Jun 18 2022

Are Piedmonters aware of what is proposed for the most profound change to housing in Piedmont’s 115 year history?

Due to lack of information and available summaries, few Piedmonters understand how the proposed Housing Element (HE) will impact their home, their taxes, and the City of Piedmont.

If the HE is sent to the State, as proposed by City staff, and approved by the City Council, Piedmont will have committed the city to specific obligations within the HE, such as rezoning, densities, and building height increases.  If the HE is sent to the State, as proposed for Monday, June 20, Piedmont will relinquish the ability to remove committed items in the HE.

Piedmont officials have stated, “It is only a plan.” Not stated however, is the fact that once the HE is adopted by Piedmont and approved by the state, by law, the HE must be implemented.  Funding appears not to be a limitation on development as significant amounts of public money joined with commercial development interests are expected. 

In the staff report attached below, outreach by the City has yielded limited success in informing Piedmonters of the breath and specifics of the proposals.  Despite a City description of “robust” public outreach, there was no hard copy distribution of the  proposed HE, a summary, or a survey sent directly to Piedmonters for their consideration.  

The State extended the deadline for HE approval for approximately one year until May 2023 to allow greater participation and comment by the public.  

Where is the information on required zoning changes and safety requirements in the HE?

The Housing Element includes:

  • Without neighborhood knowledge or input, proposals meeting the requirements of split lots, four units on a lot, tall 4 story buildings replacing existing homes,  etc., will be done with no right by neighborhoods to object, for property owners and the City will have a legal right to build on or divide property according to the HE. 
  • Where zoning changes are required in the HE, such as increasing density and changed uses, the Piedmont City Charter gives voters with the exclusive right to approve zoning changes.  Once the proposed HE is approved and adopted, Piedmont voters will be forced by the State based on the HE to approve zoning changes within a three year period of HE approval.

What is the intended outcome of the proposed HE revision? 

Table IV -1 Quantifiable Objectives (on page 232 of the staff report) shows the number and type of new housing units expected to be built in Piedmont over the next few years.  It is intended to clarify to (decision-makers) authorities the new housing development obligation fulfillment.  No single family zoning or lot survives the rezoning as described in the City Charter. 

Staff report: >  PCA Housing Ele 62022  Over 200 pages long 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Public HEARING AGENDA

and participation information > PCA 62022 Council Agenda

Information on the Housing Element Process and required rezoning linked below:

State Required Housing Element Process –

  • Update previous housing element.
  • New! Public Participation Requirements: Prior to submittal of the first draft within a planning period to HCD, the local government must make the draft available for public comment for 30 days and if any comments were received, take at least 10 business days to consider and incorporate public comments.
  • Submit draft to HCD for review/approval.
  • Revise and adopt (or adopt without changes).
  • New! Transparency Requirements: For any subsequent revisions, the local government must post the draft revision on its website and email a link to all individuals and organizations that have previously requested notices relating to the local government’s housing element at least seven days before submitting the draft revision to HCD.  
  • Submit revised draft/adopted housing element to HCD.

Learn more in Building Blocks: Comprehensive Housing-Element Guide.

Housing Element Completeness Checklist (PDF) — Optional tool outlining the statutory requirement of Housing Element Law to assist jurisdictions in the preparation of the housing element.

New! Consequences for Late Housing Elements — Jurisdictions that fail to adopt a housing element that has been found in substantial compliance within 120 days of the statutory deadline to revise the housing element must complete all necessary rezones within one year of that statutory deadline. This means both that jurisdictions must adopt the housing element and that the housing element must be found in compliance (meaning a letter from HCD affirming compliance) with Housing Element Law by HCD within 120 days of the statutory deadline, or they will need to complete rezones within one year of their housing element due date (as opposed to three years) to maintain housing element compliance. Jurisdictions that adopt more than one year from the statutory deadline cannot be found in substantial compliance with Housing Element Law until the local government has completed any required rezoning.

Staff report:   PCA Housing Ele 62022  Over 200 pages long 

Public HEARING AGENDA and participation information PCA 62022 Council Agenda

City notice below:

Housing Element Public Hearing

City Council Meeting June 20, 2022

On Monday, June 20, 2022, the City Council will conduct a public hearing in Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, to consider the Draft Housing Element for the 6th Cycle (Draft Housing Element) and to submit the Draft Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for its 90-day review. The City Council agenda is available on the City website at this link.

State law requires cities to update their General Plan Housing Element. The next Housing Element guides City actions for 2023 to 2031; it is part of the City’s General Plan; and it applies City-wide.

