Oct 20 2021

Virtual Community Workshop October 21, 2021, 5:30 pm

Pre-approved architectural plans, taller and larger ADUs permitted, allowing two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

“Objective” Standards and Incentives for Multifamily Housing and ADUs –

On Thursday, October 21, 2021, the City of Piedmont and Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) will host a virtual event, entitled “New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop,” starting at 5:30 pm, to discuss new objective standards for multifamily housing and new ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) incentives.

State of California laws, such as SB35 and SB 330, require cities to apply standards that are objective and “knowable in advance” to applications for multifamily housing developments, such as apartment buildings.

Discretionary design review or conditional use permits are no longer allowed.

Last year, the City and LWC consultant began to prepare objective design standards for future multifamily housing developments, including the citywide Fair Housing Survey conducted in March 2021 and presentations to the Housing Advisory Committee in May and June 2021. The results of this work will be described to the Piedmont community on October 21, 2021.

State laws, including AB 671, require cities to develop incentives for the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that can be offered at affordable rents to residents with very low, low, and moderate incomes.

The October 21 event will also include a discussion of possible new ADU incentives. New incentives would generally be available to homeowners who choose to rent their new ADUs at very low or low rents for a period of 10 years.

Currently very low or low rents for a one-bedroom apartment with two occupants is a maximum of $1,370 to $2,193 per month, and the maximum incomes of the tenant households are $54,800 and $87,700, respectively.

Possible ADU incentives could include changes to City regulations to offer pre-approved architectural plans, permit taller and larger ADUs, or allow as many as two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

The City and LWC have developed plans for ADU and JADU construction with Openscope Studio, an architectural firm based in San Francisco. With some modifications, these new plans can be used to quickly obtain Planning Division approvals and streamline the building permit plan review to construct a new ADU.

Participants in the virtual meeting on October 21 on the Zoom platform can share their ideas, take part in online polls during the community workshop, and hear from other Piedmonters on these important issues.

To RSVP for the New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop, please email Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information, please visit the Get Involved webpage at Piedmontishome.org

Members of the Piedmont community are invited to send their comments on the draft new objective standards and ADU incentives to the City of Piedmont Planning & Building Department by November 19, 2021. Comments can be emailed to Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov or mailed to: Fair Housing Programs, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94602. The draft new fair housing programs are funded in part by a California SB 2 planning grant.

Link to draft plan > https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/Housing%20Programs/LWC_Piedmont_New%20Fair%20Housing%20Programs_101821.pdf

Contact 510/420-3050 or 510/420-3040 for further information.

Oct 3 2021

Piedmont voters in March 2020 approved Measure UU the $19.5 million Piedmont bond measure levied against Piedmont real properties. 

The monies are to be used to develop and construct new municipal pools and an aquatic center.  A requirement of the ballot measure is the establishment of an oversight committee.  A resolution is to be considered by the City Council on October 4 to determine how the chairperson of the committee is chosen, the number of committee members, reporting requirements, oversight charges, etc.

Like the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC), who will have a slot on the bond oversight committee, no written minutes or video archiving of the meetings are required within the resolution.  Release of information is restricted by the Council resolution.  Minutes have never been provided by the somewhat obscure BAFPC. Consequently, it appears those interested in the bond oversight committee and meetings will need to participate in real time during the meetings. 

There is no requirement for conflict of interest filings by committee members to be able to participate on the committee.

Below is a partial list of the committee member requirements.

SECTION 4. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall consist of five residents at large, including one current or former member of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee.

SECTION 5. The City Council shall appoint one member to serve as Committee Chair.

SECTION 6. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall meet at least two times per year or more frequently as the Committee deems it necessary to discharge its duty, but no more frequently than quarterly. At the end of each meeting, the Committee shall identify the next approximate meeting date.

SECTION 7. The term of the Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall extend from the date of establishment to the Committee’s submission of the final Annual Report which reflects the final accounting of the expenditure of the Bond proceeds.

SECTION 8. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee shall comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code §54950 et seq.) including, but not limited to notice, agenda posting, and public participation requirements.

