Aug 16 2022

New legal advice upends the rule of law in Piedmont regarding voters’ rights per the Piedmont City Charter and City Ordinances.

The Piedmont City Charter and City Ordinances require the City Council to propose the Housing Element, and Piedmont voters to approve the zoning changes –  sizes, use, and classifications.

According to Piedmont City Attorney within the proposed Housing Element, all Piedmont single-family zoning can be changed to high density multi-family zoning without Piedmont voter approval.  This current legal advice desecrates the rule of law in Piedmont regarding voters’ rights per the Piedmont City Charter and City Ordinances. Copied below.

Piedmont’s City Charter has protected Piedmont for nearly a century against intrusive commercialism, factories, high density housing, etc. by focusing on single-family residential zoning.  The Charter is clear. Placing multi-family dwellings/high density housing into single-family zoning, which is all of Piedmont, without voter approval is against Piedmont’s laws.

The single-family zoning classification in Piedmont is separate and distinct from Piedmont’s multi-family zoning classification. Classification determines the use and density allowed within a zone.  Multi-family classification is for multi-family use.  Single-family classification is for single-family use.  Commingling Piedmont multi-family classification zones and single-family classification breaches the City Charter and Piedmont Ordinances. 

Without voter approval, the Housing Element proposes the multi-family zone density will be increased to high density multi-family development and changing the single-family use classification as found in all zones to be changed to multi-family use. 

Piedmont zones are classified as: commercial, public, multi-family, and single-family.   All zones are specified as permitting single-family dwellings.  Unrecognized, Single-family classifications/use found in each zone cannot be interchangeable or described as proposed as multi-family zoning. 

The Housing Element proposes to allow high density multi-family classification to replace Single-family classification in zones used for commercial and public zones based on the false premise that single-family zoning allows higher density multi-family use without voter approval.  

Currently in Piedmont, all properties are zoned and classified for single-family dwellings. The State of California legislated a transformation of the Single-family classification to allow three (3) dwelling units:  a primary residence, an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), and a Junior ADU built within the confines of the primary residence.  Essentially, the State outlawed the single family housing unit per parcel limitation.  Consequentially, the high density multi-family dwelling units proposed for Piedmont’s Housing Element will need the approval of voters to change the classification of single-family residential to multi-family residential.  The proposal jumps the number from 3 dwelling units to a proposed 40-100 units per parcel without voter approval, ignoring Piedmont laws. 

The City Council will need to propose a Housing Element that will gain approval of Piedmont voters or be faced with revisions to gain Piedmont voter approval.  

Piedmont’s City Attorney Michelle Kenyon has advised and stated that single-family zoning classification allows multi-family zoning including high density multi-family development by ignoring the City Charter language. Further Kenyon stated that voters do not control density in Piedmont. This advice destroys voter rights and rule of law making the Piedmont proposed Housing Element counter to the City Charter.

The intent and language of the City Charter describes single-family zoning and classification as “the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling. ”  The new legal advice provided to the City Council fails to recognize voter requirements compliant with the Charter. 

Voter approval for zoning changes have been placed on a ballot many times in Piedmont per the City Charter .

At the August 1, 2022, City Council meeting City attorney Kenyon asked Planning Director Kevin Jackson about how the city had implemented the City Charter in regard to voters’ rights.  Jackson provided two examples, which excluded voters, both of which were based on Kenyon’s or her law firms prior advice allowing multi-family residential use to supplant single-family use without voter approval.  

The Council was not informed by Kenyon or the Planning Director regarding a plethora of prior documented legal advice requiring compliance with the City Charter and for ballot measures to be put before Piedmont voters regarding zoning changes.  Significant prior legal advice can be found in the City’s archives countering City Attorney Kenyon’s advice, and requiring Piedmont voters right to control and approve zoning per the City Charter.

According to the Charter and City ordinances, the City Council is to propose plans for development of Piedmont, however these plans must comply with voter approval per the Piedmont City Charter regarding changes, such as as going from single-family use to high density multi-family use.

The state has anticipated zoning changes to accommodate Housing Element zoning changes to add the large increases in housing, for Piedmont it is 587 housing units, a 15% housing increase.  The state provides a specific amount of time 1-3 years to implement zoning changes outlined in an approved Housing Element.  To date, the state has not eliminated city Charters’ voter approval of zoning changes.