The proposed Draft Housing Element has been developed to meet the State of California’s legal requirements, including the regional housing needs allocation (RHNA). The City Council staff report for the Draft Housing Element hearing on June 20 is located on the City website at this link.

The Draft Housing Element is available for public review on the City’s website at https://piedmont.ca.gov as well as https://piedmontishome.org. It is also available at City Hall, located at 120 Vista Avenue, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

You may send  comments and ideas to the Piedmont City Council via email at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

All City Council meetings are televised live on KCOM-TV, the City’s government access TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s website https://piedmont.ca.gov/government/meeting_videos

New Housing Programs!

  • Interested in building an ADU? CalHFA offers a $40K grant to low and moderate income homeowners to plan ADUs. More information about the grant is available here: https://www.calhfa.ca.gov/adu/
Jun 3 2022

Is more resident engagement needed for the Housing Element?

Many Piedmont residents do not understand or approve of plans for adding 587 new housing units within Piedmont’s built-out city limits of 1.8 square miles. The Piedmont City Council, unlike other City Councils in the region, has energetically and swiftly pressed to further densify Piedmont and add the 587 new housing units.  

No survey has been mailed to Piedmont residents, the most direct, useful, and inclusive means of gaining resident opinions.

Expensive banners are up throughout the city creating dismay about their meaning:  their grammar; insulting slogans; and seeming downgrading of neighboring communities.  Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on staff, mailers, meetings, banners, postcards, City news releases, consultants, puzzles, preferred interest-group participation,  committee and commission presentations,  fewer than 300 Piedmonters have participated by writing to the City in the process.

 The City printed “Piedmont is home.” postcards for residents, yet sent no questionnaire or survey by direct mail to Piedmont residents to gather their input. Most outreach of the Housing Element draft was conducted during the raging pandemic via the  internet, eliminating many seniors not current with the internet.  A mailed survey would no doubt have produced far greater input.

Wait Until the New Council is Elected in November to Act on the Housing Element

Piedmont is holding its election for 3 Council seats this November, 2022.  Of the three seats, one seat is totally open (Mayor King is termed out of office.), one seat has an incumbent (Councilmember Andersen), and one seat is held by an appointed incumbent (Councilmember Long).  A citizen suggested allowing the Housing Element to be thoroughly aired during the election process and campaigns.  This would conform to state extended deadlines while allowing greater resident participation and understanding of the Housing Element.  The current Council plans are:

“Summer 2022: With the City Council’s consent, submission of Draft Housing Element to the CA Housing and Community Development Department for certification.”

“May 2023: Deadline for adoption of the final draft of the updated Housing Element, date amended due to recent state law requiring additional review and longer comment periods.”  City publicity.

Summary Information and Question Answers missing from publicity.

Most residents have no idea of how proposed changes will impact Piedmont as a whole or their homes.   Additionally, some input has been ignored by the City. While little direct information is provided to residents, notions abound and concerns persist.

  • Is safety the foundation of all proposals in the Housing Element?

  • Have safety considerations been given for high fire areas, substandard streets, overhead utilities, public safety access, traffic, parking, transit, mud slides, water, sidewalks, city staffing requirements?

  • The City Charter specifically prescribes Piedmont voters have a right to approve zoning changes.  Will the proposals require this to be ultimately taken away from Piedmont voters?

  • What zoning or land use changes are proposed?

  • How much will the expanded staffing and public safety needs cost in taxes or other sources of funding? 

  • Will the proposed changes make Piedmont a less desirable city?

  • Is loss of air and light to be considered with proposed new higher height limits for each garage/ADU living unit?

  • When will the public be allowed to provide input on building proposals in their neighborhood?

  • The Moraga Avenue Corporation Yard was chosen for high-rise buildings. What public transit is available, new streets, new electric signaling, sidewalks, water, sewer, waste?

  • Trees in Piedmont are prized. How does the proposal protect the trees on public and private property?

  • The current pandemic has pointed out the vital need for open space and air for healthy living conditions.  How has this been addressed in the proposal?

 

City News Release below:

DRAFT HOUSING ELEMENT TOWN HALL

The City of Piedmont will host a virtual Town Hall on June 7, 2022, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm to provide an opportunity to learn more about the >Draft Housing Element. [over 600 page document]

This Town Hall will provide an opportunity for community members to pose questions about the Draft Housing Element. Following a short presentation, a panel the City’s team of housing consultants and staff will provide responses to questions submitted by attendees.

