in the Piedmont City Charter to either support or oppose the changes.

Developers for decades, who have wanted to change and densify Piedmont, will now have “by right” without public input the ability to densify  Piedmont properties up to 3 units on a former single-family property.

At 5:30 p.m. on January 13, 2020, the Piedmont Planning Commission will review an ordinance amending Chapter 17 (Planning and Land Use) of the City Code to conform the City’s regulations regarding Accessory Dwelling Units to new state laws and make a recommendation to the City Council.  See staff report below.

A week later, at 7:30 p.m. on January 21, 2020, the City Council will consider the proposed ordinance and the recommendation of the Planning Commission and could approve the first reading of the ordinance.

Both meetings will be  held at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, City Council Chambers and will be televised via the City website under videos.

Background – 

On January 1, 2020, new state laws came into effect which limit a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). These units are frequently referred to as “Granny Units” or “Secondary Units.” With the new legislation, parcels can contain up to 3 units without the owner being a resident. 

The Piedmont staff believes and interprets existing state law to require extensive reduction in resident planning for a desirable single-family community.

  According to the staff provisions affected by the changes to state law include, but are not limited to:

  • ministerial review and approval of all ADU permit applications= no public hearings  or neighborhood input
  • off-street parking requirements = off-street parking requirements eliminated
  • garages can be converted to ADU’s with no set back requirements
  • unit size limitations on applications = size increases 
  • approval timelines = 60 day term
  • owner occupancy requirement  = owner no longer needs to be a resident on the property
  • allowance for junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) = Small ADU
  • ADUs on multi-family properties = increased densities
  • ADUs that must be approved by-right
  • allowance for 3 dwelling units on a property
  • setback requirements in certain situations = eliminated

“Local laws which do not conform to these new state standards are preempted and cannot be enforced. City staff has developed the proposed ordinance which will be considered by the Planning Commission and the City Council to conform Piedmont’s ADU regulations to the new state law.”  Piedmont Planning Department

Link to staff report:

https://piedmont.ca.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/Planning-ADU-Report-2020-01-13.pdf

Documents on the City Website

Documents related to this effort are available on the City website. A staff report to the Planning Commission dated January 13, 2020 is provided on the website (see Agenda Report mid-webpage). It includes the proposed changes that will bring the City’s regulations for ADUs into compliance with the new state laws, while preserving the City’s rent-restricted ADU program, as well as the City’s ability to regulate ADUs and JADUs.

The Planning Commission’s responsibility is to make a recommendation for consideration by the City Council, which is the decision-making body. The City Council staff report for this item will be posted on the City website no later than 12 noon on Friday, January 17, 2020.

Public Engagement:

Following no consideration of the legislation by the Piedmont City Council, the legislation was signed in October 2019.  Piedmont is now moving to an expedited review and rapid adoption of a new ordinance, which does not comply with the Piedmont City Charter.

According to the City, the opportunity for public input is available throughout this rapidly moving process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend the public meetings. Both the Planning Commission meeting on January 13, 2020 and the City Council meeting on January 21, 2020 will be televised live on KCOM-TV, the City’s government access TV station and available through streaming video on the City’s web site at piedmont.ca.gov/

Written comments regarding the proposed ordinance may be sent to the City Council and Planning Commission via email to: :@piedmont.ca.gov. Comments intended for the Planning Commission’s consideration preferably should  be submitted by 5 p.m., Thursday, January 9, 2020 for distribution to the Planning Commission.

Comments can be sent to the Piedmont City Council for their first consideration on Jan. 21. 

citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov.

To send comments via U.S. Mail, use the following address: Piedmont City Council c/o City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

If you have questions about the ordinance, contact Planning & Building Director Kevin Jackson by email at kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov. Any correspondence sent to the City will be considered a public record.

Contact: Kevin Jackson, Planning and Building Director at Tel: (510) 420-3039   Fax: (510) 658-3167  kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov.

Jun 4 2017

Monday, June 5: Council Will Consider Taxes, Zoning Regulations, Budget, Linda Avenue Crosswalk Project, Aquatics Center

The staff reports for the meeting are:

06/05/17 – Approval of a Modification to a Conditional Use Permit for Sarah Baldwin, DMD at 1375 Grand Avenue, Suite 101

06/05/17 – Introduction and 1st Reading of Ord. 732 N.S. Making a Technical Correction to Section 8.1 of the City Code to Clarify that the 2016 California Fire Code is in Effect

06/05/17 – Authorize the City Administrator to Sign a Letter of Support Authorizing Participation in the 2017 East Bay SunShares Program

06/05/17 – PUBLIC HEARING Regarding the Proposed Budget and Fee Proposals for FY 17-18 and the Levy of the Municipal Services Tax and Sewer Tax

a. Presentation of Report from the Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

b. Report on the FY 17-18 Budget Proposal

06/05/17 – Introduction and 1st Reading of Ordinance 733 N.S. Amending Chapter 17 of the City Code Related to the Grand Avenue Sub Area of Zone D

06/05/17 – Report from the Chief of Police Regarding Diversity Education and Outreach as well as Collaboration with PUSD and Other Stakeholders (Oral Report)

06/05/17 – Consideration of the Award of Contract for the Linda Avenue Crosswalk Improvement Project to Bay Construction in the Amount of $328,672.80 and approval of an Overall Construction Budget of $406,515

06/05/17 – Consideration of the Operational Analysis for the Aquatics Center Master Plan Conceptual Design

The agenda for the City Council – Monday, June 5, 2017   < meeting.

