Planning Commission to consider effect of new ADU regs on design guidelines at public hearing

Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald-Powell released the following memo on Tuesday, January 28:


Planning Commission to Consider Design Guidelines Update for Accessory Dwelling Units

The Planning Commission and City Council will soon consider changes to bring the City’s regulations regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) into conformance with new state laws.

On February 10, 2020, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider amendments to the Piedmont Design Guidelines to establish objective architectural and landscape standards for ADUs and JADUs. The City Council is tentatively scheduled to review the proposed amendments to the Piedmont Design Guidelines at a public hearing on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

The proposed changes to the Piedmont Design Guidelines are intended to do the following: to ensure that new ADUs and JADUs match the architecture of the primary residence; to protect street trees and the public right-of-way; and to ensure that the architectural design of ADUs and JADUs preserve privacy between neighboring properties. Per state requirements, the new design standards for ADUs and JADUs in the proposed amendments to the Design Guidelines are objective, measurable, and prescriptive.

The staff report and agenda for the February 10, 2020 Planning Commission meeting is available on the City website at the following link:


On January 21, 2020, the City Council introduced the first reading of a proposed ordinance to establish a ministerial review process for ADUs and JADUs in compliance with state law. The City Council will hold a public hearing to adopt the proposed ordinance on February 3, 2020.

On January 1, 2020, new state laws came into effect which limit a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate ADUs and JADUs. The provisions affected by the changes to state law include, but are not limited to: ministerial review of all ADU permit applications, off-street parking requirements, unit size limitations, application approval timelines, owner occupancy, and the allowance for junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs), ADUs on multi-family properties and ADUs that must be approved by-right. Local laws which do not conform to these new state standards are preempted and cannot be enforced. City staff has developed a proposed ordinance and amendments to the Design Guidelines which will be considered by the Planning Commission and the City Council to conform Piedmont’s ADU and JADU regulations to the new state law.

Public Engagement

The opportunity for public input is available throughout this process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend the public meetings. The Planning Commission meeting on February 10, 2020 and the City Council meetings on February 3, 2020 and February 18, 2020 will be televised live on KCOM-TV, the City’s government access TV station and available through streaming video on the KCOM meeting video page.

Written comments regarding the proposed ordinance may be sent to the City Council and Planning Commission via email to: Comments intended for the Planning Commission’s consideration should be submitted by 5 p.m., Thursday, February 6, 2020. To send comments via U.S. Mail, please use the following address: Piedmont City Council c/o City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. If you have questions about the proposed ordinance, please contact Planning & Building Director Kevin Jackson by email at Any correspondence sent to the City will be considered a public record.

Pierce Macdonald Powell
(510) 420-3063
January 28, 2020                                                                  



Staff is researching ways to reduce natural gas use in buildings and to increase solar panel installations, both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase residential resiliency to power outages and other effects of climate change.

The City wants to hear residents’ thoughts as it considers possible code changes. On January 29th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the City is holding a town hall-style Reach Code Forum in Community Hall to present ideas about Reach Codes, facilitate a community discussion, and get feedback. 

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