See Piedmont’s zoning map be clicking below:

  https://cdn5-hosted.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/Zoning/Zoning%20Map%20-%202021-12-01.pdf?v=9uGc6RDmS

Piedmont City Charter ARTICLE IX. General Provision

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof; provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single-family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.

City of Piedmont Ordinance :

Sections: 17.02.010

Title; City Charter 17.02.010 Title; Intent; City Charter.

A. Title. This chapter 17, Planning and Land Use, is also known as the zoning ordinance.

B. Intent. The City of Piedmont consists primarily of unique single-family residences set among mature trees and other vegetation. The residents wish to:

1. preserve the architectural heritage and beauty of the city’s homes, the mature vegetation, the tranquility and privacy that now exist, and significant views;

2. reduce on-street parking and traffic in the neighborhood streets and facilitate pedestrian and bicycle activity;

3. avoid overcrowding and its detrimental effects on city schools and other services and facilities;

4. preserve the city’s historical heritage;

5. preserve the existing stock of small homes and otherwise allow for a variety of housing types for all income levels, including single-family and multi-family dwellings;

6. ensure excellence of architectural design, and compliance with the Piedmont Design Guidelines;

7. allow retail, office, and service commercial uses that primarily serve city residents; and

8. promote property improvements without sacrificing the goals already mentioned.

These zoning regulations are designed to implement these purposes.

C. City Charter. The city’s zoning ordinance is also subject to the City Charter, particularly Section 9.01, General Plan, Section 9.02, Zoning System, and Section 9.04, General Laws Applicable.

Those sections read as follows:

Section 9.01 General Plan. The City Council shall adopt, and may from time to time, modify a general plan setting forth policies to govern the development of the City. Such plan may cover the entire City and all of its functions and services or may consist of a Planning & Land Use combination of plans governing specific functions and services or specific geographic areas which together cover the entire City and all of its functions and services. The plan shall also serve as a guide to Council action concerning such City planning matters as land use, development regulations and capital improvements.

Section 9.02 Zoning system. The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have the power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgment be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof; provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single-family dwelling maybe voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a singlefamily dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.

Section 9.04 General laws applicable. All general laws of the State applicable to municipal corporations, now or hereafter enacted, and which are not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter or with ordinances hereafter enacted, shall be applicable to the City. The City Council may adopt and enforce ordinances that, in relation to municipal affairs, shall control as against the general laws of the State.

In this subsection C, Section 9.02, the prohibition not to reduce, enlarge, or reclassify a zone without a vote is understood to mean the city may not change the zone boundaries, or change (reclassify) a property from one zone to another. [ Classification is the use. Zone names connote the useage, as commercial, public, multi-family, and single-family.]

 

Jul 30 2022

Piedmont’s zoning system is being corrupted.

Interchanging single-family zoning and multiple-family zoning is impossible under the Piedmont City Charter.  Piedmont has a zone specifically for multiple-family dwellings, yet under the City Attorney’s interpretation of the City Charter,  all zones are multiple-family zones corrupting Piedmont’s zoning system controlled by voters.

In the staff report for the August 1, 2022  Council meeting regarding adding 587 housing units, the City’s interpretation denies the actual and complete language in the City Charter.  The full wording of the Zoning System in the Piedmont City Charter describes the use of the 5 zones. 

There is a specific zone for multiple housing and there is another zone for multiple housing use.  Single-family zoning is allowed in all Piedmont zones. Single-family dwelling use under state law permits a house, an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) and an additional unit within the confines of the main house making 3 housing units possible within Piedmont single-family zoned parcels.

Interchanging single-family zoning and multiple-family zoning is impossible under the City Charter. 

 Since all Piedmont zones allow single-family dwellings,  permitting multiple family dwellings on all Piedmont parcels corrupts Piedmont’s City Charter and the ability of voter to control zoning in Piedmont.

The City’s incorrect statement is copied below:

“Therefore, a vote of the electorate would not be required since, under Section 9.02 of the Charter, and its historical interpretation by the City Attorney, changes to the density within each zone do not require a vote of the electorate.”

Are all parcels going to be changed in size to allow the multiple housing proposal of the HE plan?  This eliminates voter control in this work-around plan to remove voter approval as stated in the City Charter.

The City’s interpretation of the Charter relies on several missteps made by City Officials regarding zoning, none of which have the pervasive and overwhelming impact of the proposed HE  changing zoning uses without allowing Piedmont voters in densifying Piedmont with multiple-family proposals in zones.