Mar 22 2017

Hate Speech Resolution, Zoning Code Changes, Short Term Rentals

 

On March 6th, 2017, I attended a Piedmont City Council meeting, that occurs every two weeks to discuss bills and pass laws. This particular meeting focused on planned revisions to the City Code, specifically revisions to planning and land use, Chapter 17, and repeals of policies in the City Code. The Council also talked about adopting Interim Design Guidelines.

The meeting began with the pledge of allegiance, and most notably the passage of a resolution affirming the action of the Alameda County Mayor’s Conference against hate speech through the passage of Resolution 01-17, as well as a discussion of its importance. Council members thanked the Mayor for his participation during the meeting and stressed the importance the resolution had as a symbol of progress.

Next, the meeting opened to a public forum. I was the first speaker, and I urged the Council to choose one of the best candidates, my mother, Tracey Woodruff, who had been interviewed before the start of the meeting, for the Climate Action Plan Task Force. The next (and last) speakers were also students. Katy Savage spoke about stopping the blockage of storm drains and Shannon Baack spoke about putting crosswalks on dangerous parts of  St James Drive.

After Shannon left the stand, the Council began the main agenda. The first issue they presented was the recommended City Code changes, specifically zoning code changes and short term rental changes, mostly concerning fine tuning the code to address current building patterns and to increase ease of use, as well as simplification of the chapters.

After a staff report on the specific changes of the City Code, the discussion of the code began. During the discussion, it was brought up by a Council member that the laws regarding the Grand Avenue sub area had been getting a lot of attention but are a small part of the code. It was proposed that when the changes are adopted, the regulations of the Grand Avenue sub area would be reverted to status quo. Although the city said they would try to work with the people who had complaints regarding the Grand Avenue sub area while keeping the status quo, City Administrator Paul Benoit said that the entire public is never happy about any one decision, and that the decision regarding zoning laws will be no different.

Councilmember Jen Cavanaugh stressed the importance of public knowledge and perception of the problems addressed by the City Council. The more people know about a problem and the changes it requires, the less people are unhappy when the Council makes a decision. In fact, a couple of Council members stressed the importance of the process of the creation and approval of such changes.

Every step is important. Overlooking or rushing something could cause easily preventable mistakes and an unhappy public. Council members understand the importance of a careful process. During the discussion, it was made clear that this meeting was not to be the meeting where the changes were finally approved. Rather, its purpose was to determine the intent of the Council members and include them in the final draft of the changes to the code, in regards to the Grand Avenue sub area.

The floor was then opened up to public forum. The Mayor suggested that those who want to passionately speak on the Zone D regulations for the Grand Avenue sub area and short term rental should “save their fire” for a later meeting, when the Council focuses on those two issues.

The first speaker approved the Council’s decision regarding the short-term rentals. The second speaker, Joy Koletsky Jacobs was upset that Grand Avenue sub area residents weren’t adequately notified of the meetings regarding the changes to the code for said sub area. She asked that residents be notified by mail and not email, as a person is more likely to give attention to their mail rather than their email. The third speaker, Mark Loper, decided to save his fire for a later date.

The fourth speaker, Ted Kinch, spoke of his worry about the loss of parking and increase of traffic that might come with the Zone D changes, which includes the Civic Center. The center is near a school, so the increased traffic might lead to problems with children walking to school.

The fifth speaker, Miguel de Avelon thanked the council for separating the Zone D and short term rental changes. The sixth speaker, Dimitri Magganas, expressed his neutrality on most of the changes, but disliked the idea of having AirBnB in Piedmont.

After public forum closed, the Council reviewed the addendum revisions. These included limiting the number of signs in commercial establishments to a percentage of window area rather than a strict number cap, and reverting short term rental regulations to the current status quo, as well as changing the regulation of Zone D, which includes the Grand Avenue sub area regulations for lot coverage, landscaping, structural height, street yard setback, side and rear yard setback and reverts them to current regulations.

The floor to ceiling height for the Civic Center sub area will also be increased from 12 feet to 15 feet in the draft.  Another recommended change was to permit ground floor residential use except for entry into the upper floors, as well as reverting parking for Zone D to current regulations, meaning that the parking spaces required for dwelling units greater than 700 square feet to 2 rather than 1.5, as well as deleting the provision that exempts parking for the first 1500 square square feet of commercial floor area. For commercial uses, they recommend keeping the one parking space per 150 square feet for high volume spaces and 250 square feet for low volume spaces.

The Council then discussed deferring the discussion of short term rentals and Zone D (Grand Avenue sub area) to a later date. They decided to save the resolution for those issues for another meeting. Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh then went on to thank the public for their attendance to the meetings.

The conversation then turned to parking, regarding the changes that this new draft brings. In the draft, uncovered and tandem parking counts towards a house’s parking requirements. When questioned on the inclusion of tandem parking in the revision, the Planning Director explained that this was decided based on precedent from the Planning Commission. Although the code allowed tandem parking, it was pointed out that it is an unused practice in most cases, and that most would rather park in their driveway or on the street.

