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Plan Bay Area 2040 a complex and mostly secret "UrbanSim" calculation that determines what the developer market would build based on information like city zoning and general plans, traffic data, land values and development costs.
A staggering 77 percent of all the new housing growth is projected to be built on less than 5 percent of the Bay Area's land in so-called
Priority Development Areas (PDAs).
In High-growth cities like
Mountain View, there's to be an 82% increase -- from 31,957 to 58,300 homes -- between 2010 and 2040, putting it among the top 15 cities that will serve as "key locations for the Bay Area's future households and jobs."
Plan Bay Area projects that a massive 684-acre baylands site located in
Brisbane could accommodate 4,400 new homes. Brisbane could be on the hook for 4,400 new homes in the next iteration of the Regional  Housing Needs Allocation, RHNA process, and the city would be compelled to move forward with the development in order to tap into discretionary transportation funding. Brisbane's Mayor called the growth expectations for the city "ludicrous,"
MTC has plenty of ways to pour some of its $1.9 billion annual budget into direct investments in housing. MTC has $74 billion in discretionary transportation funding over the next 24 years.

The state legislature has proposed 130 different bills aimed at addressing the state's housing shortage, and some aim to limit the ability of local governments to slow down or block approval of housing developments. Bill SB35, proposes a streamlined approval process within cities that are behind on meeting RHNA goals.

As a San Rafael Planner recently asked: -  "Why is ABAG's 'Regional Housing Needs Allocation' (RHNA) for San Rafael:- 
388 for 'Extremely', 'Very' & 'Low' Income Levels but
438 for above Moderate Income 
when MODERATE INCOME is $93,250 (for a family of 2)?
This is the State's Planning process that has lost sight of the goal -- which should be to provide LOW INCOME housing. Not "MODERATE"-and-above income housing.

Palo Alto, went in a different direction from its neighbor Mountain View by designating only one PDA, opting against high growth. It is one of only a few cities along the entire stretch of El Camino Real against PDAs, leaving a small mid-peninsula gap on a near-unanimous plan to concentrate development in the area.

Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff, who serves on ABAG's executive board, "the decision was made in order to retain complete control over the city's future development, and that electing to add more PDAs means the city could be pressured by the state to build more housing than its residents are comfortable with in the coming years". "We want to be able to chart our own destiny,"  "If you choose to make something a PDA, you're saying 'Give us more development.'"


Our traffic is some of the worst in the nation.  We need a transportation commission that will put their energies into eliminating traffic gridlock,” said Assemblymember Levine (D-Marin County). San Francisco-Oakland and San Jose as the third and fifth most congested cities in America.  The number of hours the average Bay Area motorist spends stuck in traffic is twice the national average.
Scrap the MTC and ABAG and Create the Bay Area Transportation Commission, governed by directly elected Commissioners,
Los Angeles Transit Orientated Development (TOD) debunked: The LA Times investigated driving habits at four apartment and condominium complexes that have already been built at or near transit. This same problem applies to Northern California and all of USA outside the largest eastern cities.

"SURVEY: only a small number of Portland-area residents want to live denser"

There will be no Population Increase if there is no Jobs Increase. PLAN BAY AREA attempts to predict growth based on estimated Population Increase but omits to address ways to direct and control Jobs that cause this increase. The root of the challenge is finding ways to encourage job growth where there is regional housing to take these jobs and discourage job growth where there isn't.

But instead the PLAN ignores this obvious approach and dollops Housing & Transit around already congested areas expecting an inordinate amount of commuters to abandon their cars as if we were all in a dense European city. They need to waken up to the fact that Americans have already chosen life in the suburbs as their preferred goal and will keep their cars, especially when they will all be driven with free energy, charged overnight from solar panels + battery.

This is the future that will give us ZERO GHG Emission ( fulfilling the SB375 goal tenfold if the PLAN did nothing).
There are studies that predict that Suburbs will power cities in the future from excess generation.
Autonomous electric vehicles, commuting us door to door, might render many Minor Transit Systems useless, if the PLAN would provide the necessary roadways for this to happen. 

Bottom Line -- focus on the root cause of disparity in Housing, Transportation and  Jobs -- incentives for JOB location and relocation to where there is Housing for it -- and a JOB TAX  where there isn't.

