Nov 14 2017

On November 6, 2017, I attended a City Council Meeting which addressed the third quarter reports of the Piedmont Police Department and the authorization of limited obligation bonds linked to Undergrounding Assessment Districts. New technologies utilized by the Police Department were also discussed.

The meeting began after the Council recited the pledge of allegiance, which is a custom at the beginning of every meeting. Before Chief of Police, Jeremy Bowers, was called to present his report, the City Clerk called for any persons to address a matter not present on the Agenda.

I went to the podium and discussed my gratifications towards the recent developments and improvements to Hampton Park. I expressed that the changes were a great benefit to the City and that it was nice to see brand new turf and foundations. The Council members seemed very pleased with my remarks, giving me happy nods and cheerful smiles.

After my address, the City Clerk called Roy Connors to the podium. Roy expressed his deep feelings about the benefits of constructing telephone lines throughout the area. Roy went on to say that, “I believe that the construction of these lines would greatly improve cell reception and provide reliable phone connections to areas of Piedmont.” The Council members unanimously nodded there heads in agreement and Roy stepped off the podium.

Lastly, a man approached the podium and discussed the recent implications of the disastrous Napa fires and how Piedmont residents should prepare for an event like this. He proposed to the Council the benefits that would be included with fire insurance being provided to residences. The Council agreed that further steps should be taken in order to prepare for a situation like the Napa fires.

After the clerk called for any last comments, the Chief of Police gave his address on the 3rd Quarter crime rates.  Chief Bowers began his address by stating that crime rates have dropped by 15% compared to this time last year. He cited that there were 176 reported crimes last year compared to the 146 crimes reported this year. The Council commended this statistic and he continued by saying that “Robberies have declined from 11 to only 1,” which met with even more praise. Chief Bowers attributed these downward trends to technology, officer awareness, and citizen reports.

Chief Bowers went on to explain how new technologies such as camera’s were providing the identification of wanted criminals. He described a situation which involved the brandishing of a firearm as a means of road rage. The suspect was later identified after he was reported, thanks to the use of high optic cameras installed at the intersection where the scene occurred.

After Chief Bower’s debrief on crime statistics, he delved into the topics of underage drinking and smoking. Bower’s emphasized that the Piedmont Police were not serving to punish kids, but were merely attempting to protect them from the harm that ensues from drinking and smoking. He went on to explain the repercussions of marijuana use and how the police department is cracking down on kids smoking in Piedmont Park.

Underage drinking was also briefly discussed.  Bowers stated, “Recently two girls had to be transported to a hospital for acute alcohol poisoning. The Police Force cares about the short term and long term effects of these kids’ health.” This statement prompted Council member Jen Cavenaugh to commend Chief Bowers on all he was doing to suppress the problems of underage drinking and smoking.

Once Chief Bowers had concluded his report, the City Clerk asked the Council members if they had any questions they wished to discuss. Council member Tim Rood, appreciated the recent decline of car collisions, which has decreased by 20% since last year.

Mayor Robert McBain noted the issue of car thefts stating that, “It is important that we reduce the thefts involving cars.” The Mayor suggested that people should hide any valuables in their cars. McBain concluded his remarks by re-affirming to the public that, “The Piedmont Police are here to help us and protect us.”

I believe that Chief Bowers is doing a tremendous job of reducing the criminal activity in Piedmont and also spreading awareness about the dangers of drinking and smoking. These changes will ultimately benefit Piedmont and new technologies will also contribute even more to a decrease in crime rates. Regarding Bower’s address on kids health, I believe that it was very powerful for him to say that the Piedmont Police Department truly cares for every single Piedmont Unified School District kid. The Police only seeks to enlighten us on the dangers of underage drinking and smoking and are not here to incarcerate any teenagers.

At the end of the meeting, I interviewed a local resident of Piedmont, Lisa Gros. Mrs. Gros attended the meeting with her son who was a Boy Scout, as he was required to attend a City Council meeting. She was intrigued about the topics of drinking and drug awareness and seemed optimistic that her son would never partake in such activities.

I then asked Mrs. Gros how she would take action on the issues of underage drinking and smoking to which she replied, “I will be a role model for my kid and give him the right guidance when the time is right, but for right now I just hope that being openly against underage drinking will be enough to dissuade these kids from partaking in these detrimental activities.”