SECTION 9. The Community Pool Bond Oversight Committee is an advisory body to the City Council and is not an independent decision-making body. All of its recommendations are subject to approval of the City Council

READ THE ENTIRE RESOLUTION IN THE COMPLETE STAFF REPORT LINKED  BELOW.

>Pool Bond Com 102021

AGENDA OF OCT. 4, 2021 COUNCIL MEETING > HERE.

Sep 16 2021

Piedmont Unified School District Board Meeting Summary – September 14,  2021

Enrollment in schools throughout California has been on the decline, including in Piedmont. 

For the 2021-2022 School year under the current policies 41 approved Interdistrict transfer students enrolled in TK -5th grade and 12 approved Interdistrict transfer students enrolled in 6th -11th grade as of 8/37/21. Interdistrict transfers are students enrolled in Piedmont schools who originate from another school district.

In order to mitigate the loss of what could be considerable funding for our
schools, District staff recommended that the Interdistrict transfer policy be revised:

  1. Permit the option of accepting the Interdistrict transfers of students at all grade
    levels.
  2.  Allow for more flexibility in accepting the Interdistrict transfers of families whose grandparents reside in Piedmont.
  3.  Reflect language that adheres to recent changes in the Education Code.

Highlights of the Current Interdistrict Transfer Policy :

  1. The Superintendent or designee may approve interdistrict transfer requests when
    capacity within the District exists. Students whose requests are denied solely
    because of lack of capacity within the District will be placed on a waiting list, and
    their application will be considered if space becomes available.

The decision to admit out-of-District students is discretionary, when capacity
exists; applications may be approved based on the following priorities:
1. Parents Constructing or Remodeling a Home
2. High School Juniors and Seniors Who Have Moved Out of the District
3. Children of Piedmont Unified School District Employees
4. Children of the City of Piedmont Government Employees
5. Children of the Piedmont Educational Foundation Director
6. Children Residing on Calvert Court
7. Residences on Approved Piedmont Split Parcel Properties
8. GrandParent – Grandchild of an Individual(s) Who Lives Within the
Boundaries of PUSD

9.Approved Split Parcels with Oakland and Adjoining Minor Piedmont Parcel

10. Other Applicants

Outdoor Masking:

Superintendent Booker reviewed the District’s requirements regarding outdoor masking. At its last meeting, the Health & Safety Steering Committee was asked if there was an ‘off-ramp’ where the District could consider rolling back or eliminating the outdoor requirement. Discussion centered around that being outdoors is not a cure for COVID – aerosol transmission is still possible. Suggestion was made to wait until Alameda County falls to below five cases per 100,000 residents (currently at 13.5) before considering any changes to requirements.

Vaccinations:

The Committee will be asked if the rules should be different for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated students at its next meeting on September 29th.

As of September 13th, 83% of families had responded that 74% of eligible students  were fully vaccinated.

Revised Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5141.31 – Immunizations

– Revised policy would add the COVID vaccination to the existing list of
vaccinations required for enrollment in PUSD. All age-eligible students would be required to show proof of vaccination or submit a medical exemption and be tested weekly. Questions to be answered before Board approval would be: what dates should be chosen as deadlines to show proof of vaccinations, how much time should students be given to become vaccinated once becoming age-eligible, and should the mandate be for students 12 and older, or 16 and older to fall under FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine? Board will discuss and take possible action at its September 22nd meeting.

Next Regular School Board Meeting – Wednesday, September 22nd, 7 pm

Sep 15 2021

On Tuesday, September 13th, the City began the process of draining the 154,000 gallons of water out of the main pool. Check out the video to see the progress and to hear more about the Piedmont Community Pool project.  The speaker is John Tulloch, City Clerk. 

Click on the arrow below to see the Piedmont Community Pool being drained, thus ending the water leakage. 

Piedmont Community Pool Project Update
Aug 15 2021

Pool construction is anticipated to begin in December 2022 with the facility opening the summer of 2024.

Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee Tuesday, August 17, 2021 2:30 p.m.

Bond structure recommendation to be considered at the meeting,

Those seeking information on the bond consideration need to contact the City Clerk at 510/420-3040, as no information has been distributed with the Agenda.  For details on participating  in the meeting, click the link below.

