Sep 22 2022

Questions on the proposed Housing Element were posed by Garrett Keating followed by Answers from the City Planning Department, plus Interpretations.

  1. Is the relocation of the Corporation Yard to Blair Park being considered as part of the Moraga Canyon Site Assessment?

Answer:  City staff considered the broader policy issue of identifying City parkland in the Housing Element sites inventory, starting on page 157 of the Draft Housing Element. Ultimately, staff recommended a Draft Housing Element that did not include parkland in the sites inventory as a primary site. Blair Park was identified as a possible “alternative site” in the text description of the sites inventory. Dracena Park and all City parks were considered for housing sites during the development of the sites inventory in the Draft Housing Element.  On August 1, 2022, the City Council directed staff to include Blair Park in the sites inventory as a primary site as part of a proposed Moraga Canyon Specific Plan study in order to consider all of the interrelated changes that may be necessary to locate housing in Moraga Canyon and improve City facilities at the same time.

The Moraga Canyon Specific Plan study will start with a request for proposals (RFP) or request for qualifications (RFQ). The RFP or RFQ will include a project description for the types of land uses and changes to be considered.

  1. The Housing Element 102 presentation projected 82 units for the Corporation Yard.  Does that assume the Corporation Yard is relocated to Blair Park? If not, can you tell me the acreage that is available for housing in the Corporation Yard and how you arrived at 82 units for the Corporation Yard (50+32)?

Answer: Here is some background about the corporation yard site for the purposes of the Housing Element sites inventory. The corporation yard, alone, is approximately 13.6 acres. It is an approximate number because this land is also steeply sloping in some areas, and it has existing uses and facilities. Of the 13.6 acres, 3.7 acres are expected to yield 132 housing units. 100 of the 132 would be multifamily residential units at approximately 50 dwelling units per acre.  Please see Figure B-1 from the Draft Housing Element below.

On August 1, the City Council directed staff to re-distribute the housing units identified for sites in the civic center area. It is possible that some of the housing units (mainly moderate and above moderate housing units) could be added to the corporation yard site and a new Moraga Canyon Specific Plan study. These units would appear, if necessary, in the next iteration of the Draft Housing Element sites inventory this fall. Also on August 1, the City Council directed staff to include Blair Park in the Moraga Canyon Specific Plan study area.

Interpretation:  relocation of the Corporation Yard to Blair Park is currently not being considered in the identification of housing sites in the Housing Element.  The map shows that the Corporation Yard is to be maintained and staff does not indicate that they are considering it for housing.

  1. The City Administrator discussed the income levels required for new residents to be eligible for low-income housing.  The City Administrator presented income data for city/PUSD employees, citing the number of employees that fall into the 4 categories between $69,000 and $150,000. I believe she concluded that 80% of city/PUSD employees are considered low-income.  Is that correct?  The income eligibility levels are based on the income for a family of 4.  Did the city administrator’s presentation account for this – are the employee numbers she presented for employees with families of 4 (or more) or were those incomes for individuals?

Answer: To follow up the email I sent on Monday, I confirmed that the income categories described on slide 10 of the presentation on August 18, 2022, were based on a family of 4 people and that the City and PUSD employees’ incomes were evaluated against this baseline family income. The analysis did not base the employees’ income categories on the size of their actual families.

Interpretation Using individual income levels of city/PUSD employees to characterize those employees’ eligibility for different low-income family housing overstates their eligibility.

  1. The Planning Director presented a new total for ADUs of 142 and a new income distribution of 84/42/16 = 142. He attributed this new distribution to guidance from HCD and ABAG.  Can I obtain a copy of that guidance from the two agencies or can you direct me to a s source for it? 

Answer: Click on the following link to review the ADU projected income levels from ABAG guidance from June 2022: https://abag.ca.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2022-06/ADUs-Projections-Memo_final.pdf

Interpretation These new ADU allocations help Piedmont in that they count towards the city’s low-income unit target, lessening the need for low-income units elsewhere.  It should be noted the City has very little control over the actual rental or monthly rent of these units.

