Sep 5 2022

Piedmont’s Emergency Operation Center to be replaced by a new Dispatch Center.

On September 6, 2022, the City Council will consider a contract in the amount of $296,556 for consulting services for design and construction oversight to relocate and renovate the Dispatch Center.  The work is being paid for by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The final cost of the project is estimated at approximately $2,300,000. 

Recently, much discussion has been held in public meetings about the possibility of building dwelling units in conjunction with Police and Fire Department and a City Hall master plan construction.

The Highland-Vista-Magnolia Avenue locations have been noted as potential sites for dwelling units in the proposed Housing Element.  Public comments questioned compounding congestion in the already heavily used Central Piedmont civic area containing 5 schools, the Community Church, Police and Fire emergency facilities, City Hall uses, refurbished tennis courts, Recreation Center, and the soon to be built large new municipal pool complex.

“On October 4, 2021, City Council prioritized the relocation and renovation of the Police Dispatch Center as the highest and best use for American Rescue Plan Act funding. Since that time, staff drafted and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to engage firms to provide Architecture and Engineering Design Services. COAR Design Group (COAR) was selected from the five proposals received by the May 9, 2022 response deadline. The fee for COAR’s Design Services, which will cover all services extending from conceptual design through construction administration support, is $296,555. For reference, the fees proposed by the five responding firms ranged from $243,000 to $438,000.”

READ THE FULL STAFF REPORT BELOW:

https://piedmont.hosted.civiclive.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=18859599

The RFP, photographs, floor plans, and requirements are included in the link above.

Sept. 6 AGENDA  >HERE.

Jun 18 2022

Hello City Council:

I won’t have time this weekend (Father’s Day festivities) to review the staff report but wanted to offer up these observations and suggestions about the Housing Element (HE) for your consideration Monday. I attended the HE workshops, participated in the online surveys and have read the HE.

1.     SB 9: staff has stated at several meetings that the Department of Housing and Development (HCD) is not accepting unit projections based on this SB 9.  HCD guidance says otherwise and several cities are submitting such projections.  Please clarify why staff has not done so and direct them to conduct this analysis for inclusion in the final HE.  Not considering the potential for SB 9 to produce units in the next cycle is bad planning.

2.     Multi-family zone:  the HE makes no projections for units from this zone over the next 8 years.  This is short-sighted in that this area is a logical zone for new units and the HE increases zone density for that reason.  Staff simply needs to cite other such developments in the Temescal, Pleasant Valley Rd etc. to show that this development is highly likely. These developments are not in Piedmont but are very local and I would think HCD would understand that similar developments are likely to occur in Piedmont.  Also clarify whether the small housing policy prohibits the destruction of the small houses on Linda to the Oakland Avenue bridge.  Conversion of these lots to multi-family buildings could vastly increase the number of units.

3.     ADUs: the incentives workshop mentioned increasing ADU height from 16 to 18-20 feet. The workshop also presented the idea of garage conversions by presented to specific building height. The HE now has specific height for garage conversions (24 ft) but does not mention what the new height for ADU will be. Please clarify this point;  I asked staff but received no response.  I think the ADU projections (20/year) is an underestimate; ADU development rate these past three years was likely influenced by COVID restrictions.

4.     Extremely low/very low-income units:  the HE provide no details on where these units will occur in Piedmont, which according to HCD should be over 120 units.  I asked about this at the last workshop and the consultant could not answer.  Instead he referred to the Alameda County family of four income ($100,000) as a target for Piedmont’s low income housing.  The HE policy to prioritize housing for PUSD and City of Piedmont employees dovetails with this target – these employees will meet this income level but very low and extremely low Alameda County residents won’t.  Where will the housing be for families of these income levels?

5.     Better outreach:  the process leading up to the HE utilized several different communication/engagement methods. Now that the draft of out, those methods should be used again.  Particularly, staff should conduct an online survey of the HE and particularly focus on policies not included in the workshop or prior surveys:  ADU tax on large remodels, purchase of supportive housing by the City of Piedmont, revocation of charter elements for example.

6.     General Plan:  staff conceded it has not completed an analysis of how the HE integrates with the General Plan.  Inquire about this and what elements of the Plan staff thinks will be impacted.

