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.
May 2 2022

“City Staff is asking Park Commissioners to provide feedback on the Draft 6th Cycle Piedmont Housing Element as community members and key stakeholders. The Park Commission meeting on May 4 gives the public further opportunities to learn about the Housing Element update process and to give their input and feedback.”

Numerous proposals are in the Draft Housing Element many occurring throughout Piedmont.  Density increases, removal of parking requirements, raised height limits of buildings, end to neighbor input on proposals, zoning changes, Charter change, etc.

 All proposals in the 374 page Draft Housing Element document can be read online for public comment.  See link at the end of this article.

6. Proposed Specific Plan: Page B-12, Appendix B, of the Draft Housing Element proposes to prepare a specific plan (Government Code §65450 et. seq) for the area of the Public Works Corporation Yard to accommodate new housing development, incorporate existing amenities, and modernize current city functions. The portion of the site utilized for park Page 2 of 62 and recreational uses, are intended to remain as an amenity for the proposed specific plan area, with the existing vehicle parking reconfigured, as needed.  See map on linked attachment below.

7. Blair Park: The Draft Housing Element identifies Blair Park, which is located on the south side of Moraga Avenue, as a potential alternate site for housing if the proposed specific plan for the Public Works Corporation Yard fails to yield 122 housing units (page B-13). Blair Park is 3.55 acres, with the potential for 210 units if developed at 60 units per acre.

8. Zoning Amendments: In order to meet the 6th Cycle RHNA target with Piedmont’s limited available land, the Draft Housing Element’s Goal 1, New Housing Construction, proposes to increase the allowed residential density for housing affiliated with religious institutions in Zone A (program 1.D, page (37) and increase allowed residential density in Zone B (program 1.F), Zone C (program 1.G), and Zone D (1.H).

READ the Draft Housing Element May 4 presentation to the Park Commission and Agenda, including participation information below:

> 2022-05-04 Park Agenda

Apr 24 2022

Piedmont is scheduled to adopt a new Housing Element to accommodate 587 new housing units in Piedmont.  You can play a role in deciding how! 

For development potential, some residents and City staff have suggested,  amongst other areas, the area around the City Corporation Yard on Moraga Avenue.  Undeveloped areas are unlikely to provide housing space for 587 new housing units leading to new units added in single family neighborhoods. 

Once the Housing Element is approved, the City will be prohibited by law from informing neighbors of certain proposed projects, potentially turning garages into housing, subdividing properties, adding new housing units on existing properties, restructuring existing homes as apartment buildings, etc. .

The Housing Element is important to all areas of Piedmont, for after parameters and requirements for housing are approved in the new Housing Element, “ministerial” permits are to be issued by the City Planning Department for all conforming proposals without neighborhood notification or input. 

The Piedmont Planning staff, along with outside consultants, have devised the new DRAFT Housing Element.  Attempts have been made by the City to involve Piedmont residents in the process.  The result is a 374 page DRAFT Housing Element document outlining conditions for approval of housing units. 

Go to the end of this article to learn how you can voice your preferences and read the DRAFT Housing Element.

TIME FOR WRITTEN INPUT TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION IS  ENDING ON MAY 5, 2022.

If you are not able or need assistance with submitting your ideas to the City, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch at 510-420-3040 or Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald at 510-420-3050.

  The Piedmont City Council has planned a limited comment period based on an earlier State deadline for submittal of Piedmont’s new Housing Element. 

State Housing Element Update Timeline was Extended to May 2023 due to a recent state law requiring additional review and longer comment periods.

  • April 8, 2022: Publication of the Draft Housing Element > Draft Piedmont 6th Cycle Housing Element.  (374 pages)

  • May 12, 2022: Special Planning Commission public hearing, starting at 5:30 pm to discuss and consider the Draft Housing Element. Approximately one month comment period.
  • June 2022: City Council public hearing. Approximately one month comment period.
  • May 2023: NEW 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! 

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Special Planning Commission Meeting – May 12, 2022 – City News Release Below
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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 to the City Council 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. The Planning Commission agenda will be published on the City website and posted by May 9, 2022.
Cover of Draft Housing Element
The 374-page Draft Housing Element, shown above, includes policies to increase housing access and affordability in Piedmont.
Places to Find Draft Housing Element Online
Purple arrows identify the locations of the links to the Draft Housing Element on the homepages of the City website and Piedmontishome.org
Win $50 Gift Card To Ace Hardware!
Piedmont Puzzle Welcome Page
The web-based Piedmont Housing Puzzle supports the development of the next Housing Element by giving you the tools to imagine sites for 587 new housing units in Piedmont. Links to the Puzzle are posted here:
Over 300 Piedmont community members have already visited the Piedmont Housing Puzzle or submitted their housing plans and comments. We would like to reach more!
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Please share the City’s Facebook page at the link above, or share the link to the Piedmont Puzzle on social media or via email. People are 100 times more likely to follow a link online if it is recommended by someone they know.
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There are only 10 days left to provide comments about new housing sites through the Piedmont Housing Puzzle. The Puzzle ends Sunday, May 1, 2022.
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Win a $50 gift card to Grand Lake Ace Hardware by submitting your housing plan, email, and comments in the Piedmont Housing Puzzle. Click below to start!