 Would moving the Corporation Yard to Blair Park make that side of Moraga Avenue more eligible for development.

“It is our understanding that a number of these facilities have significant capital deficiencies and that they are likely to require substantial renovation and/or replacement at some point in the near future. Because these sites are in strategic locations, it will be possible for the City to engage with the private sector to establish partnerships that would lead to the redevelopment of these facilities along with the identified housing programs.  These sites have value that the City can potentially leverage to attract private partners and to move forward on the basis of a public-private partnership that meets the community’s needs for improved facilities, along with the provision of additional housing.” From the City FAQ about Civic sites:

Both sides of Moraga Avenue can accommodate housing but on which side does the City have more leverage to improve facilities and add housing?  Working with developers, the City can certainly add low income housing to Blair Park but there are no facilities on that side of Moraga to improve, with the exception of the park.  The Corporation Yard offers multiple upgrade options. The City intends to expand Coaches Field to a 150 x 300 multi-purpose field and major reconfiguration of the space is needed.  The Corporation Yard itself is outdated – would a developer contribute to its relocation to eastern Blair Park for the right to develop the site?  The Moraga Canyon Specific Plan needs to include this analysis to achieve the best return to the community on the public land that will be converted to housing.

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont City Council Member

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author and the City of Piedmont Planning Department.

READ PROPOSED  HOUSING ELEMENT :>  LWC_Piedmont_HEU_PRD_040822-compiledfix

Sep 19 2022

Bridget Harris, candidate for the Piedmont City Council, voices, “The City Council should carefully consider applying the “Walkable Oriented Development” (“WOD”) approach to all possible locations and present the results to the community for approval before submitting any proposal for the 6th Cycle Housing Element.”

As the City of Piedmont addresses potential locations for additional housing to meet the 6th Cycle Housing Element, the following criteria should be considered:
1.      Maintain the culture and character of the City;
2.      Maintain traffic safety and security in the City;
3.      Minimize the loss of park land and open space;
4.      Offer locations that maximize the efficiency of construction and living.

A study by the American Enterprise Institute suggests that these criteria can best be met by “Walkable Oriented Development” (“WOD”).  This approach focuses development in areas within a ten minute walk of services and infrastructure. WOD focuses on the placement of multi-unit housing close to existing supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants and public transportation.  It allows an increase in density while minimizing the need for the construction of additional infrastructure. WOD also makes it easier and less expensive for low income owners/renters to access necessary services thereby reducing traffic impact .

Piedmont doesn’t have a WOD location in the center of the City nor does it have a WOD area along Moraga Avenue.  It doesn’t make sense to force expensive and inefficient high density development in these locations.  However, Grand Avenue and Park Boulevard could become WOD areas with significantly less expense and disruption to the existing community.  The City Council should carefully consider applying the WOD approach to all possible locations and present the results to the community for approval before submitting any proposal for the 6th Cycle Housing Element. 
https://www.aei.org/wod/

Bridget Harris, Seaview Avenue

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Sep 18 2022

The Piedmont City Council starting at 6:30 pm will consider the following at their Monday, September 19, 2022 meeting. Full staff reports are linked below the various noted items.

“In 2021, six small accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Piedmont that received final building permit inspection would likely have rents affordable to residents earning low-income wages. Three ADUs finaled in Piedmont would likely have rents affordable to moderate income residents. Three new ADUs are so small (336 s.f. or less) that they would likely rent at rates affordable to households earning very low incomes, and another two ADUs (337 s.f. and 901 s.f.) were approved under prior City ordinances and have restrictions limiting occupants’ incomes and rents to very low rates for a period of 10 years. Finally, two new ADUs would likely rent at rates above moderate income due to their size and number of bedrooms. There were no single-family residences completed in Piedmont in 2021. For addresses, sizes, and numbers of bedrooms, see the list of completed ADUs for 2021 below.  See full staff report linked above.

