Residents will have an opportunity to comment on a regional housing plan at one of several local open houses next month. The draft Plan Bay Area. Nearly three years in the making, Plan Bay Area is an integrated long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan developed by several regional governing boards.
A collaborative effort of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the plan grew out of the California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, which requires each of the state's 18 metropolitan areas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. The plan also aims to accommodate housing growth within the nine Bay Area "without compromising local control of land-use decisions."
"Plan Bay Area builds upon prior work at the local level and prepares us to be more competitive in the private sector, more efficient in the public sector, and preserves the values that we love about the Bay Area for current and future generations," said ABAG President and Napa County Supervisor Mark Luce. "This is a bottoms-up plan that recognizes the diversity of Bay Area communities. Cities and counties identified the best places for growth to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods and protect agricultural lands."
The plan will be updated every four years to reflect new information and emerging priorities.
Contra Costa County residents can voice their opinions on the plan and its associated documents -- the draft environmental impact report, draft transportation improvement program and draft transportation-air quality conformity analysis -- on Monday, April 22 at the Marriott hotel in Walnut Creek. In January 2012, hundreds of county residents criticized the plan at a similar regional workshop, stating they didn't want regional agencies dictating local planning.
In the Tri and San Ramon valleys, the New Farm development proposed for the Tassajara Valley east of Danville would fall under this type of strategy. The plan came under heavy criticism during discussions on Danville's 2030 General Plan by several Danville citizens groups who wanted the town to leave ABAG; town officials removed language about the regional plan from its document.
Each public hearing will include an open house slated for the same evening to give Bay Area residents an opportunity to view displays and ask questions about the draft plan. Those interested can stay for a public hearing to provide oral comments. Copies of the draft plan will be available for download at OneBayArea.org and will be mailed to select public libraries in all nine counties.
The public can also view and comment on the draft plan online through Plan Bay Area Town Hall, which invites comments from residents on each chapter of the draft document. Comments will be reviewed by officials from both agencies as they consider the adoption of the final Plan in summer 2013. Comments may also be emailed to email@example.com.
"We want the public to be part of the process but we realize not everyone can attend a meeting to offer comments," said MTC Chair Amy Worth, who also serves on the Orinda City Council. "We're providing multiple opportunities and methods for Bay Area residents to comment, be it at one of the public hearings or from the convenience of their own home or local library."
To register for the public hearing or for more information, visit the One Bay Area website.