Planning for displacement - Page 6

Regional planners want to put 280,000 more people into San Francisco — and they admit that many current residents will have to leave

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Brad Paul, a longtime housing activist who now works for ABAG, said these projections are just a start, and that the plan will be updated every four years. "I think we're finding that the number of people who want to drive cars will go down," he said.

Henderson argues that the land-use policy is flawed. He suggests that it would make more sense to increase density in the Bay Area suburbs along the BART lines. "Elegant development in those areas would work better," he said. You don't need expensive high-rises: "Four and five stories is the sweet spot," he explained.

Most of the transportation projects in the plan are already in the pipeline; there's no suggestion of any major new public transit programs. There is, however, a suggestion that San Francisco adopt a congestion management fee for downtown driving — something that city officials say is the only way to avoid utter gridlock in the future.

SIDELINING CEQA

ABAG and the MTC have a fair amount of leverage to implement their plans. MTC controls hundreds of millions of dollars in transit money; ABAG will be handing out millions in grants to communities that adopt its plan. And under state law, cities that allow development in PDAs near transit corridors can gain an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act.

CEQA is a powerful tool to slow or halt development, and developers (and some public officials) drool at the prospect of getting a fast-track pass to avoid some of the more cumbersome parts of the environmental review process.

Under SB 375 and Plan Bay Area, CEQA exemptions are available to projects that meet the Sustainable Community Strategy standards and are close to transit corridors. And when you look at the map of those areas, it's pretty striking: All of San Francisco, pretty much every square inch, qualifies.

That means that almost any project almost anywhere in town can make a case that it doesn't need to accept full CEQA review.

The most profound missing element in this entire discussion is the cost of all this growth.

You can't cram 210,000 more residents into San Francisco without new schools, parks, and child-care centers. You can't protect those residents without more police officers and firefighters. You can't take care of their water and sewer needs without substantial infrastructure upgrades. And even if there's state and federal money available for new buses and trains, you can't operate those systems without paying drivers, mechanics, and support workers.

There's no question that the new development will bring in more tax money. But the type of infrastructure improvements that will be needed to add 25 percent more residents to the city are really expensive — and every study that's ever been done in San Francisco shows that the tax benefits of new development don't cover the costs of public services it requires.

When World War II and the post-war boom in the Bay Area brought huge growth to the region, property taxes and federal and state money were adequate to build things like BART, the freeways, and hundreds of new schools, and to staff the public services that the emerging communities needed. But that all changed in 1978, with the passage of Prop. 13, and two years later, with the election of Ronald Reagan as president.

Now, federal money for cities is down to a trickle. Local government has an almost impossible time raising taxes. And instead of hiking fees for new residential and commercial projects, many communities (including San Francisco) are offering tax breaks to encourage job growth.

Put all that in the mix and you have a recipe for overcrowded buses, inadequate schools, overstressed open space (imagine 10,000 new Mission residents heading for Dolores Park on a nice day), and a very unattractive urban experience.

Comments

is safe as long as you shift the focus of arguments.

"Oakland better suits their cultural and economic ethos" translates to black and "hispanic" people shouldn't live in SF after you and your fellow evictors tell people where not to live.

You said something entirely different from your last comment.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

it would appear that he is probably right and you are probably wrong here.

Posted by Anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

lower income people live in lower housing cost areas--SE SF, the flatlands of the East Bay, etc.

You and your friend (which is probably also you) are racist, classist authoritarians.

But no one can touch your undefeated debating record.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 4:08 pm
Posted by Anonymous on May. 29, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

"...cultural and economic ethos" would that be?

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

But clearly it is not nothing.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

...I'm asking you. Please be specific.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

SF is a city full of neighborhoods with ethnic majorities.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

You mention an ethnically linked ethos, or more than one, but don't describe its, or their, attributes.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 30, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

racial or other, are not factors that bind people to co-exist then I really cannot imagine what could convince you.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

A few observations: 1) a 100% decrease in greenhouse gases is prerequisite pre-2020, if even this will stop the “tipping point,” 2) that planning requires, not only human habitat, but sustainable habitat, i.,e. flora, fauna, arable land, recreational spaces for humans, expandable mass transit systems to adequately (meaning that affordability is part of the discussion) developed suburban areas—only until human governments can effectively ratify human population control solutions and substantive implementation with time constraints set at 2020 or before, 3) the assertion that human population will cause more job creation (not matching), can only be valid if numerator and denominator reflect the same number increase each time there is a change in digits, or if the numerator “1” represents jobs and the denominator “1” represents population, then changing the denominator to “2” means that population is greater than number of jobs, or unemployment; 4) the Association of Bay Area Governments, Plan Bay Area is DoD as anti-tax sitting and future government officials will continue to collude with tax-cheats. The SF Bay Area will be approaching criticality by 2040, not forgetting the influence of neoliberal constituents in governments, academia and business. There is reason to be pessimistic about the new epoch, judging from the last quarter-century.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