“During the calendar year 2021 the City of Piedmont gave final inspection approval to building permits for 16 new accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in 2021. In addition to the 16 that received final inspection approval, the City of Piedmont issued building permits for 23 new ADUs. Zero (0) building permits were issued for new single-family homes, bringing the total number of building permits issued during the 2015-2023 term up to 96 permits. The City’s issuance of building permits for new housing units exceeds the overall goal set by the State of California in the RHNA for the 5th Cycle Housing Element by 36 housing units. However, production of very low-income units has lagged, resulting in a total since 2015 of 18 building permits for very low income units, where the RHNA goal is 24. The following staff report provides background and analysis on the annual progress report.” Staff report.

Agenda and participation details:

https://cdn5-hosted.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/City%20Council/Agenda/council-current-agenda.pdf?v=T0ocGxUAQ

Sep 18 2022

Street sweeping for the winter begins this Monday, September 19, 2022.

Street sweeping is critical for keeping our storm drains clear during leaf drop season.

Please help by moving cars and any other obstacles off the street on street sweeping days. Take these steps to get ready now:

On your street sweeping day:

  • move your vehicle off the street
  • remove any obstacles blocking access to the curb, including green waste, recycling, and trash cans

Thank you for helping to keep our streets clean and protect our storm drains.

Email alerts
You can now sign up for email reminders about upcoming street sweeping dates.

On weeks that we’re doing street sweeping, we’ll send a reminder to the street sweeping email list on Sunday with the schedule.

SUBSCRIBE TO STREET SWEEPING ALERTS
This list will be used only to send street sweeping calendar information.
Sep 15 2022

There are 6 candidates seeking election to 3 seats on the Piedmont City Council. Voters can vote for up to 3 of the candidates. The election is on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. The candidates are shown below in alphabetical order with their ballot statements copied beside their photographs.

Betsy Andersen

Betsy Smegal Andersen

City Council Member

My education and qualifications are: My priorities on the Piedmont City Council have been community health and safety, financial stability, and strong city-school relations. During my time on Council, we have renovated Hampton Park and the Corey Reich Tennis Center, invested $3.75M for future pension needs, facilitated in-town COVID-19 testing, allocated funds to modernize police and fire dispatch, and maintained a balanced budget. Currently, we are rebuilding the city-owned Piedmont Community Pool, thanks to voter-approved Measure UU. As a lifelong resident, I appreciate the challenges and opportunities as we develop strategies to meet our climate action goals, address the state housing crisis, and replace aging infrastructure. Prior to serving on Council, I volunteered on the Public Safety Committee to promote emergency preparedness and chaired the Recreation Commission with a focus on improving recreational facilities and opportunities for all ages. I attended Piedmont public schools, majored in Public Policy at Duke, earned my law degree from UCLA, and practiced law for nearly two decades. My husband, Robert, and I raised our daughters here, Jane (PHS ’18) and Ellie (PHS ’21). If re-elected, I will continue to listen thoughtfully to all voices as we work together to strengthen the community we call home

Sonny Bostrom-Flemming

 

Nancy “Sunny” Bostrom-Fleming

My education and qualifications are: Once upon a time there was a chubby little rich boy who lived in a mansion. He was driven in a limousine to school where he faced name calling, shoving, pinching. His mother sang, taught him piano & knitted him sweaters. He earned two doctorates. One music, one in theology, trained as a Presbyterian minister, married, had two children, four grandchildren, & millions of stepchildren. You might be one of them. His name was Fred Rogers and he lives in your heart. He never forgot the pain he experienced when he was helpless as we all have been or will be. His sweater is at the Smithsonian. My name is Sunny. I ran before. I promoted cameras at Piedmont’s entrances that keep your family & pets safer. My father taught me to swim when I was six months old. When I went to Katrina to help I realized that African-Americans are at a great & deadly disadvantage as far as swimming education is concerned. We can start a program to promote water safety for all children in America, saving thousands of lives. The issues before us are among the most important in our histor

