City Council receives crime and pool oversight committee reports at April meeting

Piedmont City Council’s April 15 meeting began with Mayor Jen Cavenaugh recognizing this month as sexual assault awareness and prevention month. The Piedmont Police Chief delivered a new annual crime report and the pool bond oversight committee delivered an update on Measure UU spending among other agenda items.

Proclamation for sexual assault awareness and prevention month

Cavenaugh lauded community partners Bay Area Women Against Rape, or BAWAR, and the Piedmont Police Department for their work on supporting survivors of sexual assault. 

Police Chief Jeremy Bowers noted his time working as a sexual assault investigator, describing it as “difficult and rewarding.” Cavenaugh also noted how underrepresented this crime is – a point Bowers reiterated during his crime report – and applauded the work being done by BAWAR in schools to help prevent sexual assault. PUSD high schools have a long running consent assembly that seeks to raise awareness of this topic, and Cavenaugh encouraged more cooperation between the schools and police department. 

High local voter turnout for March 5 election

The city council approved the first five items on the consent calendar (minutes from the last meeting, official election certification, street tree pruning project, military equipment report, and a software contract for the city). Cavenaugh highlighted the certification of election results from the March 5 Special Municipal Election. She said that according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, Piedmont’s turnout was over 56% compared to about 36% for the county. This helped insure the passage of Measure F, which passed with over 75% of the vote.  Measure F, or the city services tax renewal, will increase the City Services Tax by 11 to 19 dollars a month, according to the City of Piedmont. The money would be used to improve 911 services and security technology investments like Automatic License Plate Readers, according to the city’s website.

Police Chief presents new annual crime report 

Piedmont’s Police Chief Jeremy Bowers said that all but one of the items — deploying a plain-clothed officer — on the department’s crime response plan have been implemented. Those items included: fully staffing the department, improving the city’s dispatch system, deploying a public safety camera system, deploying crime suppression police cars during peak periods of crime, adding additional ALPRs, and conduct a staffing study.

Bowers said 2023 was a challenging year with an overall increase in reported crime, namely robberies, assaults, burglaries, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft. He said that sexual assault, as highlighted in the earlier proclamation, is typically underreported. 

Bowers did have some good news, saying  there was a reduction in crime between the third and fourth quarters of the year.

The city said in an email on Tuesday it would post the annual report on its website this week.

Pool Bond Oversight Committee presents report

The Bond Oversight Committee also appeared in front of the city council. Committee member (and former mayor) John Chiang said that funds from the Measure UU bond have been spent appropriately. According to Chiang, the community pool is now 58% complete, and the Measure UU funding balance is now around $11 million.

The net cost has been $24.4 million from measure UU and $464, 000 dollars in pledged contributions, according to the Bond Oversight Committee report.

Chiang also said the committee had received a thorough update on construction progress by the city’s Public Works Director Daniel Gonzales.

Council approves new beauty salon for Grand Avenue

Council approved a conditional use permit for 1235 Grand Avenue. The former retail store in that location is now being turned into a beauty salon, according to assistant planner Steven Lizzarago. Lizzarago said there has been support for this business from residents and no zoning or planning changes are required for the site. The new owner, Ashley Stoltz, addressed the city council about her store Project Glow, saying that it was a “dream come true right now” to open her beauty salon in Piedmont. The city stipulated that the business could not employ more than 10 – 12 employees at any given time. 

Telecommunications tower agreement amended

Finally, the council approved the city’s requested amendments to their lease with Gulf South Towers at 898 Red Rock Rd. The development includes a  95-foot-tall telecommunications tower and GST is seeking amendments to allow for the lease areas to be the outer edge of the retaining wall, according to City Administrator Rosanna Bayon Moore.  The city owns the property and uses the surrounding area to store emergency fire vehicles, according to the city council. The amendment was approved by the city council.

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