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
Jul 19 2021

To the Piedmont City Council:

To date, the City has engaged the community in the design and funding of the new pool but has yet to assess community sentiment for building a pool that will not add to Piedmont’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  All of California and indeed the world are experiencing the early stresses of unchecked climate change and I think most Piedmonters do not want to build a pool that will add to that problem for their children.

The establishment of the Pool Advisory Committee offers the City the opportunity to have this community engagement about the proposed pool’s impact on climate change. To that end, selecting the right Project Architect will be essential to engaging the PAC and community in designing a pool that offers creative options but also tradeoffs to achieve the 2030 and 2050 GHG reduction targets set forth in Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan (CAP).

Unfortunately, the Griffin template used for the RFQ/P is inadequate for soliciting proposals to conduct this engagement and creative pool design.  For example, the staff report states that the “Scope of Services and Work Plan notes the City’s environmental goals” but that is not true; nowhere in the request for proposals do the words “Climate Action Plan” occur.  GHG reduction is without question the City’s most urgent environmental goal, yet there is no condition in the RFQ/P seeking services to assist the City with meeting it’s 2030 and 2050 targets.

The only concession to city environmental goals appears to be the incorporation of LEED silver design principles, outdated principles that do not address GHG reduction, rather than LEED-Zero, the latest LEED standards that incorporate renewable energy into the design.  Similarly, the RFQ/P calls for a Net Zero Energy (NZE) assessment of the conceptual facility, not Net Zero Carbon (ZNC)-driven design that could help achieve the city’s CAP goals. The RFQ/P should at least acknowledge the 2030 and 2050 reduction targets as project goals and solicit proposals that show how the new pool will integrate with the city-wide GHG reduction targets.

Staff gave assurances that if the RFQ/P does not solicit adequate proposals then additional rounds of solicitation will be undertaken. Unfortunately, this RFQ/P starts on the wrong foot and should be re-drafted to seek stronger proposals that deliver the services the city needs to achieve CAP goals.  The staff report acknowledges that the original date for issuance of the RFQ/P was August 2.

I suggest that Council take no action this evening [July 19] and instead give direction to staff to incorporate stronger language into the RFQ/P requesting proposals address GHG reduction of the conceptual design through design and energy infrastructure.  The current conceptual design fails to show any GHG emissions calculations so the City can obtain this analysis by having consultants do this in their proposals.

In the event Council decides to proceed with the RFQ/P, consider the following changes:

Acronyms/Definitions: add a definition for “building” to this section to clarify that the term includes the pool house and the pools.  GHG emissions from the pools vastly exceed those of the pool house and must be included in any LEED or NZE analysis for the facility.

1.1 Basic Services:  Don’t specify LEED silver as the design goal. First, this bar is too low and it sends a signal to consultants that they can achieve this project objective without appreciably addressing GHG emissions.  State instead that the city seeks the highest LEED certification for the pool and let consultants compete by submitting creative proposals.

1.2.12 Value Engineering: This is a very important element of the work plan as there are numerous redundancies and inefficiencies in the current conceptual design. Language should be added to this section stipulating that value engineering be initiated during the conceptual design phase so changes can be presented during the community outreach phase.

And some clarification may be needed in the RFQ/P.  The first table below is from the feasibility assessment of the pool presented on the City website during the community pool bond initiative.  The second table below is that presented in the RFQ/P (page 6).  While the total lap pool area is the same (9600 sq. ft) there is a discrepancy in the number and length of swimming lanes.

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont Council Member

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8. Consideration of the Issuance of a Request for Qualifications/Proposals for Architectural/ Engineering/Planning and Design Services of the Piedmont Community Pool 0270-1022 https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851805