Aug 26 2022

City of Piedmont and Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization Partner to Fund the Piedmont Community Pool

On Monday, August 15th, the Piedmont City Council, in partnership with the Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization (PRFO), approved the launch of a capital campaign to privately raise up to $2,000,000 to fund the completion of the Piedmont Community Pool project.

PRFO is a 501(c)3 organization that works to encourage and actively support the development and/or improvement of public recreational facilities that serve the Piedmont Community. The City and PRFO have successfully partnered on similar fundraising efforts for Hampton Park and the Corey Reich Tennis Center.

The Piedmont Community Pool has been home to countless aquatic enthusiasts for over 60 years. Originally run by a private club, the city took over operations in 2011. Because of age and condition of the facility, the City has been planning for several years to construct a replacement facility, which will better meet the community’s needs. This planning began with a conceptual master plan approved by the Council after robust community input in 2016-17. Work continued with the November 2020 passage of Measure UU by the voters of Piedmont, which authorized the sale of bonds to provide the bulk of the funding for the project. Work has continued since then, with the Council selecting ELS Architecture and Urban Design in October of 2021 to design the facility, and many public meetings to gather input and improve the design of the pool.

On August 15, 2022, Council approved putting the pool project out to bid. Unfortunately, due to extreme construction hyperinflation, the original cost projections are no longer realistic and the design was revised significantly in spring 2022 to bring down the cost of the project. Despite these extensive alterations, several of the key elements of the project will not be funded without contributions from private sources.

A gap of approximately $2,000,000 exists between the available bond funding and the projected cost of completing the facility.

“The City Council is grateful to the voters of Piedmont for approving the bonds to fund the project,” said Mayor Teddy Gray King. “The Council has worked tirelessly with the project team, the Pool Advisory Committee, and the community to optimize a revised design that will make Piedmont proud, both in terms of the facility and its environmental impact. As envisioned, the Piedmont Community Pool will be a recreation hub in the center of town that will bring all segments of our community together. The City is grateful to PRFO for its support to help bring this remarkable project across the finish line.”

“In the midst of uncertainty and extreme hyperinflation, the project team, the City Council, and the community have stayed the course to ensure that this facility is what Piedmont needs,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “We are pleased to partner again with PRFO for this worthy cause.”

“PRFO is proud to build upon the success of our two previous partnerships with the City, which raised $850,000 for the Hampton Park project and $435,000 for the Corey Reich Tennis Center,” said PRFO President Steve Collins. “The overwhelming success of these two projects and incredible support from the community make me very optimistic that the Piedmont community will again demonstrate its support to improve and sustain local recreation facilities for generations to come.”

To learn more about the Piedmont Community Pool Project and to help champion it, visit About PRFO Founded in 2004, Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization (PRFO) is a 501(c)3 entity that encourages and actively supports the development and/or improvement of public recreational facilities that serve residents of Piedmont without regard to age, race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or ability. PRFO strives to fulfill its mission by working collaboratively with the City of Piedmont to identify, advocate for, and bring private financial support to assist in the funding of projects that invest in healthy spaces within the city


PIEDMONT COMMUNITY POOL – Final Presentation Renderings – For Release and Publication (1)

2022-08-26 Community Pool Fundraising Campaign with PRFO  ANNOUNCEMENT

Jun 19 2022

Civic spaces and places are what makes a community.

The Housing Element is not a policy direction to explore ideas … it is focused on delivering sites for development, the feasibility of which has already been established.

Putting the Vista tennis courts where the high school students play on the chopping block, potentially jeopardizing the viability of vitally needed police and fire station retrofitting, removing the Piedmont Center for the Arts, and putting housing on the Highland Green that serves as the 4th of July parade staging area are extraordinary steps that are in the Housing Element that the community is not aware of, and potentially hugely destructive to the community fabric. The City needs to slow down process and more thoroughly analyze these proposals and get community feedback before the element is forwarded to the State.

