Nov 14 2022

With additional votes added to the totals, the elected candidates remain the same.  See updated voting totals for the City Council and School Board positions below.

City Council – Three Seats Up for Election – 3 Candidates with highest number of votes are considered elected pending final official certification.

Candidate No. of Votes
Betsy Smegal Andersen 4,679
Tom Ramsey 3,917
Jennifer Long 3,898
Bridget McInerney Harris 1,674
Jeanne Solnordal 982
Sunny Bostrom-Fleming 200

Board of Education – Two Seats Up for Election – 2 Candidates with highest number of votes are considered elected pending final official certification.

Candidate No. of Votes
Ruchi Medhekar 4.288
Lindsay Thomasson 3,946
Shirley Hooi 1,691

These results were posted to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters website at: 9:17 p.m. on Monday, November 21, 2022.

Nov 14 2022

    Blair Park, along Moraga Avenue, is a perfect place for high density housing!  The site is easily accessible for developers.  Everyone who drives on Moraga Ave. past Blair Park knows that it is very underused!  Who wants to be in a park with such heavy traffic speeding past?

Please move the new Blair Park from its current 4.85 acre location in Moraga Canyon. The park, not housing, would be better located on a portion of the original 75 acre Blair Park site, above Coaches Field-high on the hillside (see historyofpiedmont.com search Blair Park)!  All Piedmont residents could enjoy this superior park location high on the hill with its mature trees, some of the original graded trails, and unsurpassed views!

Following is a description of our magnificent hillside from the San Francisco Morning Call newspaper, Sunday, March 22, 1891. Page 8: “a splendid view is had over the whole of, what ranges from the Golden Gate inward to the Contra Costa shore.  To gain this view at the back to an altitude of some 700 feet, dominates the whole surrounding country and gives the view in panorama of everything from Berkeley to Alameda on this shore and from Mount Tamaulipas down along the Coast Range.”

Isn’t it better for our climate issues, if Piedmonters just walk out of their houses’ to a majestic new Blair Park on the mountain for exercise, rather than jumping into their cars to drive somewhere else?  It was a highly desired destination for people in 1891 and it could be again!

Chris Read, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Nov 12 2022

The Piedmont Civic Association wrote to the Piedmont Planning Department inquiring about the proposal to expand Piedmont’s ordinance allowing more bedrooms, taller ADU units, the ability to sell Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) separately on Piedmont properties, etc.  Homeowners would be permitted to subdivide their property into multiple residential units. All applications are to be considered and approved by the Planning staff with no neighbor input or public hearing. 

The City responses are in red ink to PCA inquiries printed below. 

To the Planning Department:

Thank you for the  information.  In an attempt to provide Piedmonters with information regarding the proposal, the following information is requested for publication purposes.

It would be helpful to our many readers and all Piedmonters if you provided more of an outline or executive summary of the changes to more readily tell readers what and why the changes are made.  For instance, What is the height limit being proposed? Is this required?  Where is Piedmont meeting and exceeding the State law with these proposals?

Here is the link to the staff report: https://cdn5-hosted.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Front%20Page%20Items/PC%20Staff%20Report%20ADUs%20Addtl%20Bedrooms%20-%2011-14-2022.pdf

To learn about the height limitations (current and new), please see these pages of the staff report: Please see page 2(item b); page 3 (bullet 5 at the top of the page), page 6 (2nd bullet under item 5) and Page 25 (Section 17.38.060.B.4.).

Your press release states:

“Proposed revisions to ADU regulations include:

  • Changes to development standards around height and setbacks What are the current standards and what are both the required and proposed changes?

For the heights please refer the pages noted above.

Please see these pages of the staff report to learn more about Setbacks- page 25 (Section 17.38.060.B.6.c), page 2 (item c), page 5( item 1 at the bottom of the page), page 6 ( bullet 3 under item 5) and page 8 (setbacks)

  • Allows an ADU to be sold independently from the primary residence if the buyer meets
    certain criteria  What are the proposed criteria? How does this change Piedmont’s current restrictions?

Currently, City Codes do not allow for separate conveyance of ADU.

For City Code revisions addressing separate conveyance of ADUs please see 2nd bullet under item 4 on page 6 of the staff report.