In addition focusing on the cities of San Jose and San Francisco, who have the vast majority of Housing to Jobs Imbalance is required. (See here which cities issue the fewest HOUSING PERMITS)

It is predicted that by 2036 47% of the American workforce will be replaced by robots making most of them unemployable.
Reducing the commute volume proportionally and leaving a remainder that will have no desire to use transit from their suburban home.

The State has mandated that every city and county come up with a REGIONAL HOUSING NEED (RHNA). 
Housing Permits issued for all Bay Area jurisdictions for the period between 2007 and 2014 was 25% of this mandated NEED (for LOW and VERY LOW Incomes).
This is how much Local Governments and their Constituents want to permit.
 Perhaps it would be smarter to PLAN a future with these numbers instead?

Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit   - (pleadings), on behalf of the Bay Area Citizens, challenging Plan Bay Area.
ABAG and MTC’s failure to properly consider emissions reductions (to be achieved through new vehicle and fuel standards) renders its environmental analysis defective, and illegal under CEQA.

Silicon Valley is running up against residents weary of clogged streets and cramped classrooms. Cities have reached their limits of development.


Though "Plan Bay Area" is constantly telling us that  local governments will not be forced to accept regional dictates - it will be open day for apartment developers to sue local governments if we don't.

SB375 (
greenhouse gas emission targets) contains 2 private courses of legal action:
1. A lawsuit can be brought to require a local government to change their plans.
2. Suing to allow development when zoning does not meet the Plan. ( see debate at 0:49 )    The burden of proof falls to the city.

So local governments are compelled to select Planned Development Areas  near mass transit and only develop compact, high-density, mixed-use housing else be sued and not receive any of the $57 billion.

SB375 allows private developers, who have an interest in a property (i.e. an option to purchase), to "assume" the zoning they need for "qualifying" project proposals (49 percent affordable), then sue the county for that zoning if it's not automatically granted. And in a reversal of centuries old real estate law, rather than the developer having to argue why his project should be approved under local regulations, the burden of proof (and legal cost) is now placed upon the county (the taxpayers) to make the case for why it shouldn't.

Similarly, under SB226,(CEQA Streamlining for Infill Projects)  CEQA is waived entirely for qualifying "infill" projects near public transportation. Add to that the potential financial incentives, One Bay Area (OBAG) grants 1. and 
Regional Housing Needs Allocation - very low and low income housing needs -(RHNA)2. , and Housing Element in the County Plan, and SB375 and a great deal of individual  control over our own zoning is already long gone.

1. at least 70%  of the One Bay Area (OBAG) funds must go toward projects that support Priority Development Areas, PDAs (e.g. transit-oriented development).
2. Using transportation dollars to reward jurisdictions that accept the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) .
MTC created OBAG

A Transportation Expert (Wendell Cox) on Plan Bay Area: (enable bookmarks - click icon on the left)

  • "Between 1985 and 2010, transit service levels were increased 46 percent in the Bay Area. However, ridership declined "
  • "Plan should be withdrawn, since the No Project Alternative (essentially "doing nothing") achieves the required greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction objectives."
  • "does not consider strategies that would materially improve mobility for low income households."
  • "does not apply cost effectiveness"
  • "would result in only two percent less driving volume than in the No Project Alternative. Travel by passenger vehicles would increase 18 percent"
  • "negative health impacts "
  • "inhibiting economic growth "


Planners want to herd millions into densely packed urban corridors. It won't save the planet and will make traffic even worse.
---- Transit would increase its share of travel to a measly 4% from its current tiny 2%.
---- Unaffordable housi
ng could become even more unaffordable.
---- Additional households in the future will continue to use their cars for most trips.
---- It is better to raise children with backyards than on condominium balconies.

A Shocking Theft Of Our Democracy


The Social Engineers - Episode 1: Plan Bay Area  Episode 2

 ANGRY Oakland citizens face-off against planners

Walnut Creek: PBA is Racist- Keeps Minorities In Poverty-April 2013

Plan Bay Area Workshop Process FAIL

Orinda: Plan Bay Area Stack & Pack Unhealthy-4-22-13

What is the relationship between SB 375 and AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006)?