The City can both protect its civic spaces and accommodate it housing needs in a thoughtful manner. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. By preserving our public and recreation spaces, Piedmont would also be preserving these for the enjoyment of new residents.

The Piedmont Housing Element should be set up for success, rather than failure, and include actual sites where the City can fulfill its housing needs, rather than sink time and energy into sites where housing is unlikely. While including housing as part of the Civic Center is a noble sentiment, it is impractical in the timeframe of this Housing Element planning period, as I will discuss below. The City should be aware of the following State laws and other requirements, which among others require the City Council to make certain findings at adoption time that the City would not be able to responsibly make for the Civic Center sites:


Demonstrate Realistic Development Capacity at Designated Sites

Where there are existing uses, “..Existing Uses — The housing element must demonstrate non-vacant and/or underutilized sites in the inventory that can be realistically developed with residential uses or more-intensive residential uses at densities appropriate  ….and evaluate the extent these uses would constitute an impediment to new residential development.”  See The City needs to show the community the analysis used to arrive at feasible housing capacity at existing civic uses and tennis courts. E.g., there is no housing feasible where the tennis courts are. The examples cited so far are of tennis courts on top of parking structures such as at UC Berkeley, which is very different than tennis courts on top of housing, that too affordable housing. The Housing Element is not a policy direction to explore ideas … it is focused on delivering sites for development, the feasibility of which has already been established.

Required City Council Findings at Adoption Time That Existing Uses Will be Discontinued

State law states that “If a housing element relies on nonvacant sites to accommodate 50 percent or more of its RHNA for lower income households, the nonvacant site’s existing use is presumed to impede additional residential development, unless the housing element describes findings based on substantial evidence that the use will likely be discontinued during the planning period. In addition to a description in the element, findings should also be included as part of the resolution adopting the housing element.”

Thus at the time of Housing Element adoption, the City Council will have to make findings that the tennis and basketball courts at Vista and public safety uses at the Civic Center will be discontinued during the planning period (2023-2031). I do not believe it is possible to make this finding given that there are no plans to relocate these uses to other places, unless the City does not want high schoolers and other community members to play tennis or does not want police and fire departments. If the City Council does not believe this finding can be made, it is better to drop these sites now rather than finding that we are short on sites at adoption time.

Required Rezoning for Shortfall

The City would need to commit in its Housing Element to a process and timeline to make sites it owns available for residential uses. The draft Housing Element currently lacks this, and HCD would most likely want to see this detail included. Under the Housing Accountability Act, should housing not be feasible at a site and there is a shortfall mid-cycle, the City will have to proactively undertake a rezoning program to find sites elsewhere to make up for this shortfall. This means doing a Housing Element Update and EIR all over again mid-cycle in three or four years, and tying the City’s hand in being able to proceed with rehabbing the public safety buildings until alternative housing sites are in place. Thus, In designating the Civic Center sites I believe we are just kicking the can down two or three years, rather than solving any housing problems. We should be focused on finding and delivering those alternative housing sites to meet our housing needs and obligations now, rather than five years later.


Reclassification of zones under the Piedmont Charter requires a vote of the people. If the City Council wants to reclassify the Public zone (which allows a de minimus one house at every parcel in the city) to permit high density residential and thus make this zone Public/Residential, this should be submitted to the voters and placed on the upcoming November ballot. Lack of legal certainty will not inspire confidence on part of any developers the City may wish to attract.


Not finding any drawings or information in the Housing Element on methodology to determine housing capacity at Civic Center sites, I sat down over the weekend and tried to understand this for myself.

Vista Tennis and Basketball Courts

Assumption in HE: Housing at 60 units per acre, 34 realistic housing units. The courts presently fill up the entire site. It is physically not possible to vertically integrate housing and whole bunch of tennis courts and bleachers on top of a residential building without extraordinary expense, and I am not aware of any examples in the Bay Area where this has been done. Tennis courts can go on top of parking structures as they have been at Cal for over three decades and industrial and office buildings, but not residential, as the building floorplate is entirely different. Is the proposal to remove tennis courts? The facilities were just renovated a year ago for something like $2 million. This idea does not seem even physically, let alone financially, feasible.