The City Council meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday’s of every month to address community issues and to hear community input from local residents and officials.

By Kevin Mead, Piedmont High School Senior

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I attended a Piedmont City Council meeting at the Piedmont City Hall on November 6, 2017. The main topic on the agenda at the November 6 meeting included the Police Quarterly report presented by Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers. The Police Quarterly Report dominated the majority of the meeting as recent crime reports and specific criminal incidents in general were addressed.

Bowers said that the crime rate is continuing to decrease in the past two years. Bowers also was concerned with recent incidents of mail being stolen from citizens, and suggested that citizens should shred old mail.

A big issue was the recent incidents regarding parties in Piedmont where two girls were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. Police intend to be vigilant for parties and be on the lookout for alcohol consumption among teenagers simply in concern of their long term health.

Councilwoman Jen Cavenaugh asked Bowers if the Police Department tracks who hosts these private parties. Bowers responded by saying that the police do take note of that yet try to educate residents about the City of Piedmont ordinances regarding parties.

Another topic in the police report was the policy on marijuana use by young people. Bowers spoke of two officers from the Piedmont Police who went to Colorado to study how the legalization of marijuana has affected the state, and how it will work in California when it is legalized.  Bowers said the Police Department wants to educate young people on the effects of  marijuana use as opposed to taking a strictly punitive approach.

Councilwoman Cavenaugh asked if the police would still enforce the laws and punish young people caught with marijuana, and Bowers responded by saying that they would while emphasizing education and would also increase police controls in the Piedmont Park as that is an area where marijuana use is prevalent.

I appreciate this approach by Bowers as it is important for people to know what they are doing wrong and why it is harmful as opposed to being locked up without learning more about the crime they committed.

After the meeting concluded, I interviewed Bryan Gros, who attended the meeting with his son who is a Boy Scout and must attend a City Council meeting in order to earn his communication merit badge. Gros went there to support his son and he “learned a lot about the Piedmont Police Department.” In terms of his reaction to the police report, Gros said he “appreciated the way that the Police Chief thinks the best way to handle issues is in the community.”

At the beginning of the meeting, there was an opportunity for citizens to speak to the Council regarding any issue. I spoke about the recent protests in front of City Hall regarding the installation of new cell phone towers throughout the City. I said that the cell phone towers were necessary because the service in areas such as Hampton Field is quite bad and is inconvenient and could pose as a safety risk if someone needs to make an emergency call but cannot due to poor service. I also said that cell phone towers themselves do not cause harm to anyone and the protestors are misinformed on the effects of the towers.

The Piedmont City Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The Piedmont City Council addresses issues of public safety and budget issues for the City including various aspects of the City. including the Police and Fire Departments.

by Roy Connors, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors. 
Oct 23 2017

At the October 25 School Board meeting, consideration will be given to refinancing the Piedmont School Bonds.  The link to the information is HERE.

Read the agenda ITEM VII C  information HERE.

Oct 3 2017

“Betsy” Smegal Andersen grew up in Piedmont and attended Piedmont schools.   Betsy followed her mother, Sue Smegal,  in becoming active in Piedmont community issues. Her mother, served on the Piedmont School Board and is well known for civic participation.  Sister-in-law, Cory Smegal is the newest member of the Piedmont School Board.

Image result for Elizabeth Smegal Andersen

After graduating from Piedmont High School, Betsy attended Duke University and went on to UCLA School of Law.  She practices law in San Francisco.  Read about her law practice HERE.

Betsy and her husband, Robert, have two children in the Piedmont schools.

With Betsy’s appointment to the unexpired term of former councilmember Jeff Wieler, the Council will add a third woman to the five member Council.  Betsy’s long time involvement in Piedmont governmental processes and public policy decision-making will add another experienced member to the Piedmont City Council.

_____________________

City Press Release: At a special meeting held on October 2, 2017, Elizabeth Smegal Andersen was unanimously appointed to fill a vacancy on the Piedmont City Council.

After conducting interviews with twelve candidates, the Council chose Ms. Andersen to fill a term that will end when the results of the General Municipal Election of November 6, 2018 are certified, which likely will take place at the first Council meeting in December, 2018.

