Jun 18 2019

Goats For Fire Load Reduction

The City of Piedmont has retained the services of some highly trained, four legged grass-eaters to reduce the fire load on City property near Coaches Field, the skate park, and the Corporation Yard. They will begin work on June 15th.

Photo of Goats!

If you are in the area, please do not feed the goats, they are not pets and aren’t friendly. Also, please do not touch the fencing, it is electrified.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Piedmont Fire Department at (510)420‐3030.

Jun 14 2019

Non-resident students are sought for the upcoming Piedmont school year.

The Piedmont Unified School District has announced the application process which begins on June 24, 2019 for inter-district non-resident student transfers into the Piedmont Unified School District for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year.

June 13, 2019

The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) announces the opportunity for interested families to apply for interdistrict transfers for the 2019-2020 school year.  Currently, there are openings at the Kindergarten level.  With approximately 15 kindergarten spaces available, a lottery will be held if there are more applications than space availability.

Additionally, new to 2019, the Board of Education revised Board Policy and Administrative Regulation (AR) 5117 that permits children of grandparents who currently reside in the city of Piedmont to apply for an interdistrict transfer. 

Enrollment will be based on the priority order outlined in AR 5117 and space availability.

Interested families can find more information about interdistrict permits on our District’s website www.piedmont.k12.ca.us under the “District Info Tab” – Admission and Enrollment. http://www.piedmont.k12.ca.us/district-info/enrollment/

The application process includes:

1. Complete an interdistrict permit (contact your school district of residence for the form).

2. Visit your district of residence and submit the completed interdistrict permit for approval. Your district may require additional items and/or an in-person visit. Please speak with them about their requirements for your permit.

3. Once you have been approved by your district of residence, please submit the original approved permit, along with the required proofs outlined in AR 5117, to Sylvia Eggert, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, PUSD, 760 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

4. PUSD will begin processing submitted interdistrict permits on June 24, 2019. If your permit is approved, you will be contacted by a PUSD representative by August 1, 2019.

READ the full policy below:

Board Policy and Administrative Regulation (AR) 5117 


Questions ? Contact Administrative Assistant Sylvia Eggert at 510.594.2614 or seggert@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Jun 14 2019

Los Angeles voters soundly defeated a proposal to support LA schools based on a per square footage of interior space of buildings.  The owner of a 2,000 square-foot-house would have paid $320 a year to support the schools.

Measure EE would have raised an estimated $500 million annually for 12 years by charging property owners 16 cents per square foot of indoor space, excluding parking areas. … Los Angeles Times

To read the article below, click the headline:

Los Angeles voters decisively reject parcel tax that would have raised $500 million annually for schools

Jun 12 2019

Piedmont School Board
c/o Randy Booker, Superintendent

re: June 12, 2019 Agenda item: School Taxes

Dear President Smith and Board,

I.      I take exception to Mr. Booker’s comments May 22 at 3:48 that a single square foot building tax would not allow the District to have a separate flat tax on unimproved parcels.  I again cite two sources:
– SB2954 (2018) Legislation allows a separate unimproved parcel rate.
– Alameda School District’s 2011 Measure A square foot of building tax with a separate flat rate for unimproved parcels and the identical 2016 Measure B1 tax; both these taxes withstood legal challenges.  Significantly, Judge Petrou in his 2018 stipulated judgement required a flat rate tax on unimproved parcels to bring Measure B1 in alignment with Measure A (source: Sean McPhetridge, AUSD Superintendent,  4/4/2018 Press Release).

II.     While identifying all parcels by their Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) is welcome, having multi-parcel owners combine parcels to a single APN to avoid paying multiple taxes is a problematic solution. Combining parcels at the County level eliminates some buildable lots. Should the owners wish to recapture these parcels, the process is not simple and is done at the City level.  Applications, surveys and new legal descriptions on new recorded documents would be required. This does not respect Piedmont taxpayers who have been so generous in their School support. Finally, eliminating buildable size parcels works against Piedmont’s requirement of meeting State mandates of providing more housing.
A multi-parcel exemption handled by the District is the proper and simple solution.