Garrett Keating, Former City Council Member

Editors’ Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 27 2022

Do you know who is going to be interviewed by the Council for Piedmont’s important Commissions and Committees?

Frequently, Piedmont residents have heard the City Council expound on the need for inclusion and transparency, yet the Council does not provide transparency or inclusion in some proceedings.  

On Monday, March 28, 2022, at a “Special Meeting,” the Piedmont City Council will once again perpetuate a long-held practice of interviewing candidates for appointments to volunteer positions on Piedmont public committees and commissions away from public broadcasts and records.  Although an “official” notice announces the public interview sessions, the meetings are either held in a small conference room, or, as in this case, the Police Department Emergency Operations Center (EOC) making public participation and observation of Council decision difficult. 

The March 28, 2022 meeting has:

  • No cameras for a record of the meeting (due to lack of funds)

  • No broadcasts for remote viewing (due to lack of funds)

  • No publicity of  the applicant’s names or positions they seek

  • No listing of the order of the interviews

  • No timely release to the public of the applications provided to the Council

  • No opportunity for meaningful public participation in the selections

  • No record of Council member priorities

  • No record of individual Council member preferences

The Agenda for the March 28, 2022;  (see Full Agenda > 3:28:2022 Appointees) states:

“Special City Council Agenda Monday, March 28, 2022 6:00 p.m. EOC, Police Dept., 403 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Special Session

1. Interview of Candidates for City Commissions and Committees to be Followed by Possible Appointment to Posted Vacancies 0085″ 

[No applicant names, no order of interviews, no positions are noted.  There is no staff report for public information. ]

California’s sunshine law, the Brown Act, requires interviews for appointed public positions to Committees and Commissions to be done in public. Not only should the law be followed by word, but by spirit, allowing the public to readily observe and participate in Piedmont government decisions. 

If the Council is true to a desire for inclusion, transparency, and public participation, the Agenda needs to list the volunteer positions to be filled in addition to the applicants’ names, and the “Special Meeting” would be broadcasted to the public and recorded.

Decades old hidden appointment processes are being perpetuated.  Under current procedures residents of Piedmont cannot know why individual appointments are made.  Applicant information provided to Council members is by law to be timely provided to the public.  Once appointments have been made appointee names have been withheld “until the appointee was notified. “

Past practices of placing the public at arms length from important Council appointments, processes and decisions have been allowed to continue unquestioned by the Council.  For Piedmont to become inclusive, the old ways need to end in favor of accessible, transparent meeting processes.

During the heart of the pandemic, appointee interviews were of necessity held on Zoom allowing the public to view the appointment procedures remotely. However,  Council members indicated during the Zoom selection process that the open broadcasted interview sessions made the process challenging for the public was able to view and hear the decisions being made.  A social club atmosphere prevailed in selecting  the appointees, as Council members privately sent  phone texts to the City Clerk to indicate their appointment preferences.  The Council never asked the City Clerk which Council members favored which applicants, consequently the public could not know the preferences.. 

For Piedmont to become a truly inclusive City, decision processes should be readily and easily available to all Piedmonters in a transparent manner.

Ironically, the City Council is currently paying a contractor thousands of dollars to advise the City on “transparency” in regard to adding 587 new housing units in Piedmont. Expensive banners have been erected by the City at strategic locations on Piedmont light poles to inform Piedmonters of the impending changes to Piedmont’s Housing Element involving zoning changes and 587 new housing units.

Piedmont Civic Association asked Piedmont City Clerk, John Tulloch, for an explanation on the lack of a recording and broadcast of Council appointment processes. A response is copied below:

“The interviews were conducted in a noticed, open, public meeting, consistent with the City’s past practice for Council vacancy interviews. The meeting was conducted in the EOC to allow for a space in which interviews could be conducted in an open, public, COVID safe way that allowed the Councilmembers to interact with applicants in person.”

Piedmont Civic Association Editors’ Comment:  The size of the Council Chamber (City Hall) 120 Vista Avenue, where Piedmont’s cameras are located and broadcast originate, has a high ceiling making it more airy than the Police Department Emergency Operation Center, EOC.   

During the Commission and  Committee interviews,  the Council has asked candidates  to not be present when other candidates are interviewed. The Brown Act allows all public members to be present for public decision making processes. Volunteers for appointed positions can learn from one another during the interview process, which is an advantage for Piedmont. 