See new section 17.38.100 separate conveyance on page 32 of the staff report.

CriteriaGovernment Code Section 65852.26

  • Allows for the removal of owner occupancy deed restrictions on ADUs approved before
    2020 if the owner accepts a new 15-year deed restriction mandating that if the ADU is
    rented out, it must be rented to a tenant who meets “very low income” affordability
    thresholds set by the Association of Bay Area Governments.” Explain the circumstances.

Prior to 2020 the City required a deed restriction that the owner occupy the primary unit or ADU. Beginning Jan 1, 2020 Govt. Code Section 65852.2 (a) (6) prohibits a local jurisdiction from requiring owner occupancy. The City has received inquiries from property owners who have ADU permits with the owner-occupancy deed restriction and want to have tenants occupy both the primary and accessory dwelling units. They seek a process to remove the owner occupancy deed restriction. New code section 17.38.090 provides a process for the removal of an owner occupancy deed restriction on the condition that the unit be deed-restricted to a very-low income tenant for a period of 15 years.

Provide information on any other significant modifications of Piedmont laws. 

How are the following being addressed for ADUs, JDUs and homes ?

  • Parking- no change
  • Access- no change
  • Open space- no change
  • Tree preservation- no change
  • Safety- no change
  • View considerations- no change
  • Sidewalks- no change
  • Utility undergrounding- no change
  • Distances between buildings- no change
  • Fencing- no change
  • Landscaping- no change
  • Sun and light– no change

Thank you,

PCA Editors

2022-11-4 ADU and Bedroom Ordinance Hearing Notice (1) PUBLIC NOTICE

November 14 2022 PC AgendaPC MEETING DETAILS

Staff Report ADUs Addtl Bedrooms – 11-14-2022 < Describes the proposed Ordinance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further information and legislative text:

https://legiscan.com/CA/text/SB897/2021

https://www.ottoadu.com/blog/sb897

https://www.bbklaw.com/news-events/insights/2022/legal-alerts/10/two-new-bills-further-restrict-local-regulation

Nov 12 2022

At the request of the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education, this is to inform families and the community that a Forum has been scheduled with consultants from Leadership Associates to provide input about the desired personal and professional qualities anticipated in the incoming superintendent.

Your comments will be used in the development of the candidate profile, recruitment process, and reference checking. The consultants will also compile a summary of all comments received during these sessions and share the report with the Board and with the new superintendent.

Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Time: 6:00-7:00pm

Location: PHS Theater at 800 Magnolia Ave.

During the session, consultants will share an overview of the process, and then ask two primary questions:

  • What are the desirable qualities, characteristics, background and professional and personal experiences for the next superintendent?
  • What do you see as the strengths of the district and the major challenges facing the district in years ahead?

There is no need to RSVP. If unable to attend, you will still have an opportunity to provide your feedback and responses to these same questions via an –

>anonymous online survey open from November 14-21, 2022.

Nov 12 2022

Public Input Sought: City Administrator Recruitment Survey

Residents are invited to help shape the selection process for Piedmont’s next City Administrator by completing a brief online survey.  The City is not collecting names or any other personal information from respondents to this survey.  The survey asks community members to share their thoughts regarding the recruitment at:

https://piedmont.ca.gov/government/city_news___notifications/city_administrator_selection_survey

Look for the “complete the survey online” link on the site.

• the most important challenges and opportunities the new City Administrator will face

• what skills and experiences are the most critical in a new City Administrator

• what management and leadership attributes should the City Council look for

• how the new City Administrator should interact with the community.

The survey will remain open through November 30th, 2022.

The City Council will use the input gathered in this survey to help guide its decisions during the selection process. Piedmont’s City Administrator is appointed by the City Council and is responsible for overseeing day-to-day City operations and addressing the priorities established by the City Council.

City Administrator Sara Lillevand intends to retire in Spring 2023 after the City Council has appointed a successor. Lillevand was appointed City Administrator by the City Council in 2019, after spending five years as Piedmont’s Recreation Director.

The Piedmont City Charter states the role of the City Administrator as follows:

SECTION 3.02 CITY ADMINISTRATOR

The City Council shall appoint a City Administrator for an indefinite term and fix his/her compensation. The administrator shall be appointed on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications. The City Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the city and shall be responsible to the City Council for the administration of all City affairs placed in his/her charge by or under this charter.