Prior to her appointment, Councilmember Andersen served on the Recreation Commission, beginning in 2014 and was the body’s Chair from 2016 until she was appointed to the Council. She has been an active volunteer for many years, also having served on the Aquatics Steering Committee and Public Safety Committee as well as several other community organizations, including the League of Women Voters and Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization, among others.

The vacancy on the Council was created by the resignation of Councilmember Jeffrey Wieler on September 5, 2017.

Sep 19 2017

A SPECIAL MEETING of the Piedmont Piedmont Unified School District Board has been called. The name of the individual under consideration for Discipline/Dismissal/Release has been withheld, as allowed by law.  Action taken by the School Board is to be publicly released following the Closed Session.  

Piedmont City Unified School District September 20, 2017 6:00PM
Piedmont Unified School District –
 760 Magnolia Avenue, Board Conference Room Closed Session: 6:00 p.m.

Agenda:

III. ADJOURN TO CLOSED SESSION

Quick Summary / Abstract:
Members of the public may speak to any Closed Session item on the agenda. The Board President may limit speaker time.
III.A. Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release pursuant to Government Code 54957 
IV. REPORT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION 
V. ADJOURNMENT

Time Certain:
7:00 PM
Aug 15 2017

Piedmont students went back to school on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.

To view the Piedmont Unified School District Instructional Calendar for the 2017 – 2018 school year, click > HERE.

Jun 24 2017

Get Ready for Fun!

Breakfast  8 – 10:30 a.m.

Parade 11 a.m.  ——

Join your friends and neighbors for a hearty breakfast before the parade begins!

The traditional Piedmont Pancake Breakfast will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Veterans’ Hall at the corner of Highland and Vista Avenues.  The cost is $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for youths.

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The City of Piedmont will celebrate its annual Independence Day Parade on Tuesday, July 4, starting at 11 a.m. at the corner of Highland Avenue and Park Way.

The community is invited to participate at no cost with neighborhood floats and entries from various community organizations.  The Piedmont parade is unique for the appearance of several bagpipe bands in keeping with the city’s Scottish traditions, and with a rich array of dozens of antique and classic cars.

This year’s Grand Marshals leading the parade are Piedmont Center for the Arts Founders, Nancy and Tom Lehrkind.

The parade route is less than eight blocks long, ending at Piedmont’s Main Park – Highland and Magnolia Avenues.

Following the parade, a festive community picnic is held in the park with food booths and big band music.


BLOCK PARTIES

If your neighborhood is planning on holding an Independence Day block party, click to download the > 4th of July Street Closure Request Form, which is due to the City Clerk’s Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28th.

Apr 23 2017

Despite concern expressed about losing the “small town feel” of Piedmont, the extensive, recommended changes to Piedmont’s zoning regulations were readily approved by the City Council. Two peripheral items were deferred for future Council consideration: short-term rentals and Grand Avenue Commercial Zone D.

    The Piedmont City Council met on March 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont California.  The meeting began with a motion by Council Member Teddy King, and support by the rest of the Council, to approve the first four items on the consent calendar. Having been discussed by the Council, the fifth consideration was a resolution affirming the action of the Alameda County Mayors’ Conference in passing a resolution condemning violence and hate speech, expressing solidarity with those who have been targeted, and supporting immigrants and refugees. Council members King and  Jennifer Cavenaugh both supported the resolution, agreeing that although it is purely symbolic, it has meaning and is important for opening up discussion about these topics.  Following the consent calendar was the Public Forum.

    The first item on the regular agenda was the introduction and first reading of the revisions to the City Code, including Chapter 17, Planning and Land Use.  Kevin Jackson, the Planning Director, discussed how the revisions aimed to streamline the code and make formatting improvements, along with meeting goals for short-term rentals, parking regulations, and for-profit business regulations, among others.  He also acknowledged that the zoning code is a living document, so these revisions seek only to improve on what already exists and are not necessarily a perfect solution.  Next, Eric Behrens Chairman of the Planning Commission spoke to the revisions, saying that they will be easier to follow and will benefit the Piedmont community.

    Council Member Robert McBain brought up the widespread public dissatisfaction on two issues: banning short-term rentals and Zone D, the Grand Avenue sub-area.   Due to the discord surrounding these issues, McBain proposed deferring these so there is more time to review them.  City Administrator Paul Benoit explained that this could be done by changing the wording in the revision to match the current wording, so status quo would be maintained just in those sections.  Therefore, the rest of the revisions could be approved quickly, but the Council would have more time to hear the community’s views on short-term rentals and Zone D.  Mayor Wieler and Council Members Cavenaugh, King, Rood, and Vice Mayor McBain expressed support for this compromise.

