Apr 1 2018

The Piedmont Park Commission will decide which tree or trees will be selected for 2018 Piedmont Heritage status on April 4, 2018, 5:30 p.m. City Hall. The meeting will also include introduction of new Park Commissioner Amber Brumfiel, election of Chair and Vice Chair of the Park Commission, Park Commission Minutes for March 7, 2018,  Report on the Preferred Option for the Linda Beach Master Plan, Update on Arbor Day 2018, Update on Spring Planting Projects, and Monthly Maintenance Report: Park, Open Space and Street Tree Update for the Month of March 2018. 

The meeting will be broadcast live. 

See photos below of the public property trees to be considered as Heritage Trees (scroll to p. 8) and also read the latest information on Linda Beach Park options  > Park Commission Agenda – April 4, 2018 – Final Complete

Mar 12 2018

The City is flush with money, so how can it be spent?  HURRY! Your good ideas are sought by March 14th deadline for a March 15 meeting.

2018 CIP Proposal Form

The Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee (CIP) will be meeting Thursday, March 15, 2018, at 7 pm and Tuesday, March 20 at 7 pm in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center to consider and recommend CIP projects.  CIP members are:  Michael Henn, Susan Herrick, Bobbe Stehr, Jeffrey St. Claire.  The Piedmont Beautification Foundation (PBF) Representative and Piedmont Park Commission Representatives are Nancy McHugh and Jim Horner.  The Recreation Commission Representative and Council Liaison are to be announced.  The staff liaisons are Chester Nakahara and Nancy Kent.  Read the meeting agenda here.   There will be no audio or written record kept of meeting discussion or presentations. Additionally, no broadcast via the internet or cable TV will be available.

The meetings are open to the public. 

Read the March 15 agenda > here

The announcement by the City is below: 

The CIP is soliciting proposals for new projects which would enhance our community. Ideas submitted by individuals, community organizations and City staff are all considered. If you have a great idea, the committee would like to hear from you.

Proposals are due no later than March 14th at 5:00 PM. Click to download the

2018 CIP Proposal Form.

All applicants/residents that have submitted proposals will be personally invited to attend the CIP Meeting to be scheduled in March/April.  At this meeting, applicants will be asked to briefly describe their projects to the CIP Committee. The CIP Committee will then determine which projects will require a site visit.

The CIP Site Visit Tour will be scheduled for a Saturday in early May. The tour will commence at City Hall at 9:00 am and then will proceed to CIP tour stops located throughout the City. At each of the tour stops the CIP Committee will see the locations for proposed projects first hand.

At noon a working lunch will be provided at City Hall for Committee members, city staff, and interested citizens. At this working lunch the CIP Review Committee will attempt to compose their list of 2018-2019.  CIP projects that they recommend as a part of this year’s budget process. The CIP chair in conjunction with CIP Review Committee members will be asked to prepare a list of recommended projects and narrative that will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration in the budget process.

Completed forms should be returned to the Department of Public Works, 120 Vista Avenue. If you have questions regarding the CIP process, please contact via email > Nancy Kent Parks & Project Manager, or by phone at (510) 420-3064.

Mar 2 2018

The City Council on Monday, March 5, 2018, will undertake consideration of a number of important and impactful decisions for Piedmont.

Issues include increasing City’s taxing potential (Charter change), exclusionary requirements for candidates to seek election to the City Council (Charter change), new expensive window replacement policy (Expenditure), up to $55,000 for a Special Election in June rather than waiting until November (Expenditure), short term rental parameters (Zoning considerations), Coaches Field study and contingency funding (Expenditures), labor contracts (Expenditure), new position for Fire Prevention (Expenditure).

The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, and will be broadcast live from the City website and on Piedmont Cable Channel 27.  The public can address any item on the agenda and during Public Forum speak to any item not on the agenda.

