Long-Term Population Growth Plan

Bay City News via  SF Appeal  July 19, 2013

Bay Area Leaders Approve Long-Term Population

Growth Plan After Contentious Meeting7.2013 Bay Area growth Map

A coalition of Bay Area leaders late Thursday night approved a long-term regional plan meant to accommodate population growth over the next few decades while meeting state mandates for cutting air pollution and improving access to public transportation.

The final vote on Plan Bay Area came during a marathon joint meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) at the Oakland Marriott.

The two groups are made up of 21 Bay Area county supervisors, mayors and other local leaders.

Several hundred people, many who boarded buses from Marin and Santa Clara counties, packed a Marriott ballroom to protest the plan, voicing concerns that it will bring overcrowded housing developments and will bypass local control over development.

Hundreds of attendees from groups such as Discontent with Plan Bay Area said they believe such a plan should be subject to a public vote and toted signs and chanted “Let us vote!” or “MTC, don’t speak for me!”

Several dozen others from Oakland-based public transit advocacy group TransForm carried yellow signs expressing support for alternatives to the plan under the slogan “Equity Environment and Jobs” or EEJ.

According to the MTC, the plan is a “work in progress “ that continues earlier efforts to “develop an efficient transportation network and grow in a financially and environmentally responsible way.”

Created by several agencies including MTC and ABAG, Plan Bay Area comes up with blueprints for the region’s nine counties to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by the year 2040, as required under state Senate Bill 375. The plan also focuses on providing housing for all residents of all income levels near transportation hubs, according to MTC and ABAG officials.

The federal government requires the agencies to update the plan every four years to keep up with shifting demographics and new data, MTC spokesman John Goodwin said.

“There are no easy solutions in this plan but…this plan creates a way for the residents of the Bay Area to discuss our future openly,” said ABAG Executive Director Ezra Rapport.

But many of the Bay Area residents who spoke at the meeting said they either did not feel included in the planning process or felt that requests for public input were disingenuous and that board members had already made up their minds to approve the plan.

Some speakers also voiced concerns that the plan would give the government undue authority to dictate where and how communities are allowed to develop housing.

“It’s clearly a social engineering experiment,” Fairfax resident Kevin Krick said during the public hearing.

Dozens of people said they would support the plan as long as it included amendments to increase funding under the plan for affordable housing and public transit options – amendments that were adopted later in the meeting.

Some speakers praised the plan as it was originally presented, expressing hope that it will provide a wider variety of alternatives to congested Bay Area roadways and prevent the displacement of low-income residents as rents throughout the region soar.

“I’m really glad to see the region take this pioneering step,” said Adina Levin of Menlo Park.

The Bay Area is among the state’s 18 regions tasked with creating a vision for meeting mandated emissions reduction targets and implementing transit and housing solutions.

Thursday night’s vote came at the end of a three-year planning process involving the MTC, ABAG, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and local communities and agencies.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

*****

The San Francisco Appeal had one comment HERE

    • Gary

      The plan is designed to enable corporations to continue to import relatively cheap labor from around the world by providing the infrastructure of more housing and mass transit. Under the California Constitution, only chartered cities have any power to defy state laws (over “municipal affairs”). Folks need to start paying attention to who runs for state and local elected offices. Between elections, there is only the reserved power to recall elected state and local politicians which is not easy. See sos.ca.gov/elections/recall.

      *****

      Op-Ed Piece – Chuck McDougald

      There was an op-ed piece in the San Mateo Daily Journal on July 13th that we shared on our website and speaks to this issue as well.  The article was written by South City’s Chuck McDougald.

      I love San Francisco with its hill and views, piers and beaches, stunning architecture and world-class arts scene. The city is destination, perennially ranking as one of the top cities to visit in the United States. Who wouldn’t love the fog, creeping in on little cat’s feet, the Golden Gate, Coit Tower and the Marina Green. Yes, San Francisco is a great place to visit. And yes, I wouldn’t want to live there.

      That’s why I live in San Mateo County. I can visit the city all I want but, at the end of the day, I can come back home to South City. The same is true for more than 700,000 people who live from Pacifica to Portola Valley, from San Carlos to San Bruno, and across our great county. We can choose our lifestyles, from beaches to horse country, suburban housing tracts to farms and ranches, and everything in between.

      We live here because we have a choice, and we’ve chosen not to live in a densely packed, high-rise city. Now that choice is in danger. Now unelected, appointed commissions with great power are about to cram a one-size-fits-all 25-year plan down our collective throats. The Draft Plan Bay Area with its restrictions, its coercive funding and its view that all of us, and especially minorities, want to live in small, cramped and closely packed quarters is only days from becoming a reality.