    When this topic was opened up for the public input, the Council received overwhelming support of deferring those two issues.  Many residents had prepared to speak about their concerns regarding short-term rentals and Zone D.  One woman requested that all residents in the Grand Avenue area be notified by mail of upcoming meetings so they will have the opportunity to share their opinions.  Another community member expressed concern regarding the zoning revisions, saying he grew up in a similar town that has changed greatly and lost its “small-town feel” after changes were made in the City Code.

    Although I do understand the City’s desire to prevent short-term rentals, I do not think that they should be banned completely.  As Rick Schiller asserted in a letter to the City Council, Piedmont is not a tourist destination, so short-term renters are usually people associated with residents of Piedmont.  I fully support regulations to ensure that nobody is abusing the privilege of renting out their property and protect Piedmont residents, but a blanket ban is too extreme.

    City Council meetings are held twice monthly, on the first and third Mondays.  The City Council works as the legislative body of Piedmont, working to create laws and policies to benefit and protect the citizens.

by Shannon Baack, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Apr 23 2017

Groups work to inform District of issues and concerns –

    On Tuesday night, April 18th, I attended the New High School Facilities Meeting in the Student Center. The topic was on the three possible new ways the high school is going to be remodeled in the near future. Every two weeks these meetings occurred; this meeting being the last of the three, but more will come later this month.

    Three options were displayed and described in a short video and then questions were welcomed. I stood and asked why in Option 3 the “PHS Offices” and “Millennium H.S.” were simply being swapped since it didn’t seem logical to me at the time. I got a response from the coordinator of the meeting, that the plan would allow the front offices of the high school to monitor closely who comes in and out of the campus. Today any stranger could walk onto our campus during school hours and no one might notice. After she addressed my question, it made much more sense to me.

    The issues of the overall remodeling of the campus were brought up and seemed extremely realistic, unfortunately. The first issue is a lack of real estate; in other words, there is not much other space than the campus we have to build in. The second issue is the campus being in a hard location with hills and streets to build on and the third issue is that while the school is being remodeled, there seems to be a lack of interim space for classrooms, offices, bathrooms, etc.

    Next on the agenda was group discussions. My group went around the table and each person, including myself, gave their likes and dislikes for each of the three plans. In my opinion, Option 2 is the best plan since it gives students a new STEAM building and also relocates and remodels the theater. Although the most important aspect of it was that unlike options 1 and 3, Option 2 does not intrude on the view students have from the quad, something that everyone at the school can appreciate. Option 1 had a large, 3 story STEAM building and seemed to promote traffic jams during all of the passing periods since a majority of the school’s students would be in one building. Option 3 didn’t appeal to me because it did not show any remodel or renovations to the theater, something that in my opinion should be a priority.

    After the groups discussed their thoughts, a final round of “Aha moments” and further questions began. I spoke out and responded to someone’s comment that even though the STEAM building in Option 3 takes away the view, students can still enjoy it from inside the building. My response was that, similar to Option 1, Option 3 would generate lots of traffic flow of students and teachers especially during lunch and also that realistically, unless its raining, most students at the high school and Millennium enjoy having lunch outside.

    After the meeting ended, I interviewed a former School Board member, Sue Smegal. She said that since she has four grandchildren in the Piedmont schools, it’s her responsibility to make sure the meetings offer good insight and eventually the right school overall. “We can’t lose the feel of the campus. When I walk on it [the campus] I feel happy, we can’t lose that,” she said. As for the future, she plans to go to the upcoming meetings and will always try her best to give her opinions and have her voice heard.

by Sam Watters, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions are those of the author.

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Town Hall meeting produces new ideas for developing the high school.

    On April 1, there was a Piedmont School District Community Town Hall meeting to discuss the new high school facilities in the Piedmont High School Student Center. The purpose of this meeting was to get feedback on the three proposed options for the new high school facilities under Bond Measure H1. (Further discussions were held on April 6 and April 18.) 