The City minimally owes it to Piedmont voters to research City records for not only the intent of the City Charter, but the actual words as copied below.

City Charter ARTICLE IX. General Provision

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof; provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single-family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.  

City Staff report for August 1, 2022 states:

“6) Questions Regarding the City Charter Questions have come up regarding Section 9.02 of the City Charter, and whether increasing densities or adding another residential use category within existing zones would require a vote of the electorate.

Agenda Report Page 9

“The City’s Charter provides that “[t]he Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election.” (City Charter, Section 9.02.) A vote of the electorate is thus required when changing a zone’s boundary or changing the zone of a property from one zone to another zone, but not to change densities for already allowed uses. Therefore, a vote of the electorate would not be required since, under Section 9.02 of the Charter, and its historical interpretation by the City Attorney, changes to the density within each zone do not require a vote of the electorate.

As noted in the City statement above, the use described by the zoning is totally omitted with the argument that density can be added to any zone without voter approval making all zones multi-family zoned.

The issue is one of great import as Piedmont voters are excluded from this monumental decision.

The City Council will consider this Charter issue on August 1. 2022.  Three of the City Council members are licensed members of the California Bar Association, Andersen, Long, and McCarthy. 

Jul 26 2022

Should Piedmont adhere to the the City Charter with voter control over zoning uses/classifications or forfeit control to the City Council?

What should come first – voter approval of zoning reclassifications/use changes or City Council approval of the Housing Element (HE) requiring the reclassifications/use changes?

The question is not whether or not proposed changes are good or bad; the question is who has the right to change the zoning usage/classifications? State laws have limited control over city zoning laws. 

The currently proposed Piedmont Housing Element defeats the Piedmont City Charter.

The City Council proposes to change usage on public property to multiple family zoning via the Housing Element (HE).  Piedmont Parks, the Arts Center, City Hall, Veterans Building, Blair Park, Skate Board Park, and Corporation Yard – historic buildings and uses are proposed for change of use.

Once the HE has specified in writing the locations of the required 587 new housing units and is approved by the City Council along with the state, the City of Piedmont is required to adhere to the zoning changes specified in the HE.  The Piedmont Housing Element and General Plan are firm government commitments to to the state, commercial developers, individuals, organizations, groups, property owners to be implemented during the 8 year HE term. 

The process being utilized by the City Council makes zoning changes/reclassifications the sole authority of the City Council rejecting the language within the City Charter that  requires voter control over changes/reclassification of zones.

Will Piedmont voters have an opportunity to approve the change of use/ reclassification per the City Charter, or will the City Council put zoning changes in the HE and require voter approval of the zoning changes after the HE is approved? Piedmont’s proposed HE requires zoning use/reclassification turning parks and public property into multiple housing. 

It has been publicly stated and proposed that park land would be declared surplus property and sold or reused/reclassified without voter approval.

Piedmont’s five zones are classified as: public, commercial, multi-family, single-family and single-family Estate – with all zones permitting single-family housing.   In Piedmont, the use determines the classification of a zone.

“Classified, Reclassified, and use” are keywords within the City Charter.

Voter approval on zoning is well established in Piedmont per the voter approved Piedmont City Charter.  Only voters can change zone usage/classifications.  Adherence to the City Charter is not a matter of how much it cost to adhere to the Charter; adherence is a matter of law. 

The words “classification and reclassifications”, describe the “use” within a zone as can be seen by reading the City Charter copied below:.

City Charter ARTICLE IX. General Provision

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof; provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single-family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above..  

Since all zones allow single-family development, Michelle Kenyon, Piedmont’s contract City Attorney, stated in regard to the HE’s proposed changes that multiple family housing is housing, and therefore allowed in all zones.   Kenyon has used other cities’ definitions of “classification and reclassification”, rather than relying on language found in Piedmont’s City Charter with “use” determining a classification.

City Attorney Kenyon has instructed the Piedmont City Council and Planning Commission that Piedmont voter approval of the proposed land use changes/reclassifications are not required because: no new zone is being created; no zone is  being enlarged; no zone is being reduced.  Importantly, Kenyon’s advice results in the ability of the City Council to change the use/ reclassification of zones without voter approval.

City Charter ARTICLE IX. General Provision:

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM (Excerpt from above)

“provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single-family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.”

