Apr 10 2019

For the first time since 2011, the entire state of California has been noted as drought free on the U.S. Drought Monitor map released March 21, 2019.  The drought status analysis is produced jointly by the National Drought Mitigation Center, the US Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and updated each Thursday.  It is calculated through the analysis of satellite- and model-based observations of conditions that influence drought with a 1-kilometer spatial resolution.  [Visit the National Drought Mitigation Center here.]

Berkeley Environmental Advisory Commissioner Michael Goldhaber encouraged maintaining water conservation habits, but noted that personal water consumption is dwarfed by agricultural and industrial consumption.

Apr 9 2019

Stranger Danger !

Piedmont Police Department Announcement:

An incident involving a young student this past Monday morning, April 8, serves as a reminder that parents should be vigilant when it comes to teaching kids about stranger danger.

Around 7:40 am Monday, in the area of Crocker and LaSalle Avenues, a middle school student was approached by a man in what we believe was a gray SUV. The stranger asked the student if he needed a ride to school. The student was alert enough to quickly call his mother who then called our department.

Officers immediately went to the area, but the suspected man and his vehicle had already left the area. We are currently following possible leads that may lead us to the man in question. Thankfully, the student is okay, and we have not heard of any other incidents.

Piedmont Police Department – 420-3000

Apr 9 2019

City announces:

On Wednesday April 10th, upper Dracena Park will be reopened after emergency tree removal operations that began in late February. The entirety of the path running from Artuna Avenue to Park Way will be reopened. A small section of path which runs parallel to Park Way is still under construction. Until that area can be regraded and the new path installed, temporary fencing will remain around that small section of the path until weather conditions allow for installation to be completed.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Parks & Project Manager Nancy Kent at (510) 420-3064 or via email at nkent@piedmont.ca.gov.

Apr 9 2019

Piedmont Arbor Day 2019

The community is invited for information, music and refreshments.

Thursday, April 11th – 5:00 – 7:00 PM 
Piedmont Community Hall

The City of Piedmont and the Park Commission cordially invite the community to the 2019 Arbor Day Celebration which will be held on Thursday, April 11th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Piedmont Community Hall in Main Park.

This year’s keynote speaker will be will be Piedmont’s new Fire Chief, Bret Black, who will discuss forest management and fire safety. Park Commissioner Jim Horner will be announcing this year’s Heritage Tree nominations and, along with Mayor McBain, will be discussing the unique characteristics of these trees and their historical significance in our urban forest.

Representatives from Republic Services, East Bay Community Energy, and Piedmont Evergreen will be available to answer residents’ questions about their programs and services.

The Piedmont High School Jazz band will provide musical entertainment and light refreshments will be served.


Apr 7 2019

Where will Piedmont’s money go?

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Review Committee Agenda Tuesday, April 9, 2019 7:00 p.m.

City Hall Conference Room, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

The meeting is open to the public, however broadcasts and recordings of the proceedings will not be made. 

  1. Review of Preliminary CIP Wish Lists, Resident Proposals, and Criteria for Evaluating Proposed Projects
  2. Presentation of Resident Proposals

Materials related to an item on this agenda submitted to the CIP Review Committee are available for public inspection in the Public Works Department during normal business hours at 120 Vista Avenue, City Hall.

Read prior PCA article on the CIP Committee and citizen proposals.

  • Middle School courts repaved for Pickleball purposes
  • Change Wildwood Gardens street from a two-way to one way street
  • Construct a public Path and Stairway between Oak Avenue from Wildwood Gardens
  • Fencing and improvements to Blair Park along Moraga Avenue 
  • Improvements to Witter Field drainage and various enhancements
  • Construct a Water fountain in Piedmont Park near Witter Field for dogs and people

Read the submitted projects and other prior proposals here.  See the project spreadsheet here.

The CIP Committee reviews proposals and makes funding recommendations to the City Council; the recommendations will be  considered and acted upon by the Council through their annual budget review process.

Apr 7 2019

Charter Revisions Make City Administrator Selection Vital to Piedmont. 

Will there be an opportunity for public input on the qualifications sought in a new City Administrator?

The Piedmont City Council is moving ahead to find a replacement for City Administrator Paul Benoit, who is retiring in June 2019.

Minutes from February 25, 2019 Special Council action meeting can be read by clicking > 2019-02-25_special

Public input methods and characteristics sought in a new City Administrator by the City Council have not been publicized.  In the past, the community has been given opportunities to provide comments and ideas on desired characteristics of top Piedmont officials.

The recently voter approved Charter revisions place the decision of retention of key employees with the City Administrator rather than with the City Council.

