ABAG Results Rnd2 

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Results of Round 2 - Marin Smart Growth by ABAG

100 people gave up most of their Saturday for this meeting, April 2002.

Introductions were premised with the ABAG prediction that over the next 20 years one million new jobs were needed to accommodate the millions of new people to the Bay Area.
(Someone argued that they would ONLY come IF WE CREATED JOBS FOR THEM, another:- "who could predict 20 years from now especially with 'dotcom recession' etc... ", another:- "who's figures were these?" [many different predictions exist])

It started with the 3 Alternative Plans left to us by ABAG's "interpretation" of the Round 1 meeting.
We had to choose which Alternative to start from as our template for incremental change (to come up with a final plan). It was a close vote between Alternative 1 and 2 but the lowest growth option won out - Alternative 1. (Alternative 3 the highest growth, had very few votes).

I should have smelt something THEN when the ABAG guy tried to talk us into ignoring this vote and start with Alternate 2 anyway. I countered this with maybe some of us, like me, want to move towards an Alternative zero.

We were all split into groups with 2 maps. Alt1 and 2. Marin was split into many geographic-demographic areas and we were to accept, reject or alter the recommendations of the Round 1 consensus for each area.

A legend of color coding differentiated the use of each area on the map which we could change.

But here's where it all went badly wrong......

You tell me what you think this means in terms of jobs?
MIXED USE sub-categories:-
2C MEDIUM-HIGH DENSITY (6 story aver Commercial, Office, Residential intermixed)
2D MEDIUM DENSITY (4 story aver Commercial, Office, Residential intermixed)
That's the kind of description of the Planning Sub-Categories we were given to allocate to each area. But nowhere does it say that 2C means More jobs and 2D means no change in jobs.
Meanwhile:- 2E, LOW DENSITY(3 story.....), means Less jobs.
Equally confusing is what does each sub-category mean in terms of actual housing numbers?

Similar confusion existed with all the other sub-categories ranging from VERY HIGH DENSITY to VERY LOW DENSITY. Each range of sub-category belonged within each of 4 higher level Categories
1. RESIDENTIAL
2. MIXED USE
3. TOWN CENTER
4. EMPLOYMENT CENTER / INSTITUTION

Giving a total of 26 choices.

But to further confuse us, some areas were designated none of these 26. Their spotted legend represented one of these 3 categories:
1. 5% increase in Residential Density
2. 15% Increase in Employment Density
3. 5% Increase in Residential AND 15% increase in Employment


(PS All maps show a train line to San Quentin. A ferry terminal, here, was mentioned many times. Here is a quote right out of the ABAG book:- "without development that is sufficiently intense to support the rail system, it will not succeed". !!! Em, ABAG, we develop to "support the rail system"?)

So as we merrily worked our way from south marin to north, nobody from ABAG said anything when an anomalous amount of jobs seemed to get allocated to Corte Madeira and Larkspur. (Results were impressively shown instantaneously, projected from a laptop. They were simply shown as bars, one for jobs and another for housing). But when close to the end of the day, it was found that we had switched jobs out of San Rafael (a net decrease in jobs over the next 20 years in San Rafael) and moved them all into CM/Larkspur the ABAG guy got agitated:-
"I'm not sure that's what you intended is it?" (He was right) "Unfortunately we're running out of time and don't have enough to go back and re-do it" "Tell you what, I can fix it for you if you like?" "Why don't we vote on whether I should fix it for you?" (Credit to him for not changing the word "fix" to "massage", I guess he was more accurate)

By this time people were leaving. It was already an hour over scheduled end and considerable agitation was shown as people realized that their Saturday sacrifice had resulted in
leaving it up to an ABAG guy to "fix" it.

So here's what they should have done (if ABAG weren't so desirous of a particular outcome):-
A simple legend for each area on the map with existing NUMBER OF JOBS and NUMBER OF HOUSES and TYPE of HOUSING (SF or MF) ask us to increase or decrease each. That's how we finally measured the results of our efforts anyway (excluding TYPE), so that's what we should have been voting on, not on a choice of 29 obscure zoning-jargon-categories where both JOB count AND HOUSE count was unknown till it spewed out of a laptop.

The voting process throughout the day was very circumspect, in my opinion. Many times, less than 20 people out of the hundred voted FOR a change and several times the FORs were even less than 10 but because the AGAINSTs were fewer (people were sitting on the fence all day) it was passed anyway. I argued that nothing should be passed unless the FORs constituted more of a majority out of the 100 but THAT was put to a vote and they "fence-sat" that too). (Did ABAG keep a record of the vote count? I doubt it).

ABAG is going to repeat this process for all Bay Area Counties! Help!

("No change" was voted on the existing, openspace St Vincents-Silveira designation ! Hooray! )

PS My suggestion to ABAG that:
We should
take advantage of the 100's of thousands of already existing, affordable housing, a mere 8 miles away, by running a regular bus service from Richmond Bart was reduced to "More Transit".