Staff reports for March 5, 2018 Council meeting:

03/05/18 – Consideration of an Agreement for Development of a Master Plan for Coaches Playfield with Callander Associates in the Amount of $24,985 and an Additional Appropriation of $10,000 to Fund the Project’s Contingency

03/05/18 – Consideration of the Following Actions Related to the Possible Amendment of the City Charter

a. Approval of a Resolution Proposing Amendments to the City Charter Modifying Term Limits for the City Council, Eliminating the 25% Cap on the General Fund Reserve, and Amending Sections Related to the Filling of Vacancies on the City Council and Board of Education

b. Approval of a Resolution Calling a Special Municipal Election for June 5, 2018, Requesting the Consolidation of the Special Municipal Election with the Statewide General Election, and Adding a Measure Relating to Amendments to the Charter of the City of Piedmont 

03/05/18 – Consideration of Options Regarding a Direct Argument and a Rebuttal Argument Regarding the Charter Amendment Measure on the June 5, 2018 Ballot 

03/05/18 – Consideration of Regulatory Parameters Related to the Permitting of Short-Term Rentals 

03/05/18 – Consideration of Memoranda of Understanding with the Following Labor Groups for the Period of 7/1/2017 through 6/30/2020:

a. Piedmont Firefighters Association – Captains Unit – 7/1/2017 through 6/30/2020

b. SEIU Local 1021 – General Unit – 03/05/2018 through 6/30/2021

c. SEIU Local 1021 – Public Works Unit – 03/05/2018 through 6/30/2021

 03/05/18 – Approval of a Part Time Fire Prevention Officer Position in the Fire Department for a Two Year Period

 03/05/18 – Consideration of a Resolution Amending the Interim Design Guidelines Regarding the Recess of Windows and Making Technical Corrections

The Window Guidelines have been acknowledged as not having received generalized public input considering the impact to homeowners and staff costs.

Mar 15 2017

Opportunities to serve Piedmont in important volunteer positions!

Be a part of Piedmont’s decision processes!

Application Deadline:

Monday, March 20th – 5PM

The City Council of Piedmont is looking for volunteers to be appointed to Piedmont commissions and committees. Interested Piedmont residents may download the > Application for Appointive Vacancy.

Applications are due to City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, on or before the deadline of Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

No. of Vacancies No. of Incumbents Eligible
for Reappointment
Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee 3 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
CIP Review Committee 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
Civil Service Commission 1 Vacancy 0 Incumbents
Park Commission 2 Vacancies 0 Incumbents
Parking Hearing Officer 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
Planning Commission 3 Vacancies 1 Incumbent
Public Safety Committee 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
Recreation Commission 3 Vacancies 2 Incumbents

Interviews with the City Council for these positions will be scheduled for Monday, March 27, 2017.   All applicants must be interviewed.  No appointments will be made without a Council interview.

   On the City website an explanation of duties can be found by clicking the items below:

 For more information, contact City Clerk John Tulloch at: 

jtulloch@ci.piedmont.ca.us (510) 420-3041
Jul 9 2016

The following letter was sent to the Piedmont Planning Commission re: July 11 Agenda Item 9; City Code Chapter 17 Modifications proposals. 

Honorable Commission,

       The City Charter states “no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election (p. 22).” The staff report recommends allowing in Zone B “for-profit entities because the City may want to allow a community-serving business, such as a local newspaper or beverage stand, to operate out of a City building (p3 of 2016-07-11 Report)”. Currently for-profit entities are not allowed in Zone B in the public zone. As zoning is the critical mandate in controlling land use, I believe a City wide vote is needed to allow this fundamental change to allow for-profit in Zone B.

     I ask for clarification and I ask the Commission to obtain clarification from staff as to what is the threshold and definition of zone reclassification and why the addition of “for-profit” is not reclassification.

     Should a for-profit business be allowed, there are deserving segments of our community that have been identified in the General Plan. The 801 Magnolia building might be ideal for a teen or senior center.  Additionally, a café for the Piedmont Center for the Arts also has wide appeal.

     The term “community-serving business” must also embody that all segments of the community are given equal treatment. The reference in the staff report to “local newspaper” can only be the wholly Piedmont serving local newspaper, the Piedmont Post. While the Post does a proper job of reporting sports and social events, Piedmont Post publishing ethics do not include objective reporting on the passage of taxes, potential taxes and how tax dollars are used. The Piedmont Post has a sharply skewed editorial bias in support of City Hall actions. Those who oppose city taxes are shut out from virtually any space in the Post and/or opposition comments are grossly misreported. The many who opposed the partially taxpayer funded “no taxpayer cost” Blair Park Sports Complex were denied equal access in the Post.

     I suggest removing the recommendation for a “local newspaper” in Zone B. Another option in the interest of transparency is to substitute “Piedmont Post” for “local newspaper” and remove “community-serving business.”