In November 2018, the City Council and City Administrator Paul Benoit proposed and Piedmont voters approved City Charter changes transferring long-held Council responsibilities to the Piedmont City Administrator.  If the City Council and City Administrator disagree on the retention of key-officers – Police Chief, Fire Chief, Planning Director, Finance Director, Public Works Director, etc., only  the City Administrator has the right and authority to determine these key employees continued employment with the City.

The next City Administrator may require a different set of skills than previous candidates.

The Council selects the key-officers of the City, but the Council cannot terminate or retain their choices if the City Administrator does not agree.  Given a disagreement between the City Administrator and the City Council, the Council by law can terminate the City Administrator and then select another person to fill the City Administrator position who will then make decisions.  The City Administrator, by law, is singularly entitled to make firing and retention decisions regarding top officers and will bear the sole responsibility for those decisions.

This major change in Piedmont governance makes selection of an appropriate City Administrator all the more important to Piedmonters.

Some comments made in the community have suggested the following characteristics be sought in a new City Administrator:

  • Understanding of California law and application to Piedmont
  • Belief in open and transparent government
  • Familiar with Piedmont City Charter
  • Proven ability to propose and work within budgetary constraints 
  • Ability to encourage varying points of view
  • Speaking and writing skills commensurate with responsibilities
  • Foster community participation in Piedmont decisions
  • Support broadcasts of Piedmont public meetings
  • Experience with personnel decisions including terminations
  • A previous track record of administering a comparable public entity in California
  • Plans for service in Piedmont extending beyond 5 years
  • Understand the difference between Council and Administrative decisions
  • Willingness to work with the Piedmont School District
  • Ability to develop and encourage appropriate employee activities
Apr 1 2019

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

Agenda:

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. 

Mar 30 2019

Planning Commission to Consider Design Guidelines Update

– Public Meetings –

Monday, April 8, 2019 – Introduction and Discussion – 5 pm City Hall

Monday, May 13, 2019 – Discussion and Recommendation – 5 pm City Hall

At its meetings on April 8th and 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 will be introduced at the April 8th meeting, staff will answer questions, the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback, and the Planning Commission will discuss the proposal. At the May 13th meeting, the Commission will take additional testimony from the public, continue its discussion, and consider a recommendation to the City Council.

Background

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 includes design guidelines for wireless communication facilities will be added at a future date. In addition to the link below to the electronic copy of the draft Guidelines, print copies are available for viewing at Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

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 meetings scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 8, 2019 and 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.

All meetings are broadcast and recorded.  Live broadcast can be found on Cable Channel 27 and on the City website under City Council videos/ Planning Commission.    http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/video/

Mar 30 2019

League of Women Voters of Piedmont to Host A Discussion on Immigration

With Guest Speaker Sr. Maureen Duignan Executive Director of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant

Maureen Duignan

Sunday, April 7, 2019 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

40 Highland Ave, Piedmont CA

Sr. Maureen Duignan, Executive Director of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant will address U.S. immigration policy and its effect on immigrants and refugees in the Bay Area. Sr. Maureen has earned several awards for her work supporting immigrants and immigrant rights, including the National Award from the National Guatemalan Council. She lived in Guatemalan/Salvadoran refugee camps from 1982 to 1984.

Founded in 1982, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant is dedicated to offering sanctuary, solidarity, support, community organizing assistance, advocacy, and legal services to those escaping war, terror, political persecution, intolerance, exploitation, and other expressions of violence. The organization has helped more than 10,000 local immigrants navigate the legal system. Currently, the organization is deeply involved in advocating for Temporary Protected Status.

This event is free and open to the public. Visit https://my.lwv.org/california/piedmont/event/us-immigration-policy-speaker-event-sr-maureen-duignan to reserve a spot.

Mar 28 2019

On Thursday, March 28, 2019, at approximately 4:45 a.m., the Piedmont Police Department received a report of a home invasion robbery which occurred on Tyson Circle in the City of Piedmont.

Two residents of the home were confronted by three suspects armed with handguns and one unarmed suspect. The suspects ransacked the home and took various items of value. Both victims sustained minor injuries while escaping from the home and were later transported to an area hospital for treatment.

The suspects are described as follows:

Suspect #1 described as black male, early 20’s, slim build, dark hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

Suspect #2 described as black male, mid 20’s muscular build with broad shoulders.

Suspect #3 described as a young Hispanic male in his 20’s, round face, average build and unknown color hooded sweatshirt.

Suspect #4 described as black male adult.

All of the suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction prior to police arrival. Additional information will be made available as the investigation continues.

If anyone has any information related to this event, please call Detective Jeff Spranza at (510) 420-3013.

If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the Piedmont Police Department Tip Line at (510) 420-3055. For press inquiries, please contact Captain Chris Monahan at (510) 420-3012.