Richard Hall · The spin that the plan reduces greenhouse gases is incredibly dangerous and is based on politicized science and flawed logic:
- greenhouse gases will likely be caused to increase as the plan fails to consider that transit emits more GHG per mile than cars with the newly enabled CARB/Pavley 2 legislation
- the "no project" alternative was conveniently handicapped by omitting consideration of the existing MTC Climate Change initiative
- the plan invokes/induces congestion by over-investing in transit (which historically has led to diminished per capita ridership) and underinvesting in highways (44% of highway miles will now be distressed) so between this and all the affordable new residents we can look forward to lots more 101 traffic jams and pollution

This was all discussed and settled in the Plan Bay Area Debate where plan pr
oponents solidly failed to make the case for the plan:

The passing of a plan by 2 of 3 of our Marin representatives, when 85% are either against it, unaware of it, and the 15% who approved the "politicized science" demonstrates the headlock that special interests have over the process - unions, housing advocates...

The blank check has now be signed for us by Kinsey and Rice. Affordable housing will now be coming to Marin in sizable numbers and we don't yet know the cost whether it is:
- sizable increases to sales and property tax (we're almost already the highest sales tax in the US). In some cases this is to subsidize new incoming residents on 250% of median income (this is Robin Hood in reverse)
- imposition of 5 story high density housing in our neighborhoods
- more investment in positively the least economical transportation projects that are the least flexible, transport the fewest people and cost the post (SMART) and diminished investment in highways

The affordable housing goes to people who likely earn more than existing Marin residents:
"Supervisor Mark Farrell's initial proposal was that the money should be eligible to workers making up to 250 percent of the area median income - or $250,000 for a family of four."

My current understanding is that to qualify for affordable housing you can be on 120% of median income. So look for your taxes to increase to subsidize many who are better off than you. And remember affordable housing cannot filter applicants by their home or work location - so it will likely result in people working in Alameda, Contra Costa or SF to live in Marin and add to 101 traffic. EPIC FAIL!

Kinsey - you completely failed to defend this plan at the debate, now you are one of the voices that pass it. You are exposed - the emperor has no clothes.

The SB375 / Local Housing Element Nexus - Bob Silvestri

SB375 and California Housing Element Law require that cities craft their Housing Elements
 in compliance with all state legislation in order to receive certification from the
Department of Housing and Community Development in Sacramento.  
Without the state’s certification a city is vulnerable to private party lawsuits for violation of state law.

However, a city’s Housing Element (its growth plan to meet the state’s RHNA quota) is a part of a city’s General Plan.
Other state law requires that a city’s Housing Element and General Plan be in “conformance,”
legally with regard to its policies, wording, and terminology. So in practice the Housing Element drives the General Plan, not vice verse. So the crafting of a certifiable Housing Element is the local housing policy leader with regard to zoning and planning.
 Each city’s General Plan has no choice but to adapt where it must.

The second aspect of this nexus is the so-called “Builder’s Remedy.” Under SB375, any developer (nonprofit or for profit) who proposes to build a "qualifying" project (at least 49 percent of the units are “affordable units”) can assume the zoning he needs, even if the land is not presently zoned, and sue the city if they refuse to grant it. And it is now the city’s legal burden to prove why the project should not be approved, rather than the traditional situation where the developer has to prove why his project should be approved.

Adding to this loss of local planning control are provisions for CEQA streamlining found in both SB375 and SB226. A qualified project can receive streamlining benefits (be exempt from certain CEQA criteria and studies) or be exempted entirely from CEQA requirements if it is categorized as “infill” and in proximity to a “quality transit corridor” (near a bus stop where a bus runs every 20 minutes).

And up till August of 2013 the PLAN has been allowed to ignore the air quality of those people they will be trying to house next to freeways. Until a judge finally reinstated the Bay Area Air Quality (BAAQMD) Guidlines for "Thresholds of Significance" to include Estimating the Community Risks and Hazards of living within 1,000 feet of a freeway.

As in Marin, daily freeway traffic exceeds 100,000 vehicles for most of the Bay's freeways and puts building next to freeways unacceptably hazerdous to a person's health.

PAGE 47: chart:
If there is any roadway within 1000 feet Particlate Matter or Toxic Air Contaminants (TAC) Analysis is recommended.