The City has received over 275 written comments from community members on the Draft Housing Element via email and the Piedmont Housing Puzzle. Over 50 community members participated at the April 19th Housing Advisory Committee meeting and at the May 12th Planning Commission meeting.

You are welcomed and encouraged to participate using the following formats:

  • Computer or smart phone:

     Click on https://piedmont-ca-gov.zoom.us/j/86477811380

  • Computer or smart phone:

     Click on https://piedmont.ca.gov/government/meeting_videos

  • Telephone:

Dial (669) 900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 864-7781-1380

  • Television:

Watch on KCOM, Comcast Channel 27 or AT&T UVerse Channel 99

We look forward to seeing you there!

City news release below:

The City of Piedmont will host a Town Hall on June 7th at 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. to provide an opportunity for Piedmont residents to learn more about the Draft Housing Element. This Town Hall
will provide an opportunity for community members to pose questions about the document.

Following a short presentation addressing some of the issues, a panel  [names not listed] will provide responses to  questions submitted by attendees.

“We have received over 275 written comments from community members on the Draft Housing
Element via email and the Piedmont Puzzle. And have heard from over 50 community members at
the April 19th Housing Advisory Committee meeting and the May 12th Planning Commission
meeting,” said Kevin Jackson, the City’s Director of Planning & Building. “Several of those
comments included questions. We intend to provide answers to those questions and clarity on the
purpose and scope of the Draft Housing Element at this Town Hall Q&A meeting.”

Residents can participate in the Zoom meeting or watch the meeting by tuning to KCOM TV,
Comcast channel 27 or AT&T channel 99.

Housing Element Update Timeline:

June 7, 2022: Virtual Town Hall Q&A Meeting at 6:00 p.m.

June 20, 2022: City Council Consideration of Draft Housing Element.

Summer 2022: With the City Council’s consent, submission of Draft Housing Element to the CA Housing and Community Development Department for certification.

May 2023: Deadline for adoption of the final draft of the updated Housing Element, date amended due to recent state law requiring additional review and longer comment periods.

Four informational videos about the 2023-2031 Housing Element have been produced by City staff.
Please visit Piedmont’s Youtube channel at
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX3RUnN7wcyGgnnjmYmFnXQ

or watch these videos on the homepage of https://piedmontishome.org.

Piedmontishome.org

The City has created a web site, https://piedmontishome.org, which is a one-stop shop for information
on the City’s housing efforts. This site contains information about the 2023-2031 Housing Element
process, as well as other fair housing programs.

Community members are encouraged to review the materials on the site and submit comments,
questions, ideas, and concerns to piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov. This email address will capture
official public correspondence about City of Piedmont housing policy work, including the 2023-2031
Housing Element Update.

2022-05-24 Housing Element Town Hall Meeting

May 23 2022

The all important Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee will meet on Thursday, May 26, 2022, 3:00 p.m., to make recommendations to the Council on taxes and the Budget.

The Committee is unusual, because unlike other Council appointed bodies and despite requirements set out in the City Charter, minutes of the meetings are not kept and approved by the Committee. 

“SECTION 6.05 PUBLIC RECORD Minutes for each of such boards and commissions shall be kept as a record of its proceedings and transactions.” Piedmont City Charter

Prior to remote viewing, the Committee meetings were never broadcast and were often held in a small conference room at City Hall.    Historically, the Chair produced an unapproved document for Council consideration including recommended taxes and programs.

There are no approved minutes to validate Committee actions and considerations. Conflict of interest statements are not required of the committee members, who were specifically excluded from the requirement.

The May 26 meeting is available for the public remote viewing per the instructions listed in the Agenda linked below.  No staff reports were disseminated by the City for public  review for this meeting. Public participation is available via teleconference. >>>  https://piedmont-ca-gov.zoom.us/j/88279880693

AGENDA –

>>2022-05-26 Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee Agenda

  1. Election of a Chairperson
  2. Consideration of FY 2022-2023 Budget Report  No documents were provided.
May 21 2022

City / School Liaison Committee –

 VIRTUAL MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Virtual Meeting: Via Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87432812354 Or Telephone: US: +1 346 248 7799 or +1 720 707 2699

AGENDA:

Call to Order

Public Forum Total Time – 10 minutes. Speakers may be asked to limit their comments in addressing items not on the Agenda

REGULAR AGENDA

1. Title IX Updates

a. PUSD Preview

b. 50th Anniversary

2. Construction Updates

a. Community Pool

b. Theater

3. Housing Element Update

4. DBFL Location Update  (Dress Best for Less) 

5. Staffing Updates 

No written information was distributed for this meeting.