Center for the Arts

Where is the space for the five units? Will this be razed and replaced? Again, wasn’t this rehabbed a few years ago, and didn’t the City recently sign an agreement on this?

City Hall/Police/Veterans Building

The site area for this in the Housing Element includes City Hall, and the area is counted at 60 units per acre to calculate resultant housing. Neither tearing down City Hall, nor putting housing on top of it is a credible suggestion. The eastern half of the site is about 0.5 acres, and that is where the police and veterans building are located. It would be quite a structure that includes a new police station, rec. building, and 40 housing units (which, because of the small acreage, would actually be at 120 units per acre max)  all at the same small site.  It would require razing the existing facilities and starting from scratch, and be surely several multiples more expensive than the cost to rehab these, plus the higher cost for housing building and having the civic facilities support the resultant structural weight and complexity of housing above. Theoretically it could work if the housing can be on its own pad as staff mentioned for other examples they shared at the Planning Commission meeting, but looking at our site I don’t see any area where housing can just be squeezed in without messing with the existing buildings. Rehabbing the existing Veterans Hall and Public Safety buildings will also be a lot more environmentally sustainable and emit fewer greenhouse gases than razing these buildings and building something new, when the same housing can built more sustainably and be delivered to the community at lower cost by adding say one more story to the Mulberry/BofA site across the street, where housing is already planned, and provide an additional density incentive for the property owner to develop that site.

Highland Green

The width of this parcel during most of the stretch is 30 feet. With required front setback of 20 feet in Zone A, and rear setback of 5 feet, the remaining buildable width of housing would only be 5 feet. So, these sites are also physically not feasible. The loss of five units assumed here would not be that significant.

All of these sites are impractical given the dense fully built out conditions of civic facilities and the fact that we don’t any have vacant land there, and a distraction from the real work the City needs to do to deliver feasible sites.


I believe the most practical approach for the City to meet its RHNA is as follows, in order of importance:

•       Count every housing unit (including ADUs) expected to be completed between July 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023. These units, under State law, can be counted toward both the 5th Cycle (in which we are) and 6th Cycle (starting in 2023), because of data projection period overlap.

•       Count SB 9 Units. The City does not have a trend of these because the City has not allowed these in the past. With properly development rules and methodology, the City should attempt to have these counted now to bring the remaining need down, rather than just as Housing Element success stories later. There are many cities that have successfully counted these units, consistent with HCD guidelines.

•       Consider densities that are much higher than currently contemplated at Grand and Highland avenues, while developing standards so that these are well designed, with ground level retail and cafes, and housing above. Densities of 180 units per acre with ground floor retail and four stories of residential above (60 feet building height), with structured parking may be appropriate for Grand Avenue, and 120 per acre for Highland Avenue. If necessary, the City should add a real architect with experience in doing projects like these in the Bay Area to the out-of-town planning team.

•       Add missing middle housing (fourplexes, six-plexes, etc.) and smaller-scale multifamily development in some or many existing neighborhoods. Some of the City’s rules relating to allowable densities, lot sizes etc. may need to be modified. There may, again, be some City Charter issues involved, but these would be of lower magnitude than high density residential issues in Public zones.

•       Continue counting all the remaining single family and religious sites with the good work staff has done, although it remains to be seen if HCD will buy off on allowing so many of these to be counted.

•       Anything else needed should be added after the above has been done, and this remaining need would be modest.

