Housing Element Update: City receives additional comments from HCD
Posted on 05/26/2023

Housing Element Update: City receives additional comments from HCD

Published May 26, 2023

The City of Piedmont received additional comments on its 6th Cycle Housing Element from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on Tuesday, May 23rd, at the conclusion of the State’s 60-day review period.

The May 23rd letter confirms the City has made substantial progress since first receiving written comments on February 16, 2023. State reviewers are requesting the City provide additional analysis regarding housing mobility, affordability, and the likelihood of development on certain sites, as well as additional detail on the timing of some milestones. As in the previous review cycle, HCD did not identify major structural issues or call for significant redirection of the City’s plans.

Next steps: Revisions expected to be complete by mid-summer

Planning staff and consultants are carefully reviewing each of HCD’s remaining comments and will work diligently to address outstanding questions. The City expects to complete the requested additional analysis and submit a revised Housing Element to HCD by mid-summer, which will begin another 60-day review period. If the revisions include any substantive changes to the City’s plan to accommodate 587 more homes by 2031, the updates would come to City Council for approval.

Because the City did not receive certification by May 31st, certain implementation timelines are subject to adjustment. Piedmont is in good company in this regard – most Bay Area cities are still awaiting final approval of their Housing Elements. The volume and complexity of State laws related to fair housing have grown substantially in recent years, making the preparation and review process significantly more complex compared to previous cycles. For each jurisdiction, HCD reviewers must confirm that the Housing Element fully addressed more than 100 specific requirements.

Implementation work ongoing

Even as the City continues to work with HCD to obtain certification, City staff are actively working to implement the programs and policies outlined in the Housing Element:

  • Last year, the City established a new incentive for affordable ADUs and made it easier to convert existing spaces into new housing.
  • The City recently conducted a survey of ADU owners, partly aimed at better understanding the barriers to ADU creation and how the City can incentivize affordable ADU rentals.
  • This spring, the City conducted an RFP process to identify a consulting firm to lead the preparation of the Moraga Canyon Specific Plan, a centerpiece of the adopted Housing Element. Staff anticipate bringing a contract for the preparation of the Specific Plan to City Council this summer.
  • Planning staff expect to provide preapproved ADU plans that are intended to reduce the cost of developing a detached ADU and incentivize their production.
  • Planning staff intend to seek adoption of Objective Design Standards for mixed use (commercial & multi-family residential) buildings that were introduced for public review last year.
  • Planning staff are initiating other housing programs and actively pursuing State and regional grants to help finance the housing plan.

Implementation also involves additional environmental review, which is already underway. The City is currently in the process of preparing a programmatic EIR that studies the impacts of the new homes and residents that could come to Piedmont once implementation is complete, including options for mitigating those impacts.

For more information about the Housing Element update, visit PiedmontIsHome.org or subscribe to the City’s Housing Updates email newsletter to receive news directly. With questions, email [email protected].