READ published Agenda below:

> PCA city school 52422

May 19 2022

Unlike other City meetings when broadcasted videos are produced, home/remote viewers will not be able to observe the City Council and Staff as important policy and program issues are considered at the Saturday Budget Session. Interested persons must be physically present to observe the meeting.

Taxes, fees, policies, programs, and priorities involving the City budget are to be presented by staff and considered by the Council during the important Council Budget Session Saturday, May 21.

On Saturday May 21, 2022, Council Budget Session

9:00 am Emergency Operations Center in the Police Department on Highland Avenue

With transparency, equity, and inclusion touted as goals of the Piedmont City Council, accessibility to certain public meetings, including this Budget Session, continue to be difficult or impossible for many individuals. If you can not physically attend the Budget meeting, you will not be able to observe the proceedings remotely via Zoom, computers, or cable television.

During the height of the COVID pandemic, residents had the “luxury”of being able to remotely watch the Council make decisions without being physically present at a meeting.  Some of the “Zoom” meetings, although broadcast during the time of the meeting, were not preserved as a cost cutting measure.   Presentations and considerations were not preserved reducing transparency, accessibility, and accountability.

The 2022-23 Annual Piedmont Budget Session will once more follow the long -held Piedmont Council tradition and not be broadcast for remote viewing. The Saturday Council Budget Session will be moved from City Hall where cameras are installed and videos are regularly made of the proceedings.  The Budget meeting will take place in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Highland Avenue where broadcasting is not done leaving home/remote viewers unable to observe the proceedings.

Ironically, during the month of May, in a prior list of  public meetings, there were 12 public City meetings.  See link below. These 12 different City meetings, Regular Council, Commission, and Committee meetings, are stated to be held either “Virtually or Hybrid”, consequently using City broadcast facilities.  Broadcasting meetings allows  interested persons to watch and observe the Council away from the meetings. The Council Budget Session is the only full Council meeting on the list to require observers physical presence.   

Under consideration and discussion at the Budget Session are:

  • How should the City Council spend City resources?

  • How much should residents be taxed or charged for sewers, municipal services, fees, use of City facilities, priorities,  programs and monetary considerations, such as broadcasting City meetings and preserving public records?

Concerns have been expressed in the past to the City Council regarding broadcasting meetings to encourage greater public access to governance, but the Council’s tradition of not broadcasting meetings remains, thus missing an opportunity to increase access, accountability, transparency, equity, and inclusion.

2022-05 Notice of Regular Meetings – Revised

> City of Piedmont 2022-2023 Budget

Agenda > City Council Agenda 2022-05-21 (Special)

  • 1. Overview of the Proposed FY 2022-23 Budget
  • 2. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 2022-23
  • a. Police
  • b. Public Works
  • c. Planning & Building
  • d. Recreation
  • e. Fire
  • f. Administration & KCOM
  • g. Non-Departmental and Other Funds Budgets

City notice with links below:

BUDGET WORK SESSION THIS SATURDAY

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2022-23 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held on May 21, 2022 at 9:00 am in the EOC at 403 Highland Avenue. Members of the public are invited to participate in this meeting.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 6 and June 20, 2022. The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year. Click to visit the Annual Budgets page, where all sections of the proposed budget as well as approved budgets from previous years are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Finance Director Michael Szczech via email at mszczech@piedmont.ca.gov or by phone at (510) 420-3045. If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

May 19 2022

Most pedestrians and walkers in Piedmont bemoan the numerous cracks and divots in many of Piedmont’s sidewalks.  The City annually budgets for sidewalk repairs.  Piedmont’s handsome street trees are known for their roots to uplift and crack the sidewalks in a seemingly endless cycle of growth and repair.

Staff report:

Piedmont’s sidewalks are increasingly showing their age. For loss prevention purposes, it is essential to repair sidewalks with significant defects soon after they are reported. Prompt repair of defective sidewalk reduces the risk of accidents and the liability associated with injuries that might result thereafter.

Last fiscal year, sidewalk replacement and repair costs totaled $868,905. Through March of the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the City has spent $870,000. The approved budget for these costs was $900,000, consisting of $600,000 from the Facilities Maintenance Fund and $300,000 from the Gas Tax Fund.

