Please comment on the Plan Bay Area Update via email, if you haven't commented yet.
Hi Neighbors and Friends,
If you didn't get a chance to attend a Plan Bay Area Update workshop, you can still make comments on the Plan by emailing them firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazingly, at the June 4th Plan Bay Area Update workshop, the Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission representatives stated that the Plan Bay Area Update is now planning for greater job growth, population, and housing between 2010 and 2040 than the 2013 Plan Bay Area did. For example the 2013 Plan Bay Area projected a Bay Area population growth of 2.1 million people between 2010 and 2040. The Plan Bay Area Update projects a Bay Area population growth of 2.4 million people during the same time period.Here's a link to the Regional Forecast of population, jobs, and housing for the Plan Bay Area Update, from 2010 to 2040:
In general, ABAG and MTC are asking you to choose between the below 4 Scenarios. However you don't have to accept any scenario and could make other comments instead. For each scenario, MTC and ABAG have generated forecasts for jobs, housing, population, travel-demand and transportation revenue. To see these forecasts for Marin County, please follow the below link:
**Please note that, based on past experience, we question whether these forecasts are accurate, since we have not seen any analysis completed by objective independent experts.
What are the scenarios?
1. NO PROJECT SCENARIO is included to show trends assumed under adopted local general plans and zoning without an adopted regional plan, and assuming no new transportation projects beyond those currently under construction or those that have both full funding and environmental clearance.Forecast of the No Project Scenario in Marin
Population: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 17% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Growth; 25% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 9000 Growth in Housing Units; 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 4% Growth in PDAs
2. MAIN STREETS SCENARIO places future population and employment growth in the downtowns in all Bay Area cities. This scenario would expand high-occupancy toll lanes and increase highway widenings. It would also assume some development on land that is currently undeveloped.Forecast of the Main Streets Scenario in Marin
Population: 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 15% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 26% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 6000 units Growth in Housing Units; 1% of Total Regional Growth; 24% Growth in PDAs
3. CONNECTED NEIGHBORHOODS SCENARIO places future population and employment growth in medium-sized cities and provides increased access to the region’s major rail services, such as BART and Caltrain. It would place most of the growth in areas that cities determine as having room for growth, with some additional growth in the biggest cities. There would be no development on open spaces outside the urban footprint.Forecast of the Connected Neighborhood Scenario in MarinPopulation: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 16% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 26% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 7000 Growth in Housing Units; 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 45% Growth in PDAs
4. BIG CITIES SCENARIO concentrates future population and employment growth within the Bay Area’s three largest cities: San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland. Transportation investments would go to the transit and freeways serving these cities. There would be no development on open spaces outside the urban footprint.
Forecast of the Big Cities Scenario in Marin
Population: 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 10% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 25% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 700 Growth in Housing Units; 0% Share of Total Regional Growth; 44% Growth in PDAs
Be aware that each jurisdiction's future Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA) will reflect the chosen Scenario. Of the 4 Scenarios offered, the "Big Cities Scenario" would require Marin County to plan for the least amount of population growth and housing. So, if we could only choose one of the scenarios, that would probably be the best choice. Still, the "Big Cities Scenario" reflects a 10% population growth over 30 years, which is approximately .3% growth per year. Whereas Marin Census data for 2011 showed that Marin's population grew 2.1% in the previous decade (primarily in Novato), roughly only .2% growth per year. Marin Census data showed that between 2010 and 2015, there was an uptick in the growth rate to an average of .7% growth per year but this rate should decline because Marin County lacks developable land and has limited availability of water resources.
Regardless of the selected scenario, the Plan Bay Area Update projects that, between 2010 and 2040, the total San Francisco Bay Area will grow by 33% and add 2.4 million people and 823,000 housing units regionally. And, since Senate Bill 375 requires that RHNA numbers be consistent with Plan Bay Area (the Bay Area's Sustainable Community's Strategy), Bay Area jurisdictions will be required to plan for the projections whether they want to or not. Even if Marin County's growth could be somewhat contained, we would still feel the effects of over-development in the other Bay Area counties, as their residents drive through our County for their commutes or for recreation at one of our tourist destinations. Impacts (E.g. Air pollution) do not remain within County borders.