     As the community was seated around tables, the meeting began with Superintendent Randy Booker and two facilitators Gina Bartlett and Julia Golomb introducing the school plans, including the budget and funding. A video was shown (one can find it on measureh1.org) and the key facts about each option were given with handouts showing each design outline, cost, classrooms, etc.

     Next, each table group split up and discussed each option. Beginning with option one, each person went around and said what they liked about it. Then each person spoke again, saying their concerns about the option being discussed. A scribe wrote down a “pros and cons” list on a large poster as the discussion continued and ideas were shared. This was repeated for each option.

     Once the groups completed discussing each option, they agreed on main objectives for the new high school facilities and what we wanted Piedmont High School’s “identity” to be. Next, a speaker from each group said their main insights as a group and what their main priorities for the school were.

     For option one, the main ideas that people were excited about was the new theater, but the group did not like having the new STEAM building so far away from the other classrooms.

     Option two has a new theater as well as a new STEAM building and an entrance and center point in the school.

     In option three, most people seemed to like the placement of the STEAM building, however, the Gym being in the middle of the school brought concerns about giving off the wrong idea of the school, isolating MHS more, and also having PE students running around the school to get down to the field.

    I thought that the theater was a main priority for the school and also a clear entrance and center point were the main objectives for the new facilities making me rule out the third option because it didn’t update the theater. Of course, there are many more positives and negatives about each option and other tradeoffs.

     Then, each group split off again and discussed new ideas and wrote them down on a poster. Some of these new ideas consisted of making the STEAM building two stories instead of three and moving the offices to the forties building. Other ideas were filling in the amphitheater and creating a place to eat or garden, using the space better. Simple ideas like just adding picnic tables or making the quad the center point of the school were also shared. Finally, each group expressed their new ideas and the meeting was wrapped up.

A variety of people showed up including Brad Hebert, who is on Randy Booker’s committee. Brad thought the meeting went very well, and “validated the committee’s hard work.” He is excited for the next steps the committee will take as they revise designs and work with architects to make their vision come to light. This meeting was exciting for PHS’s future and extremely informative. Community members walked away with new ideas and opinions.

By Addie Christensen, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Apr 9 2017

Seniors will be required to move their carts to the curb unless they pay an additional fee.  Waste services for City of Piedmont and Schools will continue  to be paid with resident fees. – 

At the March 3, 2017 Council meeting, the City Council agreed to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new waste collection provider.  The current waste collector, Republic Services of Richmond, had told the City they wanted an increase in the fees.  Hence, the City hired a consultant, contributed hours of staff work, held community meetings, and approved the RFP, which allows further negotiations with the City.

Seniors – 

Seniors will be required to pay an additional charge based on distance from cart locations to the curb and any change in elevations.  Individuals certified to be unable or disabled to transfer carts to the curb will not be additionally charged.

Piedmont’s RFP does not include a senior exemption in the RFP, because Piedmont’s attorney, Michelle Kenyon, advised that State laws do not allow the City to give preferential treatment to seniors requiring other ratepayers to cover their extra service.  As has been presented to the Council and City Attorney, numerous other cities do not require seniors age 62 and over to haul their carts to the curb. Presumably, when cities first started requiring carts to be placed at the curb, consideration was given to seniors who enjoyed backyard service at the same rate as all others, who enjoyed rates reduced by placement of carts at the curb.

The City and Schools are provided free service through the fees Piedmont residents pay.  

Concern was expressed that the Schools do not recycle all of their waste, harming Piedmont’s recycling goals.  Communication with the schools was mentioned in the discussions.

Recycling is threatened by a reduction in the number of carts provided at no additional charge.

Piedmont’s current contract allows unlimited recycling.  This is likely to change with a new contract based on an additional charge for additional carts.  It was suggested residents will place recyclables in their black can rather than pay for additional recycling carts.

Bulk pickups are reduced in volume, but will remain at 4 per year.

More money will accrue to the City through an additional franchise fee on the waste collection provider as well as annual Service Rate Adjustment payment  and Performance Review Payment.

The funds to cover the many new tasks assigned to the City through the contract are not clearly identified or known.  New tasks, include arbitrating rates, determining distances and elevations in regard to backyard rates, and certifying those who are disabled or unable to place carts at the curb. Oversight of the collector will be necessary.

Many Piedmonters have expressed pleasure with Piedmont’s current level of service.  Others have questioned the high fees currently charged.