There was worry that the parking revisions were discouraging on-street parking by not allowing people to park in 20 foot setback (distance from building to property line). However, people are welcome to park in their own 20 foot setback, it is just not counted towards required parking for a home.

One Council member pointed out that the law assumes that if you add a room you add a car, which has not proven to be in correlation. He says that he doesn’t want parking to be a problem for people who want to expand their house, and pointed out that adding more ways to fill the parking requirement will help those who want to expand. In their review, the Planning Commission has the power to request more parking from a residence than meets the parking requirement, if they feel that the parking situation around the residence is unsafe.

Finally, Council member Teddy G. King pointed out that efforts to accommodate vehicles has become a problem in California, in regards to carbon emissions and global warming, and that the city of Piedmont has adopted an environmental policy that has to do with moving people out of their vehicles. Tandem parking would help relieve streets of congestion, and serve as an alternative to multiple parking spots, thus decluttered streets and encouraging fewer cars.

Another planned change is to Zone C, multi-family home parking requirements. This change would reduce the parking requirements of a multi-family home if they are to be redeveloped. The concern brought up with this change is that the multi-family homes are usually next to residential neighborhoods, and that nearby residents are upset by redevelopment because they fear it means fewer parking spaces. However, the changes are not limiting parking; they are lowering the required amount. The thinking is that the city doesn’t want to force residents to build unnecessary and useless parking.

The developers are free to put in more parking if they feel the need to do so, the City just doesn’t want to force people to create parking if they don’t need it. More parking spaces makes moving to Piedmont more expensive, as new residents have to pay for their own parking.  This lowers the number of people moving to Piedmont. This is consistent with the Planning Commissions goal of creating a low density urban environment.

The Council then moved on to the changes regarding Zone E, which are essentially very large residential properties. The changes proposed are roughly the same as those proposed for Zone A, allowing people to build up to their property line. Both Zone A and E have the same development pattern: a front yard, a house in the middle of the property, a backyard, and garages and others structures towards the back of the property. The revision is meant to incentivize this building pattern by making it easier to build accessory structures in the back of the property next to the property line. This is to ensure that the front yard remains open, that the house is not next to an accessory structure, and that the backyard remains open between the buildings. This building pattern creates space between the structures and on the property, a more ideal and pleasing design for both the residents and their neighbors as it allows for more privacy.

A revision also allows people to build site features without having to add them to their lot coverage. The intent of the structure coverage limit is to limit the amount of structures on a building that would have a negative impact on nearby structures. However, having a small number of additional structures on a property really doesn’t have any adverse effect, so the Planning Commission decided to allow a certain amount to be built on a property without adding to the coverage limit.

Site features such as a hot tub, built-in barbeque or bench really don’t have a negative impact, and these are the features that people usually want to add. Because people apply for such changes on a regular basis, the Planning Commission wants to remove this requirement of an application, so that it can be addressed in code rather than variance. Essentially, the Planning Commission is trying to improve the process to make it easier for residents.

During the discussion of revisions to property regulations the clock struck 9:30 p.m. This was the student curfew for school activities, and so I had to leave the meeting in accordance with the school code. Although the meeting continued for another half hour I was unable to write about it, because I wasn’t there.

by Xavier Woodruff-Madeira, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Mar 19 2017

Zoning: Conflict with City Charter Explained in Declaration by Former Mayor

According to former Mayor Alice Creason, the “revision” of Chapter 17 of the City Code includes zoning language and intent contrary to the 1980 voter approved Piedmont City Charter requiring changes of use/classifications and zone sizes to be approved by Piedmont voters. Voter approval for proposed zoning changes is not being sought by the City Council.

On March 17, 2017 Creason submitted a notarized declaration to the City Council and others showing the correct interpretation of the City Charter, as approved by voters.  See detailed explanation below.

Creason a former Piedmont mayor (1982-84), Planning Commissioner (1976-78), liaison to the Planning Commission, participant in the development of the revised City Charter (1977 – 1980), and Council member (1978 -1986) states that the City is not adhering to the intent and actual language of the City Charter which requires Piedmont voter approval for specific zoning changes. The City Council has been or desires to change uses within Zone B (public) and Zone D (commercial) without Piedmont voter approval.

In a cover letter to the Council, Creason states that the City Council can:

  1.  Submit the proposed zoning changes to Piedmont voters for approval OR
  2.  Revise the City Charter to allow the Council to make the desired changes without voter approval.

The Creason cover letter to the City Council can be read by clicking > img023 .

The Creason Declaration explaining the City Charter intent and required voter approval can be read by clickingimg025.

The opposite interpretation by Piedmont’s new contract attorney can be read by clicking > img026 .

Actual zoning language in the City Charter below:

ARTICLE IX. General Provisions

SECTION 9.01 GENERAL PLAN The City Council shall adopt, and may from time to time, modify a general plan setting forth policies to govern the development of the City. Such plan may cover the entire City and all of its functions and services or may consist of a combination of plans governing specific functions and services or specific geographic areas which together cover the entire City and all of its functions and services. The plan shall also serve as a guide to Council action concerning such City planning matters as land use, development regulations and capital improvements.

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof; provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a singlefamily dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.