How to Read and Review the Draft Housing Element

The Draft Housing Element enables construction to occur, but does not force property owners to build or otherwise change the ways that they use their property. [Notification to neighbors of certain proposals is prohibited by State law.] The organization of the Draft Housing Element begins with an executive summary and then the following four sections:
  • Introduction
  • Projected Housing Need
  • Housing Resources
  • Housing Plan: Goals, Policies, and Programs
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There are six technical appendices that provide analysis of housing law, demographics, constraints, and other issues in greater detail, including Appendix F, an analysis of compliance with AB 686 and goals to affirmatively further fair housing in Piedmont.
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Community members (everyone that lives, works, attends school, or cares about housing in Piedmont) are encouraged to review the Draft Housing Element and provide comments to City decision-makers. Comments can be made using any of the following methods:
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-Use the Share Your Voice tool on the homepage at: https://Piedmontishome.org *
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-Use the Piedmont Housing Puzzle at: https://Piedmont.abalancingact.com/housingsim
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-Mail to: Draft Housing Element, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611*
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-Attend a public meeting: Planning Commission is May 12, 2022, starting at 5:30 pm. City Council is tentatively scheduled for June 2022.
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*Comments received by May 5, 2022, will be forwarded to the Planning Commission the weekend before the first public hearing.

 This is a City website.

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.
Get this Update email right in your inbox! Share with friends, family and neighbors!
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This is a City website.

Apr 22 2022

PUSD Names Sukanya Goswami New Piedmont High School Principal (Piedmont, Ca., April 22, 2022) – The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) is excited to announce Sukanya Goswami as the new principal of Piedmont High School, replacing the retiring Adam Littlefield.

Currently serving as Assistant Principal at Miramonte High School in Orinda, Ms. Goswami brings 20 years of experience in secondary education to PUSD – four as a site administrator, one in a District leadership position, and 15 as a high school English Teacher.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join PUSD as principal of Piedmont High School,” Goswami said. “The school and District have a tremendous reputation and the Piedmont community as a whole is well-known for its unwavering support of students and education. I look forward to becoming a part of Piedmont and building on the great work being done in and out of the classroom.”

“Ms. Goswami demonstrated throughout the interview process that she has the skills, intellect, experience, and convictions to meet the demands of this position, as well as an ability to build a community to face whatever challenges lie ahead for PHS,” added PUSD Superintendent, Randall Booker. “We came away feeling she has a strong understanding of what it means to lead in an academically high-performing environment, and is eager to work with teachers and staff to build high expectations and a culture where people want to take part.”

Born and raised in India, Ms. Goswami taught English at the middle and high school level in India and France before moving to the United States in 1998. She worked in the private sector until 2004, when she was hired as an English Teacher at Granada High School in Livermore, working there for one school year before moving on to Newark Memorial High School where she remained for 14 years – serving five years as the school’s English Department Chair and three years as Professional Learning Community (PLC) Coordinator.

In 2018, Ms. Goswami moved into an administrative role as Vice Principal of Westmoor High School in Daly City, where she spent three years before moving into her current position at Miramonte High School.

Both as an educator and as a leader, Ms. Goswami says her educational philosophy is based on creating opportunities for students and staff. “As an educator, my goal has been to remove barriers to create equitable opportunities for all students and to create a culture that benefits all aspects of student growth – behavior, academic and socioemotional. As a leader, I strive to motivate educators to learn from one another, both at the site and in external professional learning opportunities.”

Ms. Goswami resides in Fremont with her husband and two sons.

Pending Board approval on April 27, she will assume her new position at Piedmont High School on July 1, 2022.

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Click below to read the interview process:

Piedmont High School Principal Interview Process > PHS Interview 2022

Apr 21 2022

“The Piedmont Unified School District is inviting Piedmonters to tour the new STEAM building and Performing Arts Center Saturday April 30, from 1:00-4:00.

“The 20 minute tours will start in front of the STEAM building and end in the lobby of the theater. Residents will have an opportunity to see new classrooms, science labs, music rooms and performance spaces. They’ll be led by members of the Facilities Steering Committee who advised the district before and during construction and members of The Piedmont Education Foundation.

“Attached is a link to sign up for slots in one of the 5 time slots.”

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904084FA8AE2FA4F85-tour

Apr 13 2022

Admissions time in Piedmont comes as schools face further declines, forcing school closures in some Bay Area cities.

“The [California] 1.8% enrollment decline, on top of the 2.6% record drop in 2020-21, is a combined loss of 271,000 students since Covid struck in spring 2020. Enrollment as of Census Day, always the first Wednesday of October, was 5.89 million students this year; five years ago, it was 6.23 million.”  Ed Source, April 11, 2022

Read more here

Apr 13 2022

PIEDMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ADMISSION

Age of Admission to Kindergarten and First Grade

Proof of age shall be required of all enrolling students.