Jennifer Long

Jennifer Long

Appointed City Council Member

My education and qualifications are: I am running for City Council to serve our beautiful community and maintain its greatness as it grows and evolves. With an impending pool build, critical infrastructure repair (and or replacement) and housing development, Piedmont is poised to be a city with the future in mind. In these unprecedented times, our city needs leaders who understand the interests of our citizens to maintain its excellent schools and outstanding public services such as the police and fire department. My perspective as a current member of the council and my direct engagement with the Piedmont community allow me to get to the essence of what is needed to create and maintain a safe, inclusive, and fiscally-sound community. My experience as a current city council member, attorney and life coach provide me with a solid foundation to tackle the matters that lie ahead for Piedmont. Through my work in various community organizations and with my connections to a variety of community members from sports teams to schools, I have a deep understanding of what makes Piedmont the outstanding community we all love and how to make it evolve into a city we will continue to be proud of in the future.

Bridget Harris

Bridget McInerney Harris

Estate Planning Attorney

My  education and qualifications are: I seek election to the City Council to serve the community with a strong commitment to public safety, fiscal discipline, realistic growth and common sense. I believe we can improve our community’s engagement regarding the increased housing requirement imposed by California by introducing more public forums and clear accessible diagrams of what is being discussed and debated. Importantly, I would advocate that all residents should vote before any park or city land is used for multi-family units within the city of Piedmont. Another top priority is public safety with additional support for the police and fire departments; improving both facilities and funding. I would be honored to put my knowledge, work ethic, and love for Piedmont to work as your City Council member. I earned my B.S. from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, my JD from Gonzaga University, and my Taxation LLM from Georgetown University. I have practiced tax law locally for more than 40 years. We have resided in Piedmont since 1986, raising our four children here. I serve on the Executive Boards of the Piedmont Boy Scouts and Order of Malta Clinic in Oakland, a provider of free medical care to uninsured patients in our community.

Tom Ramsey

Tom Ramsey

Architect

My education and qualifications are: Piedmont’s a great town. 25 years ago, my family moved here for the public schools, and now that our daughters graduated PHS, we stayed for the friendships, location, and services delivered by the city. I value safe neighborhoods, and I expect fiscal responsibility. Our town does have work to do. We have a pool to build as construction costs increase. We have public facilities with deferred maintenance issues. We have the difficult task of navigating the state mandates for housing density in a small town already built out and full of beautiful historic homes and civic buildings. I’m an architect, a problem solver and for over 30 years I’ve been building and leading diverse teams around the Bay Area. I’ll leverage my professional experience and my seven years on the planning commission to continue to accommodate growth while preserving Piedmont’s physical character. I’ve served on committees: Seismic Advisory, Design Guidelines, Measure A1 and I’ve worked with Piedmont’s youth through Scouting’s Community Service Crew for over a decade. I’m confident that when our town is fully engaged and works together, we can successfully resolve the issues in front of us; that’s what makes Piedmont a great town. vote4tomramsey.com

Jeanne Solnordal

Jeanne Solnordal

Broker

My education and qualifications are: I am running for the City Council to bring a much-needed perspective and balance to our beautiful city. Many voices are underrepresented, especially those residents who oppose the plan to add 587 units of affordable housing to Piedmont at a cost of around $850,000 per unit. I am well-educated, having earned a Juris Doctorate degree in 1994 after working for the IRS for 18 years. In 1994 I obtained a Broker’s license and established a property management company which I still run. My legal (landlord/tenant) and tax accounting experience will be very helpful to Piedmont going forward. I will work to prioritize the city’s needs and will be fiscally responsible with your hard earned taxpayer dollars. My family has lived in Piedmont since 2002 and our children attended Piedmont schools. I served as a Girl Scout leader, President of Millennium Parents Club, a school volunteer, and assisted in organizing the Spring Flings and Harvest Festival. Currently, I am serving on the Public Safety Committee. Piedmont is a unique and desirable place to live. Let’s keep it that way.

The League of Women Voters Piedmont is holding a virtual City Council Candidates’ Forum:

When: Thursday, September 22, 2022 @ 7:30 pm
Where: online via Zoom and YouTube

Register to receive a link to join the live Zoom webinar. This event will also be live-streamed on YouTube and the recording will be available there for future viewing.