As noted above, the City Charter allows property owners in the multifamily or commercial zone to rezone their property to exclusively be for single-family zoning.  The City Charter in this section informs the definition of “classification and rezoning” as “use” in the zones.  It is unknown how the Kenyon opinion accommodates the zone use/ classification  language written into the City Charter. 

Timing:

The City Council has known for over a year, there would be significant challenges to Piedmont zoning to accommodate 587 new housing units in Piedmont; while other cities have allowed voter participation, Piedmont voters have not been given a chance to act on the zoning per the City Charter, The deadline for placing a ballot measure on the November 2022 ballot ends in August. 

What if voters do not approve the HE changes?  Are voters no longer permitted to approve  or disapprove the zoning changes?  Does the City Council plan to follow outside counsel advice and eliminate voter approval?

May 19 2022

Unlike other City meetings when broadcasted videos are produced, home/remote viewers will not be able to observe the City Council and Staff as important policy and program issues are considered at the Saturday Budget Session. Interested persons must be physically present to observe the meeting.

Taxes, fees, policies, programs, and priorities involving the City budget are to be presented by staff and considered by the Council during the important Council Budget Session Saturday, May 21.

On Saturday May 21, 2022, Council Budget Session

9:00 am Emergency Operations Center in the Police Department on Highland Avenue

With transparency, equity, and inclusion touted as goals of the Piedmont City Council, accessibility to certain public meetings, including this Budget Session, continue to be difficult or impossible for many individuals. If you can not physically attend the Budget meeting, you will not be able to observe the proceedings remotely via Zoom, computers, or cable television.

During the height of the COVID pandemic, residents had the “luxury”of being able to remotely watch the Council make decisions without being physically present at a meeting.  Some of the “Zoom” meetings, although broadcast during the time of the meeting, were not preserved as a cost cutting measure.   Presentations and considerations were not preserved reducing transparency, accessibility, and accountability.

The 2022-23 Annual Piedmont Budget Session will once more follow the long -held Piedmont Council tradition and not be broadcast for remote viewing. The Saturday Council Budget Session will be moved from City Hall where cameras are installed and videos are regularly made of the proceedings.  The Budget meeting will take place in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Highland Avenue where broadcasting is not done leaving home/remote viewers unable to observe the proceedings.

Ironically, during the month of May, in a prior list of  public meetings, there were 12 public City meetings.  See link below. These 12 different City meetings, Regular Council, Commission, and Committee meetings, are stated to be held either “Virtually or Hybrid”, consequently using City broadcast facilities.  Broadcasting meetings allows  interested persons to watch and observe the Council away from the meetings. The Council Budget Session is the only full Council meeting on the list to require observers physical presence.   

Under consideration and discussion at the Budget Session are:

  • How should the City Council spend City resources?

  • How much should residents be taxed or charged for sewers, municipal services, fees, use of City facilities, priorities,  programs and monetary considerations, such as broadcasting City meetings and preserving public records?

Concerns have been expressed in the past to the City Council regarding broadcasting meetings to encourage greater public access to governance, but the Council’s tradition of not broadcasting meetings remains, thus missing an opportunity to increase access, accountability, transparency, equity, and inclusion.

2022-05 Notice of Regular Meetings – Revised

> City of Piedmont 2022-2023 Budget

Agenda > City Council Agenda 2022-05-21 (Special)

  • 1. Overview of the Proposed FY 2022-23 Budget
  • 2. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 2022-23
  • a. Police
  • b. Public Works
  • c. Planning & Building
  • d. Recreation
  • e. Fire
  • f. Administration & KCOM
  • g. Non-Departmental and Other Funds Budgets

City notice with links below:

BUDGET WORK SESSION THIS SATURDAY

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2022-23 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held on May 21, 2022 at 9:00 am in the EOC at 403 Highland Avenue. Members of the public are invited to participate in this meeting.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 6 and June 20, 2022. The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year. Click to visit the Annual Budgets page, where all sections of the proposed budget as well as approved budgets from previous years are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Finance Director Michael Szczech via email at mszczech@piedmont.ca.gov or by phone at (510) 420-3045. If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

Mar 27 2022

Do you know who is going to be interviewed by the Council for Piedmont’s important Commissions and Committees?

Frequently, Piedmont residents have heard the City Council expound on the need for inclusion and transparency, yet the Council does not provide transparency or inclusion in some proceedings.  