At the beginning of each school year, the Superintendent or designee shall enroll any otherwise eligible child into Kindergarten only if they will have their fifth birthday on or before September 1 of that year and into First Grade only if they will have their 6th birthday on or before September of that year. (Education Code 4800048010)

Any child who will have his/her fifth birthday from September 2 through December 2 of the school year shall be offered a transitional kindergarten (TK) program in accordance with law and Board policy. (Education Code 48000)

(cf. 5123 – Promotion/Acceleration/Retention)

(cf. 6170.1 – Transitional Kindergarten)

On a case-by-case basis, a child who will turn five years old in a given school year may be enrolled in kindergarten at any time during that school year with the approval of the child’s parent/guardian, provided that: (Education Code 48000)

  1. The Governing Board determines that the admittance is in the best interests of the child.
  2. The parent/guardian is given information regarding the advantages and disadvantages and any other explanatory information about the effect of this early admittance.

(cf. 5145.6 – Parental Notifications)

The Superintendent or designee shall make a recommendation to the Board regarding whether a child should be granted early entry to kindergarten. In doing so, the Superintendent or designee shall consider various factors including the availability of classroom space and any negotiated maximum class size.

(cf. 6151 – Class Size)

(cf. 7111 – Evaluating Existing Buildings)

Documentation of Age/Grade

Prior to the admission of a child to kindergarten or first grade, the parent/guardian shall present proof of the child’s age. (Education Code 48002)

Evidence of the child’s age may include: (Education Code 48002)

  1. A certified copy of a birth certificate or a statement by the local registrar or county recorder certifying the date of birth
  2. A duly attested baptism certificate
  3. A passport

When none of the foregoing is obtainable, the parent/guardian may provide any other appropriate means of proving the age of the child. (Education Code 48002)

Transitional Kindergarten 

Senate Bill 1381 also created a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) for all public elementary schools. Transitional Kindergarten is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program. 

Students whose 5th birthday falls between September 2nd and December 2nd are eligible for the Transitional Kindergarten Program only, with the expectation that they will participate in traditional kindergarten the following year.

CONTACT THE PIEDMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Piedmont Unified School District

Apr 13 2022

Piedmonters deserve more input and collaboration on the selection of the new high and middle school principals – 

  This year, Piedmonters have gifted over 16 million dollars to our schools–this is in addition to our property taxes.  Such support warrants much more communication from Superintendent Booker related to the hiring of the new high and middle school principals.  Almost all the information requested by parents at the March 17th Piedmont High School Parents Club meeting still has not been revealed.  Our schools are key to our city, and the principals are key to our schools. 

 Piedmonters deserve more input and collaboration on this important position.  Other school districts in California collaborate more with their citizens.

As background context please refer to Jay Russell’s reporting on Page 7 of the April 13, 2022 edition of the Piedmont Post.

Dai Meagher, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Feb 2 2022

NOMINATION PERIOD FOR 2022 ARTHUR HECHT VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD

This award is presented annually to individuals who have volunteered their efforts over a period of time and made a difference because of their involvement and commitment to Piedmont’s youth. Following are the previous recipients: Hunter McCreary (1998); Ann Chandler (1999); Ruth Cuming (2000); Lisa Lomenzo (2001); jointly by Cathie Geddeis and Marion Souyoultzis (2002); jointly by Fritz and Mary Wooster (2003); Elizabeth (Betsy) Gentry (2004); Cynthia Gorman (2005); Grier Graff (2006); Julia Burke (2007); Maude Pervere (2008); jointly to Anne-Marie Lamarche and Mark Menke (2009); Janiele Maffei Tovani (2010); Andrea Swenson (2011), June Monach (2012), Bill Drum (posthumously) and Mary Ireland (2013), Ray Perman (2014), Jennifer Fox (2015), Katie Korotzer (2016), Hilary Cooper (2017) Holly Hanke (2018), Cathy Glazier (2019), Sue Smegal (2020), and Ken Li (2021).

Art Hecht was a tireless community volunteer, and was dedicated to students in both Piedmont and Oakland. He served on Piedmont’s Board of Education from 1970 to 1982. Art also was very active with the Piedmont Continuation High School (now called Millennium High School). In 1998, the Art Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award was established in his memory.

Nominations for this award are now being sought and will be kept strictly confidential. The deadline for nominations is 4:30 p.m. on March 18, 2022. A selection committee will vote on the award recipient, who will be recognized at the May 11, 2022 Board of Education meeting, where the honoree’s good works will be acknowledged. They also will receive the gift of a work of student art. The student will receive a monetary award and commendation from the Board.

Nomination Forms are available on the PUSD website, in the District Office or by calling Sylvia Flores Eggert, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, at (510) 594- 2614.

Art Hecht press release for 2022

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