Jan 21 2020

Piedmont City Council approved the first reading of a binding ADU ordinance while leaving open a number of outstanding questions. The required Second consideration will be on Monday, February 3, 2020, 7:30 p.m., City Hall. 

ADU applications that comply with a new binding ordinance will be approved by city staff without neighbor notification or public participation.  ADUs will be approved “by right.”  Parking, privacy, and views will not be allowed to be considered.

Planning Director Kevin Jackson and City Attorney Michelle Kenyon acknowledged that it had been difficult to determine the ramifications of the various State laws and their impact on Piedmont’s proposed ordinances. 

Numerous outstanding issues remain: safety requirements including street width and existing parking, driveway widths, fire safety, distance from a bus stop by foot, clarity on design review requirements, landscaping, enlargements to garages on the property line, risks of waiting to approve an ADU ordinance until information is provided by the state, deed restrictions, opaque window requirements, balconies, etc.

The Council supports increased Piedmont density by adding more ADUs approved by staff.   There will be no public notice or consideration by the Planning Commission on conforming ADUs.  Higher and taller ADUs over 16 feet were also sought by the Council. 

The Council seeks to meet regional housing needs, especially for below market rate housing, through increased ADUs. The Planning Department was praised for their efforts.

City Planning Consultant Michael Henn of Piedmont spoke to the Council on January 21 asking for a more considered approach on the ADU ordinance by awaiting  the California Department of Housing and Community Development guidelines assisting cities on ordinances regarding ADUs. 

Henn carefully explained his approval of ADUs and his prior role drafting ordinances.  He recommended a delay in ordinance approval by the Council pending further information on what other cities are approving for appropriate Piedmont ADUs.

Below is the Henn letter sent to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

I am a city planning consultant in the East Bay. I am following the creation of local ADU ordinances. I have been told that HCD is preparing new guidelines to assist cities with AB 68& 881& SB 13.
If so, when do you expect them to be available?
Michael Henn, AICP
Piedmont CA


Attached you will find our guidance memo. We are working on an ADU booklet (similar to the previous HCD ADU Booklet), which will have a sample ordinance, a summary of the recent legislation, and an FAQ section. Expect that booklet out in the next month or so. In the meantime, feel free to send in any questions you may have. Thanks!

  • Jose

READ Information from Housing and Community Development > ADU TA AB 881 others 01-10-20

Despite the long processes to amend ordinances, the Council did not want to delay the ordinance.  There appeared to be no consideration of how other small cities were dealing with ADU requirements.

Oct 23 2019
READ the agenda by clicking below:

October 29 2019 Planning Commission Special Meeting Agenda

Oct 23 2019


Chelle Putzer new Recreation Director

 Following a rigorous recruitment process, the City Council has selected Chelle Putzer as Recreation Director of the City of Piedmont.

Ms. Putzer was chosen unanimously by the Council from a field of 48 candidates. Her formal appointment will be considered at the City Council meeting of November 4, 2019. This selection follows interviews of six highly qualified candidates by a panel of staff and residents and the City Administrator. Following that process, the candidate field was narrowed to two, who were then interviewed by the full City Council. Ms. Putzer’s selection by the City Council was unanimous and all agreed that she will be a great asset to the community and the Recreation Department.

Ms. Putzer holds a Bachelor of Science in Health & Sport Sciences from the University of Oklahoma. For nearly six years, she has served as Recreation and Community Services Director for the City of Albany. Prior to this, she spent an additional ten years in Albany as a Recreation & Community Services Manager and Supervisor. She has also served as head softball coach at St. Mary’s College, assistant softball coach at San Jose State University, and a volunteer assistant softball coach at Stanford University.

“We are very excited to have Ms. Putzer join the Piedmont Recreation team,” said Mayor Robert McBain. “Her great experience and proven track record of leadership will help our Recreation Department continue to provide excellent programming for all ages.”

“Chelle will be a tremendous addition to the City team and will no doubt be a strong leader for the Recreation Department,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “Her experience and success as the director in Albany, another small city in Alameda County, will translate well to Piedmont. I also want to recognize the commitment and significant efforts of Interim Recreation Director Erin Rivera who will remain in that role until Chelle begins in December. Erin has been and will continue to be an integral part of PRD’s leadership throughout the transition and beyond.”

