By Lloyd Pittman
Once again a new deadline, Sept. 19, looms over us for the proposed 2014-2022 RHNA (low income housing) comments.
The Association of Bay Area Governments not only mandates an allocation of low-income housing but goes further and oversteps its mission by attempting to force Novato to build and provide what it terms moderate-rate and above-moderate-rate housing. It is demanding we increase the housing supply in Novato with forced high-density development.
This is a disguised effort to regulate not only affordable housing but all market rate development using SB375 as a justification. If we are serious about greenhouse gas reductions, we must reject ABAG mandates of unfunded new housing brought about by the importation of new residents and first provide for our current senior and working class residents.
ABAG demands high density projects of 30-plus units per acre. Without community support for this density, there no reason to name specific parcels and re-zone for these imaginary homes. This is a feel-good political practice that accomplishes little except the self-promotion of the images of Sacramento politicians and bureaucrats. Builders will continue to fee out or try to donate some less desirable portion of land in order to avoid any negative perception that could taint their overall housing project.
The concept of forced zoning and onerous unfunded housing elements is no longer acceptable to the general population. Draconian reductions in services for schools, fire, police and public works have brought several cities to bankruptcy and threaten to spread like a wildfire. An apparent socialist housing cabal in Sacramento has gone too far and unelected bodies such as ABAG with no authority to legislate foist demands upon the counties and cities.
This small well-organized group has managed to subordinate the fair, common-sense practice of allowing local jurisdictions to provide for the needs of their citizens. The use of unwitting front organizations claiming to serve the public good have not produced results because of the real motivator of for-profit, tax-exempt affordable housing development that is only feasible with intensely dense development. This type of development requires a system of infrastructure such as mass transportation, adequate school capacity and availability of employment including a vibrant local retail service base with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment that allows the exclusion of vehicle trips to actually have an effect on greenhouse gas reductions.
Failing to have these systems in place beforehand dooms the project to failure from the onset.
The result from ABAG and the Metropolitant Transportation Commission, its vassals and supporters has been a failure to produce any meaningful partnerships to further their goals. They have managed to polarize and antagonize the entire state through their own inflexible methodology that defies explanation and apparent justification or fairness.
Planning for population increase without the economic means of support condemns our cities and towns to failure and collapse of vital services. The imposed stacking of human beings like cargo containers along non-existent transportation veins violates common sense and every doctrine of property and personal rights ceding control to “the state” to act on our behalf for their misperception of the greater good. This is a nightmare scenario that even George Orwell would have found terrifying.
The recent insane MTC proposal ( study) for tagging our population like cattle in order to exact money for miles driven solely by Bay Area residents brings calls for civil disobedience. It is time not only for the citizens of Novato and other reasonably-minded towns and cities, but for all local governments to put a halt to any cooperation or participation with MTC, ABAG, and any other quasi governmental organization, dedicated to the destruction of our constitutional rights and our ability of self-determination. These agencies need to be shut down and dissolved.
The need for afforable housing is real. It is time for some real, honest, fairly-apportioned, common-sense approaches to be utilized. Our political system in Sacramento appears beyond repair. Real progress can only be accomplished by consensus of smaller county, city and town attitudes. ABAG has grown into a monster and it is not capable of garnering the support of its members. Unfair representation, unreasonable demands for density have forced otherwise civic-minded communities from making any real inroads dealing with the real issues, problems and solutions.
Corte Madera has announced its . I believe Novato and other cities should band together and promote our own Housing Elements that fulfill our responsibilities in a manner that provides AH, helps promote greenhouse gas reduction and brings a truly integrated community that benefits all concerned.
We can do more now without the meddling of outsiders with no stake in our community. You, our city council, have shown the willingness to take on the unfair density and unreasonable mandates from ABAG. I applaud your efforts and beg you to continue to represent all of your constituents equally.