Fair Housing Programs

Click here to subscribe to the Housing Updates eNewsletter.

Piedmont Is Home

“Piedmont Is Home” is the umbrella title for City of Piedmont housing policy work, including the 2023-2031 Housing Element update, Measure A-1 funding, SB2 grant-funded new housing programs, and the Piedmont Housing Advisory Committee, representing $2.4 million in available funding for the development of more housing in Piedmont. Visit Piedmontishome.org by clicking here.

Housing Element Update

Initial Study-Negative Declaration available for review and written comments due by January 8, 2023. The City of Piedmont has released an Initial Study-Negative Declaration (IS-ND) for the City’s proposed 6th Cycle Housing Element. The IS-ND is available for public review and comment through January 8th, 2023.

This is the next step in the City’s Housing Element Update, a process that has been underway since Spring 2021. Part of Piedmont’s General Plan, the Housing Element outlines a series of proposed policies and programs that would allow the City to accommodate the development of 587 new homes by 2031 – a number assigned to the City by regional authorities. Adopting a Housing Element does not require that these homes be built. Rather, the purpose of the document is to demonstrate that the City has a plan for how it could support this growth. Click on the following links to access the Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration and the Initial Study-Negative Declaration.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that public agencies study and disclose the potential impacts of proposed projects before making a decision. A review of the City’s Draft Housing Element based on the CEQA guidelines determined that, as a policy document, the Housing Element alone will not have adverse physical impacts on the environment. Physical changes that would result from the implementation of policies and programs proposed in the Housing Element are being studied as part of a programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to CEQA, covering updates to the City’s General Plan and changes to the City Code that would happen after the Housing Element is adopted.

On November 15, 2023, the CIty Council authorized the submittal of the City’s Draft Housing Element to the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) for review. Documents related to this important meeting are as follows:

  1. City Council Agenda Report
  2. Draft 6th Cycle Housing Element
  3. Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. Memorandum on 801 Magnolia Avenue
  4. August 1, 2022, City Council Meeting Staff Report
  5. August 1, 2022, City Council Meeting Minutes
  6. June 20, 2022, City Council Meeting Staff Report
  7. June 20, 2022, City Council Meeting Minutes
  8. June 20, 2022, City Council Meeting Summary
  9. May 12, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting Staff Report
  10. May 12, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
  11. Public Correspondence Received March 24, 2022, to November 9, 2022
  12. Fair Housing Outreach and Enforcement Report, prepared by Urban Planning Partners
  13. ABAG Technical Assistance on ADU Income Categories, June 14, 2022

On August 1, 2022, the Piedmont City Council directed staff to analyze the viability of potential changes to the Draft Housing Element, including:

  • Increased reliance on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to meet State-mandated housing production targets

  • Relocation of affordable units in the sites inventory from the Civic Center area to the mixed-use zone on Grand Avenue

  • Expansion of the Moraga Canyon Specific Plan area to include all City-owned property along Moraga Avenue

Staff and consultants have completed the analysis directed by the Piedmont City Council and will be presenting a revised sites inventory that reflects the results of that analysis.

The official State deadline for cities to adopt a compliant Housing Element is January 31, 2023. Once the City submits a Draft Housing Element for review, HCD has up to 90 days to return comments with requested revisions. Working actively to minimize any potential period of non-compliance, Planning & Building staff are in regular communication with HCD reviewers. The City is optimistic that once submitted, Piedmont’s Draft Housing Element will move through the review process swiftly.

New Fair Housing Programs
- The components of the new housing programs  include development of objective design standards for apartment buildings, as well as incentives to increase the production of accessory dwelling units (ADUs and JADUs) in Piedmont.

These new housing programs are outlined in detail in a public review draft, issued October 2021, available here. The Design and Preservation Element, a chapter of the Piedmont General Plan, guides City actions and addresses light, privacy, architecture, and neighborhood compatibility, as well as potential historic areas. Light, privacy, and neighborhood compatibility are General Plan goals, but they are not objective standards.

However, it is possible to create objective standards to include these qualities in the design of new developments. Examples of objective standards can include stepbacks or daylight planes to provide access to direct and indirect sunlight, and limited window locations and orientations to provide privacy. Objective standards can define what makes a development proposal compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. The proposed new housing programs include draft objective design standards for apartment buildings.