As ABAG has no discussion board might I suggest we use San Rafael's:
http://www.cityofsanrafael.org/generalplan/forum/

ABAG Smart Growth http://www.abag.ca.gov/planning/smartgrowth/index.html


Round 2 for Marin ended up with +11,000 Houses and +4,000 jobs - ridiculous numbers but it was a process where the participants, literally, did not know what they were doing.
From the website: "Increase in Bay Area Unit Mix 2002 to 2020 (SF Single Family, MF Multi-Family)"
Alt1: SF-26% MF-74%     Alt2: SF-39% MF-61%        Alt3: SF-50% MF-50%

http://www.abag.ca.gov/planning/smartgrowth/TechAppendix.html
Why should the Alternative of least growth, Alt1, be the one with highest multifamily increase??? There is no relationship between quantity of growth and type of growth. It is my opinion that the workshop process, itself, controls this relationship. And that it is a direct result of the 29 "zone-jargon" descriptions we were constrained to use at the Round 2 workshop.

For the whole Bay Area, the result in all 3 alternatives presented to us, coincidentally? creates, by 2020, the same mix of around SF-57% and MF-43% from today's mix of SF-63% MF-37%. During Workshop2, not only were we not offerred the choice of simply performing a % change in nbr of houses and jobs per area, but we were not allowed(/informed) to specifically change allocation of Multifamily v Single Family. And the results spewd out of the laptop did not show us the proportion of SF to MF we had just unwittingly changed.

SOME RESPONSES to prev email:

we are never going to meet the ABAG numbers, not only because of our zoning and the high cost of providing affordable housing in Marin, given land costs, but also because a
significant number of people who work in Marin but don't live here now, including public sector workers, know that they can get a lot more for their housing dollar outside Marin and are willing to trade that for the commute. So we'll always have a jobs/housing imbalance. I think we should do what we reasonably can to create more affordable housing (and people can disagree on what "reasonable" means in this context) but that the ABAG version of smart growth only makes sense for Marin if we ignore their numbers.
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A $2.1-billion bond issue intended to ease California's worsening housing shortage was passed by the Senate for voters Nov. 5. To be paid for by California taxpayers costing $3.5 billion in interest and principal. "When we build housing for 'low-income' people, we end up building new ghettoes," Murray told Burton.
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as I see it Marin governmental jurisdictions are getting all their ducks in a row so they can get "our" share of state and federal funding . housing. . transportation .. ferry . . .. it is just part of the growth machine . . and part of getting the $ is updating the general plans to specify where the affordable housing will go . . and how it will be near "transit" lines - transit oriented development . .

When we build new housing there is a need for MORE . . more water, more transportation infrastructure . . with more fed, state funds tied to more local matching taxes and more DEVELOPMENT. This is circular logic that fuels an infinite loop of a GROWTH MACHINE!
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it is a rule of thumb for town and city government to say "Grow or die." They will always be over budget, and the only way to get new taxes is to increase the number of people living and working in their towns.

I believe this is erroneous and they are empire building. I further believe that no growth is possible and that jobs cannot be "created" by a government plan. The plan can only allow for more housing, which will attract people, and then business will grow around that increase. Thus, no people, no business. I think that is a GOOD thing, especially when they want to high-density an old neighborhood like Gerstle Park in San Rafael. The only people who benefit from this don't live there; they are the developers and the government.

In twenty years our work patterns are bound to change. Also, a light rail system will not solve transportation problems in and of itself. There is a need to plan homes and dwelling away from rails and freeways. Once again an opportunity to plan for the future is lost in a maze of confusion.

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this sounds very similar to Portland, OR, planning around the light rail. Portland Light Rail on the East side of town rezoned all land areas adjacent to the planned rail route. The rail line was actually built prior to development which is the reverse approach of Marin. However, the impact of rezoning land for different densities is major and affects quality of life, your home values , traffic congestion, etc.

Whatever group you are involved with you need to slow down the process long enough to educate the people involved. They need to know what decisions are actually being made and the impact on their values and lives. Otherwise planning will proceed without valuable input, i.e. decisions have already been cast in concrete.
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I am not surprised about the "Smart Growth" conference outcomes. There were a lot of rail supporters at the conference. They always tilt the balance of the findings. It was eye opening how the development and business communities combined efforts to use "Sustainability" for their own purposes.

As a State agency, ABAG reflects the influence of developer and business dollars
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I believe that this ABAG process is especially manipulative and deceptive and designed to ensure a desired outcome. Furthermore, I believe the desired outcome includes low income housing in the Civic Center area and a train station at StVincent/Civic Center . (and if you read the December 2001 MTC resolution carefully it becomes obvious that Marin Govs can "change" the station locations (or almost anything else) in the plan. ) The plan also makes it necessary for jurisdictions to plan for the required number of new housing development to receive transportation funding.
I do not believe "they" can marginalize "me" because I believe "we" are already marginalized and manipulated and our only power as individuals is to refuse to pay the bills at the ballot box

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Sonoma to develop 3 times more than Marin ?
Output from 1st Round Workshop Alternatives 1 & 3:-   By 2020:-

Employment Totals
Alt1: Sonoma: +57,000 Marin: +8,000
Alt3: Sonoma: +95,000 Marin: +34,000
Dwelling Unit Totals By Infill/Greenfield Areas
Alt1: Sonoma - Greenfield :         +0    Marin - Greenfield :        +0
Alt1: Sonoma - Infill :           +35,000    Marin - Infill :          +10,000

Alt3: Sonoma - Greenfield : +15,000     Marin - Greenfield : +2,000
Alt3: Sonoma - Infill :          + 48,000     Marin - Infill :         +22,000
                                            +63.000                                    +24,000

Source: http://www.abag.ca.gov/planning/smartgrowth/TechAppendix.htm
you have to subtract "BASE" nbr. ABAG! lets drop this confusing representation.

 

Questions? info@MarinInfo.org