The administrator shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) Shall appoint all city employees.

(2) Shall discipline, and, when deemed necessary for the good of the City, suspend or remove City officers and employees except as otherwise provided by law, this Charter, or personnel rules adopted pursuant to this Charter.

(3) Shall supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of the City, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law and except further that the internal administration of each department shall remain with each department head.

(4) Shall attend Council meetings and shall have the right to take part in discussion, but may not vote.

(5) Shall see that all laws, provisions of this Charter and acts of the Council, subject to enforcement by him/her or by officers subject to his/her supervision, are faithfully executed.

(6) Shall prepare and submit the annual budget to the Council and shall supervise its administration after its adoption.

(7) Shall submit to the Council and make available to the public a report on the finances of the City each fiscal year.

(8) Shall make such other reports as the Council may require concerning the operations of City departments, offices and agencies.

(9) Shall keep the Council fully advised as to the financial condition and future needs of the City and make recommendations to the Council concerning the affairs of the City.

(10) Shall administer the personnel system of the City and, in particular, those matters involving the City’s personnel classification system and employee benefit and retirement plans.

(11) Shall maintain a system of City records.

(12) Shall perform such duties as are specified in this charter or may be required by the Council. (Charter Amendment 11/06/2018)

Comments may also be sent directly to the Council.

To send comments to the City Council as a whole, please send an email to citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov.

2022-11-07 City Administrator Recruitment Survey

Nov 10 2022

Map, sites, numbers, locations

of the potential 587 new Piedmont housing units

to be considered by the Piedmont City Council

on Tues. Nov. 15, 6:00 p.m.

Recommendation from City Administrator: “Approve the attached Resolution authorizing staff to finalize and submit the City of Piedmont’s Sixth Cycle Draft Housing Element to the California Department Of Housing And Community Development For Review.”

“City staff and consultants recommend that the City Council authorize the City Administrator to finalize the revisions to the Draft Housing Element, including the sites inventory, prior to its submittal to California HCD for review and to make the Draft consistent with the revisions and updates described in this staff report and attachment A. The revised Draft Housing Element and any further changes in response to HCD comments will be presented for consideration to the City Council prior to final adoption by the City Council.”

Click HERE to read the full report to the Piedmont City Council from City Administrator Sara Lillevand.

Read the agenda for the Nov. 15  Special City Council meeting by clicking HERE.

City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA and Via Teleconference

Nov 10 2022

Where? When?

A wealthy suburb with a history of racial discrimination is forced, by law, to designate sites for low-income housing. A group of residents organizes and tells the City Council “not near us!” The Council relents and designates a former landfill in a canyon accessible only by a high-speed thoroughfare previously identified by city staff as dangerous for drivers and pedestrians. No one seems to care.

Ralph Catalano, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Nov 8 2022

UPDATED RESULTS NOVEMBER 10, 2022 –

This information is based upon results posted on the Registrar of Voters website.  Results are shown as of Thursday, November 10, 2022.

Results are not considered final until certified by the Registrar of Voters Office, which has 30 days to do so.

City Council

Three Seats Up for Election – The 3 candidates receiving the highest number of votes are considered elected pending certification.

Candidate No. of Votes

Betsy Smegal Andersen

2,145

Tom Ramsey

1,823

Jennifer Long

1,804
Bridget McInerney Harris 790
Jeanne Solnordal 518
Sunny Bostrom-Fleming 99

Board of Education –

Two Seats Up for Election -The 2 candidates receiving the highest number of votes are considered elected pending certification.

Candidate No. of Votes

Ruchi Medhekar

1,920

Lindsay Thomasson

1,812
Shirley Hooi 861

These results were posted to the Registrar of Voters website on Thursday, November 10, 2022.

The Piedmont Civic Association congratulates those elected to office and thanks all who sought office.  Voters are praised for their attention to this important civic responsibility.

Nov 6 2022

” … and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election.”  Section 9.02 of the Piedmont City Charter

The City’s refusal to submit new proposed reclassified City zones to a vote by the citizens rests on the meaning of the word “reclassified” in the City Charter.   A newly released undated, unsigned legal opinion relies on a 2017 definition of  “reclassification” inserted in the City Code, but not submitted to the voters as an amendment to the City Charter. 