 Read the > City Charter 

Mar 19 2017

Zoning: Increased Housing in Lower Piedmont, Reduced Parking Requirements, For Profit Uses in Public Buildings, Structures Up to Property Lines

An underlying goal of the building code changes (Chapter 17) is to increase housing density in lower Piedmont and provide more affordable housing.

On Monday, March 20, 2017, the Council plans to approve an ordinance that will mean more houses, more apartments, and reduced parking requirements in Piedmont. The City Council on March 6, approved the first reading of the massive rewriting and changes to Chapter 17 of the Piedmont City Code.  The second reading is planned at the March 20 Council meeting.

Council members are convinced that Piedmonters have been informed and engaged in the process.

In a cursory survey of Piedmonters, few had any substantive knowledge of the proposed changes with the exception of changes to Grand Avenue and short term rentals.

On March 6, the Council members decided to remove consideration of short term rentals and commercial property regulations on Grand Avenue pending further input from the public.

The Grand Avenue neighbors have been active and organized in attempting to make new regulations compatible with the neighborhood.

Civic Center Apartments

One citizen, Ted Kinch, referred to the 92% of Piedmonters who responded to the heavily relied upon 2007 Survey, who expressed their preference to keep the small town feeling of Piedmont.  Kinch emphasized the potential problems from adding apartments in the Civic Center – above the Wells Fargo Building and Mulberry’s.  He mentioned that watching children walk to school was refreshing and should not be threatened by increased traffic and parking.

Council approved the proposed building code changes for apartments to be permitted in the Civic Center.  There has been no organized opposition from any neighborhood group, school representative, or emergency service person in regard to traffic, safety, or congestion next to emergency services and schools in the Civic Center.

Inquiry

Only a few of the numerous code revisions received inquiry by the Council members.  The exception was Council member Jen Cavenaugh, liaison to the Planning Commission, who questioned reduced off-street parking requirements for residences and businesses, structures allowed to be built up to the property line, and for profit businesses in public buildings, amongst other issues.

Cavenaugh questioned the likelihood Estates Zone residents would want their neighbors building up to the property line, “Not wanting people to be on top of each other in that way.”

There has been no indication that Piedmont residents in lower Piedmont (Zone A) would accept their neighbors building a structure up to the property line. Planning Director Kevin Jackson claimed the intent was to encourage property owners to build garages and structures at the back of the lot to leave more open space.

Mayor Jeff Wieler was concerned about the reduction in Zone A (residential) lot size from 10,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet.  He stated,  “Our lords and masters in Sacramento… we’re suddenly changing our zoning to satisfy some bureaucrat up in Sacramento. I resent it.”

Council members Teddy King and Tim Rood quickly defended the reduction in parcel size in lower Piedmont as an effort by Piedmont to assist in supplying the area with more housing plus more affordable housing.

King stated, “This is actually a component of the entire revision process (Chapter 17) so that we meet the requirements and spirit of the housing needs in the Bay Area. … To the extent that some of the controversial elements in this proposal have caught the attention of Piedmonters, it is important to explain that many of these changes we didn’t dream up. They are tied to other efforts put in place by State and Federal authorities. We don’t conceive of our own housing and density in a vacuum.”

Parking

Although a lack of adequate off-street parking has been a major issue in numerous Planning Commission applications, King and Rood liked reducing the off street parking requirements to encourage a reduction in automobile usage and an increase in transit ridership. Bedroom additions will no longer necessarily trigger the need to provide off-street parking.

The Planning Commission has been responsible in the past for determining if traffic, parking and safety impact applications, yet traffic and parking studies are not required by the process potentially leaving the matter to subjective opinions.

Short term rentals deferred once more.

A short term rental (under 30 days) prohibition was held for further consideration maintaining the status quo of no City enforcement of ongoing short term rentals. According to Piedmont’s existing Home Occupation Ordinance, all home businesses, including airbnb, require homeowners to obtain a business license and Home Occupation Permit. Short term rentals currently do not qualify for a home occupation permit because the home business owner cannot use a residential property addresse in advertisements or for client access. Organized interest by promoters of short term rentals has been active. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to prohibit short term rentals.  Seeking further input, the Council has not acted on the pending short term rental issue during a three year period.

The Council meeting will be held on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber to act on the ordinance changes.  Viewing is available on Channel 27 and from the City website.

Staff report for Item #7 on the agenda.

Draft minutes of March 6, 2017 Council meeting when zoning issues were previously considered.

Agenda for March 20, 2017 Council meeting

 

Mar 5 2017

ANALYSIS: Zoning Changes at March 6, 2017 Council Meeting

Numerous changes to Piedmont building laws are proposed for Chapter 17 of the City Code. Piedmonters generally are not aware of the significance of Chapter 17 on their property and lives until they, their neighbors, or the City considers changes to property, such as: building a fence, remodeling a house, excavating, changing property lines, or adding an additional living space.

The City Council will consider proposed changes and a possible first reading of the ordinance on Monday, March 6, 2017 during their regular Council meeting, starting at 7:30 p.m., 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website for remote viewing. 

Lack of public involvement and engagement

Much has been made of the lack of information and interactive opportunities provided to Piedmonters and how proposed construction laws might impact them and their community. Some familiar with the City Charter’s intent and language have found the zone use proposals inconsistent with the Charter’s requirement of voter approvals.