Importantly, many candidates who seek appointed positions might be potential candidates for Piedmont elected office. Interview processes allow residents to observe both the Council and the candidates engendering greater participation, inclusion, and interest in Piedmont policy making.

Various staff members have participated in the appointment processes by advising the Council during their selection process on the pros and cons of some applicants.

Open broadcasted meetings encourage the greatest public participation and strengthen our democratic government.

March  25, 2022 – City notice states:

Special City Council Meeting Agenda – March 28, 2022

The Ralph M. Brown Act Requires that all agendas be written clearly and in sufficient detail to allow the public to understand the question to be decided by the City Council. Piedmont makes every attempt to comply with both the letter and spirit of this law. If, however, you have questions concerning an item on a City Council agenda, please call the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040. Also available are the Staff Reports for each item of business on the agenda. 

[When going to the link for Staff Reports, there is no Staff Report for the March 28, 2022 Agenda. There are no names or positions.]

To send comments to the City Council as a whole, and/or regarding a City Council agenda item, please email citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov. To send via U.S. Mail, please use the following address:

City Council
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

To send an individual Councilmember a message, please find their contact information on the Councilmember page. Any correspondence sent to the City may be considered a public record.

Editors’ Note:  The comments made here in no way express an objection to the specific choices made by the City Council to fill positions. 

Feb 26 2022
The 6th Cycle (2023-2031)

Housing Element Update

Environmental Impact Report

Public Scoping Meeting

Tuesday

March 1, 2022, 5:30 PM

On February 16, 2022, the City of Piedmont issued a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed City of Piedmont 2023-2031 Housing Element update and associated amendments to the Piedmont General Plan.
.
The City of Piedmont is preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the City’s Housing Element update (“the project”) and is requesting comments on the scope and content of the Draft EIR. This scoping stage of EIR preparation seeks comments that would answer the following questions:
  • What do we need to know to prepare the EIR for the Housing Element update?
  • What potential environmental impacts from the City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) of 587 housing units should be studied as part of the EIR?
The EIR is being prepared by the City of Piedmont, which is the lead agency for the project, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and CEQA Guidelines. In accordance with CEQA Guidelines section 15082, the Notice of Preparation (NOP) was sent to the California State Clearinghouse, Alameda County Clerk, responsible agencies, trustee agencies, adjacent cities, and is being made available to members of the public, including individuals and organizations, to solicit comments on the scope and content of the analysis in the EIR.
.
Written Comments: Responses to the NOP and any questions or comments should be directed in writing to: Kevin Jackson, Planning & Building Director, City of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611; or kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov.
.
Responses to the NOP must be received on or before 5 p.m. on Friday, March 18, 2022. In addition, comments may be provided at the EIR Scoping Meeting (see details below). Comments should focus on the scope and content of the EIR, such as significant environmental issues, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures.
.
EIR Public Scoping Meeting: The City of Piedmont will conduct a public scoping session on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, as part of a special Planning Commission meeting to receive comments on the scope and contents of the EIR. The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. and be held via video and teleconference. Information about how to join the meeting is available: here
.
Project Location: The project, which is an update to the Housing Element of the City’s General Plan, is applicable to the entire City of Piedmont (citywide). The City of Piedmont is located in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern Alameda County. The City of Piedmont encompasses approximately 1.7 square miles with a population of approximately 11,300 residents and 4,000 housing units. The Housing Element is one of the 7 state-mandated elements of the local General Plan and is required by the State of California to be updated every 8 years. Detailed project description information and background information are provided in the NOP, located here.
.
Probable Environmental Effects: Approval of the proposed Housing Element update would not include approval of any physical development (e.g., construction of housing or infrastructure). However, the EIR will assume that such actions are reasonably foreseeable future outcomes of the Housing Element update. The EIR will evaluate the potential physical environmental impacts that could result from future actions for implementing the policies proposed under the Housing Element update at a programmatic level, in accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15168. The topical areas that will be addressed in the EIR are: Aesthetics, Air Quality, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Energy, Geology and Soils, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Hydrology and Water Quality, Noise, Land Use and Planning, Population and Housing, Public Services and Recreation, Transportation, Tribal Cultural Resources, Utilities and Service Systems, and Wildfire.
.
The Draft EIR will also examine a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed project, including the CEQA-mandated No Project Alternative and other potential alternatives that may be capable of reducing or avoiding potential environmental effects while meeting most of the basic objectives of the project. In addition, the EIR will address cumulative impacts, growth inducing impacts, and other issues required by CEQA.

