Mar 21 2021

Piedmonters will get a rare at home view of the all important Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee considerations.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3:00 p.m.  by Teleconference and Zoom

Taxes, tax measures, the budget and large expenditures are funneled through the Committee.  Historically minutes and video recording have NOT been made of the Committee’s meetings.  Typically, a report has been drafted by the Chair and reviewed by the Committee after a number of meetings.  

The March 23rd agenda includes the Municipal Pool, PERS pension project costs, and the annual budget actuals.

Stay up to date:

  • Call to Order Public Forum This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda. The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Committee.

Regular Agenda

  • 1. Update on FY 20-21 General Fund Revenue and Expenditures: Projected Actual vs Budget

  • 2. Presentation of Ten Year Projections of CalPERS Pension Costs

  • 3. Update on Piedmont Community Pool Project and Bond Oversight Committee

Read Agenda and Participation >2021-03-23 Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

 To maximize public safety while still maintaining transparency and public access, members of the public can participate in the meeting in several ways:  Computer or smart phone: Click https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89251231925  Telephone: Dial (669) 900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 892-5123-1925 To participate in the meeting by providing public comment, members of the public may use the ZOOM platform to make live, verbal public comments. To speak to the Committee click the “Raise Your Hand” button when the item on which you would like to comment is called. If you are connected to the meeting by phone, please dial *9. When it is your turn to speak, the City Clerk will call your name and unmute your line, at which point you will have three minutes to address the Committee. After the allotted time, you will then be re-muted.

Instructions of how to “Raise Your Hand” is available at https://support.zoom.us/hc/enus/articles/205566129%0D-Raise-Hand-In-Webinar

Mar 9 2021

The question of reopening the Piedmont Municipal Pool was brought up under Announcements by Councilmember Betsy Andersen at the March 1, 2021 Council meeting.  Andersen requested a report from the staff regarding the possible reopening of the closed pool.  No discussion was held on the matter. 

Mar 9 2021

The League of Women Voters of Piedmont is sponsoring its second annual essay contest open to all high school juniors and seniors who are residents of Piedmont or are currently enrolled in Piedmont High School or Millennium High School.

Prize: $500 for first place essay; prize may be split among the top two entries.

Contest Rules Content: Your essay should answer the question,

“Given the fragility of democracy as evidenced by the insurrection of January 6, 2021, how can your generation work to ensure that democracy in the United States is strengthened for future generations?”

You may, but are not required to, rely on outside sources that are properly cited within the text and in a bibliography. We do not require a specific format for your citations or bibliography, but please ensure you include enough information to allow us to readily verify your sources. Citations do not count toward your total number of words.

Please keep in mind that this essay is not solely a research paper, but should draw on your personal experiences and insights. Your essay will be judged on originality, clarity of expression, vocabulary and style, proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. Students are encouraged to have a teacher, parent or mentor review the essay prior to submission keeping in mind that all work must be the student’s own.

The essay must be 250-500 words excluding citations. Entries must be typed, double-spaced and in pdf format. Please include the following information at the top of your essay or on a separate cover page: : Your essay should answer the question, “Given the fragility of democracy as evidenced by the insurrection of January 6, 2021, how can your generation work to ensure that democracy in the United States is strengthened for future generations?”  See details below.

Format: The essay must be 250-500 words excluding citations. Entries must be typed, double-spaced and in pdf format. Please include the following information at the top of your essay or on a separate cover page:

• title of essay

• your first and last name

• your city of residence

• name of your school

• your current grade (junior or senior)

Submission: Please submit completed essays via email to lwvpiedmont@gmail.com.

Deadline: April 17, 2021 at 11:59pm, Pacific Standard Time.

Winner will be notified by May 1st, 2021.

Read flyer below:

ESSAY CONTEST

Dec 14 2020

City Reminds Residents to Take Down Election Campaign Signs

The City of Piedmont is reminding residents of the City’s Sign Regulations, which specify the number of signs that can be displayed, and the maximum allowable sizes for signs.