On Monday, March 28, 2022, at a “Special Meeting,” the Piedmont City Council will once again perpetuate a long-held practice of interviewing candidates for appointments to volunteer positions on Piedmont public committees and commissions away from public broadcasts and records.  Although an “official” notice announces the public interview sessions, the meetings are either held in a small conference room, or, as in this case, the Police Department Emergency Operations Center (EOC) making public participation and observation of Council decision difficult. 

The March 28, 2022 meeting has:

  • No cameras for a record of the meeting (due to lack of funds)

  • No broadcasts for remote viewing (due to lack of funds)

  • No publicity of  the applicant’s names or positions they seek

  • No listing of the order of the interviews

  • No timely release to the public of the applications provided to the Council

  • No opportunity for meaningful public participation in the selections

  • No record of Council member priorities

  • No record of individual Council member preferences

The Agenda for the March 28, 2022;  (see Full Agenda > 3:28:2022 Appointees) states:

“Special City Council Agenda Monday, March 28, 2022 6:00 p.m. EOC, Police Dept., 403 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Special Session

1. Interview of Candidates for City Commissions and Committees to be Followed by Possible Appointment to Posted Vacancies 0085″ 

[No applicant names, no order of interviews, no positions are noted.  There is no staff report for public information. ]

California’s sunshine law, the Brown Act, requires interviews for appointed public positions to Committees and Commissions to be done in public. Not only should the law be followed by word, but by spirit, allowing the public to readily observe and participate in Piedmont government decisions. 

If the Council is true to a desire for inclusion, transparency, and public participation, the Agenda needs to list the volunteer positions to be filled in addition to the applicants’ names, and the “Special Meeting” would be broadcasted to the public and recorded.

Decades old hidden appointment processes are being perpetuated.  Under current procedures residents of Piedmont cannot know why individual appointments are made.  Applicant information provided to Council members is by law to be timely provided to the public.  Once appointments have been made appointee names have been withheld “until the appointee was notified. “

Past practices of placing the public at arms length from important Council appointments, processes and decisions have been allowed to continue unquestioned by the Council.  For Piedmont to become inclusive, the old ways need to end in favor of accessible, transparent meeting processes.

During the heart of the pandemic, appointee interviews were of necessity held on Zoom allowing the public to view the appointment procedures remotely. However,  Council members indicated during the Zoom selection process that the open broadcasted interview sessions made the process challenging for the public was able to view and hear the decisions being made.  A social club atmosphere prevailed in selecting  the appointees, as Council members privately sent  phone texts to the City Clerk to indicate their appointment preferences.  The Council never asked the City Clerk which Council members favored which applicants, consequently the public could not know the preferences.. 

For Piedmont to become a truly inclusive City, decision processes should be readily and easily available to all Piedmonters in a transparent manner.

Ironically, the City Council is currently paying a contractor thousands of dollars to advise the City on “transparency” in regard to adding 587 new housing units in Piedmont. Expensive banners have been erected by the City at strategic locations on Piedmont light poles to inform Piedmonters of the impending changes to Piedmont’s Housing Element involving zoning changes and 587 new housing units.

Piedmont Civic Association asked Piedmont City Clerk, John Tulloch, for an explanation on the lack of a recording and broadcast of Council appointment processes. A response is copied below:

“The interviews were conducted in a noticed, open, public meeting, consistent with the City’s past practice for Council vacancy interviews. The meeting was conducted in the EOC to allow for a space in which interviews could be conducted in an open, public, COVID safe way that allowed the Councilmembers to interact with applicants in person.”

Piedmont Civic Association Editors’ Comment:  The size of the Council Chamber (City Hall) 120 Vista Avenue, where Piedmont’s cameras are located and broadcast originate, has a high ceiling making it more airy than the Police Department Emergency Operation Center, EOC.   

During the Commission and  Committee interviews,  the Council has asked candidates  to not be present when other candidates are interviewed. The Brown Act allows all public members to be present for public decision making processes. Volunteers for appointed positions can learn from one another during the interview process, which is an advantage for Piedmont. 

Importantly, many candidates who seek appointed positions might be potential candidates for Piedmont elected office. Interview processes allow residents to observe both the Council and the candidates engendering greater participation, inclusion, and interest in Piedmont policy making.

Various staff members have participated in the appointment processes by advising the Council during their selection process on the pros and cons of some applicants.