Staff is requesting an additional appropriation of $300,000 from the General Fund in FY 2021-22 to continue to repair and replace sidewalks that are identified as having significant offsets and defects. We expect sidewalk repair costs to continue near the current level and our long-range financial plan will reflect such costs.

Currently, the system for managing sidewalk maintenance is manual and cumbersome. Staff is working towards the implementation of an asset management software program to track service calls and maintenance history. Once implemented, the tools in this software will allow staff to track service calls and develop recommendations to improve not only for the City’s sidewalk replacement program, but for other types of maintenance as well.

READ the full staff report linked below:

sidewalk repairs 522022

May 16 2022

The City released the draft budget for 2022-2023 last week and it’s on the May 16 Council agenda. ( City of Piedmont 2022-2023 Budget).

One purpose of the document is to project tax revenue growth for the next 10 years so that City can implement long-term financial planning.  Growth from property tax revenue in Piedmont is pretty stable, increasing 4-5% a year.  Transfer tax revenue, the 1.3% tax assessed on the sale of homes, can be volatile, but contributes more to annual growth than the property tax.   
.
As the figure below shows, revenue bounces between $2 and $4M/yr (the exception being the three years of the Great Recession) and shows a steady rate of growth from 2010 to 2020.  Averaged over those 10 years, the transfer tax is $3.4M/yr and the City projects that as a flat growth rate for the next 7 years, leading many city funds into the red. Alternatively, when the transfer tax growth rate is used to project growth (Transfer Tax Projection), transfer tax revenue grows to almost $5M/yr over the same time period.

The City describes 2020-2021 transfer tax revenue ($6.3M) as an outlier, but that remains to be seen.  2021 transfer tax revenue was a record for Piedmont that may well be broken this year. Through the first quarter of the 2021-22 fiscal year, transfer tax revenue was ahead of last year by about 24% and carried over the year that comes to a transfer tax of $7.8M for 2021-2022.  Staff may provide an update on this tax revenue at tonight’s meeting.

So this is good news but will it last?  I don’t know, but it strikes me that averaging over the past 10 years is too conservative an approach that naturally leads the City to seek tax increases to make up for funding it projects it won’t receive when in fact it will.   The City should at least run two financial projections – flat growth and expected growth – to provide City Council with a more balanced report for long-term planning.  Perhaps the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee can request this from staff.

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont City Council Member

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 9 2022

Special Planning Commission Meeting – Thursday – May 12, 2022

 WHERE ARE 587 NEW HOUSING UNITS GOING TO GO IN PIEDMONT?
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The City of Piedmont is moving ahead with a new Housing Element.    Few Piedmonters have trudged through the almost 400 page Draft Housing Element containing profound suggested changes to Piedmont zoning.  The proposal suggests ending the Piedmont City Charter requirement of Piedmont voter control over zoning.
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Piedmont’s Planning Commission will hold a hybrid, in-person and virtual meeting on May 12, 2022, at 5:30 pm to consider a recommendation on the Draft Piedmont 6th Cycle Housing Element. On April 8, 2022, the City of Piedmont published the Draft Housing Element for public review and comment. The Draft Housing Element is posted to the homepages of the City of Piedmont website and Piedmontishome.org. Other formats are available upon request to the City. 

.

Agenda and participation information >Planning 2022-05-12 Special Meeting

 

May 7 2022

I just wanted to clarify that the timeline for preparation of Housing Element updates is set by state law.

It is an iterative process that mandates local jurisdictions prepare draft Housing Elements, open them up for public comment and send them to the state’s Housing and Community Development department (HCD) for its review.  Once HCD has reviewed, it sends back its comments and recommendations to local jurisdictions, so they can incorporate them into revised drafts, to make sure those drafts comply with all the requirements of state law.  The final product, after all these different rounds of review, needs to be done in early to mid 2023.  So while it seems like 2023 is a long time away, the timeline is actually tight. You can find a model timeline in the website for the Association of Bay Area Governments, here:

https://abag.ca.gov/technical-assistance/housing-element-update-timeline

In other words, it is not up to the City Council or the Planning Commission to extend the deadlines.  In fact, delaying the process may lead to increased oversight of the process by the state, as recently happened to the city of Los Angeles. As a result of its failure to comply with Housing Element preparation on time, LA now finds itself into a state-law mandated expedited track to approve all required rezonings within one year.  See:

https://www.planetizen.com/news/2022/02/116337-las-housing-element-considered-among-californias-most-ambitious-rejected-state

The timeline, then, must be respected.  However, that doesn’t mean that the City is trying to push this forward without real opportunities for public comment.  We, as residents of Piedmont, can comment now and when HCD provides its recommendations.  We can also comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report, which the City should be releasing any time now, and at the time of final approval.