The reminder follows the extremely high level of participation in recent elections, which was exemplified by the variety and quantity of signs placed in yards throughout the city. Now that Election Day has come and gone, the City would like to raise awareness of Piedmont’s limitations on sign displays. The intent is to ensure that all residents are aware of and comply with the City’s sign regulations now that the campaign season has come to a close.

The City regulates all signs on residential properties. In compliance with court decisions, these rules do not regulate signs on the basis of content. The full text of the sign regulations is in City Code Division 17.36.  The current effort is mainly concerned with signs posted in yards, in windows, and on walls of residential properties. The rules regarding such signs are found in City Code section 17.36.040 and summarized below.

No person may display a sign on a residential parcel unless the sign conforms to the following requirements:

Temporary freestanding noncommercial signs:
Number:  Maximum of 2
Size:  Maximum of 4 square feet per sign
Height:  Maximum (including frame) is 4 feet
Location:  Street yard of a residential parcel, but not in the public right-of-way
Lighting:  No illumination

Noncommercial window signs:
Number:  Maximum of 2
Size:  Maximum of 4 square feet per sign
Location:  Street yard-facing windows

Campaign Signs:
Residents have the right to post campaign signs on their property. Campaign signs placed on residential parcels shall comply with the same size, height, location, and lighting restrictions applicable to noncommercial signs placed on residential parcels. Any person who posts a campaign sign on private property shall remove the campaign sign within ten days after the day of the election to which it pertains.

A Noncommercial sign means a sign that does not contain a commercial message.

Piedmonters take pride in our community and this awareness drive is meant to gain voluntary compliance with the City’s sign regulations as part of that community spirit. Community members with questions are welcome to contact Planning & Building Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov or (510) 420-3050.

Dec 11 2020

– Remarks to the Community following the 12/7/2020 swearing-in of new Councilmember Conna McCarthy –
 

-I am delighted to be with all of you tonight. I am fortunate for the opportunity to thank those who helped me get here: Starting with my husband Peter Craigie who steered me into buying our first home in Piedmont 32 years ago. Thank you to our 3 amazing adult children, Kieran, Cormac, and Kathlyn, all PHS grads. Dad and I are so proud of the challenges you undertake and your service to country and community.  I am particularly grateful to each one of you for taking a leadership role in my campaign.

-Thank you to my San Francisco McCarthy Family: My mom, Jackie McCarthy. My brother Niall, my brother Adam, my sister Sharon and their spouses Yvonne, Heather and Dale and my 11 very charming nieces and nephews.

-Most importantly I am forever appreciative for being raised by Leo T. McCarthy who taught me and my siblings the value of public service.  He was a profound example of ethical leadership. He counseled each of us to use our knowledge, power, privilege, and voice to create a better community and tonight I am very proud to stand in his reflection.

-Thank you to my Campaign Team: Photographer Lauren Remer, Sean Wong who designed my signs and media materials, Campaign Administrator Wendy Szczech, Advisors Chad Olcott and our beloved, wise Cameron Wolfe, my Campaign Manager Andrea Swenson who just completed 8 years of service on Piedmont School Board. Thank you for always picking up when I call. Thank you Data Manager Sharon Hom. You make a complicated task easy. And once again, a shout out to my brothers Niall and Adam who made sure I achieved fundraising goals.

Thank you to the Endorsers and Advisors who support my leadership and continue to encourage me: former Mayor Bob McBain, newly elected Mayor Teddy Gray King, Councilmembers Tim Rood and Betsy Andersen.  Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh and I will have some catching up to do as we were both candidates in this election cycle.  I look forward to continuing collaboration with School Board members Amal Smith, Cory Smegal, Veronica Anderson-Thigpen, and Hilary Cooper.   We know that with women at the table, everyone gets fed.

I wear white tonight in deference to the 100 year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. As I am with you tonight in the role of Councilwoman, I am particularly grateful to those Piedmont women, who early on served in elected office sometimes as the only female member of a decision-making body. Sue Smegal, Ann Trutner, Stephi Moers, Valerie Matzger, Susan Hill, Tam Hege to name a few. The women elected today stand on your shoulders.

Thank you to the folks at City Hall who work every day to make sure Piedmont is a wonderful place to live.