      The Draft Plan Bay Area arose out of the flawed Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 375, which mandated that super regional planning agencies (and not local, accountable governments) draw up plans to reduce greenhouse emissions in their areas. In our area, that’s the nine-county Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and others. These bureaucratic behemoths saw their chance, and they took it.

      The draft plan is their attempt to remake the populated areas of the nine-county region into clones of downtown San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Their chosen weapon of coercion — what, you don’t want to live in some rabbit-warren of a high-rise? — is funding to repair your roads, your bridges and your highways. The MTC website makes it clear; transportation funding will reward “jurisdictions that accept housing allocations through the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) process.”

      Note the use of “accept.” These housing allocations (the number of high-density and low-income projects a city is required to build) are ginned up by unelected bureaucrats, using spurious assumptions about population growth and then dropped on cities on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. They must accept, or their roads will deteriorate and their bridges will crumble. But how can this be, since many of you reading this may not have even heard of ABAG, MTC, RHNA or the myriad other acronyms spewing from the regional planning powers? It’s because in their haste, these agencies have failed miserably (or perhaps intentionally) in their duties to inform the public of what they intend to do to us.

      To comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, the Environmental Impact Report for the Draft Plan Bay Area must inform members of the public about the range of environmental impacts of the proposed plan. The environmental impacts of taking zoning decisions out of the hands of local officials and vesting them in distant, unknowable and practically unreachable regional satraps will have an enormous impacts on our local environment. Yet, virtually nothing has been communicated to the public about the potential negative impacts of the Draft Plan Bay Area, as required by law.

      Thankfully, some in our nine-county region have begun to realize that the one-size-fits-all model of extending San Francisco, Oakland and downtown San Jose into surrounding suburbs and rural areas is, at best, wrong-headed, and at worst, a scheme to remake our towns and cities into a vision of conformity and uniformity. We know it’s time to put a stop to this. We know it’s time for citizens to take back control of their communities from the fringe elements that have captured the regional planning process.

      Join with us to halt this plan before it is cemented in place July 18. Only two public meetings remain between now and then, both in Oakland and both during the day. Although clearly planned to eliminate serious citizen input, they are your chance to make your voice heard. Visit onebayarea.org for details.

      When you stand up to speak, tell them as a San Mateo County resident how much you love to visit San Francisco, but that you wouldn’t want to live there.

       

      Chuck McDougald headed the Veterans Coalition, first for California, then for the Western Region, when Sen. John McCain ran for president in 2008. In 2010, he served as Statewide Volunteer Chair for Carly Fiorina’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. He is currently the Western Region director for ConcernedVeteransforAmerica.org. He lives in South San Francisco with his wife and two kids.

      ****

      UPDATE FROM JULY 18th Mtg:

      Plan Bay Area Charts Course for Stronger

      Economy, Cleaner Air

      July 19, 2013

      The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) last night adopted Plan Bay Area, an integrated transportation and land-use strategy through 2040 that marks the nine-county region’s first long-range plan to meet the requirements of California’s landmark 2008 Senate Bill 375, which calls on each of the state’s 18 metropolitan areas to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy to accommodate future population growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.  Working in collaboration with cities and counties, the Plan advances initiatives to expand housing and transportation choices, create healthier communities, and build a stronger regional economy.

      At an evening meeting in Oakland, MTC and the ABAG Executive Board jointly approved both the final Plan Bay Area — which includes the region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy and the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan — and an associated final Environmental Impact Report.  The ABAG Executive Board separately approved a state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation for 2014 through 2022. MTC separately approved the 2013 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which updates the list of Bay Area projects that receive federal funds, are subject to federal action, or are considered regionally significant; as well as a final Air Quality Conformity Analysis that establishes both the TIP and Plan Bay Area comply with federal air pollution standards.

      “Plan Bay Area is an historic and important step forward for our region,” explained Napa County Supervisor Mark Luce, who also serves as President of the ABAG Executive Board and as an MTC Commissioner. “It’s the product of more than three years of collaboration between cities and counties to do our part to create a more sustainable Bay Area for current and future generations.”

      Noting that Plan Bay Area is the successor to Transportation 2035, the long-range plan adopted by MTC in 2009, Commission Chair and Orinda Mayor Amy Rein Worth described the new plan as evolutionary rather than revolutionary. “For decades, MTC has been charged by state and federal law to produce a long-term regional transportation plan, while ABAG has been responsible for assessing regional housing needs. Plan Bay Area puts these elements together in a way that makes sense.”

      Projecting a healthy regional economy, the Plan anticipates that the Bay Area’s population will grow from about 7 million today to some 9 million by 2040. “Maintaining our region’s high quality of life,” continued Worth, “will depend on making wise decisions about transportation, housing and land use.”