Rajeev Bhatia, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 21 2022

City / School Liaison Committee –


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Virtual Meeting: Via Zoom: Or Telephone: US: +1 346 248 7799 or +1 720 707 2699


Call to Order

Public Forum Total Time – 10 minutes. Speakers may be asked to limit their comments in addressing items not on the Agenda


1. Title IX Updates

a. PUSD Preview

b. 50th Anniversary

2. Construction Updates

a. Community Pool

b. Theater

3. Housing Element Update

4. DBFL Location Update  (Dress Best for Less) 

5. Staffing Updates 

No written information was distributed for this meeting.

READ published Agenda below:

> PCA city school 52422

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:


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 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 or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

May 1 2022

Receipt of the Piedmont Community Pool Design Development Package and Consideration of: 

1) Approval of Design Modifications to the Recreation Pool; and

2) Authorization for Staff and ELS to Advance to Construction Documents Phase

RECOMMENDATION: Receive the 100% Design Development Package and Cost Estimate for the Piedmont Community Pool Project and by a single motion, take the following actions with regard to the project:

1) Approve design modifications to the shallow water recreation pool as recommended by the Community Pool Advisory Committee (PAC):

a) Lap Lanes: increased length of the three lap lanes from 20 to 25 yards with a depth profile that moves side to side from approximately 3.5 feet in the middle of the pool to approximately 5 feet at the western edge of the pool

b) Rotate the stairs 90 degrees such that the stairs enter the open free water area rather than the rectangular lap lane area

2) Approve expansion of the zero-beach entry area in the recreation pool by approximately 300 square feet

3) Authorize Staff and ELS to advance to Construction Documents Phase

FULL STAFF REPORT >Pool Acceptance 522022

council- 522020 agenda

Apr 2 2022

  On Monday, April 4, City Council will be voting on whether the energy system for the new Aquatic Center will be all-electric or continue to rely on natural gas (a fossil fuel) for heating pool water, as in the past. Here are some frequently asked questions about an all-electric pool system, with answers drawn from information presented at the March 21st Council meeting by the City’s Sustainability Program Manager, as well as ELS Architecture and their energy engineer.  

Q: What are Piedmont’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets?

A: Our current targets, as outlined in our 2018 Climate Action Plan 2.0 (CAP 2.0), were in line with  State targets at that time – that is, to reduce our in-boundary emissions to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to 8% below 2005 levels by 2050. But State goals have become stronger since then. California now targets achieving 100% emissions-free electricity and carbon neutrality by 2045.

Q: How close is Piedmont to achieving the GHG emissions reduction goals we set in 2018?

A: Piedmont has made incremental improvements over time but has far to go to meet our CAP 2.0 goals. The majority of our reductions so far can be attributed to forces outside Piedmont, such as increased home appliance efficiency. Since the majority of Piedmont’s emissions come from the residential sector, we can only meet our reduction targets if all residents make a concerted effort to decarbonize both their homes and their transportation. Unfortunately, rather than declining, our use of natural gas, the main source of GHG emissions from Piedmont buildings (municipal, residential, and commercial), has risen by 14% since 2014.

Q: What role must the City play in encouraging residents to decarbonize their homes and transportation?

A: The CAP 2.0 emphasizes that the City must focus on educating residents about emissions reduction opportunities and lead by example. Even though City emissions are only 2-4% of total Piedmont emissions, reducing these emissions will play an outsize role in Piedmont’s success in reducing its emissions overall, due to the demonstration effect the City’s efforts will have in motivating residents to decarbonize their own homes and transportation. Specific municipal or City goals in the CAP 2.0 include committing to Piedmont’s municipal facilities and activities becoming Zero-Carbon by 2050, about 25 years after the opening of the new pool facility.

Q: Will the City be able to meet its municipal carbon emissions reduction targets (as outlined in the CAP 2.0) if pool water in the new Aquatic Facility is heated by natural gas, a fossil fuel?