Many items proposed are an improvement; others modifications change the meaning of the original code language and that of the City Charter.  Some items typically found in other cities’ ordinances appear to be missing in the “comprehensive” proposal.  There are two parts to the proposal – the ordinance (Chapter 17) and the “Interim Design Review” proposal.  It is unclear on why some items are being repealed prior to replacement.

Following is an abbreviated, partial overview of some matters of consideration:

  1. Omission of a standard for public safety in regard to traffic impacts and parking needs
  2. Misinterpretation of City Charter in regard to voter rights to determine uses allowed in zones and size of zones
  3. New cost to neighbors or applicants to have matters considered by the Planning Commission
  4. Reduction in notices publicizing what is being considered by the City Planning Director and new policies
  5. Apartments on top of commercial buildings such as Mulberry’s to 3 floors in height adjacent to Havens School and across from Piedmont Emergency facilities
  6. Reduction in the required size and frontage of parcels in Lower Piedmont
  7. No setback or building height restrictions on City property
  8. Lack of clear definition of Accessory Structure
  9. Disparate division of residential zones with different requirements
  10. Reduced requirements for parking space size and number of spaces
  11. Increased development in Piedmont Civic Center near schools, civic activities, and emergency services
  12. Unclear as to which fences require design review
  13. Corner property obstruction limits established
  14. Existing accessory residential units grandfathered 
  15. No rentals less than 30 days allowed (airbnb style)
  16. Appeal process timing does not allow for Planning Commission verification of their decision before scheduling a Council appeal.
  17. Traffic and safety requirement omitted from Planning Commission consideration for certain variances
  18. Ten year period for low income accessory housing rentals  where  parking requirements are forgiven
  19. No requirement for longer term low income housing rentals
  20. No time limit for applicants to withdraw Planning Commission consideration of application prior to the hearing
  21. No provision to request architects to allow copies of their plans during public review
  22. Reclassification, a City Charter provision, is misinterpreted in the ordinance language. 
  23. Safety is not emphasized in Design Review Guidelines
  24. Title of “Director”(unclear to whom this refers) determines what is a “significant change” or a “minor modification” to Planning Commission approved plans without clear definitions.
  25. Planning Staff approves plans up to $125,000 (annually adjusted for inflation) unless there is an expensive fee paid for an appeal to the Planning Commission.
  26. New language on zoning appears to conflict with the City Charter.
  27. No language regarding overseeing the true cost of projects in relation to a building permit is included. 
  28. Code language fails to acknowledge the right of voters to control zoning uses (classifications) and boundaries.
  29. Reference to the City Charter in zoning regulations does not provide the reader with actual Charter language.
  30. The right of a Planning Commissioner, Council Member, or City Administrator to call for a review of a planning decision is unclear and does not specify the planning decision origin.
  31. Caveat added to the right of the above noted individuals to require a review of planning decisions has been hampered by new non-disclosure language of the requester’s opinion to one other participant could be against the Constitution. 
  32. Designated views are limited to distant views.
  33. Preservation of historic public buildings is missing.
  34. Traffic, congestion, pedestrian access, bicycle routes, parking, and right of way impacts are not fully identified in design review.
  35. Unclear if items noted for repeal are being replaced within the ordinance.
  36. Height of accessory structures limited to 7 feet measured from unclear point
  37. Definitions and terms within the “Interim Design Review” proposal are inconsistent with proposed code language.
  38. Information sheet is inconsistent with proposed code.
  39. Parking, driveway, disabled access, vehicle turnarounds: key elements to traffic and public safety – are insufficiently specified.
  40. Inconsistent use of language, example: Director – Planning Director or Public Works Director ?       
  41. Setbacks for residences or other buildings to be measured from the building wall rather than any eave overhangs potentially making building structures closer together.
  42. Commercial uses allowed on public property
  43. No parking requirements for public uses
  44. Greater control over planning matters by the Planning Director
  45. Fewer responsibilities for Planning Commissioners

Numerous other issues of interest to Piedmonters are available in the 500+ page documents. Readers are referred to prior PCA articles here and City sources here.

Editors Note: Attempts have been made to present to the public some of the issues related to the Chapter 17 proposal. Any incorrect statements were legitimately made in attempting to explain to the public some proposal aspects. Corrections and comments are always welcomed on this website. See below or email editors@piedmontcivic.org

Mar 4 2017

Public Limited on Zoning Decisions While Council Poses Few Questions Regarding Significant Changes

Residents are left out of important planning processes – 

Little known to the general public are big proposed changes to zoning and the building code agendized for consideration by the City Council, Monday, March 6, 7:30 p.m. City Hall.

