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Solimar Research

ABAG, MTC Settle Plan Bay Area Lawsuit With BIA

CP&DR Staff on
Mar 3, 2014

The Bay Area's regional planning agencies have settled a lawsuit with the Building Industry Association over Plan Bay Area the regional sustainable communities strategy.

In the settlement, the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission agreed to focus more on finding residential locations within the Bay Area to accommodate expected future growth, rather than assuming a certain amount of in-commuting from the Central Valley and Monterey County.

Plan Bay Area was adopted by MTC and ABAG in July as the regional SCS required by SB 375.  The Building Industry Association Bay Area lawsuit isn't surprising. The BIA claims that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments didn't account for all the housing that would be needed in the Bay Area during the time horizon of the plan, which will function as the region's sustainable communities strategy under SB 375. Thus, the BIA claims, Plan Bay Area essentially calls for exporting tens of thousands of housing units, the impact of which the plan's environmental impact report did not examine. 

The basis of the BIA's lawsuits was the conclusion by MTC and ABAG that it would be infeasible to plan for 770,000 additional units of housing the amount BIA argues is necessary to meet demand during the time horizon of the plan. Instead, the plan calls for 660,000 additional units. 

In the settlement, the MTC and ABAG agreed to:

1. A "Regional Housing Control Total" that assumes no increase in in-commuters over the baseline year and will not be based on historical building permit numbers.

2. "Robust" monitoring of regional development patterns , including tracking the number of permits issued inside "preferred development areas" versus outside those area.

3. A feasibility analysis prepared in consultation with stakeholders.

4. A more open process on the methodology.

Plan Bay Area was also challenged in court by the free-market-oriented Pacific Legal Foundation, and a coalition of environmental groups.