A few observations: 1) a 100% decrease in greenhouse gases is prerequisite pre-2020, if even this will stop the “tipping point,” 2) that planning requires, not only human habitat, but sustainable habitat, i.,e. flora, fauna, arable land, recreational spaces for humans, expandable mass transit systems to adequately (meaning that affordability is part of the discussion) developed suburban areas—only until human governments can effectively ratify human population control solutions and substantive implementation with time constraints set at 2020 or before, 3) the assertion that human population will cause more job creation (not matching), can only be valid if numerator and denominator reflect the same number increase each time there is a change in digits, or if the numerator “1” represents jobs and the denominator “1” represents population, then changing the denominator to “2” means that population is greater than number of jobs, or unemployment; 4) the Association of Bay Area Governments, Plan Bay Area is DoD as anti-tax sitting and future government officials will continue to collude with tax-cheats. The SF Bay Area will be approaching criticality by 2040, not forgetting the influence of neoliberal constituents in governments, academia and business. There is reason to be pessimistic about the new epoch, judging from the last quarter-century.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

Actually two. Naïve.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

I really appreciate the comprehensive analysis of growth and what it will do to the Bay Area. One way or another we are going to end up growing, it is probably better to do it in a planned way. Those Berkeley City Planning types are mostly okay, they are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Your efforts here have gotten me to thinking. Hopefully it kicks off a dialogue or at least some action.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 30, 2013 @ 6:33 am

not attractive places. Compare the dull, planned Brasilia with lively, spontaneous, chaotic Rio.

Likewise Canberra versus Sydney. Ottawa versus Montreal, and so on.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 7:02 am

All of us are racists in one way or another.
That sais, the upcoming redevelopment by earthquake will not discriminate and destroy and kill many people of every color.
Prices will come down when insurance companies can't pay the massive claims and the city will be back to be affordable.

Posted by Guest on May. 31, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

Population of SF 2000 census was around 790K and in 2010 came out around 805K.
So help me here, where is this explosion coming from. Also population even decreased during 2000-2010 in some years. Population in the 70's was similar to now.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 02, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

Here's a solution to the transit issue: develop San Jose and Silicon Valley communities with infill and up to the "6-story sweet spot". If this huge wave of new employees are largely working there, they need to live there.

Why cram more folks in SF to commute south for minimum 1.5 hrs RT per day to another city? Stop commuting. Live where you work. If the companies where they work are not in SF, those companies are not paying taxes to support the city services for these employees.

Is there a city income tax on employees who live in SF but work outside it? Other municipalities in the US have such taxes. This might make a small dent in the cost of housing these people in SF and might encourage them to seek housing closer to where they work, which is logical, cheaper and ethical.

San Jose and surrounding Silicon Valley communities have much more room for in-fill and the build up to the "six-story sweet spot" for the new employees coming to work in their cities. San Francisco needs to hang the No Vacancy sign. It doesn't need more people or money.

Posted by Guest 1000 on Jun. 03, 2013 @ 3:26 am

Mountain View Patch. Mountain View low inventory of homes. Yesterday I went to Mountain View, had a look on a website to find some information instead found the above headline.

In May of 2012, 76 homes were sold.
In May of 2013, 8 homes were sold.

In the last 6 months new buildings have been built or approved. Total jobs going to be created over 2,000.

What does this mean, less housing, higher prices, more traffic. Because while 2,000 plus people will be working in a small area, they have to drive over a greater area. You think they will have to enjoy their backyard, neighborhood or any community benefit.

Our transit can't handle the amount of people works and living so far. Low income worker can take the bus and spend 1 1/2 hour one way. I did for a while. Newark to Mountain View.

In short if you are low income the chances are you have to work more hours, your partners also has to work more hours. If you have kids, you will spend a little bit of time with them.

Posted by Garrett on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:24 am

The Plan is unworkable as written and for all the reasons that are listed in this article.

In San Jose there is no appetite, except among a small group of politicians who are pro-BART in their districts!

They view single family parts of the city as "not economically attractive" for transit.

That's because of their limited view of transit.

What we need are politicians who will appoint representatives to ABAG who can "think outside the box" -- imagine just how horrible this picture of density and gridlock really sounds -- and find other solutions --

Rather than dismiss distance, we must dismiss the idea that current technology is what will drive future urban life --

And we have to start planning to be an American region -- not Singapore West!!

The people who least deserve this bizarre plan are the people who live in Hunters Point, South City and Chinatown!!!

We've forgotten that density brings crime and disease with it --

And this plan completely ignores the fact that at some point there will be another 7.5. or higher earthquake that will level all these planned yuppie high rises!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

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