Some of the proposed changes to the zoning and building code include allowing:

  • Apartments on top of Mulberry’s and the three Piedmont banks to a height of 40 feet with no setbacks unless next to a residence
  • Reduction in the size and number of parking spaces required for construction projects
  • New smaller lots with reduced street frontage in lower Piedmont
  • Commercial businesses on public property
  • Elimination of  height restrictions and setback requirements on public property
  • Land use changes within zones.
  • Safety omitted in the intent of Design Review
  • Structures built up to the property line in Piedmont’s lower residential zone
  • Transfer of certain authority from the Planning Commission to the Planning Director
  • Eliminating notice to neighbors or neighborhoods under various circumstances
  • No provision for driveways widths, lengths, and turnaround requirements within the ordinance
  • Reduction in setback requirements between houses
  • Reliance on the Council approved General Plan Document rather than the voter approved City Charter

These bullet points are only some of the proposed changes.        _________________

Council and public questions at the Study Session –

The Council appeared ready to accept recommendations with few questions or concerns making some observers recall a similar attitude preceding taxpayer incurred obligation of the $2 + million private underground utility debacle and the Blair Park proposal and unrepaid “gift” to the City.

Some observers of the January 23, 2017 Council “Study Session” on zoning changes and building requirements were left without answers and without sufficient opportunities to be heard.

Removing the matter from public view and engagement, residents were asked to write their questions or concerns to the Council on the 500 + page voluminous proposals. 

No open interactive approach offered by the City-

A powerpoint explanation at the January 23, 2017 Council Study Session provided an overview of the proposals.   The public participants interested in the proposals were limited to 3 minutes per person to make comments or inquiry on the lengthy and complex document.  Some participants had more than one point or inquiry, but could not make them to the Council. The Council pressed ahead often without asking questions or involving the public during their “Study Session.”

In stark contrast to efforts to solicit input on garbage/solid waste services that will not change until 2018, the Planning Department and City Council have an expedited schedule to adopt far reaching and impactful long term changes to Piedmont laws governing what can be built on Piedmont property.

Some of the Council members seemed overwhelmed by the 535 pages of documents and somewhat ill-informed on important aspects of the proposal. There were basic issues such as variances.  Preparation, reading and understanding of the documents was not obvious to many observers of the meeting. One or more Council members appeared intimidated by the process.

Current Chairman of the Planning Commission, Eric Behrens spoke of the 16 meetings held by the Planning Commission to discuss the proposals and their recommendations (some of which began 10 years ago.)  Many of these meetings included prior commissioners no longer on the commission. The vast majority of the “public meetings” were held at an indeterminate time at the end of very long Planning Commission meetings.  The Commissioners were often visibly weary and ready to accept the staff proposals.  Exceedingly few residents had the time or fortitude to wait through an entire Planning Commission meeting for an indefinite time to speak for 3 minutes. Some speakers felt they were ignored and had insufficient time to make explanations of issues to the Commission.

Mayor Jeff Wieler stated at the January 23, 2017 Study Session that various aspects of the proposal could be considered individually. Later, he raised issues regarding short term home rentals, home occupation permits and commercial zone laws. The staff, legal consultant and Council member Tim Rood discouraged waiting to resolve individual issues prior to adoption.  The advising legal counselor informed Wieler the proposal could not be broken apart to the wonderment of many who recognized that the Design Review Section was considered “Interim” and incomplete. Inconsistencies in language between the Interim and Proposed documents did not deter pressing ahead.

Planning Director Kevin Jackson frequently used the terms “recommended by the Planning Commission” and “mandated by the General Plan” when introducing the changes to Piedmont laws.

Vice Mayor Bob McBain pushed to have the enormous package of changes approved noting it could be amended if appropriate.

New Council member Jen Cavenaugh initially raised a number of questions in the meeting, but soon appeared to hold back on inquiry as Council member Rood stepped in to defend interpretations and intent of the proposed changes.

Council member Teddy King showed concern for short term rentals, proposed to prohibit rentals under 30 days.  The Planning Commission has recommended short term rentals be prohibited.

There have been NO surveys since 2007 and NO community workshops for idea exchanges. 

Many points presented by the public have not been fully explored or responded to in the meetings. Parking requirements have been key to many resident speakers, yet the proposal continues to reduce both the size and number of parking spaces in future developments.

Standards for measuring congestion, traffic, parking needs, and safety are not defined in the ordinance.  Standards are lacking in many of the decision areas.

Rather than an interactive process, public input was closed and the public was not provided an opportunity to respond to what the Council discussed at the meeting. By the end of the over 3 hour meeting and despite Planning Director Kevin Jackson’s public notice stating no action would be taken, Jackson inquired as to any direction the Council wanted to give him. None was given.

Significant land use changes between zones without voter approval:

Previous Councils defined “classification as the use”. –

An example of the established definition of “classification” as “use,” was in 1987 when the Council voted to create two separate single family residential zones, one for single family residential parcels with a minimum 10,000 square feet (Zone A) and another zone for single family residential parcels with a minimum 20,000 square feet (Zone E – Estate).   This was done by the Council without voter approval on the basis that there was no change of use. The Council stated that the use within the zone was not changing, consequently it was not a new zone, even though one zone was reduced, Zone A,  and Zone E, the Estate Zone was created out of Zone A.  In Chapter 17 of the City Code, there are two separate single family residential zones, Single Family Residential (Zone A) and Single Family Residential Estate (Zone E), approved by the Council because the use did not change.  

The current proposal relates to land use changes without voter approval. This questionable process goes against the wording in the City Charter.

The Council is scheduled on March 6, 2017 to consider the first reading of the important ordinance changes and Interim proposals.