Produced by the City of Piedmont

Produced by the City of Piedmont

STAY CONNECTED & INFORMED
The City of Piedmont wants to keep you up to date on planning-related issues regarding transportation, sustainability, housing and changes to development regulations that affect you. Community participation is key to the success of new City policies. Contact pmacdonald@piedmont.ca.gov to learn more.
Feb 8 2022

The Piedmont Civic Association congratulates Jennifer Long as Piedmont’s newest councilmember and thanks all 11 candidates who were willing to offer their skills to the City in this volunteer position.

At a special meeting on February 7, 2022, the Piedmont City Council selected Jennifer Long to fill the vacancy on the Council created by the resignation of Councilmember Tim Rood from among eleven applicants for the position. Ms. Long will be sworn in at the City Council meeting on February 22, 2022, and her term will run until the results of the General Municipal Election of November 8, 2022 are certified, which likely will take place at a Council meeting in December, 2022.  John O. Tulloch City Clerk

City Press Release: 2022-02-08 Long Appointed to City Council. 

Long, an attorney, resides on Crocker Avenue, where she lives and works. 

Long’s application:   Long, Jennifer – Application 2022

Feb 4 2022

Selection of the New City Council Member to Fill the Vacancy has Citizens Confused

The Resignation of former Council member Tim Rood makes way for a replacement City Council Member outside of the normal election process.  Citizens reading the public posting could not tell how to participate or observe the February 7, 2022. 4pm City Council meeting focused on the Council member replacement.  The agenda does not notice a virtual/teleconferenced meeting.  See Agenda and Staff report linked below:

2.  Staff report on reasons to hold virtual/teleconferenced meetings > 2.7.2022

SECTION 4. The City Council reconfirms and incorporates the findings made in Resolution 77-2021 regarding the need for the Council and all Commissions, Committees, or advisory bodies of the City of Piedmont to meet by teleconference.

3.  Interviews of candidates

4.  Consideration of Appointment of Candidate to Vacant City Council Seat. > council-special-agenda 2.7.2022  

Council selection process thwarts public viewing and participation.

Per the California Brown Act (Sunshine law), Council candidate interviews and their actual applications seeking appointment to public office are required to be open and available to the public. The City is not following their own meeting procedures on COVID safety for virtual meetings.  The City has also not publicly disseminated the written applications.

The City has decided to hold the interviews and selection process in the Piedmont Police Department Emergency Operation Center (EOC) on Highland Avenue rather than in the Council Chambers wherein cameras can readily record and broadcast proceedings.  Only COVID compliant individuals can physically enter the Police Department to potentially observe and participate in the Council selection process. 

Candidate interviews had originally been scheduled “virtually” and would have been held in the Council Chambers allowing at home viewing through Zoom of the interview sessions and the Council selection process.

For years, the EOC and Council Conference Room have been selectively used for meetings where video recordings were not produced.  Some past noteworthy meetings held away from camera access have been the Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee, interviews of candidates for commission appointments, and the City Department Budget presentations. 

Persons interested in participating in the interview process may enter the Police Department EOC on Highland Avenue at their own risk and observe the interviews and the selection process Monday, February 7, 2022 at 4 p.m.

City of Piedmont 2022 City Council Vacancy Applicant List:

Robert Dickinson

Connie Herrick

Deborah Leland

Jennifer Long

Hugh Louch

Thomas MacBride

Richard Raushenbush

Steve Roland

Andrea Ruiz-Esquide

Billy Rusteen

Ruchi Shrivastava Medhekar

Agenda council-special-agenda 2.7.2022

Staff report continuing virtual meetings.2.7.2022

Editors’ Note:  On February 7, 2022, at the Special Council meeting held away from broadcast capability in the Police Department EOC, Jennifer Long was selected by the City Council to fill the Tim Rood vacancy. Once the City Clerk releases information about Jennifer Long, it will be published on this site.

 

Jan 20 2022
NEW SCHEDULE AND LOCATION FOR PIEDMONT TESTING!