      Plan Bay Area provides a strategy for meeting 80% of the region’s future housing needs in Priority Development Areas (PDAs). These are neighborhoods within walking distance of frequent transit service, offering a wide variety of housing options, and featuring amenities such as grocery stores, community centers, and restaurants. Identified by cities and towns across the region, the PDAs range from regional centers like downtown San Jose to suburban centers like Walnut Creek’s West Downtown area, and smaller town centers such as the Suisun City Waterfront. The Plan funds mixed-income housing production and locally-led planning in PDAs.

      Plan Bay Area’s transportation element specifies how some $292 billion in anticipated federal, state and local funds will be spent through 2040. Nearly 87 percent (or $253 billion) will be used to maintain and operate the transportation network we already have. Another way of looking at the distribution of the revenues — which include fuel taxes, public transit fares, bridge tolls, property taxes and dedicated sales taxes — is by mode of transportation. Maintenance and operation of the Bay Area’s existing public transit services will receive about 54 percent ($159 billion) of the revenues. The remainder includes 32 percent for street, road, highway and bridge maintenance; 7 percent for transit expansion; and 5 percent for roadway and bridge expansion. A $3.1 billion reserve comprised of anticipated future funding through the California Air Resources Board’s Cap-and-Trade program for greenhouse gas emissions accounts for another 1 percent of expected revenues.

      Oakland, CA, July 19, 2013…The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) last night adopted Plan Bay Area, an integrated transportation and land-use strategy through 2040 that marks the nine-county region’s first long-range plan to meet the requirements of California’s landmark 2008 Senate Bill 375, which calls on each of the state’s 18 metropolitan areas to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy to accommodate future population growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. Working in collaboration with cities and counties, the Plan advances initiatives to expand housing and transportation choices, create healthier communities, and build a stronger regional economy. At an evening meeting in Oakland, MTC and the ABAG Executive Board jointly approved both the final Plan Bay Area — which includes the region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy and the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan — and an associated final Environmental Impact Report. The ABAG Executive Board separately approved a state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation for 2014 through 2022. MTC separately approved the 2013 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which updates the list of Bay Area projects that receive federal funds, are subject to federal action, or are considered regionally significant; as well as a final Air Quality Conformity Analysis that establishes both the TIP and Plan Bay Area comply with federal air pollution standards. “Plan Bay Area is an historic and important step forward for our region,” explained Napa County Supervisor Mark Luce, who also serves as President of the ABAG Executive Board and as an MTC Commissioner. “It’s the product of more than three years of collaboration between cities and counties to do our part to create a more sustainable Bay Area for current and future generations.” Noting that Plan Bay Area is the successor to Transportation 2035, the long-range plan adopted by MTC in 2009, Commission Chair and Orinda Mayor Amy Rein Worth described the new plan as evolutionary rather than revolutionary. “For decades, MTC has been charged by state and federal law to produce a long-term regional transportation plan, while ABAG has been responsible for assessing regional housing needs. Plan Bay Area puts these elements together in a way that makes sense.” Projecting a healthy regional economy, the Plan anticipates that the Bay Area’s population will grow from about 7 million today to some 9 million by 2040. “Maintaining our region’s high quality of life,” continued Worth, “will depend on making wise decisions about transportation, housing and land use.” Plan Bay Area provides a strategy for meeting 80% of the region’s future housing needs in Priority Development Areas (PDAs). These are neighborhoods within walking distance of frequent transit service, offering a wide variety of housing options, and featuring amenities such as grocery stores, community centers, and restaurants. Identified by cities and towns across the region, the PDAs range from regional centers like downtown San Jose to suburban centers like Walnut Creek’s West Downtown area, and smaller town centers such as the Suisun City Waterfront. The Plan funds mixed-income housing production and locally-led planning in PDAs. Plan Bay Area’s transportation element specifies how some $292 billion in anticipated federal, state and local funds will be spent through 2040. Nearly 87 percent (or $253 billion) will be used to maintain and operate the transportation network we already have. Another way of looking at the distribution of the revenues — which include fuel taxes, public transit fares, bridge tolls, property taxes and dedicated sales taxes — is by mode of transportation. Maintenance and operation of the Bay Area’s existing public transit services will receive about 54 percent ($159 billion) of the revenues. The remainder includes 32 percent for street, road, highway and bridge maintenance; 7 percent for transit expansion; and 5 percent for roadway and bridge expansion. A $3.1 billion reserve comprised of anticipated future funding through the California Air Resources Board’s Cap-and-Trade program for greenhouse gas emissions accounts for another 1 percent of expected revenues. The final Plan Bay Area can be viewed on MTC’s website at www.mtc.ca.gov, and on ABAG’s website at www.abag.ca.gov. MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency. ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the Bay Area’s cities and counties.

 

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