May 2 2021

Housing Element Consulting Services $691,230

City Council Meeting Monday, May 3. 2021

On March 1, 2021, the City Council approved the issuance of a Request for Proposals for Professional Services to Update the Piedmont Housing Element for the 6th Cycle/2023-2031. Only one firm submitted a proposal of services.

The City Administrator recommends an agreement with Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc. (LWC) in the amount $691,230 for services related to a Housing Element update.

State law requires every city and county in California to adopt a housing element of its general plan. The law also provides for periodic updates of the housing element. Piedmont has updated its Housing Element on five previous occasions.  Piedmont did not contest its housing allocation of 587 new housing units.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) upcoming “round six” Housing Element update covering the time frame 2023-2031 began with the adoption of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).  Piedmont’s allocation jumped to 587 housing units, compared to 60 units in RHNA 5, the 2014-22 planning period.

The next step is preparation of the Housing Element Update, the environmental documentation, and the Update’s submittal and review for certification by HCD. The deadline for adoption of the Update is January 31, 2023.  State law provides a penalty if the update is not adopted within 120 days after the deadline. That penalty is a requirement for an update every four years rather than every eight years if the update is adopted on time.

Consideration of a Consulting Services Agreement with Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc., in an Amount Not to Exceed $691,230 for Services Related to a Housing Element Update

AGENDA

Comments to the City Council – citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov

May 2 2021

See opinions on this proposal. https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2021/04/30/opinion-reconsider-use-of-taxpayer-funds/

Agenda –

https://piedmont.ca.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/City%20Council/Agenda/council-current-agenda.pdf

Comments may be sent to the City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov

Apr 30 2021
Re: May 3 Council Agenda Item : Grand – Lower Grand
Piedmont City Council
Dear Mayor King and Council,
.
          Spending funds on a Grand Ave – lower Grand bicycle improvement is a curious option for public funds as only beautification and limited bike safety will be addressed. In contrast improving the Fairview – Grand intersection accomplishes many concerns: bicycle safety, pedestrian Safety, significant traffic calming and significant Green Infrastructure (“GI”) compliance as this intersection is at the bottom of the hill and a bio-swale can be installed. The GI element is essentially very limited or not possible at Grand – lower Grand. Importantly, more beautification then the small project proposed at Grand and lower Grand is possible at Fairview – Grand as the multitude of traffic turning up Fairview off Grand is indicative of this intersection as a significant City Gateway and there will be  beautification of one of the two small commercial zones in Piedmont. Lastly the unsightly “gateway” of white plastic bollards will be eliminated.
.
          The 2014 Piedmont Bike Pedestrian Master Plan (“PBMP”) at p. 77 listed Grand/Fairview as a priority project and the report states “many requests from the public, creates sense of gateway into the city.”  The current Staff Report notes the PBMP as to Grand/Lower Grand intersection as “one needing additional traffic calming measures.” The PBMP places the Fairview Grand intersection as a higher safety priority; a permanent solution at this important intersection addresses multiple issues unlike the limited possibilities at Grand – Lower Grand.
.
          I urge Council to reconsider and use taxpayer funds in a more efficient manner that serves many more in town and accomplishes multiple needs by improving the Grand – Fairview intersection. Minimally, I ask Council to direct Staff to place a higher priority on the Fairview – Grand intersection.
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Respectfully,
.
Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident
April 30, 2021
Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Apr 28 2021
CITY OF PIEDMONT ARBOR DAY EVENTS
This year, the City of Piedmont’s Arbor Day Celebration will be held VIRTUALLY on Friday, April 30th.
Arbor Day Video:
The City has a link on their website of the Arbor Day video, which highlights the City’s 19 heritage trees, as well as, a presentation by Zach Parisa speaking about Piedmont’s own urban forest.