A: No. Heating the old pool with natural gas generated ~87% of the GHG emissions from municipal buildings and structures. If the new facility, with its increased pool square footage and water volume, were heated with natural gas, it would generate between 55-76% more emissions than the old pool (depending on whether or not some solar is installed). The City would not be able to make up for this increase in emissions by cutting emissions from other sources. In contrast, GHG emissions from operating an all-electric facility that relies on a combination of photovoltaic and thermal solar, electric heat pumps, and green grid electricity would be zero. The City would entirely eliminate the GHG emissions generated by the old facility, achieving a very significant municipal GHG emissions reduction.

Q: Using electric heat pumps to heat commercial-sized pools is a new application of this technology in California, so how can we be certain it will work?

A: ELS Architecture and the engineering firm they are working with are fully confident that electric heat pump technology will work for the new Piedmont Aquatic Center. They have designed an all-electric pool for Mountain View which will soon go out to bid. The reason an all-electric municipal pool seems innovative is that aquatic facilities comprise less than 3% of new public construction statewide. Looking at the public building sector overall,  from State and municipal buildings to buildings in the public education systems, new all-electric facilities are being constructed everywhere, and old buildings are undergoing significant retrofits to become all-electric. We are in the midst of an all-electric movement within both the public and private building sectors. Electric heat pump technology has been around for a long time, and, in states like Florida that are not piped for natural gas, 90% of commercial pools are heated by electric heat pumps. The reason this hasn’t been the case here in the West has been the cheap price of natural gas, a situation that is fast ending.

Q: How do the costs of an all-electric vs. a gas-powered system compare?

A: The upfront costs of an all-electric system will be higher by at least $600,000 (a more exact figure, based on recent facility design changes is forthcoming), but a lifecycle analysis shows that an all-electric facility will result in approximately $1,000,000 more in cost savings over 25 years, as compared to a system that uses natural gas. For more information, see the March 21 Staff Report on ELS’s Energy Use Report.

Q: Might the noise of the heat pumps be problematic for pool and tennis court users, as well as nearby residents?

A:  This will not be a complicated issue to resolve, as solutions are routinely found for much more complex noise issues. ELS will work with an acoustician on measures to dampen any undesirable sound from the array of heat pumps. Most of this work will take place after all the pool equipment is in place and functioning, but some pre-work may be done (for example, insulating certain walls and suspending a roof over the equipment).  Since we’ll have an array of heat pumps, it will be rare for them all to be working at their top (i.e. noisiest) capacity – for example, when the temperature gets below 30 degrees F. In addition, the heat pumps we’re looking at have a low decibel nighttime rating.                       

Q: Will relying on the clean electricity grid be more expensive than natural gas over the next 20 years?

A: The era of cheap natural gas is ending. Already, natural gas prices have gone up 200% since 2018, and every indication is that they will continue to rise. PG&E is proposing a 40% increase in natural gas prices over the next four years, as they add transportation and distribution costs for natural gas that aren’t on our current bills. In addition, the California Public Utilities Commission is moving cost rates for natural gas infrastructure solely onto the developer (vs. sharing with rate payers). Moreover, within the next 5-10 years we’ll be seeing carbon pricing or carbon taxes adding to the cost of natural gas.

Q. Will the electricity grid be able to reliably supply us with the clean electricity an all-electric Aquatic Facility will need?

A: Yes. While upgrading California’s electricity transmission systems to accommodate the level of clean electricity the state aims to generate by 2045 is undoubtedly a challenge, there is no reason to worry that there won’t be enough electricity available. Our local clean electricity provider, East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), is supporting various projects to generate clean electricity locally and is continuously increasing the percentage of electricity from renewable sources in its power mix. Thanks to a 2018 City Council decision, the City is enrolled in EBCEs Renewable 100 plan, whereby the electricity EBCE purchases on our behalf comes only from renewable sources (wind, solar, and small-scale hydroelectric). Approximately 95% of Piedmont residents are also enrolled in Renewable 100.

Q: Isn’t it risky to rely on electricity during Planned Power Outages during fire season?