Finally, I think we should remember that the draft Housing Element is NOT amending the Charter, rezoning the Corp Yard, or converting Veterans Hall or the City Council building to low income housing.  It is just proposing draft policies and identifying potential sites where the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), which represents the City’s fair share of housing growth, could be accommodated.  It is a high level policy document. Even if these policies were adopted, subsequent rezonings would be needed, as the draft plan acknowledges.  And even if those rezonings occurred, that doesn’t mean that automatically these sites would be developed.  Much more process would be needed, with public input and any required environmental review, and actual  projects would need to be proposed and approved.  So, it is a long process, and there will be many opportunities for public participation as we go along.

Thanks to PCA and to all of you, readers, for the opportunity to engage in this important conversation.  I look forward to more.

Respectfully,

Andrea Ruiz-Esquide, Piedmont Resident

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

 

May 2 2022

 City Proposal for Housing Element Includes: Zoning Changes, Transitional Housing, ADU Heights to 24 feet, City Charter Amendments, Converting City Hall and Veterans Buildings to Low-Income Housing, Coaches Field, Blair Park, etc.

There’s more than just numbers (587 new housing units to be exact) to the Housing Element.  There are several programs and policies in the draft that have not gotten much attention in the city workshops or outreach program, some are noted below:

Require large home remodels include an ADU in the expansion. 

• Establish a transitional home for 6 homeless individuals in a residential neighborhood. Collaborate with a nonprofit affordable housing organization to convert a home or homes to transitional housing for six persons.  This would require changing current residential zone restrictions to allow transitional housing throughout the city. (page 74),

• Create additional local housing opportunities for persons employed within Piedmont in order to reduce commuting and associated greenhouse gas emissions. A particular emphasis should be placed on transportation and on housing for municipal and school district employees, since these are the largest employers in the City. (page 75).

• Allow ADUs to be built to a height of 24 feet if the ADU is deed restricted for 10 years. (page 55).

• Amend the City Charter to eliminate the requirement that the reclassification of zones and/or reduction or enlargement of size or area of zones be subject to a majority vote at a general or special election. (page 57).

• Rezone the Corporation Yard and areas around Coaches Field to accommodate 130 housing units.  Fifty high density units would be built in the Coaches Filed overflow parking lot and 50 units on the slope below the third base line of the field.  If this plan is infeasible, develop 200 high density units in Blair Park. (Appendix B-14)

• Convert Veterans and City Halls into low-income housing (Appendix B-15).

Public comment on the Housing Element started April 6, 2022, and will run for 3 months with Council adoption expected in June 2022. Once approved by Council, the Housing Element needs to be approved by state authorities.  By statute, the deadline for state approval was recently extended to May 2023.  

City Council should take advantage of the state time extension and extend public comment on the Housing Element through November 2022. There are a number of reasons for doing so. 

  •  The plan needs work and a June hearing should still be held to address deficiencies of the current draft so that revisions can be made. 
  • The plan currently does not achieve the equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout Piedmont.
  • The plan for Coaches Field is really half-baked. 
  • There are many new programs and policies called for in the Housing Element that need better vetting with the community. 
  • By extending public comment through November, Piedmont voters can express their opinion on the draft Housing Element by seating a majority of Council (3 seats will be on the ballot).  This timeline offers residents an excellent opportunity to have their voices heard and two of the Councilmembers will likely serve for 8 years, the lifespan of the 6th Cycle Piedmont Housing Element, ensuring some continuity. 
  • Postponing consideration of the Housing Element until after the November election would engage the entire community in setting Piedmont’s affordable housing future, a legacy everyone could be proud of.  

Public comments on the Housing Element will be sent to the Planning Commission if received by May 5.  Send comments to Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov.  The public can also comment on the Housing Element at the Special Planning Commission meeting, a virtual meeting on Zoom on May 12.  Read the draft Housing Element at:

https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/Housing%20Programs/Housing%20Element/DRAFT-Housing_Element-Public-Review.pdf

Garrett Keating, Former member of the Piedmont City Council and Piedmont Resident

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

Contact information:

510/420-3050 – Planning Staff

510/420-3040 – City Clerk – City Council
Ask for the email address where you can send comments.  Sending an email to the City Council is a good place to send a comment.  Written comments become part of the public record, phone calls do not. 
Go to the City of Piedmont web page for more information.