2021-08-17 Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee Agenda

Jul 31 2021

$691,230  plus $252,619 ($943,849) for housing consultants – 

Piedmont city staff recommends that the City Council approve a $252,619 Agreement  for services related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the City’s 6th Housing Element Update covering the period 2023 through 2031.  The  Piedmont City Council, unlike numerous similar Bay Area cities, has acceded to the suggested new housing to be built in Piedmont.  City expenditures are being made now in an effort to expedite the construction of 587 new housing units.  Piedmont currently has approximately 4,000 housing units. 

The consultant recommended by staff for approval by the City Council is Rincon Consultants, Inc. (Rincon).  An Optional Task (see Exhibit A in the report) is a Study of Piedmont Sewer Capacity.

Read the report & agreement here.

On May 3, 2021, the City Council approved an earlier consultant agreement addressing the 587 new housing unit allocation in the amount of $691,230 with Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc. (LWC), to provide for professional services to update the Housing Element and prepare for the additional Piedmont housing units

The consultant agreement will be considered by the City Council on Monday, August 2.  Participation and timing details can be found on the City Council Agenda linked here.

Jul 31 2021

Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 3:00 p.m. Via Teleconference –

Regular Agenda – 

1. Overview of Aquatics Bond Project

a. Review of Current Market Conditions

b. Recommended Bond Structure

c. Review of Bond Issuance Timetable

2. Consideration of a Recommendation to City Council on Whether to Pursue a Negotiated or a Competitive Method of Bond Sale Announcements,

Supporting staff reports were not distributed with the Agenda. 7/30/2021

Click link below for Agenda Schedule and Participation details:

2021-08-04 Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee Agenda

Jul 19 2021

Dear Piedmont City Council,

Back in the spring, we approached the City about sharing the results of the calculations we had been working on since the fall about the feasibility of designing a pool facility that created zero carbon emissions in its operation. We were asked by the City Administrator to prepare a summary report, with the idea that we’d follow it up with an in-person (Zoom) meeting. We understand that the City Administrator’s leave may have been what prevented this from happening, but we still would like the opportunity to present our feasibility study. We find it concerning that our input has basically been ignored, as evidenced by the draft RFP for a pool design team, which makes no reference to Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan or to the energy and GHG calculations that are needed if the City is going to follow the CAP and aim for a zero or very low emissions pool facility.

To summarize, our analysis of the 2017 Conceptual Design found that, even with its proposed use of solar tubes, the new pool facility would need 46% more natural gas to operate than the old pool facility needed in 2019. This is clearly not in line with our CAP targets of reducing our emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Piedmont Connect did some preliminary calculations to determine if it would be possible to design a pool heating system that uses zero natural gas. We found that it would, indeed, be possible, using primarily a combination of efficient electric air-to-water heat pumps powered by solar PV. We estimated the annual operating costs of two such systems — one using a heat pump with a COP (Co-efficiency of Production) of 4 and one using an even more efficient heat pump with a COP of 6.  And we compared these two zero emissions options with an all-gas option and the solar tube option presented in the 2017 Conceptual Plan.

 All-gas

 Solar tubes

   COP 4 Heat   Pump

  COP 6 Heat  Pump

Annual C02 emissions

 494 MT*  C02

  68 MT  C02

   0 MT C02

  0 MT C02

Annual operating cost

 $169,924

 $ 93,220

 $165,744

 $132,211

*MT = Metric Tons

As you can see, the operating cost of the system using a COP 6 Heat Pump is only about $39,000 more per year AND it delivers on having zero emissions, in line with meeting our CAP goals. The solar tube-based design of the 2017 Conceptual Plan, as we say above, would increase pool emissions by 46% over 2019 levels, making it impossible for the municipal sector to meet Piedmont CAP targets. (Since heating the old pool constituted around 67% of overall municipal emissions, there is just no room to increase these emissions and meet our CAP targets.) These numbers are preliminary, and an updated conceptual design would need to do further analysis.

Please do not approve this RFP until the Climate Action Plan targets and the necessity of aiming for a  zero carbon pool water heating system and pool building are thoroughly integrated into the expectations we have of bidders.