A: There’s no advantage to having a natural gas system to heat pool water during a power outage, since all natural gas boilers sold in California have electric power starts. They no longer have standing pilots that allow you to have gas service during an electric outage. The pumping system for keeping water circulating is the same between a natural gas and an all-electric system, so natural gas has no advantage here either. Currently, battery storage technology to use for emergency backup is not available, but advances are being made in solar battery storage.

Q: Could we start with a natural gas heated pool and pivot to an all-electric system later?

A: It would be hard and prohibitively expensive to retrofit for electricity later. Even if we included the pre-conduits and other infrastructure for electrification in a system that initially relied on natural gas, this would also push up costs. In either case, we would be paying for the cost of two different energy systems and abandoning the natural gas system before the end of the pool’s lifetime.

Q: Was the concept and cost of an all-electric facility factored into Measure UU?

A: No. When the conceptual master plan was initially developed in 2016, all-electric pool heating was not considered, and the baseline assumption was for natural gas, although some “green features” were proposed (solar and thermal tubes). But the details of the energy system were not specified, in the same way that most of the other details being fleshed out now (pool size, building and public space design, etc.) were not. Similarly, the 2016 conceptual plan did not do a GHG emissions analysis or consider how this municipal construction project would comply with Piedmont’s 2010 Climate Action Plan then in place. Since 2016, not only was Piedmont’s 2018 CAP 2.0 adopted, but the transition off natural gas and towards full electrification of public and private buildings and facilities across the state began in earnest, and other municipalities began to consider or actually design all-electric pools. After the passage of UU, Piedmont Connect and residents focused on how to reduce the carbon footprint of the new pool complex. Connect researched and modeled the possibility of designing an all-electric facility that would emit zero GHG emissions in its operation and help the City meet its CAP 2.0 goals. Connect’s calculations showed that it would be both economically and technologically feasible, the same conclusion that the project architects and engineers have now drawn. (A report Connect prepared in 2021 can be viewed here.) City staff and Council have made public commitments several times to support the “greenest” pool possible. When hired, ELS was directed by the City to conduct an energy analysis of the pool, and it stated publicly that it would design for an all-electric option. Since the City chose to wait until the design phase of the project to conduct this energy feasibility assessment and to decide on the facility’s energy system, it may appear that an all-electric facility is an afterthought. But, in reality, this discussion has been going on for some time.

Submitted by Margaret Ovenden, Piedmont Resident

Agenda and Participation Information HERE.

Staff Report HERE

Apr 2 2022

Update on Community Pool Design Modifications and Direct Staff to: 1) Continue Review of Program and Cost Considerations Related to the 20 Versus 25 Yard Recreation Pool Lanes with Referral to the Community Pool Advisory Committee for a Review of the Recreation Pool Length, and 2) Direct Staff to Prepare a Donation Policy for the Acceptance of Donations for the Piedmont Community Pool Project

Staff Report HERE.

Agenda and Participation Information HERE.


Mar 20 2022

“..the pool is the single biggest municipal GHG emitter in town.”

Letter to the City Council:

City staff is recommending that significant modifications be made to the schematic design to reduce the cost of the new pool. 

The staff report and lifecycle analysis in the energy report show that the all-electric option is the best financial and environmental option for the pool so I encourage you to direct staff to redesign the pool based on the all-electric option.

The lifecycle analysis shows that an all-electric pool saves the city $1,000,000 over 25 years, probably an underestimate given state and federal restrictions that will drive up the price of natural gas over that time.  Most importantly, the all-electric design will reduce GHG emissions compared to that from the existing pool, let alone the new pool.  Such reduction is needed for the City to achieve its 2030 and 2050 reduction targets.  More importantly, proceeding with the all-electric design will show the residents that City Council takes climate change seriously.  Having restricted the installation of natural gas in new construction in Piedmont, the all-electric option will show the City’s commitment to reducing its own GHG emissions and serve to motivate residents to take additional actions at reducing GHG emissions as well.