We have not had access to a full copy of the proposed Plan Bay Area Update plan, but, based on Plan Bay Area Update materials, it appears to be very similar to the original regional plan - Plan Bay Area 2013. Please see my article entitled; "The Truth About Plan Bay Area 2013" by clicking here, for a critical analysis of the original plan, which outlines the plan's numerous failings.
In April 2015, Sustainable TamAlmonte sent a letter to Marin's ABAG representatives requesting that the following goals be achieved by the Plan Bay Area Update but few of them have been addressed. (Click here to view the letter.) The first six goals were set by the Marin ABAG delegates and Goals 7 thru 15 were added by Sustainable TamAlmonte:
1. Promote and maintain local control of land use decisions including planning and zoning.
2. Encourage use of realistic and credible population, housing and jobs projections that clearly articulate assumptions, modeling and rationale.
3. Advocate for more effective public and local agency engagement through out the process.
4. Promote acknowledgement of resource limits especially for water availability.
5. Work to reduce Green Housing Gas (GHG) emissions within our control by implementing our Climate Action Plans and/or additional measures as determined appropriate by local government.
6. Plan and prepare for sea level rise in Marin County.
7. Recognize that there is an ultimate limit to growth.
8. Debunk the false assumption that developing housing and jobs near transit (Transit Oriented Development - TOD) lowers Green House Gases (GHG).
9. Prohibit planning for housing in hazardous and constrained locations.
10. Acknowledge that people who live in close proximity to major roads and freeways are at much greater risk of developing serious chronic illnesses.
11. Work to ensure that all mutifamily housing will receive full CEQA review without streamlining or exemptions.
12. Promote building reuse in order to retain existing affordable housing, to convert market rate housing to affordable housing, to reduce development costs, and to reduce environmental impacts.
13. Remove/Reject transportation funding strings that tie transportation funding to increasing development potential or that tie transportation funding to targeting housing near transit.
14 Lobby HCD/ABAG to count all conversion units, assisted living units, second units, junior units and inclusionary units toward the RHNA quota.
15. Work to prevent increased development in other Bay Area jurisdictions from impacting Marin.
The Plan Bay Area Update's Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has not been completed. However, please recall that the 2013 Plan Bay Area EIR demonstrated that implementation of the 2013 Plan would result in 39 significant unavoidable adverse environmental impacts. They include, but are not limited to:
- Insufficient water supply;
- Inundation from sea level rise;
- Exposure to hazardous materials;
- Inadequate wastewater treatment capacity;
- A net increase in Sensitive Receptors located in Transit Priority Project corridors where there are high concentrations of cancer causing Toxic Air Contaminants and fine particulate matter emissions;
- Direct removal, filling or hydrological interruption of habitat; and
- Interference with the movement of native resident or migratory fish or
The above impacts were found to be unavoidable either because mitigations will not reduce the impacts to less-than-significant or else because the regional agencies cannot require local jurisdictions to impose the mitigation measures. Moreover, the mitigations are unfunded.
The 2013 Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Plan corroborates the 2013 Plan Bay Area EIR's finding regarding an insufficient water supply. The Regional Water Management Plan states that in dry years all but 4 major Bay Area Region water agencies project a shortfall in meeting projected water demand through 2035.
Since the Plan Bay Area Update plans for even greater growth than the 2013 Plan Bay Area, one would expect that implementation of the Updated Plan would result in similar significant adverse impacts.
When have we reached the limits of growth? Today Marin's infrastructure (E.g. Congested roads) and public services (E.g. Overcrowded schools) are insufficient to meet the needs of the current population. The 2007 Countywide Plan's (CWP) EIR found that land uses and development consistent with the CWP would result in 42 Significant Unavoidable Adverse Environmental Impacts, including "water supplies that would be insufficient to serve some of the Unincorporated and Incorporated areas in normal rainfall years." So, although the Marin Municipal Water District's 2015 Urban Water Management Plan projects enough water supply to meet demand for the next 25 years or more, we don't have enough water for the total allowable buildout, already allowed by Marin County and Cities.
Should we encourage growth and exacerbate these deficiencies further or should we stop or slow growth until we can solve our current problems?
Below is a link to the rest of the Plan Bay Area Update Meeting Materials:
Once again, please send in comments about the Plan Bay Area Update to email@example.com
Thank you in advance for taking action. Together we can make a difference!