Respectfully,

Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 26 2016

Report listing priorities presented by the Capital Improvement Projects Review (CIP) Committee to the City Council at their Budget Workshop on May 21, 2016  for potential funding. –

2016-2017 Capital Improvement Projects Committee  – Bobbe Stehr, Chairman

The Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) committee reconvened in February 2016 to begin work on project recommendations to the City Council regarding community needs and desires for new capital projects for the 2016-2017 budget cycle. At our first meeting, City Manager Paul Benoit and Councilman Bob McBain discussed the current and future direction of the committee’s responsibilities and the committee’s outreach efforts to compile a list of new capital projects that would be considered by the Council as funding opportunities became available, whether through City funding sources or grants.

After considerable discussion by the committee members, we recognized that under the new direction of the City Council, our responsibility was to conduct an extensive outreach process, inviting participation by individuals, citizen groups, commissions and City staff. The process included an on- line proposal form on the City’s website. The Committee also developed a list of criteria to be used for evaluating all proposed projects and provide specific conclusions with recommendations for future planning.

Under this new direction, the committee reviewed all new proposals; projects submitted through the on-line proposal form as well as long standing projects that have remained on the list. We considered all public comments and staff evaluations. All of our meetings were noticed to the public and our on-site tour of the proposed project locations occurred on May 7, 2016.

Our criteria for evaluating and recommending potential projects included such factors as wide benefit to the community, public safety, broad public support, and protecting and enhancing community assets. The committee also considered whether projects had funding options from public and private partnerships, revenue generating potential, expanded recreational opportunities and/or tied into the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan.

We have listed every proposed project in priority order. There were four proposals that we concluded were actually not CIP projects, which we referred to the proper departments and have included those in the addendum.

We would like to express our gratitude for the initial guidance provided by City Administrator, Paul Benoit and Councilman Bob McBain; vital assistance from Parks & Projects Manager, Nancy Kent; very thoughtful and perceptive understanding of Piedmont’s extensive recreation needs by Recreation Director, Sara Lillivand and insights provided by our City Council liaison, Jeff Wieler.

Project recommendations listed in order of priority with estimated costs:

1. Coaches Field Master Plan $50,000

The goal of the master plan would be to assess the possibility of expanding the playfield area to maximize the use where a larger field would meet more demand; define the technical needs associated with artificial turf; research “dark sky” directional lighting to extend use time; and address the serious parking shortage.

Believing that it is more efficient to work with an existing facility and because this field is heavily used by several sports, expansion to a regulation under 14-sized soccer field would allow concurrent practice by more than one team at a time.

This field does provide some revenue-generation and does have public interest for cooperative private funding. It would also allow for more “home team” use and spirit.

2. Beach Tot Lot/ADA Compliant Howard Ave Entrance and Restroom Facilities Master Plan $30,000

The goal of the master plan would be to review existing facilities, solicit community input and propose a new layout for improved recreational opportunities at the existing Tot Lot area and the unused space around the restroom facilities, and the space between the Oakland Ave Bridge and the Beach Playfield.

The current Tot Lot is used heavily by residents and the City recognizes the need to maintain tot lot facilities for the neighborhood. In its current location and configuration, the tot lot is unsafe with an unguarded retaining wall and outdated play equipment. An overall study of the most efficient use of the space now occupied by the Tot Lot and its situation with the tennis court, playfield and restrooms, plus access to and from each component would improve the flow and maximize the future use of the area.

The Recreation Director has requested that the Tot Lot not be looked at in isolation, but incorporated into an overall, long-range vision for the area, which may include relocation to the other side of the playfield. This would put the play area closer to the existing restrooms and eliminate the sand creep onto the tennis courts.

Additionally, with the completion of the new townhouses at 408 Linda Ave, it would be a great opportunity for the City to improve the use, aesthetics and functionality of the area between the Oakland Ave Bridge and Linda Beach Field.

In the current budget, Public Works is in the planning stage for the ADA access from Howard Ave and the City is currently reviewing all play structures in the City for safety compliance as well as a schedule for play equipment replacement. This is the time for a Master Plan for this area.

