Comments open on draft Environmental Impact Report for city’s Housing Element

From a City of Piedmont press release on Nov. 3

The City of Piedmont has published a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for the implementation of the City’s 6th Cycle Housing Element for public review and comment. Comments must be submitted in writing by 5 p.m. Dec. 18, 2023.

The Draft EIR studies the impacts of Housing Element implementation as a whole — looking at the overall impacts to Piedmont once each of the 77 programs included in the Housing Element are realized. For each impact identified, the Draft EIR assesses how significant it would be and lists steps the City would take to mitigate that impact, where possible.

The Draft EIR is available for review at City Hall (120 Vista Avenue) and for download on Piedmont Is Home, the City’s online hub for the Housing Element update and housing policy information:
Draft EIR: 2023-2031 Housing Element Implementation Project (PDF)

Comments may be submitted to Planning & Building Director Kevin Jackson by email at or by mail at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA, 94611.

After Dec. 18, staff will respond to comments received. The Planning Commission and City Council will then consider the EIR at public hearings, likely in early 2024.

Environmental Review required by State law
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that public agencies study and disclose the potential impacts of projects under their jurisdiction.

The Draft EIR for the City’s Housing Element Implementation project is considered a “programmatic EIR,” meaning that it considers impacts of implementation of all the policies and programs listed in the Housing Element – including General Plan Amendments, changes to the City’s Zoning Ordinance, and the Moraga Canyon Specific Plan – as a single “project” and studies their combined and cumulative impacts.

The analysis examined potential impacts in 17 State-defined topic areas, finding:
• No impacts to: agriculture, forestry, mineral resources
• Less than significant impacts to: aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, energy, hydrology, water quality, land use, planning, population, housing, public services, recreation, and tribal cultural resources
• Potentially significant but mitigatable impacts to: geology and soils, hazard and hazardous material
• Significant and unavoidable impacts to: cultural resources, historical resources, greenhouse gas emissions, noise, wildfire, transportation, utilities, and service systems

Under CEQA, significant and unavoidable impacts do not mean that a project cannot proceed – simply that the decision-making body must acknowledge that they are aware of and understand the impacts. In this case, if the City Council decides to adopt the EIR, the City Council would need to include a written statement explaining why the overall benefits of Housing Element Implementation project outweigh any adverse impacts, and that they are willing to accept these impacts.

About the 6th Cycle Housing Element
Piedmont’s 6th Cycle Housing Element lays out an ambitious plan to accommodate 587 new homes by 2031 – a target mandated by the State of California.

Several programs identified in the Housing Element have already been completed, including new incentives for the creation of affordable Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), objective design standards for multi-family and mixed-use development, and securing a “Priority Development Area” designation for parts of land near Grand Avenue and in Moraga Canyon, which makes Piedmont eligible for additional State funding to support affordable housing development in these areas.

Additionally, the City is currently in the process of implementing several of the more significant programs identified in the Housing Element, including:
• General Plan Amendments: Staff are preparing draft amendments to the Land Use Element and other elements (or chapters) of the General Plan to make the elements consistent with the Housing Element.
• Zoning Code Revisions: The Housing Element calls for the City to study changes to the Zoning Ordinance, part of the Piedmont City Code, in order to increase the development potential of land in Piedmont.
• Moraga Canyon Specific Plan: This initiative, which began in summer 2023, is studying all City-owned land in Moraga Canyon with the goal of creating a detailed plan for how to add new housing, including affordable housing, while also maintaining and improving existing uses and improving traffic, bike/ped, and wildfire safety in the area.

Learn more about Piedmont’s Housing Element and download the full Draft EIR, including all
appendices, at With questions, email

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