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Op-Ed: Stand Up to OneBayArea's Plans

Major workshop set for tonight at Marin Center to discuss the long-term future of housing, jobs, the economy and growth in the Bay Area.

Novato, our suburban community, needs our energy to be directed toward preserving its character and prosperity. Our way of life needs protecting from those futurists who believe their vision of dense urban environments served primarily by mass transmit must be imposed on all of us.

With their arbitrary higher rates of growth, OneBayArea threatens to change our town so much that it would be almost unrecognizable!

I urge you to attend the workshop tonight (Tuesday) at 5:45 p.m. at Marin Center (10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael) to learn more about what is on OneBayArea’s agenda. The workshop is titled PlanBayArea, and nine of them were to take place Jan. 5-25 in the nine Bay Area counties.

Among the plans are:

• Making room for 1 million in natural increase and 1 million immigrants over the next 25 years, growth rates arbitrarily chosen by executive decision in jobs and housing far outstripping that of the last two decades. Most new jobs will be low wage.

• Increasing density by building up with infill (stopping “sprawl”) to make mass transit viable, and creating a network of mass transit surrounding the bay.

• Locating the poor in state-subsidized housing close to low wage jobs in order to reduce solo driving and thus, emissions.

• The Highway 101 corridor up through Novato being filled in with housing and employment centers. Novato and San Rafael are the two primary workforce housing growth cities in Marin and are slated for intensive development of dense apartments for retail clerks, hospitality industry employees, personal service employees, and others making very low wages.

• SMART and increased bus service handling Marin’s transportation needs.

Novato citizens need to realize that:

• Although local groups portray the housing quotas as “taking care of our own,” they are about, in fact, taking care of much more than our own. Novato, San Rafael and Marin City are to absorb a legion of service personnel and caretakers serving the wealthier portions of Marin.

• Given the spread out nature of Novato, thousands of new residents would have to be accommodated to even approach the point where mass transit could provide a transportation solution.

• If the Novato City Council designates a priority development area in the future in Novato, or if the regional government designates a growth opportunity area with or without local consent, Novato will have been opened up to developers. Once a PDA is established like the county did in Marinwood, it appears that local citizens essentially cannot stop intense development, given the present policies and laws.

As we head into tonight’s workshop, here some questions worth asking:

• What specifically is the purpose of this workshop? Is it to for the participants to give their views re the Four Alternate Scenarios? May we vote on the scenarios?

• Would you please simply list all the comments critical of OneBayArea’s plan, planning process, and this round of workshops in one place so that it can be found? Are you truly seeking input or only validation?

• Why is OneBayArea using job growth rates three times those found in the Bay Area in the last 20 years? (SCS Alternative Land Use Scenarios, p.4, Sept.1, 2011)

• Why is OneBayArea forcing us to plan for 1 million in natural increase (net births over deaths) and 1 million in net in-migration (people coming in to California over people leaving) in the next 25 years?

• Why is OneBayArea planning on a great preponderance of low wage jobs in the Bay Area in the next 25 years?

• A plausible explanation for the policy decisions for greatly accelerated housing and job growth in the next 25 years is the economic stimulus from a huge influx of federal money perhaps from proposed major expansion toward the Pacific Rim. How does OneBayArea defend their policy decisions for greatly accelerated housing and job growth?

Delores January 31, 2012 at 07:42 PM
City Letter to ABAG on the Strategic Community Strategy Posted Date: 1/31/2012 The City has provided its comments to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) on the Intial Vision Scenario and Alternative Vision Scenarios, and how these numbers affect the City of Novato. Please click the link below to review this document: http://www.ci.novato.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=637&recordid=1156&returnURL=%2findex.aspx
Tina McMillan February 26, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Novato cannot fight ABAG projections on its own. San Rafael, under the direction of Bob Brown, our recently appointed Co Community Director, has declared two areas as Priority Development Area's (PDA) in order to receive Marin Transportation Committee money. The numbers of housing units in PDA's are substantially higher due to their proximity to trains and buses. In the three new vision scenario's associated with ABAG, Novato has been forced to take on the housing driven by San Rafael's PDA's. The letter by the council objects to this decision but ABAG doesn't listen as evidenced by Palo Alto's similar complaints.
Bethenny February 26, 2012 at 07:43 PM
2010 Census for Marin http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06041.html Marin and Sonoma Growth http://tinyurl.com/7mz9qec
Angela March 04, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Marin Voice: Marin should challenge regional plans http://www.marinij.com/opinion/ci_20090959
Vera March 07, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Corte Madera council votes to leave ABAG http://www.marinij.com/larkspurcortemadera/ci_20119597/corte-madera-council-votes-leave-abag .."want to go a step further and create a new Marin council of governments that would be independent of ABAG."

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