By Mimi Steel, guest commentary :Bay Area News Group : mercurynews – excerpt
Plan Bay Area will fundamentally transform the 101 cities and nine counties into urbanized, transit-oriented, high-rise developments. It is a draconian, top-down, 25-year plan conceived by unelected bureaucrats supposedly in response to a problem (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) that will already be solved (per California Air Resources Board) due to transportation technologies such as more fuel-efficient cars, electric cars and telecommuting.
The most unsettling parts of the plan deal with imposition of unfunded mandates on cities and counties. It subverts local control of land use and zoning decisions. It requires:
Cities must set aside priority development areas (PDAs) for mixed-use development (stores on first floor with housing above). Most development over the next 25 years is supposed to be in these highly restricted areas.
Cities must bear the unfunded costs that the additional populations will force on services such as schools, fire, police, etc.
The unique characters of most small towns will be destroyed. Towns such as Saratoga, Los Gatos, Dixon, Marinwood must all follow the same template of a downtown center with mid- to high-rise development near mass transit.
Transportation funds will go to projects such as light rail and commuter rail, which are the least cost-effective options for transportation choices.
Road repair and expansion will be neglected because the point of this plan is to get people out of their cars by purposely causing congestion and restricting parking. (while claiming the intent is to manage parking)…
Media coverage has been sparse to nonexistent… .(more)
Planners from the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) reviewed and discussed public comments on Plan Bay Area. The long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan aims to provide more housing and transit choices to reduce pollution in all nine Bay Area counties.
The effort grew out of the Senate Bill 375, which requires each of the state’s 18 metropolitan areas to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks. Local activists have been vocal in their opposition to the plan, which calls for more clustered development near transportation centers to decrease environmental impact… (more)
Read the rest of the article and comment on the source article if you can. This is the most important issue facing us today. The new bill to oppose is SB 1273, which would take control of San Francisco’s waterfront from the taxpayers and local elected officials. This sets a dangerous precedent and upsets a lot of people.
The MTC Planning Committee and ABAG Administrative Committee will meet again on July 12 to present the final plan and EIR. Officials are tentatively scheduled to approve the plan on July 18.