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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?

Chris January 17, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Game on Novato...please learn about OneBayArea- once this plan is set in motion, it will will change Marin forever.
Roger January 18, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Can it get worse than 2200 dense affordable housing units next to Smart train stops?
SHROYER FOR SUPERVISOR 2014 January 18, 2012 at 06:45 AM
Great research Pam! This is about an unholy alliance between conservatives (developers) and liberals (thinking high density housing is green) making billions off of high density low income housing. Who will be paying for this? The middle class and they will be crippled. This failed model is fiscally unsustainable. Please note the developers of HDLIC don't pay any real estate taxes and have no accountibility for safe housing and crime. This further proves this is not about helping the poor.
Bob Ratto January 18, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Pam Thanks for this piece. I went last night, and it really was an "eye opener" These unelected groups (ABAG, MTC, BCDC) are rapidly gaining so much power and have veered so far off their original mandate it is frightening. Rather than sticking to their SB375 agenda of reducing GHG emissions, they have now combined housing into their "central planning" agenda. The booklet handed out was nothing more than a propaganda piece filled with an intentionally narrow set of answers, and there was simply no discussion about alternate scenarios, so it became obvious pretty quickly that this was a rigged meeting designed to simply state "we had meetings, this is what we came up with, live with it". Novato now has a larger Housing element-maybe it is up to 3700?, San Rafael got smaller, but San Rafael has apparently two of the new "Priority Development Areas"-which is nothing more than rezoning for high density housing-one area of which is in Marinwood, and the other the moderator could not figure out. They claim they are not taking away local control, but that is EXACTLY what they are doing. Congratulations everyone, you may just get your property rezoned in the guise of improving sustainability by a group that wasn't elected and will not hold itself accountable to anyone. Scary.
Matt January 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Very informative radio piece on "Plan Bay Area" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKi0m_4QT1g
Pam Drew January 18, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Novato's numbers went from 778 to roughly 1600 from the Initial Vision Scenario and the publication of the Alternative Scenarios numbers thus far. As to the Priority Development areas, they are downtown San Rafael and Civic Center/North San Rafael Town Center for the City of San Rafael and unincorporated Marin County, the urbanized 101 Corridor. This means Marin County lands within a half mile of Highway 101, inclucing the communities of Marinwood, California Park, Strawberry, and Marin City. I don't even know where California Park is. (Size: 720 acres).
Brant January 18, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The enemy here is called the administrative state. The local agencies are just an example of it. It is at the core of progressive beliefs. It is the antithesis of everything I believe America is about.
Tina McMillan January 19, 2012 at 05:13 PM
These regional agencies ( ABAG, MTC, BCDC and BAAQMD) are not the same as local government although their members include representatives from both the county and the city councils. It's like having a society of do-gooders that initially helps by bringing together city and county representatives to collaborate on long term planning and then has a transformation where they decide to use their power to sidestep the democratic process and put into effect changes in land use that would literally transform our entire state. SB375 is the harbinger of high density housing clustered around transportation hubs throughout California. It will increase population and segregate the poor. It will not address the long term costs of its actions. It will control local planning. It will destroy cities that lack a property tax base to cover the cost of affordable housing. It will eliminate the concept of each city having a general plan that reflects the will of its residents. It is a monster that was originally designed to address climate change and then took on huge social engineering goals bypassing any vote of the people.
Brant January 19, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Tina, excellent analysis. Climate change, as used in politics, is a tool of the do-gooders you reference. It is used to accomplish their objectives, no matter how remote. Are you leading the charge against the regional agencies?
Tina McMillan January 19, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Since Brown closed the RDA's it occurred to me that we could save money by closing the regional agencies as well, thus allowing local government to deal directly with state government. I don't think regional agencies were ever meant to have this kind of control over money or planning. They live in a kind of no man's land where elected officials from adjacent counties are appointed to seats and then together interpret how to implement legislation that affects city planning. The climate change/environmental contingent is the biggest player in our group, Association Of Bay Area Governments or ABAG. SB375 started as a climate control measure and then took on a life of its own. It has been tied to UN Agenda 21 and One Bay Area. http://www.onebayarea.org/ I had no idea how much money these agencies control or how powerful they had become. Here is more information on SB375: http://www.ca-ilg.org/SB375 We all need to bring to light how regional government is affecting local control over planning issues. Novato has a General Plan. If regional agencies are going to supersede the General Plans of individual cities and counties then our ability to dictate the direction our city takes will be null and void.
Tina McMillan January 20, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Association of Bay Area Agencies: ABAG Operating Budget 2011/2012 Salaries & Benefits 12,029,700 Consultants & Passthrough 8,000,000 Other 2,068,500 Total 22,098,200 EXPENSES Salaries and benefits 12,029,700 Consultant services 6,000,000 Passthrough 2,000,000 Equipment and supplies 240,000 Printing 150,000 Conference and meeting 300,000 Depreciation 210,500 Interest 72,000 Building maintenance 275,000 Utilities 80,000 Insurance 150,000 Postage 50,000 Telephone 66,000 Committee (per diem) 75,000 Other 400,000 Total Expenses 22,098,200
Pam Drew January 20, 2012 at 04:23 AM
A 6 million dollar yearly budget for ABAG consultants like MIG (the workshop facilitators) and the rest makes me violently ill. Seriously, my stomach is just pitching, especially after living through the Marin PlanBayArea workshop Tuesday night with security in every corner but not one bit of it willing to prevent the painful highjacking of much of our time by hecklers and uncontrolled aggressive proponents of a single point of view. Predictably the IJ called it a circus. Maybe that was why the security didn't make the loudmouths pipe down---so the OneBayArea flacks could publicize that aspect while neglecting serious participants' suggestions and objections.
DINAH MATTOS January 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM
OMG This is why I am for NOTHING...no growth..no stupid train...STOP! Too late to talk. All I can do is try to get all the people of Novato who are asleep to wake up. I am so disappointed in our city council...they only care about more growth..more money..and more fame. If nothing else I will try to be at city hall to share my disappointment with them. Time for a new sign!
Amy January 21, 2012 at 01:47 AM
We can't / don't fight for what gets built where and Tiburon fights CVS and wins because they want a more low key sign. Wake up Novato ..... Tiburon board OKs CVS sign after color change http://www.marinij.com/tiburonbelvedere/ci_19786067?source=rss
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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