A second component of the new housing programs includes draft new incentives for ADUs, including JADUs, summarized as follows:

1. If the owner of a proposed new ADU records a deed restriction limiting rent to levels affordable to low- or very-low income households for a period of 10 years, the City would grant one of the following draft incentives:

a. Continue to allow a unit size exception for one-bedroom ADUs greater than 850 s.f. up to 1,000 s.f. and allow a two-bedroom (or more) ADU greater than 1,000 s.f. up to 1,200 s.f.

b. Allow two-story ADUs or an ADU above a garage, up to 20 to 22 feet tall with an increased setback to side or rear property lines of 6 to 8 feet, instead of the minimum required setback of 4 feet.

c. Allow up to two ADUs and one JADU per single-family lot in Piedmont for a total of four homes on a single-family lot.

d. Allow the conversion of existing enclosed accessory buildings, such as garages, into ADUs with additions that increase the size of the existing accessory building up to 300 s.f., as also exempt from structure coverage and floor area limits.

2. The City is planning to make pre-approved plans available to homeowners wishing to construct an ADU, if the owner of the proposed new ADU records a deed restriction limiting rent to levels affordable to households of low or very low income for a period of 10 years.

3. The City will promote and facilitate financing incentives, such as the $25,000 California Housing Finance Agency (Cal HFA) ADU Grant Program.

The comments received will be considered by staff in revisions to the draft objective standards and ADU incentives.

For more information, watch the Piedmont is Home New Housing Programs Community Meeting - Oct 21st, 2021 (granicus.com). You can share your comments via email to: [email protected] or mail them to Planning Division, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. 

Density Bonus: Discussions about multifamily housing development often will describe development potential provided by a “density bonus.” State of California law permits relaxation of some City zoning regulations for new housing developments, including but not limited to waivers of requirements for height, parking, residential density, setbacks, etc., in multifamily and mixed-use zoning districts, in return for housing units in the development that are reserved for low-income households. The Piedmont City Code already allows for a “density bonus” in accordance with State law.

Public Participation: Public comments are considered by the City’s staff and decision-making bodies, like the Planning Commission, Housing Advisory Board, and City Council, which are made up of Piedmont residents and volunteers. Please email comments, questions, ideas, and concerns to [email protected]. This single email address will capture official public correspondence about City of Piedmont housing policy work, including the Housing Element Update, the draft new housing programs, and related efforts. See the calendar of events at:  www.piedmontishome.org.

Piedmont is Home Logo

Measure A-1 Bond

On October 18, 2021, the City Council considered the Measure A-1 Bond funding at a public meeting and directed staff to work with Alameda County staff about the deadline for Measure A-1 applications. The meeting  video is available: https://piedmont.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=2426 . The staff report is available at:

On September 13, 2021, the Planning Commission considered the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on the Measure A-1 Bond. Meeting video is available at https://piedmont.ca.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=13659823&pageId=14122987

Links to the Planning Commission staff report, presentation, and public correspondence are available here:
Measure A1 Update Planning Commission Briefing 9 13 2021.pdf
September 13 2021 Measure A1 Update Presentation.pdf
Measure A1 - Correspondence 9 13 2021 Consolidated.pdf

Recent Improvements to Housing Regulations

Zone C, multi-family zoning district, consists of a cluster of parcels near the intersection of Oakland and Linda Avenues and a few lots amongst those in the Zone A district. In 2013, the City modified its commercial zoning district (Zone D) along Oakland Avenue and near Highland and Vista Avenues to include mixed-use multi-family development. In 2017, the City updated the development standards for Zone D. In 2020, the City completed comprehensive updates to the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance, consistent with state law. Since the 1990's, the City has found that the most effective housing program is to actively encourage the production of accessory dwelling units.

Housing Related Projects

Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley offers a program in Piedmont to make repairs that directly improve a homeowners health, safety, and quality of life. Home repair projects over $15,000 may be eligible for loans through the Renew Alameda County (RenewAC) program, funded by Measure A1 Bond funds and administered by Habit for Humanity. Home repair projects can include Accessory Dwelling Units. Learn more at renewac.org or contact [email protected]

RenewAC Brochure--English 

The City of Piedmont is part of AC Boost, a $50 million countywide down payment assistance loan program funded by Alameda County's 2016 Measure A1 Housing Bond. The program offers shared equity loans of up to $150,000 to first-time home buyers who live, work, or have been displaced from Alameda County. The program is administered by Hello Housing, a local affordable housing non-profit organization. There are also specific loan programs to help first responders and educators in our community. Learn more by clicking on the flyers below. 

AC Boost Educator Flyer
AC Boost First Responder Flyer
AC Boost General Flyer 
AC Boost Press Release 

Individuals or firms with questions are invited to contact Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald-Powell at (510) 420-3063.