Register

Editors’ Note: The League of Women Voters and the Piedmont Civic Association (PCA) are separate community organizations. PCA does not support or oppose candidates for public office.  All candidates and the community are invited to submit information about candidates, including endorser lists to the link on left side of this page.

Sep 13 2022

Senate Bill 9 (SB9) can be a Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) Game Changer for Piedmont.

How so and are actions possible now?

The ADU  [Accessory Dwelling Unit] discussion in the Civic Discussion Forum has much of the insight needed to help implement the opportunity of ADUs in Piedmont with respect to political support needed to develop ADUs in Piedmont and help guide the ADU discussion to help save the downtown “look and feel” of Piedmont in general. Here are a few observations that hopefully adds to the expertise here.

First, Piedmont is essentially implementing the ministerial RHNA housing allocation without a revised Master Plan. The community knows that the math allocations do not add up to the values shared for our collective sense of “Piedmont”.  We also know that fellow community members such as teachers, police, community staff cannot afford to live in our city limits. We also know we need more time to articulate a new Master Plan that implements both Piedmont’s values we share, while increasing the supply of affordable housing we need.

Second, our Piedmont housing element acknowledges, “The 2008 General Plan Update is the first major Plan revision in 12 years. It looks ahead to a horizon year of 2025. Most of the work on the Plan update was completed over a 15-month period between April 2007 and July 2008.”; long before anyone had dreamed of RHNA or the need for affordable housing in Piedmont.

Question: Can Piedmont comply with RHNA and timing while committing to the time commitment needed to articulate a new Master Plan with a diverse community, without abandoning value, purpose and civic sense of place of Piedmont?

Let’s look at the RHNA math more closely.

•       The RHNA estimate is generally based on the average number of ADU building permits issued each year, “multiplied by eight (because there are eight years in a housing element cycle)”.
•       If numbers were low in 2019 but were high in 2020, 2021, and 2022, a given city jurisdiction could potentially use 2020-2022 as the baseline.
•       “A slightly larger number may be warranted if a robust, funded, and clear plan to increase production has been put in place.”

Again, the RHNA formula allows Piedmont to multiply our ADU units by a factor of 8 if these permits and the intentions and performance are real.

Suggested Goal for discussion:
How can Piedmont develop ADUs at the rate of 70 ADUs per year, beginning in 2022, for eight years.  But let’s also look at how we achieve the outcome of permitting 250 ADU units in less time and less money than the City’s spend on consulting fees to explain the RHNA math to its citizens.

Proposal for Discussion:
Piedmont’s permitting process is highly unusual. Most cities accept filed permits and terminate them after a very short period of time, say 18 months. However, Piedmont’s permits stay actively open indefinitely and pass on from respective homeowner to homeowner, until built or revised. Permits do not expire in Piedmont.

This unique process can be used to Piedmont’s advantage. This may help demonstrate and meet long-term goals for Piedmont’s ADU permitting count; and show immediate proof to the RHNA that Piedmont’s volume of ADUs complies with Piedmont’s RHNA quota. This approach could demonstrate policy results and buy time for a better Piedmont Master Plan.

If the City of Piedmont combines Piedmont’s unique permitting and permit process with a new “surged effort” to help the City enable low cost access for anyone who is considering building an ADU in the next 10 years, Piedmont can “hit its numbers.”  The City needs a new operations model with a concerted, coordinated, significant, programmatic design, budgeting and mass permitting of high quality ADUs.

Is the trade worth the hassle?  Is the needed change to the City Planning Operations and focus worth the reward to save us from knee jerk “numbers game” and buy Piedmont the time needed for a new Master Plan? Can we do a better job at coordinating the look and feel of Piedmont’s future?

The New RHNA Math may be possible if the City of Piedmont and its Planning Department creates a programmatic approach to design, permitting in a massive coordinated effort to plan and permit ADU’s within Piedmont.  Can the City help guide or retain a prepaid pool of consulting architects and builders to provide easy, low cost planning access to anyone in Piedmont who wants to build an ADU in Piedmont in the next 10 years, without penalty for changing plans?