Electrifying the pool today is the single-most effective action the city can take to achieve the municipal GHG reduction targets set forth in CAP 2.0. The staff report implies that the current pool is less that 20% of municipal GHG emissions but that is biased by inclusion of employee commute as part of municipal emissions (figure 1), a GHG source City Council has little control over.  Excluding employee commute from municipal emissions, facilities comprise 44% of city GHG emissions.  And as figure 2 shows, city takeover of the pool in 2015 doubled municipal emissions – the pool is the single biggest municipal GHG emitter in town.  A natural gas option for the new pool would more than double municipal facilities emissions.  Achieving reductions in all municipal sectors is needed for the city to reach its GHG 2030 and 2050 targets and building an all-electric pool now will result in the single largest step this Council can authorize towards achieving those goals.

Figure 1

Figure 2

The table on page 3 of the staff report shows that a cost savings of $1,000,000 is achieved with the all-electric option compared to the hybrid (natural gas) option.  The 2/17 presentation to the Pool Advisory Committee by ELS showed that this savings is attributable to utility costs – $77,600/year for natural gas, $57,100/year for electricity.  The figure on page 7 of Attachment A shows higher annual costs and the all-electric option still saves costs compared to the hybrid option, with or without photovoltaics but more so with photovoltaics.  Total 25-year costs assume escalations for both rates but it is a safe assumption that natural gas will incur added costs due to costlier production and stricter regulation than electricity will. These factors are hard to account for now, but I think would favor an even greater 25-year lifecycle cost savings from electricity compared to natural gas.  Some have raised the possibility of installing natural gas now and converting to electricity in the future. At the 2/17 PAC meeting, Clarence Mumuyac of ELS said “It’s really expensive” and the energy consultant advised against it.

The other important figure of the report is on page 8 of Attachment A – Facility Annual Emissions.  The difference between the two options is the most important reason for the all-electric option – no new GHG will be emitted from the all-electric pool.  Decarbonization is the path to reversing climate change yet since 2016, natural gas usage in Piedmont has increased 14%.  This is not from the municipal sector (those emissions have been declining) but what message will it send to our residents if this new facility so vital to our community contributes to global warming?

Getting the right design for the energy infrastructure of the pool facility now has important ramifications for the long-term operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions of the pool. In both cases, the all-electric option is the best option.   Additional cost analysis will be provided you by April 4, but would seem unlikely to change this conclusion.  It would assist the redesign efforts of ELS were you to give direction tonight that the pool facility redesign be based on the all-electric option and I encourage you do so.

The pool facility has reached the point where a difficult choice has to be made. Conservatively, $4,000,000 in costs savings have to be found if the City is to stay within the spending limits of ballot measure UU.  ELS is looking at reductions to the recreational pool but if those and an all-electric pool can’t be accommodated within the $25,000,000 UU limits then Council should look at reducing the size of the aquatic pool – it is the largest user of energy within the facility and largest area of square footage.  It is not fair to the larger number of residents who obtain seasonal passes to have their pool use restricted nor future generations of Piedmonters to have their climate impacted by GHG emissions from the aquatic pool.

Bond Measure UU generated a great deal of enthusiasm for the new pool and I think Council can rely on this community support to accept reductions to all the pools in the current design.

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont City Council Member, Piedmont Resident

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

The matter will be considered at the March 21, 2022 City Council meeting.

Agenda and participation information > PCA council-current-agenda 3212022

Staff report >

Staff report >

Mar 20 2022

“Choosing natural gas would be irresponsible from a climate perspective.”

Progress on the new Piedmont Aquatic Center has reached a key decision making point. Between now and April 4, 2022, the Piedmont City Council will be deciding between a system that heats pool water by natural gas (a climate-warming fossil fuel) or one that uses no natural gas, relying instead on electricity from renewable sources.