Sincerely,

Piedmont Connect’s Pool Committee

Indira Balkissoon

Garrett Keating

Margaret Ovenden

Tom Webster

Jul 19 2021

Dear Council, Staff, and Members of the Pool Advisory Committee,

My sense from last week’s Pool Advisory Committee and from speaking with Council Members is that everyone involved in this project wants a pool facility that emits as few carbon emissions as possible. But the schedule and work plan presented at last week’s Pool Advisory Committee meeting, as well as the draft RFP for a project design team before you tonight have me deeply concerned that we are not on track to do this. I believe that right now we are in danger of being lulled into a design process that is biased, inadequate, and likely to lead to failure. I urge you to send this RFP back to the drawing board and to re-evaluate the project timeline and milestones.

Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan

How we set up the design process for the pool facility now will determine whether or not we are able to make its operations as close to zero carbon as feasible. From the looks of the RFP, we aren’t making a serious attempt at all. First of all, why is there absolutely no mention of Piedmont’s 2019 Climate Action Plan in the RFP? The CAP is a guiding document for the City, developed by staff with community input and approved by Council. If we aren’t going to pay attention to it now, for the first new major municipal construction project since it was passed, why did we bother investing our time and energy to develop it? Why don’t we just admit to the world that we in Piedmont value our comfort and convenience over making a serious effort to reduce our GHG emissions? An explanation of the Climate Action Plan and Piedmont’s GHG emissions targets needs to be part of  the “Background” section of the RFP, and it needs to be made clear to potential bidders that their proposals need to clearly explain how they will approach reaching these emissions reduction targets.

2017 Conceptual Design 

Planning for serious GHG emissions reductions in line with California and Piedmont emissions reduction targets has not been part of the conversation about the new pool facility to this point — not in the conceptual design process (at least rigorously), not in the UU campaign, not in the interviews for Pool Advisory Committee members. Granted, the early stages of this process were before the completion of our 2019 CAP and before the developed world started to experience widespread and unmistakable climate disasters. Now that we know how concertedly we need to act to mitigate climate change, we cannot move forward assuming that the 2017 conceptual design is the project “bible” and that everything must be planned around it. I am very concerned, based on information presented at the first PAC meeting and in this RFP, that staff and the project management team see that conceptual design as already being locked in.

Previously, Connect was told that the 2017 conceptual design was just a placeholder and that it would be thoroughly re-done when the actual project began. However, the information presented at the PAC meeting seemed to indicate that this 2017 conceptual design is what will be taken before the public for “validation.” Since it’s old, the conceptual design doesn’t take into account the emissions reduction targets set by Piedmont’s 2019 CAP. Its “green tech” elements are simply outdated and inadequate. It proposes to accomplish 55% of the pool water heating with a solar tube array (passive solar), leaving 45% of the pool water heating to natural gas. Since the proposed new facility will triple the pool area of the old facility, the 2017 design will still lead to an increase in the facility’s natural gas usage, despite its “green tech” features. The design would significantly (likely irreparably) set back the City’s GHG emissions reduction efforts. (For more details about the problems with the 2017 conceptual design in terms of emissions reductions, see page 3 of the April report Piedmont Connect prepared at the request of the City Administrator.)

The RFP appears to deepen this problem by paving the way for an early ruling out of attempting a zero emissions design. Instead of starting the project by figuring from scratch how to design a zero emissions facility, it calls for working backwards from the (flawed) 2017 conceptual design to see if it can be made zero emissions. If this is how we go about it, the answer will likely be, “no, it’s impossible.”

If the facility is truly going to achieve as few emissions as possible, the specific emissions reduction technologies that could achieve this need to be incorporated into the conceptual design from the beginning, as the space they would occupy will be part of the space of the overall facility and thus influence its layout (these technologies would likely include high efficiency air-to-water electric heat pumps, powered by on-site solar PV, passive solar elements, etc., all of which need dedicated space). If we try to reverse our way out of the 2017 design, we are almost guaranteed failure.