Thank you City Administrator Sara Lillevand –  We first worked together  when I joined the Recreation Commission and Sara was Recreation Director. And now I am delighted to be joining Sara’s leadership at City Hall. Sara is the glue that holds all the pieces together. A few months into her job as City Administrator , the pandemic hit. Sara put on a second hat as Director of Emergency Services. All Piedmonters benefit from her thoroughness, patience and adaptability.

Thank you to Asst City Administrator John Tulloch.

John knows the devil is in the details. And while he is patient explaining rules and regulations, he sets a high standard for accountability. He is highly ethical and fair. Most importantly he is eager to help others succeed.

Thank you to Recreation Director Chelle Putzer and her team, Erin Rivera, Jackson Stearns, Steven Chavarria and Cora Woods. As a Recreation Commissioner I saw first-hand the incredible talent in our Recreation Department. Chelle was on the job for 3 months when the pandemic hit. She deserves widespread applause for her ability to lead a team that is consistently able to pivot with fresh starts and with creativity to meet the needs of all Piedmonters.

When I decided to run for City Council I reached out to every Department Head. Without fail, each director responded offering to make themselves available to answer questions, or add background or context or shed light on topics of concern to Piedmont voters.

-Finance Director Mike Szczech – Thank You for your humor and intellect.

-We will all miss Chester Nakahara as Director of Public Works, but I am appreciative that Parks and Project manager, Nancy Kent remains a source of continuity.

-Police Chief Jeremy Bowers is a special treasure amid a social re-awakening demanding equity and justice in Police Departments throughout the nation. Kudos to the search team who brought Jeremy to Piedmont. His leadership is gift to all of us.

-Thank you to Planning Director Kevin Jackson. There are several hot topics in your court. I look forward to working with you and your team.

-Welcome Interim Fire Chief Michael Despain, let’s work together to find the next  Piedmont Fire Chief.

-Thank you to the Voters of Piedmont

We will build an aquatics facility.

We will plan and prepare and be ready for opportunities to improve existing infrastructure.

We will remain resolute in our pledge as City leaders to embrace differing backgrounds, lived experiences, and beliefs, and look for opportunities to express our shared values for diversity, and inclusivity.

Piedmonters, continue to support your elected council members by sharing your ideas, and volunteering your talents. Ask questions. Challenge us to be better and join us in doing better.

But right now, as the pandemic has suspended our lives,  take care of each other. Look out for your neighbors. Practice patience and forgiveness. Each of us is bearing a burden that pushes us to find new levels of resiliency.

Stay Safe. Stay healthy. Know that your Piedmont leadership is looking out for you.

Thank you.

Councilmember Conna McCarthy

Dec 8 2020

Piedmont Council Chooses Mayor Teddy Gray King, Divides Term of Vice Mayor

Discussion on the City Council Resulted in a Split Decision 

The election of the Mayor by the City Council had proceeded routinely on Monday, December 7, with a 4 – 0 (Rood briefly absent) vote for Teddy Gray King, but then the meeting strayed into unfamiliar territory. 

Mayor King suggested deferring the selection of a Vice Mayor to the next meeting to allow the presence of Council member Tim Rood, who had informed King he wanted to be present for the discussion and regretted his temporary absence for business matters. 

Discussion led to moving ahead with the selection of the Vice Mayor and Council member Jennifer Cavenaugh was nominated to be Vice Mayor by Council member Betsy Smegal Andersen and seconded by Cavenaugh herself.  Then Mayor King nominated Council member Tim Rood to be Vice Mayor, seconded by Council member Conna McCarthy. 

Cavenaugh believed in a “tradition” of allowing the candidate with the highest number of votes and most tenure to be selected to become the Vice Mayor with the Vice Mayor rotating upward to become the Mayor two years later.  Andersen argued that a long held tradition should be adhered to until the Council considered a different tradition.

King and McCarthy supported Rood as Vice Mayor, with McCarthy pointing out Rood would be the first openly LGBTQ Vice Mayor.  King emphasized that she and Rood had essentially been tied for top votes and thought Rood should become the next Vice Mayor, and he had told her he wanted the position.  McCarthy noted that Piedmont voters were never informed that their votes would indicate the next Mayor or Vice Mayor.