The news from the preliminary energy use reportprepared by the engineers under contract with ELS architecture is good and cause for great hope that a climate-friendly all-electric system is within our financial reach. The analysis shows that while an all-electric facility will require an additional $600,000 in upfront cost and have a longer payback period (15.8 years, in comparison with 8.4 years for the natural gas option), it will provide approximately $1,000,000 more in cost savings over the 25-year period studied as compared to the natural gas option.

The estimated greenhouse gas emissions from each option stand in sharp contrast: The natural gas-fired facility will generate 260 MT CO2e and will make greenhouse gas emissions from the new facility 1.5 times greater than those from the old Community Pool, which generated approximately 75% of municipal emissions from natural gas. The all-electric option, however, will reduce the pool facility’s emissions by 100%.Opting for natural gas would thus make it impossible to meet Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan’s targets for reducing emissions in municipal facilities, reductions that are important not only in and of themselves but also as an example for residents to emulate in reducing emissions in their homes.

The decision to choose the all-electric system appears to be a no-brainer. But there’s a catch: The Staff Report accompanying the preliminary energy use report goes out of its way to frame emissions from the pool in the context of the municipal sector and Piedmont’s overall emissions, making the point that, when emissions from employee transportation are taken into account, the old Community Pool contributed less than 20% of municipal emissions and less than 1% of total emissions from Piedmont’s residential sector. While these numbers may be largely true for the old pool, the Staff Report fails to note that, given that a new natural gas-fueled facility will generate 1.5 times more emissions than the old facility, its portion of municipal emissions will also increase. These numbers also don’t take into account that emissions from employee commutes will decrease with the EV adoption that will likely accompany installation of EV charging stations near City Hall. The important point here is that referencing these numbers appears to be in service of providing a rationale for choosing natural gas for the pool.

Choosing natural gas would be very short-sighted, however. As the preliminary energy analysis points out, natural gas prices have become very volatile and are trending upwards at a faster rate than electricity prices. As California moves towards phasing out natural gas, a natural gas-dependent facility could become obsolete before the end of its expected lifetime. It is wiser to construct an energy system for the future now, than to face the cost-prohibitive prospect of having to re-do the system later. Choosing natural gas would also be imprudent from a financial perspective; while it may be tempting to choose a system with a lower up-front cost and shorter payback period, we need to keep in mind that the actual cost savings over 25 years of an electric system will be approximately $1,000,000 more than a natural gas system. A $600,000 up-front cost differential is really not that large in the larger picture, nor is an additional 7.4 years until payback.

Choosing natural gas would be irresponsible from a climate perspective. No matter how small the pool’s emissions are in the context of total Piedmont and world emissions, we all know that it’s important that each family, city, state and nation work to reduce its emissions in as many ways as possible, in order for us to collectively bring emissions down. Cities and other government bodies have an additional mandate of serving as role models for the citizens they represent; if governments don’t wholeheartedly attempt to reduce their emissions, saying that what they do doesn’t matter, citizens will follow suit. If we chose an all-electric pool, Piedmont will become one of the first California municipalities to do so, and we will be on the map as a model for other communities. If we chose a natural gas-fired facility, we will be taking the position that we are exempt from needing to tackle climate change on all possible fronts – an assertion of privilege that many in the community deeply wish us to move beyond.

Margaret Ovenden, Piedmont Resident

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

The matter will be considered at the March 21, 2022 City Council meeting.

Agenda and participation information > PCA council-current-agenda 3212022

Staff report >

Staff report >

Mar 15 2022


Agenda and participation information for March 17, 7 p.m. Teleconference Meeting >   PCA2022-03-17 Bond Oversight Committee Agenda

Pool Bond Measure UU Campaign Information >,_California,_Measure_UU,_Bond_Issue_(November_2020)

Actual Pool Bond Measure UU Ballot Language  >

Document to be considered at the meeting PCA 2022-03-17 Bond Oversight Committee Presentation