CEQA Guidelines UPDATE: April 13, 2012


San Rafael rescinds two high-density housing plans including PDA

Bay Area Citizens LAWSUIT against Plan Bay Area
SB375's two LEGAL ACTIONS for developers
CA is not monitoring AIR POLLUTION when 40% of population lives near major roads
When every home has Solar Panels and a Wind Turbine

Planning for Reality: Affordable Housing - Separating Fact from Fiction

Not just Plan Bay Area - there are Bills galore:
SB 142  
SB628 multi-million dollar 30-year Bonds for Transit and TOD without the usually required taxpayer vote
Propositions to create a SPECIAL TAX  (that used to need a 2/3 majority)  
may pass with only a 55%

                     $57 Billion

The majority of funding in the Plan ($232 billion, or 80%) is already committed for specific purposes.
The remaining $57 billion in revenues are available for assignment through the plan.
 (Notice how spending on Freeway is bundled with Transit so you don't know how close to 0% it is).

More Details on the $232 and  $57 billion spending  (enable bookmarks - click icon on the left)

$209 million to Expand and enhance the SMART commuter rail system (Phase II) by constructing a one- station extension from San Rafael to Larkspur,
constructing a one-station extension from North Santa Rosa to Windsor, implementing capacity improvements along the Initial Operating Segment (Sonoma County only),
and completing the multi-use pathway from Larkspur to Cloverdale.

For $57 billion you can cover all 2.5 million homes in the Bay with solar panels ( $20,000 each)
Or for the $57 billion to be spent on Plan Bay Area - you can cover half of the 2.5 million homes in the Bay
with solar panels and give free electric cars to half as well !
Or means-test-subsidise each home from 25% to 85% discount for each home to have
 both an electric car and 2.5kw of solar panels --
 Reducing Green House gas Emission to one hundredth of the Plan and preparing us for a REALISTIC future.
(where the majority of the Plan's transit becomes obsolete).

The EEJ Alternative that was NOT implemented in the Plan, (yet):

EEJ Alternative to MTC’s portion of the Plan would have:

1.    12.5% more transit service (bus and light rail)

2.    6.5% more BART service

3.    Wouldn’t spend – $2.5 billion  – on building highway expansions

4.    Spend 5% more on transit service operations expand transit service over the coming decades

5.    Further encourage Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

6.    Encourage high density development around and on top of transit stations

7.    Smaller cities forced to take on a share of the region’s growth in the Plan and be held accountable if they do not.

8.    Move 5% of the housing growth from low-income communities (mainly in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose)
 to transit-connected suburban job centers,

9.    13% more express bus service 

(EEJ stands for "Equity, Environment and Jobs")

Diane Furst ·This is how Alameda Supervisor Scott Haggerty described Plan Bay Area:
“This thing (Plan Bay Area) screws the suburbs and the rural areas. If you are in an urban area, be happy.
You’re getting it all.”
Supervisor Haggerty sits on 6 ABAG committees and 3 MTC committees.
I would think he is pretty well informed about the plan.

 Here is the video where Scott Haggerty talks about the vote and the effect on suburb and rural towns (00:35)

Jody Morales Kinsey says his yes vote protects “Marin’s agricultural and open space
while encouraging limited new development along transit corridors.”
Translation: My wealthy rancher-supporters will love this.

Rice says her yes vote doesn’t actually change a thing – more or less.
Translation: Rice bought into the talking points and showed no concern for her constituents or any capacity for independent thought.

Conclusion: Marin needs Supervisors Furst, Pfeifer, Brandt and Shroyer. Someone needs to step up for Rice’s seat.

Aaron Lee There is ONE electric car charging station at the Civic Center.
We are literally 15 years away from a giant switch to all electric vehicles (and even more efficient solar power).
How can the BOS even PRETEND to care about CO2 emissions when my grocery store has
twice as many EV charging stations? You can lease a Nissan Leaf for 150 bucks a month after taxes.
Is there a reason that ANY and ALL car allowances paid to County employees are not restricted to electric vehicles?
I mean seriously. ONE EV CHARGING STATION at the County seat! Perhaps the BOS should look in their own front yard.
I mean seriously, do they really think families of nurses, teachers, and firefighters are going to live in high density condos?
Is it even a good idea?

California SB628 multi-million dollar 30-year Bonds for Transit and TOD without the usually required taxpayer vote !

Propositions to create a SPECIAL TAX  (that used to need a 2/3 majority)  may pass with only a 55% majority