WATCH the Video > https://youtu.be/0sHHQ_AXflY

Arbor Day Tree Planting:
The City will be planting three Yulan Magnolia in Dracena Park, in memory of Ralston Louie.
Chalk Art Contest:
Public Works is also hosting a Chalk Art Contest for our youngest residents. Participants can pick their favorite street or park tree next to a sidewalk, write the tree’s name in chalk along with any inspired artwork honoring the tree! Please send your photo of the artist and tree to Nancy Kent. If you need assistance identifying your tree, contact Parks & Project Manager, Nancy Kent!
Prizes will be awarded for the most creative tree art!
For additional information contact Nancy Kent at nkent@piedmont.ca.gov
or (510) 420-3064 
Apr 28 2021

2020 Census Alerts California to Senior Needs

The CA Fertility Rate declined by twice the US Rate, while Seniors are a fast-increasing age group in the State.

Birth rates have steadily fallen in California since the aftermath of World War II, when the baby boom first sent the state’s population soaring. According to state data, births have declined by more than 15 percent in the past decade.

But California’s baby bust since the last census has also been more acute than in the rest of the country. Take the fertility rate, which demographers typically define as births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44.

Nationally, that rate fell from 64.1 in 2010 to 58.3 in 2019 — a loss of 5.8 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. In California, however, the decline was 11.7 births. By comparison, the fertility rate in Florida dropped by fewer than four births.

Older adults have outpaced growth in children or working-age adults to become the state’s fastest-growing age group. The state projects that by 2030, more than nine million Californians will be over 65.  New York Times

Read April 26, 2021 NYT article here

Apr 23 2021

The City of Piedmont is collaborating with East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), Piedmont’s local power provider to offer an induction cooktop lending program for Piedmont residents. The program started in April 2021.

Any resident can try out induction cooktops for free.

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up for this program using this google form. Signing up is free and all you need is some basic contact information. If you cannot access the google form, you can also call a City staff member at (510) 420-3058 and leave your name, address, and phone number to be added to our loaning list. This is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so sign-up early!
  • A City staff member will contact you to confirm your reservation. Once contacted for your pickup, you can come to City Hall to retrieve the cooktop unit. For individuals with physical limitations, you can arrange a socially distant pickup and/or drop-off.
  • Use your induction cooktop! The cooktop can plug into any standard electrical socket. The cooktop will come with additional usage instructions, and there are some handy resources linked below. If you haven’t used one before, don’t worry–the induction experience is new for a lot of people. The City encourages you to try using it for different things, such as boiling water, sautéing, or frying your favorite dishes.
  • After 3 weeks, you must return your cooktop unit to the City. Please be respectful of the loan timeframe.
  • The City wants as many Piedmonters to have the chance to use the cooktop as possible.
Apr 21 2021

The next meeting of the Piedmont Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) is this Thursday, April 22, at 5:30 pm.

The PBAC is helping to guide the development of the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan.

The meeting agenda and ways to participate are > here.

For questions about the PBAC, contact Gopika Nair (City staff liaison), at SaferStreets@Piedmont.ca.gov or at (510) 420-3054.

Apr 19 2021

 Join the City of Piedmont in a virtual

celebration of the 51st anniversary of Earth Day .

This Thursday, April 22, the City will be holding virtual events featuring a presentation and community discussion about Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan and a discussion of the documentary Rebuilding Paradise with a panel of local fire experts, including the City’s new Fire Chief.

The City will also announce the winners of this year’s Piedmont Climate Challenge. Visit the City’s Earth Day page to find additional information about the events including a list of regional celebrations and resources.

– Lunch and Evening Program –

Click announcement below for sign-ups, details, links, and program schedule:

Earth Day 2021 Notice

Apr 18 2021

 Council Agenda for virtual meeting on April 19, 2021 – 6 pm

PROVIDE INPUT TO THE CITY COUNCIL AT:

citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov

READ THE FULL AGENDA AND METHODS OF WATCHING AND PARTICIPATING BY CLICKING BELOW.