III.    I again propose a single $1.15 per square foot building tax which gives the District a 15% increase in tax revenue.  This acknowledges that Piedmonters have been very generous in their District support and a 25% in total increase is excessive.

Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Jun 11 2019

A Search for Students to Fill Piedmont Schools

A reduction in school populations, the potential loss of State per student revenue, and State Open Enrollment laws have induced the Piedmont School District to widen student acceptance to Piedmont schools on a priority basis.  The children of Piedmont City employees and Piedmont School District employees have previously been admitted to Piedmont schools. Newly added for priority acceptance are the non-resident grandchildren of Piedmont residents along with children residing in certain neighboring Piedmont properties.

The matter will be undertaken at 7:25 p.m.,  Wednesday, June 12, 2019, School Board Meeting, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  

Specific qualifications and applications are required for each potential interdistrict transfer student into the Piedmont schools.  Once a student is accepted into the Piedmont School District, they are allowed to remain during their school years.  See the proposed requirements linked below.

VI.B. Review and Approve Changes to Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5117 – Interdistrict Attendance – 2nd Reading

VI_B_BackgroundBPAR5117InterdistrictTransferPolicies_0 (1)

VI_B_DraftBPAR5117InterdistrictTransfers_0 (1)

VI_B_DraftIDTAnnouncementLetter_0 (1)

Jun 11 2019

7:15 PM Piedmont School Board Meeting June 12, 2019, Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

The public is invited to attend or watch the live broadcast on Cable Channel 27 and from the City website under videos/School Board meeting.

 VI.A. Conduct Public Hearing on the Proposed Levy of Current School Support Tax, Measure A, to be Levied in 2019-20


Jun 11 2019

One tax measure taxes every parcel equally and the second measure is an additional tax based on building square footage. Both measures will have a term of 8 years.

The public is invited to attend or watch the live broadcast on Cable Channel 27 and from the City website under videos/School Board meeting. 

8:45 PM  Piedmont Unified School Board meeting, June 12, 2019, Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  

Staff recommendation to the School Board: 

Given the recent poll results and Piedmont’s current educational needs, District staff recommends that the Board of Education consider asking voters to support the renewal of its existing parcel tax to maintain current programs at the $2,709 flat rate (“Measure A”) and in a separate measure (“Measure B”) asking voters for an additional amount ($0.25 per square foot of building improvements) to ensure that Piedmont schools will be better able to attract and retain highly qualified teachers and educational support staff. Renewing the existing parcel tax (“Measure A”) would secure, $10.6 million in revenues.

Measure A is a continuation, no tax increase measure. We would also recommend an 8-year “duration” of the tax to provide a stable ongoing source of revenue to the District and fulfill the description as a pure continuation of what is in place today. Additionally, we recommend that a second measure (“Measure B”) be placed on the ballot. This second measure would be set at $0.25 per square foot of building improvements and would also have an 8-year duration. Passage of Measure B would result in an additional $2.6 million to the Piedmont schools. Importantly, the entire community would share the burden of an increased tax (although larger properties would pay more and smaller properties less – $139 per year for the smallest residential parcel). An added benefit is that if this tax were challenged from a legal standpoint, only the supplemental tax would be at legal risk. If both measures pass, the smallest square foot homeowner would pay $2,795 per year, and the largest square foot homeowner would pay $6,568 per year. Together, both measures would raise $13.3 million.

II. RECOMMENDATION: REVIEW AND ACTION District staff is recommending that the Board convene two (2) public hearings—June 12, 2019 and June 26, 2019—and adopt the two subsequent Board Resolutions that authorize both the renewal of a qualified special tax and a second qualified special tax for voter approval on November 5, 2019.

The Board is requested to approve the attached Resolution 19-2018-19 “Proposing a Qualified Special Tax and Establishing Specifications of the Election Order Measure A”.