Assistant City Administrator John Tulloch stated the more recent selection “tradition” had been started in the mid-eighties.  Previously, Mayors and Vice Mayors were selected on a different basis.

With two Council members nominated for Vice Mayor,  City Attorney Michelle Kenyon informed the Council that the first nominee, Cavenaugh, had to be voted upon first.  If her nomination failed the next nominee would be voted upon. After additional Council discussion, the Cavenaugh nomination failed, being supported by only two Council members, Cavenaugh, herself and Andersen.

More discussion was held and a vote was taken on the Rood nomination, which also failed to achieve 3 votes, with only King and McCarthy supporting the nomination. Rood remained absent.

Council member Andersen offered a compromise motion to make Rood Vice Mayor for one year and Cavenaugh Vice Mayor for the second year.  This motion was approved by Andersen, King and McCarthy with Cavenaugh voting no and Rood absent.

The tradition of who is mayor and vice mayor has changed over the decades.  An older “tradition” held that the Mayor dropped back to become the Vice Mayor.

The City Charter does not prescribe how the Council shall select the Mayor and Vice Mayor.   The Council may attempt to solidify an actual policy in the future.  Some considerations are: tenure, number of election votes, length of Mayor and Vice Mayor terms, rotating the Mayor to become Vice Mayor, qualifications, dedication, involvement, etc.

The Mayor and Vice Mayor serve at the pleasure of the Council and after setting the matter on an agenda, the Council can change their selections.

Editors Note: PCA welcomes newly elected Mayor Teddy King and  alternating Tim Rood and Jen Cavenaugh as Vice Mayors.  The positions are voluntary with no compensation.  Piedmont is fortunate to have well educated and caring individuals to serve our city.

Dec 4 2020

– The Results of the City Election will be Certified by the City Council on Monday, Dec. 7, at 5:00 p.m. –

Elected to the Piedmont City Council:

Jennifer Cavenaugh to begin a second 4 year term.

Conna McCarthy to begin a first 4 year term.

~~~~~

Elected to the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Trustees:

Cory Smegal to begin a second 4 year term..

Veronica Anderson-Thigpen to begin a first 4 year term,

Hilary Cooper to begin a first 4 year term.

~~~~

Measure UU – Pool Bonds were voter approved by 68 %. 

Measure TT – Real Property Transfer Tax was defeated by voters – 52% No to 48% Yes.

Click below for detailed official results and stats –

Certification of Election Results for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020_

The Piedmont City Charter states:

“(D) ELECTION. The regular election of Councilmembers shall be held at the General Municipal Election as provided for in Section 8.01 of this Charter. The terms of elected Councilmembers shall begin upon certification of the election results by the City Council. They shall hold office for four (4) years. Elections shall be alternately for two (2) and three (3) Councilmembers, excluding elections to fill an unexpired term of office. (Charter Amendment 11/4/2014)”  Piedmont City Charter

Gratitude for outgoing Mayor Bob McBain will be acknowledged.   McBain has served on the City Council for 8 plus years.

Next Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Piedmont:

“SECTION 2.08 MAYOR Following each general municipal election, the City Council shall elect from among its member officers of the City who shall have the titles of Mayor and Vice-Mayor, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the Council. The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council, shall be recognized as head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes and by the Governor for the purposes of military law, but shall have no administrative duties. The Vice-Mayor shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the Mayor. In case of the temporary absence or disability of both the Mayor and Vice-Mayor, the Council shall select one of its members to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.”

Council members are listed below in order of seniority on the council and votes garnered in their elections:

Teddy Gray King   –  6 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Tim Rood –  6 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Jennifer Cavenaugh – 4 years on the Council – term ends 2024

Betsy Smegal Andersen – approximately 3 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Conna McCarthy – newly elected to the Council – term ends 2024

Piedmont Mayors and Vice-Mayors are chosen by 3 or more Council members.  The Mayor and Vice-Mayor serve at the pleasure of the City Council.