City Council Agenda– March 6, 2017 

Click here to view Staff Reports.  (There is an error with the City posting.  The staff report on item 6. states Introduction and 1st Reading of Ord. 728 N.S. Adopting Revisions to the City Code Including Chapter 17, Planning and Land Use; and Consideration of a Resolution Adopting Interim Design Guidelines and the Repeals of Policies Incorporated into the City Code and Guidelines 0705, 0795 7.  Information can be found at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/zoning-code-update/) 

Jan 25 2017

Opinion: Residents Opposing Omnibus Approach to Piedmont Zoning

Correspondence between residents and Mayor Wieler.

Thank you for your prompt response Mayor Wieler. There is nothing in law or code to suggest existing homes would be “non-conforming” if Piedmont zoning remains as is- that should not be an impetus and it’s certainly not a rationale.

We are in full agreement with the spirit and most of the substance of the editorial on the January 22, 2017 Piedmont Civic Association website.
1) What is the purpose of this omnibus approach to zoning in our city?  What’s the benefit to us, to our neighbors? Piedmont Planning Director Kevin  Jackson has repeatedly cited historically high variance approval rates as an indication that our zoning rules are outdated. Is it possible those high approval rates are a function of reasonable plans and compromises engendered by the variance approval process itself?
2) Smaller lot sizes (which as you know are already accounted for in the current code), reduced set backs and potentially larger structure footprints will encourage the construction of larger homes and more density which will- over time- change and, in our opinion erode the character of broad sections of our community
3) Absence of material change to Zone E lot sizes and set backs – hmmmmmm.
We hope you and the city council will consider Piedmont Civic Association’s recommendation  for more transparency, clarity and outreach in these matters.  The power to effect changes of this magnitude should not reside with staff and a few select committees. We urge our city government to take the necessary steps to seek formal approval from our citizens before these changes are adopted.
Respectfully,
 Philip & Jean Stein
Piedmont
On Jan 23, 2017, at 9:00 AM, Jeffrey Wieler <jswieler@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for your email.  I urge you to come to tonight’s meeting to express your concerns and ask questions.  Concerning the lot size issue, I believe one impetus for the change is the fact that most Piedmont homes sit on lots under 10,000 sq. feet in size, and it makes no sense to deem  them non-conforming.  As a practical matter, I doubt anybody would find it economical to tear down a large home on a large lot to sub-divide.

However, we are having multiple meetings on the rewrite precisely to answer questions like yours.
Jeff Wieler

On Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 12:26 AM, Philip Stein <treehousephil@gmail.com> wrote:

Editorial ALERT: Changes Impacting All Piedmont Houses and Properties Obscured in Proposal Documents

Hi, Neighbors,

Have you read the 535 page staff description of proposed changes to Piedmont’s zoning?  

Rather than simply affecting the commercial and “civic center” zones, this proposal has become a massive set of changes affecting essentially every Piedmont single family residence (SFR).

The changes appear to include:

  • reducing minimum square footage required Single Family Residence lot size by 25% (8,000 sf  to 6,000 sf)
  •  reducing frontage – reduced by 33% (90 feet to 60 feet)
  • reducing side setbacks by 50% (to as little as 2 feet (using language that falsely appears to expand the setback!)
A simple proposal for “Grand Avenue zoning fixes” appears to have expanded exponentially. If this proposal moves forward, it could potentially significantly increase the density of Piedmont’s residential areas.  It would allow substantially larger structures next to your home . . closer to your home, allow many larger lots to be subdivided, and allow much larger second homes on one lot.

Is there any description in the voluminous city documents of the total eventual impact on our city?  Will these proposals, in combination, lead to a tear down of many old Piedmont homes? Will residents only find out what’s really in this massive proposal after the Council passes it?

Unfortunately, no effective executive summary of the 535 pages is provided, nor any effective notice of specifics in this massive mission creep.
Changes having the potential to transform Piedmont should not be obfuscated within a 535 page document.  It now seems to cover everything from Airbnb rules . . to parking . . . to 4-story civic center buildings with zero (0) setbacks . . . to increasing density for virtually every Single Family Residence lot.   All important issues – and in some cases “hot-button” issues for Piedmont.

The multiple issues encompassed in this hydra-headed proposal should be dealt with separately, with appropriate opportunity for public input for each.

Staff was initially simply working on clean up language in the ordinance and a few zoning changes affecting the Grand Avenue commercial or civic area. Why have Single Family Residence changes been slipped in? Does the citywide impact on single family residences, commercial, and public property make a citywide vote necessary . . . . or at least desirable?

For those who have a few spare days to review it, the 535 page staff report is here:

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/publicworks/docs/planning/ch17revisions/2016-11-10_report.pdf

 

Jan 8 2017

Concerns over City Council Consideration of Significant and Expansive Revisions to the Planning and Zoning Provisions of the City Code

Wednesday, January 11, 7:30 p.m. in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center is the first Study Session.

Concerns:

  • Lack of usable/comprehensible public information and citizen input
  • Eliminating requirements for construction on public property
  • Changing land uses without voter approval per the City Charter
  • Charging the Planning staff with approvals for projects under $125,000 rather than the Planning Commission
  • Allowing construction up to a property line
  • Reducing the number and size of parking places required
  • Leaving the Appeal process uncorrected
  • Handling of short term rentals
  • Neighborhood and emergency concerns over density and commercial increases next to homes, schools, and public property

No broadcast or recording of the Council meeting will be available.

