Plan Bay Area in line with city’s vision

Pierce, Julie_color_websiteAlong with many colleagues in the region, I voted to adopt Plan Bay Area last Thursday evening.

The plan is the Bay Area’s answer to SB375 requirements to plan for the growth anticipated in the region by the year 2040, while reducing per-capita greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.

A state-mandated joint effort of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area’s regional transportation and land use agencies, the plan supports our local land use plans and explicitly preserves our community control of land-use decisions. It honors urban limit lines, such as the one approved by Contra Costa voters in 2004. It’s a living document that will be updated every four years.

The Bay Area can expect nearly 2 million more residents over the next 27 years; most of them will be our baby-boomer seniors, our children and grandchildren. Whether we have choices of affordable homes, good jobs with reasonable commutes, added transportation options, clean air and open spaces to enjoy will largely depend on whether local city councils choose to implement the plan and its goals. Without local action, it’s simply a nice vision.

Plan Bay Area has been controversial. Elected by the conference of mayors to represent the cities of Contra Costa, I currently serve as vice president of ABAG. This affords me a ringside seat at these animated discussions. The plan has been called a communist plot, a socialist scheme to take away personal property rights and a conspiracy of the United Nations Agenda 21. It’s none of those.

The plan concentrates about 70 percent of future housing and job growth in locally self-nominated areas near existing transit, while encouraging all communities throughout the region to plan thoughtfully and collaboratively for future generations.

Downtown Concord, the Monument Corridor, Concord Naval Weapons Station and BART station areas region-wide are anticipated to gradually develop, with additional housing choices for all ages, job centers and educational opportunities for the region. Those changes won’t happen overnight, and they will only occur as our local communities want them to – with extensive opportunities for residents to shape the plans.

The plan incorporates our vision for growth in the Clayton community. Our Clayton General Plan and Town Center Specific Plan call for a compact, walkable, vibrant downtown of small shops and services with a variety of housing options incorporated within and nearby. Because most of the growth in the plan is focused on the more urban cities, growth pressures are actually reduced in cities like ours – where access to public transit is limited. Indeed, existing single-family neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area will remain just as they are today.

As always, you can contact me at Tell me what you think.