Plan Bay Area’s preferred plan advocates targeting and densifying the 5% of the region identified as Priority Development Areas, adding 77% of new housing to these locations. The area around Civic Center Station has been identified as one of these Priority Development Areas (or PDAs). Development is geared around high density housing – small units in apartment blocks. This development will place burdens on traffic, schools, police, fire and ambulance services; or conversely require commensurate increases in taxes to maintain levels of service.
The Cato Insititute’s Randal O’Toole provides useful perspective to help residents understand Plan Bay Area and what this means for residents like us within the Priority Development Area in his highly readable comment letter on the plan:
Read Randal O’Toole’s Plan Bay Area Comment Letter >>
Quiet and Safe San Rafael submitted a comment letter detailing the numerous flaws in Plan Bay Area. We sincerely hope that common sense prevails as the plan is based on disproven fundamental facts that result in:
- increasing greenhouse gas emissions
- reducing people’s ability to travel
- increasing the price of travel, especially for low income residents
- placing sensitive receptors (people) near to freeways and busy highways where there are known adverse health impacts such as higher rates of asthma, autism, cardiovascular disease and renal disease
QASSR Plan Bay Area Comment letter
(The deadline for Plan Bay Area comment submissions is May 15th)
Plan Bay Area and numerous SMART “station area plans” (which really should have been called property rezoning and development plans) advocate placing thousands of new Marin residents right up against freeways and busy highways such as Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Larkspur. I don’t know what the planners are reading but they certainly seem to be living in a bubble as numerous respected reports highlight the adverse health impact.
This was known to cause asthma and respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, increase autism rates and now a report highlights it causes kidney issues:
Residential proximity to major roadways and renal function
Dr Murray A Mittleman, Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 375 Longwood Avenue—Room 441, Boston, MA 02215, USA;
This is just one of many reports on asthma, there are other reports on autism…
Residential Proximity to Freeways is Associated with Uncontrolled Asthma in Inner-City Hispanic Children and Adolescents
LA County and Southern California Medical Center, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine
This Patch blog posting explains how the logic behind Primary Development Areas (PDAs) such as the Civic Center Station PDA that advocate high density housing near transit are flawed:
The Marin IJ provides excellent coverage of Plan Bay Area – the plan from ABAG and MTC – organizations advocating the need for PDAs such as the one around Civic Center Station in North San Rafael.
On May 16th about 70 local residents attended the Plan Bay Area EIR public hearing at Embassy Suites. Of the 30 speakers all but one opposed or had objections to Plan Bay Area. The following coverage was provided by the press:
Marin IJ Coverage
San Rafael Patch Coverage
“Many questioned the projections for population and job growth on which the plan is based, noting the discrepancy between the numbers and those of the California Department of Finance, which projects that Marin will add just 6,818 new residents by 2040, far shy of the 33,000 new residents predicted by Plan Bay Area.”
Today, March 1st 2013, QASSR sent this letter to Ezra Rapport, Executive Director of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) requesting steps be taken to ensure that the Plan Bay Area public hearings follow a fair process ensuring both proponents and opponents have a level playing field. This is in response to this process proposed by Ezra Rapport in December. If these steps to ensure fairness need time to implement, then the process should be delayed as it is so important that the process is done right.
The Plan Bay Area EIR progresses targets for affordable housing that citys such as San Rafael must meet or lose transportation funding, which ABAG, a non-elected body, controls.
Read QASSRs Letter to ABAG >>
The Plan Bay Area Environmental Impact Report proposed by ABAG advocates significant additions of high density housing across the bay, progressing the Civic Center station area plan and other “Primary Development Areas” across Marin. Public hearing’s are scheduled in April and May. ABAG and MTC have carefully worked out a process where impacted citizens are not given a fair platform to speak and convey concerns -instead using “comment tables” and regulated Q&A sessions:
Plan Bay Area Public Engagement Update (from ABAG & MTC’s Exec Directors) >>
What you can do to avoid a repeat of the station area plan…
Write to your councilors and mayor and ask that they ensure fair process:
- ask that public meetings are scheduled in evenings so working taxpayers can attend
- demand a “panel” format with fair representation (50%) of impacted citizens on the same stage (not relegated to highly regulated Q&A)
- insist that the proposed “comment table” approach not be used that suppresses discussion and dialog
- request that focus groups are not solely conducted for low-income groups but a fair representation of the Bay Area population (including low income groups)
Here are a couple of highly readable articles that provide great perspective on the high density brigade and the facts:
Smart Growth and the New Newspeak
In California Don’t Bash the Burbs
“In the internal data of the 2011 Community Preference Survey commissioned by the National Association of Realtors, no specific question was asked about density, but 52 percent of respondents said, if given a choice, they would prefer to live in traditional suburbs, small towns or the rural countryside. Another 28 percent chose a suburban setting that allowed for some mixed uses (Question 5). Taken together, this shows an overwhelming preference for low densities. Only 8 percent of the respondents favored a central city environment.”
Please add to your calendars two upcoming events about”Plan Bay Area”, which progresses to adoption high affordable housing targets San Rafael and other cities must achieve to secure state funding. This progresses the PDA associated with Civic Center Station. Two important meetings are currently scheduled:
- Tuesday, April 16, 10 a.m. ABAG/MTC North Bay Public Hearing re. DEIR, San Rafael, Embassy Suites
- Monday, April 29, 6 p.m. ABAG/MTC Plan Bay Area Open House 6:00-7:30 pm / Public Hearing 7:00-9:00 pm, Marin Center
QASSR has requested in writing that Dianne Steinhauser at TAM reschedule the first meeting to 7pm on a weekday so that residents who work during the day can attend.
More Information >>