SCHOOL BOARD 

School Board: The December meeting of the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education has been changed to Tuesday, December 15th in order to swear-in newly elected school board members in compliance with Assembly Bill (AB) 2449. AB 2449 (2018) changed the seating date for newly elected school district and county board of education members to the second Friday in December following their election.  Regular Open Session will begin at 7:00 PM.

Retiring School Board members Sarah Pearson and Andrea Swenson will have each completed 8 plus years of service on the Board.

To watch and participate in the meeting see instructions at the top of the 12/7/2020 agenda or click on the Zoom link – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83694657877:

1272020council-current-agenda

Nov 17 2020

November 16, 2020 on a first reading, the Piedmont City Council split their votes on extending a $1 per year lease for seven more years to a private organization, Piedmont Center for the Arts, of Piedmont’s property at 801 Magnolia Avenue. 

For several hours more than a dozen speakers testified for and against the proposed lease extension of the 801 Magnolia building. The current $1 per year lease will expire in June 2021. 

Mayor Bob McBain, whose term on the Council is ending and who sets the agenda, noted he had promised the Arts Board and others, he would have a vote on the lease extension of the Piedmont Center for the Arts.  McBain acknowledged he and City Administrator Sara Lillevand had been meeting with the Art Center Board for months and in August he had informed others, including Lillevand, there were 3 votes on the City Council in favor of the lease extension.

With no publicity or public notice by the City, the matter was addressed favorably primarily by the Board of the Art Center. Other speakers concerned about the lease noted the lack of public input and need for alternatives to the problematic proposed lease.

All speakers supported use of the facilities for the arts while offering suggestions to protect the City’s interests and increase community involvement.

At the close of the public hearing and Council discussion,  Mayor Bob McBain preempted the other Council members and made a motion to approve the lease extension.  Vice Mayor Teddy King seconded his motion.  Council member Betsy Andersen, who was the 3rd Yes vote, asked that the term of the lease be changed from 10 years to 7 years.

Council member Jen Cavenaugh made a substitute motion seconded by Council member Tim Rood to table the matter in order to allow additional information based on questions and concerns plus more time for public input prior to approving the first reading of the proposed long-term lease of the property.  McBain, Andersen, and King voted against the motion, and it failed.

McBain and King’s motion was approved by Andersen, McBain and King gaining a first reading to extend the lease for 7 years. Rood and Cavenaugh voted no.

The matter will return in December, or later, to the Council after a new Council is seated in December.   McBain will have be termed out of office and his seat will be filled by Conna McCarthy on December 7, 2020.  Council member Jen Cavenaugh reelected to a second term on the Council will serve for another 4 years.  Council members, King, Rood, and Andersen will remain on the Council for two more years.

Some issues raised and not resolved prior to the Council approving the first reading of the lease were:

  • Why wasn’t the lease extension publicized in local media to gather public input?
  • How much more would it cost the City to operate the Center?
  • What is the financial condition of the Art Center, Inc.?
  • Who controls how the property can be used?
  • What is the value to the City of the property?
  •  Why are Art Center Board minutes and financial information not provided to the city regarding income and users?
  • Why are arts groups and other community organizations turned away in preference for commercial business activities?
  • How can revenue from the Center foster arts in the community?
  • The City recently stated it needed more money on two recent ballot measures. Why is the Art Center revenue stream of hundreds of thousands of dollars not considered a desired revenue source?
  • What is the status of the IRS 501C3 qualification given recent information on the Art Center?
  • Why are there terms in the lease that do not favor the taxpayers and City of Piedmont?
  • What information is available on cost-effective use of the building?
  • How can a private organization lease public property and then sublease to a commercial entity?
  • Why is the Arts Board allowed exclusionary control of the property and not include all segments of the community?
  • Why isn’t the building fully utilized?
  • Can conflicts  between commercial uses, recreation classes and art shows be resolved?
  • What are the CEQA issues raised by a resident who received short notice?
  • Will the new high school theater offer superior performance space?
  • Have parking demands been considered?
  • Where is the sub-tenant commercial lease?

