Major Changes May Come to Bay Area Planning As MTC and ABAG Move Toward Merger

Michael Krasny : KQED – excerpt – (includes audio)



The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are responsible for housing and transportation planning for the Bay Area, including the controversial “Plan Bay Area” mandate. Now there’s talk of merging the two agencies, with a study underway on how that could be accomplished. But critics argue that the merger process lacks transparency, and that a consolidated agency will take decision-making out of the hands of local communities. We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a potential merger.

Host: Michael Krasny


  • Dave Cortese, chair, Metropolitan Transportation Commission; supervisor, District Three, Santa Clara County; former president of ABAG
  • Julie Pierce, president, Association of Bay Area Governments; council member for the city of Clayton
  • Egon Terplan, regional planning director, SPUR
  • Catharine Baker, assemblymember, 16th District (R) (Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton), California State Assembly
  • Zelda Bronstein, Bay Area activist and journalist; former chair of Berkeley Planning Commission; writes for

More info:

San Francisco Affordable Housing Bonus General Plan

Author’s opinion piece:

If you ever want to oppose any development in SF, Voting no on D may be your last opportunity to do so before they pass this program.

If the Mayor gets his way to fastrack projects without public scrutiny, review, comments or opinions, you will soon have less chance to oppose it than you do now.

Lack of public access to the meetings and the screenings of the meetings is of great concern. For some reason the Planning Commission Meeting (where the Planing Staff described how THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING BONUS PROGRAM will be used to turn us into New York West) did not screen live at noon. The meeting went live at 3 PM. after a special Parks and Rec meeting, I was able to watch most of it. This has been happening a lot lately. It seems to be part of the plan to keep the public in dark. As of today there is no posting of the link on the city Government TV site under Planning Commission. WHY? I sent a complaint to Jonas Ionin. They may have “forgotten” to post the link on the Planning Commission Page. It appears to be scheduled to run at midnight this weekend.

Planning Commissioners response to the plan:

The Planning Commissioners did not feel comfortable with the plan because it will remove the opportunity for public comment or review of many of the large projects that will effect ALL the neighborhoods without their knowledge. This is probably against the city charter or should be. Looks like the Planning Commissioners will push back and force at least one additional informational meeting. Some of our friends were there and spoke out against it. THANK YOU!

Link to explanations, links, and maps, and our petition against it:

A good showing at the next Planning Commission Meeting is needed. Watching the Commisioners comments will help us write some objections. If anyone knows where in the Charter, CEQA, or zoning codes requirements for pubic reviews and comments are established, please let me know.

Planning Commission meeting 10/15/15

400-Square-Foot Two-Bedrooms Proposed, Planning Has Concerns

socketsite – excerpt

Panoramic Interests plans to raze the single-story industrial building at 333 12th Street and build up to seven stories and 274 apartments on the parcel and adjacent parking lot between Folsom and Harrison.

s currently zoned, the Western SoMa site could support around 200 units of housing in buildings up to five stories in height, but Panoramic intends to invoke California’s Density Bonus law, which could allow for the additional height and density for the “affordable-by-design/workforce” project if approved.

Regardless, the proposed units would average 398 square feet apiece, or roughly 350 square feet excluding the bathrooms.  And that includes the two-bedrooms as well..(more)

398 square foot two-bedroom units are being presented to qualify as additional units under the state bonus housing plan. Now Mayor Lee wants to extend this plan to include even more density and height for more affordable untied on site. This could be your worst nightmare. The Planning Commissioners aren’t sure about this. A good reason for our petition: We need a better Plan

Atherton lawsuit against Caltrain over electrification project clears one

Atherton has won at least an incremental victory against Caltrain’s plans to electrify its tracks through the town, thanks to a federal agency’s determination that the commuter service doesn’t fall under its jurisdiction.

The town in February filed a lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court alleging that Caltrain’s environmental impact report for its electrification project does not comply with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines.

Caltrain asked the Surface Transportation Board to exempt it from the CEQA, but on July 2 the federal agency’s board ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over Caltrain… (more)

NBA championship overshadows relocation to San Francisco

Louis LaVenture : thepioneeronline – excerpt

While Oakland celebrated, lawmakers in Sacramento on Friday made the new San Francisco arena deal a lot easier to finalize when they included an environmental law exemption for the planned Warriors stadium at San Francisco’s Mission Bay in the state budget proposal unveiled last week.

The new development requires an environmental impact report detailing what wildlife and animals will be displaced by construction and the plans to rectify displacement, which will be waived for one year due to the new law exemption.

The Mission Bay Alliance is one of the main opponents of the proposed Warriors event center and according to them “The proposed stadium will have a disastrous impact on the health and welfare of thousands of patients and families.” They also stated the new arena would block access to medical services, make parking difficult and cause traffic around the area to hit a complete halt during the 225 events that are planned each year in addition to sports events.

The new arena is located near several hospitals, including those specific for women, children, cancer and cardiology. There is a public hearing regarding the San Francisco arena plan on June 30 at City Hall and public input is being listened to at the meetings until July 20... (more)

8 Washington Backers Appeal One Decision Today, But Won’t Argue Another

hoodline – excerpt


In news for watchers of the 8 Washington saga, the proposed condo development’s backers have decided not to appeal a recent big decision against them. Read on for the nitty-gritty in the latest installment of the contentious battle over Seawall Lot 351’s future.

Susan Brandt-Hawley, the attorney representing Defend Our Waterfront, a coalition of groups opposed to the project, told the court during a hearing today that the developers of 8 Washington and the Port of San Francisco won’t appeal a decision saying the environmental impact review (EIR) for the entire project is invalid. The California Superior Court ruled the EIR wasn’t legal because a traffic study was inadequate (more)

A CEQA advance environmentalists should explore

A CEQA advance environmentalists should explore

By Stuart Leavenworth : – excerpt

For environmentalists in the Golden State, few laws are more sacred than the California Environmental Quality Act. Enacted in 1970, the law gives citizens and interest groups the power to challenge the decisions of local governments and state regulators and block projects they find objectionable.
Used at its best, CEQA has protected poor communities from toxic incinerators and landfills. It has helped conservationists stop big development projects in the wrong places, such as the sensitive Martis Valley near Lake Tahoe.
Yet because of its sweeping nature, CEQA has sometimes been abused in cities, undermining the kind of transit-friendly development that environmentalists say they support… (more) Continue reading “A CEQA advance environmentalists should explore”

Environmentalists and unions band together to fight CEQA changes

Environmentalists and unions fight to protect CEQA

PolitiCal : On politics in the Golden State – excerpt


On politics in the Golden State

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Environmentalists and unions band together to fight CEQA changes

Environmentalists and labor unions are banding together to fight efforts to overhaul California’s landmark environmental law.
Organizers said the new coalition, made up of dozens of advocacy groups and dubbed “CEQA Works,” was formed to counter an aggressive campaign by business groups to make changes to the California Environmental Quality Act. While legislation has yet to be introduced, Gov. Jerry Brown has called on the Legislature to streamline the law to help speed the state’s economic recovery.
Environmentalists fear a repeat of last year, when lawmakers tried and failed to push through last-minute changes that activists said would have gutted CEQA.
“CEQA is the most foundational environmental law in California,” said Bruce Reznik, executive director of the Planning and Conservation League, one of the coalition’s founding members. “We decided we couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore and wait for bad things to happen.”… (more)

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