Despite many iterations and considerations, the RFP appeared open ended and available for negotiations making it impossible to know at this point what the ultimate result will be.

Comments may be sent to the Council via either kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us. or jtullock@ci.piedmont.ca.us..

Readers may also send their comments to editors@piedmontcivic.org for publication or enter below.

Mar 22 2017

    On February 11th, the Planning Commision met in Piedmont’s City Council Chambers at five o’clock. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss variances and design review of building applications within Piedmont.The session began with an approval of minutes from the prior meeting, followed by a public forum.

   I, Brock Settlemier, spoke out on an individual issue that was not on the Planning Commission’s agenda.  There is an absolute lack of motorcycle parking in the City of Piedmont.  An initiative taken by the city was the “Complete Streets Plan”, to balance the transportation system of Piedmont, making it compatible for all cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, and senior citizens.  However, they left out the minority group of motorcyclists in Piedmont.  As a licensed motorcycle driver, owner, and student of Piedmont High School, I strongly voiced my concerns and advocated for the creation of motorcycle parking for the school.  The possible benefits would be a more balanced transportation system, a new way to commute to school for students/faculty, safer roads for motorcyclists, a reduction in greenhouse gasses, and a new modernization for the City of Piedmont.

    The major issue discussed at the meeting was item four of the agenda, 110 Fairview Avenue Variance and Design Review.  The owners, Mike Smith and Anne Beth, wanted to add a second story of 1,278 sq/ft to their home.  They live in a small, one story, Dutch Colonial home.  With their disabled son, grandchildren’s toys, and a lack of a decent socializing space, the applicants wanted to build up by adding the second story.  This proposed second floor would contain a bedroom, bathroom, and closet.  Their most convincing argument was that their addition would be more compatible with the neighborhood, where most of the houses are two stories and 2000 sq/ft or more.  This addition would make 110 Fairview more similar to the other homes in the area.  The architect was commended by Aradhana Jajodia for maintaining the style of the home, building up and saving space in the backyard.

    Mike and Anne were met with heavy resistance from nearby residents about their second story addition.  The owner of 129 Nova Drive, opposite the house, stated that the addition would be an issue of privacy.  He stated that, “A net 17 windows looking onto my back garden and into the house.”  This was one of the major issues of the design plan and was a repeated concern throughout the other neighbors’ statements.  Luckily, the owner was open to future conversation to find an alternative.

    The contractor of the house took the podium next.  He worked on 110 Fairview Ave ten years before, and was in support of the proposed plan.  His argument was clear.  The house would not expand on its small, original footprint.  The plan was underdesigned, and would not meet the maximum square footage that the city allowed.  The second story addition would not be too monumental.

    Down the street, Terry London voiced his concerns against the project.  He stated that the building would block their only view of the Piedmont Hills, completely obstructing the master bedroom’s view and seventy percent of their guest room.  In a later interview with him, he stated that the rules and regulations guiding development in Piedmont, “Don’t always take into account the specifics of particular situation, like height, topography, and the surrounding homes.”  He will remain involved in the future of the project.

   The meeting was a textbook example of how our government works efficiently in the United States.  Opening up the agenda to the public gave all the neighbors the opportunity to voice their opinions to the officials, who thoroughly considered and questioned each individual on their opinions.  Voices from both sides of this argument were effectively dealt with in the Commission’s final decision.

    The Planning Commision made a final deliberation on the issue in front of the audience, but closed to further opinions.  Planning Commissioner Tony Theophilos spoke out first from the Commission by addressing the issue of privacy.  He believed that there should be a reduction of windows, and finding a balance could be feasibly found.

   Next, Commissioner Aradhana Jajodia said the architect did a quality job on the design, except the back of the house was unpleasant looking from the neighbors point of view.

    Commission Chair Eric Behrens believed 108 Fairview Ave was the only house with a significant view of the Piedmont Hills.  He said “it seemed a little too big to me.”  Behrens suggested the applicants build down rather than up, such as a basement.

    Finally, Commissioner Jajodia made a motion to reject the design. It did not comply with the design review view guideline and the design presented a scale and mass violation.  Her perception was that the building should not overpower or dominate any of the surrounding homes.  The item was delayed to another meeting to allow a new plan by the architect.

   The Planning Commission meets once a month for a net four hours at minimum.

By Brock Settlemier, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions are those of the author.