 The Resolution calls for an election on November 5, 2019 to extend the authorization of the Board to levy the current School Support Tax as permitted in Measure A for eight years starting on July 1, 2020.  The new Measure “A” is a renewal of the current School Support Tax—a uniform flat tax on all parcels.  The new Measure “A” will continue to provide an exemption for churches, public utilities, and those eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income.  The new Measure “A” also continues to permit an inflation growth rate of up to two (2) percent per year.



VI.F. Approve Resolution 20-2018-19 “Proposing a Qualified Special Tax and Establishing Specification of the Election Order Measure B”

9:05 PM

The Board is requested to approve the attached Resolution 20-2018-19 “Proposing a Qualified Special Tax and Establishing Specifications of the Election Order Measure B”.

The Resolution calls for an election on November 5, 2019 to authorize the Board to levy a new School Support Tax as permitted in Measure “B”  for eight years starting on July 1, 2020.  The new Measure “B” is a uniform tax applied at $0.25 per square foot of building improvements.  The new Measure “B” will continue to provide an exemption for churches, public utilities, and those eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income.  The new Measure “B” does not include an inflation growth rate.


Jun 11 2019

School Board on June 11, 2019 to Approve Resolution 21-2018-19 “Prohibiting Any District Purchase or Use of Herbicide Products Containing the Chemical Glyphosate”

Glyphosate described:


Time Certain: 9:25 PM  School Board Agenda > https://agendaonline.net/public/Agency.aspx?PublicAgencyID=1241&AgencyTypeID=1

VI.G. Approve Resolution 21-2018-19 “Prohibiting Any District Purchase or Use of Herbicide Products Containing the Chemical Glyphosate”


VI.H. Approve Administrative Regulation 3514.2 – Integrated Pest Management Plan

9:40 PM


Jun 1 2019

Every property, home, business, landscape, zone, fence, and development is potentially impacted by the proposed Design Guidelines. 

“It would be really helpful if some sort of an Executive Summary was provided briefly describing exactly what these changes are relative to existing guidelines. An explanation
regarding the need for these changes and what impact they will have on specific sites ( Valero Gas Station, for example ) should also be included.” PCA Commenter

To try to understand the new Design Guideline changes residents will need to spend hours reading the proposal and checking it against the existing guidelines. 

As an aid to understanding what will be different in the future, community members requested an Executive Summary of the voluminous pages in the proposed Design Guidelines.  None was produced. 

Upon an inquiry by PCA made to Planning Director Kevin Jackson, he stated,  “The report itself is an executive summary. If you are interested in what is changing in the guidelines, I suggest you review pages 4-6 of the report and Attachment 2-A on pages 13-21.” 5/23/19

Below is an entire list of the various Chapters of the proposal as posted on the City website:

Within the proposed Guidelines, there are numerous professionally taken color photos of “YES” AND “NO” designs either meeting or failing the guidelines. 

Readers might find it interesting to see if their home is pictured as a YES, meeting proposed Design Guidelines, by clicking the Chapter links above. 

Changes to building requirements were considered by a staff chosen group of individuals, plus two Planning Commissioners, Behrens and Ramsey, who met a number of times with the City consultants and Planning staff.  No neighborhoods were included in the deliberations and no public notice or general public participation was included in the development of the Guidelines.  The proposed Design Guidelines have been presented as a package to Piedmont decision makers – Planning Commission and City Council. 

The Planning Commission has recommended approval of  the Guidelines.  The City Council will give a one time consideration of the Guidelines at their meeting Monday, May 3, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting is open to public participation, and the meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and the City website under videos/ City Council. 

Throughout the Guidelines, there are  references to prior documents – General Plan and Zoning Ordinance.  Those not regularly working with the planning process will find it difficult to ferret out the changes proposed and their impact upon their property or neighborhood. Most residents will learn of the Guidelines when projects are considered by the Planning Department. 