“I am honored and excited to have been selected as Piedmont’s Recreation Director,” Ms. Putzer said. “I am looking forward to serving in such a wonderful, engaged and supportive community and joining Piedmont’s outstanding Recreation Department.”

Oct 14 2019

Click the link below to read an opinion in support of Measures G and H submitted by Piedmont resident Hari Titan.


Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.  PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.
Oct 8 2019

PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff to begin at Noon on Wednesday, October 9th

Parts of Piedmont To Be Affected

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has confirmed their intent to conduct a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) which will include portions of Piedmont as early as Wednesday, October 9th at 12:00 Noon and could last for up to 5 days. Other power outages may occur as a result of this wind event. All Piedmonters are advised to be prepared for power outages during this wind event, which may or may not be proactive Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

Based upon information provided by PG&E it appears that all or portions on the following streets in Piedmont will most likely be included in this PSPS:

Blair Avenue

Blair Place,

Calvert Court

Cambrian Avenue

Cavanagh Court

Cavendish Lane

Crest Road

Croydon Circle

Estates Drive

Farragut Avenue

Glen Alpine Road

Hampton Road

Huntleigh Road

Indian Road

King Avenue

La Salle Avenue

Lexford Road

Marlborough Court

Sandringham Place

Sandringham Road

Sea View Avenue

Selborne Drive

Somerset Road

Sotelo Avenue

St. James Circle

St. James Drive

St. James Place

Trestle Glen Road

Tyson Circle

Valant Place

It is probable that electricity to all residences, businesses, schools, mobile phone towers, and public facilities in the affected area may be turned off. The City of Piedmont has no additional details as to whether individual homes or businesses will be affected by the PSPS. Piedmonters are among the up to 750,000 PG&E customers in 32 counties who will be affected by this event.

PG&E will attempt to alert affected customers through calls and texts messages just before power is shut off. They will also use their web site and social media channels to provide information and will keep local news and radio outlets informed and updated.

Residents and businesses who are enrolled in East Bay Community Energy will be affected by these Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

The City of Piedmont has plans in place to ensure that emergency services and public safety are maintained during a Public Safety Power Shutoff, but affected residents will need to be self-reliant for a period of time.

For more information on how to be prepared for emergencies, please see the Public Safety Committee’s Get Ready, Piedmont brochure.

  >PCA 1019 get-ready-piedmont

During a Public Safety Power Shutoff, please call 911 to report any emergencies which occur. Please hold non-emergency calls until after the after the PSPS event has concluded.

Oct 8 2019

Piedmont voters are called to a special election exclusively for Piedmont Schools on November 5, 2019.  Some confusion has arisen as to the amount of the Measure G and H taxes and the relationship between various current and proposed tax measures.

Measure G, essentially a continuation tax, preempts existing school parcel tax, Measure A, which is scheduled to expire in 2021.  Every property owner in Piedmont will pay a base rate of $2,763 per parcel per year if Measure G is approved. 

Measure H is a new additional school parcel tax increasing the school parcel taxes property owners will pay.  If Measure H, if approved by voters, will require property owners to pay an additional tax of  $0.25 per square foot of habitable space on their parcel.


$2,763 = Base amount for approval of Measure G.

If Measure G and H are approved, a homeowner with 2,000 square footage of habitable space will pay $2,763 base tax plus 2,000 multiplied by 25 cents  equaling $500 for a total of $3,263, rather than the current yearly base rate of $2,763 per parcel.


The Piedmont Board of Education is asking Piedmont voters to support (“Measure G”) on November 5, 2019 the renewal of its existing parcel tax to maintain current programs starting at the $2,763 rate with a potential 2% annual increase. In a separate measure (“Measure H”) voters are asked for an additional amount ($0.25 per square foot of habitable square footage / building improvements – on a parcel.)  