The Council is to be educated on proposed zoning changes on January 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center.  This room has no equipment to visually memorialize or broadcast the proceedings.   Meetings regarding the City budget are typically held in the room, also without public broadcasting. 

The meeting is open to the public.  How the public can participate in the discussions, navigate the proposals, or query the presentation by Planning Director Kevin Jackson is unannounced.  

The volume and organization of the content is not listed under staff reports on the City website. The proposed changes are unclear relative to existing law.  Some members of the public have asked that specific items be identified and publicized so the public can come and speak to items as they arise.  No public workshops, surveys or study sessions have been organized. 

The factor most often mentioned regarding the Chapter 17 changes has been lack of public involvement in the Planning Commission recommendations, which were not unanimously approved by the Planning Commission. Surveys for recreation facilities and waste management have been widely publicized unlike the impactful changes to Chapter 17.  What the City, you, your neighbors, developers, can do with public and private property in Piedmont fall under Chapter 17.   The proposed changes generally originate from the staff. 

A few Piedmonters, the City, and developers have pushed to further densify the City, change zoning, and remove restrictions on use of public property.  A few knowledgeable Piedmonters have voiced objections to rezoning and changing land use without a public vote, allowing fewer and smaller parking spaces, encouraging buildings next to property lines, and removing approval processes from public consideration.  Voices expressing the preference to uphold Piedmont’s small town feeling appear to have been negated.  Appeal processes, Planning staff decision increases, commercial development intensity next to emergency facilities, homes and schools, involvement of the residents on a broad base have been issues.

Read City documents on the proposed changes here.

_____________________________

PUBLIC NOTICE FROM THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT

Study Session, 7:30 p.m.,Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Study Session, 6:30 p.m., Monday, January 23, 2017

Regular Meeting, Monday, March 6, 2017

At Study Sessions on January 11th and 23rd, 2017 the City Council will begin the process of considering a recommendation from the Planning Commission regarding updates to the Planning and Zoning Provisions of the City Code, the City’s Design Guidelines, and Policies and Procedures related to Planning matters in early 2017. No action will be taken at the study sessions.

Study Sessions:

7:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 11, 2017, EOC, 403 Highland Avenue – [This location typically precludes broadcast of the session.]

6:30 p.m., Monday, January 23, 2017, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue – [There has been no announcement regarding broadcast of the session.]

Following the study sessions, the Council is tentatively scheduled to take the first step in considering the recommendation for adoption at its regular meeting of March 6, 2017.

Regular Meeting: 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 6, 2017, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue

Background

The City of Piedmont General Plan, adopted in 2009, and the 2011 and 2014 updates to its Housing Element include actions and programs that mandate revisions to Chapter 17 of the City Code, otherwise known as the Zoning Code. Additional revisions to consider are voluntary but equally important to improving and streamlining planning services in the city. Beginning in 2012, the Planning Commission and City Council held a series of meetings resulting in the adoption of planned revisions in 2012 and 2013. In addition, in 2014 and 2015, the Planning Commission and City Council separately discussed regulations of short term rentals.

Current Effort and Planning Commission Recommendation

The larger goal mandated by the General plan is a comprehensive update of the zoning code. In 2016, in a concerted effort to achieve this goal, the Planning Commission has held and completed discussions about a variety of topics related to potential revisions during five regularly scheduled meetings and two special meetings. At a subsequent special meeting held on November 10, 2016, the Planning Commission unanimously adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council adopt a revised Chapter 17,

Planning and Land Use, adopt an Interim Design Guidelines, and repeal policies incorporated into the Code or Guidelines.

Documents on the City Website

The staff report to Council dated March 6, 2017 and other documents related to this project are available on the City’s website at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us. The webpage also contains links to previous staff reports, meeting minutes, the General Plan, the current Zoning Code (Chapter 17) and the Zoning Map.

Public Engagement

The opportunity for public input is available throughout this process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend the study sessions and regular meetings at which the City Council will consider this item. Questions about the project and requests to receive email notification of activities related to Zoning Code revisions should be directed to Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us or (510) 420-3039.

Written comments to the City Council on this matter may be submitted to citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

As noted in previous email notices, the City Council will be considering the Planning Commission’s recommended revisions to Chapter 17 of the Piedmont City Code, which contains land-use and planning regulations, including regulations of short term rentals. The Planning Commission also recommended adoption of an Interim Design Guidelines. Prior to its consideration of the revisions for adoption, the City Council will hold two study sessions regarding the matter. The meeting dates are as follows

  • Study Session: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 – 7:30 p.m., EOC, 403 Highland Avenue
  • Study Session: Monday, January 23, 2017 – 6:30 p.m., City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue
  • Regular Meeting: Monday, March 6, 2017 – 7:30 p.m., City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the study sessions and the regular meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the Council via email at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or via US Mail addressed to City Clerk John Tulloch at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

Please visit the City’s Webpage dedicated to the proposed revisions to Chapter 17 and Interim Design Guidelines for more information, including the report to Council and my recommendation on how to navigate the report.

Sincerely,

Kevin Jackson, AICP, Planning Director, City of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

Tel: (510) 420-3039  Fax: (510) 658-3167