If you have the time or interest to read the proposal, the Design Guidelines are available at:

Staff report for 6/3/19 is below:

06/03/19 – Consideration of the Adoption of Design Guidelines

Below is the City notice regarding the proposed changes.

At its meeting on Monday, June 3, 2019, the City Council 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. During this meeting, the City Council will receive a presentation from staff, take testimony from the public, engage in a discussion, and consider adoption of the updated Design Guidelines.


In April 2018, the Planning Commission appointed a subcommittee comprised of two commissioners, City staff and planning consultants to draft updates to the Design Guidelines, which were originally adopted in 1988. At the end of March 2019 the subcommittee completed its work and draft updated Guidelines were posted on the City’s website. The Planning Commission considered the document during its meetings of April 8 and May 13, at which the Commissioners unanimously voted to recommend that the City Council adopt the updated Design Guidelines.

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 specific to 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.

The draft Design Guidelines are available on the City’s website at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/design-guidelines-update/. Printed copies are available for viewing at the Public Works counter in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

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 City Council meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 3, 2019 in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.

For questions on the contents of the Design Guidelines, please contact Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov or (510) 420-3039.

If you wish to write to the City Council regarding the proposed updated Design Guidelines, please send an email to citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or send a letter to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s office 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

Jun 1 2019


(Excerpts selected from the Piedmont Planning Consultant and Staff Report)

The draft Piedmont Design Guidelines include seven chapters plus a glossary. The contents are organized as follows:

Chapter 1 (Introduction) – Provides an overview of the document and its objectives, including how to use the Guidelines.

Chapter 2 (Design Review Process) – Describes the different types of Design Review permits required, and the process associated with each permit. The chapter also lists exceptions to 1 An eighth chapter addressing wireless facilities is expected to be added at a future date.   Design Review requirements and documents the submittal requirements for applicants seeking Design Review permits. The City’s story pole procedure also is included, as is the protocol for site visits.

Chapter 3 (Site Design) – Includes Guidelines for site design, including the siting and orientation of structures on a parcel, and the design of driveways, parking, landscape features, fences, retaining walls, trash enclosures, and other outdoor site features. The chapter begins with a discussion of neighborhood typologies in Piedmont, which helps provide the foundation for Guidelines and standards that reference “neighborhood context.”

Chapter 4 (Building Design: General) – Provides design principles applicable to all buildings in Piedmont, regardless of occupancy type. The Guidelines apply to single-family homes, multi-family housing, accessory structures, commercial and mixed use buildings, civic buildings, and other structures. Guidelines address exterior building elements, such as facades and architectural details, porches, decks, exterior stairs, roofs, ornamentation, windows, and mechanical equipment. This chapter also identifies green building measures. Chapter 4 begins with a discussion of predominant architectural styles in Piedmont, which provides the context for guidelines and standards that reference design compatibility.

Chapter 5 (Building Design: Single-Family) – Guides the design of single-family homes. It complements Chapter 4, which applies more broadly to all structures, by focusing only on Guidelines unique to single-family homes. The Guidelines cover building scale and massing, the design of garages, accessory dwelling units, and other accessory structures.

Chapter 6 (Building Design: Multi-Family) – Guides the design of multi-family buildings. It complements Chapter 4, which applies more broadly to all structures, by focusing only on Guidelines unique to multi-family housing. The Guidelines cover neighborhood context, building scale and massing, architectural style, and garages and driveways. This is a new section of the Guidelines, applicable only to the 25 or so properties in Piedmont where multi-family housing is a permitted use. Piedmont currently has no Guidelines for multi-family housing, and this section fills that gap.

Chapter 7 (Building Design: Commercial and Mixed-Use) – Guides the design of commercial and mixed-use (commercial and residential) buildings. It complements the Guidelines in Chapter 4, which apply more broadly to all structures. The Guidelines cover neighborhood context, building scale and massing, architectural style, garages and driveways, and signage. This is a new section of the Guidelines, applicable only to the roughly 20 properties in Piedmont where commercial and mixed use development is allowed. Piedmont currently has no guidelines for commercial and mixed use development, and this section fills that gap. A glossary of terms is included at the end of the document. The glossary is not intended as an exhaustive list of architectural terms, but rather as a reference for how commonly used terms are used within Piedmont.