These systems exist in other venues – is it worth the trade of the hassle here in Piedmont for the results?

If Piedmont homeowners take the time and also have access to simple resources to help develop their respective ADUs, even if it takes 10 years to save, plan and build … or sell the opportunity to the next homeowner …  legitimate RHNA permits counts are possible. The housing opportunity is real.

By this new math, Piedmont needs at a peak initiative 20 residents per week to participate in affordable designs and permits approved per week for the next 4 months to reach 250 Permitted ADU permits.

The RHNA math only demands 70 permits to extrapolate Piedmont’s 8-year trend, but Piedmont can do better. On average, the building California City building departments provide comments to completed ADU applications in 10 days. The design standards are already set in Piedmont. Let’s change that to 30 approvals per every 10 days if the applicants are among the Petition of 1,000 signatures of concerned citizens.

John Cheney, Lincoln Avenue, Piedmont

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Sep 13 2022

“Climate action is a demonstrated priority for Piedmont’s City Council.”

The City of Piedmont has been awarded the Institute of Local Government (ILG)’s
Beacon Spotlight Award for Sustainability Best Practices at the Platinum level.  Piedmont’s Platinum Spotlight award was recognized at the League of California Cities
Annual Conference in Long Beach on Thursday September 8, 2022.

The Spotlight Award recognizes sustainability actions that go above and beyond state
mandates, highlighting creative and local solutions for addressing climate sustainability
in ten areas, including energy efficiency and conservation, green building, and waste
reduction.

Piedmont was recognized in the following areas:

• Reach Codes:

• All-Electric Community Pool:

• EV Chargers:

• Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan:

• Climate-Friendly Purchasing:

• Compost Giveaways:

• Community Education:

READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE > 2022-09-12 City Honored for Sustainability Achievements

Sep 7 2022

Piedmonters have called for clearer explanations on what is proposed in the Housing Element.  Helpful explanations would include:

  • Specific diagrams of any new and safer roads near schools and in the Morago Canyon Area where housing is proposed, including cost projections for road improvements.
  • The state is looking for zoning changes to increase housing density. How is Piedmont proposing to comply with the City Charter and Piedmont voters rights on zoning changes increasing density?
  • High density housing in Piedmont is being proposed to a height of 6 stories.  This height is greater than existing buildings in Piedmont.  How does this not change the character of the city and stay in  compliance with Piedmont ordinances and design review standards?
  • Currently, a small number of dwelling units are in the Moraga Canyon area. How will services be provided including: transit, pedestrian access, monitoring of low-income and affordable rents, public safety access, etc. –  for the hundreds of new dwelling units proposed? How will the additional workload and costs be covered ?
  • The Housing Element once adopted by the City and the Department of Housing and Community Development becomes a “property use right. “ On city and private property, what are city and voter controls over development and costs after the Housing Element has been adopted by the City Council?
  • The City is not required to build the housing.  However, the use of City land is essential to meeting the large numbers of dwelling units required of the HE.  What right does the City have to participate in leasing, selling, or assisting in the use of public lands per the State Constitution Article 34 and the City Charter without voter approval of the zoning use changes?
  • Commercial developers paired with government money await the opportunity to build in Piedmont as supported locally by influencers in and outside of Piedmont.   What is the schedule to provide  Piedmont voters with their right to vote on the HE zoning changes prior to final adoption?
  • Outreach efforts by Piedmont have been clouded and confused by partial information and changes to the proposed HE.  Why isn’t or wasn’t a mailed survey sent to every residence in Piedmont to learn of voters concerns and interests?
  • What are the requirements for building high density dwelling units in Piedmont, including: height limits, density, street configurations, utilities, public safety, trees, transit, parks, sewers, water, landslides, fire protection, parking, lighting, open space, etc. ?
Sep 7 2022

Emergency Alerts Began on Sunday, September 4 This Week

On Wednesday, September 7, The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) stage 2, effective from 4 to 9pm.