The testing provider, Curative, is expanding COVID-19 testing in Piedmont to 5 days a week!

Beginning Thursday, January 20th, testing will now be available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 am in the Community Hall parking lot at 711 Highland Avenue. At this time, appointments are NOT required! More information is available at https://cur.tv/piedmont.
.
Please note that Curative is experiencing unprecedented demand for testing.  Appointments can be made at curataive.com.
.
At the request of the City Council, staff is working with Curative to make a weekend day of testing available. When more news is available on that front, we will send it out on all channels!
.
For further information, contact Curative directly at 888-702-9042, or visit their website at curative.com
City of Piedmont Press Release
Jan 18 2022

“…there are no plans or discussions to close schools. To the contrary, the District has comprehensive plans to keep students and staff in school to the greatest extent possible while protecting the health of the entire school community.” Randall Booker, Superintendent of Schools

At the January 12, 2022 Piedmont School Board meeting a COVID report on each school, advice, and need for substitute teachers. The report is linked below:

Background on COVID Update 1-12-22_204839vesb2ybmdhrt4oft01xawdxn

A report on the entire Jan. 12, 2022 Board meeting is linked below:

Board Meeting Summary – 1-12-22.docx

Nov 20 2021

FREE COVID-19 PCR TESTS FOR ALL

Travelers, students home for the holidays, general public and potentially exposed individuals can be tested now at no charge in Piedmont at a mobil unit provided by Curative.

The mobile testing vehicle will be in front of Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, on Sundays and Mondays between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. until the end of December. The free test is a nasal swab test.  Results will be available one to two days after the tests.

The City of Piedmont’s Fire Department is working with Curative, the provider of the free tests. Bring your identification card and vaccination record with you.  Appointments are not necessary.  Those desiring an appointment or more information may contact curative.com.   

Oct 20 2021

Virtual Community Workshop October 21, 2021, 5:30 pm

Pre-approved architectural plans, taller and larger ADUs permitted, allowing two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

“Objective” Standards and Incentives for Multifamily Housing and ADUs –

On Thursday, October 21, 2021, the City of Piedmont and Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) will host a virtual event, entitled “New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop,” starting at 5:30 pm, to discuss new objective standards for multifamily housing and new ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) incentives.

State of California laws, such as SB35 and SB 330, require cities to apply standards that are objective and “knowable in advance” to applications for multifamily housing developments, such as apartment buildings.

Discretionary design review or conditional use permits are no longer allowed.

Last year, the City and LWC consultant began to prepare objective design standards for future multifamily housing developments, including the citywide Fair Housing Survey conducted in March 2021 and presentations to the Housing Advisory Committee in May and June 2021. The results of this work will be described to the Piedmont community on October 21, 2021.

State laws, including AB 671, require cities to develop incentives for the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that can be offered at affordable rents to residents with very low, low, and moderate incomes.

The October 21 event will also include a discussion of possible new ADU incentives. New incentives would generally be available to homeowners who choose to rent their new ADUs at very low or low rents for a period of 10 years.

Currently very low or low rents for a one-bedroom apartment with two occupants is a maximum of $1,370 to $2,193 per month, and the maximum incomes of the tenant households are $54,800 and $87,700, respectively.

Possible ADU incentives could include changes to City regulations to offer pre-approved architectural plans, permit taller and larger ADUs, or allow as many as two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

The City and LWC have developed plans for ADU and JADU construction with Openscope Studio, an architectural firm based in San Francisco. With some modifications, these new plans can be used to quickly obtain Planning Division approvals and streamline the building permit plan review to construct a new ADU.

Participants in the virtual meeting on October 21 on the Zoom platform can share their ideas, take part in online polls during the community workshop, and hear from other Piedmonters on these important issues.

To RSVP for the New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop, please email Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information, please visit the Get Involved webpage at Piedmontishome.org

Members of the Piedmont community are invited to send their comments on the draft new objective standards and ADU incentives to the City of Piedmont Planning & Building Department by November 19, 2021. Comments can be emailed to Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov or mailed to: Fair Housing Programs, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94602. The draft new fair housing programs are funded in part by a California SB 2 planning grant.

Link to draft plan > https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/Housing%20Programs/LWC_Piedmont_New%20Fair%20Housing%20Programs_101821.pdf

Contact 510/420-3050 or 510/420-3040 for further information.