Measure G is a continuation tax without a tax base increase. Measure G, if approved, will have an 8-year “duration” of the tax. The tax can be increased by 2% per year.  Approving Measure G will provide $10.6 million in revenues to the Piedmont Unified School District. 


The second ballot measure (Measure H) is new and an additional tax to be applied to all Piedmont parcels. Measure H would be set at a flat rate of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, square footage of a home  (Improvements are existing improvements of the habitable square footage space of all buildings and homes on a parcel).  Measure H would  have an 8-year duration. Passage of Measure H would result in an additional $2.6 million to the Piedmont schools. All homeowners and business will pay for this  additional tax if approved.   Homes with more square footage of habitable space will pay more than smaller homes and buildings.

If both G and H Measures pass, rates will vary tremendously per parcel on the additional tax with the largest square footage homeowners paying up to $6,568 per year.

Both Measures G and H would raise $13.3 million.

Registered Piedmont voters have received a Voter Information Guide in the mail that details the election.  The election is a stand alone special election exclusively related to the Piedmont Unified School District.  The current parcel tax does not expire until June 2021.  The two proposals, if approved, will take effect in 2020.

Residents have been canvassed by volunteer supporters to determine individuals voting preferences – yes or no.   Individuals stating they are in support of the ballot measures can expect reminders to vote in the November 5, 2019 Election. Those who have voiced opposition or no preference to the ballot measures should not expect to receive a reminder to vote on the November 5 ballot measures.

 Explanations and the rationale for supporting the school parcel tax proposals can be found in the Voter Information Guide.  No argument was filed against the measures in the Voter Information Guide. 

Voters have been asking:

1.The Voter Information Guide is unclear about whether or not PERMANENT “Vote by Mail” voters need to re-apply for their mail ballot.

Answer:  It is our understanding that those previously receiving their ballot in the mail will continue to receive their ballot without reapplying. If for any reason, a voter does not timely receive their ballot in the mail, the voter can vote in person at their polling location listed on the back of the Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

“Vote by mail allows voters to cast a ballot without going to a polling place. If a registered voter has applied to vote by mail, the Registrar’s office mails a ballot to the registered address of the voter beginning 29 days before an election. The voter votes the ballot and returns it to the election office by mail. The voter can also return it in person to the office or to any polling place on Election Day to be counted. Any voter can apply to vote by mail permanently in every election.”  Alameda County Registrar of Voters

2. Are the school parcel taxes deductible on Federal income taxes?

Answer: Deduction of state and local taxes are each year limited to a maximum deduction of $10,000 per single or married couple on Federal income tax returns. Many Piedmonters will likely not be able to deduct the school parcel tax in additional to their state income taxes.

3. What happens if the school parcel tax measures are not approved by Piedmont voters?

Answer: To be approved, each ballot measure requires approval by 2/3 rds or 66 2/3rds of the voters voting on the measures.  If voters approve Measure G, but not Measure H at the November 5 Election, the School Board will likely accept that voters did not want additional funding beyond the base amount of Measure G. However, if both measures are rejected by voters, it is assumed that the School Board will return with a different measure to achieve voter support prior to the 2021 expiration of the current school parcel tax, Measure A.

4. Is there an exemption for senior homeowners ?

Answer: No.  The School Board was informed that many other school districts have an exemption or tax reduction for senior homeowner taxpayers; however, in calculating the result of reducing or eliminating the tax for seniors and given the significant number of seniors residing in Piedmont, a determination was made that insufficient funds would be derived from the tax  to produce adequate funds to support School District needs. Additionally, the School Board noted that property values related to excellent schools benefited all Piedmont property owners whether seniors or not.

5. What percentage of the school population does not reside in Piedmont?

Answer: The number varies but all city and school employees are allowed to send their children to the Piedmont schools.  Additionally, the Piedmont Millennium High School has a significant number of students residing outside of Piedmont.  A recent need for more students to maintain the budgeted amount derived from the California state contribution of approximately $8,500 resulted in an invitation to residents’ grandchildren and others from outside of Piedmont to fill specific slots in certain grades.  About 18 additional non-resident students were added to the student population for the 2019-2020 school year.