Those satisfied with the lease extension spoke to:

  • Prior improvements made to the building.
  • Successful programs of music and art for Piedmont and the wider community.
  • Continuing benefit to the City at little cost.
  • Grandfathering the commercial newspaper sub-tenant lease
  • Expanding programs
  • Use by top artists
  • Volunteer commendation for a successful operation.

The Lease Extension approved by 3 council members is linked below:

Art Center Introduction and 1st Reading of Ord. 758 N.S. – Approving a Lease Agreement with Piedmont Center for the Arts for City Property at 801 Magnolia Avenue

Nov 12 2020

A controversial item has been placed on the November 16, 2020 Council Agenda…the lease of City property at 801 Magnolia Avenue, the Art Center.  Agenda here.

The Council composition is soon to change based on the recent election of Conna McCarthy to replace Bob McBain on the City Council. Given the lease terms and controversy, questions have been raised regarding the need to act prior to the seating of the new Council, which will occur within days in early December 2020. The current Art Center lease does not end until June 2021.

With over six months left on the lease, a citizen asked, “What is the rush?”  Others have called for a widely publicized community evaluation of the use of the City property, since one has never been undertaken.

Adding to the controversy, a proposed fee schedule for 801 Magnolia Avenue would not be developed and brought back to the Council until after the new lease agreement has been approved by the Council.

The staff report estimates the office space “market rate” rental at $50 per foot, by comparing it with the Veterans Hall office rental rate of $36 per square foot leased to the Piedmont Education Foundation, the  local non-profit organization benefiting Piedmont schools. The reason to compare a rental rate for commercial entities with the rental rate charged to a local non-profit is questioned.

Commercial rental space in Piedmont is at a  premium because of location and scarcity.  Plus, the City property at 801 Magnolia Avenue includes two much-sought-after parking spaces.

A number of citizens would like the fee structure to be a part of the lease discussion, prior to approval of any lease.  It has been proposed that the Recreation Department manage all use of the space to assure appropriate and full use of the property. The staff proposed agreement provides for City programs and events as well as private non arts-related rentals.

The building at 801 Magnolia Avenue was purchased with taxpayer’s funds.  If income from the property were to be maximized, it has been estimated rental income from various uses could bring in over $200,000 per year.

  • Who should manage the building?
  • What purposes should the property be used?
  • What use of this city property would be most beneficial for the community?

Opinion articles have been published on this site.

https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2020/11/04/opinion-city-owned-801-magnolia-building-should-be-run-by-the-city/

Opinion: Why Rush 801 Magnolia Lease?

Citizens have suggested various uses for the property.  Some are listed below.

— a community library,

— senior center,

— Dress Best for Less, drop off site and marking room, benefits schools and Piedmont’s local recycling goals,

— counseling/ tutoring space,

— recreation programs,

— meeting site,

— rentals for weddings, book reviews, receptions, celebrations,

— performances and art shows,

— recital and amateurmusical practice space.

The staff report is linked below

.Art Center Introduction and 1st Reading of Ord. 758 N.S. – Approving a Lease Agreement with Piedmont Center for the Arts for City Property at 801 Magnolia Avenue

Nov 12 2020

– Measure UU Passed, Pool Design Is Next –

Measure UU: A call for engineering experts among our community –

We are faced with a very interesting and challenging engineering problem: designing a pool that will meet the neighborhood’s aquatic needs for the next 50 years within the constraints of the Piedmont Climate Action Plan and the State of California 2035/2050 goals.
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Very few pool design companies have the skills to analyze and optimize the complex trade-offs between the various available energy technologies and the pool size in area and water volume. Piedmont has an opportunity to innovate and show the way for other communities.
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We would like to call on the engineering skills within the members of the community to join us with the goal of making back-of-the envelope calculations on various options, based on data gathering and scientific calculations. This  would help the City Council to make decisions on how to proceed.
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You can connect to us by email: piedmont.green.pool@gmail.com or through this PCA forum.
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Indira Balkissoon, Piedmont Resident

Garrett Keating, Former member of the City Council

Bernard Pech, Piedmont Resident

Tom Webster, Piedmont Resident