Feb 21 2021
– On February 1, 2021, the City Council heard briefings about efforts to improve fair housing programs in Piedmont.
Topics covered at the meeting included the response to the regional housing crisis, California’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process, the SB2 housing programs grant, Piedmont’s adopted Housing Element, and $2.2 million available to Piedmont for affordable housing in the Alameda County’s Measure A-1 bond (2016).
Piedmont residents addressed the Council and offered their perspectives on the City’s role in helping solve the regional housing crisis, including greater support for the construction of affordable housing in the Piedmont Community.
Ideas have included increasing the number of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), converting large homes into multiple housing units, rezoning single-family residential zones, reducing lot size requirements, modifying requirements in the Estate Residential Zone, building multiple housing on Grand Avenue and in the Civic Center, rezoning Blair Park for multiple housing, increasing height limits, and development emphasizing low-income and affordable housing.  Piedmont has indicated an interest in adding approximately 600 new housing units to the existing approximate 3,800 households.
After hearing feedback from residents, the City Council approved a resolution creating a Piedmont Housing Advisory Committee. The Housing Advisory Committee will consist of five to seven members to be appointed by the City Council. Application forms to serve on City committees and commissions, including the Housing Advisory Committee, will be posted to the City website soon.
To learn more about the February 1, 2021 meeting, please watch the video on the City webpage. For more information, sign up to receive housing updates in your email in-box or email from Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald-Powell.
Feb 21 2021

– Piedmont REACH Code problems explained to the California Building Standards Commission –

February 12, 2021

Dear CA Building Standards Commission,

As a resident of Piedmont CA, I have some serious concerns regarding the passing of the “REACH” codes. Here is a copy of my letter to the council that states my concerns. They said there was a survey, but none of our friends were in the survey, so it seemed not to be representative of the residents.

First, Piedmonter’s were not all included in the survey – many friends are upset because they were not included. Many disagree with the Reach concept and do not feel represented thus my suggestion of A ballot vote for all.
.

Second is the impact of cost to the residential home owner.  In Piedmont, a normal bathroom remodel will cost say $40,000. If one adds the Reach upgrades, it could add another $10,000. or more.  Or consider the cost of a new roof…then add the insulation etc.. As a designer, I am familiar with those costs. Does this mean homeowners will not proceed with the work?

Third is our local enforcement of the use of less gas. This should be handled by an overall state building code to reduce off gassing. The changes are now being studied for action by the State. (Our use is small in the overall scheme. Consider the air pollution of autos and air  travel.)

Fourth we also have our regional wildfire electric blackouts which could leave residents without ability to cook and heat our homes if we rely on electric power source.

Years ago, Title 24 was added to the California code requirements and we had a time limit to reduce electric usage by lowering the voltage of electric bulbs. This was handled by the state and the manufacturers were put into a position to create products for the market that fit the bill. We now have those products and enforcement in our building codes. This is a more reasonable course of action.

Sylvia Willard Fones, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Feb 21 2021
Photo of interior construction site
On February 1, 2021, the City Council unanimously approved the Reach Codes Ordinances (Ordinance 750 N.S. and Ordinance 751 N.S.)
Ordinance 751 N.S. includes a new requirement for a Home Energy Audit for residential buildings at point of sale. This rule will go into effect city-wide on March 3, 2021. At the point of listing for the sale of a property, a report from a Home Energy Audit or Home Energy Score must be provided to potential buyers and submitted to the City Building Official.
Piedmont Reach Codes will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Piedmont by encouraging energy efficiency upgrades and limiting natural gas usage in new homes.
Ordinance 750 N.S. amends energy efficiency, solar systems, and all-electric construction in new or existing residential buildings. Ordinance 750 N.S. will go into effect on June 1, 2021, or when approved by the California Energy Commission. Some of the key components of the Reach Codes are:
  • Newly constructed low-rise residential buildings and new detached ADU’s must use all electric building appliances. No gas lines can be hooked up to these buildings.
  • Projects that include an entirely new floor level or expand the total roof area by 30% or more, must install solar panels on the roof.
  • A renovation project on a low-rise residential building that costs $25,000 or more must include an energy efficient insulation or heating system electrification improvement in the renovation.
  • A renovation project on a low-rise residential building that costs $100,000 or more must include two energy efficient insulation or heating system electrification improvements in the renovation. (This requirement can be modified with a Home Energy Score of at least a 7 completed in the last five years. This modification is included so homes that have been already pursuing energy efficiency measures can be recognized for their efforts.)
  • Electrical panel upgrades must include capacity in the panel to accommodate future electrification of all appliances in the residence.
  • Kitchen or laundry area renovations must include electrical outlets for future electrical appliance installations.
Details can be found on the City’s website, or you can talk to a member of the Planning and Building Department when you apply for a permit.

Feb 21 2021

Piedmont Wants to Help You Become Greener!

Piedmont’s Climate Challenge is a free website that you can use to learn about Piedmont climate actions that will save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The theme of February is Building and Construction. The houses we live in are one of the largest contributors to emissions and one of the best opportunities to reduce emissions.
To find out ways you can reduce your impact, please check out the website below:
Feb 21 2021

Planning and Building News:

Photo of NicoleNicole Finley
Meet the Planning and Building Department
Nicole Finley has been the Administrative Assistant for both Planning & Building and Public Works, since 2017. Nicole’s friendly and knowledgeable voice is the one most callers hear when contacting us, even during COVID.
Nicole was born in Oakland and raised in Berkeley, where she still lives today. Nicole graduated in Family & Consumer Science from Sacramento State University. Nicole issues approved Building Permits and Excavation Permits, posts news to the City website, updates our social media, and coordinates special projects. When not working, Nicole likes to read and parents a busy Beach School kindergartener! Her favorite part of Piedmont is the sense of community, among both residents and fellow staff.
Feb 11 2021

“COVID-19 Vaccine Supply –

Due to a lack of vaccine supply we are currently unable to book appointments for a first vaccination until further notice.”

Announcement by Sutter Health February 11, 2021

CVS pharmacy announced that it is “fully booked” with no vaccine appointments available.

Seniors 75 and over who have spent countless days and hours in search of vaccine appointments within the Oakland area learned later Thursday why they have been unsuccessful in booking appointments with Sutter Health and that CVS appointments filled within hours.

How Many COVID-19 Vaccine Doses in the US?

US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Reports as of 8pm 2/10/2021:

US Total Doses Delivered   68,285,575

US Total Doses Administered  46,390,270

US Number of People Receiving 1 or More Doses  34,723,964

US Number of People Receiving 2 Doses  11,188,782

How Many COVID-19 Vaccine Doses in the CA?

CA Total Doses Delivered   7,822,300

CA Total Doses Administered  5,134,864

CA Number of People Receiving 1 or More Doses  4,108,216

CA Number of People Receiving 2 Doses  990,128

Vaccines  Delivered to Who?

The CDC has not released demographic information on the recipients of the vaccine since January 14, 2021.  During the first month of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program, approximately 13,000,000 persons received ≥1 dose of vaccine. Among persons with demographic data, 63.0% were women, 55.0% were aged ≥50 years, and 60.4% were non-Hispanic White.

“The problems around the unfair administration of the vaccine extend beyond individual acts of selfishness, entitlement and obliviousness.”  The definition of teacher and medical worker is stretched beyond reason in such examples as a gym’s 52-year-old spin cycle instructor vaccinated in January.   New York Times Feb. 7, 2021 –

“Survival of the Fittest,” was Chuck Todd’s report on the Feb. 7, 2021 NBC broadcast of Meet the Press of the effect of the vaccination administration.

Those interested in receiving a vaccine are advised to register for notification by numerous programs – pharmacies, health services, county programs, etc.

Feb 11 2021

Students for Solar Launch Event

Students for Solar is a group of twelve PHS and MHS students working to raise the $400,000 needed to put solar panels on the roof of the STEAM building, a newly constructed building at our high school. To find out more see our website: https://greenclubphs.wixsite.com/studentsforsolar

Our event on February 22 will feature speakers Meredith Fowlie, Gabriel Kra, and Josh Posamentier to inform the public on solar energy and climate change. It will also feature a panel of district employees to field any questions about the project.

REGISTER AT: https://pef.schoolauction.net/students4solar/?_ga=2.114284935.1438797767.1612201578-300494272.1612201578

Editors Note:  Students for Solar is a separate organization unaffiliated with the Piedmont Civic Association. 
Feb 9 2021

Here’s what you told us!

The City recently gathered input from residents on the needs and challenges around walking, biking and traffic safety in Piedmont. A report summarizing the key issues and themes raised by the community, and also listing all the comments received in writing, is available on the Documents page of the project website.

Using this input, the project team is now starting to develop the recommendations for the Piedmont Safer Streets plan. Stay tuned for an update on the recommendations in about two months’ time.

Next Ped/Bike Advisory Committee meeting this Thursday

The next (virtual) meeting of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) is this Thursday, February 11, 2021, starting at 5:30 pm. Click for the > agenda and for information about logging on to the meeting (do note that the City’s website is currently having technical difficulties).

For questions about the PBAC, contact Gopika Nair (City of Piedmont) at gnair@piedmont.ca.gov or at (510) 420-3054.

Questions or comments?

For questions or comments about the Piedmont Safer Streets project, visit the project website or contact Gopika Nair at SaferStreets@Piedmont.ca.gov or at (510) 420-3054.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee was created by the City Council on August 17, 2020 to assist in the update of the City’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan process. The Committee will review and provide feedback on draft documents prepared throughout the PBMP update process, including the draft plan itself; and more generally, will provide input and guidance on the development and conduct of all tasks under the update process. Click to read the resolution establishing the committee.

For more information on the update of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, please see the Piedmont Safer Streets web site.

Committee Roster –

  • Sofia Barandiaran
  • Siddarth Bhatia
  • Eugene Brown, Jr.
  • Katie DeWitt
  • Audrey Edel
  • Brett Hondorp
  • Hugh Louch
  • Thomas Reicher
  • Kristin Robrock

Staff Liaison: Gopika Nair | gnair@piedmont.ca.gov | (510) 420-3050

Feb 9 2021
  Margot Kushel, MD, the Director of the UCSF Center of Vulnerable Populations and the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at ZSFG, will present her latest research on solutions to “Housing the Homeless in the Time of COVID-19”. Her research aims to prevent and end homelessness and mitigate the effects of housing instability on healthcare outcomes. Dr. Kushel works with diverse stakeholders to implement programmatic and policy changes based on her research. She is the primary investigator of several multi-year studies on homeless populations in the Bay Area from 2012 to the present. 
.
This program is presented by The League of Women Voters of Piedmont. It will take place on Tuesday,  March 2 from 4-5 PM. Here is our YouTube link  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3v60XGmr13V_9WaYj6qUJg/featured or click link to register and get the Zoom information on our website.  Dr. Kushel will answer audience members questions from 4:30 – 5:00 pm.  The program is free and open to the public
.
Margot Kushel, MD is a Professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco, Division Chief and Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, and Director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. She is a practicing general internist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Margot’s research examines the causes and consequences of homelessness and housing instability, with the goal of preventing and ending homelessness and ameliorating the effects of homelessness on health. She speaks at a local, state and national level about homelessness, and provides testimony to legislative bodies. She received her AB from Harvard College, her MD from Yale and completed residency, chief residency and fellowship in internal medicine at UCSF. 
Feb 2 2021

On February 1, 2021 the Piedmont City Council unanimously approved a second reading of the proposed energy reach codes. Ordinance 750 N.S. amends City Code regarding requirements for energy efficiency measures, photovoltaic systems, and all-electric construction in new or existing low-rise residential buildings. Ordinance 751 N.S. amends City Code to include requirements for the preparation of a Home Energy Audit or Home Energy Score for low-rise residential buildings. City staff initiated the process for adopting the reach codes 18 months ago. Along the way, there have been two public opinion surveys, several workshops, virtual town halls, two City Council meetings, and lots of feedback from community members.

Now that the reach codes have been adopted, what does that mean for residents? The proposed changes can lead to additional requirements during building projects, but not immediately.

Ordinance 750 N.S. will be sent to the California Energy Commission (CEC), where it will verify that the codes are at least as stringent as the California Energy Code. The reach codes are then posted for public comment for 60 days. At the end of the public comment period, CEC will approve or return the codes for edits. Additionally, the reach codes must be sent to the California Building Standards Commission for approval. If both of these commissions approve the reach codes, they will become part of the City’s building code. Ordinance 750 N.S. will go into effect on June 1, 2021. Each project that requires a permit will work with a member of the City’s Planning Department, who will be able to explain the reach code requirements to applicants.

Ordinance 751 N.S. will go into effect on March 3, 2021, which is 30 days after City Council approved the code.

Some of the key components of the reach codes are as follows. More details can be found on the City’s website, or you can talk to a member of the Planning and Building Department when you apply for a permit.

  • Newly constructed low-rise residential buildings and new detached ADU’s must use all electric building appliances. No gas lines can be hooked up to these buildings.
  • Projects that include an entirely new level or expand the total roof area by 30% or more, must install solar panels on the roof.
  • A renovation project on a low-rise residential building that costs $25,000 or more must include an energy efficient insulation or heating system electrification improvement to include in the renovation.
  • A renovation project on a low-rise residential building that costs $100,000 or more must include two energy efficient insulation or heating system electrification improvements to include in the renovation.
    • The energy efficient insulation or heating system requirement can be modified with a Home Energy Score of at least a 7 completed in the last five years. This modification is included so homes that have been pursuing energy efficiency measures can be recognized for their efforts.
  • An application for an electrical panel upgrade must include capacity in the panel to accommodate future electrification of all appliances in the residence.
  • An application for a kitchen or laundry area renovation must include electrical outlets for future appliance installations.
  • At point of listing for sale of a property, a report from a Home Energy Audit or Home Energy Score must be provided to potential buyers and submitted to the City.

Notably, many of these requirements will not affect most projects in Piedmont. Approximately, 20-25% of renovation projects cost over $25,000 and only 5% of projects cost more than $100,000.

These reach codes are put in place in order to reduce Piedmont’s natural gas emissions. Over 90% of emissions come from Piedmont residential living units. The reach codes are intended to slow natural gas usage, while still meeting the community standards that were published in the City’s Climate Action Plan. Piedmont is not alone in this initiative. Dozens of municipalities have passed reach codes in California (you can see a map here).

The California Energy Commission’s next update of statewide building codes (Title 24) will be implemented in 2023. Until then, these reach codes will help Piedmont homes become more energy efficient while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

For questions, please contact the planner working on your home renovation, the City’s Planning & Building Director, Kevin Jackson, or the City’s Sustainability Program Manager, Alyssa Dykman. Further educational information and resources will be posted on the City’s website.

Alyssa Dykman, Sustainability Program Manager, City of Piedmont

120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611 (510)420-3058

adykman@piedmont.ca.gov