On Tuesday, September 6, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) stage 2 for 4 to 9pm.  As grid conditions worsened, energy supplies were determined to be insufficient to cover demand and reserves, and an EEA stage 3 was declared at 5:17 pm, indicating controlled power outages were imminent.

Planned outages are implemented when all the other emergency tools on hand for  the ISO, utilities and state agencies have been used and supplies are still insufficient to  cover demand.

If needed, ISO could order utilities to begin rotating power outages to maintain stability  of the electric grid. If that occurs, consumers should expect communications – either  phone, text or email – from their utilities notifying them of outage areas and likely  durations.

Rotating power outages, or small-scale, contained, controlled interruptions in power,  can help maintain reliability and avoid cascading blackouts. When the ISO determines  that supplies are not sufficient to meet demand, it can issue an EEA 3, and then if  reserves are exhausted, it would order utilities to begin outages to bring demand back in line with available supplies.   ISO announcement here

Battery Technology Advances Are Needed to Restore Reliable Electric Energy

Massive Battery Capacity is Necessary to Allow Dependence on Solar and Wind Farms and Power a Huge Increase in the Number of Electric Cars

At present batteries require toxic or rare materials including nickel, lithium and cobalt.  Replacing fossil fuels with toxics may not be entirely defensible.  Doug Powell, Solid Power head, reminds us “Batteries are no different than all other science fields – nothing is free.”  Longer driving range requires longer charge time,  but charge time affects cycle life.

Various new developments in battery technology are hyped, only to be discarded a few years later.  A case in point  was lithium-sulfur batteries, which generated excitement in 2010.  Unfortunately, their claimed energy density required huge amounts of electrolytes.

Until battery technology catches up with the multiple needs, Piedmonters and all Californians will have to restrain their use of electricity, especially as sunset approaches, shutting down the stream of solar energy.

CONSERVE ENERGY TO HELP PREVENT POWER OUTAGES

Extreme heat across California over the past week has placed unprecedented stress on the state’s electric grid.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO), the organization that manages the grid, has issued “Flex Alerts” daily over the past week asking all Californians to conserve energy between 4:00 and 9:00 pm. This voluntary reduction in energy use has helped avoid rotating power outages, which the ISO would impose if demand exceeds available energy in the state.

During a heat wave, everyone can help prevent rotating power outages by taking simple steps to conserve energy:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher. Close drapes and blinds to keep rooms cool.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Use energy-intensive appliances like washing machines and dishwashers early in the morning or after 10pm at night.

Sign up for Flex Alert notifications from California ISO to get notified directly when energy conservation is needed.

Sep 5 2022

Piedmont’s Emergency Operation Center to be replaced by a new Dispatch Center.

On September 6, 2022, the City Council will consider a contract in the amount of $296,556 for consulting services for design and construction oversight to relocate and renovate the Dispatch Center.  The work is being paid for by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The final cost of the project is estimated at approximately $2,300,000. 

Recently, much discussion has been held in public meetings about the possibility of building dwelling units in conjunction with Police and Fire Department and a City Hall master plan construction.

The Highland-Vista-Magnolia Avenue locations have been noted as potential sites for dwelling units in the proposed Housing Element.  Public comments questioned compounding congestion in the already heavily used Central Piedmont civic area containing 5 schools, the Community Church, Police and Fire emergency facilities, City Hall uses, refurbished tennis courts, Recreation Center, and the soon to be built large new municipal pool complex.

“On October 4, 2021, City Council prioritized the relocation and renovation of the Police Dispatch Center as the highest and best use for American Rescue Plan Act funding. Since that time, staff drafted and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to engage firms to provide Architecture and Engineering Design Services. COAR Design Group (COAR) was selected from the five proposals received by the May 9, 2022 response deadline. The fee for COAR’s Design Services, which will cover all services extending from conceptual design through construction administration support, is $296,555. For reference, the fees proposed by the five responding firms ranged from $243,000 to $438,000.”

READ THE FULL STAFF REPORT BELOW:

https://piedmont.hosted.civiclive.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=18859599

The RFP, photographs, floor plans, and requirements are included in the link above.

Sept. 6 AGENDA  >HERE.