4192021 council-agenda

Apr 12 2021

 A Look at the California Electrical Grid Evolution  –

I got interested in studying the California electric grid as the result of the passage of Measure UU. The amount of energy consumed by an aquatic facility is significant:  in 2019 the existing pools used 25,396 therms of gas and 110 MWh of electricity a year, equivalent to 854 MWh (1MWh = 1,000 kwh). The new Piedmont aquatic facility is planned to have three times the surface and therefore could need as much as three times more energy in a steady state.

Clearly the new facility ought to minimize greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions.  Given the expected lifetime of the future facility, it makes sense to look forward and consider its GHG footprint in the long term in the context of the evolution of the grid, the City Climate Action Plan and the State 2050 decarbonisation goals.

I built a simulation engine for the California grid based on the hourly empirical data available for the year 2019 from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the California Public Utility Commission. It simulates the way the energy available from various in-state and out-of-state sources are fed into the grid to meet demand. Increase in wind and solar supply is assumed to be based on scaling existing farms, therefore resulting in a proportional increase in such hourly energy offered to the grid. Demand is scaled based on the projection of the adoption of electric vehicles, the construction of new all-electric homes, and the conversion to electricity of residential, commercial, and industrial natural gas usage. Each sector has its own specific hourly demand distribution.

Wind and solar are energy sources with very large down and up swings.

  • On the down side in 2019 the wind and solar offering fell below 5% of hourly demand 19% of the time. Such intermittent power needs to be backfilled on a real time basis by dispatchable sources to match demand. Dispatchable energies are generated by power units able to vary output to follow demand, such as natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear and geothermal plants. The utilisation factor of such traditional plants diminishes with intermittent energy use, but the plants cannot be decommissioned because their full power is needed for the several hours a year with high demand and lack of wind and sun.

  • On the up side, wind and solar energy production has to be curtailed whenever its hourly generation exceeds demand (minus a dispatchable energy floor to ensure reliable service). As the proportion of wind and solar power offered to the grid relative to demand increases, the proportion of such refused energy relative to the one offered increases.

The graph below is the result of running scenarios on the simulator corresponding to the projected demand in 2045. Note that the projection does not take into account converting industrial natural gas use (768,188 million cubic feet a year) to electricity, equivalent to 225 TWh a year assuming all industrial usage is for heating (one TWh equals 1,000,000 MWh).

The refused wind and solar energy could be converted to hydrogen through electrolysis rather than curtailed and used either to power hydrogen cars, to generate dispatchable electricity through hydrogen turbines and/or to be mixed with natural gas for distribution through the existing gas network.  See  below: Looking at the various possible evolutions of the mix of energy sources in the grid, I was hoping to calculate the sweet spot on the blue lines in the chart for the ratio of wind and solar power offered relative to demand that would optimize all life cycle costs and service reliability. But I failed because of the large uncertainties on many parameters which would allow me to reach any conclusion that I am biased towards, in particular:

  • Cost of upgrading the natural gas distribution network to handle hydrogen.

  • Life cycle cost of new nuclear and hydrogen dispatchable power plants.

  • Life cycle cost of new solar and wind farms with potentially lower level of utilization than currently accounted for.

  • Life cycle cost of traditional power plants operated at much lower utilisation factor, but still needed to power the grid in the hours with no wind and solar.

  • Energy efficiency in the electricity-hydrogen- electricity life cycle.

  • Life cycle cost of batteries.

Politics will drive where the grid ends up. Currently intermittent energy sources are favored over dispatchable non-fossil power plants as they create jobs all over California rather than in a few places and have a projected low life cycle cost.

With regard to the design of the new aquatic facilities, I would favor a single smaller pool focused on sports rather than recreation because of my belief that frugality is essential to meet the climate challenge. In any case, I know that a competent team focused on sustainability is working on the design of a “green” pool and I am confident that the promises of Measure UU will be achieved to the satisfaction of our community.

Bernard Pech, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.