6.  Does the School District need Measure H to balance their budget?

Answer:  Measure H provides funding beyond the basic budgetary needs of the District. Measure H was proposed as a way to increase funding for school teachers and other purposes identified by the School Board.

7.  Where can I return my “vote by mail” ballot?

Answer: An Alameda County Ballot Box where voters can drop their no postage ballot will be at the corner of Highland and Highland Way, next to the mailboxes, near Wells Fargo Bank in central Piedmont. Voters can also mail their ballot as stated on their envelope.  When mailed, the envelope requires no postal stamps.  Voters can also turn in their ballot to officials at their regular voting location noted on the back of their Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

8. D0 City of Piedmont municipal parcel taxes go to the schools?

Answer:  No.  The School District and the City of Piedmont have separate revenues, separate budgets, and separate governance.  Piedmont property owners pay separately for the schools and the city The funds are not commingled.  Property owners can see the distinct taxation for the schools and the city on their recent Alameda County property tax statement.

Editors Note:  PCA does not support or oppose any ballot measures. 

Updated 10/14/2019

Oct 7 2019

Updated street sweeping schedule –


Jun 18 2019

Qualified Single-family Occupants with Certified Physical Limitations Will Not Submit New Supporting Documents Annually

Finding that repeated validation of approved application is costly and time consuming for Piedmont staff, the City has decided to follow other cities lead and go to an honor system after initial approval of backyard refuse service. 

The policy has the following provisions:

1.The applicant must complete and submit an application form.

2.With the initial application, the applicant must submit a doctor’s certification or a current California disability parking placard.

3.As a component of the application, the applicant must verify that there are no able-bodied residents or caretakers in the household that can move the carts to the curb.

4.There is no application fee.

5.The exemption must be renewed annually, and the City will provide an annual reminder of the renewal requirement.

6.City staff provides a list of approved applicants to Republic Services.

Staff has found that the annual renewal requirement is not necessary.

Read the report below for more details.

06/17/19 – Consideration of an Amendment to the Policy Allowing for Residents with Certain Physical Limitations to Receive “On-Premises” (Backyard) Service at Curbside Rates

May 13 2019

Although not listed, as such, on the agenda, the public will have a right to address the Council at their two meetings agendized for interviews and selection of Piedmont’s new City Administrator. The Council will adjourn to Closed Sessions after hearing from any public speakers addressing the appointment.  

Public discussions have not been held at Council meetings regarding the qualifications of a new City Administrator, who will be replacing retiring City Administrator Paul Benoit.  Voters recently approved Piedmont City Charter change  providing the City Administrator with sole authority over retention of Piedmont employees including the Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, Public Works Director, etc.

Special City Council Meetings

Thursday, May 16, 2019 8:15 a.m. 

Friday, May 17, 2019 11:30 a.m.

City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA


Call to Order
Adjourn to a Closed Session in the Conference Room

a. Public Employee Appointment – Interview of Applicants (Government Code Sec. 54957) Title: City Administrator

For additional information, contact the Piedmont City Clerk at 420-3040.

May 12 2019

On Saturday, May 18, at 10:00 a.m., the Public Works Department will host a walk on Magnolia Avenue to discuss the 47 liquidambar trees which are slated to be removed as a part of the 2018 Pavement Project.

The walk will begin at 10:00 am at the intersection of Hillside and Magnolia Avenues and will move down the length of the street. Neighbors and interested residents are invited to attend and join in conversation with city staff, the City Engineer, and the independent arborist who evaluated the trees.

When approving the 2018 Pavement Project, the City Council directed staff to, “…work with neighbors on Magnolia Avenue who are impacted by street tree removal to consider whether engineering and/or other accommodations can be made to preserve additional trees on this street.” This walk-through is being conducted to provide neighbors with an opportunity to share their feedback, which will be reviewed by staff and the City Engineer.

Below is a plan that identifies the trees reviewed in the arborist report and the trees proposed to be removed. 

For further information, contact Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara at 420-3061 or via email at cnakahara@piedmont.ca.gov.


READ the detailed staff and Arborist report on tree removal for Magnolia Avenue by clicking below: