Sep 29 2018

Monday, October 1 Council meeting will begin with a Closed Session for conferences with Legal Counsel regarding litigation.  The existing litigation is Jordan Thobe vs City of Piedmont et al.  In addition, there are two anticipated litigation cases – Initiation of litigation pursuant to Government Code §54956.9(d)(4): (Two Cases)

The regular agenda includes the Consent Calendar starting at 7:30 p.m :

10/01/18 – Approval of the Biennial Update of the City’s Conflict of Interest Code (City Council Policy #24)  

This item includes statements required by the Piedmont Planning Commissioners, Police and Fire Pension Board members , but without explanation does not include the Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee members.

10/01/18 -Authorization for the City Administrator to Sign Three Documents Related to the East Bay Sewer Collection Systems Agencies 

Regular Agenda:

10/01/18 – Consideration of a Resolution in Support of East Bay Regional Parks District Measure FF 

10/01/18 -Consideration of a Report on Traffic and Safety Conditions on Oakland Avenue 

Consideration of directing Staff and Coastland Engineers to prepare a proposal for professional engineering services to develop the required designs and construction documents for the crosswalk enhancements at Oakland Ave. & El Cerrito Ave, and Oakland Ave & Jerome Ave.

10/01/18 – Consideration of the Award of the 2018 Street Traffic Striping Project to Chrisp & Company in the Amount of $276,414.95, Determining the Project to be Exempt from CEQA, and Setting an Overall Project Budget of $336,386.40

READ FULL AGENDA  here
The Council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27, and from the City website under videos.  For additional information contact the City at 510/420-3040.
Sep 21 2018

Renovations are projected to cost millions. 

On September 17th of 2018, the Piedmont City Council met in the Council Chamber of City Hall. The meeting opened with a designated ten-minute period of open comments, where community members can speak on items not listed on the general agenda.

Mr. Maganas, a longtime resident of Piedmont, highlighted a lack of knowledge among parents and students concerning the Peralta Community College system offering college-level classes such as Calculus I and II through Berkeley City College, Laney College, and three others. The Peralta Colleges offer a valuable resource to students hoping to challenge themselves academically with advanced courses. Maganas hoped to increase awareness of this resource among high school students and parents.

Mayor Robert McBain declared September a month of Suicide Prevention Awareness, as a part of the national effort to reduce suicide and self-harm, especially among teens. Council members, such as Teddy King, voiced unwavering support for McBain in raising this issue, as she has lost family members in the past to suicide.

Next, an East Bay Regional Park District Board Member, Dee Rosario gave the Council a report on Measure FF. Measure CC, which passed in 2004, stipulates that twelve dollars a year are received from properties and used for park infrastructure, ecological projects, electrical maintenance, fuel reduction, sewage cleanup, and restroom repair; for example, the Crab Cove Visitor Center is now open year-round thanks to funding from Measure CC, as opposed to only a few months or a season at a time. Measure CC has been rebranded as Measure FF and falls under the same stipulations for funding. Measure FF has been renewed for the next twenty years.

The Council then discussed the consideration of appointing a new Piedmont Fire Chief.  After a lengthy vetting process by two separate panels composed of respected Piedmont residents and others working in law or government, City Administrator Paul Benoit had presented to the City Council the narrowed field of two applicants.

The Council then interviewed the two finalists, selecting Bret Black, currently serving in Clovis, California. This comprehensive search arose following the retirement of beloved community-member Bud McLaren, who faithfully served as Fire Chief in Piedmont for five years. Following a unanimous vote among the City Council members, Bret Black was hired to fill the Fire Chief position beginning October 1st with a starting annual salary of $193,164.

Closing out the agenda, two architects from the Bay Area firm Siegel & Strain – Larry Strain and Roland Lazzarotto -presented a report on potential renovations of Piedmont’s Recreation Center and the Piedmont Veterans’ Hall. Both buildings, are seventy-years old or older and are in dire need of renovation and remodeling.

Though not dilapidated, the floor plan of the Recreation Center is considered archaic, and the plans presented outline a better use of square footage and increased operational efficiency for educational use and programs.

For example, Lazzarotto drafted plans to reorganize the building layout, moving the preschool away from the entrance. In the event of an intruder, the rooms should be ordered in a fashion keeping the youngest children farthest from the main door.

Similarly, Lazzarotto proposed ripping out the driveway and replacing the space with a fenced off play area with shade and soft ground. Lastly, he proposed renovating the defunct attic into an office space and conference room, while installing an elevator to access all three main floors. On each floor, bathrooms would either be renovated or torn out, and modified to meet ADA accessibility standards.

In the case of the Veterans Hall, Lazzarotto sought to maximize efficiency in a similar manner: rip out the stage to create a larger ballroom, while establishing smaller classrooms and multi-purpose rooms on the side. The kitchen would be renovated and brought up to modern standards, in hopes of accommodating future weddings in the new space.

Before he left, I had the opportunity to briefly interview Mr. Lazzarotto about his role at the meeting tonight. He noted that his group, Siegel and Strain, focused on providing sustainable and affordable projects.

During the presentation, Councilwoman Jen Cavenaugh questioned the environmental sustainability of the building, and Mr. Larry Siegel- Lazzarotto’s companion – highlighted their plan to reuse the wood and install new windows, both reducing carbon emissions and waste.

The Recreational Center was in immediate need of increased accessibility; for example, the reception desk lies on the second floor, and is not wheelchair accessible.

Both buildings have outlived their functional use and require restructuring and renovation to meet the accessibility and safety standards of today. Now that the City Council has reached a general consensus and approval of the layouts, Lazzarotto will in the future provide drafts and layouts to City Administrator Paul Benoit.

As the discussion and presentation came to a close among the Council, student Mia Horvath asked City Administrator Paul Benoit- who had been working in conjunction with Siegel and Strain – how renovations and construction would affect public access to the space; for example, the Recreational Center sits at a major thoroughfare that parents drive by to drop off their kids at the Middle and High School. Though the Council did not have an immediate solution, Mayor McBain affirmed that a well-planned schedule would be released in the future to ease traffic and pedestrian flow.

Tim Rood mentioned that these renovations would mean losing access to the services of the Recreational Center for months on end, but Paul Benoit noted that it would be possible to relocate these offices and services for the duration of construction. The plans are currently in development and in their drafting phase, so all propositions and suggestions are subject to change.

The City Council meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month to discuss, consider, and announce citywide events, issues, notices, and more.

by Aaron Moy, Piedmont High School Senior

Sep 21 2018

The League of Women Voters Piedmont devised voter issues and questions for School Board and City Council November 6, 2018 candidates.

Press Release:

Earlier this summer, LWVP newsletter readers provided 33 responses to our poll regarding issues and questions for City Council and School Board candidates. Four LWVP board member volunteers then ranked 20 questions from the poll and submitted the top 8 to:

Voters Edge website  (https://votersedge.org/ca).

We highlight the 3 most important issues selected and list the top 4 questions for each race. We also attach more detailed summaries of the poll and of the ranking process as well as the questionnaires used.

The list of issues in the poll were taken from a July 19th, 2018 Piedmont Civic Association website article entitled “TIME to RUN: Contested or Uncontested Piedmont City Council and School Board Elections” This list of issues is licensed under a Creative Commons License and was sorted alphabetically.

For the 33 respondents, chosen from many choices, the top 3 issues for City Council candidates were:

  1. Citizen involvement – open participatory processes
  2. Environmental matters
  3. Taxation increases

The top 4 questions submitted on the Council topics were:

  1. What plans do you have to support the many different populations of Piedmont with city programs and city facilities? And, how do you plan to promote and actively support inclusive practices within city government?
  2. How will you be responsive to citizens and to support and improve citizen involvement in city government?
  3. How can and will you mediate between different interest groups in Piedmont, including evaluating how representative the concerns of vocal minorities might be?
  4. How should the city decide whether and how to plan and pay for a new swimming pool or pools? How important is this to you?

For the 33 respondents, the top 3 issues for School Board candidates were:

  1. Personnel selections
  2. School construction within constraints of bond funding limits
  3. Revenues sufficient to support operations and programs

The top 4 questions for School Board candidates were:

  1. The District has a history of hiring staff and teachers with personal connections to Piedmont and current district staff. How will you reassure city residents that new hires are the best choice for students and the school and that hiring is not unduly influenced by personal connections?
  2. How could and would you increase transparency in district decision making?
  3. How could and would you continue or improve the recruitment and retention of excellent teachers?
  4. If elected, what would be your budgeting priorities? How can the school district prepare for increased pension liabilities? Can you identify areas in the budget when savings are possible?

Read the PCA article  “TIME to RUN: Contested or Uncontested Piedmont City Council and School Board Elections

Sep 11 2018

On Monday, September 10th, the City of Piedmont began scheduled street sweeping for 2018-2019.

Using the successful schedule created in 2016, sweeping will now be conducted on the day after green waste, recycling, and trash are picked up for your home.

It will be a three week cycle alternating between the odd and even numbered sides of the street, followed by a week of no sweeping.

As emphasized by the City Council, one of the key elements of having an effective street sweeping program is for the residents to be aware of the schedule in advance so that they can relocate their cars and/or move the green waste, recycling, and trash cans to create free and clear access up to the curb.

Since Piedmont relies on residents to move their vehicles, knowledge of the sweeping dates is essential. To help promote resident cooperation and knowledge, the Council approved linking the street sweeping schedule to the regular green waste, recycling, and trash pickup days.

This should be a simple and systematic method to ensure that residents know when to move their vehicles.

The street sweeping schedule consists of three parts, all in a single document: 1. Calendar showing which zones will be picked up on each day (Pages 1-2) 2. List of Pickup dates organized by street. (Pages 3-10) 3. Street Sweeping Map, showing the zones and the days of the week for green waste, recycling, and trash pickup as well as street sweeping. (Page 11)

The schedule is attached to this post and available on the City’s web site at: http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/publicworks/street_sweeping.pdf

For questions regarding the updated street sweeping schedule, please contact Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara at (510) 420-3050 or via email at cnakahara@piedmont.ca.gov.

Aug 31 2018

Labor Day Weekend BART to and from Piedmont to San Francisco destinations will take longer –

BART will be making major repairs on their track and other infrastructure between the 19th Street and West Oakland stations over the Labor Day Weekend, September 1-3.  There will be no BART service between those stations.

There will be a free bus bridge provided by AC Transit between 19th Street and West Oakland, with the trip taking between 10 and 15 minutes.  The trip from Rockridge or MacArthur Station to the San Francisco airport or any other San Francisco destination should be expected to take up to 30 minutes longer than normal because of the time needed to transfer between BART stations and buses.

Riders who wish to travel across the Bay should stay on their BART train until 19th Street, take the free bus to West Oakland, and board another BART train to their West Bay destination. In the eastbound direction, passengers should get off BART at West Oakland, take the bus shuttle to 19th St., and then board another BART train.

Normal BART service will resume Tuesday morning.

Read article about the closure here.  Note that the 511 Trip Planner site is not cognizant of the closure or Bus Bridge and presents schedules that assume no interruption between 19th Street Station and West Oakland Station on BART.

Aug 30 2018

Get involved!   Piedmont begins process.

HELP PIEDMONT BE HAZARD-READY !

A Local Hazard Mitigation Plan is being developed by the City of Piedmont. Fires, drought, earthquakes, and severe weather are just a few of the hazards to be addressed in the plan. While hazards such as these cannot be prevented, a Hazard Mitigation Plan forms the foundation for a community’s long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses by breaking the repeated cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction. Additionally, only communities with a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan are eligible to apply for both pre- and post-disaster mitigation grant funding.

Nationwide, taxpayers pay billions of dollars annually helping communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals recover from disaster. Some disasters are predictable and, in many cases, much of the damage can be reduced or even eliminated through hazard mitigation planning.

The people most aware of potential hazards are the people that live and work in the affected community. In addition to plan participation by local, state and federal agencies, the community is seeking all interested community members to hear more about our Local Hazard Mitigation Planning project.

Piedmont encourages attendance and participation from the general public at our upcoming public meeting to kick off the project:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Public Meeting: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Piedmont Community Hall
711 Highland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

For additional information, contact Chris Yeager in the Piedmont Planning Department at:

(510) 420-3067 or email at CYeager@piedmont.ca.gov.

Aug 8 2018

Transbay Bus Service Lines C and P to Move into Salesforce Transit Center –

Beginning Sunday, August 12 Transbay lines C and P from Piedmont to San Francisco will no longer terminate at the Transbay Temporary Terminal.  Instead, they are moving to the new Salesforce Transit Center, located between Mission St., Howard St., Beale St., and 2nd Street, one block from the Temporary Terminal.

Aug 8 2018

The Alameda County Clean Water Program Discourages Washing Your Car at Home –

When you wash your car on the street or in your driveway, all that dirty, grimy, soapy water runs down the storm drain and directly into creeks and the Bay. The water that goes through storm drains does NOT go to a water treatment plant first.

Even biodegradable soap is harmful. Egrets, herons, red-legged frogs, turtles, seagulls, trout, stilts….all birds, fish and amphibians are at risk.

Instead, the County recommends using a commercial car wash or coin operated self-service car washing facility, because these companies recycle all wash water and properly dispose of it through the sanitary sewer system for treatment.

For more information about the Clean Water Program visit www.cleanwaterprogram.org.

Aug 8 2018

CESC Program is limited to two Heat Pump Water Heater Installations per City –

Mira Hahm,  of the Piedmont Planning Department, writes:

We would like to say thank you to all of you who expressed interest in the Heat Pump Water Heater pilot program! We have passed along the contact information of those who expressed interest thus far to the Community Energy Services Corporation (CESC), one of the project implementers along with East Bay Energy Watch (EBEW).
 
Given the high number of responses, we are reaching out to let you all know that for the time being, CESC won’t be accepting any further requests from residents to participate in this pilot program, as there is a limit of 2 installs per city (with income-qualifying residents receiving priority). CESC will begin reviewing the list of those interested and reaching out in order to set up a site assessment to determine eligibility.
 
However, if eligible homes aren’t determined with this round of interested residents, then they may open recruitment once more before the September 14th project deadline. We will keep you posted.
 
Please direct any questions about the pilot program and/or Heat Pump Water Heater technology to CESC.
 
Mira Hahn, MCRP
Assistant Planner
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611
Phone: (510) 420-3054

 

Jul 31 2018

The Piedmont Park Commission will meet on Wednesday, August 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on cable Channel 27 and on the City’s website under videos.

Agenda for the Park Commission meeting:

  • Approval of June 6, 2018 Minutes (read the Minutes here)
  • Update on Irrigation of Police Triangle
  • Update on City Irrigation
  • Public Hearing on Request to Remove and Replace Oakmont Avenue Street Trees
  • Update on Dracena Park Lawn, off & on leash signage and path medallions
  • Update on Memorial Tree and Bench Donations
  • Monthly Maintenance report