History shows Piedmont citizens have been urged to vote approval of  “reclassifications” of City zones at general or special elections in recent decades, yet the newly released legal opinion ignores these votes.

The City’s legal conclusions are inconsistent with the City Charter, City practices, and ballot measure history of asking Piedmont voters to approve zoning changes and Conditional Use Permit processes.

(Read the City’s legal opinion here)

Nov 4 2022

The City of Piedmont is in an untenable situation. The City failed to appeal the allotment of 587 housing units in the city under the stated mandated Housing Element. The City failed to provide options that the residents could consider and then vote upon with sufficient time to then submit a HE plan.

Requirement for a Vote before land can be re-zoned. The areas under consideration for the Housing Element include park and municipal land, such as the Moraga Avenue properties and 801 Magnolia Avenue. These properties are in Zone B. Section 17.08 of the Code of the City of Piedmont is titled “Establishment of Zones; Zoning Map; Interpretation” and provides that the city is divided into five zones. “Within each zone, certain uses of land and buildings are allowed as permitted or conditional uses, and certain other uses of land and buildings are restricted or prohibited. If a use is not permitted or conditionally permitted, it is not allowed.”  Section 17.22.020 states “The following are permitted uses in Zone B: …A single family residence … City building…Public School…Parks…Cemetery…Emergency shelter…”.Multi-family residences are not a permissible use in Zone B (Blair Park and 801 Magnolia).

Section 9.02 of the City Charter provides that “…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 single family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document …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.” The Charter clearly states that the ONLY time a vote is not necessary is when property in Zones B, C, D or E is converted to a single family residence.

Requirement to submit a Plan. The state of California wants the City to present a plan showing where 587 units can be built within the boundaries of Piedmont by January 31, 2023. Failure to submit a plan by that date could result in various penalties; most of which do not apply to the city. The one penalty that could apply during a period of noncompliance is the ability of a builder to force the city to approve permits for building affordable housing. This penalty assumes there is property available for development (sale) in  Piedmont and that the cost of construction is such that the builder will reap a profit.

There have been many discussions in the city that we just submit a plan with the understanding that it is unlikely the housing will be built. However, recently the HCD responded to a plan submitted by Santa Monica that the city had to show actual timelines for construction of housing on any city owned sites. If Piedmont submits a plan that includes city owned property the state can then force the city to act on that plan. Any plan that is submitted can be enforced and by then we will have no voice in the process. Further, it will set a precedent that the zones in Piedmont are meaningless. https://smdp.com/2022/04/29/too-many-units-too-little-time/ .

The Choice. The decision is between three choices: 1) Submit a plan that includes park and municipal land without a vote to rezone those lands which is a violation of Section 9.02 of our City Charter and could result in overbuilding in the city center and Moraga Avenue as well as undermining our zoning laws or 2) Submit a plan that is contingent on a vote to rezone certain areas for multi-family housing or 3) Delay submission of a plan, provide the necessary information so the electorate can make informed decisions and schedule a special election with options so that we can decide the future of Piedmont.

If the City Administrator’s letter dated September 30, 2022 had been sent early in 2022 there would have been time for a Special Election. However, at this juncture we must decide which is less harmful to the city of Piedmont; the possibility of the Builder’s Remedy being exercise versus our right to vote on the reclassification of zones in Piedmont.

I believe we should delay submission of a plan. We must bring the matter to a vote in Piedmont which will offer us a voice in the process, resolve the conflict in the community, preserve our Charter, allow multi-family housing projects in areas zoned accordingly and prevent future litigation. The city has already spent almost a million dollars in analyzing where the units could be placed and the people immediately rejected the city center location. This time let the citizens of Piedmont decide by a vote – it will be worth the cost.

Almost two-thirds of Southern California’s cities failed to meet their state housing plan deadline. We should immediately determine locations in Piedmont for affordable housing, summarize the options in a clear format (including maps), mail the information to each residence, prepare for a special election and elect new leadership that keeps Piedmont informed and engaged with a vote.

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/07/11/southern-california-cities-get-more-time-to-rezone-land-for-housing/

Bridget Harris, Candidate for the Piedmont City Council

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