Letter to the Editor | Creating more housing will strengthen our community

Over the last 50+ years my family has lived in Piedmont we have seen progressive changes in Piedmont’s demographics. Our family moved to Piedmont in 1967, when most parents were having children in their 20s and comfortably surviving on one salary. Today the social and economic structures of families in our community have drastically changed. For a majority of our city, two full-time incomes are often needed to purchase a home in Piedmont, and even with dual incomes, many of my fellow alumni returning to our community still needed help from their parents to purchase their homes. Enrollment in our schools is drastically declining, reflecting young adults delaying parenthood until they can simultaneously afford a house and childcare in a city that doesn’t cater to working families. 

Many of our longer-term residents who raised children here couldn’t afford to purchase their own homes at today’s current rates. The need for more affordable housing in Piedmont for families, seniors, school, and city employees is critical. For all these reasons and many more, I believe we should embrace additional, yet gentle density housing in Piedmont as the state is requiring us to do. I agree with those that have voiced concerns about over-development, I believe we don’t need to drastically change the look or feel of Piedmont. We could add small multi-family units on top of the buildings already in dire need of structural upgrades. such as our city center, the plethora of antiquated and almost always empty brick-and-mortar banks as well as Grand Avenue (if their owners are willing to sell the property to us and Piedmont can afford it). Replacing the ever-growing list of dilapidated and abandoned homes in Piedmont with affordable multifamily units would bring up home values more than the homes with tarps covering the holes in the roofs and plywood over their broken windows.

I want young people in their 20s and 30s to be able to move to Piedmont and eventually afford a home here. The problems we are experiencing in Piedmont are not unique. I would like to see Piedmont looking to the future to see how the benefits of creating more housing would strengthen the fabric of our community.  I want our future generations to see that Piedmonters are wise, creative, and forward-thinking.

3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Creating more housing will strengthen our community

  1. Hi Garrett,
    My mom never learned to drive so our family needed to live near schools. I was able to walk to elementary, middle school, and high school and take the bus to go outside of Piedmont. I think you can walk to Beach from Grand. I would love more families to live in Central Piedmont and enjoy the benefits.

    • Hi Elise. Me too. Increasing housing density along transit lines makes the most sense to me and Grand and the Civic Center are logical locations. So the civic sites could accommodate housing but would it work for families of 4 and what income level? Conversion of civic center commercial properties would probably be to market rate housing and scaled in size for rental. The public sites could be set at below market but really how many could be added in our limited civic center area? The family size and income level of the different proposed, public or private, is not clearly spelled out in the Housing Element. And the effect of public and private housing developments on civic center congestion is not addressed in the Housing Element and probably won’t be in the EIR. The city should be exploring SB9 as a way to bring new homes throughout Piedmont, incentivizing low income development just as it is doing with ADUs.

  2. The owners of those banks and other buildings can already convert their buildings to housing – they reside in the multi-use zone that allows commercial on the first floor with I think two floors of residential above. It probably wouldn’t be low income housing though.
    It would make more sense for the city to buy properties on Linda Avenue between Grand and the bridge. These properties are in the multi-family zone and can be converted to more dense housing.

    And what about eminent domain or rent control? Housing prices and rents in Piedmont are prohibitive.

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