Open broadcasted meetings encourage the greatest public participation and strengthen our democratic government.

March  25, 2022 – City notice states:

Special City Council Meeting Agenda – March 28, 2022

The Ralph M. Brown Act Requires that all agendas be written clearly and in sufficient detail to allow the public to understand the question to be decided by the City Council. Piedmont makes every attempt to comply with both the letter and spirit of this law. If, however, you have questions concerning an item on a City Council agenda, please call the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040. Also available are the Staff Reports for each item of business on the agenda. 

[When going to the link for Staff Reports, there is no Staff Report for the March 28, 2022 Agenda. There are no names or positions.]

To send comments to the City Council as a whole, and/or regarding a City Council agenda item, please email citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov. To send via U.S. Mail, please use the following address:

City Council
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

To send an individual Councilmember a message, please find their contact information on the Councilmember page. Any correspondence sent to the City may be considered a public record.

Editors’ Note:  The comments made here in no way express an objection to the specific choices made by the City Council to fill positions. 

Feb 8 2022

The Piedmont Civic Association congratulates Jennifer Long as Piedmont’s newest councilmember and thanks all 11 candidates who were willing to offer their skills to the City in this volunteer position.

At a special meeting on February 7, 2022, the Piedmont City Council selected Jennifer Long to fill the vacancy on the Council created by the resignation of Councilmember Tim Rood from among eleven applicants for the position. Ms. Long will be sworn in at the City Council meeting on February 22, 2022, and her term will run until the results of the General Municipal Election of November 8, 2022 are certified, which likely will take place at a Council meeting in December, 2022.  John O. Tulloch City Clerk

City Press Release: 2022-02-08 Long Appointed to City Council. 

Long, an attorney, resides on Crocker Avenue, where she lives and works. 

Long’s application:   Long, Jennifer – Application 2022

Nov 29 2021

Pedestrian issues missing in the proposed Piedmont Safer Streets Plan. 

  • Where is the plan for better sidewalk maintenance?
  • Where is the plan for enforcement of Piedmont laws prohibiting vehicle parking on sidewalks? 
  • Where is the plan to restrict parking on dangerously narrow streets?

The plan appears to focus on money oriented capital projects and bicycles rather than general pedestrian safety.  Studies produced do not mention accidents caused by improperly maintained sidewalks.  The City inventoried all public paths in Piedmont (in other words, walkways other than sidewalks) to assess conditions and identify any needed repairs.  Sidewalk conditions throughout the City were not inventoried. 

“A secondary walking-related concern is gaps in sidewalk coverage and existing sidewalks in poor condition.” Plan

“Remove onstreet parking and fill in missing sidewalks in order to address concerns about pedestrians having to walk in the roadway.” Resident

The elaborate, costly, and studied final proposal for Safer Streets in Piedmont is to be considered by the City Council on Monday, December 6, 2021.  Agenda  here. 

COVID 19 brought out pedestrians and exercisers in numbers never seen before on Piedmont streets and sidewalks. A repeated complaint from readers was dangerous sidewalk conditions caused by years of damage from trees, water, vehicles, and old age.

Those attempting to walk on sidewalks around corners on narrow streets, frequently found cars and trucks parked on the sidewalk blocking their ability to stay on the sidewalk, particularly those pushing a baby carriage.  Police enforcement prohibiting parking vehicles on the sidewalk is generally absent in Piedmont.

The plan emphasizes vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians crossing or interfacing with Piedmont streets, while not mentioning the number of pedestrians falling or injured by sidewalk problems.

The City of Piedmont, which prides itself on otherwise excellent customer service, does not have an online form for the public to request repair and maintenance of streets and other public infrastructure.  The plan suggests the City should have an online repair request form. 