3. Piedmont Community Hall – Entry Court Renovation, $200,000 – $300,000

Parking and ADA access are the urgent needs for this facility and a top priority for the Recreation Department. The recommendation is to enhance the entry court for ceremonial and civic events with decorative paving and improved event lighting. The plan would redirect service vehicles to the edge of the turnaround and relocate the trash area, eliminating the need for heavy trucks to cross the entry court. 2

Currently the City Engineer is working on a survey of the parking possibilities and ADA access. If feasible, the committee recommends that the entry court be upgraded sooner rather than later.

4. Piedmont Community Hall – Rear Balcony and Amphitheater Architectural Master Plan $50,000

Because the Community Hall is in full use nearly daily, an architectural master plan would study and propose enhancements that would improve use, circulation and revenue generation.

Expanding the terraces and rear balcony of Community Hall over enlarged space beneath, would greatly improve the rental opportunities and community programs use with the inclusion of indoor/outdoor access.

Relocating the pre-school facilities to a more easily accessible location would free the lower level of the Hall and provide space for concurrent facility use, better storage and increased rental revenues.

The Amphitheater currently is over impacted and underutilized. An upgrade to permeable paving with current water catchment technology would be both environmentally smart and revitalize the overall area. Relocating the bleachers and access from both stories of the Hall to the amphitheater would connect this space to the interior spaces for better flow and function.

Community Hall is a perfect venue for public/private funding.

5. Oakland Avenue Bridge – Complete the String of Lights $40,000

This is a new proposal by William Blackwell who has done extensive research on both the engineering requirements to add two new light standards, suppliers for exact matches to the existing light standards and the infill string of lights. This definitely qualifies as a stand-alone project to revive what was once a stately entrance to the City of Piedmont.

This is a project that would attract private funding from several sources.

Both Mr. Blackwell and the CIP committee independently came to the same conclusion while on site at the bridge. The Oakland Avenue Bridge is in dire need of some safety improvements. Crossing Oakland Avenue at the crosswalks at both ends of the bridge on the way to or from the Beach playfield area is hazardous.

The CIP committee suggests that the safety issues be included in the future implementation of the Bike/Pedestrian Plan or as part of the Master Plan for the Beach Playfield project.

6. Highland Strip $200,000

Because of the recent wet winter, momentum has stalled for a drought tolerant and native garden to replace the lawn at the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Highland Avenue. There were regional interests to fund parts of this project, however, much more education and outreach appears to be needed.

7. Dracena Park: Upper Park Master Plan, Ravine Lighting and Pathway improvements $30,000 – $75,000

Proposed by Garrett Keating, Daniel Stein and John Lambert, the three elements were considered individually.

A Master Plan for Upper Dracena Park, especially one that can be implemented incrementally, could be valuable, however, the CIP Committee would need further direction from the Park Commission and we suggested that the proposal be presented to the Park Commission.

Pathway lighting within City parks has been discussed over the years and current policy is not to have artificial lighting from dusk to dawn at most locations.

The request to repair the sidewalk along Dracena Avenue, add handrails and clearly marked crosswalk painting at the intersection of Park Way and Dracena Avenue have been referred to Public Works Maintenance Department.

8. Blair Park: Split Rail Fence, Additional Trees, Parking Lot $65,000 – $100,000

Two separate proposals were reviewed together: Marge Blackwell proposed a split-rail fence along Moraga Avenue for the length of the park and additional planting within the park; Melanie Robertson proposed new trees along Moraga Avenue and a small parking lot for park users.

A split rail fence could be a charming addition and more trees in a park would be wonderful. However, the site does not currently have any water supply that would be needed to irrigate new landscaping and the estimated cost of a new water meter is $65,000. In addition, the City is in the process of having the park’s boundaries surveyed and the CIP committee concluded that any project in Blair Park should be put on hold for the present and would likely need to be considered by the Park Commission at some future date.

ADDENDUM TO CIP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 2016-2017:

Two proposals submitted by Paul Lettieri and Tom Gandesberg requested repaving for safety and bike access. These were referred to the Public Works Maintenance Department and are currently being implemented.

Tom Gandesberg also suggested better irrigation for the median in the 300 block of San Carlos Avenue. Again, this location is currently being upgraded to a more water efficient irrigation system as part of the City’s cyclical review of medians,

Bob Kunselman proposed a new License Plate Reader on Trestle Glen Road. Parks and Projects Manager, Nancy Kent contacted Police Chief Rikki Goede for guidance on this. Chief Goede contacted Mr. Gandesberg and provided the CIP committee with her determination.