The Guidelines rely extensively on graphics to communicate their intent.

In addition to photographs, graphics in the document include:

– A series of “process” flow charts illustrating the Design Review process (sec 2.02-2.04)

– Diagrams illustrating how to display and calculate floor area for zoning calculations (sec 3.03.03

– Diagrams illustrating how to display proposed changes in lot coverage

– Diagrams showing how setback conditions on a street should influence the siting of buildings or additions (sec 3.05.01)

– Diagrams showing siting allowances for accessory and primary structures on single-family lots (sec 3.06.02), multi-family lots (3.06.03), commercial lots (3.06.04), and estate lots (3.06.05)

– Diagrams for driveway and turn-around design (sec 3.07)

– Acceptable locations for trash enclosures (sec 3.10.02)

– Window types (sec 4.03.02)

Window types (sec 4.03.02) While most of these diagrams are new to the Guidelines document, they have long been used separately to communicate existing standards and guidelines, and do not introduce new requirements.

2 One benefit of linking the Guidelines to General Plan and zoning language is the recent SB 35 requirement for “objective” design guidelines for new mixed use and multi-family residential development near transit.


As noted earlier, the draft Design Guidelines under consideration are primarily an update to the 1988 Guidelines, as amended over the last 30 years. Appendix A to this staff report provides a “Crosswalk” between the 1988 Guidelines and the proposed Guidelines. While the new document is longer than the 1988 document, the 1988 document has been augmented over the last 30 years by numerous supplements and memos. Accounting for these supplements, the two documents are similar in size and most of the expanded volume in the proposed Guidelines is attributable to the addition of photos, graphics, and the new commercial/mixed use and multi-family sections.

Substantive changes to the existing Guidelines are highlighted below:

The new Guidelines use a hierarchy that begins with the most general topics, followed by more specific ones. This eliminates a shortcoming of the existing Guidelines, where one needed to hunt for particular guidelines in sections of the document where they did not intuitively appear. For example, many of the “new construction” guidelines in the 1988 Guidelines are regularly applied to remodels and additions, although they do not appear in the “remodels and additions” section of the 1988 document.

Many of the existing guidelines were transferred without modifications. Others were edited to resolve issues that often arise during review of projects by the Planning Commission or Planning staff. For example, Section 3.05 (Compatibility with Street Right-of-Way) now clarifies how existing setback patterns on a block affect where new construction and additions should be sited (relative to the street). Similarly, Section 3.02 has been added to address the factors to be considered when planned improvements are adjacent to public walkways and parks.

Chapters 1 and 2 of the Guidelines are largely new to the document, although the contents of these chapters reflect existing practices and policies. Including a more robust introduction and discussion of Design Review processes and submittal requirements provides the context for the Design Guidelines and facilitates use of the document by applicants.

Section 4.01 on Building Styles has been added to the document, clarifying the determining factors for what constitutes appropriate additions to existing homes.

As noted earlier in this report, Chapters 6 and 7 of the document address construction types that were not addressed in the prior Guidelines. Although the extent of multi-family and commercial/mixed use development in Piedmont is limited, the absence of standards for these uses has created a gap in the past. Recent state housing legislation makes it important Page 6 for the City to close this gap. The new Guidelines also provide more formal design direction on Accessory Dwelling Units (currently only covered through Frequently Asked Questions).

Minor changes to the submittal requirements for Design Review have been proposed (see Section 2.06). Some of these changes reflect requests by staff and/or the Planning Commission Subcommittee. An initial list of proposed changes was presented at the architect stakeholder meeting on September 25, 2018. This list was revised as a result of their input. In addition, a new submittal form has been created to streamline the intake process and assist applicants with their submittal information.