READ the full proposed FINAL DRAFT PLAN below:

https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/General%20Plan/PSS_final%20draft%20plan_Oct.%2028,%202021.pdf

Transportation Planning

December 6 City Council Hearing

for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan

At the October 7, 2021 meeting, the Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee recommended City Council adoption of the Draft Piedmont Safer Streets Plan with four additional recommendations.
Pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15072, staff prepared an Initial Study for public review for the Safer Streets Plan. Having received no comments, staff is recommending that City Council adopt a Negative Declaration, based on the findings in the Initial Study.
On December 6, 2021, the City Council will consider adoption of a resolution to:
a) adopt the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan, and
b) adopt the Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan.
Following adoption of the Plan, implementation of the Plan’s recommendations, programs and policies will begin. City staff will continue to monitor existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure and traffic conditions in the City. The Final Draft Plan is available for public review. Agenda for the December 6, 2021 Council meeting will be posted here no later than Friday, December 3, 2021. Staff report for the Plan, detailing all steps taken by staff and role played by the PBAC, will be available for review here, no later than Friday, December 3, 2021.
Please send any comments or questions on the Plan to Associate Planner Gopika Nair at gnair@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information about the PSS Plan and staff reports, please visit:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Email comments may be addressed to the City Council and sent to the City Clerk at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov

Aug 24 2021

FREE COVID VACCINE CLINIC FOR ALL AGES 12+

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1st

2pm – 6pm

Piedmont Middle School Buzz Redford Gymnasium

WALK-INS ARE WELCOME!

1. Information about Consent for Minors: ACPHD Youth Vaccination Facts page https://covid-19.acgov.org/youthvaxfacts has information about minor consent, including the Alameda County Minor Consent Guidance and a downloadable Written Consent Form

2. Please see the California Department of Public Health Minor Consent Guidance for more information: https:// www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/ Pfizer-Vaccine-Minor-Consent-Guidance.aspx

3. Though severe allergic reactions are rare, we will have trained staff on site.

Pre-Register Now: Select:Piedmont High School/Middle School

READ THE DETAILED  VACCINE FLYER LINKED BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS

PIEDMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT Vaccine Clinic Flyer

Apr 17 2021

How does the City Council plan to oversee the use of the City owned property at 801 Magnolia Avenue?

While seniors decry the lack of senior programing and voice a need for a Senior Center in Piedmont, private business use has taken priority over public use limiting public use.

Approval of a new lease with the Art Center Board indicates various Council policies are needed:

  • Policy decision authority retained by the Council, the ultimate landlord
  • Guaranteed inclusion rather than exclusion of legitimate non-profit uses of the facility 
  • Council oversight of compliance by all users with local, state, and federal laws including: municipal, state, federal taxes, 501c3 non-profit status, workers compensation, ADA compliance, anti-discrimination, incorporation documentation, valid business licenses and  prohibition of political activities on the premises
  • Accounting of space utilization and ongoing consideration of lost City revenue
  • Evaluation and accountability of liability, risks, and costs to the City by each user and provision of appropriate insurance coverages
  • Semi-annual reports to Council on diversity of users, uses, financial statements, compliance with City policies, and City obligations
  • Staff Annual reports to Council on building structural integrity, safety measures, maintenance, ADA compliance, and interior and exterior upkeep expenditures
  • Required Council approval for all commercial subleases extending over two weeks
  • Council adoption of written conditions required for all sublets 
  • Prohibition of Art Center Board members and advisors to sublet the property for more than two weeks per year
  • Prompt staff reports to Council concerning issues arising from the lease or sublets 
  • Public access to financial records, board meetings, and minutes of Art Center Board
  • Adoption of comprehensive Council policies governing the use and rental of all Piedmont public properties

Piedmonters, owners of 801 Magnolia Avenue, have been awaiting invitations to observe Board meetings and receive regular financial reports from their tenant.  The Piedmont Center for the Arts Board is composed of well-meaning, generous, local residents of Piedmont and Oakland who may have overlooked their obligation to keep Piedmont citizens informed in a transparent manner of the use of this important public asset.

Nov 4 2020

Hats off and praise is deserved for the thousands of Piedmonters who were involved in the Piedmont City Council and PUSD School Board elections, plus Piedmont Measures TT, increase in property transfer tax, and UU pool bonds.

Despite COVID – 19 encumbrances, residents endorsed, posted signs, mailed letters, donated to campaigns, and talked to friends and neighbors and then voted. Piedmonters once more showed a keen interest in Piedmont by participating.

Out of the 9 individuals who sought public office, five were elected – Council: Jen Cavenaugh and Conna McCarthy – School Board: Cory Smegal, Veronica Anderson Thigpen, and Hilary Cooper. 

The two City Council tax measures,  TT, increase in property transfer tax, lost by approximately 50 votes, and UU, pool bonds, was handily approved by over 2/3rds of the voters. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Piedmont election.

Updated election returns > https://www.acgov.org/rovresults/241/indexA.htm