I wrote a thank you letter to each person who proposed a project, stating the CIP committee’s appreciation for their suggestions and informing them of the status of each proposal.

Bobbe Stehr, Chair of CIP Committee

_______________________

Recordings  and minutes of the CIP meetings are not available, as no recordings or minutes were produced.

Residents interested in providing input to the Council on Budget priorities may send emails to John Tulloch, City Clerk:

jtulloch@piedmont.ci.ca.us

Next Council consideration of the 2016-17 Budget is June 6, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. City Hall.  The Council meeting will be recorded and broadcast.

____________

Members of the CIP Committee are:

Michael Henn

Susan Herrick

Bobbe Stehr, Chair

Jamie Totsubo

PBF (Piedmont Beautification Foundation)      Representative – Deborah Van Nest

Representative of Recreation Commission

Representative of Park Commission 

Council Liaison: Jeff Wieler (H) 428-1648
Staff Liaisons: Chester Nakahara (W) 420-3061 & Nancy Kent (W) 420-3064

May 24 2016

Piedmont’s taxpayers have paid over $2 Million in excessive costs for City projects due to poor management ($1.3 M from the Undergrounding fiasco, $400,000 from Blair Park’s so-called “gift,” $340,000 from purchasing police radios that are incompatible with Alameda County).

While the City has some new senior-level employees, the consequence of past incompetence requires greater disclosure and transparency to re-establish taxpayer confidence that Measure F’s increase in taxation is really necessary.  Measure F asks for a 30% tax increase without specifying what exactly would be done, while  underestimating property tax revenues in spite of a 25-year trend of increasing revenue.

Approval from two-thirds of the electorate should require two ballot measures, one to maintain service at the current tax rate, and another to increase service with specific projects at an increased tax rate.

If Piedmont voters reject Measure F now, the pair of measures could be placed on the November ballot without danger of current services being interrupted, because the existing tax doesn’t expire until June, 2017.

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.  PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.
May 7 2016

  Beach and Coaches Field, Blair and Dracena Park, Community Center, Lights on Oakland Avenue Bridge – Capital projects get in line for City funding. 

On Tuesday, May 10, the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Review Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the City Hall Conference Room to prioritize funding recommendations for new capital projects.  The Committees’ recommendations will be presented to the City Council at their Budget Work Session on Saturday, May 21, 2016*, in the Arts Center Building across from Piedmont High School.  * May 21 is the corrected date of the Council Budget Work Session. 

The meeting of the CIP Committee is open to the public. There will be no broadcast or recording of the meeting.  Interested individuals can follow the recommendation process and speak to the Committee on the projects at the May 10 meeting.

Proposed project details were not publicly disseminated as of this publication. The City has notified select individuals and organizations about the meeting.

The May 10 agenda includes:

1. Review of May 7, 2016 CIP Site Tour

2. Discussion of Final Project Descriptions

3. Discussion of Final Report and Recommendations for City Council

Individuals seeking information on the projects should contact:

Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent at 420-3064 or  nkent@ci.piedmont.ca.us 

The Council will decide on the final priorities and possible funding.

May 4 2016

What should Piedmont Fund?

Tour open to the public Saturday,

May 7 at 8 a.m. starting at the Tea House.

On Saturday, May 7, the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Review Committee will meet at  8:00 a.m. at the Tea House in Piedmont Main Park to tour and view various proposed projects to potentially be funded through the Piedmont budget process.  The public is welcome to participate in the entire meeting, tour, and discussions.  Individuals attending are encouraged to provide their own transportation.  Lunch will be served at the Tea House following the tour. 

 A tour schedule, detailed list of projects, information, and agenda can be obtained through:

Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent at 420-3064 or nkent@ci.piedmont.ca.us 

 There will be no recordings made of the tour. 

Feb 28 2016

On Monday, February 29th, the City of Piedmont will continue the removal of aging and beetle infested Monterey Pine trees from Blair Park that began on Friday.  An arborist identified the 22 trees selected for removal, as the third of three phases of tree removal in the park. Blair Park will be closed while this work is being conducted.

Questions regarding the project may be addressed to the Public Works Department at (510) 420-3050.