Emissions Calculations

While those of us in Connect who have been analyzing the possibilities for a zero emissions facility have called for doing the emissions calculations early, we were not asking for what the RFP calls for (“an in-depth feasibility and cost/benefit analysis to determine if the facility can reach a Net Zero Energy for construction, operations and maintenance of the facility. This analysis shall be performed in the Preliminary stage of design to make an early determination of the feasibility of this goal.”). The way the thinking of project managers seems to be going, the zero net carbon features are being seen as add-ins, frills that would be nice to have, but not essential to the project. With this mindset, zero carbon technologies will be first on the chopping block when it comes to value engineering. Instead, they need to be non-negotiable, and, if value engineering is needed, some of the actual frills of the project should be what we cut until we can get to them later. A pool energy system is not something that can easily be revised later. We may need to incorporate some of the elements in stages, but we need to plan for them from the beginning.

In addition, the type of GHG emissions analysis Connect has been calling for is not a simple cost-benefit analysis. This analysis will require a separate team of experts in complex energy and emissions calculations (so this team needs to be added to the RFP’s list of consultants who will be needed). These are not calculations that a team coming at the issue from a cost/benefit perspective will have the expertise to do correctly. They will be unfamiliar with the newer technologies that will be needed in a zero carbon design, and, as such, they could easily rule them out without understanding their role.

CEQA

Another big flaw in the RFP is that the section on CEQA submittals (1.3.4.1) does not reference the GHG assessment that is now part of CEQA (as of 2019). Here’s a link to the new language: https://resources.ca.gov/CNRALegacyFiles/ceqa/docs/2018_CEQA_FINAL_TEXT_122818.pdf  

In summary, “The revision of CEQA Guidelines section 15064.4 clarified several points, including the following:

  • Lead agencies must analyze the greenhouse gas emissions of proposed projects. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (a).)
  • The focus of the lead agency’s analysis should be on the project’s effect on climate change, rather than simply focusing on the quantity of emissions and how that quantity of emissions compares to statewide or global emissions. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • The impacts analysis of greenhouse gas emissions is global in nature and thus should be considered in a broader context. A project’s incremental contribution may be cumulatively considerable even if it appears relatively small compared to statewide, national or global emissions. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • Lead agencies should consider a timeframe for the analysis that is appropriate for the project. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • A lead agency’s analysis must reasonably reflect evolving scientific knowledge and state regulatory schemes. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • Lead agencies may rely on plans prepared pursuant to section 15183.5 (Plans for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gases) in evaluating a project’s greenhouse gas emissions. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b)(3).)
  • In determining the significance of a project’s impacts, the lead agency may consider a project’s consistency with the State’s long-term climate goals or strategies, provided that substantial evidence supports the agency’s analysis of how those goals or strategies address the project’s incremental contribution to climate change and its conclusion that the project’s incremental contribution is consistent with those plans, goals, or strategies. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b)(3).)
  • The lead agency has discretion to select the model or methodology it considers most appropriate to enable decision makers to intelligently take into account the project’s incremental contribution to climate change. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (c).)

LEED Certification

In the RFP and in the project management team’s presentation at the PAC meeting, when LEED certification was brought up, it was made to sound like LEED would apply to the entire facility. In my understanding, there’s no LEED certification system for pool water heating systems (I’d love to be proved wrong). LEED may perhaps apply to the pool structure, but it’s the pool water heating that will be by far the major source of the facility’s GHG emissions (unless we eliminate natural gas usage). It’s disingenuous (greenwashing) to label the entire facility as LEED certified, if this leaves out the major source of GHG emissions. In addition, for the structural elements of the pool (such as the pool house), why would we limit ourselves to LEED Silver? Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum LEED standards are older standards and mainly focused on energy efficiency and sustainable building materials. We should be aiming, instead, for the newer LEED Zero Carbon standard, which accounts for energy sources and verifies net zero goals. We strongly urge you to aim for LEED Zero Carbon, for the applicable parts of the project. Even if we can’t reach LEED Zero Carbon in the end, we need to set an ambitious goal to start with, rather than admitting defeat from the beginning.

This can be a pool facility for the 21st century, if we put our minds and wills to it. It’s time to pause and re-do the design team RFP as well as the project work plan and timeline.

Margaret Ovenden, Piedmont Resident

Jul 19 2021